Central Otago, Oamaru & Southern Scenic Route Tour
Cromwell, Danseys Pass, Oamaru, Dunedin, Catlins, Fiordland
The best scenery & culture that New Zealand has to offer
This tour showcases stunningly diverse scenery. We will experience the heritage and wineries of Cromwell, Clyde & St Bathams & Central Otago plains, Danseys Pass, victorian Oamaru, the historic architecture of Dunedin, coastal areas with golden beaches, famous Milford Sound, beautiful native forests resembling the age of the Gondwana ancient supercontinent, as well as the opportunity to experience some of the more well-known regional attractions.
Welcome to our small-group (10 maximum) tour onboard our modern minibus, where you will be escorted around the area’s highlights.
The area we would like to show you has far more to offer than we can squeeze into our standard tours! Therefore we would like to offer you an option to tailor your trip according to your particular interests.
For instance, we can add a trip to the delightful Stewart Island, an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound, or a visit to the other remote fjords of Fiordland. Perhaps car enthusiasts will enjoy time in Invercargill visiting the Classic Motorcycle Mecca and Bill Richardson Transport World - Truck & Car Museum. Machinery and vintage car enthusiasts will be amazed at how many unique museums and collections there are in Southland.
Please ask us any questions so we can properly fulfill your travel dreams.
Day 1: From Queenstown (or Te Anau, Mossburn) to Cromwell & St Bathams
Today we will travel from Queenstown (or optionally can start in Te Anau / Mossburn / Lumsden) to Central Otago. We will stop at a few scenic spots, have a stroll in Cromwell Heritage Precinct and visit local winery/wineries. In the afternoon we will visit historic Clyde and St Bathans.
Accommodation: St Bathans / Naseby / Ranfurly (according to group size, interest & availability).
Day 2: Naseby, Danseys Pass, Oamaru
We will take a less traveled back road via Dansey Pass to Oamaru. We will enjoy the best of Victorian heritage. Oamaru Harbour is New Zealand's only surviving authentic Victorian/Edwardian deepwater port, paralleling the town's uniquely intact colonial architectural inheritance. In colonial New Zealand, ports were fundamental to the local and regional economy. The success of the town and the rural industries can only be understood in the context of the construction of a successful port on what had been a hazardous coastline. Because the port closed to commercial shipping at the end of the conventional shipping era in 1974, it retains a unique assortment of heritage wharves, seawalls, sheds, rails and other features.
Day 3: Oamaru and Moeraki
In the morning we will visit Moeraki and (if opened) have a cafe in famous Fleurs Place. We can take a scenic route via Karitane or visit Orokonui Ecosanctuary. We will walk on Baldwin Street - the steepest street in the world. In the evening we have the opportunity to visit the historic centre of Dunedin.
Day 4: Dunedin and Otago Peninsula
We will have free morning in the centre of Dunedin. You can visit Otago Settlers Museum or we can visit Dunedin Botanic Gardens. After lunch we will head to the Otago Peninsula and visit Larnach Castle with its beautiful gardens and later in the afternoon Yellow Eyed Penguin Place. We can briefly visit Tairoa Head’s with Royal Albatross Centre before returning to Dunedin.
Day 5: From Dunedin to Catlins
In the morning we can walk to the famous Tunnel Beach. We will drive via Brighton & Taieri Mouth to enjoy several scenic stops. In the afternoon we will visit the stunning Catlins area and have the opportunity for an afternoon scenic stroll to Nugget Point.
Day 6: Catlins to Invercargill
We will spend most of the day on the beautiful Catlins coast. Here we can experience the Purakaunui Falls Walk, we might see New Zealand fur seals, visit The Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowai, and walk among the petrified forest at Curio Bay. If the tide allows, we will visit Cathedral Caves and more.
