Spectacular Mount Cook National Park Overland: The Heart of the South Island (Double)
Mount Cook National Park not only boasts some of New Zealand’s most magnificent scenery, it also is home to one of the country’s top hotels, the Hermitage. Join this overland adventure and you will spend a night at the hotel, reveling in its sumptuous accommodations and stunning setting. Speaking of which, you will enjoy a thrilling perspective on the region’s dramatic beauty with a ski-plane flight into the national park, where you will make a glacier landing. This adventure also includes a visit to the historic town of Oamaru, the Moeraki Boulders, one of natures geological curiosities.
Begin your adventure as you depart the ship for Mount Cook, with a drive around Akaroa Harbour. Then cross The Hilltop and continue down to Little River before crossing the Canterbury Plains to Geraldine. Here, a country-style lunch will be served at a local country home.
Following lunch, make your way across Burkes Pass to Lake Tekapo, where you will stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd. From this vantage point, you will admire incredible views across the lake to Mount Cook and the Southern Alps.
In the late afternoon, arrive at the Mount Cook Airport for your exciting flight seeing experience. Fly in a ski-plane and helicopter on the same day. From take-off to landing you will enjoy spectacular views. Fly up the Tasman Valley over the breathtaking blue glacier lake. See the Hochstetter Icefall and the cloud piercing Aoraki/Mt Cook before landing on the upper snowfields of the Tasman Glacier. Take time to enjoy this unique alpine environment before swapping aircraft and returning to Mt Cook Airport. Afterward, proceed to the Hermitage Hotel. Enjoy dinner in the Panorama Room and your overnight stay, looking forward to admiring more of New Zealand’s scenery tomorrow.
After breakfast at the hotel, join an amazing trip out to a glacial lake. Stroll with your guide through the National Park until you reach the launch point for the Zodiac watercraft. As you cruise around the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake, you are sure to be impressed by the looming icebergs that were once part of the retreating glaciers. Then leave the Mount Cook area for Dunedin. Follow the eastern shores of Lake Pukaki before entering the Mackenzie Basin and arriving in Omarama. After a brief stop continue southeast down the Waitaki Valley, past lakes Benmore and Aviemore to visit the Moeraki Boulders on Hampden Beach. These geological curiosities each weighing several tonnes and measuring up to 12 feet in circumference, lie on the beach as if a giant, weary of his play, has walked away from a game of bowls. Enjoy a late buffet lunch before continuing to Dunedin city.
Where you will finish with a brief overview of Dunedin “The Edinburgh of the South” where some of its finest architecture will be pointed out. Reaching Port Chalmers, rejoin your Crystal ship.
As this program involves over 10 hours of motor coaching, it is not recommended for guests with back problems or physical and/or walking difficulties. This program is not wheelchair accessible. It is recommended that guests wear flat, comfortable shoes. Single hotel accommodations are extremely limited. In the unlikely event that accommodations are unavailable at the Hermitage Hotel, a hotel of similar quality will be substituted. Traffic conditions may affect the duration of this excursion. The order of sights visited may vary. See information concerning flight seeing cancellation on page XXX and special cancellation conditions on page XXX. This Crystal Adventures excursion MUST be pre-reserved.