17 Day Complete South Island

17 Day Complete South Island

A comprehensive circuit of the South Island, including golden Nelson beaches, whale watching, the wild West Coast, majestic mountains, glaciers and a whole lot more!

Book your self drive tour this month and receive an Earlybird Discount of 10%. Make full payment by 31 July 2018 to qualify or 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 April 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $2603 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Relaxing
Duration: 17 Days
Tour Code: GNCSI

Inclusions

16 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport collection charges
Kaikoura Whale Watch Cruise
Milford Sound Day Tour - Coach & Nature Cruise
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides
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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

After clearing customs and immigration at Christchurch airport, you will pick up your rental car and then make your way to your hotel in the central City. Today you can choose to relax and explore this most English of New Zealand cities. 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?

Day 2
Christchurch - Kaikoura

This morning head north out of Christchurch. It’s two hours direct to Kaikoura or you may like to take a more scenic inland route via Hanmer Springs to bathe in the mineral pools in their alpine setting. This afternoon we have included a Whale Watch Cruise to see the giant sperm whales, dolphins, fur seals and depending on the season, you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales.

Day 3
Kaikoura - Nelson

The journey then takes you to Blenheim and on to Nelson – the sunniest location in NZ and gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. (2 nights)

Day 4
Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park

Today is yours for relaxing or exploring this lovely area. There are the arts and crafts of the Motueka and Takaka areas, or you may like to choose one of the activities available in the Abel Tasman National Park. There are guided or independent kayak trips available which can include a mix of kayaking and walking.

Day 5
Nelson - Punakaiki

Head south down SH 6 through Murchison and the Buller Gorge to make your way to the West Coast. Stay the night at Punakaiki, best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes – both of which are spectacular and a must-see when visiting the West Coast. Other activities include canoe adventures, horse trekking, caving and guided tours to name just a few. Punakaiki has many colourful local crafts people – jewellers, carvers, painters and potters.

Day 6
Punakaiki - Franz Josef

After a morning of sightseeing head south today down the West Coast. There are some neat old towns to visit on the way as well as some great places to photograph the scenery and take a look at the dramatic coastline, you have time to enjoy this area at a leisurely pace. Continue south through to Franz Josef Glacier. The terminal face is a mere 19 kilometres from the sea and just 5 kilometres from the township. (2 nights)

Day 7
Glaciers

There’s lots to explore in this area – you can take your own 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.

Day 8
Franz Josef - Queenstown

Today, view incredible scenery as you travel past the untouched native forests and pristine lakes of the World Heritage Westland National Park and Haast Pass to Wanaka. (You may wish to add an extra day here to break up your trip and to take advantage of the scenery and available activities like the Siberia Experience.) There’s time to wander around the popular lakeside township before travelling over the spectacular Crown Range to the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown and then on to Queenstown, a beautiful alpine resort regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination. (4 nights)

Day 9
Queenstown

There are a huge number of activities to choose from here in Queenstown – for the adventurous there is bungy jumping, jet boating, skiing, 4WD Safaris snow boarding, rafting and skydiving to name a few. There are also some less adrenaline producing activities such as a wine tour, a cruise on Lake Wakatipu, a ride up the Skyline Gondola, or even a great day out on the Dart River Wilderness Safari.

Day 10
Queenstown - Milford Sound Cruise - Queenstown

Today we’ve included the Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Travel by luxury coach on an unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board our vessels, the Milford Mariner or Milford Wanderer which are designed along the lines of traditional trading scows; purpose built to operate in the fiords and offering a laid back, extended, 2.5 hour cruise. Explore dramatic, moody Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most famous waterway. Throughout your cruise, our nature guide provides an engaging commentary about the magnificent scenery and wildlife (English only). Keep a look out for dolphins, seals and penguins. Return by coach to Queenstown. (L)

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 – 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 11
Queenstown

Another free day to soak up the ambience of this magnificent alpine resort. Take in a bit of shopping, enjoy lunch on the wharf or take a Skyline Gondola ride high above Queenstown.

