Discover the delightful fusion of modern design and the elegance of yesteryear in Christchurch, your gateway to the South Island. Transfer to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm), then spend time at leisure before meeting your Travel Director and fellow travellers for an evening Welcome Reception.
'Make A Difference' this morning by contributing to Trafalgar's Sustainable Tourism Commitment to planting native trees in the Port Hills of Christchurch. Next, cross the Canterbury Plains and 'Connect With Locals' Angie and Stan Taylor at their home Morelea for an exclusive 'Be My Guest' afternoon tea and insights into a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand. Later, view the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd on Lake Tekapo. Your day finishes in the historic hydro town of Twizel.
Journey along the Waitaki River, through the township of Oamaru and on to the soaring spires and Victorian façades of Dunedin. Spend a leisurely afternoon or consider an Optional Experience. You could ride the Taieri Gorge Railway, take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise to see the Penguins and the Royal Albatross or experience an interactive tour of Speight's Brewery.
Explore Dunedin on your own this morning. Perhaps embark on an Optional Experience to Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle, or roam the lush grounds of New Zealand's first university, Otago. This afternoon, cross sheep-filled farming land that is so characteristically 'Pure New Zealand'. Wind your way into Fiordland National Park and the South Island's largest lake and Te Anau, from where tonight you could choose to join an Optional Experience across the lake for a tour of the Glowworm Caves.
Savour a day full of pinch-me moments! Experience magnificent scenery as you travel along the alpine highway to Fiordland National Park. Enjoy numerous photo opportunities afforded by the Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, Hollyford Valley lookout (Pop's view), Cleddau Valley and the Chasm, drive through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel towards the iconic Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls before reaching Milford Sound. Enjoy lunch and a cruise on this wonder of nature. Later, journey over the Devil's Staircase, along the shores of Lake Wakatipu bound for Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital. An orientation tour skirting around the shores of Lake Wakatipu, takes you into the city centre before arriving at your hotel.
Spend a leisurely day or consider an Optional Experience. If you're feeling energetic you can ride the exhilarating Shotover Jet boat; for a more laid-back experience, take a gondola to Bob's Peak for panoramic views over Queenstown or embark on a minibus excursion through Skippers Canyon. This evening, you'll board the TSS Earnslaw, New Zealand's oldest steamship, cruising across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Regional Dinner at the Colonel's Homestead. Gain a deeper understanding of high-country farm life during an entertaining farm show, then return to Queenstown to sample the festive nightlife.
A morning visit to Arrowtown reveals its rich gold mining heritage, before your journey continues to Cromwell, where you'll have an opportunity to savour the juicy flavours of local stone fruit. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Dunstan, you will travel further into Central Otago and view the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea, followed by Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows. Following an ancient greenstone trail, you will travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes, to the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Our destination is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. You may wish to get up close and personal with the glaciers on an Optional Experience helicopter flight.
Take some time this morning to explore the icy depths of this white wilderness that has retreated from the sea over millennia. Later, journey to Hokitika. Here, you will delve into the delicate craft of greenstone carvery during a visit to a factory and jewellery demonstration by a 'Local Specialist' master carver. Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks and Blowholes are your destination today. Spend the night at one of Trafalgar's 'Stays With Stories' - the eco-friendly Punakaiki Resort located right on the waterfront. Dinner is served against the backdrop of the thundering Tasman surf.
Travel to Greymouth to visit Monteith's Brewery, where you will be guided through the traditions and heritage of this national icon with a 'Local Specialist'. You will get to experience and taste ever changing and innovative brews before enjoying a pub-style lunch. Later you will board the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch. This spectacular journey is rated as one of the world's most scenic train trips. It forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. After a day of soul-stirring sights, join your Travel Director and new-found friends for a Farewell Dinner.
Your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).