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Interislander ferry, Cook Straight
North to South Fishing Adventure
10 day South Island Self Drive, from Wellington to Queenstown
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North to South Fishing Adventure

Experience New Zealand fishing at its best with this 10 day fishing adventure! You'll begin your trip in the capital city of Wellington, famous for its vibrant, creative culture, before catching the Interisland Ferry across the stunning Cook Strait. Enjoy a full day fishing in the Tasman Bay with Nelson Fishing Charters, and a 3 hour cray and fishing charter in Kaikoura. Relax on a harbour nature cruise in the beautiful Akaroa before heading inland to Lake Tekapo for a spot of fly fishing. Moving on to Queenstown, you will cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm on a vintage steamship to enjoy a gourmet BBQ dinner, prepared right in front of you! Your final day fishing will be on Lake Wakatipu, where you will visit some of the best trout fishing spots in the Otago/Southland region.

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Itinerary details at a glance

South Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$3,518 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Wellington, finishes in Queenstown

10 days/9 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible

 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers

 Viewed 22 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance
Quick itinerary overview - North to South Fishing Adventure

Day 1: Arrive into Wellington
Accommodation: Bolton Hotel Wellington

Day 2: Today you'll cross the Cook Strait on the Interislander Ferry. Approaching Picton you'll cruise through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Apartments
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 104 kms / 65 miles : 1.6 hours

Day 3: Enjoy a days fishing with Nelson Fishing Charters
Accommodation: Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Apartments

Day 4: Travel to Kaikoura via Nelson lakes National Park
Accommodation: Kaikoura Boutique Hotel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 412 kms / 256 miles : 5.1 hours

Day 5: Fish Kaikoura on a 3 hour Cray and Fishing Charter
Accommodation: Kaikoura Boutique Hotel

Day 6: Head South to Akaroa and Relax on a Harbour Nature Cruise
Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 344 kms / 213 miles : 5.0 hours

Day 7: Fish the Beautiful Lake Tekapo
Accommodation: Lake Tekapo Lodge
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 247 kms / 153 miles : 2.9 hours

Day 8: Today you'll travel over the Lindas Pass to Queenstown
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 249 kms / 155 miles : 2.9 hours

Day 9: Enjoy the Ultimate Trout Fishing Experience on Lake Wakatipu
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 10: Depart Queenstown Today

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 8 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

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Day 1 - Arrive into Wellington
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 1
Private transfer Wellington airport to your accommodation

You will be met on arrival at Wellington airport and transferred to your accommodation.

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You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

Welcome to Wellington

Wellington City is New Zealand's capital. It sits on a wonderful deep natural harbour and is surrounded by bush clad hills. The city centre itself is quite compact (only around 1 square kilometre) and so exploring on foot is relatively easy. From your city centre accommodation you can easily stroll the cafes and restaurants around Courtenay Place and if you arrive early enough New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, is also close by.

Your accommodation: Bolton Hotel Wellington

The Bolton Hotel offers contemporary apartment-style accommodation in the heart of Wellington. Just steps from the Parliament buildings and central business district, Bolton Hotel is conveniently close to the best of the city's shops, cafes and restaurants and is within walking distance of Wellington's vibrant waterfront.
Day 2 - Today you'll cross the Cook Strait on the Interislander Ferry. Approaching Picton you'll cruise through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 2
Interislander Ferry Wellington to Picton

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Leaving Wellington Harbour you pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).
From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. The final leg of your cruise travels through Queen Charlotte Sound before coming to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.

Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.  To help you on your way GPS is included with all rentals.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive

Queen Charlotte Drive travels the Marlborough Sounds coastline between Picton and Havelock. Magnificent views of the sounds can be had from many vantage points so allow plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. If you can spare the time take the narrow windy road to Portage along Mahau Sound and Kenepuru Sound with their bush clad hillsides and secluded sandy coves.