Day 12
Queenstown - Dunedin

Today you travel through the sometimes barren but always striking Central Otago before arriving in charming Dunedin, founded by Scottish settlers. A vibrant, architecturally splendid city framed by a magnificent harbour, Dunedin is the nature and heritage centre of New Zealand and gateway to an arresting hinterland. (2 nights)

Day 13
Dunedin

A free day in Dunedin allows the choice of excellent optional activities. Perhaps you’ll choose to experience a Monarch Harbour Cruise to see the albatross, penguins and seals. Passengers board the Monarch to see what cannot be seen from land, to greet the mighty Northern Royal Albatross as it sweeps in from the Pacific Ocean and soars above the spectacular inaccessible cliffs of Taiaroa. Other options include the historic and scenic Taieri Gorge Train excursion or explore the city by foot.

Day 14
Dunedin - Oamaru - Mount Cook

This morning travel through the towns of Omarama & Twizel before driving up the western side of Lake Pukaki to the Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site. Mt Cook is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3724 metres. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery and is also home to the Tasman Glacier, the longest in the Southern hemisphere. A total scenic highlight, you may wish to see Mt Cook from above by taking an optional scenic flight. (2 nights)

Day 15
Mount Cook

We have added this day at leisure, to ensure you have enough time to take advantage of your surroundings. There are many tracks for walking and tramping in this area – you can find the most suitable for you by going to the Visitor Centre. There are scenic flights available by helicopter or fixed wing aircraft, and if you wish to have a glacial adventure there is the Glacier Explorers excursion on Lake Tasman at the base of the Tasman Glacier – highly recommended.

Day 16
Mount Cook - Christchurch

After a relaxing morning, leave New Zealand’s highest mountain behind today as you head north through the picturesque town of Geraldine and across the Canterbury Plains, through to Christchurch. Be sure you make a photo stop at Lake Tekapo, a beautiful turquoise coloured lake. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of the lake. This is one of the most photographed churches in the world made of stone and sand from around the lake.

Day 17
Depart Christchurch

After breakfast this morning, please make your way to the airport where you will return your car in time for your onward flight.

