We take a private cruise out on the Sound to visit Ship Cove in this 250th anniversary year of Cook’s first landfall. Hear the stories of the Polynesian voyagers’ settlement at Wairau Boulder Bank and discover the history of the eastern coastline at Kaikoura and Akaroa.

7 Day / 6 Night Tour departing Auckland visiting Blenheim, Picton, Ship Cove, Queen Charlotte Sound, Kaikoura, Akaroa and Christchurch

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$3790 pp twin
$4390 pp single
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Tour Map

Day 1: Fly to Blenheim – Brancott Estate restaurant – Picton

Lunch overlooking the vines at Brancott Estate Winery in Marlborough

Your Kiwi guide meets you on arrival at Blenheim Airport. We celebrate our arrival in Blenheim with a wine tasting and lunch at Brancott Estate winery restaurant overlooking the vineyards.

This afternoon we visit nearby sites of historic importance and later in the day we drive out to our Picton hotel, our home for three nights, and dine in this evening.

 

What you'll love today
  • Wine tasting and lunch at Brancott Estate vineyard
  • Stay three nights in Picton close to the waterfront
Accommodation

Day 2: Picton – Queen Charlotte Sound, Ship Cove – Picton

Water Taxi at Ship Cove Wharf in the Marlborough Sounds

We visit the "Edwin Fox" sitting in a dry dock in Picton. Built in 1853 it's a massive and fascinating restoration project. Then we take a private discovery cruise out on magnificent Queen Charlotte Sound to Ship Cove near the entrance to the Sound. We lunch at the Cove with plenty of time to explore and soak up the atmosphere at this historic site.

Maori valued Ship Cove's sheltered waters and it’s easy to see why Captain Cook did too, returning four times to drop anchor in this idyllic cove. We cruise back to port in the mid afternoon.

What you'll love today
  • Exploring magnificent Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Soaking up the atmosphere at idyllic Ship Cove
Accommodation

Day 3: Picton – Blenheim – Picton

WWI Biplane model at Omaka Heritage Aviation Centre in Blenheim

We drive into Blenheim to meet our private guide at Marlborough Museum for insights into the early history of the Wairau Bar Boulder Bank which in 1250 was the home of the first Polynesian settlers.

Later we visit Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre to see Sir Peter Jackson’s collection of World War One and World War Two aircraft and memorabilia.

We return to our hotel in Picton and dine in this evening.

What you'll love today
  • Learn about the history of the Wairau Bar Boulder Bank
  • See  the vintage aircraft collection and dioramas at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Day 4: Picton – Seaview Vineyard – Kekerangu – Kaikoura

Aerial views of the Kaikoura Peninsula and Ranges

We drive around the perimeter of Yealands vineyard to enjoy the expansive views to Cook Strait. We call into The Store for lunch before heading down the dramatically changed coastline, stopping at Ohau Point to look for seals. 

At Kaikoura we visit the museum where an exhibit tells the story of the earthquake with the "New Normal" exhibition. 

We stay at The White Morph Inn and dine out this evening. 

What you'll love today
  • Drive the Kaikoura coastline 
  • Visit Kaikoura's museum "New Normal" earthquake exhibition

Day 5: Kaikoura – Christchurch – Birdlings Flat – Akaroa

Yachts on Akaroa Harbour

We meet our guide at historic Fyffe House, a whaler’s cottage built on whale vertebrae, and visit the seal colony nearby. Continuing down the Kaikoura Coast we cross the Canterbury Plains to lunch and enjoy a wine tasting at Waipara Hills vineyard.

In Christchurch we tour the inner city rebuild zone before continuing to Banks Peninsula via Lyttelton and Gebbes Pass. We stay at the Bruce Apartments on the Akaroa waterfront for two nights and dine out this evening.

What you'll love today
  • Lunch and wine tasting at Waipara Hills winery
  • See the rebuilding of Christchurch's inner city

Day 6: Banks Peninsula sightseeing – Okains Bay Museum – Giant’s House

The Giant's House

We sightsee around the peninsula and enjoy the panoramic views along the Summit Road. At Okains Bay the Maori and Colonial Museum has a diverse collection of treasures. We lunch nearby with Judy and Kerry Thacker at Kawatea Farm.

Back in Akaroa Josie Martin’s Giant’s House, a six-star Garden of International Significance, features Josie’s quirky mosaic sculptures, no visit to Akaroa is complete without a visit.

We dine out in Akaroa this evening.

What you'll love today
  • The treasures on display at Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum
  • Seeing the amazing mosaic sculptures at the Giant's House

Day 7: Akaroa – Little River – Christchurch – Fly to Auckland

Little River Railway Station Banks Peninsular

After breakfast at Bully Hayes, named for an early American “pirate” visitor we stroll the village and waterfront where the whaling trypots are a reminder of the whalers that called into the harbour from the 1830s onwards. At the Akaroa Museum exhibits tell the stories of the Ngai Tahu, whalers and French settlers.

Returning over the Peninsula we stop for lunch at Little River and on the way to Christchurch airport visit the Burkes’ museum with its collection of gemstones and fossils found nearby on Birdlings Flat beach.

What you'll love today
  • Wandering in Akaroa village and along the harbourside
  • See the collection of gemstones from Birdlings Flat

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