Arrive into Christchurch
Choose through us how you arrive into Christchurch whether it is by air or land. We will ensure your travel preferences are in keeping with the arrangements we have made for you and we will make it easy to maximise the experiences you have chosen through us.
Our very special, professional, and incredibly knowledgeable host, local Geoff will be there to greet you personally and ensure your arrival runs to perfection. No delays in luggage or check-ins, everything is designed to run smoothly for you to maximise your journey with us.
As your luggage is stowed for you, sit back and relax and enjoy your private and very informative exploration around Christchurch with someone who can treat you to the “real” knowledge, the “real” stories, and the “real tips” on ensuring you know the Christchurch today, yesterday and through history.
Imagine after learning such interesting facts, arriving at your perfect evening retreat so you can freshen whilst Geoff arranges to have you taken and returned safely to your evening eatery when you are ready. Geoff as your personal concierge will have ensured the best table at the best place to dine all set up around his great knowledge of the local eateries and your favourites when it comes to cuisine.
Dine in the heart of the garden city and enjoy your company with each other before being returned to your gorgeous overnight escape with plenty of time to enjoy a great evening, a nightcap, and a perfect night’s sleep.
Day 2. Leave Christchurch for your self-drive day of sightseeing and discovery
Arise to a new morning with a gorgeous breakfast (included) and enjoy a morning of peace, tranquillity and service.
When you are ready, begin the next part of your adventure by popping into either your own car or the specially arranged car we have arranged outside from us so that you can self-drive the route we have specially designed to take in the 4 hour and 30 minute scenic route from Christchurch to Aoraki Mount Cook.
Travel west by road in your luxury rental car across the mighty Canterbury Plains towards the spectacular Southern Alps, home to the ski fields of Porters, Cheeseman, Craigeburn, Mount Dobson, Mount Hutt and Broken River. Make your way to the beautiful Rakaia gorge and stunning blue turquoise coloured waters of this very impressive braided river famous for salmon fishing. Following State Highway 79, continue on to Geraldine for the perfect mid-morning stop. A local farming community with an exceptional artistic streak. For vintage car fanatics, be sure to pop in to the vintage car and machinery museum. With several boutique shops, art galleries and gift-ware options this is the perfect moment to explore with a hot coffee or tea and take your time to discover those special unknown places and support our local business owners.
Replenished with newfound gifts in hand, continue on your journey to the eastern gateway town to the Mackenzie region, Fairlie. A popular ski town in winter, this quintessential rural town don’t do things by halves. An essential stop, in our opinion, is at the Lieber Bakehouse otherwise known as the Fairlie Bakehouse. A hand-made pie is not to be missed! With a constantly changing fresh local menu this is the perfect chance to refuel and get those much-needed car nibbles. Catering for vegetarians and gluten free requirements, there’s something for everyone.
Next, the incredible Burke’s Pass that takes you into the high altitude, tussock-covered expanses that characterise the region. The Mackenzie Country is named after James Mackenzie, the legendary Scottish sheep rustler who once roamed the hills. You’ll find a memorial to him in Fairlie’s town centre. Passing through Burke’s Pass Village where Sir Bill Hamilton rests, Kiwi inventor of the world-famous Jet Boat.
Emerge out of Burke’s Pass and descend towards the stunning Lake Tekapo and enjoy panoramic views of a turquoise-blue lake and in spring, view the bright purple lupins flowers. Stop at the lakeside Church of the Good Sheppard for a chance to stretch your legs and to take some memorable photo’s. Fancy a spa in the hot pools? We can arrange your Tekapo Springs pass for an afternoon or post dinner spa and relaxation.
Next, head to the beautiful Lake Pukaki (Maori meaning, “Lake of many streams’). This is New Zealand’s largest storage of water for our Hydro Electric schemes. A glacial lake famous for it’s milky-blue colour and a special film location for ‘The Hobbit’ movie. Take a visit to the local salmon farm and perhaps try their salmon that is globally sought after.
Continue on to arrive into the Aoraki – Mount Cook National park and World-Heritage site. The local Department of Conservation i Site Visitor Centre is well worth a visit.
