9 Day South Island Adventurer Private NZ Tour
9 Day South Island Adventure Private Guided Tour
Christchurch – Hokitika via Arthurs Pass – Franz Josef Glacier – Wanaka – Queenstown – Lake Tekapo via Mt Cook – Christchurch
New Zealand’s South Island, dubbed by many as a ‘Paradise on Earth’. On this amazing 9 day South Island adventurer private New Zealand tour you can expect to see mountains, glaciers, turquoise coloured lakes, waterfalls, beaches and stunning native rain forests. Welcome to ‘The Road Trip’ where your journey begins.
Interested in a Rarotonga and Cook Islands Add-on? Click here to learn more.
Day 1 – Arrival and sightseeing Christchurch
You will be met at the airport by one of our friendly staff and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon we will take a Christchurch city tour. Christchurch is known throughout New Zealand as ‘The Garden City’. This private city tour includes a visit to ‘The Sign Of the Kiwi’, the most panoramic of Christchurch’s viewpoints, a stroll in the botanic gardens and drive around the bays of Christchurch taking in Lyttleton which was the gateway for many of Christchurch and the Canterbury region’s first settlers. Tonight we will enjoy a welcome dinner and get ready for the memorable South Island tour ahead.
Day 2 – Christchurch to Hokitika via Arthurs Pass – 260km (3.5 hours drive)
Today we leave the city of Christchurch and head west towards the Southern Alps. From Christchurch- Arthurs Pass you will travel on the ‘Tranz Alpine’ train through the Southern Alps. Arthurs Pass is the main divide between Christchurch and the West Coast that was crossed by the early gold miners on horse and cart in the 1800’s. In Arthurs Pass there is the possibility to take one of many short forest walks in native beech forest and listen to the sound of New Zealand’s kea (mountain parrot) overhead. We overnight in Hokitika which is renowned for its ‘wild west coast beaches’ and roaring greenstone trade.
Day 3 Hokitika- Franz Josef Glacier 140km (2 hours drive)
Heading south through the majestic rainforest of the west coast you will encounter coast, beach and mountains all within 15km of each other. Franz Josef Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world and only one of two places where you can view rainforest and glacier side by side. This afternoon you will have the option of doing a half day fully guided walk on the glacier, a heli-hike or a helicopter flight with a landing at the top of this majestic glacier.This is a highlight on any New Zealand tour.Tonight you can unwind and soak in the glacier hot pools.
Day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier to Wanaka 280km (4 hours drive)
One of the prettiest and most dramatic journeys in the country is what you can experience on this tour over the Haast Pass through to Wanaka. En route we visit Lake Matheson, otherwise known as ‘Mirror Lakes’ where on a clear day it is possible to see the reflection of New Zealand’s highest mountain Mt Cook (3754m/12,316ft). The walking possibilities are endless today around Haast and Haast Pass and we can do one of or several walks, some of which feature spectacular waterfalls and deep blue coloured pools where it is possible to see trout swimming. Tonight we stay in Wanaka, one of the most popular kiwi vacation hot spots situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka.
Day 5 – Wanaka to Queenstown 82km (1.5 hours drive)
This morning in and around Wanaka there are many options. For those feeling adventurous we can take a walk up Mt Iron where at the top we can take can admire the breath-taking views of the nearby Mt Aspiring National Park and Lake Wanaka. Other options include a visit to Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World or a kayak tour on the lake. This afternoon our South Island tour takes us over The Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest highway to Arrowtown which was one of New Zealand’s most important towns in the gold rush to Central Otago in the 1860’s. From there it’s just a short hop to Queenstown, dubbed The ‘Adventure Capital of the World’. This will be our base for the next 2 nights.
Day 6 – Queenstown
Today in and around Queenstown there are many possibilities. It is a day entirely for your leisure. For the adventurous among us there is skydiving, bungy-jumping, paragliding and white water rafting. For those of us who prefer to take a more relaxed approach to the day a cruise on the 100 year old TSS Earnslaw Steam Ship or a walk alongside Lake Wakatipu are not to be missed.
Day 7 – Queenstown to Lake Tekapo via Mt Cook – 360km (4.5 hours drive)
We leave Central Otago today through the Kawarau Gorge and Cromwell where we make a stop en route and visit a local fruit shop and a chance to try ‘Real Fruit Ice cream’ and sample a few of the New Zealand famous manuka honey products. From there we cross the Lindis Pass (965m) to the Mackenzie Country, known for its Merino Sheep and wool industry. Weather permitting we can take a short walk at the foot of Mt Cook- New Zealand’s highest mountain. Tonight we stay on the shores of Lake Tekapo and its turquoise coloured blue waters.
Day 8 – Lake Tekapo to Christchurch 250km (3 hours drive)
In clear weather there is the possibility to take a one hour flight around Mt Cook and its spectacular surrounding valleys. There may even be time for one of the many short walks in the area each with its superb views. In the afternoon we drive back to Christchurch and enjoy a farewell dinner together in the evening and toast to a memorable New Zealand tour.
Day 9 – Departure day
Today you will be transferred to your onward travel arrangements. We hope you have enjoyed your experience with ‘The Road Trip’.