Up Close With New Zealand’s Wildlife

New Zealand remained uninhabited by humans for most of its history. This isolation from mankind has allowed the country to become home to a unique and diverse array of wildlife, that can’t be found anywhere else. From Dunedin to Wellington, enjoy New Zealand’s fantastic scenery and wildlife.

Price includes meet & greet upon arrival, accommodation, all excursions on a shared basis in Dunedin, Kaikoura, Nelson and Wellington, full-size mid-size automatic rental vehicle including daily insurance, unlimited kilometres, accident reduction and GPS. Excludes international flights, optional activities and items not mentioned in Inclusions.

Day 1: Arrival into Auckland - Dunedin

You will arrive into Auckland International Airport where you will be met by a Lightfoot representative and transferred to the terminal for your domestic flight to Dunedin. Upon arrival at Dunedin Airport you will be met and privately transferred you to your accommodation, for two nights, Kaimata Retreat.

Relax this afternoon with your mini welcome pack or head out on the complimentary mountain bikes to explore the estate, before returning to the lodge at sunset, for 3-course dinner with pre-dinner canapés and bottle of New Zealand premium wine with Chef Torres.

 

Stay: Kaimata Retreat

Day 2: Otago Peninsula Tour, Dunedin

Wake to a peaceful waterside vista and take breakfast whilst watching morning pursuits of local birds and wildlife. Depart for exploration perhaps a coastal walk or lunch and tour of the Royal albatross colony.

Return mid-afternoon, relax at the spa, and then depart on your dusk wildlife-tour. On this tour, knowledgeable guides will inform you about Hooker’s Sea lions, Yellow-eyed Penguins, Blue Penguins, a breeding colony of New Zealand Fur Seals can be had. Close up unobtrusive viewing from beach locations and strategically placed observation hides is guaranteed.

Dinner will be waiting for you when you return, yet another 3-course and carefully prepared affair that is based on the freshest produce of the day.

 

Stay: Kaimata Retreat

Day 3: Dunedin - Kaikoura

This morning you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Christchurch. Upon arrival in Christchurch, collect your hire car and drive north to Kaikoura (approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes). You will spend the next two nights at Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses in Kaikoura. If you have time this afternoon make sure to stop by to see the seal colony at Ohau Point.

 

Stay: Hapuku Lodge & Tree House

Day 4: Kaikoura Whale-watching

This morning head out on an exhilarating whale watching excursion with the opportunity of sighting Sperm whales, dolphins and fur seals. You can also arrange to spend the afternoon swimming with the dolphins, go on a Maori tour or go on a bird watching cruise in the afternoon.

 

Stay: Hapuku Lodge & Tree House

Day 5: Kaikoura - Nelson

Today, depart early and drive to the Marlborough region for a few tastings and an early lunch at one of its many acclaimed vineyards, such as Brancott Estate or Wither Hills.

While at leisure, you may want to include a guided nature walk around Lake Rotoiti – 1 and a half hours south of Nelson. You may also want to consider coinciding your visit with a weekend to visit the Nelson Market (Saturday only) for local produce, arts and crafts.

Stay: Atholwood

Day 6: Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson

This morning drive to Stephens Bay and check in for your shared day cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park. Join the boat for your day trip, exploring along the Abel Tasman’s coastline; past Split Apple Rock, Kaiteriteri, Marahau, round sandy bays, Adele and Fisherman’s Islands and on to Tonga Island seal colony. While on the trip you may see several shags drying their wings above the warm rocks after their early morning fishing expeditions.

The cruise itinerary is flexible so if there is something to see on your day trip, like dolphins riding the bow wave or New Zealand fur seals fishing, then we’ll go take a look. Similarly if there’s a particular bay you want to visit or park feature you want to see, then please do let the skipper know.

After saying goodbye to the seals the boat finds a sheltered bay for a light lunch. Swim, sea kayak, go ashore for a bush walk, or just relax on the boat while lunch is prepared. With plenty of snorkelling equipment if you are keen to work up an appetite.

Return to Stephen’s Bay and drive back to your accommodation.

 

Stay: Atholwood

Day 7: Nelson - Wellington

This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, depart Nelson and drive to Picton in time for the afternoon ferry to Wellington. Enroute you may want to stop by Nelson city for a look at the World of Wearable Art museum.

Drop off your rental car at Picton and make your way to the Premium Lounge to enjoy your 3 hour journey, with snacks and beverages included. The 92 kilometre journey between Wellington and Picton has been described as “one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world”. From the wide decks of the InterIslander ferries, take in the spectacular views of Wellington harbour, the wide expanse of the Cook Strait, and the majestic vistas of Queen Charlotte Sound. You may even be lucky enough to be catch sight of a dolphin or three as you cruise along.

On arrival at the Wellington InterIslander Terminal you will be met by your private car and driver and transferred to your accommodation the next two nights, Museum Art Hotel.

 

Stay: Museum Art Hotel

Day 8: Kapiti Island Day Trip, Wellington

Kapiti Island is home to an internationally famed nature reserve protecting some of the world’s rarest and most endangered birds. Depart from your accommodation to be transferred to Kapiti Island. The boat journey to the island is about 10 minutes and passes through a Department of Conservation Marine Reserve where dolphins, whales, seals and seabirds can sometimes be seen. On the island you will be guided along the bush trails and coastal tracks.

Enjoy lunch at the remote Kapiti Nature Lodge with your host, and explore the lowlands of the Waiorua Valley. Kapiti Island stands as ‘the jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s conservation estate’ as it provides the necessary ‘pest and predator’ free environment for many of New Zealand’s most endangered bird species.

You can explore the island and watch the birds at your own pace or just relax for a wonderful day. Following your excursion you will be returned to your accommodation.

 

Stay: Museum Art Hotel

Day 9: Departure from Wellington

This morning you will be transferred, by private car, to Wellington airport where you will fly to Auckland, in time for your onward flight.

* This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel designer.

Looking for something different? Visit our main New Zealand page for further inspiration.

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrival into Auckland - Dunedin Kaimata Retreat
Day 2: Otago Peninsula Tour, Dunedin Kaimata Retreat
Day 3: Dunedin - Kaikoura Hapuku Lodge & Tree House
Day 4: Kaikoura Whale-watching Hapuku Lodge & Tree House
Day 5: Kaikoura - Nelson Atholwood
Day 6: Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Atholwood
Day 7: Nelson - Wellington Museum Art Hotel
Day 8: Kapiti Island Day Trip, Wellington Museum Art Hotel
Day 9: Departure from Wellington

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Excursions
  • Transfers or car hire
  • Activities with guides
  • 24 hour emergency contact

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Visa if necessary
  • Personal expenses
  • Hotel early check in / Late check out
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (please note that this is required for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)

Map

Dunedin Kaikoura Nelson Wellington

From US$ 4190 per person, based on two pax travelling

Notes on our prices

  • This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
  • Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
  • Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
  • This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant.