|With HF Holidays. A coach tour going anti-clockwise around South Island, taking in many of New Zealand's most beautiful natural scenery, including lakes, fiords, glaciers, mountains, rivers and some of the world's most spectacular hiking tracks.
The tour, lasting 18 days, started and finished in Christchurch on the east coast.
Getting there (and back). Each journey consisted of three flights lasting about 7, 13 and 3 hours, so you're talking about nearly 24 hours stuck in rows of 10 seats across on an Airbus A380, flying at about 550 mph. A lot of time to kill and always the risk of catching colds and things from other passengers.
Our leader was Richard and Larry was our local coach driver. Our group was made up of 18 guests, 11 from England, 4 from the USA and 3 from Scotland.
We stayed in 9 different hotels for between 1 and 3 nights. The standard of the hotels ranged from good to excellent!
The weather was generally dry and warm, though there were 3 or 4 wet days. Day 16 saw a particularly stormy spell which was probably a local weather phenomenon in the Hooker Valley leading towards Aoraki (Mount Cook).
It was a non-stop holiday, lasting 18 days, not including the flying, and packing in a good number of short and medium length walks, sightseeing opportunities and various roadside stops for photographs or coffee breaks. In addition there were seven boat trips, ranging from a short crossing of a lake to a full cruise around the world famous Doubtful Sound. Six of us, including me, opted to have a helicopter ride over the Franz Josef glacier.
Definitely worth the cost and effort, for many going to New Zealand is a once in a lifetime 'bucket list' destination. For me that's probably the case too, and I'll have many fond memories of this wonderful 3 weeks of my life.
|8/9 Feb||Air: Heathrow - Dubai - Sydney - Christchurch||click|
|1||10 Feb||Arrival, bus to Christchurch||Walk around Botanic Gradens and ruined landmarks||Christchurch|
|2||11 Feb||Bus: Christchurch - Picton||Lunch at Kaikoura and coastal walk nearby||Picton||click|
|3||12 Feb||Boat: Picton to Ships Cove||Queen Charlotte Track||Picton||click||click|
|4||13 Feb||Bus: Picton - Nelson||Hilltop walk in Nelson||Nelson||click|
|5||14 Feb||Boat: Nelson - Kaiteriteri - Bark Bay||Abel Tasman Nat Park walk||Nelson||click|
|6||15 Feb||Bus: Nelson - Punakaiki||Lake Rotoiti and two coastal walks||Punakaiki||click|
|7||16 Feb||Bus: Punakaiki - Franz Josef||Hokitika stop, helicopter ride, glacier walk||Franz Josef||click||click|
|8||17 Feb||Bus: Lake Mathieson, Haast, Blue Pools, Makarora, Wanaka||Lake walk, Roadside waterfall, Blue Pools walk||Wanaka||click|
|9||18 Feb||Bus: Local walk||Diamond Lake and Rocky Hill walk||Wanaka||click|
|10||19 Feb||Bus: Wanaka to Camerons Flat||Matukituki River walk to view Rob Roy glacier||Wanaka||click|
|11||20 Feb||Bus: Wanaka - Te Anau||Lake boat crossing, walk on Kepler Track||Te Anau||click|
|12||21 Feb||Bus: Te Anau - Lake Manapori||Doubtful Sound (2 boat rides, 2 bus rides and cruise)||Te Anau||click||click|
|13||22 Feb||Bus: Te Anau - The Divide||Walk on first part of Routeburn Track||Te Anau||click|
|14||23 Feb||Bus: Te Anau - Queenstown||Walk from Lake Dispute to Moke Lake||Queenstown||click|
|15||24 Feb||Cable car above Queenstown||Linear walk, Ben Lomond to Arthur's Point||Queenstown||click|
|16||25 Feb||Queenstown - Aoraki/Mt Cook - Twizer||Shortened walk up Hooker Valley (bad weather)||Twizer||click|
|17||26 Feb||Bus: Twizel - Christchurch||Lake Pukaki, Mount John hill walk, lunch at Fairlie||Christchurch||click|
|18||27 Feb||Bus: Sightseeing tour of Christchurch||Various viewpoints||click|
|28 Feb||Air: Christchurch - Sydney - Dubai - London|