Sheep graze almost to the water's edge in the many small bays indenting the coastline of Banks Peninsula, the nub that juts into the Pacific east of Christchurch. On the southern side of the peninsula, in a harbor created when th e crater wall of an extinct volcano collapsed into the sea, nestles the fishing village of Akaroa (Māori for "long harbor"). The port is a favorite day trip for Christchurch residents on Sunday drive, and on weekends.
The romance of the seas, small ship sizes and intimate atmosphere, Silversea has long been a leader in the ultra-luxury market. Travelling to both iconic and secluded ports, Silversea’s award-winning itineraries inspire wanderlust and exploration. With over 900 destinations, longer port stays and more late-night departures than ever before, even the savviest traveler will find something new. A butler for every suite, a complimentary in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, all-inclusive exquisite dining, award-winning onboard entertainment and an unparalleled space to guest ratio all contribute to the Silversea experience. Not forgetting our famed Italian hospitality, where new faces become old friends. Bienvenuti a bordo.
Explore three of the Akaroa area's best known attractions on this half-day excursion.
Depart the pier via coach for the short drive from Akaroa through Duvauchelles Bay towards the Hilltop Look out.
Spectacular views of Akaroa Harbour reward you from the Hilltop Tavern - a well-known resting point for well over a century when horse driven coaches travelled between Akaroa and Christchurch. Relax over a light refreshment on what is one of the most iconic views in New Zealand.
Okains Bay Maori & Colonial Museum
Travel up onto the Summit Road for amazing views and great photo opportunities before dropping down into Okains Bay to visit the Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum. Originally started as the private collection of Maori artefacts collected by a local resident, in 1968, the disused Okains Bay Cheese Factory was purchased and after many years of renovation, opened as a public Museum in 1977. The exhibits include a working Blacksmith's shop, a print shop, a saddlery, the restored school, Maori Meeting House and Colonial Hall, and the former Akaroa grandstand.
Next, make your way back into Akaroa for a visit to the famous Giant's House. This mosaic and sculpture garden was created around the first Bank Manager's home in Akaroa, built in 1880 of Totara and Kauri timbers. Admire a variety of unique garden artwork including mosaic steps, an extraordinary sculptural wall mosaic, welded steel sculptures and other creations. The garden, gallery and homestead are full of surprises.
Re-board the coach for the brief drive back to the pier and your awaiting ship.
Please note: This tour requires an extensive amount of walking, including a steep driveway and steps to negotiate, and is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Order of sites seen may vary
Take this opportunity of witnessing the rebuild of Christchurch after its disastrous earthquakes of 2011. Until recently, the centre of Christchurch was red-zoned, but in recent months the area has been re-opened and it is now possible to see many of the physical changes.
Departing Akaroa, the coach makes its way across Banks Peninsula over Gebbies Pass, and continues on to the Port Hills. A short stop at the Sign of the Takahe offers breath-taking views over Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains, and through to the Southern Alps.
Journey down to the city centre where you transfer to a Double Decker Open bus (weather permitting) for a fun and informative tour. Discover first hand why Christchurch is known as 'The Garden City' and is considered one of the most English-styled cities outside England. Learn about Christchurch's fascinating history from the pioneering days through to modern times.
On tour, view some of the areas affected by the earthquakes and learn how Christchurch is preserving some of its iconic heritage buildings. Your driver will share aspects of the exciting vision and plans to rebuild and restore the inner city. The local guide offers full running commentary, interwoven with stories and information as you circuit the city and the expanse of Hagley Park.
Afterwards, spend some free time to explore at your leisure, shop, or sample some local fare from one of many restaurants and cafés (at guest's own expense). Time will also be available to browse the many boutique shops in the Restart Mall and surrounding streets before re-joining your coach and returning to your ship in Akaroa.
Your tour concludes with a transfer back to the pier in Akaroa.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking, the majority of which is at each guest's discretion. There are stairs to climb to reach the open deck of the double decker bus, if desired. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Comfortable walking shoes and a lightweight jacket are recommended. Bring local currency and/or credit card for any meal or souvenir purchases. Lunch is not included.
Embrace the splendid beauty of Banks Peninsula during this memorable excursion to a traditional New Zealand hill country farm.
Scenic Coastal Drive & Akaroa
Depart the pier for the scenic, approximately 45-minute drive to the Paua Bay Farm. Drive through the charming village of Akaroa, which was the first South Island settlement established by the French & British settlers in 1840. Their French and Victorian influences are reflected in Akaroa's quaint wooden houses and pretty gardens. Leaving Akaroa, take in panoramic views overlooking Akaroa Harbour, the Pacific Ocean, an extinct volcano and some of Banks Peninsula's hidden eastern bays before arriving at the Paua Bay Farm.
