Overview

Discover the wonders of South Island’s natural areas and national parks on an 18 Day South Island National Parks Self Drive Tour of New Zealand. Set the scene for your adventures in Kaikoura with a whale watching trip, then make your way to the golden beaches of Abel Tasman National Park for a guided kayak and walk. Head south to the untamed West Coast and the fascinating Punakaiki, Franz Josef and Westland National Park.

A helihike from Franz Josef lets you see it all from above before you trace your way south to the alpine village of Wanaka. Next on your itinerary is Mt. Cook National Park where you have a full day to experience the area and encounter icebergs on a Glacier Explorers’ tour. Then you journey east to Dunedin, and back again to the other side of the coast in the direction of Fiordland National Park, passing through Te Anau. Finally, set out for the untouched forests and pristine fiords on a guided day walk on the Milford Track and a cruise of the Doubtful Sound, before rounding it off in Queenstown, your final destination. 

This itinerary is available from October to March only.

Christchurch - Kaikoura - Abel Tasman National Park - Punakaiki - Franz Josef Glacier - Wanaka - Mt. Cook - Dunedin - Te Anau - Queenstown

Map of 18 Day South Island National Parks Self Drive Tour
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Arrive Christchurch City
Explore Christchurch City
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura to Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman to Punakaiki
Punakaiki to Franz Josef Glacier
Explore Franz Josef
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Wanaka to Mt. Cook National Park
Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park
Mt. Cook National Park to Dunedin
Dunedin to Te Anau
Milford Track Guided Day Walk
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Manapouri
Te Anau to Queenstown
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Depart Queenstown

Day 1

Arrive Christchurch City

Day 2

Explore Christchurch City

Day 3

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 166 kms

Day 4

Kaikoura to Abel Tasman National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 303 kms

Day 5

Abel Tasman National Park

Day 6

Abel Tasman to Punakaiki

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 286 kms

Day 7

Punakaiki to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 212 kms

Day 8

Explore Franz Josef

Day 9

Franz Josef to Wanaka

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 283 kms

Day 10

Wanaka to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 201 kms

Day 11

Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park

Day 12

Mt. Cook National Park to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 318 kms

Day 13

Dunedin to Te Anau

Travel Time: 4 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 387 kms

Day 14

Milford Track Guided Day Walk

Day 15

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Manapouri

Day 16

Te Anau to Queenstown

Travel Time: 2 hrs

Distance: 164 kms

Day 17

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 18

Depart Queenstown

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Welcome to Christchurch City
Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Stay 2 nights Christchurch

Collect your rental car

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 - Christchurch Bike Tour

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.

Stay 1 night 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. 

Kaikoura to Abel Tasman National Park
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... Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson. Motueka is a further 45 minutes along the bay and from there it’s just a short drive to Kaiteriteri and Marahau, all ideal spots from which to explore the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park.

Stay 2 nights Abel Tasman National Park

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.

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. Crossing the river you get magnificent views of the gorge and once on the other side there are short bush walks, jet boat rides and some of the historic gold mining remnants.

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.

Stay 1 night Punakaiki

The drive South on State Highway 6 takes you through many West Coast towns. 

Arriving in to the Glacier region you catch your first glimpse of Franz Josef Glacier from a few kilometres out as it flows from the Southern Alps. Franz Josef township is a lively place with a great atmosphere, plenty of choice to dine out and some wonderful activities to enjoy.

Stay 2 nights Franz Josef

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike
Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. 

Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area
There are many walks and hikes in and around Franz Josef. 

  • Douglas Walk
  • Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere Walk
  • Lake Wombat Track
  • Okarito walking tracks
  • Peters Pool Walk
  • Sentinel Rock Walk
  • Tatare Tunnels Walk
  • Terrace Walk

Heading south you pass through the small town of Fox Glacier. A short side trip to view the glacier is recommended before heading along the coast and through more classic West Coast bush scenery. At Knights Point Lookout, elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the Haast River you’ll turn inland and through the mountainous valley littered with waterfalls. Continue on past lakes Hawea and Wanaka into the alpine township of Wanaka.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Siberia Experience

Stay 1 night Wanaka

Passing through the Clutha River valley you arrive into the quaint village of Tarras, which has a number of boutique stores and a lovely café.  You then traverse the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres. The tussock covered hills offer an unusual contrast as you pass from Central Otago into the Mackenzie Basin. 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. In Mt. Cook Village a myriad of activities are available from scenic flights with glacier landings, to kayaking on a glacial lake and a host of walks to suit all abilities. At The Hermitage Hotel the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is a must see.

