Wellington - Queenstown

Fly total time: 10 days

Taste your way through New Zealand’s South Island, getting to know local artisan food, wine and beer producers. 


AT A GLANCE:

  • 10 days/9 nights

  • Meet local artisan food producers

  • Spot dusky dolphins and whales 

  • Taste iconic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines

  • Day 1: Wellington

    Drive Fly 0
    Arrive into Wellington International Airport or transfer from Auckland or Christchurch. Spend the day enjoying Wellington’s craft beer and coffee culture at its numerous bars and cafés. Ensure you’ve pre-reserved your spot at one of Wellington’s top restaurants.

    Top tip:Hiakai is a six to ten course set menu inspired by traditional Māori cuisine, Logan Brown and Whitebait offer more Pacific Rim Cuisine options.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 2: Wellington – Marlborough Sounds

    Drive Fly 3.5 hours via ferry 102 KMS 63 MI
    Have a light breakfast this morning before you meet your guide for a Capital Taste walking tour.  Eat your way around the streets of Wellington, sampling coffee, gelato, chocolate, peanut butter and a selection of cheeses and chutneys from local artisan producers. After lunch, take the scenic ferry ride from Wellington to Picton, where you will transfer to Bay of Many Coves Resort in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.
     
    Top tip: Add an extra night at Bay of Many Coves Resort to truely indulge in some relaxation time away from the crowds.
    

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 3: Marlborough Sounds - Blenheim

    Drive Fly 1 hour 28 KMS 17 MI
    Marlborough Sounds to Picton (boat) 30 min
    Picton to Blenheim (car) (28km/30 min)

    Return to Picton to join your tour showcasing some of Marlborough’s icons. Visit wineries for an opportunity to taste the famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc before indulging in a delightful lunch overlooking the Marlborough Sounds. After lunch, board a luxury launch for a relaxing afternoon on the water exploring the natural beauty of the Queen Charlotte Sound. On board you will enjoy a tasting of fresh Marlborough seafood, including Regal salmon, Cloudy Bay clams and Greenshell mussels. Finish your day with the short drive to Blenheim.
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 4: Blenheim - Kaikōura - Waipara

    Drive Fly 3 hours 252 KMS 156 MI
    Blenheim – Kaikōura (129km/1 hour 50min)
    Kaikōura to Waipara (123km/1 hour 45min)

    Follow the beautiful coastal highway to reach the seaside settlement of Kaikōura, known for its marine wildlife. Spend the morning on the water amongst the varied and vibrant sea life viewing the spectacular dusky dolphins or searching for giant sperm whales. Back on shore, stop at Nin's Bin to try local crayfish before travelling south to Waipara Valley for a vineyard dinner.

    Top tip: Leave plenty of time for today's long drive, the scenery is incredible so allow for regular stops.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Have the ultimate marine experience with Whale Watch Kaikoura.
    • Or opt to swim with social dusky dolphins with Dolphin Encounter.
    • Feast on crayfish at Nin's Bin, run by local family who have been selling crayfish since 1977. 
  • Day 5: Waipara - Akaroa

    Drive Fly 2 hours 25 minutes 142 KMS 88 MI
    Waipara to Christchurch (60km/55min)
    Christchurch to Akaroa (82km/1 hour 30min)

    Enjoy brunch in Christchurch, a refreshing urban centre with a booming café scene. Take time to explore the city by double-decker bus, vintage bicycle, gondola, tram or classic Edwardian punt. Then take the easy drive south-east of Christchurch to visit Akaroa, New Zealand’s most French town. Akaroa will have you entranced with its historic buildings, magnificent harbour and passion for fine food.
     

    Recommended activities:

    • Peddle your way around Christchurch city on vintage bikes.
    • Glide along the tranquil Avon River, as a skilled Punter propels you slowly along the water. 
  • Day 6: Akaroa - Geraldine - Oamaru

    Drive Fly 3 hours 20 minutes 314 KMS 195 MI
    Akaroa to Geraldine (192km/2 hour 40min)
    Geraldine to Oamaru (122km/1 hour 40min)

    A delicious day ahead starting with picking up breakfast from the local farmers’ markets either in Akaroa, or Geraldine. Make a stop at Riverstone Kitchen, a casual café by day with a menu focussing on local ingredients largely sourced from the family’s garden. Take time to explore the extensive gardens (complete with pīwakawaka, New Zealand fantail). Save room to taste handcrafted artisan cheese in Oamaru, followed by a visit to nearby cellar door to taste specialty whiskies.
     

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 7: Oamaru – Moeraki - Dunedin

    Drive Fly 1 hour 45 minutes 117 KMS 72 MI
    Oamaru – Moeraki (40km/40min)
    Moeraki – Dunedin (77km/1 hour 5 min)

    Explore the quirky Victorian Precinct in Oamaru, where you will find shops, galleries, and traditional crafts. Travel south along the North Otago coast and stop to stare at the Moeraki Boulders, the mysterious spherical stones scattered across a beach. For a simple seafood lunch, visit Fleur’s Place on the Moeraki Wharf which has earned iconic status in New Zealand’s cuisine heritage. By the time you reach Dunedin you will be ready to enjoy a local craft beer to finish the day. Opt for a brewery tour for a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process.

    Recommended activities:

  • Day 8: Dunedin - Cromwell

    Drive Fly 2 hours 45 mins 222 KMS 137 MI
    Time to head north to discover the vivid seasons and rocky, mountainous landscapes of Central Otago. You can set your own tempo of activity here. Hire a bike and cycle a section of the Otago Central Rail Trail or take your tastebuds on an outing to one of many local wineries who make some of New Zealand’s very best Pinot Noir wines. 

    Recommended activities:

    • Choose to ride a section of either with spectacular Otago Centreal Rail Trail, Roxburgh Gorge or Clutha Gold Trail with local guides Trail Journeys. 
    • Travel into the heart of Central Otago with Appellation Tours and explore the oustanding wineries the region has to offer. 
  • Day 9: Cromwell - Queenstown

    Drive Fly 55 mins 60 KMS 37 MI
    Enjoy breakfast at a cosy café overlooking the Cromwell basin. Then make your way to Arrowtown, a charming quirky gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. Spend some time exploring the local shops and galleries or try your hand at gold panning. On your way to Queenstown, stop in at Canyon Food & Brew Co. for a quality craft beer overlooking views of the Shotover River and canyon. To end the day with a thrill, jump on a jet boat and accelerate into the towering Shotover River Canyons.

    Recommended activities:

    • Experience the charm of historic Buckingham Street in Arrowtown, while savouring a coffee. 
    • End your day with a thrilling jetboat ride with Shotover Jet. 
  • Day 10: Queenstown

    Drive Fly 0
    Take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard an iconic century-old coal-fired steamship, to reach a private high country station for a quintessential Kiwi experience. Enjoy a delicious gourmet BBQ buffet lunch and a farm demonstration in a stunning lakeside setting before returning to Queenstown. Spend your last night in Queenstown before flying out the next morning.

    Recommended activities:

    • For a dining experience unlike any other in Queenstown, join Real Journey's on a trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm.