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.

Book your self drive tour this month and receive a discount of 7.5%. If you pay by 30 September 2018.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $1721 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 12 Days
Tour Code: GNDTS

Inclusions

11 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport collection charges
TranzAlpine Train Option (Additional Cost)
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides

Book your self drive tour this month and receive a discount of 7.5%. If you pay by 30 September 2018.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

“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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Christchurch - Mt Cook

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Mt Cook - Dunedin

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)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Dunedin

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Dunedin - Te Anau

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown

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)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Queenstown

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Queenstown

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Queenstown - Glaciers

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)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Glaciers

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Glaciers - Christchurch

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day UP
TranzAlpine Train Upgrade Package

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Depart Christchurch

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.

Your choice of accommodation

4.8/5.0

There are 10 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

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Accommodation
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Tour Reviews

5
30/03/2017
Had a wonderful time touring the South Island - thanks to Mani for his flexibility. Accommodation was of a really good standard - some better than others - but all good. We never found anything but the friendliest staff at all locations. The only negative - if you could call it that - we would have really liked an extra night at Te Anau - a break from the driving! Overall very pleased and will book again when we come over to 'do' the North Island.
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4
04/02/2017
I have sent a detailed review to Toni Harris that I'm sure she'll pass on to those who need to know. Her service throughout our whole booking and travelling experience has been outstanding. There were some difficult issues for her to resolve quickly when some of the trestle bridges burnt in a bushfire while we were there on the Tranz Alpine Railway - she managed this situation most professionally and should be highly commended on her efforts.
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5
09/01/2017
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The planning was well done and the ability to relax while making the journey at our own pace and seeing the things we chose. We really appreciated the way that when things needed to change due to weather, the team at Relaxing Journeys made all the arrangements and had everything in place with a minimum of fuss. We enjoyed the level of accommodation, a couple of locations weren't as good as others, but all were good. The whole trip ran smoothly and we felt relaxed and free to do as we pleased throughout the journey with all the hard work competently done by Relaxing Journeys.
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5
26/12/2016
We loved it so much. Every where we went, we enjoyed. I enjoyed the pace from place to place but maybe another night at Mt Cook. There are so many walks we would have done if we had time.
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5
06/12/2016
We had a wonderful holiday, thank you. No one can do anything about the weather so you just get on and enjoy yourself.
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5
08/11/2016
Had a great time, everything went to plan. Glad we took an extra night at Te Anau, giving us a more leisurely visit to Milford Sound before driving to Queenstown the next day. In hindsight an extra night at Mt Cook might have been better, with less time in Christchurch.
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5
29/10/2016
We were really impressed how well things were organised. The trip notes were great and the sat nav got us to our destinations. The stories and info kept us amused and we learnt a lot about the South Island.
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5
16/07/2016
After months of exciting planning and waiting, our family finally landed in Christchurch on 25 June 2016. Our tour package was waiting for us at the Thrifty Car Rental and the process of collecting the car was so easy. We were given a brand new car (Toyota Highlander 4WD) which was such a pleasant surprise! The car was bigger than we expected, spacious and very comfortable. The process of checking in and out of the motels was seamless. All we had to do was to produce our voucher. The staff/owners of the motels were very warm and friendly and our stay was made even more pleasant by the cleanliness and cosiness of the apartments. Proximity to amenities was a plus point too. We especially like the Blue Peaks Apartment because it was big and the only lodging with two bathrooms while the rest have only one. It was very conveniently located near the shopping and dining places, including the Skyline, hence we did not use the car to move around Queenstown at all. The scenery along the routes we drove was very breathtaking and stunning, so much so that we made many stops along the way to take photographs. Also, the various places of interest in all the locations covered in the tour were very enjoyable, eg, Milford Sound Cruise, Skyline in Queenstown, walk to view the glaciers in Fox Glacier, etc, etc. In fact, the South Island is so beautiful that it was always with a tint of sadness when we had to leave for the next location. With hindsight, we should have added at least one more night for those locations that we only stayed for one. The tour was very well planned and there was also enough time for us to stop at some places of interest/towns which we identified during our homework before the tour. On the negative side, the interface of the Kruse GPS was not friendly and we could not get it working. Hence, we did not use it for our trip at all. Thank God we brought and prepared our own GPS with all the locations programmed beforehand, making the travelling easy and smooth. Therefore, for those who are used to their own brand of GPS, it is advisable to bring it along but would be very helpful to do a lot of homework and necessary driving preparations for the trip. Our family had a wonderful time in South Island. A BIG THANK YOU to Mani who helped us tremendously during the planning and organising stages. He was very efficient in answering our queries, giving us very useful advice and suggestions. His patience, friendliness and professionalism are really commendable. Also, we were so impressed and touched by the warmth, friendliness and hospitality of the New Zealanders (in particular the frontline service people) that we will definitely visit this amazing country again. Which tour agency would we use? Relaxing Journeys again, of course!
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4
30/01/2016
Our trip was done in the reverse order to the original tour package offered and in our opinion we were thankful it was suggested we do it that way as our holiday just kept getting better and better. We had an amazing time, with so much to see 12 days was hardly long enough. This trip was to be a taster, it certainly did that and more. The South Island was so beautiful it was hard to leave destinations on a daily basis. We're also glad we had the hire car as this gave us more flexibility to stop and view sites and do walks along the way. Leanne we cannot thank you enough, your customer service was impeccable. Your knowledge and flexibility to be able to accommodate us in one of your peak times "Chinese New Year" where accommodation was at a premium, was flawless with the professional organisation of a trouble free trip, this truly made it a Relaxing Journey.
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5
23/01/2016
The travel between locations was easily covered, our vehicle was excellent and it was so nice not to have to handle money for our accommodation, vehicle, and train fares because of the voucher system. In fact, it was so easy picking up everything from the car rental people at Christchurch Airport was so easy. What we really liked was that we had enough time in each place to do our own thing and at our own pace. Another thing great about this trip was that Marie allowed us to have some input on a slight variation to the set agenda (train from Greymouth) and that we didn't have to spend a lot of time at home planning our trip and where to stay and how long to get from one place to another. It was really well-planned. Thanks again Marie.
Overall Tour Rating

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Optionals

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

12 Day Discover the South
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNDTS
From (NZD) $1721 per person
Save (NZD) $172 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Rating:
10 reviews (4.8/5)

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

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12 Day Discover the South
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