It's time to head to the land of the long white cloud! Fall in love with New Zealand as you explore its endless mountain ranges, pristine lakes and stunning scenery. Be awed by the amazing Queenstown, Lake Tekapo and Franz Josef on this that will show you the best of New Zealand's South.
Day 1 - Christchurch to Mackenzie Country
This morning, explore iconic downtown Christchurch and enjoy discovering this quirky city. Your guide will show you the ways the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here. There's plenty to see - Christchurch locals are an innovative and creative bunch and there's tons of art around to check out. The Transitional Cathedral, created from cardboard is also worth a look!
After lunch, you'll leave the city behind and head for Lake Tekapo. This spot will take your breath away! The lake’s stunning turquoise colour and mountain backdrop is a photographer’s dream come true. The tiny Church of the Good Shepherd stands right at the water’s edge and couples travel from all over the world for wedding shots in front of it. Chances are you'll see a bride or two!
This evening, you'll enjoy a spot of stargazing. Tekapo has been declared an International Dark Sky Reserve and the clear skies make it the best place in New Zealand to see the stars and galaxies. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Please note: Private accommodation upgrades are not available for this night of the tour due to the limited availability of accommodation in the area.
Day 2 - Mackenzie Country to Queenstown
If you’re feeling energetic this morning, hike up to thesummit of Mt John. With awesome views of the Southern Alps, you’ll feel on top of the world. Speaking of views, today’s scenic drive to Queenstown is a show-stopper! From the golden surrounds of Mackenzie country – where epic battles of Return of the King were filmed – to the dramatic peaks of the Southern Alps, it’s like you’re driving into a postcard.
You’ll pause for lots of photo stops en route so you can snap some pics and remember this area forever. You'll make a stop at the spectacular Kawarau Gorge, that also happens to be the World Home of Bungy. Give it a go or enjoy watching the jumpers scream their way through the gorge!
Then, it's onto more adrenaline and adventure in Queenstown. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, an avid hiker, wine taster or scenery lover, this city has something for absolutely everyone. With two nights and plenty of daylight hours here, get ready – this town certainly knows how to live life to the max!
Day 3 - Queenstown
With a full day in Queenstown, it's time to tick some things off that bucket list! There's heaps to choose from, like paragliding over the lake,bungy jumping, horse riding through Lord of the Rings scenery, or swinging through a canyon! There's also mountain bike parks and trails to die for.
For hikers, the Ben Lomond day walk will be right up your alley. But beware, it's not for the faint-hearted! This walk is a firm tour guide favourite, and they can recommend great shorter walks too.
For scenery lovers, Milford Sound is a must-see. Whether you fly or drive, the scenery en route is as awesome as the destination. Once there, sailing beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, you’ll understand why some call it the “8th Wonder of the World."
Come nightfall you have around 40 bars to choose from! Your guide will share their favourites and no doubt you'll discover some of your own.
Day 4 - Queenstown to Wanaka
After the excitement of Queenstown, today is a chance to chill. Wanaka is Queenstown’s slightly quieter little sister and it's just a one hour drive away.
On the way, you’ll stop in at charming Arrowtown, a historic gold rush village with heaps of character.
As you cruise into Wanaka, you’ll soon see why it's considered to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain towns. Blessed with towering peaks and a glacial blue lake, it's a seriously stunning sight. There are also great hikes and bike rides all around the town to enjoy.
Once you've checked out Wanaka from the ground, take to the air - one of the best ways to admire Wanaka. Treat yourself to a skydive or a scenic flight in a vintage plane... you can even take a flying lesson! If you prefer to keep your feet closer to the ground, stroll or bike around the lake and check out the famous Wanaka Tree, standing all alone in the water. As always, it’s your trip and your choice!
Day 5 - Wanaka to Franz Josef
After a relaxing morning in Wanaka, it's time to make the journey to Franz Josef. This town is another stunner, and the drive there is pretty cool too.
Hit the road with a stop at lakeside lookout points Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka. Your guide will keep an eye on the weather and pick the best option.
Next, it's back on the bus and back on the road. Don't nap on this journey - from the cascading waterfalls of Haast Pass to classic Kiwi coastal views, you won’t want to miss anything. Your guide will have some epic surprise photo stops and short walks along the way.
You'll have worked up an appetite with all this travelling, so it's time to stop and try a local delicacy. Between September and December, it’s whitebait season, and during those months you’ll stop at one of the local spots for a taste. Fried up with eggs and served on toast, it’s a local treat and shouldn’t be missed.
You'll roll into Franz Josef in the late afternoon/early evening. This UNESCO World Heritage area is famous for its spectacular glacier, just 5 kilometres from town, which is begging to be explored tomorrow.
Day 6 - Franz Josef
After waking to snowy surrounds, your day exploring the stunning Franz Josef Glacier begins! With Aoraki/Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) twinkling behind the glaciers, Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand.
Te Wahi Pounamu, which means ‘the place of greenstone’ in Maori, is the name given to this part of the West Coast because of the abundance of pounamu (greenstone/jade) that can be found here. Today, you'll participate in a special activity, where you'll have the opportunity to carve your very own pounamu pendant at a local gallery.
Afterwards, it's time to get stuck into the many activities at Franz Josef Glacier. Weather permitting, you can take a scenic helicopter flight and hike onto the glaciers! Or, maybe you’d prefer to kayak on a glacial lake; or just relax in the steamy hot springs down below. The choice is yours.
As well as the awesome glacier activities you can also try out quad biking, horseback riding and even a bit of group karaoke tonight in Franz Josef.
Day 7 - Franz Josef to Christchurch
It's goodbye to snowy paradise today.
Before you know it, it’s your last day! After breakfast, head further along the beautiful west coast on another of the most spectacular drives in the country. Prepare yourself for a rugged, primeval landscape of rainforest juxtaposed against breathtaking beach and ocean waves.
Along the way stop at Hokitika and visit a greenstone factory. Time permitting, you'll also visit the National Kiwi Centre where you're guaranteed to see rare kiwi birds in their nocturnal house.
On the way back to Christchurch, you'll traverse the South Island on the stunning TranzAlpine Train Crossing. Travelling across the Southern Alps through Arthur’s Pass, you'll arrive in Christchurch around 6.30pm before transferring to your accommodation.
Your tour officially ends in Christchurch, so feel free to party on with your new travel buddies for as long as you like – your accommodation tonight is included so you can treat yourself to a lie-in in the morning!
This is a 7-day tour, starting and finishing in Christchurch.