Journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound to cruise by iconic Mitre Peak on this one-of-a-kind New Zealand South Island Tour. Return to Queenstown by scenic flight over the Southern Alps. Enjoy visiting picturesque Wanaka, and experience the West Coast’s rainforests, Franz Josef Glacier and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks.

8 Night / 9 Day New Zealand South Island Tour

Queenstown
Milford Sound
Wanaka
Franz Josef Glacier
Punakaiki
Christchurch
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Tour Price

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$4290 pp twin
$5090 pp single
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Tour Map

Day 1: Arrive Queenstown

Earnslaw Steamship on Lake Wakatipu with the mountains behind - NZ South Island Tour

On arrival into Queenstown you will be met at the airport and transferred to your centrally located hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore New Zealand's premier alpine resort town. Overnight in Queenstown.

What you'll love today
  • Your MoaTrek Kiwi Guide will meet you at the airport for a short orientation and to show you back to our accommodation
  • Everything is right at your doorstep, easy walking distance to the centre of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the gardens
Your accommodation tonight

Day 2: Queenstown - Milford Sound

Waving hello, on Milford Sound - NZ South Island Tour

Today is all about the one and only Milford Sound, from Queenstown we follow the shores of the great southern lakes before heading into the heart of Fiordland National Park on the spectacular Milford Road.  Everything you’ve heard is true, this is unreal countryside.

On arrival into Milford head out onto the water on our cruise out onto the sound, dominated by iconic Mitre Peak and home to birdlife, seal colonies and pods of dolphins. A magical flight over the Southern Alps returns us to Queenstown at the end of a fantastic day of touring by land, sea and air. The very best of Milford! 

What you'll love today
  • Milford Sound cruise and scenic flight, no better way to experience Fiordland
  • New Zealand’s most stunning road, through the heart of Fiordland National Park
Your accommodation tonight

Day 3: Queenstown Activities and Day Tours

Sunshine and mountain views on the Dart River Jetboat - NZ South Island Tour

Today is yours to make the most of the infinite choice of day tours and activities Queenstown has to offer, your ‘Kiwi Guide’ will be right there to help.  These days, the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’, caters for a lot more than just adrenalin junkies, the best way we know to sum up Queenstown is by saying that if you went on a holiday to Queenstown with three generations of your family, you’d all have the time of your lives!

What do we love in Queenstown?  A jet boat ride on the remote and beautiful Dart River in The Lord of the Rings scenery, walking along the lakeshore and the Botanic Gardens or take a thrilling raft ride on the Kawarau River. Other favourites are wine tasting in the celebrated boutique vineyards of Central Otago, golf on one of New Zealand’s best courses, a day walk on the famous Routeburn Track or cruising Lake Wakatipu on the 1912 Steamship, the Earnslaw. 

What you'll love today
  • Take your pick from literally hundreds of activities and tours on offer in Queenstown
  • Celebrate your Red Letter Day with dinner at one of the many award winning restaurants on the waterfront
Your accommodation tonight

Day 4: Queenstown - Arrowtown - Wanaka

Colourful ladies by Lake Wanaka - NZ South Island Tour

Our day starts with a short hop to leafy Arrowtown, where gold mining history comes alive beside the Arrow River and in the excellent museum. Then we head into tussock country for the climb up the Crown Range and our last views of the beautiful Wakatipu basin. We call into picture perfect Cardrona Hotel, its history dates back to the colonial era, then continue on to Wanaka. We relax with fine local wines and the chance to meet locals over lunch at their Wanaka lakeside home.  Hmm, anyone thinking of moving here yet?

Our hotel this evening is right on the lake edge, you’ve got plenty of time after lunch to discover this lovely lakeside town for yourself. Bike the waterfront trail, get out on the lake in a kayak or head next door to Rippon Vineyard for wine tasting with a view! 

What you'll love today
  • Gold mining history comes to life in Arrowtown
  • Stroll along the lake edge at Wanaka, it’s right outside your door
Your accommodation tonight

Day 5: Wanaka - Haast Pass - Franz Josef Glacier

Mountain reflections in Lake Matheson - NZ South Island Tour

Today is a quintessential kiwi day, where else in the world can you visit the seaside, a rainforest and a glacier all in the same day?  In New Zealand, no worries!  We start off following the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea before reaching the pristine mountain and river scenery of the Mount Aspiring National Park.  Then it’s up and over the Haast Pass through beech forests, past cascading waterfalls and clear blue pools where before following the Haast river out to the sea.  There’s plenty of time for short walks and photo stops on the way, we’re in no hurry!

