AAT Kings Southern Spirit Itinerary

Big Franz Josef

‘Haere Mai’ - Welcome to Christchurch

Community spirit is strong in Christchurch, as you’ll discover exploring its streets at your leisure. We recommend jumping on the tram to tour Christchurch and discover how the city has rebuilt itself since the 2010/11 earthquakes. Look out for the Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library.

Some suggested excursions if you have time

Easygoing Cycling Tour  Punting the Avon River  Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise
Māori Cultural EveningFrench Akaroa TourSouthern Alps Ballooning
Christchurch GondolaClearwater GolfArthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike

Meals: Welcome reception 

Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 Night

Christchurch city tram
Surrounded by bars and restaurants, 10 kilometers from Christchurch International Airport (CHC), Wyndham Garden Christchurch Kilmore Street offers convenient amenities like a gym, café, and free WiFi. Pick up local goods at Riverside Market


Tekapo - Mt Cook National Park

Step out with your guide for a deeper dive into ‘The City of Gardens’ before traversing the colourful Canterbury Plains: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and snow-capped mountains. Your Indoor Dark Sky Astronomy Experience at Tekapo, hosted by passionate guides, will forever change the way you see the night sky. You'll see for yourself it may be one of the quietest spots on the planet, yet it has one of the busiest skies in the universe.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Omarama - 1 Night

Mount Cook National Park
Set amongst landscaped gardens with views of the surrounding mountains, the Heritage Gateway Hotel is a peaceful place to stay. Featuring 98 comfortably furnished guest rooms, restaurant & bar.The Heritage Gateway is located 4 hours south of Christchurch and is truly the gateway to the South Island. This hotel has a full restaurant and cocktail bar both offering panoramic views of the Southern Alps.
Set amongst landscaped gardens with views of the surrounding mountains, the Heritage Gateway Hotel


Omarama - Dunedin

Travel onto Oamaru, while its façade is strictly of the Victorian era with ornately decorated grand white stone buildings that once housed upstanding banks, hotels and restaurants, the ‘Oamaruivans’ are certainly not. In fact, they are quite the contrary. Unlike the Victorians they (the locals) are bohemian artisans, creative’s and antiquarians who run ‘out-there’ galleries, museums, shops and venues – it has to be seen to be believed and you'll love it.

This afternoon is at your leisure. We can point you in the direction of atmospheric art-lined alleys or toward Speights Brewery, a national institution. Or venture further afield on a Dunedin tour to discover the fur seals and penguins that pad around the Otago Peninsula. 

Some options available in and around Dunedin:

Speights Brewery Tour

   Cadbury Chocolate    Penguins and Albatross Tour

Taieri Rail Journey

   Peninsula Wildlife Cruise   Larnach Castle Tour


Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Dunedin - 1 Night

Dunedin Leisure Lodge is nestled within two acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, located adjacent to the Dunedin Botanic Gardens and just a six-minute drive from the city centre. Take in the beautiful garden views while you relax in McGavins Bar for a relaxing pre or post dinner drink. The hotel features spacious rooms and suites, each with a balcony or outside patio, plus ample complimentary parking and a 24 hour reception.
Leisure Lodge Auckland


Dunedin - Invercargill

If you find yourself humming a Garth Brooks tune en route to Gore, you’re probably not alone. Fun fact: this is the country music capital of NZ. Invercargill is obsessed with something else: motor vehicles. Tributes to speed legends colour the town, telling the story of everyone Burt Munro to Bill Richardson – his shed full of classic vehicles is the largest private collection of its type in the world.

Meals: Breakfast, Highlight dinner

Accommodation: Invercargill - 2 Nights

Milford Sounds
Kelvin Hotel is situated in the city centre, only a short walk to major attractions and a 10-minute drive to the Invercargill Airport. Accommodation options at Kelvin Hotel include deluxe rooms and superior and king suites. All rooms feature en suite bathroom, satellite television and tea/coffee making facilities. Level One Restaurant and Bar is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Room service is available.
Kelvin Hotel


Stewart Island

Wild, wide and wonderful, Stewart Island’s rugged coastline cuts a dramatic form in the Southern Ocean. It’s largely untouched, which means that endemic flora and fauna thrive. But don’t take our word for it. Meet the locals on a tour through the Village and Bays

Meals: Breakfast

Stewart Island


Invercargill - Queenstown

You’ve probably already noticed that there’s a lot of farmland here in New Zealand. It’s fitting, then, that you meet southern girl Laura, who will introduce you to the sheep farm where she was born and raised. The Real Country Farm Show, a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, offers an authentic taste of what rural New Zealand is like. For every guest, we donate funds to The Fairlight Foundation, Advancing Women in Agriculture. Continue to Queenstown and take the afternoon at your own pace.  

