10 Day Picture Perfect South Islands Scenic Wonders

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Milford Sound Mitre Peak
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ITINERARY
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10 Day Picture Perfect South Islands Scenic Wonders

Explore the very best of the South Island with our luxury New Zealand road trip. Discover hidden gems, from private beaches to luxury lodges. Discover our world of sophisticated splendor, incredible alpine scenery with unforgettable bespoke guided experiences. Scenic Glacier Flight, Franz Joseph Glacier, Tranz Alpine Rail Journey, Mt Cook, Tasman GlacierWalk, Cruise Milford Sound, Queenstown.

Duration: 10 Days

Starts: Christchurch

Finishes: Christchurch

Drive Journey
  • Dedicated Travel Designer
  • Full In-Country Support
  • Specialist Guides on all selected experiences
  • Full Vehicle Selection
Your Experiences:
  1. Hooker Valley Guided Hike
  2. Fly & Cruise Milford Sound
  3. Mou Waho Island Cruise and Nature Walk
  4. Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight – Fox & Franz
  5. Tranz Alpine Rail Journey
Your Locations:
  1. Christchurch
  2. Mount Cook National Park
  3. Queenstown
  4. Milford Sound
  5. Wanaka
  6. Franz Josef
  7. Greymouth
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Day by day tour itinerary

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DAY 1
Christchurch

‘Haere Mai’ and Welcome to New Zealand.

New Zealand’s second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island, Christchurch sits on the very edge of the Canterbury Plains and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean. The city itself has bounced back after a series of major earthquakes..

Swanky new office buildings of steel and glass neighbour the neo-gothic Arts Centre, the picturesque Antigua Boat Sheds and the under-reconstruction Christ Church Cathedral. Dozens of new restaurants and bars line the Avon River, while fantastic boutique stores hide down super cool laneway precincts. Christchurch is a city transformed, and just waiting to be rediscovered.

Christchurch
DAY 2
Lake Tekapo & Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park

This is a Fantasy Land of Ice and Rock. Mt Cook National Park is known for its exquisite alpine beauty.

Today head westwards through the Canterbury plains – you will find a superb location for some great photos at Lake Tekapo. Tekapo is one of three significant, neighboring lakes that border the Mackenzie Valley. Golden tussock grass carpets the surrounding hillside and rolls away into the distance where the Southern Alps frame the horizon. The charming ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’ sits alone on its shores and the views to, Aoraki Mt Cook are remarkable – this is a great place to stop fora picnic.

Mount Cook National Park

This is a Fantasy Land of Ice and Rock. Mt Cook National Park, known for its exquisite alpine beauty and is home to the highest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook. Its Maori name, ‘Aoraki’ means ‘cloud piercer’ and at 12,016ft (3,755m) it towers above the surrounding snow-covered peaks in the park. This magnificent mountain is surrounded by over 150 peaks along with countless glaciers, ice and snowfields, mountain lakes, and ranges.

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    2 Nights Accommodation at The Hermitage

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    Approximate Distance: 326 km | 233 m

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    Total Driving Time: 4 Hours

Mt Cook National Park
DAY 3
Into the Beautiful Hooker Valley

Offers the most spectacular of Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Southern Alps...

Hooker Valley Guided Hike: 5 Hours Walking
An ice-capped world of giant glaciers awaits as you embark on one of New Zealand’s finest short walks: the Hooker Valley Track.

This stunning 11 km (6.8 miles) trek leads you to the terminal lake of the Hooker Glacier. The trail winds through the Hooker Valley in the shadow of Aoraki /Mount Cook, crossing the mighty Hooker River on old-fashioned swing bridges. Reaching the lake, you are rewarded by unsurpassed vistas of Aoraki / Mount Cook’s south face and the surrounding glaciers.

Your knowledgeable guide brings the unique history, flora, and fauna to life as you wander.

Hooker Valley
DAY 4
The Alpine Resort of Queenstown

The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting, sophisticated, and fantastically scenic.

The drive to Queenstown is stunning, leading you over the rugged Crown Range on the highest main road in the country. Take your time and enjoy the scenic lookouts en route – your camera will get a workout.

The winding mountain road demands concentration & care, but more conservative drivers can take an alternative route along the Clutha River, Lake Dunstan, and the Shotover River. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along the way.

The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting, sophisticated, and fantastically scenic. It’s the place to source almost any kind of adventure including bungy jumping, jet boating, horse trekking, rafting, and river surfing. It’s also a destination for luxury experiences – gourmet food and wine, spa treatments, and leisurely games of golf.

Queenstown Lakeside
DAY 5
Experience Milford Sound - Fly & Cruise

For the most engaging way to experience the riches of Fiordland National Park.

