The Greenstone Trail 2019
23 - 30 November 2019Download PDF Itinerary
This tour takes us down the West Coast of the South Island - one of New Zealand’s most unspoiled regions.
The Greenstone Trail is full of attractions that cover many of the ‘must see and do’s of this area. Have you ever walked among the treetops in a South Westland Rainforest? Explored the secret waterways of Okarito searching for the beautiful white heron, immersed yourself in soothing hot springs and mineral pools that source straight from the Southern Alps or found yourself deep in the Paparoa National Park? Then this is your chance!
Twin Share-Double-Accommodation - $2920.00 per person
Single Accommodation - $3575.00 per person
Saturday 23 November - Travelling to St Arnaud
An early start from all destinations today as we are transferred to Wellington and meet at the ferry terminal for our morning sailing across Cook Strait to Picton.We grab lunch on the ferry (meal voucher provided) before departing at Picton and making our way up the Wairau Valley. Our final destination today is the alpine village of St Arnaud, on the shores of Lake Rotoiti and gateway to Nelson Lakes National Park. We arrive late to our accommodation and enjoy a light meal in-house. If you are an early riser you could have time in the morning to take the short stroll to Lake Rotoiti from the hotel or enjoy the on-site hot tub before we head South.
Sunday 24 November - St Arnaud to Westport
Departing St Arnaud this morning we make our way through the scenic Buller Gorge, emerging at Westport where we continue north to the historic coal mining town of Denniston.Here we meet the “Friends of the Hill” a small but extremely dedicated group whose mission it is to preserve a unique piece of New Zealand history. Over a cuppa and a picnic lunch, we will hear the stories of life on the Plateau and the famous Denniston Incline, described by local residents as the "eighth wonder of the world" and recognized the world over as an amazing engineering achievement.
After lunch we take a drive down to the top of the Incline brakehead for an opportunity to wander and explore this historic site, which also offers magnificent views down to the coastal plains of the Karamea Bight (if the weather permits). Winding our way back down the hill, we return to Westport, where we stop to visit the wonderful Coaltown Museum. Westport is a town built on coal extraction from wild and remote places like Denniston and Stockton where daily life was a struggle and comfort a luxury. This brand-new museum is dedicated to telling the stories of the pioneers who battled this rugged environment in search of a better life.
Finally, we check in to our hotel, home for the next two nights, for a welcome dinner and bed.
Monday 25 November - Day Trip to Karamea and Heaphy Track
Today we travel as far north as the road takes us, to Karamea and beyond, passing the small coal mining settlements of Ngakawa, Granity and Seddonville, and threading our way through bush over the spectacular Karamea Bluff.Passing through Market Cross and Karamea, we then hug the coast up to Kohaihai, which marks the end of the road and the start of the famed Heaphy Track. In this scenic spot we relax and enjoy a packed picnic lunch (but don't forget your insect repellent, as the sandflies are pretty hungry around here too!) After lunch we can enjoy a very pleasant walk through lush coastal nikau forest within Kahurangi National Park, or take a stroll along the beach before we make our way back to Westport. There will be time to relax and freshen up, before we dine in again this evening, enjoying West Coast hospitality at its best.
Tuesday 26 November - Johnny’s Journey/Westport to Greymouth
Today we join Outwest Safari’s for a very special adventure called Johnny's Journey.We travel in specially adapted Unimogs into the remote Awakiri Valley to meet Johnny Currie who lives off the grid in his own piece of paradise. This isolated valley is scenically spectacular, and Johnny loves to share his incredible knowledge of the area and his amazing life experiences with visitors. Our picnic lunch today (included) is at a specially built shelter, where an open fire welcomes and the billy will be boiling. A chance to meet his wild furry friends before we board our vehicles to return to civilisation and meet our coach at the tiny settlement of Charleston.
