Nelson and West Coast Short Walks Tour

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Nelson & West Coast Short Walks Tour

Nelson & West Coast Short Walks Tour

8 day / 7 nights. Visit the beautiful top of the South Island enhanced by short walks of around an hour or less.
This is a Tours Direct escorted Tour. Tour Leader – Helen Tait

Helen is one of our regular tour leaders, who particularly enjoys leading some of our more active walking and cycling tours.   While we are unable to take our travellers to exciting destinations overseas, she is keen to share some of her favourite South Island walks.

The focus of the trip is on short walks which give access to highlight features of each area.   All are on well made paths.  Almost all are around an hour or less, and, if you find you have had enough on any of the days, all have the option of allowing you to stay with the bus (or boat) to meet the group at the end of the walk, or just having time off for another activity.

Tour at a Glance


$3,200 per person, share twin

$795 single supplement

Tour Dates:

14 – 21 February, 2022


Fitness Level

Able to walk 1 -2 hours

All paths are well-made

Tour Leader:

Helen Tait

Max Group Size: 14


• Accommodation in 4-star hotels & motels
• 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 4 dinners
• Transport in a Luxury Mercedes Sprinter Coach
• Services of your knowledgeable Tour Leader/Driver Helen Tait


• Domestic airfares
• Travel insurance

Tour Itinerary

For full details please request a Free Information Pack (Form to the right).

Mon 14 FebArrive Christchurch (D)

Arrive Christchurch and check into accommodation.

2pm: Meet tour leader Helen Tait for an optional walk through the centre of Christchurch. The tour will cover post earthquake plans and developments, and will include Turanga, the award-winning central library, the new Convention Centre, Margaret Mahy Playground, the dramatic architecture of the city’s new retail area, including the Riverside Markets, earthquake memorials, and the restored Arts Centre.

This evening we will gather for a welcome dinner at the beautiful Curator’s House in the Botanical Gardens.

Accommodation at Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square

Tue 15 FebChristchurch – Kaikoura – Nelson (B,D)

This morning we head North to Kaikoura for a walk around the rugged coastline, where we might be lucky enough to come across seals and even see a dolphin or two frolicking nearby.

Our walk will end in the township of Kaikoura, where there will be time to explore and to have lunch, before we head on to Nelson, making a stop on the way for a native bush walk at Pelorus Bridge.

You may be ready for a refreshing dip in the swimming pool when we arrive at our hotel.

We will dine this evening at Flames Restaurant at the hotel.

Accommodation at Hotel Nelson

Wed 16 FebNelson (B)

Time to explore Nelson’s great range of interesting cafes and galleries after our walk for today – a path up to the “Centre of New Zealand” for splendid views out over Tasman Bay, before traversing around the hill and down to the Founders Heritage Centre, where there are interesting historical exhibits.

On our return we will pass through the tranquil Queen’s Gardens, and end the walk at the Suter Art Gallery.
There will be time in the afternoon for further riverside walks or just to relax at a riverside café.

This evening choose from one of Nelson’s many interesting restaurants.

Accommodation at Hotel Nelson

Thu 17 FebNelson – Abel Tasman National Park – Motueka (B,L)

Today we move on across to Kaiteriteri on the other side of Tasman Bay, where we will have the opportunity to enjoy the Abel Tasman National Park from both land and sea.

On the way we will stop off at the picturesque settlement at Mapua Wharf, where there is a range of attractive galleries and cafes, as well as a coastal walk. A great opportunity for a morning coffee before we continue to Kaiteriteri, where we join a Vista Cruise into the marine reserve in the heart of the park. We pause to check out the antics at the resident seal colony, before disembarking at one of the park’s many sheltered coves, to walk along the well-marked coastal track shaded by lush native forest, with panoramic coastal views, and re-join the cruise for a relaxing return to Kaiteriteri. There will be a picnic lunch to enjoy on the cruise or on shore.

Following the cruise we travel to nearby Motueka and our accommodation for the next two nights.

Accommodation at Nautilus Lodge Motel, Motueka

Fri 18 FebMotueka - Golden Bay - Motueka (B)

Today we travel via Takaka Hill to Golden Bay, a less visited part of the region.

We will start by heading up towards the Northern tip of the South Island at Farewell Spit. Our walk here will take us out over rolling farm land to Wharariki Beach, with its amazing sand dunes, caves and off-shore islands.

Keep an eye peeled for seals sunning themselves on the rocks! We will also walk up to the northernmost point of the South Island for a view of spectacular rock formations, before we head back for a lunch stop in Collingwood. On the return journey we will stop for a walk in the Te Waikoropupu Springs (Pupu) Springs area. These are probably Golden Bay’s most famous attraction, and its story and mysteries are still a fascinating one. The springs are best known for the clarity of the water, and the volume of water discharged. The horizontal visibility of the water in the springs has been measured at an average of 63 metres, second only to sub-glacial water in the Antarctic. The springs are also spiritually significant to the Māori people.

After a stop in Takaka and a chance to stroll through the main street, we will leave Golden Bay to travel back over the hill to Motueka.

This evening we have a choice of one of Motueka’s many restaurants and cafes.

Accommodation at Nautilus Lodge Motel, Motueka

Sat 19 FebMotueka – West Coast (Punakaiki) (B,L,D)

An early start, to head for the West Coast, stopping at Murchison for morning tea, then on to Cape Foulwind, for a dramatic walk along the rugged coastline to Tauranga Bay, where there is a close-up view of a seal colony.

We have a lunch stop at a remote country café where we enjoy pizza and an optional beer or wine, before heading to Helen’s favourite walking track anywhere in NZ – Truman Track – down to a spectacular bay through native bush, then on to the final stop for the day at the famous Pancake Rocks.

Our luxury accommodation for the night is immediately adjacent to the rocks, giving us the chance for a return visit to enjoy the sunset after a meal in the hotel restaurant (or a dawn walk for the early risers in the group!)

Accommodation at Punakaiki Resort

Sun 20 FebPunakaiki – Hokitika (B,D)

The day starts with an easy return walk through native bush to an impressive waterfall before we head inland to the dramatic Hokitika Gorge for a short walk.

Our next stop is a walk through the treetops, where some amazing engineering gives us the opportunity to view a range of native forest from the heights of walkways and a viewing tower. A pleasant café at the treetop site is a good spot for lunch while we are there.

Back in Hokitika at the end of the day a beach walk will give us a chance to admire the creativity of some of the local driftwood sculptors.

We will round off our walking tour with a farewell dinner at Ocean View Restaurant.

Accommodation at Beachfront Hotel, Hokitika

Mon 21 FebHokitika – Christchurch (B)

Our final day takes us through the dramatic scenery of the Otira Gorge to Arthur’s Pass, where we can stop for a short nature walk, before continuing to the Castle Hill reserve, where we will explore its strange rock formations.

We’ll make a stop for a lunch choice of pub or café at Springfield, before heading to Christchurch, where we can make a drop off at the airport on the way into town.

Arrive Christchurch mid afternoon. Tour concludes. Drop-off is available at airport or city centre. Departing flights should be booked for 5pm or later.

Your Tour Leader: Helen Tait

Helen lives in Christchurch and is a keen skier, cyclist and walker. She has led tours for Tours Direct for over 10 years, and loves sharing her enthusiasm for a wide range of places and cultures. She specially likes to share walking and cycling tours, at a relaxed pace suited to travellers for whom this might be a first.