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The Classic South Island by DC3

The Classic South Island by DC3

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Sofitel Q'town 5688_70947549_5688_ro_03_p_3000x2250.jpg
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Queenstown shutterstock_158913458.jpg
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11 Days
11 Mar – 21 Mar 2018
AUD$13,500pp twin share
Single Supplement AUD$1,700 

Exclusive Highlights

  • Travel by DC3 aircraft around the South Island of New Zealand with a professional crew of two pilots and a flight attendant
  • Visit Warbirds, Wheels Museum and the world famous Omaka Aviation Museum in Blenheim
  • Experience spectacular aerial flightseeing over the Southern Alps & Stewart Island
  • Visit the far southern towns of Dunedin, Invercargill, Omaka & Gore
  • Explore the West Coast including Haast, Franz & Fox Glaciers, Lake Matheson & Hokitika
  • Relax in the famous thermal spas at Hanmer Springs
  • Enjoy a private cruise & lunch on Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown
  • Stay in exceptional accommodation including Millbrook, Braemar Lodge and The George
  • All touring, transfers and meals included

Tour Ininerary

Day 1 | Arrive Christchurch

Upon arrival in Christchurch transfer to the Distinction Hotel – a brand new hotel is in the centre of Christchurch’s redeveloped town centre. Tonight there will be a special welcome dinner at a local restaurant where you can meet fellow travellers and your Journey Director.

Overnight: Distinction Christchurch or similar 

Day 2 | Christchurch - Oamaru - Dunedin

Your adventure on the DC3 begins today at Christchurch Airport where you will meet your professional crew. First stop today is Oamaru which contains some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in New Zealand. In the late 19th century, the town prospered through goldmining, quarrying and timber milling. Evidence of this is found in the elegant buildings made from local limestone. After exploring the Victorian precinct we visit Riverstone Castle - a modern day castle built from local Oamaru stone. Lunch today at the famous Riverstone Kitchen.

After lunch fly to Dunedin which has a long and rich heritage and a distinctly Scottish feel. The history of Dunedin commenced in the 1860’s as a result of the gold rushes of this time. Many of today’s buildings date back to this period, resulting in a very Victorian and Edwardian influence everywhere you go in Dunedin. This afternoon visit the famous Larnach Castle built in 1871 by William Larnach, merchant baron and politician, for his beloved first wife Eliza.

Overnight: Distinction Dunedin or similar 

Day 3 | Dunedin -Stewart Island - Invercargill

Some sensational aerial flightseeing this morning over Stewart Island – the largest island National Park in New Zealand with approximately 85% reserved as Department of Conservation land. We will view Oreti Beach and mainland New Zealand’s southern most town, Bluff and Foveaux Strait, where the world famous Bluff Oysters are harvested. Upon landing at Invercargill enjoy a town tour. New Zealand’s southernmost city was founded in the 1850’s and with a population in excess of 53,000, Invercargill is the capital of Southland. Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco heritage buildings give the city a charming old-world character. Visit the E-Hayes Museum where you will see Burt Munro’s famous Indian motorbike.

Overnight: Quest Invercargill or similar 

Day 3 | Dunedin -Stewart Island - Invercargill 

Day 4 | Invercargill - Gore - Queenstown

Today we fly to the township of Gore in Central Otago which is a service town for the surrounding farm communities and has one of New Zealand’s best aviation museums. The Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre houses mostly aircraft from the 1920s and 30s, including the largest collection of de Havilland aircraft in the southern hemisphere. It is unique in that nearly all of the aircraft on display actually fly. This nationally significant museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating New Zealand’s civil aviation heritage – both the stories of pioneer aviators and their equally colourful machines.

After lunch the aircraft continues on to Queenstown. Upon arrival transfer to the picturesque Millbrook Resort. Millbrook is set in a natural alpine amphitheatre against the backdrop of the Remarkables Mountain Range.

Overnight: Millbrook Resort or similar 

Day 5 | Lake Wakatipu - Arrowtown

Today experience a stunning private cruise on Lake Wakatipu. With a length of 80 km, it is New Zealand’s longest lake, and, at 291 km2 it’s third largest. The lake is also very deep, its floor being below sea level. Lake Wakatipu is renowned for its scenic beauty, being surrounded by mountains. The Remarkables mountain range lies along its southeastern edge. Enjoy a gourmet BBQ as you cruise this beautiful lake. This afternoon enjoy a walk through Arrowtown - a historic gold mining town close to Millbrook or simply relax.

Overnight: Millbrook Resort or similar 

Day 6 | Queenstown - Wanaka - Haast - Franz Josef

This morning depart for stunning Wanaka at the foot of the Mount Aspiring National Park. Travelling through the beautiful town and past Lake Wanaka we arrive at the Warbirds and Wheels Museum. The Museum houses some fascinating aircraft from WWI SE-5A through to more modern day jets like the A-4 Skyhawk. View a world-class collection of over 30 privately owned classic cars and motorcycles, all meticulously restored, dating from early veterans to 1960’s classics such as a 1934 Duesenberg, Packards and Fords.

Continuing on by road through Mount Aspiring National Park we make our way to Haast, the southern-most town on the West Coast. Upon arrival enjoy a jet boat cruise and picnic on the Haast River which is set amongst a remarkable glacial valley, where temperate rainforest thrives. Hear stories of the Kiwi spirit that enabled the Haast community to survive on the edge of the wilderness. Continue on to Franz Josef.

