Overview

Embark on a discovery of the West Coast and its famous glaciers before tracing a figure 8 through Arthur’s Pass to Kaikoura and on to the top of the South Island. Explore in detail the charms of Abel Tasman National Park then travel south to Punakaiki and the upper West Coast. Catch the TranzAlpine Scenic Train for a journey through to Christchurch where you may spend your free day wandering around this dynamic city.

Follow the East Coast on your trip down to Dunedin, venturing to the other side of the island for the pristine wilderness of the Fiordland National Park and the postcard beauty of Milford Sound. Finally, round out your epic South Island adventure with a trip back to Queenstown.

Queenstown - Franz Josef - Arthur's Pass - Kaikoura - Blenheim - Abel Tasman National Park - Punakaiki - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch - Akaroa - Twizel/Mt Cook - Dunedin - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

Map of 21 Day Queenstown Classic South Island Self Drive
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Welcome to Queenstown
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)
Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef to Arthur's Pass National Park
Arthur's Pass to Kaikoura
Explore Kaikoura
Kaikoura to Blenheim
Blenheim to Abel Tasman National Park via Queen Charlotte Drive
Explore Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman to Punakaiki
Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Explore Christchurch City
Christchurch to Akaroa
Akaroa to Twizel via (Mt. Cook National Park)
Twizel to Dunedin
Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
Dunedin to Te Anau
Te Anau to Milford Sound and return
Te Anau to Queenstown
Depart Queenstown

Day 1

Welcome to Queenstown

Day 2

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 3

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Day 4

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Day 5

Franz Josef to Arthur's Pass National Park

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 233 kms

Day 6

Arthur's Pass to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 3 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 287 kms

Day 7

Explore Kaikoura

Day 8

Kaikoura to Blenheim

Travel Time: 1 hr 20 mins

Distance: 116 kms

Day 9

Blenheim to Abel Tasman National Park via Queen Charlotte Drive

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 184 kms

Day 10

Explore Abel Tasman National Park

Day 11

Abel Tasman to Punakaiki

Travel Time: 3 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 286 kms

Day 12

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch

Travel Time: 35 mins

Distance: 42 kms

Day 13

Explore Christchurch City

Day 14

Christchurch to Akaroa

Travel Time: 1 hr

Distance: 71 km

Day 15

Akaroa to Twizel via (Mt. Cook National Park)

Travel Time: 5 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 448 kms

Day 16

Twizel to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 249 kms

Day 17

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Day 18

Dunedin to Te Anau

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 387 km

Day 19

Te Anau to Milford Sound and return

Travel Time: 3 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 233 kms

Day 20

Te Anau to Queenstown

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 164 kms

Day 21

Depart Queenstown

You will be met from your flight and transferred to your Queenstown hotel.

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities 'Queenstown' is synonymous with adventure. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this small alpine town is nestled below soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway.

Stay 2 nights Queenstown

Collect your rental car

Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw - to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Wilderness Safari

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring national park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a ten minute walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

Stay 2 nights Franz Josef

Franz Josef is small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice up close walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Hot Pools

Driving north on State Highway 6 you pass through many small West Coast towns.

State Highway 73 is the main road between the West Coast and Christchurch and the scenery is spectacular - even in the rain - and there is pretty good chance of rain in the high alpine mountains.

Arthur's Pass Township is bustling place in the peak season with many walkers and adventurers using it as a base for the forays into the mountains of Arthur's pass National Park.
Stay 1 night Arthur's Pass

Travelling from the Southern Alps to the Coast, this drive offers spectacular views of braided river valleys. You’ll travel through Castle Hill Scenic Reserve, dotted with remarkable rocky outcrops - popular for hiking.

Descending on to the Canterbury Plains, you’ll travel through the rich farmland surrounding Christchurch before turning North through the small towns of Rangiora and Oxford. You’ll then travel on State Highway 1 through the Waipara Valley.

