South Island TourSee the spectacular South Island on this exclusive, personalised tour
Tour Description & Details
Join us for an unforgettable experience of the magnificent South Island of New Zealand. Travel with us in your own private coach, shape the itinerary to what suits your group best, stop and go wherever you please, do what you want, whenever you want! Flexibility is the key advantage of a custom tour as your time is your own, no big busses with schedules to keep and drivers that are inflexible to your needs and desires!
This custom tour can be as short as three days or as long as you need to see every inch of the fabulous South Island! Catch an early flight direct into Queenstown and explore the adventure capital of New Zealand; see Milford Sound, Wanaka and the Crown Range; then fly out late on the third day to round off a whirlwind, three day tour!!
OR: Start from Christchurch, go north with some whale watching en route and hike or kayak the world renowned Abel Tasman and Golden Bay area at the top of the South; explore the Wild West Coast, hand forging your very own knife in Barrytown, glacier hopping from a helicopter, and revelling in the iridescent waters of Blue Pools and Hokitika Gorge; hit the Queenstown Lakes District and Central Otago for adventure activities galore, winter skiing or snowboarding in one of the four world class ski fields; Milford Sound, Wanaka, Arrowtown, Aoraki Mt Cook and a host of spectacular places to view, hike and enjoy!
Travel to the bottom of the South to taste succulent Bluff oysters; visit New Zealand’s only castle in Dunedin; explore countless coastal wonders including dolphins, whales, seals and penguins on the way back up to Christchurch, or spend some time enticing magnificent brown and rainbow trout on fly in one of our gorgeous braided rivers.
Multi-day custom tours such as this one to the South Island must be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment and we would strongly advise starting your enquiry at least four months prior to arrival in New Zealand, so that we have enough time to plan the trip of your dreams with you, and ensure that we can acquire bookings and places for all of the activities that interest your group.
The eight day tour described below is merely an example of one itinerary and covers a classic range of experiences, sights and activities that would suit any family group with children.
Tour Time: 3 to 11 or more days
- Dedicated guide throughout
- All accommodation, most meals and most activities
- All transport on your own private coach with personal driver
Minimum two families (6 people) on this tour
Tour excludes: return flights to the South Island and specialist activities such as heli flights, although we will arrange these for you with pleasure!
Prices on request, depending on number of nights and destinations. This is a custom tour so the itinerary is totally flexible, and will be tailored to your exact needs as you require. Contact us and let us work with you to plan your dream!
Fly into Christchurch early morning. Our private coach and personal driver meet us at the airport, travel to Punakaiki via Arthurs Pass with a short hike to Devils Punchbowl, then south to Hokitika for the night. If Arthurs Pass is blocked due to snow or ice, we will travel north through Lewis Pass instead, hitting the wild West Coast at Charleston.
Drive south to Franz Josef Glacier after breakfast. Enjoy a glacier helicopter flight & snow landing with Glacier Helicopters. Trek to the face of the glacier on foot. We can visit Lake Matheson, Fox Glacier, and/or the Glacier Hot Pools, depending on time available, and also the West Coast Wildlife Centre, where we’ll see real Kiwi birds and live Tuatara lizards.
We will have a choice lunch in Franz at The Landing Bar (best fries on the West Coast!) and dinner at King Tiger with local wines and a martini for the adventurous!!
Our private coach will take us from Franz Josef to Queenstown via Haast Pass. We’ll stop to see Blue Pools on the way, with another stop at Makarora Country Cafe or Wanaka for lunch and a walk around the beautiful town.
A fabulous photo opportunity awaits us at The Neck when we cross over from Lake Wanaka to Lake Hawea!
On to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, and check into our accommodation for the next few days. Free time in the afternoon and dinner at one of the many fabulous restaurants to be found there.
We cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the iconic TSS Earnslaw steam ship and discover Queenstown’s incomparable fine dining destination at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown’s alpine scenery, the Colonel’s Homestead is the perfect place to spend a few hours with its colonial architecture and sweeping grounds evoking the elegance of a bygone era. You can see an entertaining farm demonstration or you can explore the beautiful lakeside gardens before returning to Queenstown on the Earnslaw.
Back in Queenstown we’ll take the Skyline Gondola up to the top of Bob’s Peak for some fun and dinner – one of the must-do activities in Queenstown! Take in the stunning views as we ride the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere to be carried 450 metres above Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob’s Peak, where we’ll enjoy breath-taking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter and Cecil Peak and, of course, Queenstown.