Day 7: Lake Hauroko, Wairaurahiri Jet OR a cruise on Lake Hauroko
We will visit Lake Hauroko and (if weather permits) we can do a memorable jetboat cruise via Lake Hauroko to Wairaurahiri River or instead you might prefer a relaxing cruise on Lake Hauroko (the whole group must agree on one chosen activity). The jetboat excursion is a full day trip (this is a once in a lifetime experience taking you to one of the most remote rivers in New Zealand surrounded by mountains and temperate rain-forest plus you get to the ocean too - conditions permitting.) and the Lake Hauroko cruise is approx 2,5-3 hours. If time allows we will visit Dean Forest with the last remaining forest with huge totara trees. If weather does not allow us to visit Lake Hauroko we will explore other places on the way back to Te Anau.
Day 8: Te Anau to Milford Sound
We will spend the whole day on the most scenic NZ road on our way to Milford Sound and back - short walks and many photo spots. There is the option to take a helicopter flight over Milford Sound and surrounding mountains including a helicopter landing - this is NZ's most diverse scenic flight. We recommend that you visit Te Anau's boutique cinema and watch the acclaimed movie Ata Whenua or alternatively to gain an insight into the fascinating history and drama of NZ’s deer recovery "Deer Wars".
Accommodation: Te Anau
Day 9: Te Anau to Queenstown
In the morning we will visit the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. We have the option of taking a two hour cruise onboard the lovely historic motorsailer Faith. Indulging in a bird's eye view by float-plane, plane or helicopter will give you a full appreciation of the fascinating Fiordland scenery comprising of endless mountain ranges, temperate rain-forest, lakes, tarns, rivers and fjords. In the afternoon we will drive to Queenstown with a side trip up to the Remarkables viewpoint overlooking Wakatipu Basin. The rest of the evening will be free for you to spend in Queenstown.
If you wish then the tour can finish here, or you may wish to consider the following extension for days 7-9.
Day 10: Final day or Optional Extension - One day trip to/around Glenorchy - Head of Lake Wakatipu*
This can be your final day, departure according to your flight. Or you can continue: We will visit Paradise near Glenorchy, one of the main film locations of Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and other movies. In Glenorchy we will admire great views from jetty and Glenorchy Lagoon Boardwalk.
Day 11: Optional Extension - One day trip to Wanaka*
Enjoy the best of local wineries, gold mining history and scenic views - we will visit Gibbston Valley, Bannockburn and Wanaka wineries & enjoy the great scenery and food and beverages of Central Otago.
Day 12: Final day
Final day, departure according to your flight. If you stay in the town longer we can help you organise your itinerary.
*Arrangements can be made for those who wish to finish the tour earlier on day 7 or 10 according to their schedule.
We are happy to assist with all bookings and adjust your itinerary accordingly.
Stewart Island - visit for a day, two or more...
Invercargill - car enthusiasts will love the Classic Motorcycle Mecca and Bill Richardson Transport World - Truck & Car Museum.
Doubtful Sound cruise - full day or two days (overnight cruise) Exchange Milford for Doubtful or add a day or two in Fiordland. Doubtful Sound’s fjord is a less famous neighbour of Milford Sound. However, being far larger and more remote many travelers regard it as superior. Access to Doubtful Sound is only via Lake Manapouri or in a helicopter. For overnight cruises we recommend travelling on a smaller vessel which offers a more intimate experience.
Tour for private groups on demand - please register your interest here and we will be in touch asap
10 days / 9 nights $2420*
12 days / 11 nights $2940*
Single supplement $80/night
*Per person based on double occupancy / twin share (8 pax minimum)
These prices are based on a basic package (can be tailored according to your demand from a budget to luxury trip)
average of 3.5* accommodation - motel / hotel
Breakfast (mix cooked & continental)
Transport in modern and comfortable 11 seater minibus
Main (in bold) and some optional activities
Larnach Castle - Otago Peninsula
Yellow Eyed Penguin Place - Otago Peninsula
Cathedral Caves - Catlins
Milford Sound Cruise
Milford Sound Helicopter flight
Highlands Motorsport Park - Cromwell
Transport and Toy Museum - Wanaka
Warbirds and Wheels Museum - Wanaka
Puzzling World - Wanaka