Meals: Breakfast, 

Accommodation: Queenstown - 2 nights

Experience tranquillity all year round. The Copthorne Resort Lakefront in Queenstown sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and is within walking distance of Queenstown’s central shopping and entertainment area. Exploring panoramic views of the lake and nearby mountains, the Copthorne is the perfect venue to relax! The Copthorne Lakefront blends superior facilities and comfort with friendly service. The hotel Balconies and garden views are a feature of many rooms.
Copthorne Resort Queenstown



We wouldn’t blame you for using today to linger by the banks of Lake Wakatipu, marvelling at sky-scraping Remarkables. But if you want to venture further afield, we have a few ideas. Top of our list today is an epic journey through Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, carved by waterfalls and a playground for dolphins and seals. There’s a reason why this part of the island has World Heritage status.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Milford Sound


Queenstown - Franz Josef

Atmospheric Arrowtown was born from gold, and its movie-set-like streets still shimmer today. It’s hard to tear yourself away, but the Alpine country of the Southern Lakes is calling, from Lake Dunstan – pause for juicy stone fruit picked fresh from the tree – to oh-so-blue Lake Hawea and lovely Lake Wanaka, with its shoreline of poplars and willows. Over the Haast Pass, the pretty town of Franz Josef/Waiau, awaits. Get some perspective on an optional Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere flight tour – if the weather behaves, you may even get to land on it. New Zealand tours don’t get much cooler than this.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Franz Josef  - 1 Night

Franz Josef Glacier
Situated on the very edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier will welcome you in true New Zealand style. The Hotel makes the most of its alpine location and is only moments from spectacular Franz Josef Glacier. Featuring patios or balconies, the simple, warmly decorated rooms and suites include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges, plus tea and coffee making facilities. Suites add living areas and quality rooms with balcony views.
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier


Franz Josef Glacier / Punakaki

Today choose to see spectacular Franz Josef Glacier from the air or do a Glacier Heli Hike (optional). From here its on to Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast, for a greenstone (jade) jewellery demonstration by a local carver. Later travel to Punakaiki  where you will see the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Tonight you stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront  - enjoy dinner while watching the thundering surf at your doorstep! 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Punakaiki  - 1 Night

Pancake Rocks


Buller Gorge / Nelson

Soak up the scenic wilderness of the Heritage Highway through the impressive Buller Gorge and Kahurangi National Park before arriving in Nelson

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Nelson- 2 Nights


The Rutherford Hotel  is an icon of the region standing next to the Cathedral steps and an easy stroll into the city of Nelson.  Nelson is a haven for art enthusiasts, and has a reputation for excellent produce, craft beer and fine wines. The Rutherford Hotel features restaurants and bars and caters for all room categories from studios, interconnecting rooms and suites.

Rutherford Hotel Nelson


Relax - Nelson at Leisure

Explore Nelson at leisure today. Surrounded by sheltered mountain ranges, golden beaches, national parks and boutique wineries and breweries there's no shortage of things to see and do. Choose to journey to the top of the South Island and enjoy a relaxing cruise in the stunning Abel Tasman National Park, take a bush walk or maybe just relax in the city and explore the many arts and craft galleries.

Meals: Breakfast

Abel Tasman


Queen Charlotte Sound / Wellington

Visit the picturesque seaside village of Picton before cruising the tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound. Head across the Cook Strait to Wellington, New Zealand's capital. Your local guide will help you get your bearings on a Wellington tour, then point you in the direction of some of the city’s most innovative restaurants and bars. Wellington is a bit of a foodie mecca.  

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Wellington - 2 Nights

Interislander Ferry Crossing

Located in a modern tower 300m from the waterfront, the Travelodge is just a few minutes walk from the harbour and the centre of Wellington. Main attractions such as the famous Cable Car, Botanic Garden and Te Papa (the national museum) all are situated within walking distance so transportation in the city centre is unnecessary. From here it is easy to enjoy a city trip that includes everything you don't want to miss when visiting New Zealand's (culture) capital! 

Travelodge Wellington


Nelson - Wellington

All aboard the Interislander for a cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound, up the Tory Channel and across Cook Strait, from the South Island to the North, navigating a maze of arms and inlets into New Zealand’s cool little capital of Wellington. End your tour on a high note at a Farewell Dinner with your Travel Director and travel companions.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Wellington - 2 nights

Interislander Ferry

Located in a modern tower 300m from the waterfront, the Travelodge is just a few minutes walk from the harbour and the centre of Wellington. Main attractions such as the famous Cable Car, Botanic Garden and Te Papa (the national museum) all are situated within walking distance so transportation in the city centre is unnecessary. From here it is easy to enjoy a city trip that includes everything you don't want to miss when visiting New Zealand's (culture) capital! 

Travelodge Wellington



Today you are free to explore as you wish. Perhaps join a tour of New Zealand’s Parliament buildings and the ‘Beehive’ or ride Wellington’s famous cable car up to Kelburn lookout for stunning views of the city.

Suggested outings in and around Wellington.

National Museum - Te Papa Visit Cuba StreetWeta Workshop Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Reserve     

 Wellington Cable Car    

Carter Observatory 

Meals: Breakfast

Nice painting of the harbour in Wellington.


Bon Voyage

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


2024/2025 Inclusions


  • Dark Sky Experience Lake Tekapo
  • Stewart Island Tour
  • Let loose in the adventure capital, Queenstown
  • Punakaiki, home to Pancake Rocks and Blowholes
  • Set sail on Queen Charlotte sound
  • Discover New Zealand’s capital Wellington


  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Travel by luxury coach
  • Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide


  • 13 Full Breakfasts
  • 5 Dinners
  • 1 Lunch

Flight Information

  •  Day 1 - Flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm into Christchurch Airport
  •  Day 14 - Flights to depart anytime from Wellington Airport

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Profile picture for user Judith
What Judith says about this tour: A great value indepth tour of the South Island. All of the key locations are included - stunning scenery of mountains, lakes, fiords and glaciers. You will be spoilt for choice in the resort town of Queenstown with a 3 night stay. A lovely contrast to that world class experience will be your 2 night stays in friendly Nelson and the arts capital of Wellington.
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The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price