The small port town of Havelock has a great variety of cafes and restaurants to choose from so plan your journey to arrive in time for lunch. The highway between Nelson and Picton also crosses the Pelorus River and just at this junction is the famous and historic Pelorus Bridge. From here there are a number of forest walks with the most popular the 30 minute loop through beech, rimu and totara forest to the swing-bridge.

Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mapua Wharf

Mapua Wharf was once a busy coastal freight wharf used for transporting fresh orchard produce to consumers around the world.  It no longer bustles with wharfies and freight ships, instead there’s a steady hum of crafty creativity and the buzz of thriving restaurants, cafes and bars.  Here you can watch a variety of local artists at work and purchase unique New Zealand creations direct.  As well as the delicious fare available at the restaurants and cafes, you can also sample some divine artesian produce, like smoked mussels and salmon from the Smokehouse.  To explore further afield hire a bike and explore the local bicycle trails, including the Tasman Great Taste Trail which links nearby Nelson with Mapua, via a ferry ride from Rabbit Island across the Waimea Estuary, home to a range of bird species. Mapua Wharf is a short 25 minute drive from Nelson.

Your accommodation: Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Apartments

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco is the perfect place to escape everyday life and relax in the old world charm of a village atmosphere. With views stretching across the Waimea Inlet to the mountains of Kahurangi National Park.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 104 kms / 65 miles : 1.6 hours

Day 3 - Enjoy a days fishing with Nelson Fishing Charters
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 3
Nelson Fishing Charters Full Day Trip

A day trip with Nelson fishing charters is one of the best fishing experiences you’ll do in the Tasman Bay, taking you to all the best fishing spots. Your guide’s local knowledge is programmed into the GPS charting system, helping you track down a variety of fish species. The abundant fishing is bested only by the breath taking scenery of this unspoilt natural paradise. Leaving from Nelson you will head out and fish around D'Uville Island. All baits and fishing gear is supplied, along with hot drinks so all you have to worry about is catching the fish. Then when you catch something, cook it up on the boat with the on board BBQ.

Your accommodation: Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Apartments

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco is the perfect place to escape everyday life and relax in the old world charm of a village atmosphere. With views stretching across the Waimea Inlet to the mountains of Kahurangi National Park.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Travel to Kaikoura via Nelson lakes National Park
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 4
Nelson to Kaikoura via Nelson Lakes National Park

The drive today takes through the enchanting Nelson Lakes National Park of rugged peaks, forests and glacial lakes. Your journey will take you along the Buller Gorge which offers some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. The town of Murchison is a quiet place and a great lunch stop. Underneath its sleepy farming facade is an adventurers paradise with white water rafting, kayaking, 4WD trips and some great trout fishing.
Continuing on the drive today takes you along the Lewis Pass, the least travelled of the three main routes over the Southern Alps. A scenic journey passing through forests and the famous Maruia Hot Springs. Springs Junction is the starting point of the pass and just after is Lake Daniells Track. If you have time to take this 4-hour return walks you are rewarded with some beautiful native beech forest views and eventually the tranquil Lake Daniells. Maruia Springs has been attracting travellers for years and the natural hot springs are now located within an authentic Japanese themed resort. Outdoor hot pools are a great way to relax.
As you head towards the east coast you will travel through North Canterbury’s major wine region, the Waipara Valley. Kaikoura is a bustling little town with many cafes, restaurants and shops but the main reason for visiting here is the wildlife. Whale Watch Kaikoura is New Zealand's only marine-based whale watching company offering visitors an exciting up-close encounter with the Giant Sperm Whale at all times of the year. Kaikoura is New Zealand's world famous whale watching destination. Sperm Whales can be seen here year-round while depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales. Another great Kaikoura activity is Swimming with the Seals. Donning a wet suit you have the opportunity to interact with these inquisitive creatures on their terms. Wings over Whales also offer tours from fixed-wing aircraft to view the whales and other marine creatures from 500 feet in the air.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura

Experience New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company. Whale Watch Kaikoura offer a once-in-a-lifetime, up close encounter with the giant Sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, occasionally make an appearance.
Cruise in style on modern catamarans, specifically designed for whale watching - Featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one.