4.8/5.0

There are 21 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
16/11/2017
Good accommodation throughout. Excellent choice of car.
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5
25/10/2017
I must say that I was more than satisfied with all of the arrangements made by Relaxing Journeys; the accommodation, the cars (virtually new), the side trips, breakfasts. There was not one hiccup in all of the three weeks we were on holiday. Highly commendable, and absolutely no hesitation in recommending Relaxing Journeys. Many thanks!
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5
06/03/2017
The seventeen day visit to South Island was all that could have been expected. The scenery was spectacular and the people as friendly as claimed. The organization and planning by Relaxing Journeys was flawless. One change to the published itinerary that we would recommend people consider involves the excursion to Milford Sound. Leaving from and returning to Queenstown makes for a VERY long day. We requested a move to Te Anau and departure from there. We also chose to go to Doubtful Sound rather than Milford Sound. This request was very smoothly handled by the staff at Relaxing Journeys. The distances involved in the daily drives are quite short and, at first glance, the allocated times seem overly generous. The roads in New Zealand, while perfectly safe, are quite narrow with many sharp curves. Traffic volumes are low and NZ drivers are generally courteous and not aggressive so the driving is not difficult but it is relatively slow. So once again Relaxing Journeys has it right: the suggested times are what are required. We chose the \"middle level\" of accommodation with included breakfasts. This worked very well for us. The venues were easily accessible, clean and comfortable with in some cases spectacular views. All of the \"cooked' breakfasts were excellent. The hosts at the smaller venues were very helpful in providing local information. All-in-all our visit was most enjoyable - helped by good weather of course. Should we return to visit the North Island we would not hesitate to make the arrangements through Relaxing Journeys.
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4
23/02/2017
People planning on driving on the South Island after long plane flights might be better served (all things being equal) by going first to Queenstown, where much can be done on foot. This would provide a bit of time to get over jetlag and (for Americans) acclimate to driving on the left side, roundabouts, etc. Accommodations ranged from very good to excellent with the exception of the Arthur Wakefield Inn. During high and shoulder season it would help for people to know that they need to book local trips well in advance, if not actually do the bookings for them; we found that three days notice was not always enough to get to do local tours, etc. we wanted to.
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5
01/01/2017
Toni was extremely professional and responsive to any questions we had while booking the holiday and managing the unforeseen earthquake and impact on the trip. The trip itself covers a great deal of the varied landscape of the South Island. If anything, next time I would give myself more time in Nelson (we were there for two nights). We had an opportunity to explore the Abel Tasman region, but would also would have liked more time to explore the fantastic wineries of the Marlborough region. Would definitely recommend this trip and Relaxing Journeys. Everything went smoothly from picking up the hire car at the airport, checking in to hotels (which were all great!) and to dropping the car back off in Christchurch. Thank you for a memorable experience!!! :)
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5
01/01/2017
We loved our vacation that Relaxing Journeys helped us plan. We appreciated the great accommodations and the fact that each accommodation was central to the activities we planned. Most hotels were within walking distance of those activities. We highly recommend this company in helping other plan their vacation to New Zealand.
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5
26/05/2016
Great car, ideal itinerary, good hotels. An excellent experience overall and just what I wanted.
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5
04/03/2016
Marie did a great job putting the tour together for us. We enjoyed NZ tremendously, we will be back! Kruse is great as a 'tour guide', but not as a GPS. Very difficult to search locations and no possible to save locations. Besides Chateau on the Park in Christchurch, we enjoyed all accommodation. CotP is old and clearly needs the renovation it is getting now. The rental car performed great, had a lot of scratches and damage upon pick up, does not give a good feeling to start. Thanks again and we'll be in touch
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5
08/01/2016
There four of us, in our seventies and we all found the trip a \"Relaxing Journey\". The cost was good value for us as it took out all hassles of car hire, accommodation, and a couple of tours thrown into the schedule. Unfortunately we missed the Whale Watching due to sea conditions, not too worry, we can see them at home. The accommodation was first class, however The Copthorne Apartments in Queenstown had the worst wifi plan I have ever encountered. I can only presume that they feel their guests can use all the free wifi available downtown in the bars and restaurants. Not good enough. The one evening meal we had was abysmal, apart from breakfast (good) we never ate there again over the next three nights. We all can recommend the trip and the service we received from Marie.
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5
13/04/2015
Wow, what a great country! We were absolutely amazed at the beautiful scenery. Toni was our Tour Consultant and was always available to help us. We would highly recommend Relaxing Journeys to anyone planning a holiday to NZ. Toni arranged our complete 17 day tour of the South Island and it was just fantastic. Our hire car was waiting at the airport for us and then all we had to do was follow our itinerary which also came with suggestions and attractions of each place we were to visit. The most difficult part of the trip was it had to come to an end! We are planning our next visit to explore the North Island and will not hesitate to use Relaxing Journeys when we return.
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5
04/03/2015
