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Autumn Colours - South Island

19 - 28 April 2021

Double or Twin $4,265.00

Single Accommodation $4,995.00

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The colours of autumn are spectacular in the South Island, where golden poplars line vivid blue lakes and rivers. We travel deep into the heart of Central Otago, exploring old towns founded on a history of gold, visit stunning gardens in their autumn glory, and enjoy all the fun of the Arrowtown Autumn Festival.

Day 1

Monday 19 April - Travelling to Blenheim

A leisurely start from all destinations today as we are transferred to Wellington and meet at the Interislander Ferry terminal for our mid-afternoon sailing across Cook Strait to Picton. Upon reaching Picton we travel the short distance to Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough wine region, where we settle into our accommodation before dining in this evening.

Day 2

Tuesday 20 April - Blenheim to Hanmer Springs

We depart Blenheim this morning for Hanmer, stopping near Seddon to visit Barewood Garden, a gorgeous country garden which has featured in numerous publications. Surrounding a century old homestead, old roses and mixed borders are contained within a framework of mature trees. A formal pottager is a feature. Our host is providing morning tea.

Making our way down the Pacific Coastal Highway, the picturesque town of Kaikoura is our lunch stop (own expense), before we head inland up the Leader Valley to Hanmer Springs, our final destination today. We dine in at our accommodation this evening.

Day 3

Wednesday 21 April - Hanmer to Christchurch

There is free time this morning to enjoy in Hanmer. You may choose to soak in the natural mineral waters of the thermal pools that have for 125 years attracted visitors seeking their benefits. Alternatively take a wander in the leafy grounds of the historic St Mary’s hospital or through the exotic forests of Hanmer, both featuring the hues of autumn. Later this morning we depart Hanmer, travelling south to Hawarden where we visit Flaxmere Garden. A Garden of International Significance, Flaxmere is a large country garden, with clever design utilising a spring fed creek that runs through the property, and taking advantage of stunning rural vistas. Following lunch hosted by owner Penny Zino, we travel to Christchurch where we settle in to our hotel, with time to relax and unwind before dining in this evening.

Day 4

Thursday 22 April - Christchurch to Twizel

As we travel south today we cross NZ’s longest bridge spanning the Rakaia River, with our first visit to Trotts Garden at Ashburton. This garden is described as one of NZ’s most beautiful and extensive privately owned country gardens and includes three hectares of peaceful woodland areas, formal and water gardens. A special feature is a relocated chapel built in 1916 and our hosts also provide us with morning tea. Our lunch stop is in Geraldine, (own choice and cost), home of the famous Barkers preserves and exceptional local wool garments.

This afternoon we travel the Geraldine-Fairlie highway, over historic Burkes Pass and into the MacKenzie Basin, stopping in Tekapo to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and see the Statue of the Working Dog on the shores of the lake. As we continue our travels to Twizel, time and weather permitting, we take an alternative route along the Tekapo canal, an interesting scenic detour. If the day allows we stop at the bottom of Lake Pukaki to enjoy the iconic view of Mt Cook from across the vivid blue lake. We dine in tonight at our Twizel hotel.

Day 5

Friday 23 April - Twizel to Queenstown

Continuing south through the MacKenzie basin this morning, we then travel over the tussocky slopes of the Lindis Pass and on to Wanaka, taking a drive around to Glendhu Bay, where the vibrant colours of autumn will be starting to make their mark on the lakeside willows and poplars. Returning to the village, there will be a little free time to wander and find a bite of lunch (at own choice and cost). This afternoon we wend our way up the Cardrona Valley, passing the historic Cardrona Pub, before dropping over the scenic Crown Range into the Wakatipu Basin, Queenstown our final destination. We dine in at our hotel tonight.

Day 6

Saturday 24 April - Arrowtown Autumn Festival

Our focus today is to join the activities of the Arrowtown Autumn Festival. The South Island’s most photographed autumn town bursts into life for a week of festivities, and today promises markets, parades, family fun and fabulous food. Lunch is at our own cost and choice during the day. Returning to Queenstown, we have time to relax before our dinner cruise on the TSS Earnslaw. Known as the “lady of the lake”, the Earnslaw has been plying these waters since 1912 and will transport us in style across the Lake to Walter Peak where a gourmet barbecue dinner awaits us at the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant.

