The Catlins Tour Including Oamaru and Dunedin
Door to Door pickups, Flights, Transport, Accommodation, All Tours, Meals as listed (B breakfast, MT Morning tea, L lunch, D dinner)
While in the South Island why not extend your holiday, you can add the Stewart Island trip to make it 10 days away or make it a 19 Day South Island Sojourn by further adding on The Southern Scenic – Ask us about this and save on airfares.
DAY ONE D
This morning we fly to Christchurch. Upon arrival, we’ll hop aboard a Red Shuttle bus which will give us an en-route tour of the Christchurch Rebuild before we arrive at our centrally located hotel – Chateau on the Park. Our earlier bus tour may inspire the afternoon’s activities where you are free to roam and take in the highlights of the city’s regeneration and vibrant post-earthquake renaissance. Marvel at the exhibitions of the Canterbury Museum and Christchurch Art Gallery; stroll through nearby Hagley Park, the botanical gardens and along the Avon River; savour the shopping of the new Christchurch Crossing and then head back on foot or by bus to the hotel for dinner at the Garden Court Brasserie tonight.
DAY TWO B, L, D
After breakfast, it’s all aboard the coach for our ultimate destination of Oamaru – the largest town in North Otago and home to some beautiful Victorian architecture. But first, we’ll be stopping for morning tea and a visual treat at Lushingtons Gardens, Gifts and Café in Ashburton before heading to gather for a sumptuous lunch in the picturesque South Canterbury foothills. The quintessential Kiwi dining experience at Harlau House Café features locally sourced food, fresh seasonal vegetables and warm hospitality. After lunch we are in for something extra special. Riverstone Castle on the outskirts of Oamaru was built by owners Dot and Neil Smith to create their dream fantasy and includes a moat, a tower and even a dungeon. One of a kind and full of surprises, this impressive fortress is unforgettable. From here we’ll head into Oamaru and get settled at our accommodation where we will dine prior to our trip out tonight to view the famous blue penguin colony. We will be witnessing the world’s smallest penguin in its natural environment at a rock quarry at the head of the harbour. Watch as these aquatic, flightless birds arrive home from their days fishing and marvel in the experience of this magical event.
DAY THREE B, L, D
Today is all about time travel starting with a trip back to the 1880s and the crazy, quirky Steampunk HQ experience. Set within Oamaru’s old Grain Elevator building, the museum is a surreal dive into an altered universe of contraptions, bizarre machinery, pipes & gas cylinders, skeletal sculptures, flickering lights and even a full-scale train engine that billows smoke and spits fire. Late morning there will be time to explore the town’s Victorian Quarter before we head off to take in the Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach. Large spherical concretions, these fascinating formations are said to have been growing for over 60 million years with the largest ones reaching over 2 metres wide. More ancient boulders are found at Kataki Beach with the geologically interesting Shag Point another wild and beautiful stop-off point where we’re likely to catch sight of seals and penguins if we’re lucky. We then enjoy lunch at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary wildlife refuge and will take a guided tour of this vital flagship biodiversity project operating in coastal Otago. A predator fence surrounds the 307-hectare sanctuary where native flora and fauna have been able to thrive. Our final destination today is Dunedin where we’ll be staying at the Scenic Hotel and dining in at the Princes on Dowling restaurant tonight.
DAY FOUR B, L, D
David Attenborough has described this morning’s destination as “a unique and very special place” that “every visitor to Dunedin should see”. The Royal Albatross Centre houses the only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross in the world. These graceful and majestic birds and their nesting and chick-rearing habits have been thrilling visitors since 1983 when opened to the public. After our very own guided tour, there’s time for a cuppa at the Toroa Café and an opportunity to secure a souvenir from the gift shop to remind us of our time here. Sticking to the royal theme - straighten your crowns, folks – we’re heading now to Larnach Castle & Gardens on the Otago Peninsula. A rich history dating back to 1871 when merchant baron and politician William Larnach began building the castle, the estate is magnificently set amidst exquisite grounds ascribed a Garden of International Significance. The current owners have spent decades painstakingly restoring, conserving, and assembling collections so that visitors can appreciate the breath-taking garden spectacle and stunning craftsmanship held within this national treasure. We’ll be lunching at the Larnach Ballroom Café here before moving on to another extraordinary time capsule - Olveston House. The authentic and original historic home built by the Theomin family was gifted to Dunedin City Council in 1967. The tour also includes the family’s motor car – a 1921 Fiat 510 Tourer. Back to the hotel and dinner at Princes on Dowling again tonight.
DAY FIVE B, MT, L, D
Our journey today covers the scenic route from Dunedin to Invercargill diverting through the famous Catlins Forest Park region to encounter arguably the most pristine coast in New Zealand. A comfort stop in Balclutha is followed by morning tea along the way. Have your walking shoes at the ready because we’re going to visit the iconic landform of Nugget Point, say hello to the lighthouse and later marvel at the splendour of the tiered 20-metre-high Purakaunui Falls – the most photographed waterfall in the country. This region is home to many seabirds including penguins, gannets and royal spoonbills and is also the habitat for a large breeding colony of fur seals. A late lunch at the award-winning Whistling Frog café in Papatowai will be a yummy stopover in a pretty setting, and from here we get a chance to learn more of the local history at our visit to the Waikawa Museum and Information Centre. It will be worth stopping next at the spectacular Curio Bay to stretch our legs. It’s home to a colony of rare yellow-eyed penguins, a pod of Hector’s Dolphins and when the tide goes out a 180-million-year-old Jurassic fossil forest is revealed. First lit on the 1st January 1884, the Waipapa Point lighthouse has been a popular location with photographers seeking the perfect shot and is flanked by golden beaches and is often the spot for sleeping sea lions. We’ll be stopping for around an hour and then heading to New Zealand’s southernmost city, Invercargill for the night. Accommodation is at the Ascot Park Hotel with dinner onsite tonight at the Emberz Restaurant.
DAY SIX B
Early departure this morning takes place after a delicious breakfast. Our flight back to Tauranga is sure to be accompanied by a feeling of wistfulness about the ending of our travels and beautiful memories of the thrilling adventures experienced amid the unique beauty in this spectacular part of the South Island.
Make a booking enquiry:
VIP Club Member Price - Tauranga
VIP Club Member Price - Auckland
VIP Club Member Price - Hamilton
Mandatory booking fee
Single supplement fee
Next Tour Date
Wed, 03rd of Feb 2021