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Thrifty Tours

Top of the South Tour

Begin your adventure in Christchurch. Famous for its heritage, you can explore this city by Tram, Punt, or Gondola! In the morning breathtaking moments are waiting as you travel through the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine train before arriving into Greymouth. If you're up for it, be sure to enjoy some brews at Monteiths on a Brewery tour. Next up is Nelson, known for its endless sunshine hours and beautiful mountain and ocean vistas. Unwind from your journey as the next day is a tour of the Nelson Lakes. Following sunny Nelson is a stop in Picton, home to Queen Charlotte Sound. Admire the beauty from one of Picton Harbor eateries and get ready for your next train journey in the morning. The Coastal Pacific will take you down the Eastern Coastline, keep a eye out as there is plenty of wildlife to be seen! Your adventure comes to an end back where you started in Christchurch, take the opportunity to explore the Botanical Gardens or one of the many Art Galleries.

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Tour summary and feature

Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Independent Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$3,625 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

7 days/6 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 19 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes
- Private transfer Christchurch Domestic Airport to your accommodation
- Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Train Station
- Private Taxi Transfer - Nelson Coach Depot to Accommodation
- Picton Coach Stop to Picton Accommodation
- Picton Accommodation to Picton Train Station
- Shared Transfer from the Railway Station to a City Hotel
- Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Airport
6 breakfasts, 2 lunches
Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Top of the South Tour - Day 1
Private transfer Christchurch Domestic Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Christchurch accommodation.

Christchurch

The largest metro area in the South Island, Christchurch is referred to as New Zealand's Garden City. Home to one of the biggest public parks in the country, Christchurch is also known as the gateway to the South Island. Boasting a plethora of activities both inside and outside the town centre, there is something here to suit every visitor.
One such attraction is the International Antarctic Centre, located at the International Airport. From here the bases in Antarctica are replenished and there are unique displays of what life is like in this chilly environment - including native little blue penguins.
You could also wish to visit Quake City for insight into the devastating Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, then take in the sights on a city tour. Drive an hour in any direction to ski, mountain bike, wine taste, whale-watch, bungy jump or play golf. Explore the French settlement of Akaroa, tucked inside Banks Peninsula. An eclectic mix of British and French architecture, this seaside town has a whimsical charm and is the perfect place to escape.

Christchurch Triple Pass - Tram, Punting and Gondola

Experience three of Christchurch's iconic attractions in one day: the Christchurch Tram, Christchurch Gondola, and Punting on the Avon River. The historic tram is a delightful way to explore the evolving inner city, taking in the various sights with the hop-on hop-off pass and learning about the city from the live commentary. You'll also enjoy a bird's eye view of Christchurch and the Canterbury region including the distant peaks of the Southern Alps when you ride the gondola cableway to the top of the Port Hills in Heathcote Valley. Punting on the Avon River takes you through the city's green belt: a relaxing way to explore what is affectionately known as the 'Garden City'.

Your accommodation: Heritage Christchurch

The Heritage Christchurch Hotel offers contemporary accommodation in the lovingly and safely restored Old Government Building. It is sited in a great location on Cathedral Square.

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Top of the South Tour - Day 2
Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Train Station with Christchurch Touring

A private driver will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to the Christchurch train station in time for your train journey.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth Scenic Plus

Great Journeys New Zealand's Scenic Plus carriage provides comfort and vast panoramic views, making our TranzAlpine scenic train journey the perfect way to explore coast-to-coast through the 'Great Divide' and the indomitable spine of mountains that partitions New Zealand's South Island. Scenic Plus offers an all-inclusive experience on the unique TranzAlpine scenic rail journey to invigorate all the senses! Feast your eyes on epic scenery while you savour regionally inspired cuisine paired with sumptuous wine and beer all from the comfort of your luxurious seat – a hosted dining experience like no other. Quite simply, we have done everything we can to ensure you feel at peace as you sink back in your seat and soak up the scenery.

Make own way Greymouth Coach Depot to Greymouth Accommodation

Getting to your Greymouth Accommodation is very straightforward.

