Top of the South Island Escorted Tour

from £2999
excluding flights *
10 nights Jan-Apr


Unveiling a picturesque landscape of wilderness, wildlife and unique attractions, this escorted itinerary showcases the very best of New Zealand's top corner in the South Island. Starting and finishing in Christchurch, take in the West Coast, Nelson, Marlborough & Kaikoura.


  • Enjoy a nature cruise in Akaroa
  • Travel on the spectacular TranzAlpine train
  • Visit Monteith's Brewing Co. and enjoy a tasting session
  • Explore Abel Tasman National Park on a walk & barbecue cruise
  • Enjoy wine tastings in Marlborough, New Zealand's famous wine region
  • Soak up the spectacular scenery on a Queen Charlotte Sound dinner cruise

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 8 dinners
  • Modern transportation with panoramic windows
  • All attractions (unless specified as optional)
  • Meet and greet on arrival
  • Return airport transfers in New Zealand
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

Full description

Enjoy three 2-night stays, the iconic TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch and an array of wonderful attractions. You'll spend time exploring the raw beauty of the West Coast with its rugged coastline, dramatic rock formations and native forests before travelling onto Nelson, gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. Discover the picturesque coastline of this beautiful region, home to golden sand beaches, sheltered coves and playful wildlife. Also included are the wine-growing region of Marlborough and the coastal village of Kaikoura, famous for the many species of whales that migrate through the area.

Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to enjoy the scenic highlights of each region. A moderate level of fitness is required as there are several walks included throughout the itinerary, allowing time to stay active and explore on foot.

About Grand Pacific Tours

Relax and enjoy the stunning regions and intriguing history of New Zealand on a fully escorted coach tour. Travel is by modern 48 seater coach featuring panoramic windows, air-conditioning, reclining seats and restroom. A Coach Captain will provide professional commentary which will cover numerous facts and figures, myths, legends and many laughs along the way. A Tour Guide will accompany the group to ensure everyone feels welcome and relaxed from day one.

Contact our New Zealand specialists now
nordic team doug kington bw
Authentic holidays for passionate travellers

Prices & Dates *

Airfares start from around £825 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

From prices per person based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom

Departure Date Duration Twin Price (pp)
20 Jan 2021 10 nights £2,999
24 Feb 2021 10 nights £2,999
06 Mar 2021 10 nights £2,999
08 Apr 2021 10 nights £2,999

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 8 dinners
  • Modern transportation with panoramic windows
  • All attractions (unless specified as optional)
  • Meet and greet on arrival
  • Return airport transfers in New Zealand
  • Comprehensive documentation pack
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection »
Group Size: Minimum group size: 1 Maximum group size: 48

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Arrive Christchurch

On arrival into Christchurch you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight: Distinction Christchurch

Day 2: Christchurch - Akaroa - Christchurch

After an introductory city sights tour, enjoy a scenic drive to the historic French Village of Akaroa, nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. There will be time to wander through Akaroa’s galleries and craft stores before boarding your modern catamaran and setting off on your Nature Cruise in the hope of spotting the rare Hector’s Dolphin, native to New Zealand. Keep an eye out for penguins and other sea birds as you glide past giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about the history of Akaroa from your skipper. Following your cruise, return to Christchurch where the evening is free to dine at one of the city’s many restaurants.
Overnight: Distinction Christchurch

Day 3: Christchurch - Moana - Hokitika

This morning board the TranzAlpine, renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world. Travel over massive viaducts, river valleys and spectacular gorges before descending through the 8.5km long Otira Tunnel and finishing your journey in Moana, located on the banks of Lake Brunner. Enjoy lunch at Kingfisher Restaurant, sampling some local Kiwi dishes. Arrive at the Brunner Mine Site, the location of the 1896 mine explosion, New Zealand’s greatest workplace disaster killing sixty-five men. This afternoon upon arrival in the coastal town of Hokitika, you will have the opportunity to visit a local gallery, the perfect chance to pick up a gift or souvenir.
Overnight: Beachfront Hotel Hokitika

Day 4: Hokitika - Punakaiki

This morning take in the natural beauty of the Hokitika Gorge, a glacial river turquoise in colour surrounded by dramatic rock formations. A short walk descending through the hardwood forest will lead you to a swing bridge which crosses the Hokitika River and provides a postcard worthy photo opportunity. Once back on the coach, continue North to Greymouth, home of Monteith’s Brewing Co. where you will have the chance to sample one of their locally brewed and award-winning beers over lunch. This afternoon travel along the Great Coast Road to the world-famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, part of the Paparoa National Park in Punakaiki. Wander along the paved walkway through native forest and coastal scrub, leading to large cliff faces with horizontal slices resembling stacks of pancakes.
Overnight: Punakaiki Resort