Day 7

Sunday 25 April - Historic Central Otago

Today is for enjoying the history of Central Otago as we meander down to the shores of Lake Dunstan to view the buildings of Old Cromwell Town, before travelling down the Cromwell Gorge and wander the streets of the tiny village of Clyde. Lunch today (included) is at the Orchard Garden near Alexandra - an old stone-fruit orchard that has been developed into a romantic country garden.

This afternoon, we travel to a scenic lookout up in the schisty outcrops of the hills above Alexandra. Many other photographic opportunities present themselves as we explore this interesting town located on the golden poplar lined banks of the mighty Clutha River. The iconic 11 metre clock on the hill, the Shaky bridge, opened in 1879, and the historic bridge pylons of the original bridge that spanned the Clutha to name a few. We dine out a local restaurant in a historic building this evening.

Day 8

Monday 26 April - Alexandra to Oamaru

Today we travel through an interesting inland route that takes in the historic gold mining settlements of Ophir, with its attractive Post Office, and St Bathans, located beside a picturesque lake formed by early gold mining. Here we stop for morning tea and the chance to explore. Then we go to Naseby, which would not be complete without an opportunity to take part in the ancient celtic sport of curling. We will enjoy a picnic lunch (included) at the Naseby Maniototo Curling Rink, after which there will be an opportunity, following some serious coaching, to take part in this unusual sport.

This afternoon we visit Real Dog Adventures near Ranfurly, breeders of Alaskan Malamutes which they breed, show, and work in harness. We enjoy an interactive tour of the kennels and workshop with their passionate owners Nigel and Rose, learning about harnessing up of the dogs and hear about life with these amazing animals. The final leg of our journey today sees us travelling over the curiously named “Pigroot”, an old gold trail route to the Central Otago goldfields. Oamaru is our final destination today and we enjoy dining at a local restaurant this evening.

Day 9

Tuesday 27 April - Oamaru to Kaikoura

This morning we visit New Zealand’s newest castle, built from Oamaru Whitestone. We step inside and embrace the vision of one woman’s dream to build her very own castle complete with moat. Then we begin our return journey north to Kaikoura. A lunch stop in Temuka (at own cost) is followed by small stops to break up our travel, this afternoon. After settling into our accommodation for our last night, we enjoy dining out this evening at a local favourite.

Day 10

Wednesday 28 April - Travelling Home

We retrace our steps up the Pacific Coast today, and back through the changing autumnal colours of Marlborough’s vineyards on our way to Picton. Lunch today is in Picton (own expense) prior to departing on our afternoon sailing returning us to Wellington. Finally we bid our fellow travellers goodbye before being transferred to our home locations

The cost of the tour includes

  • Interisland Ferry transfers
  • Good quality motel or hotel accommodation
  • 2 course or buffet evening meals
  • All breakfasts
  • Morning tea on travelling days
  • Barewood Garden, Seddon: garden entry and morning tea
  • Flaxmere Garden, Hawarden: garden entry and lunch
  • Trotts Garden, Ashburton: entry and morning tea
  • TSS Earnslaw, Gourmet BBQ dinner at Walter Peak
  • Orchard Garden, Alexandra: entry and lunch
  • Maniototo Curling Rink: introduction to Curling
  • Picnic lunch
  • Real Dog Adventures, Ranfurly: kennel tour
  • Riverstone Castle, Oamaru: tour

Departure Detail

Before you book a tour with Tranzit Tours, please take the time to read and understand these Terms and Conditions below.

These Terms and Conditions apply to bookings made from 12 October 2020 onwards, including new bookings made with credit vouchers issued following tour cancellations or postponements.

If you booked your tour prior to 12 October 2020, your original Terms and Conditions still apply.

Pricing Validity

All costs associated with each tour are outlined in full within each tour itinerary. All pricing quoted is valid for the dates of tour when booked.

Reservations and Payments

Bookings for all Tranzit tours can be made through any Tranzit Coachlines Reservations Centre or an approved Travel Agent. Any person making a booking for others shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions on behalf of all individuals they are booking on a tour and it is the responsibility of the person making the booking to bring these Terms and conditions to the attention of those individuals booked.
A deposit as stated in the Tour Itinerary is payable to secure the booking.
The balance must be paid in full by the date stated in the Tour Itinerary.
Any reservation made within fourteen (14) days of the tour departure must be paid in full at the time of booking.