My wife and I have travelled extensively and have no hesitation in saying how professionally our 18 day self-drive tour of the NZ South Island was organized. From the initial contact with Relaxing Journeys staff, to collecting the car at Christchurch Airport, to the suggested driving itinerary, to the quality of the accommodation and to the extent of the maps and regional material that were made available, we couldn't have asked for better service. All of this helped to make it a wonderful holiday set against the beautiful scenic background that the South Island has to offer.
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5
19/03/2014
Having Mani set everything up worked great. The accomodations and tours were excellent. I think using a New Zealand travel agent makes a lot of sense. (Ed. Thanks!)
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5
14/02/2014
Our trip was wonderful. Our only regret is that we didn't stay longer! Each place we visited was as lovely as the next. The whale watch in Kaikora, kayaking in Kaiteriteri, Punakaiki Rocks, everything about Franz Josef,Queenstown, the Milford Sound cruise and Mt. Cook was memorable. We were fortunate to add some visits with friends/family to our itinerary so we had a very thorough visit to the Gibbeston Valley as well as Roxburgh. e would strongly recommend Relaxing Journeys to anyone who wishes to visit New Zealand. Until next time!
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5
12/01/2014
Car worked fine but the only rude awakening was the high cost of optional additional insurance. (Ed. It's about $20 a day to reduce your Excess to $0. This is optional and we try to spell it out as clearly as possible (and provide you with the opportunity to prepay it) when you complete our enquiry form. You'll lfind this is standard with all rental car companies around the world). Accomodations exceeded our expectations. However in one location (Pancake Rocks) the smoke detector kept going off for no reason. We reported this. We arrived at Mt Cook and the toilet seat was not attached but the maintenance man came to fix it. Four days at Queenstown was too much. We left for day trips after the first afternoon. Two nights at Te Anau would have been better. Overall it was a GREAT trip!
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5
16/12/2013
The tour was expertly planned and gave us exactly what we were hoping for - a true feel for a country we have never visited before. The standard of accommodation throughout the trip exceeded our expectations and always provided a great base to explore what was on offer at each of the location. Highlights of our trip were the pod of 200 dolphins that appeared on our whale watching tour - truly spectacular. Also the yellow eyed penguins at Dunedin where it was lovely to get up close and personal in their natural habitat. From the moment we picked up our hire car until the day we returned it to Christchurch 19 days later, Relaxing Journeys planning and organisation was faultless. The quality of the maps and description of places of interest in the pack was all icing on the cake.
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5
06/02/2013
It was so nice to have everything arranged for us, the rental car ready to go, tours all pre-booked and accommodation guaranteed when we got there. It took so much of the stress away and enabled us to have the greatest holiday we have ever had. All of our tours were fantastic and we'd do them all again. And of course the stunning scenery was to die for! Thank you again for arranging everything for us. When we return to NZ we will definitely use Relaxing Journeys once again.
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4
01/10/2012
The Complete South Island tour was everything we wanted, well planned and we loved every minute of it.
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5
27/12/2011
Thank you for organizing a great holiday. Everything planned went well. Self drive is a great way to see New Zealand. Ours was a 'mid-range' tour and we were most impressed by the quality of most of the acomodation and included tours. We were grateful for the assistance of Relaxing Journeys in modifiying the 'standard' tour to our needs. We would recomend this tour and this company to others.
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5
27/12/2011
Our tour was excellent, included much more than we expected as far as scenery and activities to do. The pace was steady but also relaxing with much more time allowed for travel than we required. Your itinerary made our trip easy. Accommodation was excellent and easy to find. We did upgrade at Mt Cook as the chalet wasn't suitable for 2 couples to share for 2 nights. We had separate motel rooms which worked out well. New Zealand is just beautiful where ever you are. A very easy country to navigate with lots of freindly people. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience and hope to return soon to explore the North Island.
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4
31/08/2009
Fantastic, what a beautiful country. From the rugged west coast down to the picturesque Fiordlands and on to the Canterbury Plains and the east coast, this island has it all. The complete tour was well organised and the acommodation was, on the the whole very good. I would have to say the highlight of the trip was an organised tour to Milford Sound with a return trip to Queenstown by plane, great scenary. Looks as though I will have to organise another trip with Relaxing Journeys to New Zealand in the near future. Maybe the North Island next time. Well done Relaxing Journeys.
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4
28/01/2009
Wonderful, thanks very much. The car, accommodation and organisation was all excellent. Will recommend you to my friends planning a trip to NZ.
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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 17 Day Complete South Island

17 Day Complete South Island
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNCSI
From (NZD) $2603 per person
Save (NZD) $260 per person
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Departures: May 2018 to April 2019
Rating:
21 reviews (4.8/5)

A comprehensive circuit of the South Island, including golden Nelson beaches, whale watching, the wild West Coast, majestic mountains, glaciers and a ... Read More

Itinerary Map

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17 Day Complete South Island
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