Overview

Take this comprehensive 16 Day Queenstown South Island Highlights Self Drive tour of New Zealand's South Island to experience the region’s iconic destinations such as Mt. Cook National Park, Milford Sound, Akaroa, Christchurch, Abel Tasman National Park, Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs, Nelson, and the West Coast glaciers. Fittingly, you’ll start and end this tour in the adventure capital of Queenstown.

Itineraries

All itineraries can be amended or combined with other itineraries. Please advise amendments when requesting a quote.

Queenstown - Te Anau - Aoraki/Mt. Cook - Akaroa - Christchurch - Kaikoura - Nelson - Hanmer Springs - Christchurch - Franz Josef - Queenstown

Map of 16 Day Queenstown South Island Highlights Self Drive
View itinerary for day 1
View itinerary for day 2
View itinerary for day 3
View itinerary for day 4
View itinerary for day 5
View itinerary for day 6
View itinerary for day 7
View itinerary for day 8
View itinerary for day 9
View itinerary for day 10
View itinerary for day 11
View itinerary for day 12
View itinerary for day 13
View itinerary for day 14
View itinerary for day 15
View itinerary for day 16
Arrive Queenstown
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Queenstown to Te Anau
Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau
Te Anau to Mt. Cook National Park
Mt. Cook to Akaroa
Akaroa to Christchurch
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura - Blenheim - Nelson
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Nelson to Hanmer Springs
Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
TranzAlpine Train - Greymouth - Franz Josef
Franz Josef to Queenstown
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Depart Queenstown

Day 1

Arrive Queenstown

Day 2

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 3

Queenstown to Te Anau

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 164 kms

Day 4

Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau

Travel Time: 3 hrs 25 mins

Distance: 233 kms

Day 5

Te Anau to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 419 kms

Day 6

Mt. Cook to Akaroa

Travel Time: 4 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 383 kms

Day 7

Akaroa to Christchurch

Travel Time: 1 hr 30 mins

Distance: 85 kms

Day 8

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 166 kms

Day 9

Kaikoura - Blenheim - Nelson

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 225 kms

Day 10

Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region

Day 11

Nelson to Hanmer Springs

Travel Time: 3hrs 20min

Distance: 283 kms

Day 12

Hanmer Springs to Christchurch

Travel Time: 1 hr 30 mins

Distance: 122 kms

Day 13

TranzAlpine Train - Greymouth - Franz Josef

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 167 kms

Day 14

Franz Josef to Queenstown

Travel Time: 4 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 344 kms

Day 15

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 16

Depart Queenstown

Private transfer Queenstown airport to your hotel

Welcome to Queenstown
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

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

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. 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 - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola and Luge

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

Following the shores of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables mountain range towers over you as you approach township of Kingston. You'll venture into Southland before crossing the rolling tussock-lands of Mossburn (deer capital of New Zealand) and shortly arriving into Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Te Anau Glow Worm Caves

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.

Crossing the rolling tussock lands you pass through Mossburn. Following Lake Wakatipu north the Remarkable mountain range towers over you as you approach Queenstown, before heading east over the historic Kawarau Bridge. Visit the Gibbston Valley's many vineyards which are open for tastings.

The Kawarau Gorge guides you towards Cromwell which sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Continue along Lake Dunstan until you reach the historic and scenic Bendigo Reserve.

The Lindis Pass is one of New Zealand’s highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres. The towns of Omarama and Twizel are the last stops before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Mt. Cook Highway along the shores to the village.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Stay 1 night Mt. Cook

Your first stop today should be the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. 

Lake Tekapo also has the reflective quality of Pukaki, making the waters a bright turquoise on certain days.

From here you descend from the high country through Burkes Pass and into rich farmland. Beautiful Valley guides you to the town of Geraldine before you cross the vast Canterbury Plains towards Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula.

The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Stay 1 night Akaroa

Head to Christchurch today crossing the hills with spectacular views of the harbour. 

Explore Christchurch City
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 - Christchurch Gondola

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - International Antarctic Centre General Admission

Stay 1 night Christchurch

The drive north from Christchurch to Kaikoura takes you through the rolling hills of North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley. Allow time for a detour and visit Hanmer Springs for a dip in the mineral hot pools. Continue on and cross the Hawkswood Range before descending to the spectacular Kaikoura coastline - where the road hugs the ocean for the last leg of the drive.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura

Stay 1 night Kaikoura

Kaikoura to Blenheim
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.

