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Thrifty Tours5 Day Top of the South Tour

Discover the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park on this 5 day independent coach tour with Thrifty Tours. Stay in comfortable motel accommodation and enjoy a range of exciting activities including a whale-watching tour in Kaikoura and a cross-country journey on the spectacular TranzAlpine scenic train.

 New Zealand independent tour
 Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch
 5 days/ 4 nights
  Customisable? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 14 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

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New Zealand Coach Tours
New Zealand independent coach tour

At a glance - 5 Day Top of the South Tour

Day 1: Christchurch to Kaikoura inc Whale Watch Cruise. Accommodation: Bella Vista Kaikoura

Day 2: Kaikoura to Nelson via Blenheim. Accommodation: Chelsea Park Motor Lodge

Day 3: Day to explore the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. Accommodation: Chelsea Park Motor Lodge

Day 4: Nelson to Greymouth by Newmans coach. Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth

Day 5: Greymouth to Christchurch by Tranz Alpne train.

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5 Day Top of the South Tour - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Christchurch to Kaikoura inc Whale Watch Cruise

5 Day Top of the South Tour - Day 1

Christchurch to Kaikoura by Intercity Coach

The drive north from Christchurch to Kaikoura first takes you through some fine rolling farmland and North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley. Crossing the Hawkswood Range you descend towards the spectacular Kaikoura coastline and the road hugs the ocean as it winds its way the remaining 15 kilometres to the township. Kaikoura Township is a bustling little place with many cafes, restaurants and shops but the main reason for visiting here is the wildlife.

Check-in from Train/Coach depot to Kaikoura Whale Watch Cruise

Upon arrival in Kaikoura please collect your luggage and make your way to the Kaikoura Whale Watch reception. The Kaikoura Whale Watch reception is located within the Kaikoura Railway Station.

Please present your itinerary with your reservation number to the check in staff and request that they store your luggage until the end of the Whale Watch Tour.

Whale Watch Kaikoura

New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company, Whale Watch Kaikoura offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime up close encounter with the giant sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, is sometimes seen.
You'll be taken out in modern catamarans specifically designed for whale watching - featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one.

Whale Watch Kaikoura to your accommodation

Following your Whale Watch cruise, you will be met by a representative of Kaikoura Shuttles and transferred to your Kaikoura accommodation.

Your Accommodation: Bella Vista Kaikoura

Bella Vista Kaikoura is located within walking distance to Kaikoura Whale Watch and just 5 minutes from the bustling town centre. Well equipped units offer every convenience.

Bella Vista Kaikoura

Day 2: Kaikoura to Nelson via Blenheim

5 Day Top of the South Tour - Day 2

Kaikoura accommodation to Kaikoura Railway Station

You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Kaikoura Shuttles and transported to your point of departure.

Kaikoura to Nelson via Blenheim by Intercity Coach

Heading north from Kaikoura, the road hugs the shore for approximately 50 kilometres and offers many opportunities to view the native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals. As you drive you will have turquoise waters of the South Pacific Ocean to your east and to the west the towering Kaikoura Ranges. Crossing the 'dry hills' of the Marlborough ranges you head towards Marlborough, New Zealand's largest wine producing region and the town of Blenheim where you'll transfer to the coach that will take you to Nelson. Leaving Blenheim you'll pass the vast grape growing areas as you head west towards Renwick. Through the fertile valleys and onto the picturesque port town of Havelock. Continue through the Rai Valley and over the ranges before dropping to the coast and Tasman Bay. Follow the shore into the city of Nelson.

Pre-order Lunch and Walk Options

Please contact Abel Tasman Wilson’s Experience on (03) 528 2027 with your booking number to pre book your day excursion walk for tomorrow. If you do not wish to pre-book lunch then please remember to take some food and something to drink with you.

Private transfer Nelson Intercity depot to Nelson Accommodation

You will be collected from Nelson Intercity bus stop and transferred to your accommodation.

Your Accommodation: Chelsea Park Motor Lodge

Chelsea Park Motor Lodge offers quiet modern accommodation just a short walk from Nelson’s restaurants, cafes and great shopping.

Chelsea Park Motor Lodge

Day 3: Day to explore the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park

5 Day Top of the South Tour - Day 3

Abel Tasman National Park Cruise and Walk Vista Open Day Pass with Transfers

Abel Tasman Cruises combined with short bush walks are a great way to experience this beautiful national park. Join Abel Tasman Wilson's Experiences' boat at Kaiteriteri for your Abel Tasman National Park Cruise. The boat hugs the shore, travelling in close to the idyllic beaches. Your skipper provides a full commentary of the trip. Take you own lunch or pre-order a prepared lunch the night before. The following are some of the more popular cruise and walk options you can choose from.

