North of the South Explorer
6 nights/7 days self drive.
Day 1 Arrive BHE Airport (or Picton ferry terminal) and collect your rental car.
Check in time at your hotel is 3pm. It is possible to leave your bags with the
Concierge while you commence your Discovery of the North of the South by
driving to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre where you are booked on a
guided "Highlights" tour of the WW1 and WW2 exhibitions.
Evening free to discover one of the fabulous restaurants for which Marlborough
Day 2 Today you have a choice between two superb excursions which will take you
deep into the unimaginably scenic Marlborough Sounds as you explore part of
the Queen Charlotte track.
Option 1 takes you to one of three sections of the Queen Charlotte Track to
explore at your leisure. An incentive to get you to either Furneaux Lodge of
Punga Cove is their delicious Pizza menu which is what you will have for lunch.
Drinks and any other menu choices are on your account.
Option 2 takes you into a historic part of the Marlborough Sounds near where
Capt Cook dropped anchor on the Endeavour in 1770. Apart from the history
associated with this part of the Sound, you will find the Motuara Island bird
sanctuary, a predator-free safe haven for many rare species including the
South Island Saddleback and Bush Robin. Small Blue Penguins nest in boxes
alongside the track that gradually climbs to a lookout above the forest canopy.
Departure is at 8am and you will be back in Picton by 1pm with approximately
two hours to explore the island and listen to the bird song.
Day 3 Today we're giving you more choices. Relax and enjoy Blenheim in the morning.
Then, if you enjoy eating fresh mussels with some of the world’s best Sauvignon
Blanc then you have to make your way to Havelock because the Greenshell
Mussel cruise is waiting there for you. You will cruise into the clear waters of
the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds to a mussel farm and here have hauled up
some tasty mussels fresh from the sea to be steamed on board your boat. You
will be presented with a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc to accompany the
We will have you back in Havelock by 4.30pm. Before you leave Havelock make
sure you stop to see the memorial to two great New Zealanders erected by
NASA; Sir Ernest Rutherford and William Pickering, the father of Space Travel.
Both went to primary school here.
Alternatively you second option for the day is another culinary experience. You
will cruise to Furneaux Lodge or Punga Cove to enjoy lunch at the restaurant at
either of these exquisite lodges. This is a more substantial lunch and you might
like to take a short walk afterwards to walk off some calories before rejoining
your water taxi back to Picton where you will arrive at 4.30pm.
Day 4 This morning check out of your accommodation and commence the scenic
drive to Nelson via the Queen Charlotte Drive and over the Pelorus Bridge
made world famous as a film location for the Hobbit Trilogy.
You will arrive in Nelson in plenty of time to explore the town and its
surroundings. Check in at your hotel is timed for 3pm.
Day 5 This morning after breakfast drive to Kaiteriteri for your water taxi which will
take you into one of NZ's finest marine parks, the Abel Tasman National Park.
On the way stop at Mapua, a small fishing village and artists’ colony. You can
get great coffee here and find some unusual pieces of local crafts.
We have chosen a couple of activities which will give you a nice introduction to
the park and the choice is yours; either the Beach and Seals walk between
Medlands and Bark Bays or get out on the water to do the Split Apple kayak
paddle. Either of these trips will bring you back to Kaiteriteri by 4pm.
Day 6 Nelson is a mecca for lover of NZ arts, crafts and sculpture. To widen its appeal
and in a similar vein to Marlborough, it is home to some fine wine and craft
beer makers which is hardly surprising given the amount of hops produced in
So today we are offering you what is called "Trust the Guide." This is a unique
tour in that it is designed by the guide on the day after discussing the options
with you. So the choices around Nelson include of course wineries and craft
beer but also perhaps you'd like to see some local painters at their studios and
see them create while you're there. Or visit Happy Valley, famous for its
Skywire, the longest Flying Fox in the world. Or combine local gardens with the
Waimarama Brook Sanctuary where you will find rare birds and reptiles in their
native habitat. The choice is yours entirely.
Whatever you choose, you can trust your guide to have you back in Nelson by
5pm, in time for dinner.
Day 7 This morning you will pack your bags for the last time and check out of your
hotel and make your way to Nelson Airport to return your rental car before
checking in for your flight home.