9 Day Southern Journey
9 Day Southern Journey
Starting in Queenstown discover New Zealand'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.
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Queenstown to Christchurch|
|Departures:||Jan 2020 - March 2021|
|Price:||From (NZD) $1434 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|8 nights accommodation|
|Rental vehicle of your choice including airport collection charges|
|Nature cruise on Milford Sound with picnic lunch|
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 Queenstown – the beautiful alpine resort town regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination. On completion of formalities, pick up your rental car and travel onto your accommodation. The rest of the day is yours to harness – what will you do first?
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 fiord carved by glaciers during the last ice age.
After your cruise make your way back to Te Anau. Alternatively, you can upgrade your itinerary and substitute a cruise on Doubtful Sound from Manapouri instead.
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)
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 a scenic walk may do the trick, exploring the diverse range of stunning trails the region delivers in troves.
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.
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)
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.
Alternatively, you can 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.
Travel north along the bush clad, coastal plain past Hokitika to Greymouth. Turn inland towards the Southern Alps and stop at Arthur’s Pass, the waypoint for a short walk you shouldn’t miss, terminating at the Devil’s Punchbowl, a 100m high waterfall. When you’ve taken all of the pictures your camera can handle, continue 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.
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.
There are 19 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.9 out of 5.
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!
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).
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Starting in Queenstown discover New Zealand's southern and west coast regions, taking in the best sights at a relaxed pace. Included in your self-driv... Read More
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