You can walk the short distance to your accommodation. Or if you would like assistance with your luggage taxis are also readily available, at your own cost.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Monteith's Brewery Tour

From humble origins in 1868, the Monteith's family-owned Phoenix Brewery became the West Coast's most popular brewery for its strong tasting, full-bodied ale. The Phoenix Brewery later merged with a group of small breweries to form Westland Brewing Company, predecessor to today's Monteith's Brewing Company. In this informative brewery experience, you will learn about the heritage and traditions of the brewing business. Witness the making of a fine beer in open fermenters by coal-fired boilers, using only the finest ingredients. Watch the brewers carefully hand craft the beer in small batches to develop the full natural flavours. When each batch is ready, the brewers employ a brilliant time honoured tradition for quality control - they taste it. On completion of your tour, you will taste 3 beers of your choice from the tap at the Brewery bar.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel Greymouth

The hotel offers some of the most comfortable and well-equipped rooms in Greymouth. Settle into a slower pace of life and explore the South Island from the Copthorne Hotel Greymouth.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

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Top of the South Tour - Day 3
Greymouth to Nelson by Intercity Coach

Heading north enjoy the spectacular scenery of the west coast, where the lush green forests meet the wild Tasman Sea. Driving along the Buller Gorge enjoy some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. The first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua and a small museum tells of the earthquake that hit the region in 1968 leaving 70% of the buildings damaged or inhabitable. Continuing to follow the river you reach the town of Murchison, from there you then enter the Kahurangi National Park region and the Nelson Lakes. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you now as you head into the suburb of Richmond and then Nelson City.

Explore Nelson City

The vibrant Nelson city centre offers an abundance of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops and along the waterfront, you will find many fine restaurants specialising in seafood to enjoy. Founded in 1841 by the New Zealand Company the region today still boasts many remarkable buildings from these early days, however it is its close proximity to Abel Tasman National Park that is one of Nelson's greatest advantages to visitors with its pristine waters, beautiful native bush and golden beaches making this an adventure seeker's paradise. Nelson is also famous for its art and crafts and you will find many local offerings - including the world-famous Hoglund Glassworks.

Taxi Transfer from Nelson Coach Depot to Accommodation
Nelson Classic Cars Museum - Suggested Activity

The car collection represents years of passionate sourcing from around the world and New Zealand. These cars are some of the most sought-after models in Classic Motoring, presented to the highest standard, with some having undergone extensive restoration. As well as being classic examples of automotive technology, these cars tell an important story about the twentieth century. They represent the spectrum of automotive history, design, and craftsmanship. This is one of Australasia's largest private collections.

Your accommodation: Tides Hotel (was Trailways Hotel)

Centrally located within a few minutes walk of Nelson’s central shopping precinct, theatres, restaurants and cafés, the information centre, and close to the scenic waterfront. Located right on the river, many of the rooms open onto the river view. Also overlooking the river is award-winning The Tides Restaurant and Bar.
Meals included: Breakfast

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Top of the South Tour - Day 4
Nelson Lakes Discovery Day Tour with Wine, Art & Wilderness - Includes Lunch

This tour begins with a scenic drive to Lake Rotoiti in Nelson Lakes National Park, which protects the northern section of the Southern Alps. During the Ice Age, massive glaciers gouged out basins in the mountainous headwaters of the Buller River to form a series of alpine lakes.
The steep, craggy, and bare-faced mountains and shingle fans lend a dramatic atmosphere to the park but at their base near the lake, you will take a gentle walk through the beautiful beech forest. This is the perfect place to see conservation in action and the results of an intensive pest trapping and eradication program.
You will experience the vivid birdsong and the rejuvenated forest understory returning to its pre-European condition that has allowed the re-introduction of kiwi & kaka and improved the breeding conditions of robins, tomtits, and rifleman, New Zealand’s smallest bird, as well as other birds and insects.

