Explore the highlights of Christchurch, Hanmer and Akaroa
|Date & Duration:||9th-15th May 2022 - 7 days, 6 nights|
|Cost:||$2545 - What's included?|
|Arrival & Departure points:||Christchurch|
Day 1 Christchurch
Arrive in Christchurch by 10am. We will start our adventure with sightseeing via two iconic modes of transport (Tram and Punt) and see Christchurch from different angles whilst learning about the history and rebuild of this resilient city. At the alluring Riverside Market, you will find plenty of dining options to choose from for lunch. Check in to our hotel and freshen up for this afternoon's activity. At Peartree Lane we are in for a fun afternoon/evening of history, art, food and fun. This is a cooking experience like no other! We end the day dining on a deliciously prepared meal in a historically listed Canterbury homestead.
Day 2 Christchurch
We'll spend a leisurely morning exploring the city on foot. At the Transitional Cathedral a short tour with a guide will give us an insight into the meaning and history of this unique house of prayer built with cardboard after the Canterbury earthquakes. Art lovers will enjoy viewing the city's architecture and Wongi Wilson's street art on our walk. Wongi has played a major role in the transformation of Christchurch with his clever graffiti murals. A visit to Quake city will give a better understanding of the seismic events that shook the area 10 years ago. Continue along the river, taking time to reflect at the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial before a pleasant ramble through the extensive Botanical Gardens. At this time of year, expect to see colourful herbaceous borders, hydrangeas, cyclamens, and the beginning of autumn leaves starting to spread a carpet of colour. Free time to spend exploring at your own pace. Places that might appeal are the Christchurch Art Gallery, Arts Centre, Museum. For shopaholics you will find The Crossing and Ballantynes just a few minutes walk from our hotel. We'll meet back at the hotel later this afternoon and drive to Curiosity Distillery. Enjoy a tasting and learn what goes in to producing gin and whisky from "grain to glass" at this boutique Kiwi company.
Day 3 Christchurch
This morning is a scenic drive over to Taylors Mistake where we begin the Godley Head LoopTrack. This is a well-formed undulating track with magnificent views of the coastline right up to the Kaikoura ranges and the headlands of bays. At the top of the heads are historical military buildings and gun emplacements plus Wongi Wilson artwork. The walk will take 2-3 hours depending on your fitness. There will be ample stops for views and photos and a "breather". If you prefer an easier morning, you can get off at Sumner Beach to walk the promenade and browse the shops. From Sumner we drive across the hill to the port village of Lyttelton. This was the landing site for the first four settler ships from England and holds significant historical importance for New Zealand. Free time for lunch and a look through the galleries and shops before heading back to our hotel. Time permitting, we will call in at The Tannery for a look through the boutique shops housed in an interesting architectural shopping destination. Later this afternoon, we drive across the city to New Brighton beach and walk out on to the pier. At 300m long, this is the longest pier in Australasia. It's then into your togs and straight into the welcoming hot salted pools at He Puna Taimoana. These relatively new pools are New Brighton's jewel in the crown, offering 5 luxurious hot pools, plunge pool, sauna, spa and heated changing rooms. You are going to love soaking in the warm water as you gaze out to the ocean watching the sky and water change colours as dusk falls!
Day 4 Hurunui
We set off early this morning for a day out in North Canterbury. Driving through small towns, across braided rivers, acres of vines, through the Weka Pass with its unusual rock formations, and into the foothills to reach Hanmer Springs by mid-morning. Free time in this pretty little spa village -you might like to soak in the hot mineral waters; browse the shops; have lunch in one of the cafes; or take a walk through the forest on the edge of the village or up Conical Hill. We'll be making a couple of stops on the way back to Christchurch -firstly to the historic Hurunui Hotel for a refreshment and then to Terrace Edge Vineyard & Olive Grove. Enjoy a tasting of thoughtfully prepared canapes matched with 5 wines produced by this award-winning organic winery which overlooks the Waipara River. We end the day with a cocktail and Baja-inspired light meal in the Pink Lady Rooftop bar above our hotel.
Day 5 Banks Peninsula
We'll check out of our hotel this morning and journey over to Banks Peninsula. First stop will be at Little River for morning tea and a look through this popular gallery where you will find a wide range of art and jewellery. We wind our way up the hill and across the top of the Peninsula before dropping down into O'Kains Bay. This idyllic little slice of Kiwi paradise is the home of several quaint historic buildings, a quiet beach book-ended by steep hills and the best little museum brimming with nationally significant collections showcased in a range of heritage and replica buildings. You will be pleasantly surprised! As you roam along the road looking at the old library and church, you will probably start to smell something delicious emanating from a nearby home. As you enter Jane's kitchen your mouth will begin to salivate, but first take some time to sit in this restful organic garden with a cool drink before lunch. In the afternoon, we travel over the hill, stopping at the top to admire the picturesque scenery spread out below us. Once in Akaroa, we'll go straight to the Giant's House where you'll find a historic building surrounded by a colourful Garden of International Significance full of mosaics, sculptures, ceramics, and terraced gardens. Check in to our waterfront accommodation and relax until we meet for drinks and dinner this evening.
Day 6 Akaroa
This morning we are met by a local guide descended from the French settlers who arrived in Akaroa in 1840. Our historic walk of Akaroa takes in both the English and French ends of town and will be fun and informative. Included is a visit to an early pioneering family cottage and garden which has retained most of its early fabric from the mid-1800s.This afternoon, we'll board a comfortable sea vessel for a 2-hour harbour cruise. The aim today is to meet the world's smallest and rarest dolphins. The Hector's are a cute and playful bunch and are only found in New Zealand waters. Of course,being wild doesn't mean we are guaranteed to see them,but we do have a 98% chance! Sit back and relax with complimentary refreshments and home baking whilst cruising this particularly scenic harbour with its much-photographed dramatic ruggedness. Once back on firm ground, the rest of the day is free to explore the town at your leisure or relax in your waterview room until we meet for a pre-dinner drink and dinner.
Day 7 Akaroa to Christchurch
Optional early morning walk to kick start our last day and take in some more of Akaroa's wonderful scenery and native bush. After checking out, we'll head back to Christchurch via Barry's Bay and French Farm for some sightseeing at various places of interest and a final "gala lunch" at a surprise location.Our adventure comes to an end back in Christchurch this afternoon.
-6nights accommodation (4 nights The Muse Art Hotel Christchurch, 2 nights The Criterion Akaroa or similar) -Transportation in mini-coach -Tour Navigator -Christchurch Tram Tour & Avon River Punt -Quakecity and Transitional Cathedral tour -Distillery Tour -Hot pool entryat New Brighton & Hanmer Springs -Peartree Lane Cooking Experience -Wine & Food Tasting -O'Kains Bay Museum -Giants House entry and tour -Akaroa historical walking tour -Dolphin Cruise -Guided walking -Daily breakfast, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
-Flights/transportation to Christchurch -Travel insurance -Optional sightseeing & items of a personal nature -Meals not specified
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