Stay 2 night Mt. Cook

At 3754 metres Aoraki-Mt. Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain, located deep in the heart of the Southern Alps.

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. 

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
There are many short scenic walks beginning in and around the Mt. Cook Village, suitable for all ages and abilities. 

 

  • Bowen Bush Walk - 10 minute return
  • Glencoe Walk - 10 minute return
  • Red Tarns Track - Two hour return
  • Kea Point Walk - Two hour return
  • Hooker Lake - Four hour return

 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing 

Today you'll leave Mt Cook National Park and travel past Twizel, one of the locations for the Lord of the Rings films. Go through Omarama and stretch your legs in Oamaru, known for its white stone buildings constructed with the local Oamaru Stone.

Continue south down the coast to Moeraki, and take a detour towards the beach to see the Moeraki Boulders, a unique geological feature well worth a look. As you arrive in Dunedin, take in the city’s Edwardian and Scottish heritage reflected in the buildings around the city centre - The Octagon.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Penguin Place Yellow Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve

Stay 1 night Dunedin

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. From here you can embark on a day or overnight cruise to the remote Doubtful Sound - renowned for its natural beauty. Just a short way further will bring you to your lakeside destination of Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Te Anau Glow Worm Caves

Stay 3 nights Te Anau

Get a taste of the famous Milford Track on a one-day guided adventure. The Milford Track, long regarded as the ‘finest walk in the world’ is a four day trip through the heart of Fiordland National Park. If you don’t have the time to do the full walk, a Milford Track Guided Day Walk is the only way to go.

From Pearl Harbour, Manapouri, you cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri to West Arm and then travel by coach over Wilmot Pass through dense rainforest. There are opportunities along the way to examine the plant life and view the spectacular scenery. Once at Doubtful Sound you board the catamaran, Commander Peak, for a 3 hour cruise of beautiful Doubtful Sound to the Tasman Sea. On board there is excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest and mountains. Of particular interest, if sighted, are fur seals basking on the rocks, or a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins. Rare Fiordland crested penguins are sometimes encountered in the right season. An interesting on board commentary keeps you informed and on the return journey, the vessel's engines are turned off and visitors are treated to the ‘Sound of Silence'.

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 2 nights Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Wilderness Safari

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

Day 1, Arrive Christchurch City

Arrive Christchurch City

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Welcome to Christchurch City
Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Stay 2 nights Christchurch

Day 2, Explore Christchurch City

Explore Christchurch City

Collect your rental car

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 - Christchurch Bike Tour

Day 3, 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.

Stay 1 night Kaikoura

Day 4, Kaikoura to Abel Tasman National Park

Kaikoura to Abel Tasman National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 303 kms

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. 

Kaikoura to Abel Tasman National Park
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... Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson. Motueka is a further 45 minutes along the bay and from there it’s just a short drive to Kaiteriteri and Marahau, all ideal spots from which to explore the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park.

Stay 2 nights Abel Tasman National Park

Day 5, Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

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.

Day 6, Abel Tasman to Punakaiki

Abel Tasman to Punakaiki

Travel Time: 3 hrs 40 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. Crossing the river you get magnificent views of the gorge and once on the other side there are short bush walks, jet boat rides and some of the historic gold mining remnants.

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.

Stay 1 night Punakaiki

Day 7, Punakaiki to Franz Josef Glacier

Punakaiki to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 212 kms

The drive South on State Highway 6 takes you through many West Coast towns. 

Arriving in to the Glacier region you catch your first glimpse of Franz Josef Glacier from a few kilometres out as it flows from the Southern Alps. Franz Josef township is a lively place with a great atmosphere, plenty of choice to dine out and some wonderful activities to enjoy.

Stay 2 nights Franz Josef

Day 8, Explore Franz Josef

Explore Franz Josef

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike
Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. 

Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area
There are many walks and hikes in and around Franz Josef. 

