Discover the byways, history and stories of the West Coast as you travel along miners’ trails to coal and gold rush towns and to where precious pounamu is found. Karamea, Kahurangi National Park and Okarito Lagoon are special highlights.
$3,690 per person, share twin
$600 single supplement
11 – 17 March, 2022 SOLD OUT
27 March – 2 April, 2022
• Return airfares from Auckland (please ask us about flights from other airports – there could be a price adjustment).
• All meals.
• Entrance fees.
• All transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers).
• Services of your knowledgeable guide.
• Quality accommodation chosen for a “sense of place”.
• Land Only price on application
• Travel Insurance
From Nelson we drive the Buller Gorge to Kawatiri Junction to stroll through a historic railway tunnel and onto Murchison.
High on a bleak plateau Denniston stands testament to the resilience of the coalminers and their families who lived in this unforgiving environment.
In Karamea The Last Resort Hotel is our home for two nights. We dine in this evening.
We visit the Karamea Centennial Museum and with a local guide have time to enjoy getting to know this remote and beautiful north–western tip of the Coast between the Tasman Sea and the rainforests.
Stroll around the middens dating from early Polynesian setlement in the 1340s and the former shipping harbour. At the start of the Heaphy Track walk in a nikau forest then visit the spectacular Oparara Basin in Kahurangi National Park.
Explore the back roads to the pretty mining town of Reefton, the first town lit by electric street lights. Blackball, a small town at the foot of the Paparoa Range, is the home of unionism and nearby is the Brunner Mine memorial.
We stay two nights at the Punakaiki Resort Hotel on the edge of the Tasman Sea and dine in this evening.
We take a short stroll out to the sculptured limestone stacks of Punakaiki’s pancake rocks – they make a dramatic sight and the coastal scenery is wonderful. At Charleston we ride the Nile River Canyon train through the rainforest in Paparoa National Park.
We visit the nearby seal colony close to Cape Foulwind before returning down the scenic coastal highway to Punakaiki.
Follow the pounamu and gold trails of the Arahura River to Blue Spur and onto Lake Kaniere and the Hokitika Gorge. Many artisans live in Hokitika and there’s an eclectic mix of galleries and shops displaying works in pounamu, gold, glass, paua, copper, stone, ruby rock and even socks.
We stay at the Beachfront Hotel for two nights and dine in this evening.
We visit Ross, renowned for a 3.09kg gold nugget found there in 1909. At Okarito we take an hour’s cruise with Swade out on the lagoon looking out for birdlife in untouched wetlands bordered by ancient forest giants.
Paula, our local guide takes us on a walking tour of this tiny settlement of 30 people. In Franz Josef there’s a 15 minute climb to view the glacier. We return to Hokitika and dine in our hotel this evening.
Travel along country roads to the old gold mining towns of Stafford, Goldsborough and in Kumara stop at the Theatre Royal Hotel, a fully restored goldminers’ hotel.
We head up spectacular Otira Viaduct and enjoy the mischievous antics of the Keas at the top of the Pass. We take short walks in Arthur’s Pass National Park and continue through magnificent alpine and river scenery to Castle Hill Kura Tawhiti Conservation area to walk among the limestone outcrops. We descend through Porter’s Pass to the Canterbury Plains and transfer to Christchurch airport for your flight home.
Some great news… while we wait for international borders to re-open, there is no better time to see a bit of our own backyard and help our local communities get back to business.
We’re excited to let you know that we have partnered with MoaTours, one of New Zealand’s leading and most trusted local tour operators since 1971. MoaTours offers a range of small group tours all over New Zealand that we think you’ll love — from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island.
A a family run business just like Tours Direct, MoaTours has great connections and unbeatable local knowledge of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. They also share common values so we know you will be well looked after and have a great experience.
Your Kiwi guide will bring to life for you the colourful history of this isolated region, the setting for two Booker Prize winning novels – Eleanor Catton’s “The Luminaries” and “The Bone People” by Keri Hulme (a former long time resident of Okarito) and also Jenny Pattrick’s bestsellers, “The Denniston Rose” and “Heart of Coal”.