AAT Kings 9 Day Southern Spotlight Itinerary

Southern Lakes

Welcome to Christchurch

‘Haere Mai’ … welcome to New Zealand. Now you can relax - you are officially on holiday. 

Since its 2010/11 earthquakes, Christchurch has reinvented itself in more ways than one. Discover how when you step back in time aboard the Christchurch Tram tour, linking some of the city’s most legendary attractions. Expect quite the commentary – your conductors are a hoot.
Some suggested activities around Christchurch

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


Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 night

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


Christchurch - Omarama

Christchurch is not only rebuilding itself after the devastating 2010/11 earthquakes, but is changing the way architects think about design. Case in point the mind-bending Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library. After your Christchurch tour, your outlook is the Canterbury Plains: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, snow-capped mountains and atmospheric towns. If you wish (and you should wish) take it in on an optional scenic flight for added perspective of the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere.   

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Omarama - 1 night

Mt Cook
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


Victorian Oamaru & Neo-Gothic Dunedin

If you’ve ever wanted to see New Zealand’s oldest public gardens, today you’re in luck. Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and limestone buildings, stands proud before you journey further south toward the Edinburgh of the South: Dunedin. It’s easy to while away the afternoon in the city’s atmospheric art-lined alleys. Or venture further afield to discover the wildlife that thrives in this pretty pocket of the country – fur seals and penguins among them. Thirsty? Visit Speights Brewery, a New Zealand institution. 

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Dunedin - 1 night

This contemporary quality 4-star hotel accommodation is located the heart of Dunedin and is filled with modern local artwork. Located just blocks from the Octagon and walking distance of many of the city’s main attractions like the fabulous First Church of Otago, and handy to great restaurants and shopping centres. Amenities Include: Free WiFi, Restaurant & Cafe/Bar, Fitness Centre, Valet Car Parking and Conference Facilities.
Scenic Hotel Dunedin


Te Anau - Gateway to Fiordland

There are some days when you’re travelling, that all you want to do is sleep in. Go for it. Or channel your inner royalty on a visit to Dunedin’s grand Larnach Castle – the only one of its kind in the country. Dunedin’s Scottish ancestry is everywhere you look, from the manicured grounds of Otago University to the city’s main George Street. Rolling green hills dotted with doe-eyed sheep are replaced by soaring mountains as you weave your way into Fiordland National Park and the South Island’s biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. Soak up the serenity – it doesn’t get any better than this.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Te Anau - 1 night

Te Anau
Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable newly refurbished accommodation in one of New Zealand's most popular scenic areas - Te Anau. Within easy walking distance of the township, surrounded by all local services, this 4-star hotel welcomes guests with 2 restaurants, free self parking, a fitness centre and free unlimited WiFi. Luxmores management and staff take pride in providing a warm, friendly and efficient service to all guests.
Distinction Luxmore Hotel


Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

The Road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak. A cruise on Milford Sound will be an essential component of your time in Fiordland. Tall waterfalls, vertical rock faces and seals are some of the things you’ll remember.

This afternoon have a scenic drive to Queenstown

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Queenstown - 2 nights

Milford Sound
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


Free Time - Steamer Cruise & Farm Visit

Its time to get out and explore this great little city. Queenstown has developed an exciting array of outdoor adventure activities - and there's plenty to choose from. But if you are just want to chill out then Queenstown's compact downtown area is relaxed during the day and huge fun at night. In any season, you can count on stylish designer shops and many trendy restaurants offering a kaleidoscope of dining experiences.

This evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand’s oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue highlight dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead. An entertaining after-dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high-country farm life.

Recommended excursions around Queenstown:

Routeburn Day WalkHighest Bungey JumpExplore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon      Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise  Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail

Meals: Breakfast and Highlight Dinner

Steam Boat


West Coast Glacier Country

The adventure continues, and this morning Central Otago's rich pioneer gold rush history comes alive in the picturesque village of Arrowtown. Set beside a beautiful clear flowing river, this charming town has some great historical sites, boutique shops and delightful cafés. Following the road to Cromwell, the fabulous scenery keeps on coming and during the stone fruit season, you can pick up bags of delicious cherries, apricots and nectarines at any of the roadside stalls.

For a slice of paradise we drive past a trio of fantastic lakes including Lake Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka before traversing the Haast Pass where the Thunder Creek Falls make for some more great photos. A short stroll amongst emerald rainforest refreshes us prior to our arrival at Franz Josef - the world's most accessible glacier.

Take the opportunity for an optional scenic flight (own expense).

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

Accommodation: Franz Josef - 1 night

Glacier Country
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


High Country TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

Travelling via Greymouth to Arthur's Pass we climb aboard the TranzAlpine. This rail journey is truly something special. Ranked among the world’s top 6 train journeys, these tracks flow through some of New Zealand's most splendid country side from the Southern Alps to Christchurch . This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see natural grandeur on such a scale. In the evening join your travel director and driver guide, and your new-found friends for a farewell dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner

Accommodation Christchurch - 1 night

TranzAlpine Train
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


Bon Voyage

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

Today we say farewell to newfound friends, leaving you with the magical memories of a truly exceptional New Zealand holiday.

Some suggested activities 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: Breakfast

Bon Voyage


Included Highlights

  • Journey through spectacular Mt. Cook National Park
  • Visit Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo
  • Stay on the shores of Lake Te Anau
  • Travel past ancient glaciers, spectacular mountains and magical rainforest en route to Milford Sound
  • Cruise mystical Milford Sound
  • Let loose in the adventure capital Queenstown
  • Sail on Lake Wakatipu aboard steamship TSS Earnslaw
  • Indulge in a unique dinner experience in Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak
  • Taste Central Otago’s famous stone fruit at an orchard
  • Travel through the magnificent rainforest of Haast Pass
  • Discover fascinating Franz Josef Glacier
  • Journey over the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine Train


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


  • Full buffet breakfasts (8)
  • Highlight dinner (1)
  • Dinners (3)
  • Farewell dinner (1)

Flight Information

  • Day 1: Flights to arrive by 4:00 into Christchurch Airport
  • Day 9: Flights to depart any time from Christchurch Airport
  • Airline schedules may change at short notice. Please consider possible flight disruption when booking your flights.​
Southern Spotlight Map

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What Michelle says about this tour: This 9 day trip to the South Island comes highly recommended with highlight such as Milford Sound, Lake Wakatipu, Lake Tekapo and the world famous Tranz Alpine train experience. Travelling in comfort with your experienced travel director and driver guide - you will be well looked after.
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The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price