Experience the best of New Zealand’s South Island on this guided tour. Your private guide will meet your family at the airport and take you on an insider’s tour of New Zealand, visiting iconic landmarks and local secrets alike.

Offering New Zealand’s top escorted tour operators and highly experienced tour guides, we cater for groups between 1-20 people. With no date or itinerary restrictions, your New Zealand family tour can be fully customised.

14 Day South Island Family Guided Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Christchurch

Your once-in-a-lifetime guided holiday begins in Christchurch, New Zealand’s “Garden City.” With a thriving restaurant scene, a string of beautiful parks, and a historic town centre, Christchurch is an excellent holiday destination.

Explore Christchurch with your guide, visiting the botanic gardens, the Christchurch Cathedral and the RE:Start Container Mall.

Stay 1 night in Christchurch.

Day 2 Lake Tekapo

Travel time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo – 3 hours 

Your scenic journey through the Mackenzie Basin begins today as you cross over Burkes Pass. As the Southern Alps loom before you, there will be photo opportunities around every corner.

While you rest and explore the quaint lakeside town of Lake Tekapo, paying a visit to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, you have the option to add on a flight-seeing tour of the Southern Alps or a nighttime observatory tour at Mt John.

Stay 1 night at Lake Tekapo or Mount Cook depending on availability.

Day 3 Queenstown – The Adventure Capital of New Zealand!

Travel time Lake Tekapo to Queenstown – 3 hours 

As you continue the spectacular drive south, you have the option to make a side trip to Mt Cook Village or visit a real salmon farm where you can feed the fish and buy delicious sashimi and smoked salmon.

Along the way to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, your guide will take you to sample the fresh fruit from the orchards of Cromwell. Buy the freshest fruit available, sample manuka honey and treat yourself to a real fruit ice-cream.

In the evening your tour guide will take you downtown to show you the sights of New Zealand’s adventure capital!

Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.

Day 4 Steamship Cruise + High Country Farm Lunch

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience – a delicious gourmet BBQ lunch and a farm tour in a stunning lakeside setting. Your experience starts with a cruise aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw across to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Once there, you can sit back on the lakeside terrace of the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant and savour the delicious aromas as our chef has the best of local produce, sizzling away on the grill. After lunch, you can join an entertaining farm demonstration or explore the beautiful lakeside gardens.

In the afternoon visit Arrowtown with your tour guide. This charming gold rush village sits in a natural paradise. A Queenstown “must-do.” Arrowtown is a lively, quirky, historic village. So many pleasures to choose from – Arrowtown satisfies many sides of your personality. The nature lover, photographer, the museum visitor, the shop browser. The charm of historic Buckingham Street, while savouring a coffee.

Day 5 Shotover Jet

Prepare yourself for the ultimate Jet Boating experience with Shotover Jet – the unique, breathtaking white water ride and adrenaline rush you’ll never forget. From the moment the accelerator hits the floor, your adrenaline hits the roof. You’ll speed over 10cm deep water, along the famous Shotover River and deep into the spectacular Shotover River Canyons.

Continue your quest for adventure and choose from any adventure activity on offer in Queenstown; bungy jumping, skydiving, paragliding, quad biking, zip lining, heli flights, 4WD off-roading, you name it we can book it.

Day 6 Wanaka

Travel time Queenstown to Wanaka – 1 hour

Your scenic tour will continue as you enjoy the drive over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Your guide will stop along the way for photos at fantastic viewing points.

Explore the alpine town of Wanaka in the afternoon – your guide could take you to Puzzling World, the Toy and Transport Museum or Have A Shot where you can practice your golf swing, play mini golf, try giant pool or take aim with target shooting.

In the late afternoon simply relax on the lakefront and choose a restaurant to dine at.

Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.

Day 7 Wanaka

Explore Wanaka with your guide today. You could take a scenic drive into Mt Aspiring National Park, visit the Warbirds and Wheels museum, try the maze and experience the illusions at Puzzling World, or simply relax in town and stroll along the lakefront.

Day 8 Franz Josef Glacier + Heli Flight with Snow Landing

Travel time Wanaka to Franz Josef – 4 hours 

The Haast Pass Highway is one of the most scenic alpine routes in New Zealand. Explore the pass with your guide, stopping to view cascading waterfalls, broad alpine meadows, craggy snowcapped mountains, and the turquoise depths of the Blue Pools.

Continuing along the West Coast, your guide will take you to the base of Fox Glacier, where you have the option to enjoy a 1-hour return walk to a viewing point over the mighty glacier.

In the afternoon, take an unforgettable helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier, where you will land in the snow to enjoy incredible views of the majestic Southern Alps.

Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.

Day 9 Greymouth

Travel time Franz Josef to Greymouth – 2.5 hours 

Continue north on your tour of the rugged West Coast. Greymouth is the largest town on the South Island’s west coast. The area has a history of gold mining, which can be appreciated at the local museum and nearby Shantytown. Local brewery Monteiths is something of a New Zealand legend; it runs tours that include a tasting session.

Around the town you’ll find galleries specialising in pounamu (New Zealand jade). The 2-hour Point Elizabeth Walk passes through a scenic reserve and old goldmining sites. It begins 12km north of Greymouth at Rapahoe Beach, which also happens to be a favourite swimming spot during summer.

Stay 1 night in Greymouth.