The road hugs the coast for the final stretch of this drive, before arriving into your destination, Kaikoura.
Stay 2 nights Kaikoura

The Kaikoura Coast is renowned for its abundant marine life, and this is huge visitor drawcard. Due to the teeming food supply in its icy seas, whales, seals and dolphins are frequently spotted year round in the area. Observe the fur seal colony basking in the sun at the tip of the peninsula and be sure to take a trip by boat to view the whales.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura

Heading north from Kaikoura, the road hugs the shore for approximately 50 kilometres and offers many opportunities to view the native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals. As you drive you will have turquoise waters of the South Pacific Ocean to your east and to the west the towering Kaikoura Ranges. Crossing the dry hills of the Marlborough ranges you head towards Marlborough, New Zealand's largest wine producing region. Blenheim sits right at the heart of Marlborough.

Stay 1 night Blenheim

Take a short drive to the small port of Picton where the interislander ferry connects with Wellington. You’ll travel along Queen Charlotte Drive, traversing the length of the Marlborough Sounds coastline.

Continue through the small port town of Havelock, home to a variety of cafes and restaurants. The highway between Nelson and Picton crosses the pelorus river, and at this junction you’ll find the famous pelorus bridge. Traverse Tasman Bay passing through Motueka to arrive on the outskirts of Abel Tasman National Park.
Stay 2 nights Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park, known for its coastal hiking track has an abundance of golden beaches, inlets and private lagoons. The park has a mild climate and is a special place to visit at any time of the year. Enjoy a scenic cruise through the sounds or take a kayaking tour around it’s many sheltered bays. Enjoy the melodious birdsong and get up close to some of the park’s many animal residents, including native bats, geckos, birds and marine mammals - fur seals and dolphins.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Beaches, Bays and Seals Guided Sea Kayaking Trip with picnic lunch

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Split Apple, Seals and Walk day trip with picnic lunch

The drive today takes you along the Buller Gorge and offers some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. The town of Murchison is a quiet place and a great lunch stop.
The first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua. Further along the river one of the must stop places is Whites Creek and New Zealand's longest swing bridge.
The port town of Westport is the largest on the Northern West Coast.

The spectacular West Coast coastline guides you to Paparoa National Park and to Punakaiki where a walk along the paths around the pancake rocks is a must. Please note there is no supermarket facilities in Punakaiki.
Stay 1 night Punakaiki

Punakaiki to Greymouth
You have plenty of time to explore Punakaiki this morning and to enjoy the scenic drive back along the coast to Greymouth to catch the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train to Christchurch. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before checking in for your train journey at 1:15pm.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation

Stay 2 nights Christchurch

Collect your rental car

Following the 2011 earthquake that razed its centre and much of the outlying suburbs, Christchurch is well into a billion-dollar makeover. In the middle of the Canterbury Plains, bordering the pacific ocean, New Zealand’s newest city is an ideal gateway to exploring the middle of the South.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hot Air Balloon Ride

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Ko Tane Maori Experience, wildlife park entry and guided kiwi tour

The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. One of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, hectors dolphin, are often seen and cruises also offer excursions with the chance to swim amongst them.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Stay 1 night Akaroa

Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route, Geraldine offers an ideal stop before you head into Mackenzie country. Ascending Burkes Pass, you'll enter New Zealand's high country. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey.

On arriving at Lake Pukaki, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular views of Mt Cook, towering over the lake. Driving along the lake, you'll find your destination, Mt. Cook Village. Return along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Twizel, your base for the evening.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass
Stay 1 night Twizel/Mt Cook

The next town south is Omarama and the wrinkly rams cafe makes an interesting coffee stop. Heading down the Waitaki valley, from Omarama, you follow the hydro power generating system towards the east coast.
Further south the Moeraki Boulders are a unique geological feature and worth the short detour to the beach to view. Arriving into Dunedin, you can appreciate the city's Edwardian and Scottish heritage through its fine buildings particularly around the Octagon.

