This one-of-a-kind 9 day New Zealand South Island tour takes you on a wonderful journey from Queenstown. The first stop is Milford Sound where you’ll take a cruise on the picturesque sound against the backdrop of the iconic Mitre Peak.
Then we travel on to Wanaka, experience the West Coast’s rainforests, the jaw dropping Franz Josef Glacier and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Finally, our journeys finishes in Christchurch after a stunning journey over the Southern Alps.
A short tour that will leave you with memories that last a lifetime.
We have made some small but exciting new improvements to our itinerary for departures from October 2018, the itinerary on this page is for our Kea 9 day tour from October 2018, for anyone looking at the tour for dates until the end of April 2018 here's a quick overview of your itinerary.
What Miles loves about this tour:
The West Coast is covered in World Heritage National Parks and you travel right through them accompanied by your Kiwi guide. We meet the locals for lunch at a private homestead at Lake Wanaka, there's beauty in the grandeur of Milford Sound and my favourite drive in New Zealand - Arthur’s Pass.
An afternoon among the boutique vineyards perfectly captures the flavour of the region, in more ways than one! Your friendly guide will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the 'new world' wines of New Zealand, you'll be an expert in no time. Visit and try the wines at 4 vineyards in Gibbston Valley, Cromwell and Bannockburn, and enjoy a delightful platter lunch at Carrick Winery restaurant before visiting Old Cromwell Town. You'll see both sides of the stunning Kawarau Gorge and get a glimpse of the early pioneering history of this rugged region. If you like the idea of spending a day with friends enjoying fine wine, great food and amazing scenery (who doesn't?!), then this is for you.
Queenstown - Routeburn Track Day Hiking
One of New Zealand's 'Great Walks', the Routeburn Track is one of the crown jewels of Kiwi walking tracks. The Glenorchy end of the track is easily accessed from Queenstown, your guided tour picks you up and drops you back at your accommodation and will provide everything you need. The walk to Routeburn Flats or Falls is on a beautifully graded track, through the most beautiful section of red beech forest in the country, follows the emerald Routeburn river up to the alpine sanctuary of Routeburn Flast. The best day walk in the entire country, according to one very biased ex Routeburn guide who wrote this! You be the judge, it's day you'll never forget.
Queenstown - Kawarau River Rafting
The Kawarau River is ideal for first time rafters or those looking for a more relaxed rafting experience. It’s the Kawarau River that starred as the River Anduin in Lord of the Rings. The grandeur of the canyons imparts a feeling of paddling through the heart of Middle Earth. Whether you are a Lord of the Rings fan or not, this rafting trip is a really fun way to get right out into the heart of the great Kiwi outdoors. You'll love the unforgettable 400m long Dog Leg rapid, the longest on any guided rafting trip in New Zealand.
Queenstown - TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise with BBQ Lunch
You'll love this iconic South Island experience, the perfect combination of taking it easy and seeing a bit more of the Queenstown area. Head off from the Steamer Wharf right downtown on your cruise aboard the historic 100 year old TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Sit back on the lakeside terrace of the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant and leave the cooking to our chef, with the best local produce sizzling away on the grill for your delicious gourmet BBQ lunch before seeing first hand how these high country farmers and their dogs used to work the land. You can see why the early settler families chose this side of the lake, it's pretty special!
Queenstown - Dart River Jet Boat Wilderness Experience
The 'head of the lake' around Glenorchy and the Dart River is so amazing, you simply cannot miss this! A breathtaking drive along the famous Glenorcy road for your thrilling jet boat ride on braided, glacier-fed rivers into the heart of Mount Aspiring National Park. Your friendly driver adds the personal touch, looking after you all the way and sharing the area’s history, the Greenstone trail and Maori legends. Break up the ride for a walk through ancient beech forest unchanged for 80 million years and view the scenic backgrounds for many Middle Earth movie scenes. The river is the only way to get up here, this is the New Zealand you've come to see!
Franz Josef - Twin Glacier Scenic Heli Flight and Snow Landing
Fly over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers and land at the head of either the Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier. View the incredible natural phenomenon of the glaciers as they wind slowly down the carved valleys from its origin in the mountains high above you. You can see it all from up hear, Mount Cook, Mount Tasman and the heart of the World Heritage Area. Wow!
Franz Josef - Glacier Heli Hike
A Heli Hike is simply the ultimate Glacier experience and now the only way to walk on the ice in New Zealand! Take in the Franz Josef Glacier by helicopter before descending onto the ice itself for an adventure like no other. Follow your guide from the crevasses and ice caves to the splendour of the clean blue ice, immerse yourself in the unique surroundings and touch the ice, breath the fresh air and enjoy one of the world’s most exhilarating experiences.
West Coast - TranzAlpine Train
The TranzAlpine is one of the world's great rail journeys, which is the most stunning section of the journey? We reckon it's from the heart of the Southern Alps at Arthur's Pass, through over viaducts and through bridges along the Waimakariri Gorge before descending to the Canterbury Plains on and on Christchurch. On arrival in Christchurch, make your own way from the Railway Station to the Chateau on the Park, your bags will be at reception or in your room.
Christchurch Post Tour Day - Akaroa Day Tour and Harbour Cruise
You will travel to Akaroa over the beautiful Banks Peninsula on a high summit route which gives glorious views of farmlands, the Canterbury Plains and the distant Southern Alps as well as remote bays indenting the coastline. From the main wharf in Akaroa boats depart for a Nature Cruise on the harbour. You will have an opportunity to wander around the charming 175 year old French harbour side village of Akaroa with it’s museum of settlers’ history, art and craft shops and studios before enjoying lunch at an award winning cafe.
Christchurch Post Tour Day - Kaikoura Day Tour and Whalewatch Cruise
During your tour you will take a Whale Watch Kaikoura cruise to look for majestic Sperm Whales and Dusky Dolphins. Other sightings might include Southern Right, Humpback, and Pilot whales. After enjoying a café lunch, drive to a lookout with spectacular views of the peninsula and the Pacific Ocean and experience some local wines at a Waipara Winery. At the end of the day, visit the Kaikoura Peninsula where sightings can be made of the NZ Fur Seals.