  • Douglas Walk
  • Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere Walk
  • Lake Wombat Track
  • Okarito walking tracks
  • Peters Pool Walk
  • Sentinel Rock Walk
  • Tatare Tunnels Walk
  • Terrace Walk

Day 9, Franz Josef to Wanaka

Franz Josef to Wanaka

Travel Time: 3 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 283 kms

Heading south you pass through the small town of Fox Glacier. A short side trip to view the glacier is recommended before heading along the coast and through more classic West Coast bush scenery. At Knights Point Lookout, elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the Haast River you’ll turn inland and through the mountainous valley littered with waterfalls. Continue on past lakes Hawea and Wanaka into the alpine township of Wanaka.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Siberia Experience

Stay 1 night Wanaka

Day 10, Wanaka to Mt. Cook National Park

Wanaka to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 201 kms

Passing through the Clutha River valley you arrive into the quaint village of Tarras, which has a number of boutique stores and a lovely café.  You then traverse the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres. The tussock covered hills offer an unusual contrast as you pass from Central Otago into the Mackenzie Basin. 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. In Mt. Cook Village a myriad of activities are available from scenic flights with glacier landings, to kayaking on a glacial lake and a host of walks to suit all abilities. At The Hermitage Hotel the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is a must see.

Stay 2 night Mt. Cook

Day 11, Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park

Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park

At 3754 metres Aoraki-Mt. Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain, located deep in the heart of the Southern Alps.

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. 

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
There are many short scenic walks beginning in and around the Mt. Cook Village, suitable for all ages and abilities. 

 

  • Bowen Bush Walk - 10 minute return
  • Glencoe Walk - 10 minute return
  • Red Tarns Track - Two hour return
  • Kea Point Walk - Two hour return
  • Hooker Lake - Four hour return

 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing 

Day 12, Mt. Cook National Park to Dunedin

Mt. Cook National Park to Dunedin

Travel Time: 3 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 318 kms

Today you'll leave Mt Cook National Park and travel past Twizel, one of the locations for the Lord of the Rings films. Go through Omarama and stretch your legs in Oamaru, known for its white stone buildings constructed with the local Oamaru Stone.

Continue south down the coast to Moeraki, and take a detour towards the beach to see the Moeraki Boulders, a unique geological feature well worth a look. As you arrive in Dunedin, take in the city’s Edwardian and Scottish heritage reflected in the buildings around the city centre - The Octagon.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Penguin Place Yellow Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve

Stay 1 night Dunedin

Day 13, Dunedin to Te Anau

Dunedin to Te Anau

Travel Time: 4 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 387 kms

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. From here you can embark on a day or overnight cruise to the remote Doubtful Sound - renowned for its natural beauty. Just a short way further will bring you to your lakeside destination of Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Te Anau Glow Worm Caves

Stay 3 nights Te Anau

Day 14, Milford Track Guided Day Walk

Milford Track Guided Day Walk

Get a taste of the famous Milford Track on a one-day guided adventure. The Milford Track, long regarded as the ‘finest walk in the world’ is a four day trip through the heart of Fiordland National Park. If you don’t have the time to do the full walk, a Milford Track Guided Day Walk is the only way to go.

Day 15, Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Manapouri

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Manapouri

From Pearl Harbour, Manapouri, you cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri to West Arm and then travel by coach over Wilmot Pass through dense rainforest. There are opportunities along the way to examine the plant life and view the spectacular scenery. Once at Doubtful Sound you board the catamaran, Commander Peak, for a 3 hour cruise of beautiful Doubtful Sound to the Tasman Sea. On board there is excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest and mountains. Of particular interest, if sighted, are fur seals basking on the rocks, or a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins. Rare Fiordland crested penguins are sometimes encountered in the right season. An interesting on board commentary keeps you informed and on the return journey, the vessel's engines are turned off and visitors are treated to the ‘Sound of Silence'.