Blenheim to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
A short drive from Blenheim to the busy port town of Picton, and its here from that the Interislander ferries arrive and depart. Queen Charlotte Drive travels the Marlborough Sounds coastline between Picton and Havelock. 

Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson.

Stay 2 nights Nelson

Nelson is a great city to explore on foot. Visit the historic areas, the famous Cathedral or relax and enjoy the atmosphere at one of the many cafes on Trafalgar Street. Nelson is also noted for its many artists, and galleries displaying their work can be enjoyed by following one of the Art trails listed locally. Around 45 minutes drive away is Abel Tasman National Park. The region offers countless opportunities to explore for visitors of every age and capability, from enjoying the golden sand beaches and clear warm waters to guided kayaking trips viewing seals and dolphins, to exploring some of New Zealand's finest walking tracks.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Seals, beach cruise and walk including picnic lunch

The drive today takes through the enchanting Nelson Lakes National Park of rugged peaks, forests and glacial lakes. Your journey will take you along the Buller Gorge, to town of Murchison which is a quiet place and a great lunch stop. Continuing on the drive today takes you along the Lewis Pass, the least travelled of the 3 main routes over the Southern Alps. A scenic journey passing through forests and the famous Maruia Hot Springs. 

The alpine village of Hanmer Springs has been a favourite holiday destination for New Zealanders for many years.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Jet Boating Hanmer Springs

Stay 1 night Hanmer Springs

Today you’ll travel through the Waipara Valley, the fastest wine growing region in New Zealand and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. You’ll pass vast grassy plains and parched farming landscapes as you make your way over the Weka Pass and past small towns such as Amberley and Leithfield before arriving into the largest Port in the South Island, Christchurch.

Rental car drop off
This evening leave your rental car keys with the reception at your accommodation. 

The next morning, the staff will collect the rental car from your accommodation. You will be transferred to the Christchurch Train station.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Private transfer hotel to Christchurch train station

Tranz Alpine Scenic Train Christchurch to Greymouth
Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the TranzAlpine scenic train travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth.

Collect your rental car

Greymouth to Franz Josef
Leaving Greymouth today you will head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country. Pass through Hokitika and follow the coast through several small towns before catching a glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier as you arrive into the town centre.

Stay 1 night Franz Josef Glacier

Heading south you pass through the second glacier town of Fox Glacier. At Knights Point Lookout elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the massive Haast River you turn inland and head into the valley climbing through mountains littered with waterfalls.

Lakes Wanaka and Hawea guide you into the township of Wanaka before you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks, and many stops en route.

Stay 2 nights Queenstown

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. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ 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. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Wilderness Safari

Drop your rental car at the Queenstown airport today and farewell New Zealand.

Day 1, Arrive Queenstown

Arrive Queenstown

Private transfer Queenstown airport to your hotel

Welcome to Queenstown
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

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

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. 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 - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola and Luge

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

Day 3, Queenstown to Te Anau

Queenstown to Te Anau

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 164 kms

Following the shores of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables mountain range towers over you as you approach township of Kingston. You'll venture into Southland before crossing the rolling tussock-lands of Mossburn (deer capital of New Zealand) and shortly arriving into Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Te Anau Glow Worm Caves

Stay 2 nights Te Anau

Day 4, Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau

Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau

Travel Time: 3 hrs 25 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 5, Te Anau to Mt. Cook National Park

Te Anau to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 419 kms

Crossing the rolling tussock lands you pass through Mossburn. Following Lake Wakatipu north the Remarkable mountain range towers over you as you approach Queenstown, before heading east over the historic Kawarau Bridge. Visit the Gibbston Valley's many vineyards which are open for tastings.

The Kawarau Gorge guides you towards Cromwell which sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Continue along Lake Dunstan until you reach the historic and scenic Bendigo Reserve.

The Lindis Pass is one of New Zealand’s highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres. The towns of Omarama and Twizel are the last stops before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Mt. Cook Highway along the shores to the village.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Stay 1 night Mt. Cook

Day 6, Mt. Cook to Akaroa

Mt. Cook to Akaroa

Travel Time: 4 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 383 kms

Your first stop today should be the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. 

Lake Tekapo also has the reflective quality of Pukaki, making the waters a bright turquoise on certain days.

From here you descend from the high country through Burkes Pass and into rich farmland. Beautiful Valley guides you to the town of Geraldine before you cross the vast Canterbury Plains towards Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula.

The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Stay 1 night Akaroa

Day 7, Akaroa to Christchurch

Akaroa to Christchurch

Travel Time: 1 hr 30 mins

Distance: 85 kms

Head to Christchurch today crossing the hills with spectacular views of the harbour. 

