8 Day South Island Highlights
This 8 Day South Island Highlights private vacation will have you fall in love with the South Island of New Zealand. We’ll explore the rebuilt city of Christchurch, hike on a glacier, sample beautiful New Zealand wines and experience the iconic Shotover Jet. And that is not all! This itinerary is full of experiences that you will remember for a lifetime. This is all while riding in the comfort of your own vehicle with a very knowledgeable, experienced Driver/Guide.
Day 1 Arrive into Christchurch Airport
Welcome to Aotearoa, New Zealand! You will be met at the airport by your Tour Driver/Guide and begin your New Zealand adventure. Today we will join a tour of the Antarctic Centre, this museum houses injured penguins as well as experiencing the weather forces of Antarctica. Once we finish the tour we will have a city tour including the 185 White Chairs Earthquake Memorial, The Cathedral, The new Cardboard Cathedral and Botanical Gardens. Afterwards your Guide will take you into town where you can enjoy the city at your pace. Check out the container mall or you may like to try Punting on the River.
Day 2 Christchurch to Franz Josef
Today you will be departing Christchurch onboard the TranzApline Train. Hailed as one of the greatest train journeys in the world, the TranzAlpine inland train journey will take your breath away. The 223km journey will take you through the Southern Alps and into Greymouth where you Driver/Guide will be waiting to take you to Franz Josef. On the way we will stop at Hokitika so you can visit some of the Ponamu (greenstone) factories and have something to eat before we continue on to Franz Josef.
Day 3 Franz Josef to Queenstown
This morning we travel to Lake Matheson for a short walk to the Mirror Lake where on a still day you can see the reflection of our highest mountain, Mount Cook. We will also travel through the majestic Haast Pass and around into the Southern Lakes District. These deep blue lakes are amazing in colour as we arrive into Wanaka. We will also take the time to have some fun at Puzzling World, great to keep the mind active and have some fun in the maze.
We are on the move again for the short trip over the winding Crown Range into Queenstown.
Day 4 Queenstown Sights
Today you are in for a treat; this afternoon you will be treated to the highly rated Shotover Jetboat ride. This trip was enjoyed by Prince William and Kate on their visit to New Zealand. Then we are off to the Gibbston Valley for a Prestige Wine Tour with a two course lunch. Once we return to Queenstown we will take a ride in the Skyline Skyrides Gondola where you can enjoy awesome views over the city, Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Lake Wakatipu. This evening you will take a cruise on the MV Earnslaw, the oldest coal fired steamship in New Zealand and have an evening meal at Walter Peak Farm.
Day 5 Milford Sound Day Trip
Today is a day to sit back and take it all in. We will be travelling one of the finest alpine roads in the world. Fiordland National Park is a step back in time and is famous for its glacier carved fiords. Today we will join a scenic tour of Milford Sound, about 2 hours of stunning natural bush, wildlife and fiords. We will travel back to Queenstown and arrive late afternoon.
Day 6 Queenstown to Lake Tekapo
Once we have loaded up we will make the short drive through the Gibston Valley to the AJ Hackett Bungy site, the first commercially operated site in NZ. After watching others take the leap we will travel a little further to the fruit bowl of New Zealand, Cromwell. Here you will get the chance to try and purchase some of the best produce and real fruit ice cream New Zealand has to offer. We continue north travelling through Omarama and the Lindis Pass where the high country sheep call their home. This is also the home to the Ice Breaker Clothing sheep. We will arrive into Lake Tekapo in the early afternoon where you can enjoy dinner by the lake as the sun sets and the stars come out. Lake Tekapo is renowned for having some of the clearest skies in the world, NASA have even been here for major studies on our southern skies.
Day 7 Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
After breakfast we have our final day of travel together. We will stop in the historic village of Geraldine. Some of the local creations here in Geraldine are a must try, such as Geraldine’s cheese maker, chocolatier and the internationally recognised Barker's fruit products - all of which have outlets in the town. After lunch we will make our way into Christchurch where you will have some time for some last minute souvenir shopping and time to enjoy your last night in New Zealand
Day 8 Christchurch Departure
Today your Guide will take you to Christchurch Airport for your departure flight. After an exciting and in-depth tour of New Zealand’s South Island and we hope you’ve loved New Zealand as much as we have loved showing it to you.
What is included in this tour?
7 Nights’ Accommodation (4 Star)
4 Breakfasts, cooked or continental
TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth
International Antarctic Centre Entry
Puzzling World Entry
Gibbston Valley Prestige Wine Tour with Two Course Lunch
Shot Over Jet Boat Ride
Milford Sound Scenic Cruise
Skyline Gondola Ride
Walter Peak Dinner Cruise
Want to see more? Feel free to contact us and customise this itinerary to suit your needs! Add additional days, activities and more.
Want to upgrade to luxury travel and accommodation? Contact us for a quote to upgrade this trip to suit your tour needs.
Want to go budget? No worries! Contact us for a quote to change this trip to hostel accommodation without breakfasts.
All pricing is in New Zealand Dollars.
Airfares are not included.
Travel Insurance is not included.