Paua Bay Farm Visit
Sixth-generation French descendants of the John's family welcome your arrival at Paua Bay Farm. Your visit to the farm begins with a picturesque and informative tour conducted by its owner, Murray Johns or a member of his family. During a visit to the shearing shed, learn about the family and farm history, and how modern-day farming has evolved since 1837.
Sheep-Shearing & Sheepdog Exhibitions
After a sheep-shearing exhibition, Murray's son William or one of the farm hands demonstrates how important sheepdogs are to the operation of the farm by having his expertly-trained dogs muster a mob of sheep over the steep hills and into the sheep yards. Here, you are invited to help separate the sheep before proceeding for a visit to the family homestead and its cottage gardens, which are surrounded by native bush.
Your tour concludes with refreshments served by Murray's wife, Sue before driving back to the pier.
Please note: This tour requires a minimal amount of walking. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility but is not wheelchair accessible. This tour is not suggested for guests with back and/or neck problems due to the winding slopes and uneven surfaces during the ride to/from the farm. Wear lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection, and bring a windbreaker or sweater in the event of rain. Space on this tour is extremely limited; we suggest you book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Embrace your spirit of adventure on this exhilarating journey into the high country of the Southern Alps, which you'll experience via three different modes of transport custom built 4x4 touring vehicle, jet boat and coach. Experience an in-depth look at the rugged Canterbury High country at the base of the majestic Southern Alps, into areas that even New Zealanders seldom see. Journey by coach from Akaroa and watch the landscape change as you travel across the Canterbury Plains, the Waimakariri River, to enter the foothills of the majestic Southern Alps and Rubicon Station.
Rubicon Station, 4X4 Ride & Lunch
Find yourself at Rubicon Station on the banks of the spectacular Waimakariri river gorge. Once here you'll enjoy discovering Rubicon and Mt Torlesse in a 4x4 touring vehicle. What a joy to drive around acres of rugged high country, framed by the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps and river gorges.
After enjoying the exciting 4x4 adventure you will stop for lunch.
Jet Boat ride on the Waimakariri River
Next, continue with a lighting fast jet boat ride where you are treated to an entirely different view of the magnificent high country. Zipping up the Waimakariri River, you'll ride up the steep-walled gorge to Stair Case Viaduct. Experience the thrill of skimming over the water- at times only inches deep while feeling safe and secure.
Scenic Peninsula & Country Drive
At the conclusion of the tour re-board your motor coach for the approximate 3-hour drive back to the pier in Akaroa.
Please note: This tour involves a jet-boat ride and a 4x4 ride over rough and uneven terrain that can be at high-speed and result in bumpy, jerking motions. A moderate amount of walking is required, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach and off-road vehicle, and embark/disembark the jet-boat. This tour is not suitable for guests with back and/or neck problems, limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Wear lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection, and bring a windbreaker or sweater for the jet-boat ride. Space on this tour is very limited: we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment. Order of sights may vary.
Spend a half-day discovering the secrets of preparing Akaroan cuisine during this fun-filled and informative cooking class at the Akaroa Cooking School.
Depart the pier for the short walk to the Akaroa Cooking School. Upon arrival, meet Lou or Ant Bentley, your instructor for the day. The class showcases a number of outstanding dishes using only locally-caught fish and shellfish purchased from a local fisherman at the end of the wharf; just seconds from the cooking school. The dishes are complemented with a bounty of fantastic local produce available on Banks Peninsula, including the country's best olive oils, local honey, nuts, and fresh organic fruits and vegetables.
After a snack of tea or coffee served with freshly-baked pastries, your class begins with a lesson on how to source great fresh seafood, what to look out for when buying fish, diverse cooking techniques, cooking shellfish, and how to store your fish after purchasing or catching it. Next, you will witness the preparation of the seafood dishes, which are served for lunch following the class. Each dish is matched with award-winning local wines that are also available for purchase.
At the conclusion of your cooking class, time is made available for shopping in scenic Akaroa before commencing the short walk back to the pier.
Please note: This tour requires a minimal amount of walking for approximately 10 yards (9 metres) between the cooking school and the pier. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility who are able to stand for periods at a time. Flat, closed-toe walking shoes are recommended. Guests must be 21 years of age to participate. This tour involves a cooking demonstration rather than a hands-on experience; some dishes may have been partially prepared in advance. Space on this tour is extremely limited; we suggest you book well in advance to avoid disappointment. Bring local currency for any cooking product purchases.
