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 on this privately guided tour of New Zealand inclusive of a private tour guide and chauffeur plus private touring vehicle.
Your fantastic 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, the RE:Start Container Mall, and the Canterbury Museum.
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 1 night at Lake Tekapo.
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.
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 3 nights in Queenstown.
Journey into the heart of New Zealand today on a scenic coach tour to Manapouri. Cruise across Lake Manapouri and drive over Burkes Pass to Doubtful Sound, where you will enjoy an unforgettable wilderness cruise on this awe-inspiring, remote fiord. During the cruise, your knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region through their commentary. They will answer questions, point out landmarks and provide you with information about the varied wildlife you may encounter, including dolphins, fur seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. After your cruise, relax while your coach delivers you back to your Queenstown accommodation.
Explore the Lord of the Rings locations around Queenstown with your guide today on an excursion to the stunning Glenorchy region. Stop along the way for majestic views up Lake Wakatipu, and visit the stunning Paradise Valley and Dart Valley at the head of the lake. Along the way, you will get the chance to see the filming locations for Isengard, Lothlorien, and Ithilien Camp.
Stop in Glenorchy for a coffee or a relaxing lunch, and soak in the incredible views of snow-capped peaks and turquoise rivers.
Travel time Queenstown to Wanaka – 1 hour
Visit Arrowtown with your guide on your way to Wanaka, and explore the quaint historic mining settlement. If there are any Lord of the Rings fans in the group, your guide will show you the filming locations for Minas Tirith, Argonath, the Misty Mountains, and the Ford of Bruinen.
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 2 nights in 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.
Wanaka has a reputation for great food and wine, with a wide variety of lakefront bars, cafés and restaurants serving exceptional local cuisine, plus a wealth of artisans producing award-winning wine, beer, spirits, bread, and ice cream. Be sure to visit the local farmers market to try some of the region’s best produce.
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 Hokitika – 2 hours
Continue north on your tour of the rugged West Coast. Once you reach Hokitika, you have the option to visit Hokitika Gorge or Lake Kaniere with your guide. Your guide will show you around the town, stopping at the Jade Factory, where you can view artisans carving masterpieces from the precious greenstone, and Sunset Point, where you might be lucky enough to catch a famous West Coast sunset.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Travel time Hokitika 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.
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!
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.
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 escort.
Stay 2 nights in Hanmer Springs.
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, experience the thrill of travelling up the dramatic Waiau river gorge on a jet boat! Experience the adrenaline rush of going 80km per hour, skimming the river below, with Thrillseekers Jet! Cut corners as turquoise snowmelt churns out behind you, and experience 360° spins.
Travel time Hanmer Springs to Christchurch – 2 hours
Your guide will deliver you to Christchurch Airport for your departing flight.