For the most engaging way to experience the riches of Fiordland National Park. This option includes three modes of transport (land, sea & air) making this the ‘holy grail’ of combination tours.

Coach: Board a luxury coach for a journey into beautiful Fiordland. The Road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. The first part is relatively mild farmland, and then you’ll ease into a beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes and through the rough-hewn Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound.

Cruise: Enjoy a scenic cruise of the entire length of Milford Sound viewing the spectacular waterfalls and famous Mitre Peak. Grand, brooding, serene and wild, Milford Sound draws visitors from all over the globe to cruise its length. The purpose-built cruise boat offers excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest, mountains, and wildlife with large windows, spacious decks, and comfortable lounges.

Fly: Experience the “Absolutely Stunning” scenery as you fly over Sutherland Falls and over beautiful Milford Sound and lakes Te Anau and Lake Manapouri on your way back to Queenstown.

Milford Sound Scenic Flight
DAY 6
Mou Waho Island Cruise and Nature Walk

Discover the unique eco-sanctuary of Mou Waho Island in Lake Wanaka

Mou Waho, one of only five islands to be found in the vastness of Lake Wanaka. Accessible only by a 35-minute boat cruise, Mou Waho is an island nature reserve with a difference. With no predators or pests roaming here, New Zealand’s rare & endangered species can live in peace, giving you the opportunity to observe them up close. Walking with a long-time local guide, the well-formed track leads you through the native bush to Tyrwhitt Peak.

Here you will find Arethusa Pool, a beautiful miniature lake with small islands within it. Impress your friends by telling them you have visited an island in a lake, inside an island in a lake, inside an island in the ocean! From Tyrwhitt Peak, you’ll be spellbound by the 360-degree views of Lake Wanaka surrounding you, and the mountains beyond. Don’t forget your swimwear: on a hot day, it’s hard to resist a swim in Mou Waho’s cool clear waters.

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    1 Night Accommodation at Tin Tub Luxury Lodge

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    Approximate Distance: 70 km | 44 miles

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    Total Driving Time: 1 hour 10 mins

Mou Waho island
DAY 7
Glacier Country!

The Wild West Coast - Tai Poutini National Park Westland

Be transported to the South Island’s wild West Coast today on one of New Zealand’s most breathtaking scenic drives. The views are impressive all the way, and once over the Haast Pass they change dramatically. There’s beauty around every bend, with woodland walks and dramatic waterfalls along the route — perfect for picnic stops.

When the ancient forests and mountain passes give way to coastal views, you’ll soon be nearing glacier country. Nestled in a rainforest clearing, Franz Josef Glacier lies at the heart of the Westland National Park.

Welcome to one of the most diverse and beautiful areas of New Zealand.

Franz Josef Glacier
DAY 8
Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight – Fox & Franz

Exploring these majestic rivers of frozen ice is a must. Located near the Main Divide the views of the Southern Alps are second to none.

Fly over Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier on a spectacular helicopter tour that includes a landing right on the snow. Seeing both glaciers on a single helicopter flight offers an incredible perspective and understanding of New Zealand’s massive ice sheets, and you touch down on one of the glaciers to snap up-close photographs of the frozen terrain.

  • Spectacular aerial views of Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier
  • The live pilot commentary points out landmarks and unique features below
  • Walkout onto the snow after an exciting glacier landing
  • Bring home photographs of the glaciers and the stunning Southern Alps
Glacier Country
DAY 9
TranzAlpine Rail Journey

Take one of the world's great train journeys

Today travel to Greymouth where you will return your rental car. The TranzAlpine is one of the world’s great train journeys covering 223 kilometres (139 miles) one-way, taking just under 5 hours. You’ll traverse the majestic Canterbury Plains, to the backdrop of the mighty Southern Alps – the journey of a lifetime.

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    1 night at The George

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    Approximate Distance: 171 km

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    Total Driving Time: 2 hours 10 mins

DAY 10
Farewell from Christchurch

Return to Christchurch airport for your onward journey

With 10 days visiting the scenic South Island, you  will have made enduring memories and fondness of your time in New Zealand. Stay in touch and let us create more South Pacific dream trips.

Farewell
Emma
Emma McCormick, OUR ABSOLUTE NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL DESIGNER SAYS: “The untouched beauty of World Heritage National Parks and outstanding accommodations make this relaxing holiday seem longer than it is. The hero of this journey is the majestic grandeur of the Southern Alps, tusscok highlands and rainforest that sweep gracefully alongside the lowlands.”

Ready to find out more? Talk to one of our friendly travel designers about his tour. We guarantee you it will be the experience of a lifetime!

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    10 Day Picture Perfect South Islands Scenic Wonders

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