Welcome Back Kaikoura - Coastal Pacific By Rail


Door to Door pickups, Flights when Applicable, Coastal Pacific Train Journey, Whale Watching, Transport, Accommodation, Tours, all entries, Meals as listed (B breakfast, MT Morning tea, L lunch, D dinner)


DAY ONE                                                                 D  

Pickups complete we arrive at the Tauranga Airport and take the short flight to Christchurch and make our way to the Hotel. We will have lunch, then drive around Christchurch seeing how the city is progressing on its rebuild. This evening we will dine in the onsite restaurant a great time to invite a friend or relative to join us.  

DAY TWO                                                                B, D  

We are up early this morning, with a short trip down the road to catch the reinstated Coastal Pacific Train. Once settled into our seats and underway we can enjoy breakfast with an ever-changing view. Our Coastal train Journey north will run from Christchurch through Kaikoura then on to Picton, where we will turn around and travel back to Kaikoura. You will see some of New Zealand’s most incredible scenery. It’s the perfect way to travel and with the added wonder of seeing the quake damage firsthand. We will pass through the patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains and journey over the regions magnificent braided rivers. The Coastal Pacific train is rated one of New Zealand’s best scenic train trips, with an on-board licensed café, GPS triggered (at-seat) commentary and open air-viewing, it’s an unforgettable experience and a relaxing journey for all. Once we reach the coastal town of Picton, at the head of the Marlborough’s sounds, we will hop off the train stretch the legs for half an hour, then return to the train to cruise the rails once again along the rugged coast line to our final destination Kaikoura. Arriving mid-afternoon, we will bus the short distance to our seaside accommodation then out for tea.  

DAY THREE                                                            B, L, D  

Just after midnight on 14 November 2016, most of central New Zealand woke following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake 60km south west of the coastal town of Kaikōura. Generating the strongest ground acceleration ever recorded in New Zealand and caused widespread damage throughout the districts of Hurunui, Marlborough and Kaikōura. With close to a million cubic meters of rock and material falling onto the coastal transport corridor, Kaikōura and the surrounding rural communities were isolated - all roads and the rail network in and out of the area were damaged and closed by the slips. This major event disrupted the lives of many: homes were damaged, businesses were closed, farms left with damaged land and no access to markets for their goods, and communities devastated by the loss of trade from passing traffic and tourists. Today we will be joined on the bus by local resident and business owner Ben Judge who will explain firsthand events of that day he will point out major geological changes and provide an insight into living post-quake around the region. Along the way we will stop for lunch and return midafternoon to our accommodation.   

DAY FOUR                                                              B, D  

We have an exciting day in store, we will be armed with sonar rather than the cold steel harpoon of centuries gone by. Kaikoura's whale watching is one of New Zealand's deservedly famous attractions. Whale Watch is the original guided cruise company to take trips out along the Kaikoura coast and view these magnificent whales and other amazing marine life. Just offshore from the town of Kaikoura a deep undersea canyon attracts an extraordinary abundance of marine life, the most famous being the Sperm Whale. As the Whale watching capital of New Zealand, every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A typical Whale Watch tour may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales. Kaikoura often hosts the world's largest dolphin the Orca and is home to the world's smallest and rarest marine dolphin the Hectors. Our expedition will take 3.5hrs and will be cancelled if the weather is not suitable. We have a plan B up our sleeve if this is the case. Once we return from a great few hours on the water we will return and spend a relaxing afternoon exploring around Kaikoura and walking some of the easy coastal walks available.  

DAY FIVE                                                                 B, MT, L, D  

After breakfast we travel from Kaikoura up the coast, watching for the many seals dotted along this rugged coastline. Crossing the Hapuku River we will make our way inland up the stunning Puhi Puhi River Valley, the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains will stand above us, as we make our way up the valley to Puhi Puhi Station. We will spend our day with our Host Nicky McArthur. Nicky will provide a Tour and informative talk on this important reserve as well. Nicky has a harrowing story to tell of the earthquake and significant loss of property and damage to the station.  Puhi Puhi Station is also home to one of the two remaining colonies in the world of the endangered Hutton's shearwater, which nest in burrows high in the mountains. The establishment of a charitable trust for the protection of this endangered seabird set in motion the process to have the entire upper area protected, in perpetuity, under a QE. Nicky is not only a member of this trust but also convenor of the Friends of the Hutton's Shearwater, formed to ensure the future of this endangered species. This will be a fabulous day and we will head back to our accommodation in Kaikoura for our last evening in this lovely location.  

DAY SIX                                                                   B, MT   

This morning we travel back to Christchurch then home. Travelling via the very picturesque Inland Road, stopping at a lovely local café for morning tea. From here we will make our way through lovely mountain scenery on to Christchurch airport and home.  


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