Your accommodation: Kaikoura Boutique Hotel

Kaikoura Boutique Hotel sits on the Esplanade overlooking Kaikoura’s waterfront, just a short walk from tourist attractions, shops and cafes. The hotel has been lovingly refurbished with modern décor and a uniquely New Zealand design.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 412 kms / 256 miles : 5.1 hours

Day 5 - Fish Kaikoura on a 3 hour Cray and Fishing Charter
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 5
Kaikoura Crayfish and Fishing Charter with Fish Kaikoura

Fish Kaikoura crayfish and fishing charter cater for the novice, through to the expert fisherman. Not only will you enjoy an unforgettable 3 hour fishing trip but you will also experience some of Kaikoura’s famous marine life including seals, albatross and dolphins as well as breath-taking mountain and sea views. Fish Kaikoura also guarantee a catch! Your vessel, the purpose built i-Catcher, ensures a comfortable and safe fishing experience, with enough space for 6 people to fish at once.  The fish you catch will be cleaned and filleted as you go, so you will finish the day with fresh fish ready for your dinner. Provided: quality fishing gear, bait, gimbals and life jackets.

Your accommodation: Kaikoura Boutique Hotel

Kaikoura Boutique Hotel sits on the Esplanade overlooking Kaikoura’s waterfront, just a short walk from tourist attractions, shops and cafes. The hotel has been lovingly refurbished with modern décor and a uniquely New Zealand design.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6 - Head South to Akaroa and Relax on a Harbour Nature Cruise
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 6
Kaikoura to Akaroa

The drive from Kaikoura to Christchurch continues to follow the spectacular coastline before heading inland and through North Canterbury’s major wine region, the Waipara Valley. You are also introduced you to the South Island’s most numerous inhabitant, the sheep. A great detour to take is the side trip to Hanmer Springs for a relaxing dip in the thermal pools.
Arriving into Christchurch City puts you close to the airport and the International Antarctic Centre and a visit is highly recommended. Here you can get as close to experiencing life on the frozen continent without actually visiting plus see New Zealand little blue penguins and ride in a Haaglund Tracked vehicle.
The Banks Peninsula offers a great contrast to the South Island's largest city. Just around a 1 1/2 hours drive from the city centre are rolling green hills, streams, golden sand beaches and small settlements that offer a unique insight into New Zealand's history and development.
Just on the other side of the Port Hills is Lyttelton, a busy port town that was crucial to the development of Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains. Following the road around the beautiful natural harbour the names, such as Magazine Bay, Battery Point, Corsair Point and Governers Bay, remind of the importance the navy placed on this harbour.
The Banks Peninsula itself is actually the remains of a long extinct volcano, the rim of which collapsed some time ago allowing the sea to flood into and create what is now the Akaroa Harbour. In 1840 French colonists settled in Akaroa in a bid to stake a claim for the South Island. Unbeknown the British had already declared sovereignty and a long drawn out dispute ensued with the British eventually being given government. However the French stayed and made this stunning part of the South Pacific their home and still to this day the town boasts French street names and every year a French Festival is held.
The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. One of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, hectors dolphin, are often seen and cruises also offer excursions with the chance to swim amongst them.

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Experience majestic scenery and stunning wildlife daily on a Black Cat Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise. You’ll see the rare, native dolphin – the Hector’s or New Zealand Dolphin. There’s also the chance to spot the world’s smallest penguin, the White Flippered Little Blue Penguin, Fur Seals and other sea birds.
Other cruise highlights are some majestic volcanic cliffs (including the impressive Cathedral Cave) and signs of Akaroa’s fascinating past including early Maori, French and British settlements.

Akaroa to Christchurch (via Lyttelton)

Head to Christchurch today crossing the hills with spectacular views of the harbour. We recommend taking the slightly longer but much more scenic route around Lyttelton Harbour.  Just turn at Gebbies Pass Road and follow the road as it passes by the bays named after the areas naval past such as Corsair and Governors Bay. Take the tunnel into the city.