The Luge is an essential activity for the kids and you can also choose a bungy or zip-line trek amongst the treetops. After the activities we can enjoy a relaxing evening with some of the best of New Zealand and international cuisine at the Stratosfare Restaurant.
We hop on to a luxury coach to Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination. You’ll experience the world-famous fiord in all its natural glory – surrounded by dense rainforest, glacier-carved valleys and beautiful waterfalls.
Leaving Queenstown we travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and into southern farmland to Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island. After a morning tea stop we travel along the lake and into Fiordland National Park to the picturesque Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine forest and gushing waterfalls, and take advantage of the photo opportunities on offer along the Milford Road, like the stunning Mirror Lakes and Knobs Flat, where glaciers have carved their mark on the terrain.
Our glass-roof coach will provide amazing views of the dramatic skyline as we cross the Main Divide of the Southern Alps, with stunning mountain peaks all around. We stop at Monkey Creek and sample some of the purest water in the world (but watch out for cheeky Kea – native mountain parrots!) and travel under the mountains through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km passageway drilled into solid rock.
At Milford Sound, we board our cruise and set off to explore the region that Rudyard Kipling called the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. Travel the length of the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea, gliding past glacier-scarred rock walls and waterfalls that tumble into the sea. Lush native forest clings to steep cliffs, while wildlife including seals, penguins and dolphins are regular visitors to the icy waters. Mountain ranges surround the fiord, including Mitre Peak which rises dramatically from the depths to a height of 1,692 metres above sea level.
Our cruise will take place on the newest and most luxurious cruise ship in Milford Sound. This impressive three-level catamaran has extensive outdoor decks so we can get up close to nature and serves a gourmet buffet lunch featuring fresh local ingredients on board as part of our tour.
This is our last day in Queenstown so in the morning we have the option of a 4 x 4 tour to Skippers Canyon – this adventure is a half-day heritage tour that travels along the rugged and treacherous Skippers road. As your guide navigates along this awe-inspiring canyon you will visit many sites such as the historic Skippers suspension bridge and the township of Skippers. Visit the restored school house where you will gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment. British Automobile Association voted Skippers Canyon road as one of the 25 most scenic roads in the world. Travel the road that was hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley making this an exciting adventure the whole family will enjoy;
OR we can do a horse riding tour with the Cardrona Gold Discovery Trail. Let your horse take you across the Cardrona River while keeping a keen eye out for gold along the way! Learn about the gold rush that Cardrona experienced in the 1860s which gave way to farming which you will experience first hand as you ride through mobs of Merino sheep. Climb to a beautiful vantage point allowing breath-taking views of Mount Cardrona and the Crown Range. No riding experience is required as they provide suitable instruction for each individuals horse riding ability before the ride commences. Children can be led from the lead horse if required.
There is also sky diving, jet boating and a host of other adventure activities to choose from if you feel the need to get your pulse racing!
For those wanting something a little more relaxed, we can travel to Wanaka stopping at the famous Cardrona Hotel and bra fence, and let the kids explore Puzzling World while we stroll around this beautiful little town soaking up the spectacular scenery, including the famous Wanaka Tree, do some shopping or just kick back & relax at one of the many fantastic coffee shops on the waterfront.
On the way back to Queenstown, we can drop in to Snow Farm (Winter only) for some fun in the snow with the kids!
We board our private coach again and drive north to Aoraki Mt Cook, travelling through Lindis Pass in the Mackenzie Basin – one of our favourite drives with tussock hills as far as you can see. Turning off the highway at Twizel we travel alongside the spectacular Lake Pukaki with its incredible blue waters. When the sun hits the surface of the lake, it reflects off glacial particles transforming it to a brilliant blue. The combination of the magnificent lake, surrounding peaks and wide open skies are a dream for photographers.
If the helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier was cancelled due to weather, you’ll have another opportunity here at Mt Cook to enjoy this once in a lifetime experience with Mount Cook Alpine Vista. This flight also includes a stop on the snow for photos that will be the envy of everyone back home! We check in to the Hermitage Hotel, take a hike up to Kea Point for fabulous views and photos of Australasia’s highest mountain and the unparalleled beauty of this incredible region, or do the Hooker Valley Track then have dinner in the Sir Edmund Hillary Restaurant in the evening.
Travelling back to Christchurch on our private coach, we’ll drive past Lake Pukaki again, through the quaint settlement of Tekapo with a photo stop at the famous Church of the Good Shepherd, then on to Christchurch for return flights to Auckland or your home town.
Goodbye New Zealand – Kia ora and ka kite anō! (Thank you and see you again!)