Explore Christchurch City
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 - Christchurch Gondola

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - International Antarctic Centre General Admission

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 8, Christchurch to Kaikoura

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 166 kms

The drive north from Christchurch to Kaikoura takes you through the rolling hills of North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley. Allow time for a detour and visit Hanmer Springs for a dip in the mineral hot pools. Continue on and cross the Hawkswood Range before descending to the spectacular Kaikoura coastline - where the road hugs the ocean for the last leg of the drive.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Whale Watch Kaikoura

Stay 1 night Kaikoura

Day 9, Kaikoura - Blenheim - Nelson

Kaikoura - Blenheim - Nelson

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 225 kms

Kaikoura to Blenheim
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.

Blenheim to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
A short drive from Blenheim to the busy port town of Picton, and its here from that the Interislander ferries arrive and depart. Queen Charlotte Drive travels the Marlborough Sounds coastline between Picton and Havelock. 

Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson.

Stay 2 nights Nelson

Day 10, Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region

Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region

Nelson is a great city to explore on foot. Visit the historic areas, the famous Cathedral or relax and enjoy the atmosphere at one of the many cafes on Trafalgar Street. Nelson is also noted for its many artists, and galleries displaying their work can be enjoyed by following one of the Art trails listed locally. Around 45 minutes drive away is Abel Tasman National Park. The region offers countless opportunities to explore for visitors of every age and capability, from enjoying the golden sand beaches and clear warm waters to guided kayaking trips viewing seals and dolphins, to exploring some of New Zealand's finest walking tracks.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Seals, beach cruise and walk including picnic lunch

Day 11, Nelson to Hanmer Springs

Nelson to Hanmer Springs

Travel Time: 3hrs 20min

Distance: 283 kms

The drive today takes through the enchanting Nelson Lakes National Park of rugged peaks, forests and glacial lakes. Your journey will take you along the Buller Gorge, to town of Murchison which is a quiet place and a great lunch stop. Continuing on the drive today takes you along the Lewis Pass, the least travelled of the 3 main routes over the Southern Alps. A scenic journey passing through forests and the famous Maruia Hot Springs. 

The alpine village of Hanmer Springs has been a favourite holiday destination for New Zealanders for many years.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Jet Boating Hanmer Springs

Stay 1 night Hanmer Springs

Day 12, Hanmer Springs to Christchurch

Hanmer Springs to Christchurch

Travel Time: 1 hr 30 mins

Distance: 122 kms

Today you’ll travel through the Waipara Valley, the fastest wine growing region in New Zealand and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. You’ll pass vast grassy plains and parched farming landscapes as you make your way over the Weka Pass and past small towns such as Amberley and Leithfield before arriving into the largest Port in the South Island, Christchurch.

Rental car drop off
This evening leave your rental car keys with the reception at your accommodation. 

The next morning, the staff will collect the rental car from your accommodation. You will be transferred to the Christchurch Train station.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 13, TranzAlpine Train - Greymouth - Franz Josef

TranzAlpine Train - Greymouth - Franz Josef

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 167 kms

Private transfer hotel to Christchurch train station

Tranz Alpine Scenic Train Christchurch to Greymouth
Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the TranzAlpine scenic train travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth.

Collect your rental car

Greymouth to Franz Josef
Leaving Greymouth today you will head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country. Pass through Hokitika and follow the coast through several small towns before catching a glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier as you arrive into the town centre.

Stay 1 night Franz Josef Glacier

Day 14, Franz Josef to Queenstown

Franz Josef to Queenstown

Travel Time: 4 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 344 kms

Heading south you pass through the second glacier town of Fox Glacier. At Knights Point Lookout elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the massive Haast River you turn inland and head into the valley climbing through mountains littered with waterfalls.

Lakes Wanaka and Hawea guide you into the township of Wanaka before you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks, and many stops en route.

Stay 2 nights Queenstown

Day 15, Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

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. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ 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. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Wilderness Safari

Day 16, Depart Queenstown

Depart Queenstown

Drop your rental car at the Queenstown airport today and farewell New Zealand.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

 Twin/Double
Motel Accommodation from NZ$3,028* per person

*PLEASE NOTE

Price is based on two adults sharing a rental car and accommodation (twin/double-share).

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
Currency Converter

Includes

Includes:

15 nights accommodation

  • 2 nights Queenstown
  • 2 nights Te Anau
  • 1 night Mt Cook
  • 1 night Akaroa
  • 1 night Christchurch
  • 1 night Kaikoura
  • 2 nights Nelson
  • 1 night Hanmer Springs
  • 1 night Christchurch
  • 1 night Franz Josef
  • 2 nights 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

Tranz Alpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth

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

Harbour Nature Cruise, Akaroa

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.

