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 & Mount Cook on this independent tour set at a comfortable touring pace. There is plenty of time to take in optional activities and to enjoy guided or unguided walks. We've also included the TranzAlpine train journey and a day tour and cruise to Milford Sound

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
From (NZD) $3140 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Comfortable
Duration: 13 Days
Tour Code: RJ225


12 nights accommodation
All Coach, Ferry & Rail Transport & Transfers
Optional Breakfasts
Daily Departures
Abel Tasman National Park Walk & Cruise (including lunch)
TranzAlpine Train Journey
Milford Sound Day Tour & Cruise (including lunch)

* Note: Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling). Prices are valid for travel until September 2018

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

“Haere Mai” Welcome to Christchurch – the Garden City. Upon arrival at Christchurch airport, you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore what Christchurch has to offer.

Day 2
Christchurch - Kaikoura

Early this morning you will board your coach heading north towards Kaikoura, the renowned whale watching town with its majestic alpine scenery and amazing ocean wildlife. 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. Overnight in Kaikoura.

Day 3
Kaikoura - Nelson

This morning board your coach and head north passing world-class wine-producing vineyards of the Marlborough region and into sunny Nelson. Nelson’s diverse geography captures everything from long golden beaches to untouched forests and jagged mountains. (2 nights)

Day 4
Abel Tasman National Park

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. Laze on an idyllic beach or choose a walk exploring the beaches and forests. Rejoin your cruise back to Kaiteriteri and return to your hotel late afternoon. (L)

Day 5
Nelson - Punakaiki

Travel through Murchison, the scene of a massive earthquake in 1929, and on through the Buller Gorge to Westport on the West Coast. The road to Punakaiki hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea. Overnight at Punakaiki, famous for its pancake rocks and magnificent blowholes.

Day 6
Punakaiki - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

The morning is at your leisure. We recommend a walk around the stunning Pancake Rocks and blowholes – fantastic in all weather! 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 early evening.

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 perfectly rounded boulders are embedded in the sand. Arrive early afternoon.

Day 8
Dunedin - Te Anau

This morning is at leisure to explore Dunedin. This afternoon, travel by coach across fertile farming land and pass by spectacular mountains 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.

Day 9
Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

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 in Milford Sound experience an unforgettable cruise through a unique and pristine environment. Board the coach for Queenstown, arriving in the evening. (L) (2 nights)

Day UP
Milford Sound Return Flight Upgrade (From NZ$395pp)

Return to Queenstown on a scenic flight taking 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.

Day 10

Today is completely at your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort 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, and 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.

Day 11
Queenstown - Mt Cook

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 Mount Cook National Park. Here you will find Aoraki Mount Cook; New Zealand’s tallest mountain.

Day 12
Mt Cook - Christchurch

This morning is at your leisure. Hike around one of the walking tracks; take one of the scenic flights to get up close to Mount Cook and 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, the South Island’s largest city.

Day 13
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 3 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 out of 5.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

I was very impressed that all arrangements made by Relaxing Journeys ran smoothly, coaches and pickups arrived as detailed by the itinerary and the accommodation suited me perfectly. I have not always experienced such efficiency and care in previous travels overseas. My trip was a great success and the detailed information provided with the itinerary was very useful, as were the helpful and pleasant people involved in the organising and on the actual trip. The South Island itself was beautiful and I hope to return soon. Thank you Relaxing Journeys for a wonderful NZ experience.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
Everything went like clockwork, even with the earthquake occurring the day before we left Australia! Toni was able to get us onto a flight to Nelson very promptly instead of the train trip to Kaikoura we had originally planned. Sad to miss that part of NZ but it was not to be. We had an extra day in Nelson which was good as it's a lovely town. Travelling in the Intercity coaches provided a relaxing way to travel by not having to navigate and being able to enjoy the scenery. We also met many interesting travellers, especially a lot of young people from other countries, some on working holidays and others just seeing the world. Our accommodation was great with a mix of hotel rooms and apartments in handy locations. As I had read in other reviews before booking our trip, the overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound was highly praised. We can only but agree as even with periods or drizzle it was still a magic place to be and quite awe inspiring. The rain caused hundreds of waterfalls pouring down the sides in every direction and low cloud drifting around made it look very beautiful. We saw seals, penguins and dolphins and enjoyed the company on board as well as the very good spread for dinner and breakfast. Definitely a highlight! We also went to Milford Sound but the rain had really set in by then and there were crowds of people, unlike Doubtful Sound where we were the only craft on the water. Unfortunately when a place becomes well known everyone wants to visit (including us!!) and it is spoilt because of its popularity. All of NZ is beautiful but Queenstown was lovely especially as the sun shone and snow covered the mountains all around so it was picture perfect. Thank you and well done to Relaxing Journeys for a our journey around the South Island.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
We absolutely loved the 13 day National Parks tour. The places chosen were great and well worth visiting. There were some places we would have loved to spend more time, but not knowing anything about them before hand we went with the tour as presented. Just gives us an excuse to come back! Mani did an excellent job of putting everything together for us. Communication with Mani over details was great. Even to the point of changing the final pick-up time on the day of departure due to a schedule change as a result of the earthquake. If (when) we come back to New Zealand, I would definitely use Relaxing Journeys again and highly recommend them. You have given us a truly memorable trip. Thank you.
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 13 Day South Island National Parks

13 Day South Island National Parks
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ225
From (NZD) $3140 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
3 reviews (4.7/5)

Discover the South Island's National Parks including Abel Tasman, Fiordland, Arthur's Pass & Mount Cook on this independent tour set at a comfortable ... Read More

Itinerary Map

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South Island National Parks
Regions Visited

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