Stay 2 nights Dunedin

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin City has a heavy Scottish influence. Surrounded by rugged coastal plains and windswept beaches it’s home to an eclectic mix of historical and modern architecture as well as industrial technology. Renowned for its Flemish Baroque-inspired ‘gingerbread house’ Railway Station, this university town is bustling with life.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Speights Brewery Tour

The drive to Te-Anau takes you through classic Southland farming scenery. Head off-the-beaten-track today and follow the coastline instead of the inland route. Go through The Catlins area and be sure to take a detour to Kaka Point to view its majestic cliffs and pounding surf. Continue through Invercargill to Riverton and Colac Bay, and then head north to Manapouri. Just a short way further will bring you to your lakeside destination of Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.
Stay 2 nights Te Anau

The road to Milford Sound offers some of the most beautiful and iconic scenery in the country.

Milford Sound Nature Cruise
A two and a half hour nature cruise of spectacular Milford Sound. On board one of three purpose built vessels you'll experience tumbling waterfalls, towering peaks, lush rainforest and native wildlife. Learn about the region, its history and natural surroundings while enjoying a delicious picnic lunch. As you cruise, keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and penguins - frequent visitors to the fiord.

Today you’ll cross vast tussocklands on your way to Queenstown. Pass through Mossburn, the deer capital of the nation. Continue on through the Southland countryside where the road begins to hug the lake edge and the Remarkables mountain range towers over your approach into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
Stay 1 night Queenstown

Depending on when your flight departs you might have time for one last Queenstown adventure before dropping your car off at the airport and catching your flight.

Day 1, Welcome to Queenstown

Welcome to Queenstown

You will be met from your flight and transferred to your Queenstown hotel.

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities 'Queenstown' is synonymous with adventure. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this small alpine town is nestled below soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway.

Stay 2 nights Queenstown

Day 2, Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Collect your rental car

Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw - to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Wilderness Safari

Day 3, Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 350 kms

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring national park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a ten minute walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

Stay 2 nights Franz Josef

Day 4, Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice up close walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Hot Pools

Day 5, Franz Josef to Arthur's Pass National Park

Franz Josef to Arthur's Pass National Park

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 233 kms

Driving north on State Highway 6 you pass through many small West Coast towns.

State Highway 73 is the main road between the West Coast and Christchurch and the scenery is spectacular - even in the rain - and there is pretty good chance of rain in the high alpine mountains.

Arthur's Pass Township is bustling place in the peak season with many walkers and adventurers using it as a base for the forays into the mountains of Arthur's pass National Park.
Stay 1 night Arthur's Pass

Day 6, Arthur's Pass to Kaikoura

Arthur's Pass to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 3 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 287 kms

Travelling from the Southern Alps to the Coast, this drive offers spectacular views of braided river valleys. You’ll travel through Castle Hill Scenic Reserve, dotted with remarkable rocky outcrops - popular for hiking.

Descending on to the Canterbury Plains, you’ll travel through the rich farmland surrounding Christchurch before turning North through the small towns of Rangiora and Oxford. You’ll then travel on State Highway 1 through the Waipara Valley.

The road hugs the coast for the final stretch of this drive, before arriving into your destination, Kaikoura.
Stay 2 nights Kaikoura

Day 7, Explore Kaikoura

Explore Kaikoura

The Kaikoura Coast is renowned for its abundant marine life, and this is huge visitor drawcard. Due to the teeming food supply in its icy seas, whales, seals and dolphins are frequently spotted year round in the area. Observe the fur seal colony basking in the sun at the tip of the peninsula and be sure to take a trip by boat to view the whales.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura

Day 8, Kaikoura to Blenheim

Kaikoura to Blenheim

Travel Time: 1 hr 20 mins

Distance: 116 kms

Heading north from Kaikoura, the road hugs the shore for approximately 50 kilometres and offers many opportunities to view the native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals. As you drive you will have turquoise waters of the South Pacific Ocean to your east and to the west the towering Kaikoura Ranges. Crossing the dry hills of the Marlborough ranges you head towards Marlborough, New Zealand's largest wine producing region. Blenheim sits right at the heart of Marlborough.