Overnight: Franz Josef Oasis or similar

Day 7 | Franz Josef - Fox Glacier -Lake Matheson

Today enjoy the flight of a lifetime, the “Grand Traverse”, a spectacular scenic flight that explores the Mount Cook and Westland National Parks including Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and shows you the region like no other flight. This magnificent flight encompasses two World Heritage National Parks and 200 km of New Zealand’s most memorable and breathtaking scenery. This afternoon visit Lake Matheson which offers unparalleled views of Fox Glacier, Mt Tasman and Aoraki/Mt Cook, and is the most photographed lake in New Zealand … and it’s no surprise why. A tour will take the group along a walkway which has three viewing platforms, providing unprecedented views.

Overnight: Franz Josef Oasis or similar 

Day 8 | Franz Josef - Hokitika - Blenheim

Travel this morning along the West Coast to Hokitika where the group will meet up once again with the aircraft. For a small town, Hokitika struck it rich in the resources stakes. Before the gold rushes Maori were already heading there in search of another precious stone – pounamu. The Arahura River is the birth place of pounamu which is also known as greenstone or New Zealand jade. After lunch at a local restaurant re-board the aircraft for your flight to Blenheim. View spectacular scenery as you travel over the Nelson Lakes National Park & Wairau Valleys. On landing visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre - the brainchild of Sir Peter Jackson and fellow enthusiasts. The Museum is as ground breaking, not just in terms of the historical importance, rarity and scale of the collection but in the innovative way it is presented.

Overnight: Chateau Marlborough or similar 

Day 9 | Marlborough - Hanmer Springs

This morning enjoy a tour of the Marlborough wine region followed by lunch at the famous Saint Claire’s Kitchen where you will sample some fresh produce from the region and of course their famous wines. Transfer to the airport for your short flight to Hanmer Springs. Best known for its natural hot pools and stunning landscapes, Hanmer Springs is a picturesque alpine town. Upon arrival transfer to our stunning accommodation - Braemer Lodge boasts outstanding views across the valley towards the mountains and alpine forests. An afternoon shuttle will take guests to the famous Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools which are renowned for their healing benefits. This evening enjoy a very special farewell dinner at the Lodge with the flight crew.

Overnight: Select Braemar Lodge 

Day 10 | Hanmer Springs - Christchurch

After a leisurely breakfast we transfer to the airport for one last flight on-board the DC3 to Christchurch. Upon arrival enjoy a city tour and a delightful lunch before transferring to The George Hotel. The afternoon is at leisure before a final farewell dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: The George Hotel or Similar 

Day 11 | Depart Christchurch

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your homeward flight. Take away fond memories of an incredible journey back in time.

About The DC3

ZK-AWP was built in 1945 at Oklahoma City, USA. With a wing span of 95 feet, an overall length of 64.5 feet and a height of almost 15 feet and powered by two Pratt and Whitney R – 1830 - 92 engines with 1250 bhp each it was ideally suited to military service, operating comfortably into unpaved fields of 1000 metres or sometimes less, carrying a standard load of three tons and featuring a range of 1200 nautical miles.

ZK-AWP left its “birthplace” at Oklahoma City, USA on Saturday the 21st of April 1945 - the day the Red Army over ran the German High Command in Berlin - and flew to Hamilton, New Zealand. From 13 May 1945 the aircraft became RNZAF Dakota NZ3543 and was assigned to 41 Squadron RNZAF from 21 July of that year, 1945 until 1952. The aircraft was engaged in ferrying servicemen home to New Zealand - in this role the RNZAF operated their C - 47’s as far as Japan

On 30 June 1952 the aircaft handed over as NZ3543 at Whenuapai to New Zealand National Airways Corporation where it spent many years on passenger routes. Over the next 48 years the aircraft operated in various capacities, as a passenger aircraft in Samoa a crop duster in the South Island and then as a charter aircraft. In 2004 at the request of none other than the Crown Prince of Tonga (later King George V) it left Christchurch to work in the Kingdom of Tonga and flew domestic routes until 23 October 2006 when it was bought by another company.

It was very lucky to survive the violent riots that broke out in the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa and subsequently spent the next 3 years gathering dust in a hangar. The aircraft was purchased by our partners in New Zealand – Air Chathams who undertook extensive work to return the aircraft to airworthiness in 2010 and it continued on as a passenger service in Tonga. The aircraft was then flown “home” to New Zealand in December 2013. The aircraft, now 70 years later, remains in commercial service and a very important part of Kiwi history. It is today, the only surviving RNZAF World War II veteran aircraft still in frontline service detail.

About Aircruising

An Aircruise with Bill Peach Journeys is the perfect way to explore these hard to reach destinations in the style, speed and comfort of your own private aircraft. Travelling by private aircraft means that we can land directly in each location ensuring time on the ground is spent discovering each region. The style of aircraft is chosen to provide the best possible access into remote locations.

When you travel on an Aircruise everything is included. This means not only does your holiday include accommodation, dining and all excursions but every one of these elements is the finest in its class. Throughout the journey you will have a Journey Director on hand to look after each detail.

FITNESS LEVEL - MODERATE

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