From Christchurch

International Antarctic Centre General Admission

The International Antarctic Centre aims to recreate the atmosphere and environment of Antarctica providing visitors with an interactive, fun and educational experience. Feel the full four seasons of Antarctica, where you'll experience real snow and ice as well as battle a storm. Learn about life in modern day Antarctica, view real little blue penguins and experience a thrilling Hagglund Ride.

Christchurch Gondola

In the Heathcote Valley, just fifteen minutes from the heart of Christchurch city, ride the Christchurch Gondola for nearly a kilometre to the collapsed rim of an extinct volcano - which exploded six million years ago. Take in the panoramic 360-degree views of the central city, Lyttelton Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury Plains and the distant peaks of the Southern Alps. Wander the summit complex and choose one of many nature walks or visit the Time Tunnel - a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the Port Hills and Christchurch.

Jet Boating, Hanmer Springs

Experience the adrenaline rush of going 80km per hour, skimming the river below! Cut corners as turquoise snow melt churns out behind you. White knuckles as the landscape spins 360°. Our experienced drivers will twirl the boat around in just milliseconds. Thrillseekers jet boating is the ultimate way to rocket through the beautiful Canterbury plains whilst absorbing adventure. Buckle up your life jacket, strap in to the boat and get ready to feel exhilarated. Travelling up the stunning Waiau Gorge, there’s no shortage of excitement on this ride. The boat only needs inches of water and the power of the engine thrusts forward. Drama and action are the stuff of movies – until you ride in a jet boat. This is the perfect adventure for those who like a challenge or want to push their limits.

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. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one.

Glacier Explorers, Mt Cook

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

From Nelson

Half Day Guided Kayaking in the Marlborough Sounds

The half day guided sea kayak trip is an ideal opportunity to fit a little kayaking adventure into a busy holiday itinerary. After a short safety briefing you'll be in the water, allowing you maximum time to enjoy the tranquil waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound. Starting at Ngakuta Bay you then paddle out of the bay and into Grove Arm. The sound is surrounded by bush-clad shorelines and sandy beaches. There will be a short stop to enjoy a light refreshment break along the way before returning to Picton.

Seals, beach cruise and walk including picnic lunch

Experience the best of Abel Tasman on this combined beach cruise and walk tour. You will first take a cruise into the Tonga Island Marine reserve, where you will pause to watch the antics of the Resident Fur Seal Colony. After landing at the historic Tonga Quarry Beach, take a two hour fifteen minute walk over forested land and around the spectacular Bark Bay Estuary - renowned for its cascading waterfalls. You will then region the cruise at the sheltered golden cove on Medlands Beach.

Glow Worm Caves, Te Anau

Begin your Te Anau Glowworm experience with a scenic cruise across lake Te Anau on board the luxury catamaran, Luminosa, to the western side of the lake. On arrival you'll enter the caves through Cavern House, where informative displays detail the history of this 12,000 year old underground network.

You'll then explore by limestone pathway while your guide points out hidden whirlpools, sculpted rock formations and a rushing underground waterfall. See a magical display of thousands of glowworms as you glide through the darkness in a small boat.

From 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.

Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure

Riding the iconic ‘Big Red’ Jet Boat through the narrow Shotover Canyon is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Your skilled jet boat driver pushes the boat to 85 kph, skimming across shallow water and past towering canyon walls. This 25 minute white water ride includes 360 degree spins and maximum thrills.

Skyline Gondola and Luge

In the heart of Queenstown, located 450 metres above town in Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve is the Skyline Complex. Catch a gondola to the summit for awe-inspiring views and delicious local fare with view. Ride the 800 metre luge track, then for added thrill, choose to tandem paraglide back to base.

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 and 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.

Highlights

Tranz Alpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth

Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train trip operates between Christchurch and Greynouth 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.

Book now, pay later No credit card required

16 Day Queenstown South Island Highlights Self Drive

Fields marked with * are required

If you see this field, please leave it blank and invest in CSS support.

Your Details

(e.g +44 208 123456)

Additional Extras

Accommodation & Transport

Flights

Other Passengers

Please list the full name(s) of each passenger travelling with you.

General Information

Please specify if you wish to include any tour options or extra days & if you have any special requirements. e.g dietary, physical, medical; and (if available) advise arrival and departure flight details in New Zealand.