Cancellations, Postponements and Alterations

Cancellations by the Customer

 Cancellations 45+ days before tour departure date – a cancellation fee valued at 15% of your deposit, plus any other fees charged by other providers such as accommodation, ferry, activities etc.Cancellations 44 – 8 days before tour departure date – a cancellation fee valued at 15% of the total tour cost, plus any other fees charged by other providers such as accommodation, ferry, activities etc.

Cancellations within 7 days before tour departure date – a cancellation fee valued at 25% of the total tour cost, plus any other fees charged by other providers such as accommodation, ferry, activities etc.No refunds will be made for cancellations made within one day of departure or once travel has commenced. Refunds will not be provided for unused portions of a tour, unless the Customer can provide genuine reason and documentary evidence that services were unable to be utilised (and a refund if applicable is available from the other provider) in which case the company will review each request and may provide a partial refund at the sole discretion of the company.

Cancellations of one half of a twin share booking will result in the Customer cancelling being charged the cost of a single booking, if the Company is unable to match the twin share booking with another Customer.

Alterations by the Customer

The Customer may transfer their booking to another person for the same tour and commencement date, but only if the other person satisfies all of Tranzit Tours requirements in relation to the tour and provides us a completed Booking Form. The Customer must notify Tranzit Tours in writing of the intended transfer at least 30 days prior to the commencement date of the tour. A $60 transfer fee per person/per transfer will apply (in addition to any supplier change fees).

Cancellations or Postponements by the Company

Tranzit Tours reserves the right to cancel, reschedule or postpone a tour. With the exception of the Force Majeure section below, Tranzit Tours will:In the event of a tour being cancelled by the company prior to departure and not postponed – refund the total amount paid in respect of that tour or provide a credit, but will have no further liability to the Customer.

In the event of a tour being postponed – rebook the Customer for the new departure date or provide a credit, but will have no further liability to the Customer.

In the event of a Force Majeure event that occurs prior to, or during, a tour such as but not limited to fire, flood, volcanic eruption, earthquake, avalanche, severe weather, power outages, labour disruptions, pandemic, government controls or other events outside Tranzit Tours control that interrupts the ability to operate the tour in full or in part, or if Tranzit Tours determines that the quality of the tour or the health and safety of the Customer would be compromised, Tranzit Tours reserves the right to cancel, postpone, or shorten the tour and will be excused and released from its obligations without liability of any kind. Customers will receive a credit for postponed tours. For cancelled or shortened tours, refunds in these circumstances will be in full less any unrecoverable costs (i.e. expenses already incurred or fees charged by other providers).

The Customer will be advised of any increased tour costs as a result of the postponement. Credits will be equal to the value of the payment made and must be used within 12 months. Customers are strongly advised to take out travel insurance.

In the event of cancellation or postponement by the company, Tranzit Tours is not responsible for any consequential loss incurred by the Customer. Customers are again advised to take out travel insurance.

Alterations by the Company

Before Tour Commencement: If a major change to the tour needs to be made before departure, we will inform the Customer of the change as soon as practicable and will advise of any consequential price increase or decrease.Tranzit Tours reserves the right to alter a tour (including the itinerary) and substitute accommodation facilities should unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary. Whilst every effort is made to adhere to the itinerary as provided, the company reserves the right to alter the touring and attractions as dictated by circumstances and conditions outside the company’s control.  Alterations may be made to ensure the smooth running of the tour.  Every attempt will be made to ensure alterations do not adversely affect the operation of the tour.  The company will not be held responsible for weather-based cancellations, or those closures made at the tour provider’s discretion.

Tranzit Tours will inform the customer as soon as practicable and will advise of any consequential price increase or decrease.


Tranzit Tours recommend that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance to cover against things like lost or damaged luggage, accident or sickness, loss or theft of personal belongings and documents, or the need to cancel or shorten your tour.  Please note that special conditions will apply for pre-existing medical conditions with all travel insurance policies.

