South Island: Southern Highlights - in Style

10 days – EUR 1,643.00 pp in dbl-room1
Christchurch, Franz Josef Glacier, Lake Moeraki, Queenstown, Te Anau, Dunedin

This self-drive tour, which starts and finishes in Christchurch, takes you around the southern part of New Zealand's South Island in ten days. While discovering the scenic highlights of the Southern Alps - including the famous TranzAlpine train journey, the West Coast, Fiordland National Park and Otago Peninsula, you will be staying in style at boutique lodges and superior B&B's.


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1st day: Christchurch

Boutique Hotel in the Heart of Christchurch: quiet & central
Boutique Hotel in the Heart of Christchurch: quiet & central
Historic Tram in Christchurch
Historic Tram in Christchurch
Arrival at Christchurch Airport
Flight - by own arrangement

Taxi from Airport to Accommodation - by own arrangement

In front of the arrival terminal, you can easily catch a taxi to get to your accommodation.

Bouitque Hotel in the Heart of Christchurch

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
This boutique hotel has a unique location in Christchurch city centre, on a very quiet and relaxed one-way pedestrian boulevard directly opposite the Christchurch Arts Centre and only minutes from Christchurch city-centre's major attractions. Only steps away for an early morning stroll through the park are the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The villa, an Italian style historic home, has been renovated and tastefully refurbished into a fine boutique hotel offering 15 guest rooms in total. Breakfast can be taken in the luxury dining room or alfresco in the private paved courtyard. A shared lounge and outdoor barbecue area are available for guests to share their experiences over a glass of wine, coffee or tea.


Details: Christchurch
Christchurch is the third largest city in New Zealand and South Island's largest city with a rather English atmosphere. Urban architecture, historic buildings and large gardens are today still characterised by of the vision of its founders to build a settlement for devout Anglican Church emigrants. So Christchurch was also named after the church in the old Oxford College in England. If you want more than shopping, the new Art Gallery, the Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum and the Botanical Garden are recommended. The harbour side town of Lyttelton and the picturesque French settlement of Akaroa on nearby Banks Peninsula are also worth a visit.
A turning point in the city's history was the earthquake, which occurred completely unexpected during the busy lunchtime on 22 February 2011. In addition to the death of 185 people, many buildings were damaged. For example, the symbol of the city, the tower of Christ Church Cathedral, collapsed. Over 10,000 homes had to be demolished and more than 100,000 homes were renovated. Although much has already been done, Christchurch has not fully recovered from the shock.
Map: 1st day: Christchurch

2nd day: Franz Josef Glacier

Train Crossing the Southern Alps
Train Crossing the Southern Alps
Lodge near Franz Josef Glacier: Lounge with Mountain Views
Lodge near Franz Josef Glacier: Lounge with Mountain Views
Guided glacier walk: an unforgettable experience
Guided glacier walk: an unforgettable experience
TranzAlpine Train: Christchurch - Greymo uth - by own arrangement

The TranzAlpine has been rated as one of the world's greatest train journeys. It travels from one coast of New Zealand' South Island to the other , departing Christchurch at 8:15 am, arriving in Greymouth at 12:45pm. From the carriage passengers will see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. The train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth - a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the always popular glaciers. The journey is 223.8 kilometres long and takes just four and a half hours. There are 16 tunnels, and 5 viaducts, the highest being the Staircase standing at 73 metres. An open air viewing carraige allows passengers to get even closer to the stunning scenery and provides many opportunities to take photographs.

For bookings, please see: http://www.tranzscenic.co.nz/services/tranzalpine.aspx

Rental car pick-up
Type: Compact Auto
Pick-up location: Greymouth, City/Downtown

Along the West Coast to the Glaciers
Distance: 200 km Time: 3:00 h

The road between Greymouth and Hokitika provides great views of the wild west coast.Further south, the road to the glaciers is rural, but with a wild streak. The farmland is trying to turn back into forest, and the beauty of the rivers is raw and primeval. In good weather the Southern Alps can be seen. A visit to the White Heron colony near Okarito / Whataroa is a rare experience.

