9 Day Southern Journey

9 Day Southern Journey

Starting in Queenstown discover NZ's southern and west coast regions, taking in the best sights at a relaxed pace. Included in your self drive tour itinerary is a Nature cruise on Milford Sound with picnic lunch and the opportunity to hike on a West Coast Glacier.

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: Queenstown to Christchurch
Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $1334 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Comfortable
Duration: 9 Days
Tour Code: GNSJ

Inclusions

8 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport collection charges
Nature cruise on Milford Sound with picnic lunch
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides

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.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Queenstown

“Haere Mai” Welcome to Queenstown – the beautiful alpine resort regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination. On completion of formalities, pick up your rental car and travel onto your accommodation. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Queenstown.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau

This morning depart Queenstown for your journey to Milford Sound. The road from Te Anau to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes. Then the rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak. Make sure you allow for plenty of time to stop at the numerous viewing points or short walking opportunities en route. At Milford Sound, board your boat for a spectacular cruise in New Zealand’s most famous waterway, a dramatic 22 kilometre fiord carved by glaciers during the last ice age. After your cruise make your way back to Te Anau. For an additional cost, you can substitute a cruise on Doubtful Sound from Manapouri.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Te Anau - Queenstown

Spend the morning in Te Anau. You may like to take an excursion across the lake to visit the Te Anau Caves, take a walk along the side of Lake Te Anau, or catch the local movie Ata Whenua – Shadowland. This is a locally produced 32 minute film which explores Fiordland by helicopter and is highly recommended. After lunch in one of the local cafes, retrace your steps to Queenstown. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Queenstown

Today is free to further experience this magnificent resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown boasts adventure and leisure activities in all forms, from extreme to relaxed exploration. Here you can take a thrilling jet boat ride, pan for gold, raft the white water rapids, take a wine trail, fish for trout, play golf or 4WD sheer canyons.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Queenstown - Arrowtown - Wanaka

Set beneath the rugged Crown Range is Arrowtown, a fascinating collection of mining cottages with an atmosphere straight out of last century. Enjoy some time to stroll through this historic village, once a haven for the gold prospectors of the 1860’s. The shortest route to Wanaka is over the Crown Range Road. It’s a challenging drive, but the views are amazing. More conservative drivers can take the route that runs beside the Shotover River, Lake Dunstan and the Clutha River. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along the way. The lakeside resort town of Wanaka can provide you with an appealing mix of fine living, family fun and adventure. It has a high concentration of cafes, restaurants and interesting shops. You’ll also find some unique attractions, like the 3D maze at Puzzling World.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Wanaka - Franz Josef

Lake Hawea is the first scenic highlight of your journey north today, followed closely by the northern end of Lake Wanaka. The famous ‘bra fence’ is impossible to miss – it started as a joke, but it’s become a local legend. At the wilderness town of Makarora you can fuel up and refresh before you take on the dramatic twists and turns of the Haast Pass. Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you arrive in rainforest country. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Glaciers

Endless opportunities exist to allow you to take in the beauty of this special part of the South Island’s West Coast. Take a guided walk or heli-hike to explore the spectacular ice formations; experience the thrill of a scenic flight and place your footprints onto a high alpine snowfield; visit New Zealand’s only White Heron (Kotuku) nesting colony; take in the scenery as you kayak the stunning Okarito lagoon or visit Lake Matheson, renowned for its mirror images of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, New Zealand’s highest peaks.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Franz Josef - Christchurch

Travel north along the narrow, bush clad, coastal plain through Hokitika to Greymouth. Turn inland towards the Southern Alps, over Arthur’s Pass and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day UP
TranzAlpine Train Upgrade Package

For a small cost we can amend your itinerary so that you drop your vehicle off in Greymouth and then join the TranzAlpine Train for your journey across the Alps. 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 9
Depart Christchurch

Sadly your holiday is at an end and you will return your rental car 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