Health and Fitness

Tranzit Tours are generally able to accommodate most fitness abilities; however, some tours may require a certain level of physical fitness for full enjoyment of tour activities. The Customer must inform Tranzit Tours, at the time of booking, of any health or fitness restrictions that may limit participation of tour activities or put the Customer, tour staff or other customers at risk. The Customer acknowledges that their suitability for a tour, or any activity within a tour, is wholly the Customer’s responsibility.

Payment of a deposit by the Customer to secure a Tranzit Tour acts as a warranty that:

o   the Customer is reasonably healthy and/or fit to participate in the tour, and

o   the Customer does not have a health, physical condition or disability that would create risk to themselves, tour staff or other customers, and

o   the Customer indemnifies Tranzit Tours from all actions, claims and demands arising out of any want of health or fitness.

Tranzit Tours reserves the right to decline a booking on medical, health or fitness grounds at its sole discretion.

Tranzit Tours reserves the right to remove a Customer from a tour, or quarantine a Customer on tour, if their health and/or fitness interferes with the tour or staff safety or other Customers safety or tour experience in any way. Any additional costs associated with a Customer’s removal from tour or placement into quarantine, shall be borne by the Customer. Refunds will be made in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. 

Authority on Tour

Tranzit Tours are operated by staff with decision making authority while on tour. By travelling with Tranzit Tours, you agree to accept the authority of the driver/guide and their decisions are final in all matters likely to affect the wellbeing, safety or experience of any customer or staff member on board. Failure to adhere to reasonable requests or any inappropriate behaviour that is degrading the experience of other customers, may result in the Customer being removed from the tour. If a Customer is asked to leave a tour, any costs associated with returning home will be borne by the Customer and any unused portion of the tour will not be refunded.


Tranzit Tours include goods and services provided by other operators such as hotels, attractions and transportation companies. Customers are advised to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions on which these services are supplied. Accordingly, Tranzit Tours will not be responsible and will be excluded from liability for any loss, damage, omission or acts being negligent or otherwise, committed by other goods and service providers used in connection with the tour.

Tranzit Tours is not liable for any loss, damage, delay, or injury caused to the traveller or their baggage whilst under the care or control of a third-party provider. A Customer’s baggage and personal effects shall be carried at the owner’s risk as provided for under the Carriage of Goods Act.

Tranzit Tours is not responsible for any losses or additional expenses to the Customer due to tours impacted by Force Majeure events that occur prior to, or during, a tour such as but not limited to fire, flood, volcanic eruption, earthquake, avalanche, severe weather, power outages, labour disruptions, pandemic, government controls or other events outside Tranzit Tours control that interrupts the ability to operate the tour in full or in part, or if Tranzit Tours determines that the quality of the tour or the health and safety of the Customer would be compromised.

Acceptance of Risk

The Customer acknowledges that all Tranzit Tours may be subject to risks and dangers beyond that which might be experienced by the Customer at home. Except as provided in law, the Customer acknowledges that they assume all risk and Tranzit Tours is not liable for misadventure, death, injury, delay or loss which occurs during the tour.

Seat Rotation

For the enjoyment of all travellers Tranzit Tours operates a seat rotation system which all travellers must participate in as a condition of booking.


Photographs used to market any Tranzit Tour depict typical scenes experienced, but the subject matter may not necessarily be seen or experienced whilst visiting a destination within a tour.

Whilst on tour, the Customer may be included in photographs and/or film taken by the guide or driver. These photographs may be used for future promotional advertising purposes and by booking on a Tranzit Tour the Customer authorises the use of any images they are captured in to be used without further consent or any payment of any kind. If the Customer does not authorise the use of their image for promotional purposes, they must make this known at the time of booking.

Privacy Policy

Any personal information that Tranzit Tours collects about the Customer may be used for any purpose associated with the operation of a tour or to send the Customer marketing material in relation to Tranzit Tour products. The information may be disclosed to our agents, service providers or other suppliers to enable Tranzit Tours to operate the tour. Tranzit Tours will otherwise treat your details in accordance with our privacy policy (available on our website).

Applicable Law

The laws of New Zealand govern these Terms and Conditions to the fullest extent allowable.

Thank you Ali for your professionalism as our tour guide, Steve and I both enjoyed the tour very much. - Pearl, Travel Club Member