Southern Lakes 2022

18-26 November 2022

Double or Twin $5,922.00

No. of people

Single $6,732.00

No. of people

Deposit to confirm booking $922.00

Balance payable by: 04 Oct 2022

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Join us as we discover more special and remote areas of the South Island. We do stress though that this is another of our back-country adventures, so expect to really get in touch with nature. A level of basic fitness and mobility, together with a flexible attitude, is strongly recommended. 

Day 1

Friday 18 November - Flying to Queenstown

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 Cromwell, making our way down the scenic Cromwell Gorge to our hotel where we stay for the next two nights. We enjoy relaxed dining in house this evening.

Day 2

Saturday 19 November - Mavora Lakes High Country Tour

A memorable excursion awaits us today, as we make our way back to Queenstown to join Nomad Safaris, for their unique Mavora Lakes High Country Tour. Our tour starts with a journey across Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw. Known as the “lady of the lake”, the Earnslaw has been plying these waters since 1912. Disembarking at Walter Peak Station, we meet our Nomad driver and board their vehicle. Taking a scenic back country road through Walter Peak and Mount Nicholas Stations, our guide will acquaint us with the history of the pioneering high-country farming of this tussock covered landscape. The scenery changes as we near Mavora Lakes where we stop to enjoy a picnic lunch (included) and have time to stroll along the lake’s edge and in the surrounding beech forest. Continuing our journey this afternoon we complete a circuit, as we travel through rolling green northern Southland countryside, predominantly dotted with sheep and deer. We pass the settlements of Mossburn and Fiver Rivers, Garston and Kingston, before following the eastern shoreline of Lake Wakatipu back to Queenstown. We return to Cromwell this evening.

Day 3

Sunday 20 November - Criffel and West Wanaka Stations

We travel to Wanaka this morning, where we visit Criffel Station. A tour of this historic 2000-hectare deer farm provides expansive views of the Wanaka Basin, surrounding mountain ranges and an insight into the management of the property, their focus on providing a balanced and healthy environment for their land and animals. We enjoy lunch catered in the wool shed (converted into a rustic venue)

This afternoon we join Ridgeline Adventures for a 4WD tour through West Wanaka Station. As we travel through this spectacular property, we will gain stunning lake views, hear yarns about farming life, conservation projects and fascinating local history. Returning to Wanaka village, we check in to our accommodation, and have time to relax and unwind before we dine in the hotel restaurant this evening.

Day 4

Monday 21 November - Wanaka to Methven - Braemar Station

Our meandering travels today take us over the Lindis Pass and into the vast Mackenzie Basin. We stop for a Tranzit style cuppa, before travelling through the changing landscapes of the Mackenzie, to a farming property on the shores of Lake Pukaki. Braemar Station is a 15,000-hectare traditional high country station and has been run by the Mackenzie family since 1969. We will be hosted for lunch here today and learn about the station as we enjoy great views looking across the lake to Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Ben Ohau Range.

Departing Braemar we travel over Burkes Pass, the terrain changing to typically rolling and much lusher South Canterbury countryside, while our destination of Methven is on the edge of the expansive Canterbury Plains, the largest area of flat arable land in NZ. We check in to our accommodation where we dine in tonight.

Day 5

Tuesday 22 November - Mesopotamia Station

We make our way up into the headwaters of the Rangitata River today to an iconic Canterbury High Country property, Mesopotamia Station. Nestled amongst the Southern Alps, Mesopotamia was named by Samuel Butler in 1860, who, made famous for his novel “Erewhon”, also farmed on Mesopotamia. Today it is run by the Prouting family, a 25,000 acre traditionally farmed, merino, deer and cattle farm surrounded by the majestic Two Thumbs Mountain range and the huge braided Rangitata River.

There is much to see in this area; on our way up this scenic valley we stop at Peel Forest where we take a short walk through a fine stand of Totara, one almost three metres across, and thought to be about 1,000 years old. We enjoy our morning cup of tea here before continuing up the gorge, stopping again to view the tiny Mt Peel Church built out of greywacke stone from the Rangitata River. As we approach Mesopotamia this massive river valley opens out before us. Four-wheel drive vehicles will meet us at the station to take us on a tour over part of the property, including the game park where you are likely to see Himalayan tahr, chamois and red deer, while lunch today will be in the shearers quarters and catered locally (included). We will also see the Mesopotamia School – closed in 2000 - and the historic station graveyard. After a full day of discovery, we make our way back to our hotel, where we dine in again this evening.

Day 6

Wednesday 23 November - Mt Torlesse Station and Waimakariri Gorge

Another high-country adventure awaits us today, as we travel into country near Arthurs Pass and the Mid Canterbury foothills. Travelling to the Waimakariri Gorge, we switch modes of transport to off-road vehicles for a scenic four-wheel drive adventure across Mt Torlesse Station. This station is a 10,000 acre working sheep and cattle farm and you will get to experience the thrill and excitement of off-roading while taking in the spectacular alpine scenery and learning about the farm. After an interesting morning we enjoy a delicious lunch, after which we board a Hamilton jet boat – to take us on a spectacular river journey into the heart of the Waimakariri Gorge.

Our stay is in Christchurch tonight, and we reboard our coach to make our way into the city to check in to our accommodation, dining in this evening.

Day 7

Thursday 24 November - Paua Bay Station and Akaroa

Our coach transfers us to Lyttelton this morning, where we board Black Cat Cruises to ferry us across to Diamond Harbour. Here we meet Hasslefree Tours for today’s adventure. We wind our way out across high roads on Banks Peninsula providing stunning views, before making our way to Paua Bay Station, a coastal hill country property with bush running down to the rugged coast. We will be hosted by Murray and Sue Johns, whose family arrived in the area in 1837, and we will hear the tale of the family’s endeavours and their place in Banks Peninsula’s history, as we enjoy lunch.

After lunch we’ll head to Akaroa, this charming French and Victorian Village set around a harbour formed by an extinct volcanic crater. We will have a little free time to explore the village before we make our way back to Christchurch via Little River and Tai Tapu. We dine in at our hotel again this evening.

Day 8

Friday 25 November - Travelling to Picton

It’s a day of travel today as we make our way north. Smell the sea air, as we stop for lunch in Kaikoura, with our travels this afternoon taking us via the Pacific Coast, a scenic and fascinating journey through this much changed landscape. We check in to our Picton hotel for our last night together, with a little free time this afternoon to explore, enjoy a walk or relax. We dine in this evening.

Day 9

Saturday 26 November - Arapawa Sea Farm and Travelling Home

After breakfast this morning we board Beachcomber Cruises who ferry us out to Whekenui Bay to a Paua Pearl farm. We’ll enjoy a guided tour of this fascinating venture, as well as the chance to browse the fine jewelry crafted from these beautiful pearls. Lunch will be provided as our cruise returns to Picton in time for our afternoon Interislander sailing to Wellington. Finally, we bid our fellow travellers goodbye before being transferred to our home locations.

The cost of the tour includes

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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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.
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The door to door transfers on the Tranzit Travel Club tours are such a bonus. Being picked up at my door and dropped back after our travels made things so easy! - Liz Black