13 Day South Island National Parks
13 Day South Island National Parks
Discover the South Island's national parks including Abel Tasman, Fiordland, Arthur's Pass and Aoraki Mount Cook on this independent tour. There is plenty of time to take in optional activities and to enjoy guided or unguided walks. We have included the TranzAlpine train journey, a walk and cruise in Abel Tasman National Park, and a day tour and cruise on Milford Sound.
|Tour Type:||Independent Coach Tour|
|From:||Christchurch to Christchurch|
|Departures:||Jan 2020 - March 2021|
|Price:||From (NZD) $3340 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|12 nights accommodation|
|All coach, ferry and rail transport and transfers|
|Abel Tasman National Park walk and cruise (including lunch)|
|TranzAlpine train journey|
|Milford Sound day tour and cruise (including lunch)|
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.
Click here for our full terms and conditions.
Day by Day Tour Itinerary
Haere mai, welcome to Christchurch! Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore what the ‘Garden City’ has to offer.
Early this morning you will board your coach heading north towards Kaikōura, where few places in the world can boast of such natural wonders. Take time to experience giant whales, playful dolphins, and marine birds up close.
Head north again to Marlborough, New Zealand’s largest wine growing region and home of the sauvignon blanc. This is the perfect place to enjoy the world-famous wine and dine on fresh seafood. Continue your journey on to Nelson. The region’s diverse geography captures everything from long golden beaches to untouched forests and jagged mountains. Nelson is a town bursting with creativity where you can visit the studios of local artists and the World of Wearable Art Museum.
This afternoon take time to sample Nelson’s selection of local craft brews or hop on a bike and follow the Great Taste Cycle Trail through the region’s vineyards. (2 nights)
Today you will travel through Motueka to Kaiteriteri where you board your launch. Relax in style as you cruise the stunning golden inlets of the Abel Tasman coast. Inviting sandy beaches fill the spaces between trees and the tideline. Crystal clear streams tumble down mossy valleys to join the ocean.
Native wildlife is an essential part of the scenery. Tūī and bellbird song fills the forest, shags (cormorants), gannets and little blue penguins dive for their dinner, and fur seals lounge on the rocks around the edge of Tonga Island.
Rejoin your cruise back to Kaiteriteri and return to your hotel late afternoon. (L)
You will be heading south through Murchison, making your way to the West Coast today. The Murchison Skyline Walkway zigzags through mixed beech and podocarp forest, native ferns, and bracken and broom-covered slopes on the outskirts of Murchison – it’s worth breaking your journey here for the 90-minute walk before you navigate the awesome Buller Gorge.
At Hawks Crag the road has been hacked out of solid rock – be ready for the dramatic overhang, lending shade and character to the route. The road to Punakaiki hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea.
The morning is at your leisure. Punakaiki is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes – we highly recommend that you make time to see them. A loop track takes you on a gentle walk from the main road, through rainforest to the coast. At the coastline the track has many lookouts and areas for fantastic photos to be taken of the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. The best time to visit the blowholes is at high tide when they are at their most powerful. Allow 45 minutes for the loop walk.
This afternoon enjoy the views of the wild west coast as you travel to Greymouth and join the TranzAlpine Train for your scenic train journey to Christchurch. Climb through lush beech forests past the beautiful Lake Brunner and through the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass situated 737 metres above sea level, before crossing the spectacular Southern Alps.
The TranzAlpine then winds its way over massive viaducts, through spectacular river gorges and the stunning Waimakariri River valley before arriving in Christchurch in the early evening.
Depart Christchurch and head south through the vibrant seaside town of Timaru and on to Oamaru known for their creamy limestone buildings. Stop here to stretch your legs with the South Hill Walk, perfect for stunning coastal views from Cape Wanbrow. Pass Moeraki Beach stopping for a walk to view its mysterious, spherical, 60 million-year-old boulders.
Arrive in Dunedin in the early afternoon.
Traverse the rolling hill country of South Otago on your way to the farming community of Gore and continuing on to the beautiful shores of Lake Te Anau. You will arrive into the township of Te Anau, the hub of the Fiordland region in the late afternoon.
Travel through the breathtaking Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. Journey through majestic forests, past immense waterfalls and through towering snow – capped mountains. Great photo opportunities abound enroute. On arrival at Milford Sound, board either the Milford Mariner or Milford Wanderer – our specifically designed fiord explorers – and settle in for a 2.5-hour cruise.
Milford Sound is nothing short of heart-stopping, inducing subconscious smiles in the hard to please and easily bored almost instantly; it’s simply magnificent. Keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and penguins! After the cruise, board the coach for Queenstown, arriving in the evening. (L) (2 nights)
Upgrade your itinerary to include a scenic flight to Queenstown instead of a coach journey. Take in magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park – a quick and convenient way to return to Queenstown. (Duration 35mins) The flight shaves off approximately 4 hours off a return by coach. It is however very weather dependent, so if the weather doesn’t play ball, then you will need to return by coach and we will refund the upgrade price.
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 and enjoy 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, or 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 and pan for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.
Leaving Queenstown you will soon reach picturesque Lake Hayes and travel through Kawarau Gorge, home of award winning wineries and the famous Kawarau Bungy bridge. You will travel past the township of Cromwell and its many orchards before crossing Lindis Pass and into the Mackenzie Country. Hydro-electricity canals and glacier fed lakes will guide you into the Mt Cook National Park. Here you will find Aoraki Mt Cook – New Zealand’s tallest mountain.
This morning is at your leisure. Hike around one of the walking tracks, take one of the scenic flights to get up close to Mt Cook and the Southern Alps’ magnificent glaciers. You also have time to explore the Tasman Glacier by the terminal lake.
This afternoon you’ll travel down the Tasman Valley past Glentanner Park and Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo where you can view the Church of the Good Shepherd by the lake shore. The altar window offers awe inspiring views of the lake and mountains of the Mackenzie Country. The coach then continues on towards Fairlie. Continue your journey through diverse farmland and descend to cross the Canterbury Plains before arriving in 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 4 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.
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).
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Discover the South Island's national parks including Abel Tasman, Fiordland, Arthur's Pass and Aoraki Mount Cook on this independent tour. There is pl... Read More
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