Central Otago 2024

27 April-4 May 2024

Based in the unique background that is Central Otago

Watch this space as the team work their magic to create a new tour for 2024

Day 1

Saturday 27 April - Off to Otago

An early start from all destinations this morning as we are transferred to Wellington Airport where our adventure begins with a morning flight to Queenstown. Flying into Frankton airport is an incredible experience as the aircraft drops in over the tops of Coronet Peak and the craggy Remarkable Ranges. Our coach and driver await us at the airport to whisk us off to Cromwell, making our way down the scenic Kawarau Gorge to check in to our accommodation and enjoy dining in house this evening.

Day 2

Sunday 28 April - Wanaka Cardrona and Arrowtown

We travel to Wanaka this morning, where we visit the National Transport Museum. Located at Wanaka Airport, the museum is one of the largest collections in the world of rare and unusual aircraft, cars, trucks, motorcycles, fire appliances, military vehicles, boats and tractors. We then make our way up the Cardrona Valley, where we stop to enjoy lunch (included) at the historic Cardrona Hotel. Established in 1863, the hotel is one of only two remaining buildings from the Cardrona Valley gold rush era, although other historic buildings form a photogenic cluster in this quaint village.

Our travels this afternoon continue up the Cardrona Valley and over the tussock clad Crown Range, before dropping down into the Wakatipu Basin, where we stop to visit Arrowtown. The South Island’s most photographed town is a delight at any time but none more so than in autumn. Making our way back to Cromwell, we will have dinner at our hotel again this evening.

Day 3

Monday 29 April - Following in the Footsteps of the Rail Trail

Today we travel through the wide-open spaces of the Maniatoto, passing historic settlements formerly served by the Otago Central Railway line, now NZ’s best known cycling trail. The historic gold mining settlement of Ophir with its historic post office is our first stop, followed by Oturehua, which features Gilchrist’s General Store, an iconic store that is a delight to browse, as it successfully merges the old and the new. Continuing our journey, we make our way to Clachanburn Garden, near Ranfurly. An oasis in a harsh climate, Clachanburn is a large country garden, featuring a creek and pond, and set amongst mature trees. It is classed as a Garden of National Significance. We enjoy a wander of the extensive gardens, with lunch here today provided by our host Jane.

Continuing our journey this afternoon, we travel over the picturesque Rock and Pillar Range, through Middlemarch, and on to our destination Dunedin. We will dine in at our hotel this evening.

Day 4

Tuesday 30 April - Nature and History

We wake up today in the gracious southern city of Dunedin. This morning we visit Olveston House, an authentic and original historic home that was gifted to Dunedin City by its last surviving owner in 1966. We will enjoy a guided tour, with an opportunity to stroll in the gardens. After lunch in town (at your own choice and cost) we head out to Wellers Rock Wharf on the Otago Peninsula where we join Monarch Wildlife Cruises for a harbour cruise. We’ll enjoy the stunning rugged coastline, and a full commentary about the history, geology and wildlife of the harbour and peninsula. Keep an eye out for sea lions, royal albatross, penguins, petrels and other seabirds. We will return to the city via the “high road”, which provides great views of the harbour and ocean on both sides of the peninsula. There will be time for a little sightseeing of the city before we return to our hotel for dinner.

Day 5

Wednesday 01 May - Following the Mighty Clutha

Departing Dunedin this morning, we head south along the coast to Taieri River Mouth before turning inland again and making our way to Lawrence. We will enjoy a picnic lunch (included) at historic Gabriels Gully, the site of the first major gold find in Otago which led to the gold rushes of the early 1860’s. Interpretation panels on a walk provide an insight into this history.

This afternoon we follow the Clutha River, as it cuts a vibrant blue swathe through the rugged Otago landscape, passing through many small towns along its banks. At Tuapeka we board the Tuapeka Punt to cross the river – these historic vessels have been crossing the Clutha since 1896. At Roxburgh we will stop to view Lake Roxburgh and the Roxburgh Dam, before making our way to Alexandra. After settling into our accommodation, we’ll head out for dinner this evening, venturing up to quaint Clyde where we dine at the Post Office Café, one of the character heritage buildings of this historic village.

Day 6

Thursday 02 May - Alexandra – the Heart of Central Otago

This morning we have a chance to explore “Alex” – a town carved out of the schist outcrops that are a feature of this region. A scenic lookout up in the hills above the town provides great views of the surrounding landscape and many other photographic opportunities present themselves as we travel around. This includes the unique 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 will then visit the Central Stories Museum and Gallery, which tells the stories of the history and natural history of the area. Meet the Otago Skinks basking on top of a rock in their enclosure, learn about the unique Central Otago geology, and have a browse in the excellent art gallery. Lunch today is at your own cost in town.

This afternoon we join a heritage cruise on the mighty Clutha River. Our excursion takes us down through spectacular Roxburgh Gorge and through isolated reaches of the river to the historic Doctors Point gold mine. We will see Chinese and European Gold miners’ huts and rock shelters while our skipper provides us with tales of hardship and endeavour. Returning from our cruise, we’ll take a short drive to Butchers Dam Conservation Area. Another area that teemed with gold mining activity in the 1860s, the dam later became a reservoir for the town of Alexandra and is an interesting site to explore. We return to our hotel to enjoy relaxed dining in house this evening.

Day 7

Friday 03 May - "There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills"

Our travels take us back to Cromwell today with a stop at Clyde this morning to give you a chance to have a wander of this charming village and to view the massive Clyde Dam. Our next stop is the Cromwell Heritage Precinct, a cluster of historic buildings lovingly moved and restored onto this site when the Clyde Dam was completed in 1990. The precinct is a delightful blend of museum and boutique shops, with a couple of cafes for you to enjoy lunch (own cost).

This afternoon we visit Goldfields Mining Centre in the Kawarau Gorge. This informative tour will provide us with an insight as to “how the gold was won”. We’ll fire up a California sluice gun, and hear the clang of the stamper battery, enjoy a walk to the Chinese village and have a go at gold panning. We will then head over to Bannockburn, where we’ll be able to take a walk through the Bannockburn sluicings, the sliced hillsides and stark landscapes providing much evidence of early gold miners’ workings. Dinner tonight is at our hotel.

Day 8

Saturday 04 May - Winging Our Way Home

With memories of iconic landscapes and a unique history, this morning we return to Queenstown to check in for our return flight to Wellington. Farewelling our fellow travellers at Wellington Airport, we will be met by transfer vehicles to return us to our home towns.

The cost of the tour includes

  • • Accommodation
  • • 2 course or buffet dinners
  • • All Breakfasts
  • • All coach travel
  • • Return Air NZ flights Wellington-Queenstown
  • • Wanaka Transport Museum, entry
  • • Cardrona Hotel, lunch
  • • Clachanburn Garden, entry and lunch
  • • Monarch Wildlife Cruise
  • • Olveston House, tour
  • • Picnic lunch day 5
  • • Clutha River heritage cruise
  • • Goldfields Mining Centre, tour

Departure Detail

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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.
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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.
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Alterations by the Customer
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Alterations by the Company
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Tranzit Tours will inform the customer as soon as practicable and will advise of any consequential price increase or decrease.
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Thank you Ali for your professionalism as our tour guide, Steve and I both enjoyed the tour very much. - Pearl, Travel Club Member