On this 9 day Stewart Island and Catlins Tour you will discover the great Southern region, from the Otago Peninsula’s Royal Albatross colony to the Catlins rugged coastline. Highlights of the tour include a two night stay on Stewart Island, Kiwi spotting tour, a visit to Ulva Island, Catlins wildlife guided tour, a visit Transport World in Invercargill, experiencing the Te Anau glow worms and a nature cruise in Milford Sound.
Tour starts and finishes in Christchurch
10am-10:30pm pick up from your Christchurch accommodation
Departing from Christchurch to travel to travel south on our way to Dunedin. Stopping at Dunsandle, Temuka and Oamaru. Enjoy dinner together at our central Dunedin Hotel for a two night stay.
After breakfast we will drive to the end of the Otago Peninsula to Taiaroa Heads to see the world’s only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross. Enjoy a guided tour and see the spectacular views on the Otago Peninsula. A wonderful opportunity for up close viewing interactions with all manner of seabirds and mammals. Arriving at Larnach Castle we have extended our time to enjoy lunch, an audio tour of the castle and plenty of time to explore the gardens, returning to our Dunedin hotel and diner. B.L.D
Enjoy a guided tour of Dunedin’s Ovelston historic house built in the early 1900’s, which is a time capsule experience. Enjoy exploring the wonderful garden of national significance and have morning tea here. We start our journey towards the secluded Catlins region, with walks at the famous Nugget Point lighthouse and Pukaraunui Falls, before arriving at our overnight accommodation located in the heart of in the Catlins. BLD
After breakfast today we meet our local eco-tour guide for an in-depth look at the Catlins. See treasures of fossils, find out about the history, the middens left by Maori communities, the ancient podocarp forests full of rimu, totara, matai and rata, and the kingfishers, tuis, and bellbirds. We return to our Catlins accommodation for a second night. BLD
Today we follow the southern coastal route to Invercargill stopping off at Slope Point, the southernmost point of NZ, and Waipapa Bay where the sea lions live. Arriving in Invercargill to visit the Bill Richardson Transport Museum and get a bite to eat. We later catch our flight to Stewart Island for a two night. In the evening, we will experience some southern hospitality with dinner at the South Seas Hotel. B D
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast with views of native bush and the friendly kaka who visit the Lodge veranda for treats before we visit Ulva Island, strolling around the excellent walking tracks amongst predator free podocarp forest, home to many endangered species. Return to Oban township where you can get a bite to eat. Depart for a minivan tour exploring landmarks and hear the history of Oban, then spend time exploring, or just absorb the tranquility of the island. Dinner tonight is at the South Seas Hotel, the blue cod is highly recommended. Enjoy a guided Kiwi spotting adventure in the evening. B D
After breakfast we depart Stewart Island to fly back to Invercargill airport. We will drive to Te Anau in time for an afternoon Glow Worm Cave Tour which includes a boat trip across the lake to see the astonishingly beautiful underground world. By geological standards, the caves are young (12,000 years) and are still being carved out by the force of the river that flows through them. The result is a twisting network of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools, and a roaring underground waterfall. Deep inside the caves, beyond the roar of the water, you will be taken by small boat into a silent hidden grotto inhabited by thousands of glow worms, unique to New Zealand. In the subterranean darkness, they produce a glittering display that is nothing short of extraordinary. After your tour, we will settle into our lakeside accommodation for the evening and have a meal out. B D
Depart Te Anau and drive to the uniquely beautiful and truly awe-inspiring Milford Sound. Discover its beauty on a 2-hour nature cruise, spot wildlife such as Bottlenose Dolphin and Penguin while you cruise around the sound and see the fresh glacial water straight from waterfalls around you, lunch onboard is arranged for you today. After your cruise, we depart for Queenstown to our central hotel accommodation and have our last meal together. BLD
After breakfast we will depart for Christchurch with stops at Cromwell, Tarras, Omarama, Lake Pukaki, Tekapo, and Geraldine. Approximate arrival time in Christchurch will be 5.30pm. B
The trip was all and more than we expected, a wish list trip come to fruition. We had not visited either the Catlins or Stewart Island before so every day was a surprise.
There was so much variation in the trip, no day was the same, the scenery changed daily, and so did the stories. Thank you Geoff.
As well as the scenery highlights we enjoyed meeting local people and hearing their stories and the story of the area they live in. In particular Fergus & Mary in the Catlins; Matt on Stewart and Ulva Islands and George on Lake Te Anau. Such characters to be with.
Every aspect of the trip was well considered, the travel, the accommodation, the meals making for a relaxing time.
Geoff was a great guide with an “insider Kiwi” view of many of the places we visited. Meeting Fergus and Mary in the Catlins, and going to their gallery in addition to the conservation and natural history sites , was a highlight. It was an added thrill to see a fern bird with Fergus.