Once we hit the coast let’s head north through the lush, prehistoric Gondwanaland forest of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, stopping at Ship Creek to stroll the beach, keep your eye out for dolphins feeding in the shallows! More stops along the way as we hit glacier country, get your cameras ready for Lake Matheson’s famous reflections and our first glimpse of Fox Glacier descending from Mount Cook.  Our home for the next 2 nights is Franz Josef. 

What you'll love today
  • Where else in the world can you see a glacier, rainforest and the beach all in the same day?
  • Wake up by the lakeshore in Wanaka, go to sleep surrounded by rainforest in Franz Josef
Your accommodation tonight

Day 6: Franz Josef Glacier - Okarito Lagoon

Heli landing on Franz Josef Glacier, 3 friends - NZ South Island Tour

We’ve got the whole day to enjoy the beauty of this remote corner of the country, a place many Kiwis don’t even get to visit. This is the best part of New Zealand to get to the glaciers, that’s why we’re here!  Your choice of a stunning walk to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier, or get right out on the ice on a heli hike or glacier landing. 

Everyone loves Okarito, a tiny settlement nestled between the Tasman Sea and Okarito Lagoon, take your pick from guided kayaking or a wildlife cruise on the shallow waters of the lagoon, a feeding ground of the extremely rare white heron (kotuku) which breeds nearby in the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve. For pure relaxation take a soak in hot pools fed by pure glacier water.  

What you'll love today
  • Franz Josef Glacier walks, heli hiking or glacier landing
  • There’s nowhere more ‘off the beaten track’ than secluded Okarito, breeding ground of the graceful White Heron
Your accommodation tonight

Day 7: Franz Josef Glacier - Hokitika - Punakaiki

Small group at the West Coast lookout - NZ South Island Tour

Discover, the ‘wild’ west coast of the South Island, we head north through countryside dotted with little lakes and boulder strewn rivers, all under the watchful eye of the mighty Southern Alps in the distance.  Coffee time in Hokitika, once a real centre of commerce and the setting for the colonial epic ’The Luminaries’.  Hokitika people are crafty folk and of course, it’s the Pounamu (greenstone) capital of the country and you’ll have the chance to visit the carvers as well as glass blowing, wood and copper artisans.

Our journey continues north to Paparoa National Park and Punakaiki, where our surroundings change dramatically, the alps have retreated and are replaced by towering limestone cliffs, draped with tropical looking forest, including New Zealand’s only native palm tree, the Nikau Palm. Punakaiki is home to the Pancake Rocks, sculpted limestone sea stacks and towering cliffs. Your ‘Kiwi Guide’ will let you know the perfect time to visit to see the blowholes at full force. Our home tonight is a stunning spot right on the beach, perfect a drink on the beach to celebrate our last sunset together! 

What you'll love today
  • Take a walk through ‘Luminaries’ land, Hokitika.
  • Toast your last Kiwi sunset with your friends on the beach at Punakaiki
Your accommodation tonight

Day 8: Punakaiki - Arthur’s Pass Christchurch

Happy group at the Arthurs Pass sign - NZ South Island Tour

Wake up to the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach, cross New Zealand’s main divide, traverse the stunning Canterbury High Country and cross the plains into the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch.  To do this in most countries would take days or weeks, in New Zealand it’s easy, we’ve even got plenty on the way of time for short walks and photo stops.  Nice one, New Zealand!

Highlights will be the Otira Viaduct, a spectacular cantilevered road through towering mountains to Arthur’s Pass National Park, with dramatic views from the lookout at the top of the Gorge and one of the best places in the country to see the hilarious antics of our alpine parrot, the Kea.  Stretch your legs in the beech forests at Arthur’s Pass National Park and again at the massive limestone rocks rising out of bare pasture at Castle Hill before we descend Porter’s Pass to the Canterbury Plains reaching Christchurch in the late afternoon. 

What you'll love today
  • Wake up by the beach, cross the mountains and be in Christchurch by dinner time!
  • Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill) on the Great Alpine Highway, a real ‘power spot’
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Day 9: Depart Christchurch

Punting through the willows in Christchurch - NZ South Island Tour

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the last day of your tour in Christchurch, we'll drop you off at the airport for your flight home after your New Zealand ’Trip of a Lifetime'.

We’re right on the edge of Hagley Park, so take the time for one last walk through the botanical gardens, a scenic tram ride through the streets or even a punt on the treelined Avon River.  We call Christchurch the most English city outside England, and it’s easy to see why. Catch up on last minute shopping for New Zealand favourites such as merino clothing or manuka honey, it’s all right here. Thank you for choosing to travel with MoaTrek New Zealand Tours. Ka kite ano – “See you again”. 

What you'll love today
  • Check out the new Christchurch, the rebuild mall and cardboard cathedral
  • Swapping addresses and saying goodbye to the new friends you’ve made

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