Stay 1 night Blenheim

Day 9, Blenheim to Abel Tasman National Park via Queen Charlotte Drive

Blenheim to Abel Tasman National Park via Queen Charlotte Drive

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 184 kms

Take a short drive to the small port of Picton where the interislander ferry connects with Wellington. You’ll travel along Queen Charlotte Drive, traversing the length of the Marlborough Sounds coastline.

Continue through the small port town of Havelock, home to a variety of cafes and restaurants. The highway between Nelson and Picton crosses the pelorus river, and at this junction you’ll find the famous pelorus bridge. Traverse Tasman Bay passing through Motueka to arrive on the outskirts of Abel Tasman National Park.
Stay 2 nights Abel Tasman National Park

Day 10, Explore Abel Tasman National Park

Explore Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park, known for its coastal hiking track has an abundance of golden beaches, inlets and private lagoons. The park has a mild climate and is a special place to visit at any time of the year. Enjoy a scenic cruise through the sounds or take a kayaking tour around it’s many sheltered bays. Enjoy the melodious birdsong and get up close to some of the park’s many animal residents, including native bats, geckos, birds and marine mammals - fur seals and dolphins.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Beaches, Bays and Seals Guided Sea Kayaking Trip with picnic lunch

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Split Apple, Seals and Walk day trip with picnic lunch

Day 11, Abel Tasman to Punakaiki

Abel Tasman to Punakaiki

Travel Time: 3 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 286 kms

The drive today takes you along the Buller Gorge and offers some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. The town of Murchison is a quiet place and a great lunch stop.
The first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua. Further along the river one of the must stop places is Whites Creek and New Zealand's longest swing bridge.
The port town of Westport is the largest on the Northern West Coast.

The spectacular West Coast coastline guides you to Paparoa National Park and to Punakaiki where a walk along the paths around the pancake rocks is a must. Please note there is no supermarket facilities in Punakaiki.
Stay 1 night Punakaiki

Day 12, Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch

Travel Time: 35 mins

Distance: 42 kms

Punakaiki to Greymouth
You have plenty of time to explore Punakaiki this morning and to enjoy the scenic drive back along the coast to Greymouth to catch the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train to Christchurch. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before checking in for your train journey at 1:15pm.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation

Stay 2 nights Christchurch

Day 13, Explore Christchurch City

Explore Christchurch City

Collect your rental car

Following the 2011 earthquake that razed its centre and much of the outlying suburbs, Christchurch is well into a billion-dollar makeover. In the middle of the Canterbury Plains, bordering the pacific ocean, New Zealand’s newest city is an ideal gateway to exploring the middle of the South.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Hot Air Balloon Ride

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Ko Tane Maori Experience, wildlife park entry and guided kiwi tour

Day 14, Christchurch to Akaroa

Christchurch to Akaroa

Travel Time: 1 hr

Distance: 71 km

The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. One of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, hectors dolphin, are often seen and cruises also offer excursions with the chance to swim amongst them.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Stay 1 night Akaroa

Day 15, Akaroa to Twizel via (Mt. Cook National Park)

Akaroa to Twizel via (Mt. Cook National Park)

Travel Time: 5 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 448 kms

Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route, Geraldine offers an ideal stop before you head into Mackenzie country. Ascending Burkes Pass, you'll enter New Zealand's high country. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey.

On arriving at Lake Pukaki, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular views of Mt Cook, towering over the lake. Driving along the lake, you'll find your destination, Mt. Cook Village. Return along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Twizel, your base for the evening.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass
Stay 1 night Twizel/Mt Cook

Day 16, Twizel to Dunedin

Twizel to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 249 kms

The next town south is Omarama and the wrinkly rams cafe makes an interesting coffee stop. Heading down the Waitaki valley, from Omarama, you follow the hydro power generating system towards the east coast.
Further south the Moeraki Boulders are a unique geological feature and worth the short detour to the beach to view. Arriving into Dunedin, you can appreciate the city's Edwardian and Scottish heritage through its fine buildings particularly around the Octagon.