Lodge near the Glacier

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
Set in bush and farmlands with views of the mountains, this boutique lodge offers a warm and relaxed atmosphere in a quiet, rural setting, just 2 km north of the Franz Josef village and only minutes from Franz Josef Glacier itself. The lodge is purpose built, crafted entirely from wood. Six of the suites have mountain views from the rooms and verandahs. Two have private courtyards, which catch all-day sun, and are planted with trees to encourage the native fantails, tuis, white-eyes and bellbirds.


Details: Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef and Fox Glacier are remnants of the ice age, which cascade from vast snowfields of the Southern Alps through West Coast rainforest to valley floors just 300 metres above sea level. Nowhere in the world's temperate zones are glaciers so accessible. These two glaciers move up to four metres every day, which in the glacier world is uncommonly rapid (the Tasman Glacier, on the eastern side of the great divide, moves at only 650 millimetres a day). At the foot of each glacier, the grinding, crushing sounds of ancient ice forcing itself down the time-worn valleys can be heard. A range of companies offer guided excursions to explore the spectacular ice formations. Helicopter and fixed wing aircraft, also provide scenic flights and snow landings, amidst New Zealand's highest peaks, overlooking the glaciers. The village of Franz Josef is a good base from which to explore the glaciers, as well as its rainforest environment. Nearby coastal Okarito has the largest unmodified tidal inlet in New Zealand and provides a sanctuary and feeding grounds for New Zealand's only breeding colony of Kotuku, or white heron. From September to March visitors can go on an excursion into the nesting area, accompanied by a permitted guide. On a rainy day, the recently built 'Glacier Hot Pools' in Franz Josef are worth a visit.
Map: 2nd day: Franz Josef Glacier

3rd day: Lake Moeraki

Lodge Surrounded by Ancient Rainforest
Lodge Surrounded by Ancient Rainforest
Reflections in Lake Moeraki
Reflections in Lake Moeraki
Along the Tasmanian Sea
Distance: 150 km Time: 2:00 h

The terminal face of Fox Glacier is just 5 kilometres from the township that serves it. Fox Glacier was named after an early New Zealand Prime Minister, William Fox. Lake Matheson lies just 6km from Fox Glacier. On a still, clear day it reflects the unforgettable image of New Zealand's highest peaks, Aoraki (Mount Cook) and Mount Tasman. An easy 40 minute walk leads to the first viewing platform, a complete circuit of the lake can be completed in one and a half hours. Further south is pretty Lake Paringa and a salmon farm. Just north of Haast is Lake Moeraki, a peaceful forest lake with good fishing.

Lodge on Moeraki River

1 Night, DBB with activities
Located in the heart of the 2.7 million hectare South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, this unique lodge was set up in 1989 by Anne, a teacher, and Gerry, biologist and former director of New Zealand's largest environmental organisation, to help protect the rainforest and share this extraordinary natural setting with visitors. The lodge is landscaped in a lakeside clearing surrounded by 1000 year old rainforest trees. It offers a high level of comfort in attractive lodge rooms with lounges and a restaurant that overlook the lovely Moeraki rapids. Radiating from the lodge is a network of rainforest and Tasman seacoast walks. There is a fleet of canoes for guest to explore Lake Moeraki and the Moeraki river. Today, West Coasters Dorothy and Malcolm are the managers at Lake Moeraki and a team of enthusiastic guides will introduce lodge guests to crested penguins, fur seals, giant tame eels and New Zealand's unique birdlife and ancient forests.


