14 Day Southern Loop

14 Day Southern Loop

Step outside your comfort zone and experience a New Zealand that is magnificent and wild. From the world renowned TranzAlpine train, to the cool blue splendour of glacial towers with stops at Punakaiki, the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand's whale watching capitol - Kaikoura as well as Queenstown in between.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $3721 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 14 Days
Tour Code: RJ224


13 nights accommodation
All Coach, Ferry & Rail Transport & Transfers
Optional Breakfasts
Daily Departures
Abel Tasman National Park Walk & Cruise (including lunch)
Doubtful Sound Day Tour & Cruise (including lunch)
2 x Journeys on the TranzAlpine Train


Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2020 – March 2021. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at time of booking.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

“Haere Mai” Welcome to Christchurch – the Garden City. Disembark, pass through customs, collect your luggage and meet our representative that will transfer you to your accommodation. It’s time to start your holiday. What should you do with the rest of the day? Take it slow, sit back and relax, we suggest punting down the River Avon through the stunning Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Day 2
Christchurch - TranzAlpine Train - Punakaiki

This morning you will board the TranzAlpine Train for one of the world’s great scenic train trips that will take you across the patchwork farmland of the Canterbury Plains before a slow climb into the Southern Alps. From here you will marvel at views of the stunning Waimakiriri River gorge and alpine scenery on a series of breathtaking viaducts.

After a brief stop at Arthur’s Pass you will enter one of New Zealand’s longest tunnels, the Otira Tunnel and subsequently descend through a deep valley of sub tropical rainforest over a broad shallow river into the small town of Greymouth. Join your coach in Greymouth and travel north to Punakaiki which is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes – make some time to see these spectacular sights this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

The Truman Track is a short walk worth doing while you’re here – nearing the coast it passes through typical West Coast flax flats before emerging onto a sprawling headland with stunning views up and down the local shoreline.

Day 3
Punakaiki - Nelson

This afternoon board your coach for your northbound journey to Nelson where you will enjoy two wonderful nights in this tranquil destination. The road to Nelson hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea. Arrive in the evening. (2 nights)

Day 4
Abel Tasman National Park

Drive through Motueka to Kaiteriteri and board your boat. Relax in style, as you cruise the stunning golden inlets of the Abel Tasman coast. Laze on an idyllic beach or choose a walk exploring the beaches and forests. There are various trails available, ranging from 2 to 6 hours long.  Rejoin your cruise back to Kaiteriteri and return to your hotel late afternoon. (L)

Day 5
Nelson - Kaikoura

Today is another day of exciting and beautiful scenery as you board your coach to travel through vineyards, rolling hillsides and along the Kaikoura Coast. Around 15 minutes north of Kaikoura, stop at the Ohau Stream for a short bush walk to a small waterfall. In winter months, watch out for frolicking baby seals!

Day 6
Kaikoura - Christchurch

Most of the day today is free for you to explore Kaikoura. Kaikoura translates to ‘meal of crayfish’ and it is crayfish for which the region has traditionally been famous, these days it has become equally notable for the abundance of other marine mammals and birdlife. Conditions permitting you may like to take a cruise to view the whales or perhaps take it one step closer and enjoy a swim with the dolphins.

For land lovers there are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy including horse trekking and a number of walks that explore the shore or go deep into the surrounding native bush. In town you’ll find beautifully restored old buildings housing artists and craftspeople as well as enough tasteful seafood dishes to sink a ship. This afternoon board your coach and continue your journey south into Christchurch

Day 7
Christchurch - Dunedin

Depart Christchurch and head south through the vibrant seaside town of Timaru and onto Oamaru known for their creamy limestone buildings. Pass Moeraki Beach where you can stop to view the mysterious, spherical, 60 million year old boulders. Arrive early afternoon.

Dunedin is a vibrant university city with a proud Scottish legacy. What will you do first this afternoon? There are two self-guided heritage walks available that will show you the highlights of Dunedin’s architecture.

Day 8
Dunedin - Queenstown

Travel through the historic goldfields of Central Otago to Queenstown, a beautiful alpine resort town and regarded as one of New Zealand’s premier holiday destinations. (3 nights)

Day 9

Today is completely at your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort town situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown offers something for everyone – you can enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquility of this mountain retreat as well as several walking trails in the town area.