This afternoon we travel south along that stretch of the West Coast that many consider the most stunning of all, between Westport and Greymouth. Wild beaches, towering bluffs and unique rock formations are fringed by dense native forest and subtropical nikau. We stop to view the geological wonder of the Pancake Rocks and Punakaiki Blowholes– formed some 30 million years ago - with time also to browse the excellent gift and craft shops nearby. We journey through Greymouth and enjoy a short driving tour before we head a bit further South to Hokitika and into our accommodation which is located right on the beach. This will be home for the next two nights. We have time to settle in and freshen up before we dine in house this evening.
Wednesday 27 November - Exploring Wild Hokitika
We depart for Hokitika this morning, where we make our way out through lush dairying country to Hokitika Gorge - a secret but spectacularly scenic spot - where we enjoy a wander and a chance to explore.After a cup of tea, we head south, stopping at tranquil Lake Mahinapua where a fabulous attraction awaits us - The Westcoast Treetop Walk. This walk allows us to safely stroll amongst the canopy of magnificent lowland West Coast rainforest, with glimpses of picturesque Lake Mahinapua. The more adventurous among us can climb the Hokitika Tower to gain sensational vistas of the snow-capped Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea, or sway in harmony with the forest on a cantilever. Here we also enjoy a ploughman’s lunch. After lunch we travel back into Hokitika township for an afternoon of shopping, sightseeing or beachcombing. You can either catch the coach back to our accommodation or enjoy a short stroll from town and meet us back at our Hokitika beachfront accommodation. We enjoy an early evening meal out tonight, at the beautiful Station Inn so we have time after dinner to visit the glow worm dell which can only be viewed once it is dark.
Thursday 28 November - Hokitika to Whataroa and Franz Josef
We enjoy a very special boat cruise at Whataroa today, where we join White Heron Sanctuary Tours.Breaking into smaller groups, we journey through pristine rainforest in the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve visiting NZ’s only kotuku (white heron) sanctuary. Revered by the Maori as a symbol of beauty, the white heron is rare in NZ and breeds only in this secret location. This is the best time of year to visit the birds as they will be in full residence and are usually nesting. A truly magical part of this tour.
This afternoon we will detour into the tiny coastal settlement of Okarito to explore before making our way to the majestic Franz Josef Glacier, here we stop to explore before continuing on to our evening’s accommodation. This evening we dine out at a local restaurant.
Friday 29 November - Franz Josef to Maruia
Returning north today we join the Monteiths Brewery tour in Greymouth to experience firsthand the making of Monteiths fine beers, some of which are exclusively produced and sold here.We finish with a welcome and generous tasting, followed by lunch (included).
This afternoon we head inland to Reefton to explore this historic gold mining town and sample some of the other products making this town famous. We visit the Reefton Distilling Co. for a distillery tour and of course more tasting! As we split into groups for this tour, you will also have time to explore the historic Reefton town.
Our last stop on the tour will rejuvenate us for the journey home. We detour into the Lewis Pass to our evening’s accommodation at the world class Maruia Hot Springs Resort. Its healing mineral hot spring pools let you immerse yourself in the geothermal waters that have naturally risen to the earth’s surface on the site for centuries. The water is infused with natural minerals and trace elements which detoxify the body and rejuvenate the spirit. High in mineral content, the water comes straight from the earth’s core directly below New Zealand’s Southern Alps. A later dinner tonight means we have time to enjoy the hot pools and sauna then over dinner reminisce together over our favourite highlights of the West Coast whilst enjoying our final meal together.
Saturday 30 November - Travelling Home
Travelling north today we stop enroute for morning tea Tranzit style, before making our way to Picton to join our afternoon sailing on the Interislander ferry to Wellington.At Wellington we have time for our final farewells before being met by our various transfer vehicles to return us to our home addresses.
The cost of the tour includes
- Maruia Hot Springs-Hot mineral pools and sauna
- Reefton Distilling Co.-Tour and Tasting
- All coach travel
- Interisland Ferry transfers
- Good quality motel or hotel accommodation
- 2 course or buffet dinners
- Full Breakfasts
- 3 picnic lunches
- Tour with Denniston “Friends of the Hill“
- Coaltown Museum entry
- “Johnny’s Journey” with Outwest Tours
- Mahinapua Treetop walk
- White Heron Sanctuary Tour
- Monteiths Brewery tour, tastings and lunch