Overview

Setting off from Christchurch on the 7 Day Southern Highlights Milford Sound Self Drive, travel to Lake Tekapo in the Mackenzie country, passing Lake Pukaki and enjoying views of Mt. Cook on your way to Queenstown, New Zealand. Spend your first night in Queenstown where you will cruise Lake Wakatipu to get to the Walter Peak High Country Station for gourmet BBQ and farm show. Departing Queenstown, fly to Milford Sound, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the stunning landscape from above. Join a spectacular nature cruise in Milford Sound, then take off again on a scenic flight to Mt. Aspiring National Park where the exciting Dart River Safari awaits. The following day you will be heading north for a stop at Franz Josef and the TranzAlpine Train journey back to Christchurch. 

Christchurch - Lake Tekapo - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Franz Josef - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

Map of 7 Day Southern Highlights Milford Sound 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
Arrive Christchurch City
Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo to Queenstown
Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)
TranzAlpine Scenic Train to Christchurch
Depart Christchurch

Day 1

Arrive Christchurch City

Day 2

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 247 kms

Day 3

Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 249 kms

Day 4

Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari

Day 5

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Day 6

TranzAlpine Scenic Train to Christchurch

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 170 kms

Day 7

Depart Christchurch

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

Welcome to Christchurch City
On arrival into Christchurch airport you will be met from your flight and a transfer will deliver you to your accommodation.
The rest of the day is yours to explore at your leisure. Christchurch City is the largest city in the South Island. Often referred to as the Garden City it boasts one of the largest public parks in the country and the city centre is full of very impressive stone buildings reminiscent of the English university towns.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Collect your rental car

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route the first township of Geraldine offers an ideal refreshment stop before you head into Mackenzie country.

Passing through places such as Beautiful Valley it's not hard to understand where the names originate. Ascending Burkes Pass and onto the high country plateau and the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, the first of the large Southern Lakes. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just enjoy the magnificent views.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Earth & Sky Mt John Night Observatory Tour, Lake Tekapo

Stay 1 night Lake Tekapo

As you approach Lake Pukaki, you are often rewarded with spectacular views the full length of the lake and into Mt. Cook National Park. At 3,754 metres Aoraki Mt. Cook is New Zealand highest mountain and the peak can often be seen from the visitor centre at the southern end of Lake Pukaki.

You will pass by small scenic towns like Twizel and Cromwell. Then, the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge guide you towards Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley is one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions.

Approaching Queenstown the impressive Remarkables mountain range come into view and then beautiful Lake Wakatipu as you head towards the alpine resort town of Queenstown, the adventure and activity capital of New Zealand.

INCLUDED: 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure

Stay 2 nights Queenstown

Experience the magic of the south when you choose this spectacular all day excursion. Take a scenic flight from Queenstown to magnificent Milford Sound for awe-inspiring views of the mountains, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park. You’ll then cruise the length of the sound with its tumbling waterfalls and towering peaks before returning by plane to Glenorchy. Break for lunch before joining Dart River Safaris on an adventure through the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area. End your day with a scenic coach trip back to Queenstown.

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

Stay 1 night Franz Josef

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Travel in the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train across the Southern Alps and Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation 

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Private transfer to Christchurch airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

 

Day 1, Arrive Christchurch City

Arrive Christchurch City

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

Welcome to Christchurch City
On arrival into Christchurch airport you will be met from your flight and a transfer will deliver you to your accommodation.
The rest of the day is yours to explore at your leisure. Christchurch City is the largest city in the South Island. Often referred to as the Garden City it boasts one of the largest public parks in the country and the city centre is full of very impressive stone buildings reminiscent of the English university towns.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 2, Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 247 kms

Collect your rental car

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route the first township of Geraldine offers an ideal refreshment stop before you head into Mackenzie country.

