Cruise the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound. Lunch in Picton on Christmas Day and enjoy a tranquil Christmas evening at St Arnaud, Lake Rotoiti. Travel through the Buller Gorge to spend the night right on the beach at stunning Punakaiki.

Update for our 2017 Christmas in Marlborough tour: Our first departure on 23 December is now fully booked so we've added another "reverse" itinerary trip for the same dates. You'll fly from Auckland to Christchurch, travel exactly the same route in reverse before flying back to Auckland from Blenheim.

6 Day / 5 Night Tour departing Auckland, spending Christmas in Marlborough, with stays in Punakaiki and Methven

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$3190 pp twin
$3590 pp single
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Auckland - Blenheim - Brancott Estate winery - Queen Charlotte Sound cruise

Cruise Marlborough Sounds - Christmas in Marlborough Tour

Your included flight departs Auckland mid-morning. We celebrate our arrival in Marlborough with a wine tasting and lunch at Brancott Estate and enjoy the expansive views of the Wairau valley. We visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre which features a large collection of First World War flying memorabilia before driving to Picton.

This evening we take a relaxed dinner cruise with wine included to explore the many bays and stunning beauty of Queen Charlotte Sound on a specially chartered boat. We return to Picton in the evening.

What you'll love today
  • Take a guided tour of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre 
  • Take a dinner cruise on Queen Charlotte Sound

 

Day 2: Picton - Lochmara Lodge Queen Charlotte Sound - Picton

Lochmara Lodge - Christmas in Marlborough Tour

This morning we find out the history of the old sailing ship “Edwin Fox” at the exhibit on the Picton waterfront - from troop carrier to immigrant ship, even convict transporter. 

Then we take the launch to Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Art Centre in a beautiful setting on the sound’s edge. Kakariki parakeets fly in for feeding and blue cod swim off the jetty. We lunch at the lodge, returning to Picton in the mid afternoon

What you'll love today
  • Learn all about the Edwin Fox and her chequered history
  • Cruise across the Sound to Lochmara Lodge, Wildlife Recovery and Art Centre

Day 3: Picton - St Arnaud, Lake Rotoiti

Lake Rotoiti, St Arnaud - Christmas in Marlborough Tour

We breakfast at our hotel and start our Christmas celebrations early at our private lunch with Bill and Margaret McHugh in their Picton lodge.

Later in the afternoon we drive up the Wairau Valley passing vineyards and farms to the little alpine village of St Arnaud close to the shores of Lake Rotoiti a favourite holiday destination in the Nelson Lakes National Park. There's time to stroll the lake edge before enjoying a Christmas barbeque this evening at your accommodation, the Alpine Lodge.

What you'll love today
  • Enjoy a relaxed Christmas lunch at a private residence in Picton
  • Visit St Arnaud Village in the Nelson Lakes National Park

Day 4: St Arnaud - Charleston - Punakaiki

New Zealand Fur Seal - Christmas in Marlborough Tour

Leaving St Arnaud we drive to the small town of Murchison and through the rugged Buller Gorge. At Tauranga Bay we visit the seal colony near Cape Foulwind.

We lunch at Charleston before boarding the Nile River Canyon train to wend through the rainforest in Paparoa National Park to the sculptured limestone rocks beside the river. The train recreates the colonial era when bush trams logged timber from the region.

Later in the afternoon we reach Punakaiki Resort Hotel on the edge of the Tasman Sea  and dine in this evening.

What you'll love today
  • Travel on the Nile River rainforest train to the limestone canyons of Paparoa National Park
  • Visit the seal colony near Cape Foulwind

Day 5: Punakaiki - Arthur's Pass - Methven

Pancake Rocks Punakaiki - Christmas in Marlborough Tour

We take a short walk to the famous sculpted limestone stacks - Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. If the tide is high blowholes will be spreading clouds of spray.

We continue down the beautiful coast road to Greymouth. Turning inland we drive over Arthur’s Pass, stopping to photograph the cheeky Keas at the summit of the Pass. We drive on to Castle Hill and Porter's Pass to Ski Time Lodge in Methven, a small town close to Mt Hutt and a popular winter base for skiers.

What you'll love today
  • See the blow holes at the Punakaiki Pancake rocks and walk in the rainforest
  • Drive the dramatic Otira Gorge highway to Arthur’s Pass, see kea birds and towering mountains

Day 6: Methven - Akaunui Farm homestead - Christchurch - Auckland

Historic Akaunui Homestead - Christmas in Marlborough Tour

We drive through the mid-Canterbury countryside to meet Di and Ian Mackenzie at Akaunui Farm Homestead. Hear about life on the farm, wander the wonderful garden and, over a glass of wine, enjoy a farewell lunch.

This  afternoon we  drive up the Canterbury Plains and on to Christchurch where we tour the city's rebuild zone before arriving at Christchurch airport for your flight to Auckland.

What you'll love today
  • Akaunui Farm – enjoy a private lunch at this mid-Cantebury farm homestead
  • See the fascinating and innovative rebuild of Christchurch first hand

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