16 Day South Island Adventure Private NZ Tour
16 Day South Island Adventure Private Guided Tour
Christchurch – Dunedin – Te Anau – Milford Sound – Queenstown – Wanaka – Franz Josef Glacier – Punakaiki – Abel Tasman National Park – Marlborough Sounds – Kaikoura – Christchurch
New Zealand’s South Island is one of the most amazing and picturesque locations on the face of the planet. On this South Island supreme 16 day private New Zealand tour you will see everything from rain forests, deserted beaches, glaciers, fjords, spectacular mountain ranges and amazing native wildlife.
Day 1 – Christchurch Arrival
You will be met at the airport by one of our friendly staff and taken to your accommodation in Christchurch ‘The Garden City’. In the afternoon we will discover the view from the top of Christchurch’s Port Hills overlooking Banks Peninsula and it’s expanse of extinct volcanoes, take a stroll through the Botanic Gardens on Christchurch’s Avon River and enjoy a welcome meal together in one of the city’s restaurants before our up and coming Road Trip begins.
Day 2 – Christchurch to Dunedin – 340km (4.5 hours drive time)
Today we farewell the ‘Garden City’ and head south through the Canterbury Plains to the town of Oamaru, famous for its Oamaru Stone heritage buildings. Heading further south we make a stop at the legendary Moeraki Boulders. These boulders are actually concretions that have been exposed through shoreline erosion from coastal cliffs that back the beach, some of which weigh several tonnes and are up to 3 metres in diameter. Our final stop and base for the next 2 nights on our South Island tour is Dunedin known as ‘The Scotland Of The Southern Hemisphere’.
Day 3 – Dunedin sights
In and around Dunedin there is much to see and explore. In the morning your Dunedin city tour will include sights such as Baldwin Street, ‘ The Steepest Street in the World’ with gradients reaching up to 35 %! Other sights include the historic railway building, university campus buildings and New Zealand’s very own Cadbury Factory! In the afternoon we take a tour out to the penguin colony to view yellow eyed penguins, the world’s rarest. In the evening you may wish to make a visit to the historic Speights Brewery for some sampling of one of New Zealand’s most iconic beers.
Day 4 – Dunedin to Te Anau – 290km (4 hours drive)
Today our South Island tour takes us inland to Te Anau- known as the gateway to Fiordland National Park which covers approximately 1.2 million hectares. In the afternoon there is the possibility to take one of the many short walks in the area. In the evening you may wish to take an excursion the Te Anau glow worm caves(optional).
Day 5 – Te Anau to Milford Sound – 120km (2 hours drive)
Be prepared for one of the jewels of the New Zealand landscape.The spectacular drive from Te Anau- Milford Sound is one of the most spectacular in the world and certainly a highlight on any New Zealand tour. En route you will see spectacular valleys, breath taking mountains and hopefully spot the cheeky Kea (New Zealand’s mountain parrot). Tonight you will get the opportunity to really experience what Milford Sound has to offer with an overnight stay on the Milford Mariner Ship which takes you into the heart of the Fjords(included).
Day 6 – Milford Sound to Queenstown – 300km (5 hours drive)
Today we head back up the Milford Highway to Queenstown ‘New Zealand’s adventure capital of the world’. Skirting our way around Lake Wakatipu makes for some stunning photography and you will be amazed by the Remarkables Mountain Range, one of the most famous back drops for Lord Of the Rings. We arrive in Queenstown late afternoon so that the evening is free to explore everything that this town has to offer.
Day 7 – Queenstown
In and around Queenstown there are a multitude of things to see and do. It is a day entirely for your leisure. World famous white water rafting, Bungy Jumping, Scenic helicopter flights over the Remarkables or even a scenic cruise on Lake Wakatipu on the 100 year old TSS Earnslaw Steam Ship are some of the many possibilities.
Day 8 – Queenstown to Wanaka – 82km (2 hours drive)
Today we drive over the famous Crown Range which is the highest highway and usually the high point on any New Zealand Tour to the picturesque lakeside town of Wanaka. En route we visit Arrowtown, one of the key towns in the Central Otago Gold Rush. We visit the historic Arrowtown Chinese Settlement. We can also wander around the many boutique shops that the village has to offer. In Wanaka this afternoon there is a possibility to walk up Mt Iron and get a 360 degree view of Lake Wanaka and Mt aspiring in panoramic style or maybe a trip to Puzzling World with its illusion rooms and “3-D” great maze.
