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Maher Escorted ToursMaher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island

Beginning with 2-nights in Christchurch, you travel north to join the famous Weka Pass Railway through to Waikari. Enjoy stays at world-famous Hanmer Springs before continuing to Blenheim, Nelson & the beautiful Punakaiki Beach set among the Paparoa National Park and best known for its Pancake Rocks. Then it’s onto Hokitika & Christchurch, where the tour concludes.
Special highlights include a cruise on Akaroa Harbour to witness the mischievous Hectors Dolphins, an overnight stay at the Awaroa Lodge, beautifully secluded in the Abel Tasman National Park with no road access and surrounded by pristine waterways and native forest, and the Tranz Alpine Rail Journey between Greymouth & Christchurch traversing the mighty Southern Alps. And more!

 New Zealand escorted tour
 Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch
 13 days/ 12 nights
 Hotel 4 star
  Pre and post tour options? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 8 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Tour map
Scenic Train New Zealand
Tops of the South Island clients enjoying a wine on a cruise

At a glance - Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island

Day 1: Arrive into Christchurch and meet your travel companions. Accommodation: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

Day 2: Day trip to Akaroa. Accommodation: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

Day 3: Christchurch to Hanmer Springs. Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: Hanmer Springs to Blenheim. Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough (or similar)

Day 5: Check out the Omaka Air Museum. Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough (or similar)

Day 6: Blenheim to Nelson. Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 7: Sightseeing in Nelson. Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 8: Nelson to Awaroa. Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge (or similar)

Day 9: Awaroa to Punakaiki. Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort (or similar)

Day 10: Punakaiki to Hokitika. Accommodation: Beachfront Hotel Hokitika (or similar)

Day 11: Hokitika to Christchurch. Accommodation: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

Day 12: Explore Christchurch. Accommodation: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

Day 13: Bid farewell to your new freinds.

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Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Arrive into Christchurch and meet your travel companions

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 1

Arrive into Christchurch

There's plenty of time today to meet with your tour group at the Christchurch Hotel, located opposite Hagley Park. Tonight, you dine together for the first time.

Your Accommodation: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

A modern hotel tower built alongside an historic heritage-listed building, Novotel Christchurch is perfectly located in the very heart of Cathedral Square. Featuring spacious rooms with contemporary design and double glazed windows, you're just a short walk to restaurants and entertainment.

Meals included: Dinner

Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

Day 2: Day trip to Akaroa

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 2

Akaroa Full Day

Following breakfast this morning, take an easy drive south-east of Christchurch, to Akaroa – New Zealand's only French settlement and sitting at the heart of an ancient volcano, stacked with sparkling bays and green hills.
On arrival at Akaroa Harbour, board a cruise to discover the mischievous Hector's dolphins. Easily identified by their rounded dorsal fins, Hector's dolphins are only found in New Zealand waters. Sit back and relax as you enjoy the dramatic panoramic views, while playful dolphins ride the bow.
At the conclusion of the tour and after making a brief stop at the Award Winning Barrys Bay cheese factory, you'll return to your Christchurch accommodation.

Your Accommodation: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

A modern hotel tower built alongside an historic heritage-listed building, Novotel Christchurch is perfectly located in the very heart of Cathedral Square. Featuring spacious rooms with contemporary design and double glazed windows, you're just a short walk to restaurants and entertainment.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

Day 3: Christchurch to Hanmer Springs

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 3

Christchurch to Hanmer Springs

Today remember one of New Zealand’s most tragic events with a morning tour of the Christchurch City rebuild. It has been nine years since the earthquake occurred in Christchurch on Tuesday 22 February 2011 and since this time, over 40 billion dollars has been invested into development to rebuild the once-vibrant city.
From here drive to Glenmark, where you'll enjoy a leisurely train ride on The Weka Pass Railway through to Waikari. The Weka Pass Railway is a historic rural railway using both vintage steam and diesel-electric locomotives through the unique limestone beauty of the Weka Pass out of Waipara, where superior weather patterns provide crystal clear air and high sunshine hours.
The railway runs across flat farmland and passes a large irrigation reservoir and vineyards, before climbing by 2%, winding through the Pass. One can only marvel at the achievements of the workers who in the 1880's moved tons of clay and limestone by hand to form all the cuttings and large embankments. Most notable are Frog Rock and Seal Rock, in the middle of the Weka Pass. Seashells and fossils may be seen in the walls of many cuttings.
Rejoin the coach in Waikari and continue through to Hanmer Springs for an overnight stay, a picturesque alpine town best known for its natural hot pools and dazzling landscapes. There is time this afternoon to relax at the famous Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools. Every drop of thermal water is heated by Mother Nature and infused with minerals – a process that takes 173 years. Ease your aching muscles in the natural rock and Sulphur pools, while savouring the stunning backdrop.

