12 Day Discover the South
12 Day Discover the South
Discover the South Island including Mt Cook, Dunedin, Lake Te Anau, Milford Sound and Queenstown, then the West Coast glaciers with an optional trip on the world renowned TranzAlpine train back over the mountains.
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Christchurch to Christchurch|
|Departures:||Jan 2020 - March 2021|
|Price:||From (NZD) $1400 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|11 nights accommodation|
|Rental vehicle of your choice|
|TranzAlpine Train Option (Additional Cost)|
|Milford Sound Nature Cruise|
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 – the Garden City. On completion of formalities, pick up your rental car and travel onto your centrally located accommodation. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore what Christchurch has to offer.
Why not sit back and relax as you pass the trailing willows and leafy banks of the stunning Christchurch Botanic Gardens while punting down the river Avon.
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains to Mt Cook, known in Maori as Aoraki. Mt Cook is the highest peak in New Zealand and standing at an imposing 3754m dominates the Southern Alps that separate Christchurch from Queenstown.
Certainly an icon of New Zealand, Mt Cook has long attracted climbers and mountaineers, wishing to scale its heights. However, many of the people visiting Mt Cook have less lofty ambitions, choosing simply to enjoy the impressive views on clear days or on scenic flights, which are a great way to appreciate the grandeur of the place.
Time to enjoy some of the nearby bush walks in the park before heading west to the coastal town of Oamaru, famous for its white limestone buildings. Be sure to stop at Moeraki Beach with its mysterious, spherical, 60 million year old boulders.
Continue on to Dunedin, the ‘Edinburgh of the South’. (2 nights)
Take the opportunity to enjoy the city’s cultural riches and its abundant nature & wildlife. If you wish, visit New Zealand’s oldest brewery for an entertaining and enlightening heritage tour, enjoy guided tours of Larnach Castle and the stately home of Olveston House.
Play a round of golf at Balmacewan, the oldest course in New Zealand and enjoyed by many of the sports greats, both past and present. You could also make the short journey to Portobello Peninsula to enjoy seals, the Albatross Colony and visit the Yellow-eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve.
Drive through the rolling hill country of South Otago and Southland. After the farming community of Gore, cross the Waimea plains towards Fiordland.
Overnight in Te Anau.
Drive through pristine beech forests and the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. On arrival at Milford Sound, board either the Milford Mariner or Milford Wanderer – the 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!
Return to Te Anau, then turn north, following the dramatic southern shores of Lake Wakatipu to reach Queenstown. (3 nights)
It’s time to make memories in Queenstown. Pick and choose from a long list of adventures – from thrilling funyak tours along the Dart River and horse-riding in Glenorchy, to panning for gold in Arrowtown or taking a tour of Lake Wakatipu via the TSS Earnslaw, there is certainly something for every speed.
Or, if you’re not ready to break the spell of the last few days a scenic walk may do the trick, exploring the diverse range of stunning trails the region delivers in troves.
If you didn’t have time to fit everything in yesterday, you have another free day to enjoy this fabulous Alpine resort town. Today you may like to try a leisurely lake cruise, a 4WD safari or bungy jumping.
We recommend the world famous Shotover Jet boat ride, take a Gondola to the Skyline high above, a tour to the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon or for the adventurous – white water rafting.
Alternatively browse in the many shops and galleries.
Drive to Cromwell and on through the Southern Lakes district to the Haast Pass then north, through dense rain forest broken by rugged coastal vistas, towards the glaciers. A short side trip will take you to view one of these massive rivers of ice.
Stay 2 nights at Franz Josef Glacier township. (2 nights)
A full day to explore this remote and beautiful area. You can take your time walking up to the glacier, going to the Okarito Lagoon or join a guided walk on the glacier, take a heli-hike adventure, or a scenic flight over both glaciers. We also recommend a visit to the colony of the beautiful white heron (Kotuku).
After your day of exploring, bathe under a rainforest canopy and climb into the Franz Josef Glacier hot pools for some warm R&R.
Travel north along the narrow, bush clad, coastal plain past Hokitika, to Greymouth. Turn inland towards the Southern Alps, over Arthur’s Pass following the Waimakariri and Bealey Rivers, down to the skiing areas of Porter Heights and Craigieburn.
Make sure you stop at the Pearson and Grasmere Lakes – both are worth the five minutes it takes to pull over and take a picture, for they really are quite charming. Rural serenity and friendly towns lead you across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
Upgrade your itinerary to include a trip on the world famous TranzAlpine train.
On arrival in Greymouth, return your rental car to the Greymouth depot before checking in for your train journey to Christchurch. The TranzAlpine is described as “The Great New Zealand Rail Adventure” and is rated as one of the top six scenic train journeys in the world – with accolades like those, you know it will be good.
Ascend through lush beech forests past the beautiful Lake Brunner via 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.
On arrival in Christchurch we’ll arrange transfers to your accommodation and transfers the next day to the airport for your onward flight.
Sadly, your holiday is at an end and you will be transferred to Christchurch airport today for your onward flight. Here, we bid you a fond farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
There are 15 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 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).
Enquire about our 12 Day Discover the South
Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.
Discover the South Island including Mt Cook, Dunedin, Lake Te Anau, Milford Sound and Queenstown, then the West Coast glaciers with an optional trip o... Read More
Click on each area to view more information.
Upgrade this tour by adding one of our carefully selected optional tours & activities or go ahead and request a quote to guarantee your spot.
You can also create your dream holiday by using our custom itinerary planner.
Create your Custom Itinerary