Day 9 – Wanaka to Franz Josef Glacier – 285km (4 hours drive)
You leave the world of open valleys, lakes and barren mountains to discover Westland National Park, 131,600 hectares of lush native rainforest and its multitude of waterfalls. A stretch of the legs near Haast through dense coastal bush gives us the opportunity to experience the Tasman Sea and rainforest side by side. This afternoon there is the possibility of a scenic flight over the stunning Franz Josef Glacier, only one of two places in the world where you can experience a Glacier surrounded by rainforest.This is a highlight on any tour in New Zealand. Tonight you will have the chance to relax and unwind with a soak in the Glacier Hot Pools each filled with pure water from the Glaciers( included).
Day 10 – Franz Josef Glacier to Punakaiki – 218km (3.5 hours drive)
Today our South Island Tour takes us northwards up the west coast to Hokitika, a town renowned for its extensive range of greenstone, gold and glassblowing shops. We visit a small greenstone factory so that you get the opportunity to see how things like necklaces and sculptures are carved from the precious stone. Heading northwards through Greymouth we follow ‘ The Coast Road’ voted New Zealand’s most spectacular coastal road to arrive at our destination in Punakaiki home to the world famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes.
Day 11 – Punakaiki to Abel Tasman National Park – 286km (4.5 hours drive)
First stop on our road trip today is a visit to the world renowned Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. We take a 20 minute walk to view this amazing limestone landscape of Pancake shaped rock formations, surge pools and blowholes. From here we head north along ‘The Coast Road’ to reach the Buller Gorge and its spectacular canyons along the Buller River. The last part of our tour for the day heads through Murchison and up the orchard lined Motueka Valley Road to our destination in the Abel Tasman National Park region where our South Island Tour will be based for the next 2 nights.
Day 12 – Abel Tasman National Park
Today is a free day to explore the wonders of New Zealand’s smallest but certainly one of the most spectacular National Parks. Options include sailing on board a catamaran, walking spectacular sections of the National Park scenic boat cruises or taking a kayak tour around the Pinnacle Island Seal Colony where you can observe up close New Zealand’s native fur seal.
Day 13 – Abel Tasman National Park to Marlborough Sounds – 180km (3 hours drive)
From one area of stunning beauty to the next. Driving through Nelson we head over the Whangamoa Ranges and through Havelock, a major gateway to the Marlborough Sounds and also known as ‘The Green Lipped Mussel Capital of the World’. Our tour then heads into the famous Kenepuru Sound. For those of us feeling energised in the afternoon it is possible to talk a walk up a section of the Queen Charlotte Track to reach a saddle where the views of both Kenepuru and Queen Charlotte Sound surround us in true panoramic fashion.
Day 14 – Marlborough Sounds to Kaikoura – 206km (3.5 hours drive)
Today we take a wine tour through the largest and one of the most prestigious wine growing regions in New Zealand, the Marlborough Wine Region. There is the possibility of visiting one, a few or several wineries to sample the legendary sauvignon blanc among other varieties. Our destination tonight is Kaikoura, a whale watching hotspot with some 17 species of whale located within 8km of the shoreline! Kaikoura is also home to a seal colony and is a seafood-lovers paradise with fresh crayfish one of the many delicacies on the menu.
Day 15 – Kaikoura to Christchurch – 186km (2.5 hours drive)
This morning is a chance to see whales up close and personal with a 3 hour Whale Watching Tour, swim with the dolphins, go fishing for lobster or take a hike on the Kaikoura Peninsula Track with its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Southern Alps side by side.Take your pick! In the afternoon we head south to Christchurch where we can enjoy dinner together and toast to ‘The Road Trip’ of a lifetime.
Day 16 Departure Day
After a hearty breakfast you will be transferred to your onward travel arrangements. We hope that you enjoyed ‘The Road Trip’ through our stunning backyard.