Day 16, 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 2 nights Queenstown

Day 17, Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Wilderness Safari

Day 18, 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$4,994* 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
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Includes

Includes:

17 nights accommodation

  • 2 nights Christchurch
  • 1 Night Kaikoura
  • 2 Nights Abel Tasman National Park (Kaiteriteri, Motueka or Marahau)
  • 1 Night Punakaiki
  • 2 Nights Franz Josef
  • 1 Night Wanaka
  • 2 Nights Mount Cook
  • 1 Night Dunedin
  • 3 Nights Te Anau
  • 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 transfers

Abel Tasman National Park kayak, seals and walk tour

Whale Watch Kaikoura tour

Glacier Explorers Tour, Mt Cook National Park

Milford Track Guided Day Hike

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike

Options

Itineraries

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

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

Christchurch Bike Tour

Take a two hour cycle tour around the top Christchurch attractions.You'll be guided at a relaxed pace to the Arts Centre, Antigua Boatsheds, Christ's College, Hagley Park, Riccarton House and Deans Bush, Deans Cottage and Mona Vale Garden. You'll also visit the Re:Start project in the Cashel street Mall. A predominantly flat city with many purpose built cycle-ways, Christchurch is perfect for biking.

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.

Penguin Place Yellow Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve, Dunedin

Learn about the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin when you visit Penguin Place, a private conservation reserve dedicated to ensuring the survival of this unique species. The project is entirely funded by guided tours which allows the conservation team to engage in habitat restoration, predator control, a research program and on-site rehabilitation care for the sick starving and wounded birds.

Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing

Take in the spectacular Southern Alps - including New Zealand's highest peak Aoraki Mount Cook - and the constantly changing glacial landscape. See the Hochstetter Icefall as you fly beneath the face of Mount Cook then along the length of the Tasman glacier before landing on the glacier itself. Experience the silence of the mountains, broken only by the rumbling of an avalanche and creaking of the snow and ice beneath your feet. You'll take off again for another incredible flight over peaks, ice falls, alpine lakes and climbing huts.

Dart River Wilderness Safari, Queenstown

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, Queenstown

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.

Te Anau Glow Worm Caves

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.

Siberia Experience, Wanaka

The Siberia Experience is a 4 hour wilderness adventure in Mt. Aspiring National Park. Leaving from Makarora at the head of Lake Wanaka you will enjoy some of New Zealand's untouched scenery from the air, on land and from the water. Mountains, rivers, glaciers, alpine lakes, rain forest, waterfalls and more - this is your chance to see it all. This unique adventure incorporates a 25 minute unforgettable scenic flight with Southern Alps Air, a 2 1/2 hour walk beginning in the remote Siberia Valley in Mt. Aspiring National Park and a 30 minute exciting Jet Boat ride with Wilkin River Jets.

Highlights

Whale Watch Kaikoura tour

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 Tour, Mt Cook National Park

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.

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

From Pearl Harbour, Manapouri, you cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri to West Arm and then travel by coach over Wilmot Pass through dense rainforest. There are opportunities along the way to examine the plant life and view the spectacular scenery. Once at Doubtful Sound you board the catamaran, Commander Peak, for a 3 hour cruise of beautiful Doubtful Sound to the Tasman Sea. On board there is excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest and mountains. Of particular interest, if sighted, are fur seals basking on the rocks, or a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins. Rare Fiordland crested penguins are sometimes encountered in the right season. An interesting on board commentary keeps you informed and on the return journey, the vessel's engines are turned off and visitors are treated to the ‘Sound of Silence'.

Day Walks

Abel Tasman National Park kayak, seals and walk tour

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.

Milford Track Guided Day Hike

Get a taste of the famous Milford Track on a one-day guided adventure. The Milford Track, long regarded as the 'finest walk in the world' is a four day trip through the heart of Fiordland National Park. If you don't have the time to do the full walk, a Milford Track Guided Day Walk is the only way to go. Join your guide in Te Anau and take a short coach trip to Te Anau Downs. Enjoy a hot drink as you cruise across Lake Te Anau to the start of the Milford Track. Your guided walk takes you along the Glade Burn to historic Glade House where you'll stop for lunch and a hot drink. The path then follows the stunning Clinton River, across a swing bridge into a mystical beech forest. On your trip, you will experience the tranquility of strolling beneath ancient beech trees, witness emerald waters and listen out for native birdsong. Along the way, your knowledgeable nature guide will help you interpret the magical surroundings, providing you with information about the track's history and the unique native birds and plants around you. This walk is easy, there are no big hills and the group is small (12 people per guide), making for a fun day out amidst amazing surroundings.

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike

Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. 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 operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

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18 Day South Island National Parks Self Drive Tour

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