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Top of the South Island Self-Drive

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Embark on an exceptional 9 day discovery through the northern region of New Zealand’s picturesque South Island. Enjoy relaxing moments whilst exploring the unique heritage and majestic surroundings New Zealand has to offer.
New Zealand
Self-Drive
Wellness
Independent Holiday Packages

Highlights

Discover the top of New Zealand's South Island by Car

Spa Pass at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

Whale Watching Experience

Gondola Ride up Mount Cavendish

Marlborough Wine Icons Tour including Greenshell Mussel Cruise

2 days of Freedom of Choice activities

Turn dreams into reality as you embark on this remarkable 9 day journey.

In Christchurch, start with a Gondola ride up Mt Cavendish and enjoy the spectacular views, then take time to explore the city, visiting charming boutique stores down laneways and savouring the many fabulous cafes and restaurants city wide – including the now famous Riverside Market. 

Discover the gorgeous Alpine village of Hanmer Springs and the coastal town of Kaikoura, appreciating their natural beauty through the many walking options available.

Choose between the 30 minute Wings Over Whale scenic flight for a unique perspective viewing whales from above or get up close and personal to these magnificent creatures on the Whale Watching cruise.

Wine lovers will definitely enjoy a morning wine tour and spend the afternoon on the Greenshell mussel cruise.

At Nelson, take the opportunity to explore and relish in the array of art, food, wine & beer.
Choose between exploring the natural beauty of Abel Tasman Park with a cruise or kayak through the safe, sheltered and scenic southern reaches of the Abel Tasman.

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Included

1 night in Christchurch at The Classic Villa -5*
1 night in Hanmer Springs at Braemar Lodge & Spa -5*
2 nights in Kaikoura at Bendamere House B&B -4*
2 nights in Blenheim at Scenic Hotel Marlborough -4*
2 nights in Marahau at Abel Tasman Lodge -4*
9 days Car Hire with Hertz
Daily breakfast
Marlborough Wine Icons Tour & Greenshell Mussel Cruise
Freedom of Choice Days
Christchurch Gondola pass
Spa Pass at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa
Freedom of Choice Days

Freedom of Choice

For this package we have included Freedom of Choice days in the itinerary. Our per person price includes one tour on each Freedom of Choice day.

Pre-select one tour on the following days:

  • One "Freedom of Choice" tour on day 4 
  • One "Freedom of Choice" tour on day 8

Expand the itinerary below for more details.

Day 1
Christchurch Airport

Arrive into Christchurch, collect your Hertz car hire and head to the hotel. Start exploring the new vibrant city that is Christchurch straight away. Take a Gondola ride up Mt Cavendish and enjoy the spectacular 360 degree views over Lyttleton Harbour, out towards Sunmer and back over to Christchurch city.  

Overnight stay at The Classic Villa in a Corporate Room.

Christchurch Airport
Christchurch
Day 2
Christchurch → Hanmer Springs

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before checking out.

Spend the morning exploring all the City of Christchurch has to offer from the boutique shops down laneways to fabulous cafes and restaurants city wide. A visit to the now famous Riverside Market is a must. The newest buzzy indoor market features retailers selling locally sourced food, plus an array of restaurants, cafes’ and bars.

Tip: if you are staying a Friday night, make sure you check out the Friday street food market in Cathedral Square.

Just under a 2 hour drive from Christchurch is Hanmer Springs. This alpine village with its enchanting atmosphere, nestled on the edge of the Hanmer Forest features numerous trails and seasonal ski slopes within easy reach. Once you’ve checked into your hotel make your way over to the famous Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools. The mineral waters will certainly relax and rejuvenate while you unwind and have a soak before an indulgent massage.

Overnight stay at Braemar Lodge & Spa in a Superior Spa Suite

Breakfast
Christchurch → Hanmer Springs
Hanmer Springs
Day 3
Hanmer Springs → Kaikoura

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before checking out.

After a leisurely morning, drive towards the coastline and the town of Kaikoura. Explore the geography of the coastline with the many walks that are on offer here.  Get an insight on how much the devastating 2016 earthquake changed the landscape of this beautiful seaside village.

Overnight stay at Bendamere House B&B in a Harrington Room

Breakfast
Hanmer Springs → Kaikoura
Kaikoura
Day 4
Kaikoura

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy your pre-selected tour from our Freedom of Choice options:

  • Whale Watching cruise- you can chose the whale watching cruise and get up close & personal with these majestic mammals

OR

  • 30 minute Wings Over Whale scenic flight -  Experience the excitement of watching whales from above. Whale watching by aeroplane offers a unique perspective and the opportunity to view whales and dolphins in their natural environment without experiencing sea sickness.

Overnight stay at Bendamere House B&B in a Harrington Room

Breakfast
Kaikoura
Dolphins around Kaikoura
Day 5
Kaikoura → Blenheim

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before checking out.

This morning depart Kaikoura and head north to wine country and the town of Blenheim. The coastal road provides stunning scenery and some great photo opportunities. 

Overnight stay at Scenic Hotel Marlborough in a Superior Room. 