Your Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

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, Dinner

Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: Hanmer Springs to Blenheim

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 4

Hanmer Springs to Blenheim

An early morning today. After a hearty breakfast, leave Hanmer Springs and head into the country for a tour through the Molesworth Reserve, stopping to enjoy the scenery at various vantage points on the way.
Highlights include a visit to the historic Acheron Guest House, the original Molesworth Cob Cottage and a visit to a merino sheep station in the Upper Awatere Valley. Spend time soaking up the amazing mountain and alpine lake scenery and admire the numerous wildflower varieties found in abundance in this untouched remote area, all while learning of the local history and farming practices.
Arrive in Blenheim in the evening and transfer to your accommodation for the next 2-nights. Enjoy dinner at the hotel tonight.

Your Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough (or similar)

Chateau Marlborough, Marlborough's premier boutique hotel overlooking Seymour Square Gardens, prides itself on offering guests luxury accommodation with an enviable attention to detail. All just a short walk from Blenheim's town centre.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Chateau Marlborough (or similar)

Day 5: Check out the Omaka Air Museum

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 5

Blenheim

After breakfast, pay a visit to Omaka Air Museum, a world-class destination for the appreciation of historic aircraft. Not just for enthusiasts, the centre retells the story of aviation during two World Wars, the time in which the most intense period of aviation development took place. Explore the Dangerous Skies WWII exhibition along with the famous Sir Peter Jacksons collection of WWI aircraft & artefacts in his Knights of The Sky exhibition.
Then head to Marlborough, the jewel of the New Zealand wine industry to enjoy a delicious lunch today at the iconic Wither Hills Cellar Door and Vineyard, overlooking the beautiful Wairau Valley.
This afternoon we stop at Upton Oaks Garden, right in the heart of Grape Country. A one-and-a-half-acre site spilling with romantic gardens developed and created to harmonise with the style of the 1911 Victorian Villa.

Your Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough (or similar)

Chateau Marlborough, Marlborough's premier boutique hotel overlooking Seymour Square Gardens, prides itself on offering guests luxury accommodation with an enviable attention to detail. All just a short walk from Blenheim's town centre.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Chateau Marlborough (or similar)

Day 6: Blenheim to Nelson

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 6

Blenheim to Nelson

Leaving Blenheim today, drive through to Havelock, a small town in the Marlborough region and sitting at the head of Pelorus Sounds.
Relax and unwind while you cruise the tranquil Pelorus Sound and Kenepuru Sound aboard a luxury launch, before visiting a local Greenshell Mussell Farm. Enjoy freshly steamed Greenshell Mussels, learn about the local history and take in the stunning scenery - all with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc! At the conclusion of the cruise, continue through to Nelson and onto your accommodation for the next 2-nights.

Your Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

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, Dinner

Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 7: Sightseeing in Nelson

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 7

Nelson

Today enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Nelson. See local attractions such as Queens Gardens, The Suter Art Gallery, Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith, Founders Heritage Park and more.
We also visit the World of Wearable Art Classic Cars Museum, showcasing finalist garments from the 2019 WOW Awards Show. The exhibition allows visitors to get up close and see these incredible works of art in detail. The Classic Car Collection displays a stunning range of cars dating from 1908, all in immaculate condition. Together the wearable art and collectable cars epitomise the very heart of WOW exploring the boundaries of design so that creativity and invention can thrive in a world of limitless possibilities.
The afternoon is at leisure and tonight you dine together at a local restaurant.

Your Accommodation: Trailways Hotel (or similar)

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, Dinner

Trailways Hotel (or similar)

Day 8: Nelson to Awaroa

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 8

Nelson to Awaroa

Leaving Nelson, you'll drive to Kaiteriteri for lunch (own expense) before joining our early afternoon cruise along the Abel Tasman coastline, visiting Split Apple Rock, New Zealand Fur Seals and other bays of interest. The smallest and one of the most visited of New Zealand's National Parks, the Abel Tasman was named after the great Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman who anchored his ships in Wainui, Golden Bay in 1642. Populated by Maori for over 500 years and first settled by Europeans in 1855, the golden sandy beaches and granite outcrops are now enhanced by regenerating native forest.
Your overnight accommodation is at the beautiful Awaroa Lodge. Surrounded by pristine waterways and native forest, the Lodge has been constructed to make the most of its secluded location, and it is not accessible by road.
There is an option to disembark at Tonga Quarry for a 2 hour walk along the track to Awaroa Lodge - or stay on board and transfer directly to the lodge. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon perhaps a walk along the beach, or a gentle walk in the surrounding bush.