Details: Lake Moeraki
Lake Moeraki is situated between Haast in the south and Fox Glacier in the north. Its Maori name means "to sleep by day". The idyllic lake is surrounded by some of the West Coast's most lush lowland and the wetland rainforests - adjacent to remote beaches that are home to a variety of marine fauna, including seals and penguins. About half an hour further south, the settlement of Haast was once a construction camp for the Ministry of Works (the government department responsible for road and bridge building). Today, it's a settlement with a touch of the wild west - helicopters fly deer hunters into the rugged ranges and local pubs make a feature of stuffed animal trophies. Westland is famous for its rainfall - visitors should always be prepared for wet weather.
Map: 3rd day: Lake Moeraki

4th day: Queenstown

B&B in Queenstown: Guest Lounge overlooking Lake Wakatipu
B&B in Queenstown: Guest Lounge overlooking Lake Wakatipu
Bridge near Queenstown: Home of Bungy Jumping
Bridge near Queenstown: Home of Bungy Jumping
via Haast Pass and Wanaka
Distance: 260 km Time: 4:00 h

There are many reasons to stop on the way, so it is wise to allow enough time for the journey to Queenstown. The road from Haast, a former construction camp for the Ministry of Works, was only completed in 1965. The Haast Visitor Centre offers excellent information on the South Westland World Heritage Area, worth a stop! Haast is also the last fuel stop for a while. The way to the Haast Pass follows the Haast River to its headwaters, it is quite a dramatic road crossing of the Southern Alps - even though it is the lowest of the three main alpine passes (563 m).

Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea are another highlight of the journey. The lakeside town of Wanaka has a high concentration of cafes, restaurants and interesting shops. The 3D maze at Puzzeling World is worth a visit for all ages, not only when it's raining. The shortest route to Queenstown from Wanaka is over the Crown Range Road. The drive is a little challenging drive, but in fine weather, the views are amazing. Alternatively, drivers can take the route that runs beside the Clutha River, Lake Dunstan & the Shotover River. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along that way.

Modern Lodge overlooking Lake Wakatipu

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Architecturally designed to make the most of the magnificent vistas, this modern, private and luxurious B&B lodge is set on the Wakatipu lakefront, offering panoramic views from the Queenstown basin through to Walter Peak on the far side of the lake. Bordered on two sides by scenic and recreational reserve, the lodge, offers a private, secluded location just 5 minutes from the heart of Queenstown. The guest wing, containing two guest bedrooms, is on its own level, ensuring privacy. Guests are invited to enjoy all the facilities the main lodge level has to offer: a sun drenched gallery opening onto the upper lawn and alfresco dining; a spacious lounge overlooking the lake for relaxing in front of the fire; a home theatre system for enjoying movies or watching the game on the big screen; and expansive lake facing decks for relaxing amidst magnificent scenery. Apart from the two guest rooms in the main lodge, the house also has a self contained apartment. With open plan, spacious living and dining, a full kitchen with gas cooking, and two bedrooms, the apartment offers quiet privacy and relaxing seclusion.


Details: Queenstown
Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and overlooked by the majestic Remarkables Range, Queenstown is a premier alpine and lake resort, for both adventurers and leisure seekers. Queenstown is the world capital and home of bungy jumping. Other year-round, action-packed thrills, include jet-boating and white-water rafting. The less adventurous can enjoy alpine walks, cruise Lake Wakatipu aboard an historic steamboat, or take a scenic flight to discover Fjordland and the famous Mildford Sound. In winter, skiers and snowboarders come from all over the world to join in the fun at the annual Winter Festival.
Map: 4th day: Queenstown

6th day: Te Anau

Overnight Cuise on Doubtful Sound © Real Journeys
Overnight Cuise on Doubtful Sound © Real Journeys
Fiordland National Park: Carved by Glaciers  © Real Journeys
Fiordland National Park: Carved by Glaciers © Real Journeys
via Lake Wakatipu to TeAnau/Manapouri
Distance: 170 km    Time: 2 : 3 0 h

 The first leg of the journey clings scenically to the edge of the southern arm of Lake Wakatipu - with views to the Eyre Mountains - cloud permitting. High country scenery and farmland beneath the Takitimu Mountains are features of the drive towards the Fiordland National Park.