Vista Scenic Cruise Cruise from Kaiteriteri, through the Astrolabe Roadstead to Torrent Bay and Bark Bay, calling into picturesque beaches and coves where walkers and kayakers are transferred to golden-sand beaches. Pause to view the antics at Tonga Island Seal Colony in the Marine Reserve, then continue past isolated northern beaches to the long sweep of burnished sands at Totaranui.

Pitt Head Loop Cruise through the sheltered waters of the Astrolable Roadstead to disembark at Anchorage Beach. There you can choose to take a leisurely stroll to Te Pukatea Bay or walk the Pitt Head Track. Alternatively relax on the beach and go swimming in the calm azure waters. Walking time is between 3/4 and 1/4 hours depending on which route you take.

Seals and Beach For the best of everything, this trip is for you. Take a scenic cruise into Tonga Island Marine Reserve, pausing to watch the antics at its resident Fur Seal Colony. Land at historic Tonga Quarry beach then take a walk for about 2 hrs 15 mins (4.1 kms, 2.5 miles) over a forested saddle and around spectacular Bark Bay estuary with its cascading waterfalls.

Bark Bay Falls From the sheltered beach at Kaiteriteri, cruise past the sculpted granite headlands and islands. Pause to view the long, golden, forest-fringed beaches of Torrent Bay. Disembark at Medlands Beach. A short stroll takes you to popular, sheltered Bark Bay with its pleasantly shaded camping area. Swim in calm azure waters, sunbathe or relax in the shade of native forest trees. A forested track around the estuary takes you to Bark Bay Falls (approx. 1 hour return).

Swing Bridge, Bush and Beach Cruise into the heart of the National Park with full commentary to introduce you to this fascinating coastline. Disembark at idyllic Medlands Beach, where you will walk to the long golden-sand beach of Anchorage, via Torrent Bay (approx. 4hrs). The track weaves through sunny groves of Manuka and fern between breathtaking views of the granite coast and lush gullies of mature forest, to reach tranquil forest pools. Cross the rushing Falls River by an impressive swing bridge. Allow extra time to take a short side track beside a crystal forest stream to visit tranquil Cleopatra's Pool.

Your Accommodation: Chelsea Park Motor Lodge

Chelsea Park Motor Lodge offers quiet modern accommodation just a short walk from Nelson’s restaurants, cafes and great shopping.

Chelsea Park Motor Lodge

Day 4: Nelson to Greymouth by Newmans coach

5 Day Top of the South Tour - Day 4

Nelson to Greymouth by Intercity Coach

Head south west through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Park region. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you now as you head towards the town of Murchison.  Heading South towards Westport you will drive along the Buller Gorge, enjoy some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river.  Continuing on your journey 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 south on the road to Punakaiki you will pass through Paparoa National Park. The west coast is very rugged, mountains meet sea and the coast is covered with beautiful fauna and flora including Nikau Palms, which makes for a scenic trip back along the coast to Greymouth.

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.

Private transfer Nelson Accommodation to Nelson Intercity Depot

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to Intercity bus stop.

Your Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth

The hotel is only minutes walk from shops, cafes, bars and art galleries. The reception, bar and restaurant areas of the hotel form part of the original hotel built in 1906 and have a wonderful heritage feeling. The decor has been maintained to capture this historic ambience.

Kingsgate Hotel Greymouth

Day 5: Greymouth to Christchurch by Tranz Alpne train

5 Day Top of the South Tour - Day 5

Make own way Greymouth Accommodation to Greymouth Railway Station

Getting to the Greymouth Railway Station is very straightforward.

You can walk the short distance to your accommodation. Or if you would like assistance with your luggage, taxis are available at your own cost, please ask your hotel reception to book this for you.  

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Your transport from Greymouth to Christchurch, the Tranz Alpine scenic train, offers a chance to take in one of the world's great train journeys. The train -- with carriages specially designed to allow you to take in all the amazing views on offer -- will carry you from the Tasman Sea up into the Southern Alps and through Arthur's Pass National Park to the Pacific Ocean.

The train offers a comfortable and relaxing way to cross Arthurs Pass from the South Island's wild West Coast to the more tamed east coast and its biggest city. Leaving Greymouth Station, you will travel through lush West Coast rain forest before climbing into to the spectacular mountains of the Southern Alps. And, after a stop in Arthur's Pass for a breath of mountain air, you'll travel dramatic gorges and the beautiful Waimakariri river valley to emerge on the farmland of the Canterbury Plains. From here the train crosses the plains for an early evening arrival in Christchurch city.

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