Passing through places such as Beautiful Valley it's not hard to understand where the names originate. Ascending Burkes Pass and onto the high country plateau and the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, the first of the large Southern Lakes. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just enjoy the magnificent views.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Earth & Sky Mt John Night Observatory Tour, Lake Tekapo

Stay 1 night Lake Tekapo

Day 3, Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 249 kms

As you approach Lake Pukaki, you are often rewarded with spectacular views the full length of the lake and into Mt. Cook National Park. At 3,754 metres Aoraki Mt. Cook is New Zealand highest mountain and the peak can often be seen from the visitor centre at the southern end of Lake Pukaki.

You will pass by small scenic towns like Twizel and Cromwell. Then, the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge guide you towards Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley is one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions.

Approaching Queenstown the impressive Remarkables mountain range come into view and then beautiful Lake Wakatipu as you head towards the alpine resort town of Queenstown, the adventure and activity capital of New Zealand.

INCLUDED: 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure

Stay 2 nights Queenstown

Day 4, Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari

Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari

Experience the magic of the south when you choose this spectacular all day excursion. Take a scenic flight from Queenstown to magnificent Milford Sound for awe-inspiring views of the mountains, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park. You’ll then cruise the length of the sound with its tumbling waterfalls and towering peaks before returning by plane to Glenorchy. Break for lunch before joining Dart River Safaris on an adventure through the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area. End your day with a scenic coach trip back to Queenstown.

Day 5, Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

Stay 1 night Franz Josef

Day 6, TranzAlpine Scenic Train to Christchurch

TranzAlpine Scenic Train to Christchurch

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 170 kms

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Travel in the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train across the Southern Alps and Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation 

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 7, Depart Christchurch

Depart Christchurch

Private transfer to Christchurch airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

 

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per person

 Twin/Double
Motel Accommodation From NZ$2,494* 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:

6 nights accommodation

  • 1 Night Christchurch
  • 1 Night Lake Tekapo
  • 2 Nights Queenstown
  • 1 Night Franz Josef
  • 1 Night Christchurch

5 days 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.

TranzAlpine Train

Airport and railway station transfers

Milford Sound Fly-Cruise-Fly and Dart River combo

TSS Earnslaw cruise and dinner at Walter Peak high country farm

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 resident

Optional Extras

Lake Tekapo

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

Tekapo Springs offers three adjoining main Hot Pools for you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself while looking out to the beautiful Two Thumb range and stunning Lake Tekapo. Pool temperatures range from forty degrees celsius to thirty-six degrees celsius and each pool offers something different - massage jets to assist in taking away any aches and pains and fountains to splash under.

Earth & Sky Mt John Night Observatory Tour

Earth and Sky Stargazing tour departs nightly from the office in the Lake Tekapo township. Travel to the Mt John observatory high above the village where you will explore features of the majestic Southern Sky. Earth and Sky provide the equipment and the guidance, all you need to bring are keen eyes, warm clothes and a desire to see, learn, and experience.

Navigating your way through the Southern Sky using various telescopes and the naked eye, you will see amazing sights such as our own Milky Way Galaxy, the Southern Cross, Alpha-Centauri - our closest neighbouring star at only 4.3 light years away, and Sirius - the brightest star in our sky.

Behold and learn about our closest neighbouring galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, which grace our night sky along with constellations such as Orion the Hunter and Scorpius.

You may also have the opportunity to see star clusters like the beautiful Jewel Box; awe inspiring planets; nebulae, immense clouds of gas and dust; and distant galaxies which test the limits of human imagination.

Queenstown

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.

Franz Josef

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.

Highlights

Christchurch - Lake Tekapo - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Franz Josef - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

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 & 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.

Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari from Queenstown

Experience the magic of the south when you choose this spectacular all day excursion. Take a scenic flight from Queenstown to magnificent Milford Sound for awe-inspiring views of the mountains, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park. You’ll then cruise the length of the sound with its tumbling waterfalls and towering peaks before returning by plane to Glenorchy. Break for lunch before joining Dart River Safaris on an adventure through the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area. End your day with a scenic coach trip back to Queenstown. 

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.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Book now, pay later No credit card required

7 Day Southern Highlights Milford Sound Self Drive

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