10 Day Essential South Island

10 Day Essential South Island

Experience the best of New Zealand's South Island in this 10 day independent coach tour. Visit Aoraki Mount Cook, Dunedin and Queenstown, as well as the glacier town of Franz Josef on the West Coast. We have also included a cruise on majestic Milford Sound.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $2879 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 10 Days
Tour Code: RJ231


9 nights accommodation
All coach, ferry and rail transport and transfers
Optional breakfasts
Daily departures
Milford Sound day tour and cruise (including lunch)
TranzAlpine train journey


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.

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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 the city has to offer.

Day 2
Christchurch - Aoraki Mount Cook

Today you depart from Christchurch, travelling across the Canterbury Plains and through diverse farmland to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the Church of the Good Shepherd by the lakeshore. The altar window offers awe-inspiring views of the lake and mountains. Your tour continues along Lake Pukaki before arriving at Aoraki Mount Cook.

Day 3
Aoraki Mount Cook - Dunedin

The morning is at leisure. You may like to take an optional Tasman Glacier Explorer excursion. This afternoon travel to Dunedin. Leaving Aoraki Mount Cook, travel alongside three lakes and see the hydro-electric dams on the Waitaki River. Take a break at Ōamaru for a tour of the Victorian Precinct to view amazing buildings and architecture in the historic district. Stop to view the famous and fascinating Moeraki Boulders before arriving in Dunedin, where you’ll be dropped off at your accommodation.

Day 4
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 Day 5
Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

Travel through breathtaking Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. Journey through majestic forests, past immense waterfalls and through towering snow – capped mountains. Great photo opportunities abound en-route. 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 Package (NZ $395pp)

Return to Queenstown on a scenic flight taking in magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park. (Duration 35 mins.) The flight shaves approximately 4 hours off a return by coach. It is, however, very weather dependent, so if the weather doesn’t play ball you will need to return by coach and we will refund the upgrade price.

Day 6

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 the mountains and walk one (or some!) of the trails in the town area. For sheer excitement there is white-water rafting, helicopter rides, the famous jetboats, bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin, and off-road 4WD tours with plenty of river crossings. There are cruises on the lake with 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 1860s gold rush days, and try your luck panning for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.

Day 7
Queenstown - Franz Josef

Travel north through Wanaka, spectacularly set at the foot of the Southern Alps, and continue on through the Haast Pass across New Zealand’s longest single lane bridge. Arrive into Franz Josef, known for one of the world’s most accessible glaciers. For the more adventurous there are a variety of guided tours, ice hikes, heli-hikes and sightseeing trips that can be organised from the township. (2 nights)

Day 8

Today you have a whole day at leisure. Perhaps enjoy a guided walk, heli-hike, or a scenic flight from the Franz Josef township. If you’d prefer a relaxing day, head to the Glacier Hot Pools that are nestled amongst lush rainforest, 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. (2 nights)

Day 9
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. Experience beautiful Lake Brunner, spectacular viaducts, 8.6km in the lengthy Otira Tunnel, ice-fed rivers, and the patchwork farmland of the Canterbury Plains. Arrive in Christchurch at approximately 6:05pm.

Day 10
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 2 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 5 out of 5.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

We were very impressed with Relaxing Journeys and our tour coordinator Toni. The trip went so smoothly and we were able to enjoy all the sights. Highly recommended!
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
Very satisfied with the service provided by Relaxing Journeys. Email replies were within a day or two and even if the consulting agent is on leave, emails were followed up by other agents. The whole tour went smoothly without a hitch. Coaches came on time, we had no problems checking into our accommodations and optional tours with the vouchers provided. All apartments and motels provided towels and toiletries. They are centrally located and convenient to explore around. The weather was great despite the low season in May. We had many sunny days, saw a few rainbows and a shooting star. Thanks to Mani and his colleagues for arranging this trip for us!
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 10 Day Essential South Island

10 Day Essential South Island
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ231
From (NZD) $2879 per person
Save (NZD) $287 per person
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2 reviews (5/5)

Experience the best of New Zealand's South Island in this 10 day independent coach tour. Visit Aoraki Mount Cook, Dunedin and Queenstown, as well as t... Read More

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10 Day Essential South Island
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