Top of the South 2019
2 - 9 December 2019
Top of the South 2019
We discover the highlights of sunny Nelson, magic Marlborough and gorgeous Golden Bay. History, art and nature collide in this fabulous part of the world as we meet craftspeople and artisans, cruise Pelorus Sound and the beautiful Abel Tasman coastline, marvel at the clarity of Te Waikoropupu Springs, and enjoy a special day out on Farewell Spit – a world renowned nature reserve.
This tour is Ali’s hot pick…which is not surprising as she is a born and bred Nelsonian. Who better to lead this tour than someone with in depth local knowledge and a special connection to this enchanting part of the country.
Twin Share or Double accommodation $2730.00 per person
Single accommodation $3370.00 per person
Monday 02 December - Travelling to Picton
This morning we are transferred to Wellington where we meet at the ferry terminal for an afternoon sailing across Cook Strait to Picton.Upon reaching Picton we make the short transfer to our Picton accommodation, The Picton Yacht Club, where we settle in before dining in-house this evening.
Tuesday 03 December - Sounds Cruise and on to Takaka
We travel to Havelock this morning via the very scenic Queen Charlotte Drive.We wind our way around several bays in the upper reaches of the Queen Charlotte and Pelorus Sounds. At Havelock we board our Marlborough Tours Mussel Cruise, an informative and relaxing boat cruise which takes us out on the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, to enjoy the natural beauty of this tranquil environment, while learning about the history of the Sounds and the pioneering families who have settled here.
We visit a Greenshell Mussel farm, where we enjoy freshly steamed mussels with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - a classic Marlborough food match.
Returning to Havelock we have time to have some lunch (own cost) before we continue over the Rai and Whangamoa saddles to Nelson. Here we have a short leg stretch before we travel out through the horticultural patchwork of the Motueka district and then ascend the Takaka Hill, known locally as the “Marble Mountain”. Finally, we drop into the lush Takaka Valley, and motor down to the township of Takaka, our home for the next two nights. We dine out this evening at a local restaurant.
Wednesday 04 December - Takaka and Farewell Spit Eco Tour
We have an early start this morning as we journey up to Collingwood for our overland adventure exploring the unique Farewell Spit land form.We discover the flora and fauna that inhabits this 25 kilometers spit, and learn of its history through a full and informative commentary. We enjoy morning tea at the historic lighthouse near the very tip.
Returning to Collingwood, you are free to grab lunch of your own choice. After lunch we head back to Takaka stopping off enroute to view the Waikorupupu Springs. Known locally as Pupu Springs, geology, land form, rainfall, time, chemistry and water all come together in a unique mix to create what is thought to be the clearest water in the Southern Hemisphere. We dine out at a local’s favorite tonight- The Brigand.
Thursday 05 December - Takaka to Nelson
We have time for a little further exploration of Golden Bay this morning, taking a jaunt out to Tarakohe and sheltered Ligar Bay, with a chance to take a short walk to view the Abel Tasman Memorial.We enjoy a stroll through a scenic reserve called “The Grove”, a special spot characterised by massive rata trees growing out of curiously shaped limestone outcrops. The track winds through the narrow canyons in the limestone - a series of blocks, that have been sculpted into wonderful shapes by water.
We return to Takaka Village for a relaxed lunch (own cost). Golden Bay is recognised as a haven for artists and talented craftspeople, and there will be time to browse some of the wonderful array of community galleries selling locally crafted works.
This afternoon we visit a lovely East Takaka Garden. Matuku Farms Garden mixes shrubs,roses and perennials to create splashes of colour, and features two log perennial borders that will be in their prime at this time of the year. Old totara stumps billow with roses, and the centrepiece of the garden is a wattle and daub cottage. Our travels then take us back over
that mountain, making our way back to Nelson to check in to our accommodation, The Hotel Nelson, here we settle in for the next two nights. We enjoy relaxed dining in house this evening.
Friday 06 December - Abel Tasman National Park Cruise
Today we explore the Abel Tasman National Park, journeying over to Kaiteriteri Beach where we board Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles for a morning cruise along the stunning coastline of New Zealand’s smallest National Park.Spectacular granite rock formations, golden beaches, rocky islands and tranquil inlets are a feature of this area, and we enjoy a full commentary aboard the vessel. Returning to Kaiteriteri, we enjoy lunch at the Kai Café, located on the beach front.
This afternoon we discover a scenic spot at the head of the Riwaka Valley, where we can take a stroll through cool remnant forest to the source of the Riwaka River. Here the waters of the river flow underground for four kilometers and then emerge from a cave under the Takaka Hill into a crystal-clear pool. A unique and unusual sight. On our travels back to Nelson, we stop off at Mapua, a coastal settlement with a great ice cream shop. Returning to our hotel we dine in house this evening.
Saturday 07 December - Exploring Nelson
A leisurely breakfast this morning before we set off to explore the attractive city of Nelson and uncover some of its treasures.We head to Queens Gardens, a fine example of a classical Victorian ornamental park. The gardens are part of a designated Historic Places Trust precinct and are adjacent to the Suter Art Gallery. Nelson historically has a strong foundation in the arts so this is also a must see. Nelson’s Cathedral is next on our list, a rather austere building that belies its glorious interior. With time for lunch (at our own cost and leisure) we head around the city port to Tahunanui, where we take a short detour to a scenic lookout that provides stunning views of Tahunanui Beach and Tasman Bay.
This afternoon we visit The World of Wearable Art and Collectable Car Museum, where art “...is taken off the walls to adorn the body in wildly wonderful ways...” and set amongst music, lighting and movement. The Classic car section is a stunningly presented display of immaculately restored cars, covering three centuries of motoring, from Edwardian times through to modern super cars. We travel through to Saint Arnaud where we can stroll down to view Lake Rotoiti or relax in the hot tub at our accommodation, The Alpine Lodge. We dine in house this evening.
Sunday 08 December - Exploring Nelson Lakes
We have another relaxed start this morning before we follow the Tophouse Road, an historic droving trail, which was an important early route between Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury.Morning tea today (included) is at Tophouse Hotel, built in 1859 as an accommodation house and a welcome stop on the trail. With a picnic lunch (included), this afternoon is spent exploring the twin lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa, discovering a range of short scenic trails that follow the lake shores and take us through beautiful beech forest, keeping an eye out for the trusting little South Island robin, who is likely to be found scratching for insects in the leaf litter. Back at our hotel, we have time to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings before dining in tonight.
Monday 09 December - Travelling Home
We follow the Wairau River down Valley to Blenheim this morning, where we visit Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.Aviation in the Great War is given the Weta Workshop treatment at Omaka, and brought to life in sensational and realistic sets, while incorporating rare memorabilia. Continuing to Picton we have time to find a bite of lunch (own cost) before we catch an afternoon sailing to Wellington. Here we bid farewell to our fellow travellers before being transferred to our respective home locations. .
The cost of the tour includes
- All coach travel
- Interisland Ferry transfers
- Good quality motel or hotel accommodation
- 2 course or buffet evening meals
- All breakfasts
- Morning tea on travelling days
- Greenshell Mussel Cruise and lunch
- Farewell Spit Eco Tour
- Matuku Farms Garden entry
- World of Wearable Art and Collectable Car Museum entry
- Abel Tasman Sea Shuttles half day cruise
- Lunch at Kai Café, Kaiteriteri
- Morning tea at Tophouse Historic Hotel, St Arnaud
- Picnic lunch
- Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre entry