Experience the best of New Zealand with this 5* reviewed South Island tour package. We offer flexible New Zealand escorted tours with no date or itinerary restrictions.
Each South Island tour package includes a private tour guide/driver, private touring vehicle, high quality accommodation, and must-do activities.
You’re fantastic New Zealand guided tour begins in Christchurch, New Zealand’s “Garden City.”
Explore Christchurch with your guide, options include:
In the evening option to add dinner aboard the Christchurch Tram. The Tramway Restaurant offers curated seasonal dining combined with evening sightseeing in central Christchurch for a truly unique experience!
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Travel time Christchurch to Mt Cook Village – 4 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.
You will pass an amazing smoky turquoise lake, which is called Lake Tekapo. Take a break in Lake Tekapo if you wish and visit the most photographed church in New Zealand – the famous Church of the Good Shepherd. Other attractions in Lake Tekapo include the spa complex Tekapo Springs and of course the world-famous Mt John Observatory.
Continue past Lake Pukaki on your way to Mt Cook Village, nestled at the foot of New Zealand’s highest mountain.
In the afternoon join the Glaciers Explorers Tour. The only tour of its kind in New Zealand and one of the only accessible glacial lakes containing icebergs in the world. Explore and learn about the ever-changing glacial landscape as you journey across the terminal lake in boats with experienced guides. Icebergs of every shape and size periodically tear away from the face of the glacier into the rapidly growing lake.
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park forms the majority of New Zealand’s only International Dark Sky Reserve. The stargazing here is magnificent and stargazing tours can be added to your tour. The perfect way to enhance your escorted tours of South Island New Zealand.
Stay 1 night in Mt Cook Village.
Travel time Mt Cook Village to Queenstown – 3 hours
Continue south to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. Along the way, 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 on the drive through the Kawarau Gorge.
Visit Arrowtown prior to reaching Queenstown. Arrowtown is charming and quirky. The heart of its history is Buckingham Street, a procession of heritage buildings that stretches into a tree-lined avenue of tiny miner’s cottages. The buildings in this lovely precinct house shops, galleries, bars and restaurants.
Continue to Queenstown. In the evening, relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, the only coal fired passenger vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Step aboard – watch the stokers fueling the fireboxes and hear the hiss of the steam engines working as the TSS Earnslaw takes you on a nostalgic cruise over beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you will enjoy a stunning four course meal. An entertaining after-dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high country farming life. On your return cruise, relax with a drink from the bar or join a fun sing-along with the ship’s pianist.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Enjoy your day in Queenstown. You can choose from a range of adventure activities in Queenstown. Bungy jumping, skydiving, paragliding, quad biking, zip lining, scenic helicopter flights and 4WD backcountry safaris.
Or visit a winery or two in the Gibbston Valley of Vines. Gibbston Valley™ is a great option and offers a wine tasting tour through New Zealand’s largest wine cave.
Come afternoon sit back and relax and take in the stunning views as you ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola – the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown!
You’ll be carried 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob’s Peak, where you’ll enjoy the best view in the region. When you get to the top, take the drivers seat with the gravity-fuelled Skyline Luge, the global thrill ride for all ages. Next enjoy a dining experience that is out of this world. The menu is inspired by iconic New Zealand cuisine and infused with international influences.
Journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park, where myth, heritage and fantasy come to life. As one of Queenstown’s most exhilarating activities, the Wilderness Jet, half day adventure takes you on a spectacular journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mount Aspiring National Park.
You’ll experience a unique combination of breath-taking scenery and an exhilarating ride. Your guides give you their authentic touch, talking about the area’s rich history, the Greenstone trail and countless Maori legends. You’ll also be given the chance to walk amongst the ancient beech tree forests – an atmosphere you may recognize from The Lord of the Rings films.
Next explore Glenorchy with your guide. Glenorchy is a welcoming and vibrant town offering a range of cafes, restaurants, hiking, fishing, and more. 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.
Travel time Queenstown to Te Anau – 2.5 hours
Your scenic tour will continue as you make your way past Lake Wakatipu on your way to Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
In the afternoon, take the magical Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour. Explore a mysterious underground world of rushing water before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. In this mysterious underground world, discover fossils and rock formations, and view rushing waterfalls and whirlpools. Learn how the caves are still being carved out by the incredible and relentless power of nature before gliding through silent darkness to the glowworm grotto. The delicate incandescence of thousands of tiny glowworms is a magical sight!
Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.
Travel time Te Anau to Milford Sound – 2.5 hours (each way)
The Milford Road (between Te Anau and Milford) is one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery is exceptional, ranging from broad grassy flats, dense rainforest, and towering mountains through to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. The schedule includes plenty of time for short nature walks and photo opportunities along the way.
Upon reaching Milford Sound, you will enjoy a 2 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. With specialist nature guides on board, Real Journeys Nature Cruises offer a close-up experience of Milford Sound’s rainforest, soaring rock walls, towering snow capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, hanging valleys 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.
Travel time Te Anau to Wanaka – 3.5 hours
Continue to Wanaka, an alpine town boasting panoramic views and a relaxing atmosphere.
Wanaka has a reputation for great food and wine, with a wide variety of lakefront bars, cafés 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.
Explore Wanaka with your guide – 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.
Test out your fishing skills at “Hook”, Wanaka’s very unique interactive Lake to Plate dining experience. Catch a Chinook salmon from the scenic spring-fed fishing lakes and then relax as the team prepares it for you. No experience is necessary and fishing equipment can be hired on the day.
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
After the Milford Highway, 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 a 20 minute scenic helicopter flight sweeping above Westland National Park as you explore Franz Josef Glacier before landing in the snow to enjoy exceptional views of the majestic Southern Alps. There’s nothing like having your feet on the ground at this elevation and really feeling like you’re part of the beautiful landscape. A very popular option to look at the spectacular glacier landscapes.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Travel time Franz Josef to Greymouth – 2.5 hours
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. 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.
Leave the rugged West Coast behind today as you board the TranzAlpine Train for a fantastic journey through Arthurs Pass. Travel past the soaring peaks and braided rivers of the Southern Alps, through the gorges of the Waimakariri River, and past the rolling Canterbury Plains.
Your guide will meet you at the train station and bring you to your accommodation.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Your guide will deliver you to Christchurch Airport for your departing flight.