Experience the best of New Zealand with our small group tours of the South Island. This family escorted tour is fully customisable, with no date restrictions.
Travel with a private guide and explore at your own pace. Our private small group tours of the South Island of New Zealand are suitable for children of all ages. We will help tailor your tour to suit your family.
Read on for more details on the 7 Day South Island Family Guided Tour.
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 Riverside Farmers Market, the Cardboard Cathedral 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 2 nights in Queenstown.
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.
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 the Wanaka Tree, 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 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
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.
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