Day 5: Punakaiki - Nelson

Journey north along the coast to Tauranga Bay and Cape Foulwind, named by Captain Cook in 1770 when he encountered nasty weather. A short walk along the rocky headland will showcase the rugged coastline and sea life often on show amongst the rocks. Travel inland via the Buller Gorge and Murchison to Nelson, one of the sunniest cities in New Zealand. This afternoon enjoy a guided tour of the World of WearableArt and Classic Cars Museum where on show are more than 60 award-winning WearableArt garments and over 140 veteran, vintage and classic cars. Each year in Wellington is a WearableArt competition where designers from all over the world have the opportunity to display their innovative creations to crowds in excess of 60,000 people.
Overnight: Rutherford Hotel

Day 6: Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson

Travel along the scenic Coastal Highway to Kaiteriteri, gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Here you will depart on a leisurely cruise along the parks’ picturesque coastline of golden sand beaches and sheltered coves. Disembark at Medlands Bay and set off on an active walk to the Bark Bay Falls Swing Bridge. Re-board the vessel and cruise to Anchorage Bay where your barbeque lunch will be served on board. There will be time to stroll or relax on the beach before cruising back to Kaiteriteri. Re-join your coach and depart for Nelson via the vineyards of the inland Moutere Highway. This evening is free for you to dine at one of the many local restaurants in town.
Overnight: Rutherford Hotel

Day 7: Nelson - Blenheim

Depart Nelson and travel via Havelock and the wine-growing region of Marlborough to the spectacular Yealands Estate. World leaders in sustainable wine production the ‘White Road Tour’ will take you on a journey through this remarkable vineyard, offering breathtaking views all the way to the North Island on a clear day. Enjoy lunch at a local Blenheim Beer Garden before visiting the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, home to one of the largest private collections of WW1 aircraft, brought to life in sets created by internationally acclaimed WingNut Films and Weta Workshop.
Overnight: Scenic Hotel Marlborough

Day 8: Blenheim

Enjoy a leisurely start this morning with free time to explore the township of Blenheim. You may like to visit the Wine Station (optional), a renovated 1906 heritage building at Blenheim Railway Station where over 80 premium wines are showcased. This afternoon you will be treated to a unique wine and cheese tasting experience, set amongst the wine barrels at Cloudy Bay Estate. Established in 1985, Cloudy Bay was one of the original wine makers in the Marlborough region. Stroll through the manicured grounds scattered with towering gum trees and find a quiet spot to enjoy your favourite drop. Travel to Picton where your luxury launch awaits to take you on a scenic dinner cruise through the Queen Charlotte Sound. Take in the sights, bird, marine and wildlife this area is renowned for while enjoying a sumptuous meal of local salmon, Greenshell Mussels and Cloudy Bay Clams, all matched with a glass of spectacular Marlborough wine.
Overnight: Scenic Hotel Marlborough

Day 9: Blenheim - Kaikoura

Bid farewell to the Marlborough region and journey south along the coast to the seaside village of Kaikoura where you will visit the Kaikoura Museum. This award-winning facility highlights the districts fascinating connection with the sea and also features a dedicated exhibition on the impact of the 2016 earthquake. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to wander through the village or you may like to experience a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the beautiful coastline to see the many species of whales that migrate through this area.
Overnight: Sudima Hotel Kaikoura

Day 10: Kaikoura - Christchurch

Depart Kaikoura and head south to the garden city of Christchurch where you will visit the International Antarctic Centre, designed to provide an informative account of life in Antarctica. Feel the chill of the Antarctic storm room, take a ride on the Hagglund all-terrain vehicle or meet the adorable Huskies. See the little blue penguins or be astonished within the immersive 4D theatre. This evening enjoy a special farewell dinner with your new found friends.
Overnight: Sudima Hotel Christchurch Airport

Day 11: Depart Christchurch

Time to say goodbye. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home after a memorable New Zealand holiday.

Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki

West Coast

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

A stunning eco-tourism hotel with spectacular views of wild West Coast beaches, the Punakaiki Resort offers 26 hotel rooms alongside 37 self-contained suites.

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The Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

New Zealand

Grade: Superior

Type: Hotel

Centrally located in Nelson, the Rutherford is part of the Heritage group and offers 114 well-appointed rooms.

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