Experience the best of New Zealand’s South Island on privately guided tours. We offer the best flexible New Zealand escorted tours, with no date or itinerary restrictions.
Our South Island family guided tours include a personal tour guide/driver, private touring vehicle, family-style accommodation, and a range of must-do activities. In addition, our South Island family tours are fully customisable. We tailor your tour package to match your interests and preferences, as well as the ages of your children.
Read on for more details on the 10 Day South Island Family Guided Tour.
Your South Island family guided vacation begins in Christchurch, New Zealand’s “Garden City.”
Discover the vibrant and picturesque garden city, renowned for its natural beauty, lively entertainment scene, and strong cultural heritage.
Explore Christchurch with your guide, options include; experiencing Christchurch Tramway, Gondola, Botanic Gardens, visiting the International Antarctic Centre or venturing to Sumner Beach.
In the evening option to add dinner aboard the Christchurch Tram, enjoy a three-course meal whilst touring the inner city, the perfect way to start your New Zealand tour.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Travel time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo – 3 hours
Your scenic journey through the Mackenzie Basin begins today. As the Southern Alps loom before you, there will be photo opportunities around every corner.
Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing and booking a stargazing tour.
Lake Tekapo has many things to do and explore. Visit the historic Church of the Good Shepherd, one of the most photographed places in the country. Around the corner from the Church is the Mackenzie Sheep Dog Statue, another great photo opportunity in an extraordinary setting.
One of the most popular attractions in town is Tekapo Springs. With hot pools, spas, water slides, steam rooms, saunas and more, they have everything covered for everyone.
Stay 2 nights at Lake Tekapo.
Lake Tekapo easily justifies a full day to explore.
If you are a fishing enthusiast then you’ll be able to discover and enjoy some great spots in Tekapo.
The ultimate premium experience is to take to the skies with a scenic flight over the region.
From Lake Tekapo you can also take a trip to Mt Cook Village (one hour each way) to see New Zealand’s highest mountain (Aoraki Mount Cook) and largest glacier (Tasman Glacier).
At 27 kilometres in length, the mighty Tasman Glacier is a powerful place to visit. Option to add a scenic helicopter flight or boat tour to view the ice berg lake of Tasman Glacier.
There are 10 short walks that begin near Aoraki/Mount Cook Village. The Governors Bush Walk, Bowen Bush Walk, Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier View Walk and Glencoe Walk each take under one hour to complete and offer an easy meander through New Zealand native bush to a lookout point.
A visit to Tekapo Springs is highly rated, where you can relax in the hot pools while the kids play on the waterslide.
Travel time Lake Tekapo to Queenstown – 3 hours
As you continue the spectacular drive south, your guide will take you to sample fresh fruit from the orchards of Cromwell. You also have the option to visit several top wineries with your guide on the drive through the Kawarau Gorge.
Option to visit Arrowtown prior to reaching Queenstown. Arrowtown is charming and quirky – a delightful gold rush village. The heart of its history is Buckingham Street, a procession of heritage buildings that stretches into a tree-lined avenue. The buildings in this lovely precinct house shops, galleries, bars and restaurants. Continue on to Queenstown, New Zealand’s stunning alpine resort and adventure capital.
In the evening, relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. Disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm for a stunning gourmet BBQ meal and farm tour.
Stay 4 nights in Queenstown.
Today, get ready for the world’s most exciting jet boat ride! Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. It’s a thrilling ride, you’ll twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. A major highlight – hold tight for the world-famous 360º spins!
You can also explore Glenorchy with your guide. At the Head of Lake Wakatipu. Glenorchy is a welcoming and vibrant town offering a range of cafes, restaurants, shops, hiking and fishing. Glenorchy’s surrounding landscape has become a prime location for film scouts, and was chosen to depict many scenes in the award-winning Lord of the Rings movies. More recently, the area has featured in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia, Hercules, and countless adverts.
Embark on a scenic journey to Milford Sound, known as the “eighth wonder of the world.” As you venture deep into the heart of Fiordland National Park, you will get the chance to stop and view a number of must-see locations along the way.
Upon reaching Milford Sound you will enjoy a 2 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Offering a close-up experience of Milford Sound’s rainforest, soaring rock walls, towering snow capped mountains, cascading waterfalls and wildlife. Words just don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself! Throughout the cruise, the guides share stories of the fiord’s history and are happy to answer your questions.
**Upgrade your return journey to a magical scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown.
Travel time Queenstown to Wanaka – 1 hour
Experience adventure activities or spoil yourself with a trip to a spa. Here are the top things to do in Queenstown.
– Push your adventure limits. Bungy, Skydive, Zipline, Quad Bike or even ride a Shark!
-Get amongst Queenstown’s food scene. Try one of the famous burgers at Fergburger or grab something sweet at Patagonia Chocolates.
-Cycle along the Queenstown Trail. Queenstown is also a well-loved destination for avid mountain bikers with three lift-assisted mountain bike parks
-Enjoy an iconic Queenstown experience and take the Queenstown Gondola up 450 metres to Bob’s Peak. Try the Queenstown Luge and zoom down the course of banked corners, tunnels and dippers.
-Wind down and indulge at Onsen Hot Pools, a boutique retreat and day spa.
Travel time Queenstown to Wanaka – 1 hour
Enjoy the scenic drive over the Crown Range to Wānaka – your guide will stop for photos at panoramic viewing points. Option to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel and the Cardrona Distillery.
Wanaka has a reputation for great food and wine, with a wide variety of lakefront bars and restaurants serving exceptional local cuisine.
The crystal-clear water of the lakes and rivers are ideal for kayaking, fishing, lake cruises, and jet-boating, or to get an aerial perspective of the region and take a scenic helicopter flight.
You may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction; the National Toy and Transport Museum or the Wanaka Lavender Farm located just a few minutes from Wanaka, where you can experience 20 acres of beautiful lavender fields, farm animals & display gardens.
Stroll the streets and be inspired by galleries and stylish shops, visit ‘That Wanaka Tree’ for the perfect photo, or enjoy one of the many famous walking tracks such as Mt Iron.
Stay 1 night in Wanaka.
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 Lake Matheson, where you can take a 20 minute walk (one-way) to the jetty, to admire the reflected views of the Southern Alps on the surface of the lake.
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.
Travel time Franz Josef to Greymouth – 2 hours
Scenic train travel time Greymouth to Christchurch – 4.5 hours
Enjoy more West Coast beauty today. You may wish to visit Hokitika Gorge, where an impressive turquoise river flows through a narrow canyon. Also closeby you will find a great attraction in the West Coast Treetop Walk. The walkway is 450 metres in total and reaches heights of 20 metres giving you fantastic panoramic views. Hokitika is a great location worth exploring, famous for its rugged beach and arts and crafts scene. Carry on to Greymouth, which is located 30 minutes north of Hokitika.
Travel north to reach Greymouth where you will climb aboard the TranzAlpine Train, one of the world’s most famous train journeys. Ascend through thick stands of native beech forest before traversing the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. Enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River, then cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, before arriving in the Garden City of Christchurch.
Your guide will be waiting for you at Christchurch Railway Station ready to take you to your Christchurch City accommodtion.
Choose from your guide’s range of restaurant recommendations as you celebrate your final night in paradise.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Your guide will deliver you to Christchurch Airport for your departing flight.