Your Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge (or similar)

Surrounded by pristine waterways and native forest, the Lodge has been constructed to make the most of its secluded location. Enjoy a range of activities like a guided walk or kayak, relax on the famous Awaroa beach or take a walk through the lodge's grounds and surrounds.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Awaroa Lodge (or similar)

Day 9: Awaroa to Punakaiki

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 9

Awaroa to Punakaiki

There is time this morning to enjoy a walk along Awaroa Bay before rejoining your sea shuttle late morning and return to Kaiteriteri - famous for its glittering golden sands and beautiful blue-green waters.
On arrival in Kaiteriteri, the coach will collect you and transport you through to Punakaiki, bypassing Motueka, Glenhope & Murchison. A lunch stop will be taken along the way.
Accommodation for the night is Punakaiki resort, situated in Paparoa National Park just 300 meters from the magnificent Pancake Rocks and Blowholes and 2-minutes-walk from the Punakaiki beach.

Your Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort (or similar)

The Punakaiki Resort is a modern, award-winning hotel complex, architecturally designed to harmonise with the local environment. Nestled in the foothills of Papaproa National Park the resort has spectacular views of the Wild West Coast beaches while all rooms have rainforest and/or ocean views.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Punakaiki Resort (or similar)

Day 10: Punakaiki to Hokitika

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 10

Punakaiki to Hokitika

This morning travel along the Great Coast Road to the world-famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, part of the Paparoa National Park in Punakaiki. Wander along the paved walkway through native forest and coastal scrub, leading to large cliff faces with horizontal slices resembling stacks of pancakes.
Stop en route to visit the Brunner Coal Mine Memorial Site to view the historic site of the 1896 disaster. When coal ruled, this was New Zealand's most important centre of industry, and to this day the Brunner Mine explosion remains New Zealand's worst workplace accident. The disaster caught the attention of the whole nation and eventually led to improved workplace safety legislation and practices. Here at the Brunner Mine Site, you can walk through the industrial ruins and see some of the last remaining beehive coke ovens.
We then visit Monteith's Brewery to enjoy a tasting of the local produce over a delicious lunch. This brewery has been family owned since 1868 and is still brewing with the same traditions they used back then.
Then on to the Hokitika Gorge, a glacial river turquoise in colour surrounded by dramatic rock formations. A short walk descending through the hardwood forest will lead you to a swing bridge which crosses the Hokitika River and provides a postcard-worthy photo opportunity.

Your Accommodation: Beachfront Hotel Hokitika (or similar)

The unique location of the Beachfront Hotel Hokitika on the shores of the Tasman Sea and in the heart of Hokitika allows you to beachcomb and shop local artisans' galleries right from your doorstep.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Beachfront Hotel Hokitika (or similar)

Day 11: Hokitika to Christchurch

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 11

Hokitika to Christchurch

This morning visit the famous Treetop Walkway, a thrilling treetop adventure among temperate rainforest giants. Experience life with the birds, high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. Enjoy a leisurely walk along a steel platform 20 metres high and over 450 metres long and feel the adrenalin rush as you climb to the top of Hokitika Tower 40 metres above the forest floor.
Leaving Hokitika late morning, travel back to Greymouth, where there is time for a lunch stop before you join the TranzAlpine train mid-afternoon for travel through to Christchurch. The TranzAlpine is one of the world's great train journeys covering 223 kilometres one-way, taking just under 5 hours. Along this journey, you'll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the mighty Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest.

Your Accommodation: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

A modern hotel tower built alongside an historic heritage-listed building, Novotel Christchurch is perfectly located in the very heart of Cathedral Square. Featuring spacious rooms with contemporary design and double glazed windows, you're just a short walk to restaurants and entertainment.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

Day 12: Explore Christchurch

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 12

Day in Christchurch

Following breakfast this morning, take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola to experience stunning 360° views of the city, Lyttelton Harbour and beyond from the summit station situated atop the Port Hills. At the conclusion of the Gondola ride, take a short 20-minute drive east of Christchurch to Sumner Beach for lunch (own expense); an idyllic place to spend some time in the sun away from the centre of Christchurch.
Returning to Christchurch, you'll visit the nearby Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, New Zealand's most comprehensive NZ themed wildlife park. Using pioneering and innovative display techniques, with an emphasis on creating a natural environment and an up-close and personal interactive experience, Willowbank showcases one of New Zealand's best displays of native species. It was the first to open a glass-free nocturnal house for kiwi in a natural environment, guaranteeing viewings - every time.
Tonight, you'll come together to enjoy your final dinner as a group.

Your Accommodation: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

A modern hotel tower built alongside an historic heritage-listed building, Novotel Christchurch is perfectly located in the very heart of Cathedral Square. Featuring spacious rooms with contemporary design and double glazed windows, you're just a short walk to restaurants and entertainment.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square (or similar)

Day 13: Bid farewell to your new freinds

Maher Escorted Tours - Top of the South Island - Day 13

Depart Christchurch

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and it is time to bid your fellow tour members farewell. You will be transferred to the Christchurch Airport domestic terminal, to join your return flights home.

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