Privately Guided South Island 7 Day Itinerary

Fiordland with its steep sheer faced granite walls.

Your Private Driver/Guide

When you touch down in New Zealand you will be met at the airport by Your Private Driver/Guide. 

Our guides have been with us for a long time and are seasoned professionals. Our aim is to give ‘you’ our guests a memorable experience of New Zealand and its stunning scenery. With years of experience in tourism in New Zealand, we guarantee that you will receive a first-class service!

The best part about our guides is that they are local and chances are they have their go-to destinations that only locals know about. Whether it’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, a favourite local pub, or a fantastic attraction that most tourists overlook, our guides can help recommend authentic experiences that you may not discover on your own.

First Light Travel Private Guides


Welcome to Queenstown!

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

Your driver/guide will meet you at the airport and the rest of the day is free to to experience the beauty of Queenstown exactly as you want to. From relaxing vineyard tours or boat cruises to extreme adventure activities, Queenstown has it all. 

Recommended excursions in 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

The Botanic Gardens and lakeside walkways offer a myriad of opportunities for relaxing strolls, while the boutique shops offer kiwi shopping at its best. Queenstown’s stunning location means that however you choose to spend your day you’ll enjoy being surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery.

Accommodation: Queenstown - 2 nights

Queenstown TSS Earnslaw steamship

Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and a short walk in to the centre of Queenstown is the elegant Hotel St Moritz. The hotel is modern and stylish decorated in an alpine style fitting to the location. Boasting an excellent restaurant and bar on site, spacious comfortable rooms, and a professional level of service, your stay will be rewarding.


Milford Sound Cruise & Fiordland Scenic Flight

Today is one of the highlights of your holiday in New Zealand. We travel along the breath taking Milford Road; admiring the glacier-carved valleys, sky-scraping mountains and mirror lakes, and making plenty of photo stops along the way. Arriving in Milford Sound we board a boat and cruise the inky blue waters, spotting dolphins, penguins and seals with our onboard nature guide. We return to Queenstown on a scenic flight that showcases the beauty of Fiordland and Central Otago, rounding off an unforgettable day in New Zealand’s Great Outdoors.

Milford Sound flight


Travel to Wanaka & Franz Josef

Today our first discovery is nestled beside the Arrow River - the postcard-perfect village of Arrowtown, where the pioneer gold mining era comes alive. Continuing on we climb the road into the Crown Range looking out to sweeping views of the Gibbston Valley. We make a stop at the historical Cardrona Hotel before continuing on to the beautiful lakeside town of Wanaka to stretch your legs.

Continue on to Franz Josef and travel along the rugged West Coast Road and over the Haast Pass. Discover the rich alpine rainforest as you journey through this historic region. Through the Gates of Haast is a lost world that’s so spectacular and remote UNESCO designated it a World Heritage area.

Franz Josef village is small (only 500 locals) and is located only ten minutes from the Glacier. The Franz Josef is a glacier located in Westland National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. Together with the Fox Glacier 20 km to the south it is a unique in the fact that it descends from the Southern Alps to just 200 metres above sea level amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest.

Approximate Distance: 355 kms | 158 miles  Total Driving Time: 5 hours

Accommodation: Franz Josef Village - 2 nights

Franz Josef Glacier

Te Waonui is the only luxury property of its kind in the area. The retreat is nestled in the lush bush with views of the natural environment at almost every turn. Located in Franz Josef, the retreat offers easy access to the many natural wonders of the South West World Heritage Area. Mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes, coastline, and native flora and fauna all lie in wait at the doorstep for visitors to admire and explore.

Te Waonui Forest Retreat - Franz Josef


Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

Experience the trip of a lifetime. After an exhilarating scenic heli-flight, above the rugged terrain, you will land high up on Franz Josef Glacier ready to undertake a two hour guided hike amongst some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery available. Your experienced guide will lead you on to the glistening blue ice, with spectacular ice formations, towering peaks, crevasses, and accessible iridescent blue ice caves. There are plenty of photo opportunities, and the chance to learn more about this magnificent (constantly moving) glacier. Relax and unwind after a day on the ice in the Glacier Hot Pools nestled in the heart of the lush rainforest. 


Te Waonui is the only luxury property of its kind in the area. The retreat is nestled in the lush bush with views of the natural environment at almost every turn. Located in Franz Josef, the retreat offers easy access to the many natural wonders of the South West World Heritage Area. Mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes, coastline, and native flora and fauna all lie in wait at the doorstep for visitors to admire and explore.

Te Waonui Forest Retreat - Franz Josef


Punakaiki - A Wild Coast & Unusual Rock Formations

Today discover more of the ‘wild’ west coast of the South Island, as you head north through countryside dotted with little lakes and boulder strewn rivers, all under the watchful eye of the mighty Southern Alps in the distance. 

Check out the famous Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki. Nowhere have the effects of Tasman Sea heaving swells had such a dramatic effect on the West Coast landscape than at the beautiful seaside village of Punakaiki. These rocks are a truly remarkable piece of natural sculpture that have been created when a series of stratified limestone stacks have been eroded over thousands of years to give the effect of large piles of stacked pancakes. Another prominent feature are the blowholes that at high tide force columns of spray high out of these holes with a bone shaking roar.

Approximate Distance: 220 kms | 137 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours

Accommodation: Punakaiki - 1 night

pancake rocks
Surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and with stunning views of the Tasman Sea, Scenic Hotel Punakaiki is in a great location. The resort is situated only 300m from the famous Punakaiki Blowholes and has been designed in harmony with the local environment.  Evenings are spent relaxing in a standard resort room with views of the sea or an Eco Suite with rainforest and distant seaviews.

Scenic Hotel Punakaiki


Tranzalpine Train to Christchurch

This morning you will travel to Greymouth and bid farewell to your guide before boarding the TranzAlpine to Christchurch. The TranzAlpine Train, is renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world. Descend through spectacular gorges, river valleys and over massive viaducts before completing your journey in Christchurch. You will be transferred to your accommodation on arrival.

Approximate Distance: 50 km | 31 miles  Total Driving Time: 45 mins

Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 night

TranzAlpine train
The George, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is located in the heart of Christchurch overlooking the picturesque Hagley Park and river Avon and just steps from the cultural precinct and key attractions. The George will offer you a supreme comfort, with personalised stay and attentive staff.
The George - Christchurch


Transfer to Christchurch Airport

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

We take care of your transfer to Christchurch Airport where you will board your onward flight, taking with you 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
Farewell New Zealand

Profile picture for user Elizabeth
What Elizabeth says about this tour: Driving on the 'wrong' side of the road is not for everyone - we have expert drivers who can take care of all your requirements while you're on the road and ensure that your trip runs seamlessly. One of the highlights has to be flying over the Milford Sound and there are many cultural and wilderness encounters along the way. A popular 7 day tour.
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