Total South Island
Duration: 16 nights self-drive tour
Price from: £1599pp
Christchurch 2 nights
Kaikoura 1 night
Blenheim 1 night
Nelson 1 night
Greymouth 1 night
Fox Glacier 1 night
Wanaka 1 night
Queenstown 2 nights
Te Anau 2 nights
Invercargill 2 nights
Dunedin 1 night
Mount Cook 1 night
Day 1 Christchurch: Collect your hire car and the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 2 Christchurch: At leisure. Stay around Cathedral Square to enjoy the shops, cafes and restaurants or, book a day trip on the TranzAlpine to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass and return – one of the world's great rail journeys!
Day 3 Christchurch/Kaikoura: Leave the city behind and head to the fishing village of Kaikoura, where restaurants and cafes serve daily seafood specials, particularly crayfish. In the afternoon take a boat trip to watch for whales and dolphins (approx 2½ hours).
Day 4 Kaikoura/Blenheim: Enter the Marlborough region, famous for the quality wines (approx 1½ hours).
Day 5 Blenheim/Nelson: Drive across to Nelson and then into the Abel Tasman National Park. From here consider a boat trip up the coast then enjoy a scenic coastal walk back. If you feel like getting closer to the water then take a kayak tour instead (approx 1½ hours).
Day 6 Nelson/Greymouth: Travel down to Punakaiki for lunch, and see the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes located in Paparoa National Park, before continuing on to Greymouth (approx 4 hours).
Day 7 Greymouth/Fox Glacier: Drive up to the great glaciers, Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. A fantastic place where you can take a walk on a glacier, take a scenic helicopter flight over both peaks or heli-hike (approx 2½ hours).
Day 8 Fox Glacier/Wanaka: View glaciers as you drive down to Wanaka. On arrival take a scenic walk, or have a relaxing dip in the hotel's hot pools (approx 3½ hours).
Day 9 Lake Wanaka/Queenstown: A short drive today to Queenstown, the adrenalin capital of New Zealand. With so many activities on offer, it is worth planning ahead to make the most of your time here (approx 1 hour).
Day 10 Queenstown: At leisure. Take the Skyline gondola up the hill for great views of the lake, go bungee jumping, visit Wakatipu to see some locations for 'Lord of the Rings', or simply relax in one of the bars or cafes.
Day 11 Queenstown/Te Anau: Either spend the morning in Queenstown, or head straight to Te Anau. On arrival, walk by Lake Te Anau or take a boat through the caves to see the glowworms. The rest of the day is at leisure (approx 2 hours).
Day 12 Milford Sound: Your included excursion begins with a coach transfer from Te Anau to Milford Sound, passing through plains, meadows, mountains and waterfalls. You'll then embark on a nature cruise along the Sound to fully experience the full glory and beauty.
Day 13 Te Anau/Invercargill: Leave on the Southern Scenic Route from Te Anau stopping between Manapouri and Blackmount if you like bird watching, as sometimes the black falcon can be seen. Head onwards through the old timber town of Tuatapera, along the south coast to Riverton. From the cliff above Te Waewae Bay, Hector's dolphins and southern right whales are sometimes seen. On arrival in Invercargill wander around to catch a glimpse of old New Zealand (approx 2 hours).
Day 14 Invercargill: At leisure. Alternatively, extend your holiday to include the Stewart Island Explorer.
Day 15 Invercargill/Dunedin: Drive onward to Dunedin, with its Scottish feel and Victorian architecture. Make time to visit the Otago Peninsula and see rare yellow-eyed penguins (approx 3 hours).
Day 16 Dunedin/Mt Cook: Travel north along the coast before heading inland to Mt Cook, known locally, in Maori, as Aoraki. On arrival take in the majestic views of the mountain on a guided tour or one of the walks and trails. Fabulous views of Mt Cook can also be enjoyed from your hotel (approx 4 hours).
Day 17 Mt Cook/Christchurch: Return to Christchurch where you will drop off your hire car (approx 4 hours).
Accommodation: 3* PLUS Rydges Latimer, Christchurch; 3* The White Morph, Kaikoura; 5* Chateau Marlborough, Blenheim; 4* Grand Mercure Nelson; 3* Kingsgate, Greymouth, 4* Distinction, Fox Glacier, 4* Edgewater, Wanaka, 3* PLUS Copthorne Hotel, Queenstown; 4* Distinction, Te Anau; 3* PLUS Quest Invercargill; 4* Quest Dunedin; 4* Hermitage, Mount Cook.
Meals: Room only.
Tour price: The price shown is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes accommodation, Milford Sound Nature Cruise excursion from Te Anau on day 12 and 17 days group C car hire. International flightsare not included.