Stay 2 nights Dunedin

Day 17, Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin City has a heavy Scottish influence. Surrounded by rugged coastal plains and windswept beaches it’s home to an eclectic mix of historical and modern architecture as well as industrial technology. Renowned for its Flemish Baroque-inspired ‘gingerbread house’ Railway Station, this university town is bustling with life.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Speights Brewery Tour

Day 18, Dunedin to Te Anau

Dunedin to Te Anau

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 387 km

The drive to Te-Anau takes you through classic Southland farming scenery. Head off-the-beaten-track today and follow the coastline instead of the inland route. Go through The Catlins area and be sure to take a detour to Kaka Point to view its majestic cliffs and pounding surf. Continue through Invercargill to Riverton and Colac Bay, and then head north to Manapouri. Just a short way further will bring you to your lakeside destination of Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.
Stay 2 nights Te Anau

Day 19, Te Anau to Milford Sound and return

Te Anau to Milford Sound and return

Travel Time: 3 hrs 35 mins

Distance: 233 kms

The road to Milford Sound offers some of the most beautiful and iconic scenery in the country.

Milford Sound Nature Cruise
A two and a half hour nature cruise of spectacular Milford Sound. On board one of three purpose built vessels you'll experience tumbling waterfalls, towering peaks, lush rainforest and native wildlife. Learn about the region, its history and natural surroundings while enjoying a delicious picnic lunch. As you cruise, keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and penguins - frequent visitors to the fiord.

Day 20, Te Anau to Queenstown

Te Anau to Queenstown

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 164 kms

Today you’ll cross vast tussocklands on your way to Queenstown. Pass through Mossburn, the deer capital of the nation. Continue on through the Southland countryside where the road begins to hug the lake edge and the Remarkables mountain range towers over your approach into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
Stay 1 night Queenstown

Day 21, Depart Queenstown

Depart Queenstown

Depending on when your flight departs you might have time for one last Queenstown adventure before dropping your car off at the airport and catching your flight.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

 Twin/DoubleFamily**
Motel Accommodation from NZ$3,560* per person from NZ$2,448* per person

*Price is based on two adults sharing a rental car and accommodation (twin/double-share). **Family share is based on 2 adults and 2 children (5-14 years)

Prices are estimates only, and are subject to availability and exchange rates when booking, seasonal or holiday price surcharges (such as Christmas/New Year and Easter); as well as special events that may be on. Please forward a request and we will be happy to forward a quote.

Payment

  • Deposit: 20% of the package cost or NZ$250 per person (whichever is the greater) at time of booking
  • Full Payment: 45 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full at the time of booking

Cancellation Charges

  • Cancellation Fees up to 100% can apply after booking. Extra deposits or full payment may be requested to cover these charges prior to booking
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Includes

Includes:

20 nights accommodation

  • 2 nights Queenstown
  • 2 nights Franz Josef
  • 1 night Arthur's Pass
  • 2 nights Kaikoura
  • 1 night Blenheim
  • 2 nights Abel Tasman National Park
  • 1 night Punakaiki
  • 2 nights Christchurch
  • 1 night Akaroa
  • 1 night Twizel/Mt Cook
  • 2 nights Dunedin
  • 2 nights Te Anau
  • 1 night Queenstown

Rental Car Hire

  • Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible.
  • Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation. unlimited kms,airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers.

Private airport and train station transfers

TranzAlpine Scenic Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Options

Travel Insurance

If you are going overseas, then travel insurance is a necssity. Compare rates and polices online and get a free travel insurance quote.

