Embrace your spirit of adventure on an exhilarating journey into the high country of the Southern Alps, which you'll experience by tussock buggy, jet boat and motor coach.
Your day begins with a coach ride directly into Canterbury Plains, the largest area of flat land in New Zealand. Lying between the mountains and sea, the fertile farmland looks like a patchwork quilt of earthen colors that reflect the crops grown here, which include wheat, herbs and sunflowers, punctuated by pastures of grass for grazing. It's an agricultural paradise.
However, the scenery changes dramatically as you enter the high country and drive on to Flock Hill Lodge, a working sheep station that's also a recreational resort. It's a charming setting for your buffet lunch* and ride in a tussock buggy, a comfortable van-like vehicle made for off-road travel. What a joy to drive around Flock Hill Lodge's 35,000 acres of rugged high country, framed by the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps and river gorges. You'll want to be sure to bring along your camera because there will be several photo stops along the way to capture the spectacular scenery. Part of your journey takes you over a portion of the original stagecoach road that was built by the early pioneers to gain access to the West Coast gold fields.
After passing over the Waimakariri River via the Gorge Bridge and arriving at Hamilton Lodge, you'll leave your buggy behind and board a lightning-fast jet boat and be treated to an entirely different view of the magnificent high country. Zipping down the Waimakariri River, you'll ride down the steep-walled gorge down to Woodstock Station. It's a thrill to see the natural beauty of the area from this perspective, even more so on a jet boat capable of making 360-degree spins. Following this exhilarating adventure, you'll board a motor coach and drive back to the pier in Akaroa.
Please note: While this tour includes limited walking, it is geared toward the more adventurous traveler. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, those with mobility concerns, back or neck problems or pregnant women. Casual clothing which should include a light, water-resistant jacket and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. If there has been significant rain, guests may be transported via a short helicopter ride to a higher part of the river. In the event the river is flooded, guests will be advised on the morning of the tour. The tour may operate in reverse order.
* For port calls of less than 9 hours, lunch will be served picnic-style on the coach in order not to miss any of the tour sights/activities.