Overnight Cruise on Doubtful Sound

1 Night, DBB with activities
Known for its wilderness, peacefulness and wildllife, Doubtful Sound is the second largest of the 14 fiords in Fiordland National Park and it is three times longer and 10 times larger than Milford Sound. Following a short cruise across beautiful Lake Manapouri and a coach trip over Wilmot Pass, one will board the vessel at Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound. The vessel, purpose built for cruising in the fiords, offers spacious viewing decks, a comfortable dining saloon, an observation lounge and private cabins with ensuite bathrooms. Apart from the stunning scenery, fur seals and bottlenose dolphins can often be admired, and at times, rare penguins can be observed. There is also time to kayak around the shoreline or go exploring in the tender craft with a nature guide. As the shadows lengthen, the crew will drop anchor at a favourite mooring for the night. A delicious evening buffet meal will then be served in the spacious dining saloon. The tour starts at Pearl Harbour in Manapouri just after midday, and finishes 24 hours later at the same place.


Details: Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park is located on the south-west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. As one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand, Fiordland has achieved World Heritage status. Visitors can explore Fiordland National Park by foot, sea kayak or boat, or take to the air and do it the flightseeing way. The park covers showcases dramatic wilderness on a grand scale. Waterfalls tumble hundreds of metres into pristine, forested valleys, sheer-sided fiords slide gracefully into the sea. Fiordland is famous for its rainfall - visitors should always be prepared for wet weather. From the resort town of Te Anau, it is a scenic two hours drive to Milford Sound and an easy twenty minute drive to Lake Manapouri, the start of an excursion to Doubtful Sound. Compared to popular Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound is less visited and much more remote as it is only accessible by boat. Famous multi-day walking tracks in the region include the Milford, Kepler, Hollyford and Routeburn Tracks. A guided 3 day tour on Hollyford Track as well as day and overnight cruises on Milford or Doubtful Sound can be arranged by Umfulana.
Map: 6th day: Te Anau

7th day: Dunedin

Holiday Cottage on Otago Peninsula: close to the sea
Holiday Cottage on Otago Peninsula: close to the sea
Dunedin: Historic Railway Station  (© Hiroshi Nameda)
Dunedin: Historic Railway Station (© Hiroshi Nameda)
through Southland
Distance: 290 km     Time: 4:00 h

Leaving Fiordland National Park behind,between Lumsden and Gore the road follows across the river plain. Next is Balclutha with its distinctive arched concrete bridge and an interesting museum. The road continues through fresh, green farm scenery approaching the historic mill town of Milton - the unusual kink in the main road is where two surveyors didn't quite meet.

Cottage on Otago Peninsula

2 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Situated in Broad Bay on Otago Peninsula, these two self-contained cottages are set in a sunny corner of a large harbourside garden amid lush vegetation, where one can enjoy the company of native birds. Designed with charming rustic character and equipped with kitchens, both cottages offer full self-catering facilities. A continental breakfast hamper can be provided. The property is adjacent to a small sandy beach and Vic & Tessa, the hosts, offer guests free use of their kayaks. From Broad Bay it is a short drive into Dunedin and all the attractions of the Otago Peninsula including Larnach Castle, Yellow-Eyed Penguin Reserve, Royal Albatross Colony, seals and wild ocean beaches.


Details: Dunedin
Dunedin was founded on the picks, harpoons and hard toil of goldminers, whalers and early Scottish settlers over 150 years ago. Its name is the old Gaelic one for Edinburgh - appropriate since the city was established by Scottish Presbyterians. Apart from being New Zealand's first university city, it has an abundance of museums, galleries, heritage homes and New Zealand's only castle nearby. Visitors can even discover the history of beer brewing at the Speights Brewery or tour the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. Dunedin is well known for its proximity to incredible wildlife on nearby Otago Pensinsula, where visitors can see the world's only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross, rare New Zealand sealions and yellow-eyed penguins, which can be watched from penguin-friendly visitor hides.
Map: 7th day: Dunedin

9th day: Christchurch

Boutique Hotel in the Heart of Christchurch: quiet & central
Boutique Hotel in the Heart of Christchurch: quiet & central
Historic Tram in Christchurch
Historic Tram in Christchurch
via the Moeraki Boulders to Christchurch
Distance: 360 km Time: 5:00 h

North of Dunedin, the famous Moeraki boulders lie scattered along a beach. Oamaru has many elegant historic buildings made from the local sandstone. Further north, the Rakaia bridge spans 1.8 kilometres of one of the world's best examples of a 'braided' river system. Approaching Christchurch the route is about as straight and flat as roads get in New Zealand. On a clear day, the Southern Alps provide outstanding scenery.

