directions_busTours in New Zealand, Christchurch, Christchurch, Te Anau, Queenstown, Dunedin, Hokitika, Punakaiki, Twizel, Arrowtown, Oamaru, Greymouth, Franz Josef, Haast & Milford Sound

SAVE NOW: New Zealand Discover the South Island (Christchurch Return)

Book by 16 Dec 2021 to save $600 per couple*

If you arrive on the South Island and never want to leave, we can’t blame you. On this South Island tour, you’ll absorb nature’s drama on scenic trains, sip away the afternoon in vineyards and discover life on the land with local kiwi farmers. Save $600 per couple when you pay in full by 16 December 2021 for selected travel departures between 01 Jan 2022 - 31 Mar 2023.

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9 nights
  • hotelAccommodation
  • local_activitySelected entry fees
  • local_barSelected drinks
  • restaurantSelected meals
  • airport_shuttleSelected transfers
  • directions_busDay tours
  • directions_boatDay cruises

About this holiday

Slide 1 of 7
Your tour starts and ends in Christchurch

Return tour from Christchurch.

Fresh air, magnificent scenery and outdoor activities are just some of the attractions that await you in ‘the land of the long white cloud’. From soul-reviving scenery – Milford Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, The Remarkables, Mount Cook – to forward-thinking cities, this pocket of NZ trips the light fantastic.


  • Local Connection - Ever wondered about Southern Alps life on the land? Enjoy afternoon tea with farmers Angie and Stan to go behind the scenes.
  • Cultural Immersion - If the setting of 1860 Walter Peak Station doesn’t wow you, then the BBQ dinner and farming demonstration will.
  • Insider Knowledge - Your guide on a cruise around Milford Sound knows the best waterfalls, where to spot dolphins and which rare flora is in season.
  • Sustainable Footprints - The Pomona Island Charitable Trust’s mission is to restore NZ’s largest inland island.


  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 Full Breakfasts
  • 1 Be My Guest Afternoon Tea
  • 5 Dinners with wine
  • 1 Highlight Dinner
  • 1 Farewell Dinner
  • Travel by luxury coach
  • Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide



The accommodation you will enjoy on this tour includes:

  • Novotel Christchurch
  • Mackenzie Country Hotel
  • Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
  • Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas
  • Millennium Hotel, Queenstown
  • Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Douglas Wing)
  • Punakaiki Resort
  • Novotel Christchurch

Travel dates


Please note prices are subject to availability at time of booking and may change without notice.

A SAVINGS OF UP TO $600 per couple applies to selected travel dates between 01 Jan 2022 and 31 Mar 2023 when paid in full by 16 December 2021. Ask our team for details!

  • Twin share - from $5321 per person
  • Sole Use - from $6629 per person
  • 19 - 28 April 2022
  • 13 - 22 Sep 2022
  • Twin share - from $5801 per person
  • Sole Use - from $7388 per person
  • 11 - 20 Oct 2022
  • 1 - 10 Nov 2022
  • 22 Nov - 1 Dec 2022
  • 27 Dec 2022 - 5 Jan 2023
  • 24 Jan - 2 Feb 2023
  • 31 Jan - 9 Feb 2023
  • 7 - 16 Feb 2023
  • 21 Feb - 2 Mar 2023
  • 7 - 16 Mar 2023
  • 21 - 30 Mar 2023

Call our local travel team on 1300 414 198 to secure your seat!



Day 1: Welcome to Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4.00pm and you will be transferred from the airport to your Christchurch hotel. Take some time to relax or explore independently. You may like to step back in time to a grand era of transport and relax on the Christchurch Tram as it takes you around the 'must-see' central attractions. The tram drivers provide a live commentary throughout the loop, identifying points of interest, historic architecture and the changes the city is under-going since the 2011 earthquake (optional experience – own expense). This evening, meet your fellow travelling companions and your Travel Director for a welcome reception at your hotel.

  • Hotel: Novotel Christchurch

Day 2: Christchurch – Twizel

This morning enjoy a Christchurch city sights tour, see how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the ChristChurch Cathedral. It is the world's only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! Next, travel over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains to soak up some spectacular sightseeing. Visit Morelea, the home of Angie and Stan Taylor, for a be my guest afternoon tea and hear about a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand. Later, view the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd, and the bronze statue of a collie dog, the touching tribute to the sheepdogs which helped develop the Mackenzie Country. Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country in Twizel. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

  • Hotel: MacKenzie Country Hotel

Day 3: Twizel - Dunedin

Your day starts with a journey along the Waitaki River, which marks the boundary between the regions of Canterbury and Otago, and with its large catchment it is an ideal source of hydro-electric power. The Benmore Dam holds back New Zealand’s largest artificial lake, and when the Benmore Power Station was opened in 1965 it was the largest power station in New Zealand. Even today, it is still the second largest, and generates enough electricity each year for about 298,000 average New Zealand homes. From the Waitaki Valley you will then travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. As well as shipping limestone to the bigger cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin for construction of their Town Halls and various churches, Oamaru locals made sure that their own town represented the best in limestone building the mid-late 1800’s had to offer. This afternoon you will make your way down to the Southernmost New Zealand city, Dunedin also known as the Edinburgh of the South. With the rest of your free afternoon you may wish to see more of the region with an Optional Experience. Perhaps take a Wildlife Cruise out to Otago Peninsula, visit the Speights Brewery – a New Zealand institution or journey out to the gorgeous Larnach Castle – New Zealand’s only castle. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

  • Hotel: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

Day 4: Dunedin - Te Anau

Explore New Zealand’s adventure capital at your own pace today. There are jet boat rides and white water rafting for the thrill-seekers, and wine tours or intimate cafés for those who enjoy a more leisurely rhythm. You might like to visit the picturesque Queenstown Gardens and enjoy its beautiful tulips in spring or glorious roses in summer. Take a peaceful cruise this evening across Lake Wakatipu aboard the century-old TSS Earnslaw, the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the Southern Hemisphere. Your destination is Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you’ll enjoy a gourmet barbecue Highlight Dinner and entertaining after-dinner show offering glimpses of high-country farm life.