Day 10 Pancake Rocks + Nelson

Travel time Greymouth to Nelson – 5 hours 

Visit the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki on your drive north, where you will get the chance to marvel at the strange limestone formations that have been weathered by the relentless sea.

Explore Nelson independently in the evening, visiting local shops and enjoying a delicious dinner with fresh local seafood and produce.

Stay 2 nights in Nelson.

Day 11 Abel Tasman Cruise

Travel time Nelson to Abel Tasman – 1 hour  

Only a short drive away is Abel Tasman, renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, rich unmodified estuaries, long sunshine hours, and the world-famous Abel Tasman Coast Track.
Take a boat cruise into Abel Tasman National Park, where you can relax on the hot golden sand, enjoy a day walk, or simply remain aboard for a return boat cruise. Soak in the natural beauty and enjoy!

Day 12 Kaikoura

Travel time Nelson to Kaikoura – 3 hours 

Today your guide will take you on a scenic drive through the Marlborough wine region, with the option to stop at a winery (or two!) along the way for samples of the award-winning wines.

Spend the evening in Kaikoura, a stunning coastal town with a backdrop of majestic mountains. Be sure to sample the superb local seafood at dinner! You have the option to add on a cruise or flight to view the majestic sperm whales off the Kaikoura coast.

Stay 1 night in Kaikoura – option to stay on a working farm!

Day 11 Hanmer Springs

Travel time Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs – 1.5 hours 

When you reach the quiet mountain town of Hanmer Springs, relax and unwind in the hot springs or go for a short guided forest walk with your tour guide.

Stay 2 nights in Hanmer Springs.

Day 12 Adventure Quad Bike Tour

As your holiday comes to a close, rest and rejuvenate in the thermal springs and make the most of your time in Hanmer Springs.

In the afternoon, plow through streams, mud, forest and rocks – drive over just about every terrain Canterbury has to offer – all on a two hour quad bike trip. Follow your expert guide on an exciting adventure ride through the scenic backyard of Hanmer Springs.

Day 11 Depart Christchurch

Travel time Hanmer Springs to Christchurch – 2 hours 

Your guide will deliver you to Christchurch Airport for your departing flight.

Highlights Include: 

  • Driving through the Mackenzie Basin, with countless photo opportunities along the way – see the craggy, snow-capped Mt Cook.

Lupins at Mount Cook, Mackenzie Basin, New Zealand

  • Visiting salmon and fruit farms where you can try delicious local produce including Manuka honey.
  • Staying in the vibrant alpine resort town of Queenstown.

Queenstown New Zealand

  • Reliving the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a steamship cruise across Lake Wakatipu.

TSS Earnslaw Walter Peak Queenstown

  • Experiencing farm life and enjoying a gourmet lunch at Walter Peak High Country Station.

TSS Earnslaw Walter Peak Queenstown

  • Experiencing a family adventure activity, the world’s most exciting jet boat ride – Shotover Jet!

Shotover Jet Queenstown

  • Exploring the quaint historic mining settlement of Arrowtown.

  • Driving over the lofty Crown Range and stopping for sweeping views of the valley below.
  • Travelling through Haast Pass, past hanging glaciers and pounding waterfalls and turquoise rivers.
  • Flying over the magnificent Franz Josef Glacier on a helicopter tour, and landing in the pristine snow!

Glacier helicopter guided tour New Zealand with snow landing

  • Hunting for Pounamu (also known as greenstone, or jade) on the beach in Greymouth and watching master artisans carve jewellery and sculptures from the precious stone.
  • Cruising along the rugged coastline of Abel Tasman National Park, and lounging on one of the remote golden-sand beaches.

Abel Tasman New Zealand

  • Sampling the famous crayfish, blue cod, and paua in Kaikoura, a spectacular seaside town ringed by mountains.

Kaikoura New Zealand

  • Relaxing and unwinding in the hot springs town of Hanmer Springs.
  • Hanmer Springs Quad Bike Tour.

Your privately guided tour includes:

  • All transportation within New Zealand – you will be collected at the arrivals hall of Christchurch Airport and dropped off at the departures hall of Christchurch Airport
  • Excellent 4-star accommodation
  • Private tour guide
  • Sightseeing and Photo Stops En Route
  • TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise and High Country Farm BBQ Lunch
  • Shotover Jet – the world’s most exciting Jet Boat ride!
  • Scenic Heli Flight over Franz Josef Glacier with Snow Landing
  • Abel Tasman Cruise
  • Quad Bike Safari Hanmer Springs

** Your privately guided tour does NOT include flights, food (except where included in activities) or travel insurance.

 

Pricing

As guide prices are split between travellers, the pricing will vary depending on the number of travellers on your tour.

1 Traveller:    NZD$23,349

2 Travellers:  NZD$12,399 per adult | NZD$11,999 per child

3 Travellers:  NZD$9299 per adult | NZD$8899 per child

4 Travellers:  NZD$7749 per adult | NZD$7349 per child

5 Travellers:  NZD$6799 per adult | NZD$6399 per child

6 Travellers:  NZD$6199 per adult | NZD$5799 per child

7 Travellers:  NZD$5749 per adult | NZD$5349 per child

8 Travellers:  NZD$5399 per adult | NZD$4999 per child

9 Travellers:  NZD$5399 per adult | NZD$4999 per child

10 Travellers: NZD$5149 per adult | NZD$4749 per child

11 + Travellers:  Please enquire for your custom quote