Stewart Island and the Ulva Island bird sanctuary are a nature lover's playground. See the natural wonders of the Catlins Coast and watch the yellow eyed penguins come ashore. Enjoy the buzz of the resort town of Queenstown and discover the Scottish heritage of Dunedin and its mainland albatross colony. Ride the Taieri Gorge train and cruise on the vintage steamer TSS "Earnslaw" on Lake Wakatipu.

8 Days / 7 Nights Tour Departing Auckland, with stays in Queenstown, Stewart Island, the Catlins and Dunedin.

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Tour Price

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$4390 pp twin
$4990 pp single
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Tour Map

Day 1: Auckland - Queenstown

Queenstown - Stewart Island Tour

Your included flight departs Auckland mid-morning. From Queenstown our first destination is the leafy village of Arrowtown where gold mining history comes alive beside the Arrow River. The Chinese goldminers' settlement is a reminder of the harsh conditions miners endured for the lure of gold. We lunch at The Stables Café & Restaurant and take a stroll through this picturesque town.

Later in the day we drive in to Queenstown and ride the Skyline gondola to Bob's Peak for a breathtaking view of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Ranges.

What you'll love today
  • We lunch in leafy Arrowtown and browse the shops
  • Catch the Queenstown gondola to stunning lake and mountain views

Day 2: Queenstown - Invercargill - Stewart Island

Croydon Aircraft Museum - Stewart Island Tour

The road from Queenstown winds alongside Lake Wakatipu to Kingston. We drive through Lumsden and on to the Old Mandeville airfield and tour the Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust factory and museum. Vintage planes are restored here from all over the world.

We lunch at The Moth Cafe and then drive to Gore for a touch of local colour - and a dram of whisky from the Hokonui Moonshine Museum which celebrates the illicit stills of the wild old prohibition days. From Invercargill we take the 20-minute flight to Stewart Island. We are met on arrival and transferred to the Bay Motel. We dine at the South Seas Hotel.

What you'll love today
  • Visit Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust factory and museum
  • Take the scenic flight from Invercargill to Stewart Island

Day 3: Stewart Island Sightseeing

Ulva Island - Stewart Island Tour

Wake up to the sounds of bird calls - kaka and tui. After a leisurely breakfast enjoying the views of the bay we drive most of Stewart Island's 28km of road -  including Oban and the surrounding beaches and the gateway to Rakiura National Park. Our on board local guide provides insights into Stewart Island’s community.

This afternoon we cruise the sheltered waters of beautiful Paterson Inlet and land at Ulva Island, a world acclaimed open sanctuary teeming with birdlife. Wide and flat wooden walkways take us into the heart of the island. Returning to Oban that evening.

What you'll love today
  • An on-board local guide provides insights into Stewart Island’s community and sea-fearing history
  • Cruise the sheltered waters of beautiful Paterson Inlet and land at Ulva Island

 

Day 4: Stewart Island - Catlins - Kaka Point

Nugget Point - Stewart Island Tour

We fly back to Invercargil and visit Waipapa Point, Curio Bay and Porpoise Bay. We lunch at Niagara Café and take our time in the Catlins - strolling to lakes and waterfalls. This region’s history includes whaling, logging native forest and farming yet seals, penguins and bird life abound.

We dine by the sea at the Point Café and Bar at Kaka Point and, further along the coast, from a special hide above the beach, we watch the rare Yellow Eyed Penguins come ashore at dusk.

What you'll love today
  • Take in the beauty of Catlins
  • At Kaka Point, watch the rare Yellow Eyed Penguins come ashore at dusk

Day 5: Kaka Point - Otago Peninsula - Dunedin

Albatross colony at Otago Peninsula

We wind our way to Balclutha and along the coast to the Taieri River mouth, St Clair Beach and on to beautiful Glenfalloch, a Garden of National Significance in a woodland setting.

We drive out to Taiaroa Head on the tip of Otago Peninsula to visit the Royal Albatross Centre perched on the clifftops. There are 36 nests in this only mainland albatross colony in the world and there's every chance you will see albatross chicks. Later we drive back down the Peninsula and into the city to check into our inner city hotel. We dine in this evening.

What you'll love today
  • Relax at Glenfalloch Gardens, a Garden of National Significance
  • The Royal Albatross Centre is the only mainland albatross colony in the world

Day 6: Dunedin Sightseeing

Olveston House - Stewart Island Tour

This morning we take a guided tour of historic Olveston House built in 1904 for a Dunedin merchant. We sightsee in and around Dunedin driving along the harbour's edge to lunch at Carey's Bay hotel before returning to the city. Founded in 1848, Dunedin's Scottish ancestry shows and Robbie Burns’ statue takes pride of place in the Octagon.

This afternoon we visit the Discovery World Tropical Forest at the Otago Museum. We come face to face with hundreds of beautiful exotic butterflies and a range of tropical plants, birds, fish, turtles and a gecko. We visit the Chinese Garden before returning to our hotel.

What you'll love today
  • Visit historic Olveston House for a guided tour
  • Visit Otago's Discovery World Tropical Forest, the only three-level, live butterfly experience in Australasia

Day 7: Dunedin - Taieri Gorge - Queenstown

Dunedin Railway Station - Stewart Island Tour

We board the Taieri Gorge train at Dunedin’s stunning Edwardian railway station to travel through the wildly scenic Taieri River Gorge to Pukerangi where your coach awaits.

We lunch nearby then drive through the small towns of the Maniototo Plain - Wedderburn, Becks, Lauder and Chatto Creek to the sweet, historic main street of Clyde. We continue through the Cromwell orchard region and through the Kawarau Gorge and Gibbston Valley's vineyards to Queenstown and your hotel close to the lakefront and shops.

What you'll love today
  • Catch the Taieri Gorge train from Dunedin to Pukerangi 
  • Sit back and enjoy the scenery as we drive through the small towns of the Maniototo Plain

Day 8: Queenstown - Auckland

Earnslaw Steamship Queenstown - Stewart Island Tour

On our final morning in Queenstown there's time to stroll the lakefront before boarding the 100 year old vintage steamship, TSS Earnslaw for a one and a half hour cruise on the lake to really enjoy the scenery of this resort town, where we have a delicious gormet BBQ lunch at Walter Peak on the far side of Lake Wakitipu. The engine room is open to visitors to see the giant steam engines at work and there's always a sing-along to join in with the pianist.

 

 

What you'll love today
  • Cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the historic TSS Earnslaw
  • High country lunch at Walter Peak Station

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