Accommodation

There is a choice of accommodation available on all packages, which depending on locations, includes motels, 3 star hotels, 4 star hotels, boutique lodges & hotels and luxury lodges and hotels. We are happy to quote on alternate accommodation requests.

Airfares

International flights can be included from Australia for all Australian residents.

Optional Extras

Explore Queenstown

Dart River Wilderness Safari

Take a one and a half hour jet boat safari through the remote wilderness of Mt Aspiring National Park. Home to towering mountains, alpine bush, glacial lakes and icy rivers, this spectacular trip is considered one of the most scenic in the world. Following your boat journey, take a 40 minute walk through ancient beech forests over 80 million years old. Learn about the area and its history before taking a four wheel drive coach on a 50 minute journey to the isolated hamlet of Paradise - home to many Lord of the Rings filming locations.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship. On disembarking, you’ll be escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel's Homestead. Here you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country. On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Explore the Glaciers

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

On this relaxing walk, you’ll wander through regenerating rainforest alongside the Waiho Riverbed, following the path of the glacier as it winds its way through the landscape. Learn about the glacier’s history and role in shaping this remarkable area. As you approach the terminal face, you’ll have the chance to venture beyond the public barriers and see this magnificent river of ice up close. You’ll also have the chance to access exclusive trails and hear the Maori legend of Ka Roimata O Hine Hukatere.

With 1 guide for every 13 guests, this 3 hour trip ensures you gain an in-depth knowledge about this unique region.

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line’s operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Glacier Hot Pools

Nestled within the lush rainforest surrounds, the Glacier Hot Pools is a haven of tranquility. Unwind in one of the three main pools or relax in a secluded private oasis. Temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees and the water comes directly from a glacial stream. Wash off the day and rejuvenate in this unique forest paradise.

Explore Kaikoura

Whale Watch Kaikoura

New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company, Whale Watch Kaikoura offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime up close encounter with the giant sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, is sometimes seen.
You’ll be taken out in modern catamarans specifically designed for whale watching - featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks.

Explore Abel Tasman National Park

Beaches, Bays and Seals Guided Sea Kayaking Trip including picnic lunch

Combining the best of the Abel Tasman, this trip showcases incredible beaches, coastal walks and native wildlife. First you’ll meet your guide and join the 9.30am Vista Cruise along the magnificent coastline to Torrent Bay. You’ll then arrive at Torrent Bay Lodge and complete a full training session and safety briefing before moving on to the water in kayaks to discover beautiful beaches, tidal estuaries and rivers.

Stop for a picnic lunch in a sheltered cove and take some time to swim, explore or sunbathe on the sand. On your return trip, if the winds are favourable, sails will be hoisted and you’ll sail back via Pinnacle Island to view the seal colony there - if you’re lucky, you may even see some resident blue penguins at the same time. Arriving back at Torrent Bay Lodge, freshen up with a hot shower and re-join the vista cruise back to Kaiteriteri, arriving at 4.10 pm.

During the summer there is the option to enjoy an unguided two hour coastal bush walk after the kayaking trip. Walk around the picturesque Torrent Bay Lagoon - via Cleopatra's Pool - to anchorage where you will re-join the boat back to Kaiteriteri. Minimum age 12 years.

Split Apple, Seals and Walk day trip including picnic lunch

This relaxing paddle explores the spectacular Kaiteriteri coastline with its golden beaches, and sculpted granite cliffs. Stop for lunch at a secluded cove before heading back to Kaiteriteri for your picnic lunch. Swap your kayak booties for walking shoes and join the Vista Cruise to Onetahuti where you’ll have the chance to view the seal colony at Tonga Island on the way.

After arriving at the at the Tonga Island Quarry, disembark and walk the coastal track to Medlands Beach where you region the Vista Cruise back to Kaiteriteri. Time spent kayaking is 2.5 hours including breaks. The unguided walk is 7km and the minimum age is 10 years old.