After the most incredible self-drive day of discovery, relax tonight in your evening accommodation set in the heart of Aoraki Village and enjoy a Kiwi inspired dinner at The Old Mountaineers Restaurant, owned by local mountaineer Charlie Hobbs and wife well known author Mary – perhaps pick up one of her highly regarded New Zealand books! They pride themselves of providing fresh, organic local produce and beverage options. Open your taste-buds and try one of their organic wines or Hummingbird coffee. This is truly an eat good feel good experience.
Rest tonight in this iconic and magical alpine region of our mighty Southern Alps (30 peaks over 10,000ft/3,000mtrs) and ready yourselves for your following day of exploration and adventure.
Day 3. Your day of Adventure
Why not take your pick at one of our adventure and discovery options to add to your journey to spend your day the way you want to and allow us to organise all the behind the scenes details so we can customise your Aoraki / Mount journey to perfection. Perhaps cross off some bucket-list experiences or try something new! This is your day to get outdoors and into the most beautiful parts of alpine nature and witness environmental wonders found uniquely in New Zealand. Here are two of our must do experiences:
Tasman Glacier Explorer Trip (from early September to late May):
A truly remarkable, out of this world experience over the course of two and a half hours. Leaving from the Iconic Hermitage hotel, you’ll be transported to the Tasman Valley for a 30 minute Alpine walk through the moraine and National Park. Board the custom built MAC boat and enjoy the ever changing scenery. See uninterrupted views of the Tasman Glacier ice face from a safe distance and icebergs of all shapes and sizes with the opportunity to touch and taste the 300-500 year old ice crystals. Your glacier experience includes return transport, life jackets and incredibly knowledgeable, caring and professional guides. Be sure to bring a waterproof jacket, suitable footwear, your camera and attitude for adventure! A must-do experience during months of operation.
Hooker Valley Track:
A 3 hour return walking track and the most popular in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Walk amongst an ancient rugged landscape of ice and rock that leads up to the Hooker Valley and along the Hooker river, opening out at the glacier lake, soak in the incredible views of Aoraki / Mount Cook (3,764 metres). Your exploration takes you across three swing-bridges where you will encounter picturesque icebergs, glaciers and majestic mountains that will have you reaching for your camera at every turn. Make sure to bring appropriate and comfortable walking shoes and warm clothing in the winter months! A scenic, easy walking track that anyone with a moderate level of fitness can achieve.
Included in your magical day, is an evening stargazing experience. Let your imagination run wild as you discover Aoraki’s night sky including the Southern Cross, seasonal ecliptic objects, planets, stunning star clusters, moons, distant galaxies and the spectacular Milky Way.
For more adventure options, take a look at our menu of additional experiences below. Don’t forget to visit our very own Sir Edmund Hillary’s Alpine Centre attraction, located in the iconic Hermitage hotel (ground floor) a “must see” in our view.
Day 4. Christchurch Return
Included in your day is a truly special half day local tour around Twizel and the surrounding area. Allow your local guide Wally, a personal friend of professional host Geoff to take you on a truly authentic half day local tour in and around the beautiful Twizel (nearby town). A local character loved by all, Wally will show you his incredible backyard including stunning world famous Lord of the Rings scenery. And – Jill, Wally’s lovely wife, will pack a gorgeous picnic lunch for you to enjoy.
Afterwards, take the scenic road which we have curated for you to enjoy on your self-drive return journey to Christchurch. Travelling through the beautiful ski resort village of Methven, following the road through Darfield, returning to Christchurch after an incredible three night – four day getaway in which you will not only know Christchurch much more intimately but you will have been able to take our level of experience, networks, and hosting skills and incorporate the same into a journey like no other.
Alternatively, your experience with us does not have to end there! Extend your journey through us by visiting other destinations including Kaikoura, Akaroa, Arthurs Pass and Hanmer Springs / Maruia for the best way of maximising your time in the South Island. Please note this journey can be shortened or lengthened to suit any time-frame, simply ask us.
We can’t wait to see you there!