Indulge your senses with the splendid coastal beauty of New Zealand during this exclusive and intimate Akaroa harbour and nature cruise via catamaran.
Depart the pier aboard your comfortable catamaran, Into the Blue, and commence your approximately two-hour nature cruise around Akaroa Harbour. This harbour is host to amazing bird-life and sea mammals, including the Hector's dolphin, the smallest and rarest dolphin in the world. The area is also home to New Zealand fur seals, blue penguins, fascinating seabirds, salmon, and paua farms.
As you glide along Akaroa Harbour aboard your fast, stable and manoeuvrable catamaran, explore the sea caves, high cliffs and volcanic rock formations of this spectacular seascape. During this memorable cruise experience, relax with a refreshing beverage and home-made baked goods as your guide recounts the region's history, geology, ecology, and Maori heritage and traditions.
Your cruise concludes back at the pier.
Please note: This tour requires a minimal amount of walking, with a few steps to negotiate to embark and disembark the catamaran. It is suitable for guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair; guest must be able to manoeuvre on and off the boat. Wear lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, non-slip walking shoes and sun protection, do not forget to bring a light jacket. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed. Space on this tour is very limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Combine two of our more popular Land Adventures and explore the South Island in-depth. Take in the wonder of the alpine scenery with drives through its two famous national parks - the Mount Cook and the Fiordland National Park - both heritage listed with UNESCO. See New Zealand's highest peaks and longest glaciers along with many of its most beautiful lakes. Memorable highlights include a ski plane flight to the Tasman Glacier, a cruise on Lake Tasman and a jet boat excursion on the Shotover River.
03MIDAKA-L New Zealand Explorer
Departure: Akaroa, February 16, 2015
Duration: 4 Days / 3 Nights
Re-join ship: Milford Sound, February 19, 2015
Reserve by: November 14, 2014
This Mid-Voyage Land Adventure requires advance booking through Silversea Reservations by November 14, 2014. Requests received after this date may be accommodated on a space-available basis and the programme price is subject to change. Payment in full is due within 120 days prior to sailing. This programme is non-refundable if cancelled within 90 days of sailing. Space on this land programme is limited; however, a minimum number of participants are required for its operation.
DAY ONE - Monday, February 16, 2015 - Akaroa/Mount Cook National Park
The first destination on your exploration of New Zealand's South Island is spectacular Mount Cook National Park. Departing from Akaroa, drive over the fertile Canterbury Plains to Geraldine, a pretty farming centre in South Canterbury. Here, enjoy lunch in a private residence. Afterwards, your journey takes you inland via Burkes Pass to stunning Lake Tekapo in the centre of the South Island. Surrounded by mountains, the lake is a breath-taking site. From the small stone Church of the Good Shepherd you can enjoy magnificent views across the lake to Mount Cook.
Arriving at Mount Cook Airport, board a ski plane flight to the Tasman Glacier where a short landing will be made high in the Southern Alps. Over ten of New Zealand's highest peaks lie within the Mount Cook National Park including Mount Cook at over 12,000 feet (3,658 metres). (The flight is subject to weather conditions.)
Back on terra firma, make your way to the Hermitage Hotel for check-in. Located deep within the Mount Cook National Park, the hotel is surrounded by the silent splendour of the Southern Alps and within sight of majestic Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain at over 12,000 feet. Dinner is served at the hotel's Panorama Room.
Overnight at the Hermitage Hotel - Mount Cook National Park
DAY TWO - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - Mount Cook/Queenstown
After breakfast at the hotel, take a boat excursion on the Tasman Glacier lake that has only formed in recent years with the retreating glacier due largely to global warming. Cruise up close to ice bergs that have broken off from the glacier. Afterwards, return to the hotel, check-out and begin the journey to Queenstown.
Departing Mount Cook, leave the national park and follow a southerly route along the eastern shoreline of Lake Pukaki before entering the McKenzie Basin and the town of Omarama. After a brief stop, continue down the Waitaki Valley, passing the historic town of Oamaru After lunch at a local restaurant proceed over the Lindis Pass into Central Otago, following the Kawarau River to the popular alpine resort of Queenstown. It is a premier holiday destination of South Island lies nestled in a curve of Lake Wakatipu with a backdrop of steep mountains providing a dramatic setting. A ride on the chairlift or gondola will carry you up to Bob's Peak, from where stunning panoramic views across Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Ranges are enjoyed.
Arriving at the St Moritz Hotel, check-in and make your way to your room. Situated in the heart of Queenstown, the hotel features classic lodge facilities usually found in an upscale modern mountain lodge. There will be time to freshen up before setting out for dinner at a leading local restaurant within walking distance.