Explore Christchurch

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Escape to a world of peace and tranquillity. Hot Air Ballooning is a magical experience and a flight with Ballooning Canterbury offers panoramic views across the fertile Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps. There is nothing quite so romantic and exciting as floating effortlessly over an ever changing landscape.

Before leaving the ground, the pilot will give you a briefing. During your flight you will experience spectacular views and have fantastic photo opportunities. Chilled champagne, orange juice and a light snack then be served. Hot air ballooning is a hands-on experience and you will be encouraged to assist with the setup and pack away of the balloon itself.

Ko Tane Maori Experience, wildlife park entry and guided kiwi tour

Get a unique glimpse into the indigenous Maori culture when you visit the Ko Tane Living Maori Village and Willowbank Wildlife reserve. You'll be welcomed by the Karanga - a traditional welcome call - and experience the thrill of Wero, a challenge to visitors as you are brought into the sacred precinct of Tane, Maori God of the Forests.

Take part in a haka performed by the men or a poi dance performed by the women. Be entertained by the Kapa Haka group’s songs and games, then enjoy a four course hangi dinner. Following the meal you'll be taken on a guided tour through the wildlife reserve to view the New Zealand native kiwi.

Explore Akaroa

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

A leisurely 2 hour cruise in the sheltered Akaroa Harbour. Cruising aboard a modern catamaran, the 60 feet / 20 meter Black Cat is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of the harbour. The vessel is the largest and most luxurious on the harbour. There's lots of space on the 2 decks for unimpeded viewing and inside you will find a bar and toilets. The vessel offers comfortable, safe and stable comfort. The highlight of this trip is undoubtedly the sighting of one of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin. These friendly and inquisitive mammals meet the boat most days throughout the year and their calves can be seen between October and March. Also on the trip you will catch glimpses of the White Flippered Blue Penguin, the smallest penguin in the world. There are many different bird species in the harbour, including five different cormorant species and the chance of sighting the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. You'll also see the New Zealand Fur Seal sunning themselves on the harbours rocks near the entrance at Seal Bay and you also get to stop at Lucas Bay to see at a salmon farm where thousands of salmon from fingerlings to adult fish are farmed in a series of cages. This is where the world-famous 'Akaroa Salmon' are raised.

Explore Mt Cook

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass

A tribute to New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary - humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world's greatest explorers - the centre showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region and its people within a comprehensive museum as well as a 126-seat custom-designed theatre and Digital Dome Planetarium.

Explore Dunedin

Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve

A half day tour of the Otago Peninsula and its unique wildlife including a cruise through Dunedin Harbour. A unique environment, this tour includes a visit to The Penguin Place to view the rare and unique yellow eyed penguin. The tour also includes a scenic bus tour and the wading bird wetlands.

Speights Brewery Tour

Founded in 1876 the Speights Brewery still occupies its original Dunedin site - with several of its buildings dating back to the late 1800’s. One of the only remaining ‘gravity breweries’ in the world, your 90 minute tour will take you through it’s inner workings. You’ll also have a chance to taste six different beers as well as bottle, cap and brew your own personal Speights Gold Medal Ale - the brewery's flagship beer.

Highlights

TranzAlpine Scenic Train

Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train trip operates between Christchurch and Greymouth and vice versa. Crossing from the Tasman Sea through Arthur's Pass National Park to the Pacific Ocean. From your carriage enjoy views of the lush rain forest of the West Coast to the spectacular mountains of the Southern Alps. Travel through gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River.

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

An extended and leisurely 2½ hour cruise of Milford Sound on board the Milford Mariner, MV Sinbad or Milford Wanderer. These modern vessels, purpose built for operating in a fiord environment, have been designed along the lines of a traditional trading scow, and have real character. These relaxing cruises have special appeal for the independent traveller and an on board nature guide provides detailed interpretation and commentary. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and to view the stunning scenery, including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks. Keep a lookout for dolphins, seals and penguins.

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21 Day Queenstown Classic South Island Self Drive

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