3 day Kaikoura and Christchurch Tour
3 days starting in Auckland
New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
Thrifty Tours

3 day Kaikoura and Christchurch Tour

A short and sweet tour, starting in Auckland, you'll board the famous Northern Explorer Train, southbound to the Capital City of Wellington, where you will spend your first night. The following morning in Wellington you'll take the ferry over the breathtaking Cook Strait to the South Island, carrying on toward Kaikoura for a world-famous whale-watching tour. Stay the night here before finishing your journey in Christchurch 'The Garden City.'

Tour summary and feature

About this NZ Road Trip

Seat-in-Coach Touring

This suggested tour costs from NZD$1,435 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

3 days/2 nights


 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 5 times in the last 7 days

Also included in this package
- Kaikoura Railway Station to Kaikoura Accommodation
- Kaikoura accommodation to Railway Station
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Tour full itinerary
Detailed itinerary for this New Zealand Road Trip
3 day Kaikoura and Christchurch Tour - Day 1
Auckland City

Straddling two natural harbours, New Zealand's 'City of Sails' is the country's largest. Encircled by wine regions, native bush, rainforests and beaches - this urban paradise is also known for its world-class shopping, designer boutiques and gourmet cuisine. Dotted with volcanoes and ringed by islands, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the suburbs of Parnell and Ponsonby with their upmarket galleries, back-alley wine bars, and trendy eateries or wander up high High St or Vulcan Lane to snag a boutique bargain. Venture further afield to the rural community of Clevedon to experience the delights of the country and make time to explore one of over 800 regional parks with deserted beaches, waterfalls and forest walks.
What makes Auckland so special is its vibrant cultural melting pot, a diversity reflected in the cuisine, festivals, art and music. Auckland has always attracted many people of many different cultures. By the 1890s, the city was very cosmopolitan with people from Europe, China and India making this place their home. This theme continued throughout the 20th century, particularly in the 1950s when the post-World War II baby boom boosted the population. A significant number of indigenous Maori moved to the city, followed by pacific islanders in the late 1960s. European immigrants from places such as Hungary, Yugoslavia and Holland began what is now a thriving and diverse food culture. Today, Auckland is the world's largest Polynesian city. Resident Aucklanders come from all around the world, just over half of its residents are of European descent, 11% are Maori, 13% are of Pacific Island descent and there is a growing Asian population of around 12%.

The Northern Explorer Scenic Train: Auckland to Wellington Scenic Plus

Great Journeys New Zealand's Scenic Plus carriage provides comfort and vast panoramic views as you journey through the heart of the North Island, travelling between Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, to Wellington, New Zealand's arts and culture capital. Along the way, you pass the Central North Island ski towns of National Park and Ohakune. You also see fantastic views of New Zealand farmland, the volcanic plateau, Mount Ruapehu, the world-famous Raurimu Spiral, and stunning river gorges - all from panoramic windows or open-air viewing decks. Scenic Plus offers an all-inclusive experience and the dedicated Scenic Plus carriage features large panoramic windows giving sweeping views of the magnificent North Island. The Observation Carriage includes a mix of seating including lounge-style seating. The lounge-style seating is arranged at the very rear of this glass-backed carriage enabling you to enjoy a totally unique Northern Explorer experience.

Your accommodation: Quest On Lambton

Quest on Lambton hotel rooms offer a relaxed and comfortable Wellington accommodation experience. Located within walking distance of the Wellington Cable Car, Queens Wharf Events Centre and Victoria University, and minutes from Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, Westpac Trust Stadium and the Botanical Gardens.

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3 day Kaikoura and Christchurch Tour - Day 2
Interislander Ferry Wellington to Picton

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Leaving Wellington Harbour you pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).
From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. The final leg of your cruise travels through Queen Charlotte Sound before coming to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.

Picton to Kaikoura by Intercity Coach

From Picton you head south on state Highway 1 towards Blenheim which sits right at the heart of the New Zealand's largest wine producing region, Marlborough. Crossing the 'dry hills' of the Marlborough ranges you head towards one of the most spectacular coastlines of the South Island, the Kaikoura Coast. The road hugs the shore for around 50 kilometres and offers many chances to view the native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals. To the east is the turquoise waters of the South Pacific Ocean and to the west the towering Kaikoura Ranges. Kaikoura Township is a bustling little place with many cafes, restaurants and shops but the main reason for visiting here is the wildlife.

Kaikoura Railway Station to Kaikoura Accommodation

Today you will be met at Kaikoura railway station and transferred to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: The White Morph, Kaikoura

Set on the Esplanade in KaikĊura, The White Morph enjoys commanding views of the ocean and mountains. Just a 10-minute walk into town, The White Morph has been beautifully placed so that you can take in the spectacular scenery of Kaikoura while enjoying the variety of attractions on offer.

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3 day Kaikoura and Christchurch Tour - Day 3
Whale Watch Kaikoura

Experience New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company. Whale Watch Kaikoura offer a once-in-a-lifetime, up close encounter with the giant Sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, occasionally make an appearance.
Cruise in style on modern catamarans, specifically designed for whale watching, featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one.

Kaikoura accommodation to Kaikoura Railway Station

You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Kaikoura Shuttles and transported to your point of departure.

Kaikoura to Christchurch by Intercity Coach

The drive from Kaikoura to Christchurch continues to follow the spectacular coastline before heading inland and through North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley. You are also introduced to the South Island's most numerous inhabitant, the sheep. Arriving into Christchurch City puts you close to the airport and the International Antarctic Centre and a visit is highly recommended. Here you can get as close to experiencing life on the frozen continent without actually visiting plus see New Zealand little blue penguins and ride in a Haaglund Tracked vehicle.

Your accommodation: Bella Vista Christchurch

Bella Vista Motel Christchurch offers a great range of comfortable modern units with excellent facilities. Enjoy the convenience of being located in close proximity to the Christchurch CBD, shops, entertainment and other activities.

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