Overnight at the St. Moritz Hotel - Queenstown.
DAY THREE - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - In Queenstown
After breakfast at the hotel, begin your day by exploring the Queenstown area, renowned for its outdoor activities. Nearby is quaint Arrowtown, a former gold mining town and living historic settlement dating from the 1860s. Surrounded by breath taking scenery, Arrowtown retains its historic character and boasts numerous restored buildings from the 19th century. Take time to wander its narrow streets, walk along the banks of the Arrow River or browse in shops offering a wide range of high quality New Zealand made merchandise.
Then visit the old Kawarau Bridge where commercial bungee jumping first commenced in the 1980s. You may be lucky to see someone leaping 120 feet (36 metres) to the river's edge. Continue onto the Gibbston Valley where lunch will be served at a leading local winery. Finish your sightseeing with an exciting jet boat excursion on the Shotover River.
For dinner tonight you will be taken across Lake Wakatipu on board the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Sheep Station, where dinner will be served in the Colonels House. Before sailing back to Queenstown, there will be a short farm show where the sheep dogs will muster a flock of sheep and a sheep will be shorn.
Return to the hotel and overnight at the St. Moritz Hotel - Queenstown.
DAY FOUR - Thursday, February 19, 2015 - Queenstown/Milford Sound
After breakfast depart for Te Anau driving for approximately two hours to the south eastern end of Lake Wakatipu to Kingston then across the North Southland Plain to Te Anau. The township overlooks Lake Te Anau, the second largest lake in New Zealand, which is also the gateway to the impressive Fiordland National Park.
After lunch at a local Te Anau hotel, travel north for approximately 2.5 hours through the scenic wonders of the World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park. The park's rugged wilderness and splendid mountain views will delight even the most jaded traveller. Weather permitting, several photo stops are made before arriving at Milford Sound. Here you are tendered to the ship by a privately chartered boat.
Please note: This Mid-Voyage Land Adventure requires a moderate amount of walking with some steps to climb. It involves fairly long drives (200 miles/302 kilometres) from Dunedin to Queenstown and about the same distance Queenstown/Milford Sound. A driver/guide provides some commentary. The alpine portion requires guests to be physically fit and able to get in and out of the Cessna ski planes and a jet boat. It is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. The contents and activities of this programme are subject to change, due to weather conditions. Guests should be aware that the beauty of touring in an alpine region depends on weather conditions, especially the flight on Mount Cook. As guests must return to the ship via tender, should negative sea conditions prevail, this overland could be cancelled on short notice This Land Adventure involves touring in the outdoors and guests should expect to be exposed to cold and/or wet weather; please pack accordingly. We recommend bringing a sweater or windbreaker and wearing sturdy shoes. Remember to bring your camera, binoculars and protection from the sun and carry local currency/credit card for any purchases. Although a minimum number of guests are required to operate this tour, space is limited.
· One-night stay at the Hermitage Hotel - Mount Cook National Park
· Two-nights' stay at the St. Moritz Hotel (or similar) - Queenstown
· Three breakfasts, four lunches and three dinners (lunch and dinner include choice of two local beers, or house wines, juice or soft drinks, tea/coffee)
· Shotover Jet boat excursion
· 40-minute ski plane flight over the Mount Cook National Park (weather permitting)
· All sightseeing and transfers as per itinerary with a driver/guide
Any meals and drinks not specified above, tips to drivers and tour guides, laundry, telephone calls, cancellation insurance, and other personal items.
All Land Adventures require a minimum number of participants in order to operate as described. If this minimum number is not met, Silversea reserves the right to offer the programme at a different rate based on private arrangements, or to cancel the specific departure. Silversea's published cruise cancellation policy will remain in effect. All Land Adventure fares are subject to change and are not guaranteed until payment is received in full by Silversea. Onboard Spending Credit may not be applied to the purchase of this programme. All Land Adventures are non-transferable and non-refundable for any reason, within 90 days of sailing and are recommended to guests 18 years of age and older. This description is a general overview of this programme. Our local operator reserves the right to substitute other sites if local situations, including holidays, changes made by airlines, government activities, and weather, require. The programme described in this brochure is provided by independent contractors. Silversea acts solely as ticketing agent. Silversea shall have no obligation or liability of any kind to guests for the business practices, acts or omissions in connection with or arising out of arrangements with independent contractors, including but not limited to airline carriers, ground-tour operators, and hotels since they are neither agents for nor employees of Silversea Cruises. Silversea's liability does not extend beyond the vessel.