  • Hotel: Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas

Day 5: Te Anau - Queenstown

Today is one of those days where you will want to have your camera battery charged, and ready to go! After leaving Te Anau, you will journey through the Fiordland National Park and out to Milford Sound on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where, as the name suggests, you can see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the waters of the lakes. Then on to the Homer Tunnel, man’s attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges, still left rough-hewn around the edges. As you emerge out the other side of the tunnel, you are presented with one of the world’s most dramatic alpine drives, down through the Cleddau Valley. You will have a stop at the Chasm, where the roaring Cleddau River has carved its way through solid rock, and then it’s on to Milford Sound, where you will cruise the waters of this natural wonder. Your cruise meanders down the sound, taking in the Bowen and Stirling Falls as they plummet from glacial hanging valleys sharply into the sea, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. From the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound, you will travel on to the beautiful sights of Queenstown. An orientation tour skirting around the shores of Lake Wakatipu, takes you into the city centre.

  • Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, 2 nights

Day 6 Queenstown

Explore Queenstown your way, choose from a range of optional sightseeing experiences. You could choose to ride the Shotover Jet, take a gondola to Bob’s Peak. Perhaps take a minibus tour through spectacular Skippers Canyon or immerse yourself among the boutique vineyards and spectacular scenery of Central Otago on a Boutique Wine tour. After a day of activity, enjoy a peaceful evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue highlight dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead. Then enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into high-country farm life. On the cruise back to Queenstown, join a sing-along or a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw.

Day 7: Queenstown - Franz Josef

This morning you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, and begin the passage through Central Otago and out to Westland. On the way out of the Queenstown region, you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. As you amble down the beautiful tree-lined avenues, past the 19th century wooden buildings, you will feel like you have stepped into a movie set. From here you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan, where you will stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town’s delicious stone fruit. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Dunstan, you will travel further into Central Otago and view the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea, followed by Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows. Following an ancient greenstone trail, you will travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes, to the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Our final destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. You may want to get up close and personal with the glaciers on a helicopter flight. Your flight will hover over the snow face and may land high up in the valley so that you can walk across the ice fall – subject to weather conditions (Optional Experience, own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel.

  • Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Douglas Wing)

Day 8: Franz Josef – Punakaiki

If weather conditions are unfavourable on Day 12, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning or you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. Then it’s time for an exhilarating adventure among temperate rainforest giants on the West Coast Treetop Walkway, followed by a visit to Hokitika, home of the native greenstone (jade) for a factory visit and jewellery demonstration. Later, travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You’ll spend the night in an eco-friendly resort, right on the waterfront. This evening enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel, while watching the surf thundering at your doorstep!

  • Hotel: Punakaiki Resort

Day 9: Punakaiki - Christchurch

Enjoy a leisurely start this morning before you travel to Greymouth, here you will join a brewery experience at Monteith’s Brewery where you will be guided through the traditions and heritage of this national icon. You will get to experience and taste ever changing and innovative brews before enjoying a pub style lunch. Later you will board the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch city. This spectacular train journey dates back to 1914 and is rated as one of the world’s most scenic train trips. The train forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. This evening join your AAT Kings Travel Director and Driver, and your new-found friends for a farewell dinner with wine.

  • Hotel: Novotel Christchurch

Day 10: Farewell from Christchurch

Your New Zealand holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. Your flights can depart any time today, and you will be transferred by private car to Christchurch Airport.

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.



Flight Information:

  • Day 1 – flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm into Christchurch Airport
  • Day 10 – flights to depart anytime from Christchurch Airport

Fitness Requirements:

  • Low level of fitness required

What to Bring:

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Jacket in cooler months
Couldn't find an answer to your question? Ask us!

Fine print


Travel at 60 and supplier booking conditions apply. Valid for new bookings only.

Pay Final payment by 16 Dec 2021 to receive discounted price.

Authentic COVID-19 vaccination certificate (electronic or paper showing date and time of vaccination(s)) with final or booster dose given at least 15 days before departing is required for this trip. The wellbeing of our guests is our top priority. That’s why we’ve updated our vaccination policy to require all guests traveling with us through December 31, 2022 be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, which may include a booster shot to keep it current and valid. 

*Save up to $1,000 per couple ($500 per person) on selected AAT Kings and Inspiring Journeys tours/holidays. Must be booked and paid in full by 16 Dec 2021. Offer valid for sale till 16 Dec 2021 for select travel departures from 01 Jan 2022 - 31 Mar 2023. Not combinable with any other discount. Discounts are subject to availability (for select tours and departures), limited seats, offer may be withdrawn at any time without notice. For new bookings only. Excludes group and charter bookings. Other standard booking conditions apply. Please quote WILDAWAITSd at the time of booking. Updated 19 Oct 2021.