Your accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch

This luxury hotel is centrally located in the revitalised Cathedral Square in the heart of the city, a short stroll from the Avon River, Botanical Gardens, Christchurch Casino, Cashel Mall and new Christchurch Convention Centre.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 344 kms / 213 miles : 5.0 hours

Day 7 - Fish the Beautiful Lake Tekapo
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 7
Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route the first township of Geraldine offers an ideal refreshment stop before you head into Mackenzie country.
Passing through places such as Beautiful Valley it's not hard to understand where the names originate. Ascending Burkes Pass and onto the high country plateau and the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, the first of the large Southern Lakes. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just enjoy the magnificent views.

Fishing at Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo, in the heart of the Makenzie Country, is a very beautiful, turquoise coloured lake that provides good fishing for both brown and rainbow trout. It is the Northern most lake in the upper Waitaki basin and is mostly fed by snow melt, causing the light turquoise colour from the glacial silt. Lake Tekapo holds good numbers of trout and some reaching very impressive weights. There are a number of small creeks and rivers which generally flow clear providing excellent fishing at the point they enter the lake.
For the shoreline angler, some of the best fishing is to be found around the mouths of these small streams. Most anglers however prefer to troll a lure from a boat. There is good access to the southern shore via State Highway 8. The Lilybank road provides good access at several points along the eastern shore and the Godley Peaks road provides access near Lake McGregor and towards the northern end of the lake.

Your accommodation: Lake Tekapo Lodge

Lake Tekapo Lodge is sited above the village of Tekapo and offers grand views to the lake and mountains. The three super king lake view rooms have doors to a terrace for you to enjoy the vista and the guest lounge is a quiet sanctuary for you to retreat to after a day exploring.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 247 kms / 153 miles : 2.9 hours

Day 8 - Today you'll travel over the Lindas Pass to Queenstown
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 8
Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Lake Pukaki is just another 30 minutes drive from Lake Tekapo and as you approach the lake you are often rewarded with spectacular views the full length of the lake and into Mt. Cook National Park. At 3754 metres Aoraki Mt. Cook is New Zealand highest mountain and the peak can often be seen from the visitor centre at the southern end of Lake Pukaki. Twizel, just south of Mt. Cook was the location of many Lord of the Rings movie scenes and a little further on is Omarama, the gliding capital of New Zealand. Wrinkly Rams is a local cafe and also offers an informative sheep shearing demonstration. The Lindis Pass is one of New Zealand's highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres. The tussock covered hills offer an unusual contrast as you pass from the Mackenzie Basin and into Central Otago.
Bendigo
, just off the main highway, was one of Otago's original gold mining settlements and well marked paths will guide you to explore the remains of stone cottages and other buildings from this bygone era.
Cromwell
sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Cromwell old town has restored buildings from before the valley was flooded to create Lake Dunstan for the hydro systems. The sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge guide you towards Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley is one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. At the famous historic Kawarau Bridge you can take a bungy jump or just watch others if you would rather. Approaching Queenstown the impressive Remarkables mountain range come into view and then beautiful Lake Wakatipu as you head towards the alpine resort town of Queenstown, the adventure and activity capital of New Zealand.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship. You'll be greeted off the boat and guided through beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming homestead.
Here you'll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea and coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country.
On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship's pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 249 kms / 155 miles : 2.9 hours

Day 9 - Enjoy the Ultimate Trout Fishing Experience on Lake Wakatipu
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 9
Queenstown Fishing - 3 Hour Fishing Experience - (Shared Charter)

A lot can happen in three hours… and joining a small group on this charter, fishing alongside seasoned fishermen, will prove just that. With local knowledge of target areas, the Queenstown Fishing crew are excellent fishing mentors to any visitor. Relax, laugh, catch, and make the most of your time on Lake Wakatipu.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10 - Depart Queenstown Today
North to South Fishing Adventure - Day 10
A final morning in the Adventure Capital before dropping your car at the airport

Explore more of Queenstown before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 8 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

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