A comprehensive 23-day self-drive itinerary exploring New Zealand’s spectacular South Island, in search of its unique wildlife.
The trip begins in Nelson, for a short overnight stop to relax, before travelling to the picturesque Abel Tasman National Park where golden beaches and scenic trails await. Two nights in this spectacular park provide ample opportunities for walking, birdwatching and venturing out by boat to look for fur seals, common dolphins and little blue penguins. Bellbird, fantail, tui and pukeko are the birding highlights here.
Continue to Bay of Many Coves to look for cetaceans, before stopping at Queen Charlotte Sound, Blenheim and Marlborough Sound to continue birdwatching and take in the incredible scenery. Two nights then follow in Kaikoura, for outstanding whale and dolphin watching, and an array of seabirds, before continuing south to Akaroa, to see the largest Australian little penguin colony on mainland New Zealand.
A night at a charming lodge in Oamaru follows with more opportunities for penguin watching, before continuing to the incredible Otago Peninsula, where the focus will be one of the rarest species of sealion in the world - the New Zealand sealion. In the south-eastern corner of the island you will find the Catlins, known for the vivid sunsets and the quirky Mohua or yellowhead.
A short ferry across to Stewart Island provides opportunities to see the southern brown kiwi, set against unspoilt scenery. The last part of the trip incorporates exploring the beautiful Fiordland area, with plenty of walking, birdlife, and cruises through the fjords. Overnights in Doubtful Sound and Te Anau are followed by a last night in Queenstown, to relax following an exciting drive through the stunning South Island.
All accommodation has been carefully selected for comfort, and colonial style, making the most of the varied scenic locations.
The full itinerary detail is available on our website.
You should note: All water-based tours are subject to suitable sea conditions on the day and minimum passenger numbers.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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