12
days

Southern Drift - A South Island Small Group Tour

No stone is left unturned as you venture into the South Island less travelled. From the wild and pristine natural wonderland of Stewart Island to the spectacular vistas of Mt. Cook, through to Milford Sound, where you will sail under a blanket of mist and shadows on the crystal clear waters of the magnificent fiord.

TransAlpine Rail Journey, Pancake Rocks, Treetop Walkway, Franz Josef Glacier, Historic Arrowtown, Gondola Ride, Cruise and Kayak Milford Sound, Stewart Island, Mount Cook

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Itinerary

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1
Welcome to Christchurch

‘Haere Mai’ … Welcome to New Zealand!

Upon arrival in Christchurch you will be met by a tour representative and transferred to your hotel. Depending what time you arrive, you will then have some time to explore before meeting your travel director and fellow companions for dinner and a welcome drink.

Some suggested excursions if you have time.

Easygoing Cycling Tour Punting the Avon River Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise
Māori Cultural Evening French Akaroa Tour Southern Alps Ballooning
Christchurch Gondola Clearwater Golf Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: The George Hotel - 1 Night

2
PUNAKAIKI - Wild Coast, Seals and Beautiful Rock Formations

All aboard the famous TranzAlpine Train, rated as one of the world’s great scenic railway journeys. You’ll travel in the comfort of your carriage for the journey across the Canterbury Plains through the Southern Alps. You’ll then re-join your coach at Arthur’s Pass and travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront and enjoy dinner while watching the thundering surf at your doorstep! 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort - 1 Night

3
Franz Josef Glacier - River of Ice

Today visit Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast, for a greenstone (jade) jewellery demonstration by a local carver. From here travel to the West Coast’s Treetop Walkway, where you can stroll through the canopy of this lush rainforest. Stop at the gold-mining town of Ross en-route to Franz Josef, where you’ll take a guided tour to the viewing area at the mighty Franz Josef Glacier with a local expert glacier guide. This evening, why not treat yourself to Franz Josef’s local Geothermal Hot Pools.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat - 1 Night

4
Queenstown - The Adventure Capital of the World

This morning you have the opportunity to see the glacier from the air on an optional scenic flight (own expense). Later today, travel over the Haast Pass and along the shores of Lake Wanaka and Hawea, stopping at Makarora at lunchtime. Afterwards explore the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown, followed by an orientation tour of Queenstown. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, the surrounding scenery will take your breath away.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Millbrook Resort - 3 Nights

5-6
Queenstown At Leisure

Today you're free to explore New Zealand’s adventure-capital. Perhaps play a round of golf or indulge in a spa treatment. Tonight you’ll ride the Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak for dinner with a stunning view overlooking Queenstown, the awesome Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.

Recommended Queenstown Excursions:

Routeburn Track Guided Day Walk Explore Historic Arrowtown Highest Bungy Jump
Wine Tasting Tour Central Otago Biking Skippers Canyon Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise Dart River Jetboat Safari Gibbston Valley Wine Trail
 

Meals: Breakfast

7
Milford Sound Over Night Cruise

Today continue your journey South to Te Anau, located on the shores of the South Island’s largest lake. Travel through World Heritage Fiordland National Park's stunning glaciers and lush rainforest. Then it's on to amazing Mirror Lake before making your way into Milford Sound where you'll have some time time to kayak the majestic fiord, considered by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Tonight experience a magical dinner on an overnight cruise aboard the Milford Mariner, you’ll travel the length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea past breathtaking waterfalls, majestic mountain ranges and native wildlife.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Milford Wanderer Ship - 1 Night

8
Stewart Island

This morning choose to relax and enjoy one of the many on-board activities. In the afternoon we continue to New Zealand's southern-most city Invercargill where we'll board a ferry and cruise to Stewart Island. With its clear waters, lush rainforest, native flora and fauna and unspoilt natural beauty, you’ll get a glimpse into the Southern wild and pristine landscapes.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Bay Motel - 2 Nights

9
Ulva Island Wildlife Sanctuary

This morning you’re off on a Village and Bays tour before a lunch cruise on Paterson Inlet, known for its remote sandy beaches and abundant native wildlife. We stop at Ulva Island and tour the island’s wildlife sanctuary with the Department of Conservation to spend time up close with native flora and fauna. Tonight, try your hand at a bit of kiwi-spotting in the native bush near your accommodation.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

10
Mt Cook

This morning you board a ferry and make your way back to the mainland across the Foveaux Strait. Admire the rural farming views of Southland and the spectacular alpine scenery of the Southern Alps as you travel towards Queenstown. Venture over the Lindis Pass and along the shores of Lake Pukaki into Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere, helped Sir Edmund Hillary hone his climbing skills in preparation for his conquest of Everest.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: The Hermitage Hotel - 1 Night

11
Christchurch - The Garden City

Today we travel to Lake Tekapo, stopping along the way to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd. Later you are welcomed into the home of Angie and Stan Taylor to enjoy a barbecue in their 240 hectare garden. After lunch we continue through the Canterbury Plains to the Garden City of Christchurch. On a sightseeing tour see how the city is being rebuilt after the devastating 2011 earthquake.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: The George Hotel - 1 Night

12
Farewell Christchurch

Your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We hope you enjoyed your holiday and our promise to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon.

Meals: Breakfast