Early Explorers from Queen Charlotte Sound to Akaroa
7 Day / 6 Night Tour visiting Blenheim, Picton, Ship Cove, Queen Charlotte Sound, Kaikoura, Akaroa and Christchurch

We take a private cruise out on the Sound to visit Ship Cove in this 251st anniversary year of Cook’s first landfall. Hear the stories of the Polynesian voyagers’ settlement at Wairau Boulder Bank and discover the history of the eastern coastline at Kaikoura and Akaroa.

What Tracy loves about this tour:
Early Explorers from Queen Charlotte Sound to Akaroa
$3790.00 pp twin
$4390.00 pp single
Check Availability

Day 1: Fly to Blenheim – Wither Hills vineyard restaurant – Picton

Lunch overlooking the vines in Marlborough

Your Kiwi guide meets you on arrival at Blenheim Airport. We celebrate our arrival with a wine tasting and lunch at Wither Hills winery restaurant with a stunning view overlooking the vineyards.

We visit Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre to see Sir Peter Jackson’s collection of World War One and World War Two aircraft and memorabilia..

We call into nearby sites of historic importance and later in the day drive out to our Picton hotel, our home for three nights, and dine in this evening.


What you'll love today
  • Wine tasting and lunch at Wither Hills vineyard restaurant
  • Stay three nights in Picton close to the waterfront

Day 2: Picton – Queen Charlotte Sound, Ship Cove – Picton

Water Taxi at Ship Cove Wharf in the Marlborough Sounds

Today is a special day as we take our own private discovery cruise out onto magnificent Queen Charlotte Sound to beautiful Ship Cove near the entrance to the Sound. We have a picnic lunch at the Cove and plenty of time to explore and soak up the atmosphere at this historic site.

Maori valued Ship Cove's sheltered waters and it’s easy to see why Captain Cook did too, returning four times to drop anchor in this idyllic cove. We cruise back to port in the mid afternoon visiting the inlets and coves along the way.

What you'll love today
  • Exploring magnificent Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Soaking up the atmosphere at idyllic Ship Cove

Day 3: Picton – Blenheim – Port Underwood – Picton

Visiting the Edwin Fox Museum in Picton

The "Edwin Fox" sitting in a dry dock in Picton is a spectacular sight. Built in 1853 it's a massive and fascinating restoration project.

In Blenheim we meet our private guide at the Marlborough Museum for insights into the early history of the Wairau Bar Boulder Bank which in 1250 was the home of the first Polynesian settlers.

To see other significant places in the region's history we take the long way back to Picton to the Wairau Bar, Rarangi, White’s Bay and Port Underwood.


What you'll love today
  • Learn about the history of the Wairau Bar Boulder Bank
  • See  the vintage aircraft collection and dioramas at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Day 4: Picton – Seaview Vineyard – Kekerangu – Kaikoura

Aerial views of the Kaikoura Peninsula and Ranges

The drive around the perimeter of Yealands' Seaview vineyard has expansive views out to Cook Strait.

We call into The Store for lunch before heading down the dramatically changed coastline, stopping near Ohau Point to look for seals on the rocks below.

At the Kaikoura museum the "New Normal" exhibition tells the story of the earthquake. We stay at White Morph Inn and dine out this evening.

What you'll love today
  • Drive the Kaikoura coastline 
  • Visit Kaikoura's museum "New Normal" earthquake exhibition

Day 5: Kaikoura – Waipara – Christchurch – Lyttelton – Akaroa

Yachts on Akaroa Harbour

We meet our guide at historic Fyffe House, a whaler’s cottage built on whale vertebrae, and visit the seal colony nearby. Continuing down the Kaikoura Coast we cross the Canterbury Plains to lunch and enjoy a wine tasting at Waipara Hills vineyard.

In Christchurch we tour the inner city rebuild zone before continuing to Banks Peninsula via Lyttelton and Gebbes Pass. We stay at the Bruce Apartments on the Akaroa waterfront for two nights and dine out this evening.

What you'll love today
  • Lunch and wine tasting at Waipara Hills winery
  • See the rebuilding of Christchurch's inner city

Day 6: Banks Peninsula sightseeing – Okains Bay Museum

Views from the Summit lookout on Banks Peninsula

 At Okains Bay on the other side of the Peninsula the Maori and Colonial Museum has an amazing, diverse collection of special treasures. 

This afternoon we continue on the trail of the peninsula's history and take in the panoramic views along the Summit Road.  We dine out in Akaroa this evening 

What you'll love today
  • The treasures on display at Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum
  • Explore Banks Peninusula and take in the views along the Summit Road

Day 7: Akaroa – Little River – Christchurch – Fly to Auckland

Garden Art at Giants Gate in Akaroa

After breakfast we stroll the village and waterfront where the whaling trypots are a reminder of the whalers that called into the harbour from the 1830s onwards. At the Akaroa Museum exhibits tell the stories of the Ngai Tahu, whalers and French settlers.

We visit Josie Martin’s Giant’s House, a six-star Garden of International Significance, featuring Josie’s quirky mosaic sculptures, no visit to Akaroa is complete without a visit. On the way to Christchurch airport we stop for lunch at Little River Cafe and Gallery.

What you'll love today
  • Wandering in Akaroa village and along the harbourside
  • Visit the sculpture garden at Josie Martin's Giant's House