For sheer excitement there is white-water rafting, helicopter rides, the famous jet boats, bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin and offroad 4WD tours with plenty of river crossings. There are cruises on the lake and a visit to a high country sheep station as well as wine tasting tours. You can visit nearby Arrowtown where the main street has been preserved since the 1860’s gold rush days and you can try your luck panning for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.

Day 10
Queenstown - Doubtful Sound Cruise - Queenstown

You will be collected from your accommodation this morning and travel by coach to Manapouri. Your Doubtful Sound Wilderness Excursion begins as you cruise the crystal clear waters of Lake Manapouri, a stunning lake renowned for its numerous islands and deserted beaches. Then it’s over Wilmot Pass, on one of New Zealand’s remotest and prettiest sub-alpine roads, stopping along the way to experience some of Fiordland’s densest rainforest as well as viewing Doubtful Sound glistening far below.

On reaching Deep Cove, you will board your vessel for a cruise that takes in the most dramatic scenery of Doubtful Sound. Nature guides provide an engaging commentary and point out the highlights. Keep a look out for wildlife as bottlenose dolphins frequently swim alongside the vessel, fur seals bask on the rocks around the fiord and rare penguins can at times be observed. After your cruise, reboard your coach and travel back to Queenstown. (L)

Day 11
Queenstown - Franz Josef

Depart Queenstown this morning, and journey north to glacier country, where picturesque mountains and azure lakes will have you reaching for your camera at every turn. Travel along the shores of Wanaka and Lake Hawea to the Haast Pass, gateway to World Heritage Westland National Park. Then continue up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to Franz Josef Glacier. (2 nights)

Day 12
Franz Josef

Today you have a whole day at leisure. While glaciers around the world are retreating, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers still flow almost to sea level. Perhaps enjoy a guided walk, a heli-hike or a scenic flight from the Franz Josef township. Easy unguided walks to the foot of the glaciers pass along ancient river valleys, and when you stand close to the foot of these glaciers their sheer enormity will leave you humbled.

If you’d prefer a relaxing day, head to the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools that are nestled amongst the lush rainforest of the glacier country or meander through the village where you will find a wonderful selection of gifts, artwork, merchandise and cafes.

Day UP
Glaciers Upgrade Package

Treat yourself and upgrade your accommodation in Franz Josef to the 5 star Te Waonui Forest Retreat, a luxury lodge hotel nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest. Our upgrade package includes luxurious accommodation, dinner on the first night – an indulgent 5 course degustation menu in The Canopy Restaurant, and a la carte breakfast both mornings. We’ve also included a stunning Franz Josef Heli Hike to help you make the most of your time in the region. Ask us for a price!

Day 13
Franz Josef - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

Board your coach and head north through Hokitika and into the small town of Greymouth where you will stop to stretch your legs before boarding the renowned TranzAlpine Train for one of the world’s great scenic train trips to Christchurch. Experience the beautiful Lake Brunner, spectacular viaducts, 8.6kms in the lengthy Otira Tunnel, ice – fed rivers, patchwork farmland and the tussock landscape of the Canterbury Plains. Arrive at approximately 6:05pm in our most ‘English’ of cities, Christchurch.

Day 14
Depart Christchurch

Sadly your trip has come to an end. We hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed your experiences in New Zealand. Today you will be met at your accommodation and transferred to the airport for your onward journey. Have a safe trip home.


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

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Tour Reviews

Excellent planning and logistics. Every pick up and drop was on time. Well located serviced apartments. Good pace and planning.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience



New Zealand has a great deal of things to see and do, why not add one of our optional sightseeing activities to your trip. Prices are per adult (we'll adjust your quote for any children).

Enquire about our 14 Day Southern Loop

14 Day Southern Loop
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ224
From (NZD) $3721 per person
Save (NZD) $372 per person
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1 reviews (5/5)

Step outside your comfort zone and experience a New Zealand that is magnificent and wild. From the world renowned TranzAlpine train, to the cool blue ... Read More

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