12 Day South Island Explorer

12 Day South Island Explorer

New Zealand's South Island features a diverse array of stunning mountains, tranquil lakes, beautiful fiords and spectacular glaciers. Discover these and more on this 12 day enlightening adventure with APT.

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Tour Info

Tour Type: Premium Coach Tour
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departures: Sep 2018 to Sep 2019
Price: From (NZD) $6220 per person
Tour Operator: APT Tours
Duration: 12 Days
Tour Code: NZCCN12


11 nights in premium accommodation
19 meals – 11 breakfasts (B) and 8 dinners (D)
Marvel at the impressive icy contours of Franz Josef Glacier
Cruise the full length of Milford Sound
See Australasia's highest peak in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Ride on the famous TranzAlpine train
Freedom of Choice Touring in Queenstown, Te Anau, Dunedin, and Aoraki Mount Cook

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

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Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

Be met upon arrival at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to unwind or explore the city.

Stay: Rydges Latimer, Christchurch (D)

Day 2
Christchurch - Aoraki Mount Cook

Traverse the Canterbury Plains to visit the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, perched on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Built of locally gathered stone and oak, this charming church was erected as a tribute to the early pioneers of the region. Journey into Aoraki Mount Cook National Park to view Australasia’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook, and admire the sublime alpine scenery that abounds here. This evening, get to know your APT Tour Director and fellow travellers during a special welcome dinner.

Stay: The Hermitage Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 3
Aoraki Mount Cook, Freedom of Choice Touring

Following breakfast this morning, enjoy the opportunity to choose from a range of included sightseeing options. Perhaps visit The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, featuring a planetarium. Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes, so you may like to join a guided nature walk and discover the native flora and fauna. If you prefer to spend the afternoon at leisure, perhaps join a stargazing session with an astronomer this evening. Alternatively, during the summer months, board a MAC boat and get up close to icebergs on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. (B, D)

Day 4
Aoraki Mount Cook - Dunedin

Set out along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Ōamaru. Continue to Koekohe Beach to view the unusual spherical-shaped Moeraki Boulders. Continue to Dunedin and enjoy your chosen activity in this historic and scenic city.

Stay: Distinction Dunedin Hotel (B, D)

Day 5
Dunedin, Freedom of Choice - Te Anau

This morning, choose your Freedom of Choice activity. Perhaps tour Larnach Castle, visit Olveston House, or ride the Taieri Gorge Railway. Those who enjoy a beer might like to tour Speight’s Brewery and taste the local brew that has been produced on this site since 1876. Alternatively, nature lovers can either visit an albatross colony, see penguins, or take an off-road tour of the Otago Peninsula. This afternoon, traverse the rolling countryside of the spectacular Southland region, and delight in the picturesque landscapes of the tranquil lakeside settlement of Te Anau.

Stay: Distinction Te Anau (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 6
Te Anau, Freedom of Choice

Today, choose from an exciting range of included activities in Te Anau. Perhaps explore an incredible underground network of limestone caves, lit by thousands of glowworms. Or embark on a Doubtful Sound wilderness cruise. Equally tempting is the option to sit back and relax with a glass of wine whilst you enjoy a film featuring Fiordland’s breathtaking landscapes. The rest of the day is then free for you to relax, wander about and soak up the peaceful atmosphere. (B)

Day 7
Te Anau - Milford Sound Cruise - Queenstown

Witness the incredible diversity of New Zealand’s landscapes as lush rainforest meets snow-capped mountains in Fiordland National Park. Experience one of the world’s most spectacular alpine drives along Milford Road. Wind down the Eglinton and Hollyford Valleys, then travel through the Homer Tunnel to be met by the majestic sight of Mitre Peak, rising 1,692m from the ocean floor. Continue to spectacular Milford Sound where you’ll cruise along the full length of this beautiful fiord. Then, continue to Queenstown where you’ll stay for three nights.

Stay: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown (3 nights) (B, D)

Day 8
Queenstown, Freedom of Choice Touring

Choose from a range of activities today. Lord of the Rings fans will jump at the chance to visit key filming locations, whilst thrill seekers can try a ride on the exhilarating Shotover Jet or a Skippers Canyon adventure. Why not tour the country’s premier wine producing region, or explore the surrounding wilderness on a bird walk or garden tour. Perhaps a zip-line ride above the Kawarau Gorge is more your style. Or you may like to join a Double Decker Explorer ride. This evening, select from a range of Freedom of Choice dining inclusions. Seafood lovers will be tempted by Finz, whilst the panoramic views from Stratosfare Restaurant, reached by gondola, are hard to beat. Cruise aboard a vintage steamer to Walter Peak High Country Farm, or dine at your stylish hotel restaurant. (B, D)

Day 9

Immerse yourself in beautiful Queenstown as you enjoy a full day at leisure in this exciting resort town. You may like to use this time to take a relaxing stroll along the tranquil shores of Lake Wakatipu, browse through the stores in the bustling central shopping district, or perhaps take advantage of being in the ‘adventure capital of New Zealand’ and indulge in the thrill of a lifetime. (B)

Day 10
Queenstown - Wanaka - Franz Josef

This morning, view historic mining sites as you travel through beautiful Kawarau Gorge and meander through the picturesque scenery of Cromwell. Skirt around the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, taking in the dramatic vistas and surrounding mountains that seem to shift mood with the seasons. Cross spectacular Haast Pass and into Westland Tai Poutini National Park, home to Franz Josef Glacier. Check in to your luxury eco-resort this afternoon, located within pristine rainforest, before enjoying a spectacular four-course degustation dinner.

Stay: Te Waonui Forest Retreat (B, D)

Day 11
Franz Josef - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

Join the TranzAlpine train and experience one of the world’s greatest train journeys. Travel across the magnificent Southern Alps within Arthur’s Pass National Park and into Christchurch.

Stay: Rydges Latimer, Christchurch (B)

Day 12
Depart Christchurch

This morning your tour concludes with a transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)


There are 1 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

The greatest shock to us was just how devastated Christchurch is. We knew about the earthquake damage, of course, but we had no realistic comprehension of how great an effect it had had and how limited the functionality of the CBD was. So, our extra couple of nights in Christchurch meant we were certainly exposed to those limitations, and the hotel is quite a walk from much of what we wanted to see there. The city also happened to turn on some really foul weather while we were there. On tour, some days we had too much of the 'coach'. The day that particularly applies to was when we went on the Taieri Gorge rail excursion, but we were brought back from the halfway point (Pukeringa) by mini-bus, which was driven as though it was a racing car. After about two hours of that, then another four hours or so on the APT coach to Te Anau we were glad to get off the roads. Another hour or so and I am sure there would have been quite a few people maybe bringing up their lunches. We had a good driver and a good tour manager. Te Anau and Queenstown were great. And we got to see Mount Cook clearly. We had a fantastic hotel room there with views of the changing mountain/cloudscape. The train trip from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch was not as wonderful as I thought it was going to be. That was probably affected by the train being an hour late (because of the heat-affected tracks) and by the degree of cold as we got to within an hour of Christchurch--with the clouds having descended, making visibility very poor. By the end of the tour we were glad to be off the coach.
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Enquire about our 12 Day South Island Explorer

12 Day South Island Explorer
Premium Coach Tour
Tour Code: NZCCN12
From (NZD) $6220 per person
Save (NZD) $275 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: Sep 2018 to Sep 2019
1 reviews (4/5)

New Zealand's South Island features a diverse array of stunning mountains, tranquil lakes, beautiful fiords and spectacular glaciers. Discover these a... Read More

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12 Day South Island Explorer
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