Your accommodation: Tides Hotel (was Trailways Hotel)

Centrally located within a few minutes walk of Nelson’s central shopping precinct, theatres, restaurants and cafés, the information centre, and close to the scenic waterfront. Located right on the river, many of the rooms open onto the river view. Also overlooking the river is award-winning The Tides Restaurant and Bar.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

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Top of the South Tour - Day 5
Nelson to Picton by Intercity Coach

Board your coach in Nelson and cross the hills to the harbour town of Havelock. Continue through the Rai Valley and onto Renwick and the heart of the Marlborough wine region, Blenheim. A short drive over the 'dry hills' and onto the port town of Picton.

Picton

Picton is a picturesque portside town at the top of the South Island. Gateway to the forest, marine and island attractions of the Marlborough Sounds, Picton is built around a sheltered harbour. Home to cafes, restaurants and galleries it also has a floating maritime museum and aquarium. Picton is also the starting point to Queen Charlotte Track, one of New Zealand’s leading hiking trails.

Picton Accommodation to Picton Coach Stop

You will be collected from your Picton Coach Stop and transferred to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: Picton Yacht Club Hotel

Located in the heart of Picton, only a short walk to the marina, shopping & dining precinct and the ferry terminal. Being in the Marlborough region, it is the gateway to the top of the picturesque South Island and Queen Charlotte Sound.
Meals included: Breakfast

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Top of the South Tour - Day 6
Picton Accommodation to Picton Train Station

You will be collected from your Picton accommodation and transferred to Picton Train Station.

Coastal Pacific Train: Picton to Christchurch

The Coastal Pacific train journey travels between the delightful port of Picton and Christchurch, the South Island's largest city. This journey is a scenic feast of New Zealand, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of your train and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. Along the way you pass though the village of Kaikoura, where, if you're touring New Zealand, you can break your journey to take in the whale watching or dare to get closer and swim with the dolphins.
Travel through some of New Zealand's finest horticultural and farmland areas, and see amazing wildlife such as dolphins, seals and penguins from the comfort of your train carriage.
One of the world's most scenic train journeys, the Coastal Pacific travels through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges, one of them being New Zealand's only road-rail bridge. As on The TranzAlpine, The Coastal Pacific includes an open air viewing carriage where all your senses are awakened with the clean, fresh, sea air.

Shared Transfer from the Railway Station to a City Hotel with Christchurch Touring

On arrival at the Christchurch railway station, you will be met by a driver and transferred to your Christchurch accommodation.

Your accommodation: Heritage Christchurch

The Heritage Christchurch Hotel offers contemporary accommodation in the lovingly and safely restored Old Government Building. It is sited in a great location on Cathedral Square.
Meals included: Breakfast

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Top of the South Tour - Day 7
Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Airport

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Christchurch Airport in time for your departing flight.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens - suggested activity

Located just 15 minutes from the city centre, Christchurch's 75 acre Botanic Gardens host the finest collection of exotic and indigenous plants to be found anywhere in New Zealand. The impressive collection of plants provide a tranquil oasis, from the spring drifts of daffodils, spectacular summer roses and herbaceous border, stunning autumn leaf display and cosy conservatories to warm up in over winter, there's something to delight in every season. The New Zealand Garden also offers an accessible glimpse into the country’s unique wilderness to lose yourself in throughout the year.

Art in Christchurch - Suggested Activity

Christchurch is a city that's alive with everything art, from exhibitions and galleries, to street art all around the city. Take some time while you're here to explore what's on offer, starting with the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. This has something for everyone, where the art on display ranges from old masters to modern art. They also run regular events including talks, museum tours and film evenings. Make sure you also visit The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora, which is a hub for arts, culture, education, creativity and entrepreneurship in Christchurch. This collection of heritage buildings are home to museums, as well as boutique art galleries, eateries, retailers and offices. Away from the more conventional galleries and exhibitions, there is all the street art to be seen around the city. With a vibrant and growing arts scene, Christchurch has earned a strong reputation as the home of street art. Exploration of the inner city reveals colourful artworks from a range of inspiring artists. Be sure to keep an eye out for the ever-evolving murals in the city too! Notable street art to check out includes the Riverside Mural, Rauora Park and it's Spray Cans, and the urban aesthetics of the YMCA building.

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