Experience the best of New Zealand’s South Island on this guided tour. Offering the best flexible New Zealand escorted tours, with no date or itinerary restrictions. Book the best for your family on this privately guided tour of New Zealand inclusive of a private tour guide and chauffeur plus private touring vehicle.
Your South Island family 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.
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 2 nights at Lake Tekapo.
Enjoy a guided tour of Tekapo, visiting key attractions including the famous sheep dog statue, the Church of the Good Shepherd and Astro Cafe atop Mt John to enjoy spectacular views over Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps.
Discuss what you would like to do with your guide for the afternoon, recommendations include a day trip to Aoraki Mount Cook or a relaxing visit to Tekapo Springs where you can relax in the hot pools while the kids play on the waterslide, and in winter months enjoy snow tubing and ice skating!
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 – ask your guide for more details. There is also an opportunity to visit a salmon farm where you feed the fish and buy sashimi.
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. You also have the option to visit several top wineries with your guide on the drive through the Kawarau Gorge.
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.
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.
In the afternoon explore 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.
Travel to Milford Sound on a custom-built theatre style glass roofed coach – you won’t miss any views; mountains, glaciers and rainforest! Get up close and personal with Milford Sound on your leisurely Nature Cruise. As you cruise the length of the fiord, learn about the history of the region and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins. You’ll see towering cliffs and peaks – including the much photographed and iconic Mitre Peak that rises more than a kilometre straight out of the sea. Waterfalls cascade into the fiord and luxuriant rain forest clings to sheer rock faces in this exceptional place.
**Upgrade your return journey to a magical scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown.
The opportunities are endless today, ‘when in Queenstown..’ add 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.
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 or Rippon Winery, or you could simply relax on the lakefront and do a bit of boutique shopping.
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 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.
Travel time Franz Josef to Greymouth – 2 hours
Scenic train travel time Greymouth to Christchurch – 4.5 hours
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.