4.9/5.0

There are 18 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.9 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
03/03/2018
All transfers went smoothly. The B&B's were very good, especially in Te Anau! Dock Bay Lodge was superior! B&B locations and services were great. When returning rental cars at Greymouth you should advise travelers to leave ample time to not only return the car (there is virtually no parking available) but also to check in for the train trip. Once the in coming train arrives, the station gets overwhelmed with people. Travelers should arrive at least one hour before the scheduled train departure. Also, we had a problem with one of our rental cars and did not realize that the rental company would put the burden on us to resolve the issue. We were fortunate that we were still close to Queenstown, so it only cost us a couple of hours, but if we had been more remote, I do not see how we could have kept to our schedule.
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5
25/01/2018
I had a wonderful time. The booking process was smooth and everything was well organised and effortless when I arrived. My agent was so helpful and went above and beyond when I ran into some difficulty on the trip. Would use agaian and would highly recommend!
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5
29/11/2017
Thoroughly enjoyed our visit and the itinerary was great. Feedback would be - 2 hotels we had trouble finding because of the address given. Maybe a description of where they are included in the itinerary. Thank you for organising this. It was no fuss and very flexible in what we wanted. I would highly recommend Relaxing Journeys in NZ and use the company again. Thank you to Mani who was so accommodating.
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5
05/10/2016
Accommodation was excellent, particularly at Arthur's Pass and Franz Josef. Crown Plaza in Queenstown is an excellent location and should be considered.
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5
01/02/2016
Fantastic trip. Really enjoyed it. Probably would have stayed 2 nights at Te Anau and 2 nights at Queenstown rather than one night and 3 nights. Other than that it was just a wonderful trip and everything went really smoothly. Look forward to going to NZ again one day.
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5
15/12/2015
I am glad that I booked the tour through Relaxing Journeys. It was a great experience as Toni provided a lot of insights before my trip and she is responsive on my requests. All the bookings ie hotel, car rental, meals etc were all done perfectly. The recommended itinerary suited my family and I and we definitely have a fabulous vacation in NZ. Looking forward to using relaxing journeys for my next trip to NZ. Thanks Toni for your great recommendations.
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5
20/03/2015
It was wonderful having the car, accommodations, etc. taken care of by Relaxing Journeys. It was a time saver for me. It was nice that we could tweak the basic package to our interests. We were pleased with the arrangements and all went very smoothly on our journey through New Zealand.
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5
27/02/2015
Everything went as planned. We had a great car with a fantastic GPS which gave us the history of all the places we visited. The hotels were excellent as well. I have no problems with recommending Relaxing Journeys.
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5
21/02/2015
Spent time in Queenstown, Wanaka, Franz Josef and Christchurch. The boutique hotels in Queenstown and Wanaka and Franz Josef were fantastic. Wanaka was the most relaxing and somewhat quaint, would love to go back there. The driving was great and the tips on what to do during the driving days were helpful. I would recommend the 45-minute drive to Glenorchy while in Queenstown as well as a stroll through the city gardens which are quite nice. The day trip to Milford Sound from Queenstown was ok, but 9 hours round trip on a coach for a 1-1/2 hour cruise is probably not worth it even though every other tourist in the South Island feels compelled to go at least once. I think we were on that because Te Anau was booked before we went, but frankly I'm glad we did not spend the night in Te Anau since from passing through there clearly wasn't much to do there but eat deer pies and get bitten by sand flies. The coach driver also had this special sense of humor that included being a smart ass and not giving anyone a straight answer to reasonable questions which got more annoying as the day went on. The sand flies were also a concern while traveling along the coast so would definitely recommend some bug spray and forewarning.

Generally the sun is really hard compared to everywhere else I've been, so I would also stress sunscreen anytime someone goes outside in the day. The hosts were friendly and a nice way to meet locals as well as other travelers and have some interesting conversation. We really enjoyed the stunning scenery and ability to get around easily. Everyone had our booking in advance and was expecting us. One thing I did not realize is that the entire country of New Zealand is a gourmet cuisine mecca. Just about everything we ate was special and terrific. I thought it would probably be like England where food is boiled for 2 days then served however day after day we ate nothing but incredible dishes served by friendly often traveling European waiters and waitresses.

Pick up and drop off at the Thrifty counter was very easy and all documents were in order and ready. Although it's not required to buy the excess reduction insurance I bought it for $165 USD for the 8 days and I felt much better since I learned auto insurance is not required for all drivers in New Zealand. Also driving on the left takes concentration and I was glad for the insurance although thankfully I had no mishaps. The GPS unit was extremely awkward and difficult to use and finally stopped trying after several attempts. The keyboard was mostly unresponsive and at times led us towards the wrong location or just gave up. I'd recommend a different system that isn't as frustrating as using 1996 dial up internet. Christchurch has more to see than we had time for. Ideally I would have liked a full day at the end there but the limitations of my available time prevented it. Anyways, the central gardens were great and this Spanish Tapas place in the corner where I felt like I ate food for the first time in my life. That was the right call to reduce time in Christchurch in favor of the other places. Overall we were very happy with our trip and hopefully I can take advantage of the 5% discount and go back. New Zealand is one of my favorite places I've been to and for the little guidance I provided in advance you organized a superb trip that was memorable and right on. I'm really glad we booked through you and if I get back to New Zealand would use your travel company again. Thanks for everything!
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5
20/02/2015
After I decided to go to the South Island of NZ for holiday, I researched on the internet and found Relaxing Journeys. I simply provided them with my arrival date and departure date, they planned and organized everything for us. The accommodation and itinerary matched closely to our requirements and we are satisfied with the value for money provided. I would not hesitate to recommend anyone who wants to explore the beautiful nature of NZ. We were lucky and the weather was good throughout our 10 days visit. People were nice and helpful, whether in the hotels, at the restaurants or even at the gas station. NZ is a great country and we will be back.
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5
17/02/2015
Everything about this tour went well, from the initial contact with the company through to completion of the tour. I particularly appreciated the personal service that Toni provided throughout. All of the lodging recommended/selected was very good. In that context, please accept the following as constructive criticism, not complaints: 1. The recommendation to overnight in Wanaka before catching the Real Journeys' Doubtful Sound cruise at 12:15 p.m. in Manapouri was poor - not enough time to drive between the two sites, leading to extreme stress. Better to have tourists stay in Te Anau the night before the Doubtful Sound cruise from Manapouri. (MD. I agree, I'm not sure why this was recommended, I will investigate). 2. The arrangement for a GPS system was unnecessary for us, and proved burdensome to return. 3. The 'contact us' number provided did not work on a NZ SIM card-enabled cell. (MD. That's a first - our number is a normal NZ number, thanks for your comments.)
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5
22/12/2014
Kia Ora. Thanks Toni for such a wonderfully arranged tour. The planning was impeccable. We never had any issues with any reservations, hotels or activities, anywhere. Also, in all the hotels, we got such great views in our rooms. Everywhere, we either got lake view or mountain view. That really made our journey. Edgewater resort at Wanaka was the best of the lot. I must say it was commendable to get rooms with such great views in peak season. This really made my trip value for money. No doubt you guys customised your standard design tour in the best possible manner to suit my needs. Overall my tour pace was very comforting except one day.

