We take a private cruise out on the Sound to visit Ship Cove in this 250th 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.

7 Day / 6 Night Tour departing Auckland visiting Blenheim, Picton, Ship Cove, Queen Charlotte Sound, Kaikoura, Akaroa and Christchurch

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Tour Price

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$3790 pp twin
$4390 pp single

Tour Map

Day 1: Fly to Blenheim – Brancott Estate – Picton

Lunch overlooking the vines at Brancott Estate Winery in Marlborough

We celebrate our arrival in Blenheim with a wine tasting and lunch at Brancott Estate restaurant overlooking the vineyards.

In Picton the Tuia 250 flotilla is in port, double-hulled waka and the HMB Endeavour replica are among the vessels commemorating the traditions and culture of the Pacific voyagers and James Cook’s arrival in Ship Cove.


We dine in at The Picton Yacht Club Hotel, our home for three nights.


What you'll love today
  • Wine tasting and lunch at Brancott Estate, home to the first ever Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
  • See the Tuia 250 flotilla, waka and the HMB Endeavour replica on the Picton waterfront

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

Water Taxi at Ship Cove Wharf in the Marlborough Sounds

We visit the "Edwin Fox" sitting in a dry dock in Picton. Built in 1853 it's a massive and fascinating restoration project. Then we take a private discovery cruise out on magnificent Queen Charlotte Sound to Ship Cove near the entrance to the Sound. We lunch at the Cove with 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.

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

Day 3: Picton – Blenheim – Picton

WWI Biplane model at Omaka Heritage Aviation Centre in Blenheim

We drive into Blenheim to meet our private guide at 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.

Later 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 return to our hotel and dine in this evening.

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

We drive around the perimeter of Yealands vineyard to enjoy the expansive views to Cook Strait. We call into The Store for lunch before heading down the dramatically changed coastline. 

At Kaikoura the museum tells the story of the earthquake with the "New Normal" exhibition. We meet our guide at historic Fyffe House, a whaler’s cottage built on whale vertebrae, and visit the seal colony nearby. We stay at The White Morph Inn and dine out this evening. 

What you'll love today
  • Drive the Kaikoura coastline 
  • Visiting historic Fyffe House and Kaikoura's museum "New Normal" earthquake exhibition

Day 5: Kaikoura – Christchurch – Birdlings Flat – Akaroa

Yachts on Akaroa Harbour

Continuing down the Kaikoura Coast and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch we tour the inner city rebuild zone before continuing to Banks Peninsula.

At Birdlings Flat we visit the Burkes’ gemstone collection found nearby on the beach.

We stay at the Bruce Apartments on the Akaroa waterfront for two nights and dine out this evening.

What you'll love today
  • Tour the inner city of Christchurch
  • Visit Burkes' gemstone collection at Birdlings Flat

Day 6: Banks Peninsula sightseeing – Okains Bay Museum – Giant’s House

The Giant's House

We sightsee around the peninsula and enjoy the panoramic views along the Summit Road. At Okains Bay the Maori and Colonial Museum has a diverse collection of treasures.

Back in Akaroa Josie Martin’s Giant’s House, a six-star Garden of International Significance, features Josie’s quirky mosaic sculptures, no visit to Akaroa is complete without a visit.

We dine out in Akaroa this evening.

What you'll love today
  • Visiting the Maori and Colonial Museum
  • Seeing the amazing mosaic sculptures at the Giants House

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

Little River Railway Station Banks Peninsular

After breakfast at Bully Hayes, named for an early American “pirate” visitor and stroll the village and waterfront where the whaling trypots are a reminder of the whalers that called into the harbour from the 1830s.

We visit Akaroa Museum where exhibits tell the stories of the Ngai Tahu, whalers and French settlers.

Returning over the Peninsula we stop for lunch at Little River on the way to Christchurch airport.

What you'll love today
  • Wandering in Akaroa village and along the harbourside
  • Enjoy lunch at Little River 

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