Bouitque Hotel in the Heart of Christchurch

1 Night, Bed & Breakfast
This boutique hotel has a unique location in Christchurch city centre, on a very quiet and relaxed one-way pedestrian boulevard directly opposite the Christchurch Arts Centre and only minutes from Christchurch city-centre's major attractions. Only steps away for an early morning stroll through the park are the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The villa, an Italian style historic home, has been renovated and tastefully refurbished into a fine boutique hotel offering 15 guest rooms in total. Breakfast can be taken in the luxury dining room or alfresco in the private paved courtyard. A shared lounge and outdoor barbecue area are available for guests to share their experiences over a glass of wine, coffee or tea.


Details: Christchurch
Christchurch is the third largest city in New Zealand and South Island's largest city with a rather English atmosphere. Urban architecture, historic buildings and large gardens are today still characterised by of the vision of its founders to build a settlement for devout Anglican Church emigrants. So Christchurch was also named after the church in the old Oxford College in England. If you want more than shopping, the new Art Gallery, the Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum and the Botanical Garden are recommended. The harbour side town of Lyttelton and the picturesque French settlement of Akaroa on nearby Banks Peninsula are also worth a visit.
A turning point in the city's history was the earthquake, which occurred completely unexpected during the busy lunchtime on 22 February 2011. In addition to the death of 185 people, many buildings were damaged. For example, the symbol of the city, the tower of Christ Church Cathedral, collapsed. Over 10,000 homes had to be demolished and more than 100,000 homes were renovated. Although much has already been done, Christchurch has not fully recovered from the shock.
Map: 9th day: Christchurch

10th day: Christchurch

Rental car drop off
Drop off location: Christchurch Airport

Departure from Christchurch Airport
Flight - by own arrangement

Rental car

Rental car company: AVIS New Zealand
Group C - Compact Auto
Typ: Toyota Corolla Sedan, Holden Astra /Viva (1.8), Mitsubishi Lancer (2.4),Toyota Corolla Hatch (1.08), Ford Focus (2.0). (Gruppe C)
Equipment: Radio/CD-Player, Air Conditioning, Power Steering, Dual Airbags, Automatic

Max. Excess for this car: Standard (see above)
AVIS
Services The price is per person based on two persons sharing a double room and includes accommodations (meals included as stated above) and rental car (if stated above).

USD 2,089.001
(EUR 1,643.00)1




The tour can begin on any date desired.
Best Travel Time:
January – April, October – December

Upon booking this tour you will receive:
» the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each accommodation
» vouchers
» detailed directions to each accommodation

Please call us if you would like to request a customized itinerary, book a tour or just ask quesitons about our range of services.

Your Consultant

Booking Process
  • 1Your Tour Specifications
    Request a tailor-made tour proposal. Indicate your interests, desired destinations, travel period and budget.
  • 2Consulting + Proposal
    Our experienced staff will provide professional consulting and prepare a colourful proposal based on your specifications.
  • 3Booking
    To book a tour, simply fill out and submit our form. We will make all tour arrangements for you.
  • 4Payment + Travel Documents
    After completion of the booking process, you will receive a confirmed itinerary. The complete travel documents will be forwarded to you on receipt of the remaining balance following payment of the deposit.
  • 5Tour
    We wish you a relaxing and memorable trip. Enjoy your holiday!
  • 6Your Feedback
    We appreciate any feedback you wish to provide after completion of your tour. This helps us continually improve our products and services.
1Price per person based on two people sharing a double room, flights not included. Prices may vary by season and due to differences in available services.

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