On the day of Miford Sound Cruise, I also had Glowworm Caves scheduled during the evening which was a bit tiring especially because I had to drive for around 400 kms that day. Still we managed to enjoy! I have a small suggestion: in the itinerary provided by you, you can probably include the map highlighting the way from source to destination with each destination. This would be very helpful. Our GPS was not of good quality, so it wasn't very useful. We used Google maps. We use to load the maps using wifi in the hotel before leaving, and then just GPS along the way guided us on the highlighted path in the map.

Also, you should try to include more resorts in Premium tours. A suite is much more comforting that a hotel room. Last but not the least, New Zealand is like dreamland. It is very beautiful full of raw beauty. Ideal place for honeymoon. Driving here is amazing. I got to drive on such great terrains which was amazing. I managed to drive around 1,500 kms without a single ticket from the police I wouldn't have enjoyed my tour without the impeccable tour planning from Relaxing Journeys. Thank you guys!
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5
07/10/2014
Excellent trip! Well planned by Relaxing Journeys, thanks Mani!!
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5
02/01/2014
The tour was all we hoped it would be. The B&B's were just perfect & so helpful with advice & nothing was to much trouble.
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5
10/02/2013
We had a great trip. Our favourite hotel was in Te Anau and we wished we could have stayed longer.
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5
27/12/2012
For our first New Zealand holiday, we decided to go through Relaxing Journeys. While we had a rough idea of what we wanted to do, making it all come together can be really difficult. Michelle looked after us from day 1, providing advice, guidance and suggestions throughout the process on places to stay, areas to visit, and ways to sequence the trip to get the most out of our time. Planning overall was brilliant. There were a few big drive days, but they were spread out nicely with plenty of time to catch our breaths and enjoy the trip. Most importantly though, when things went slightly wrong (our route was disrupted by unusually poor weather) the team at Relaxing Journeys helped us re-shuffle things. Their continued support throughout the trip was greatly appreciated. When we provided feedback after the trip, not only did they listen but they even passed our comments on to the hotels we stayed at so the feedback found its way to the right people. We'll be returning to New Zealand, and will definitely use Relaxing Journeys to help us organise the trip.
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4
02/11/2011
We had a fantastic tour and enjoyed every step of the journey. All the plans went smoothly and we enjoyed all of the accomodations arranged. Our favorites were The Dairy in Queenstown ,Fiordland Lodge in TeAnau, and Wanaka Springs Lodge. Also enjoyed Browns Boutique in Queensland and Te Waonui Forest Retreatat Franz Glacier, James Cook in Auckland (the refurbished room). The car rental went smoothly and the train trip from Greymouth also went according to plan (except for the weather!). We enjoyed working with Jarrod and would recommend your agency to others.
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4
30/11/-0001
Overall my self drive trip was great and I had Toni to thank for that. I got to see and the do the things I wanted and everything arranged, from the car to accommodations to train rides and transfers went according to plan without a hitch. The choice of hotels recommended met my expectations and I thought were a great choices. I would very strongly recommend Relaxing Journeys to my family and friends.
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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 9 Day Southern Journey

9 Day Southern Journey
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNSJ
From (NZD) $1334 per person
Save (NZD) $133 per person
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Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Rating:
18 reviews (4.9/5)

Starting in Queenstown discover NZ's southern and west coast regions, taking in the best sights at a relaxed pace. Included in your self drive tour it... Read More

Itinerary Map

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9 Day Southern Journey
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