Breakfast
Kaikoura → Blenheim
Blenheim Vineyards
Day 6
Blenheim

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

Take a morning wine tour and an afternoon Greenshell mussel cruise on the Marlborough Sounds.

This tour starts in the heart of the Marlborough wine region with two fine wine tasting experiences before heading to the waterfront in the Marlborough Sounds for lunch (optional/own expense). Then in the afternoon enjoy a totally unique Seafood Cruise in the Marlborough Sounds. Learn about seafood farming, take in some stunning scenery and enjoy fresh local seafood with a glass of award winning Marlborough wine.

Overnight stay at Scenic Hotel Marlborough in a Superior Room. 

Breakfast
Blenheim
Marlborough Sounds
Day 7
Blenheim → Nelson

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before checking out.

From Blenheim venture over to Nelson. Take the opportunity to explore the town which offers an array of art, food, wine & beer.  Your last stop for the next two nights is the small village of Mārahau, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. 

Overnight stay at Abel Tasman Lodge in a Studio Room.

Breakfast
Blenheim → Nelson
Nelson
Day 8
Nelson

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

Enjoy your pre-selected tour from our Freedom of Choice options:

  • Abel Tasman National Park with a cruise and walking tour - Go out into the stunning nature and beauty that is the Abel Tasman National Park.  Travel in style and comfort aboard a Vista Cruise into Tonga Island Marine Reserve.  Cruise past the Tonga island Seal Colony, check out the lush rainforest of the region and crystal clear waters lapping on to the many beaches. 

​OR

  • Kahu Kayaks Paddle Stroll Relax tour* -  You’ll kayak through the safe, sheltered and scenic southern reaches of the Abel Tasman National Park. Home to more than a dozen beautiful golden beaches, two islands, several sea caves, reefs and tidal lagoons, this area of Abel Tasman is a delight to sea kayak. 

*Please note that Kahu Kayaks does not operate from May to September

Overnight stay at Abel Tasman Lodge in a Studio Room.

Breakfast
Nelson
Abel Tasman National Park
Day 9
Nelson → Nelson Airport

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before checking out.

Make your way back to the airport to return your car hire with Hertz. 

Breakfast

Additional information

Official language
English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language
Local currency
New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Independent Holiday Package

Start your holiday when and with who you want! Our Independent Holiday Packages are NOT group tours with set departure dates. Available daily, they are pre-designed, purpose built, packaged itineraries full of memorable experiences delivered by our hand-picked local partners.

8 nights
from AUD2,388
per person, twin share
New Zealand
Christchurch
Nelson
Self-Drive, Wellness
Independent Holiday Packages
01 July 2021 - 26 March 2022

Hotel options

The Classic Villa
The Classic Villa

Christchurch 
Gracious hospitality in charming surrounds! The Classic Villa is a warm and welcoming haven in the heart of Christchurch city. Five star boutique hotel accommodation delivered with warmth and genuine hospitality, enjoy this beautifully appointed historic villa with luxury comfort and quality amenities, steps away from Christchurch city’s new and heritage attractions.

Braemar Lodge & Spa
Braemar Lodge & Spa

Hanmer Springs
An Oasis of peace, tranquillity, comfort and luxury in beautiful Hanmer Springs. Offering the largest suites in Hanmer Springs and only a 10 minute drive from the village, the Lodge boasts outstanding views across the valley towards the mountains and alpine forests. Perfect for those wanting to be close to the numerous activities and visitor experiences in and around the township, but far enough away for peace and tranquillity.

Bendamere House
Bendamere House

Kaikoura
Host's Kerry and Julie Howden, extend a warm welcome to all guests at Bendamere House Bed & Breakfast in beautiful Kaikoura. Superb views from your balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Seaward Kaikoura mountain range. Set among half an acre of rose gardens and lawns with ample garden furniture to relax on, and a viewing platform - a true photographer's dream! At certain times of the year the dolphins will perform for you in the bay! All within a minute's walk to the Kaikoura Township and all local sightseeing attractions.

Scenic Hotel Marlborough
Scenic Hotel Marlborough

Blenheim
Located in the heart of sunny Marlborough, this Blenheim hotel is just minutes walk from the centre of Blenheim with some of New Zealand's finest food and wine virtually on your doorstep. Scenic Hotel Marlborough offers guests the ultimate in modern comfort and service. Whether you are here for business or leisure, long or short stays, you're sure to feel refreshed with a visit to Scenic Hotel Marlborough.

Abel Tasman Lodge
Abel Tasman Lodge

Marahau
Located just 5 minutes walk from Abel Tasman, this lodge is the perfect base for your Abel Tasman experience featuring small range of spacious, modern, private chalet accommodation set in beautiful native grounds. The beautifully appointed chalets are all newly renovated and blend in with the stunning natural environment with modern interiors fitted with the home comforts. 

Important notes

  • We work with a selection of hotels in each location. All bookings are subject to availability, which means our team will confirm your specific hotels upon confirmation and payment of deposit. The package price is based on 4-5 star accommodation.
  • Please note that Kahu Kayaks does not operate from May to September.
  • Car hire includes: GST, Unlimited kilometres, Comprehensive insurance and 24-hour emergency road side service. Terms & Conditions apply.

 

Blackout dates may apply during festive season.