Total South Island
Duration: 16 nights self-drive tour
Price from: £3299pp
Christchurch 2 nights
Kaikoura 1 night
Blenheim 1 night
Nelson 1 night
Greymouth 1 night
Franz Josef 1 night
Wanaka 1 night
Queenstown 2 nights
Te Anau 2 nights
Invercargill 2 nights
Dunedin 1 night
Mount Cook 1 night
Days 1-2: Fly to Christchurch.
Day 3 Christchurch: On arrival, collect your hire car and make your way to your hotel.
Day 4 Christchurch: Stay around Cathedral Square to enjoy the shops, cafes and restaurants or, take a trip on the TranzAlpine to Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass and return – one of the world’s great rail journeys.
Day 5 Christchurch/Kaikoura: Leave the city behind and head to the fishing village of Kaikoura, where restaurants and cafés serve daily seafood specials, particularly crayfish. In the afternoon a boat trip is included to watch for whales and dolphins (approx 2½ hours).
Day 6 Kaikoura/Blenheim: Enter the Marlborough region, famous for the quality wines (approx 1½ hours).
Day 7 Blenheim/Nelson: Drive across to Nelson and then into the Abel Tasman National Park. From here consider a boat trip up the coast followed by a scenic coastal walk back. If you feel like getting closer to the water then take a kayak tour instead (approx 1½ hours).
Day 8 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 9 Greymouth/Franz Josef: Drive up to the great glaciers, Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. A fantastic place where you can walk on a glacier, take a scenic helicopter flight over both peaks or heli-hike (approx 2¼ hours).
Day 10 Franz Josef/Wanaka: View glaciers as you drive down to Wanaka. On arrival take a scenic walk, or have a dip in the hotel’s hot pools (approx 3¾ hours).
Day 11 Lake Wanaka/Queenstown: A short drive today to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adrenalin capital. With so many activities on offer, it is worth planning ahead to make the most of your time here (approx 1 hour).
Day 12 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 sit back in one of the bars or cafés.
Day 13 Queenstown/Te Anau: Spend the morning in Queenstown, or if you prefer, head straight to Te Anau. On arrival, walk by Lake Te Anau or take a boat through the caves to see the glowworms (approx 2 hours).
Day 14 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 its full glory and beauty.
Day 15 Te Anau/Invercargill: Drive the Southern Scenic Route and, if you like bird watching, stop between Manapouri and Blackmount 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 occasionally seen. Arrive Invercargill for a glimpse of old New Zealand (approx 2 hours).
Day 16 Invercargill: At leisure. Alternatively, extend your tour to include the Stewart Island Explorer (see page 133).
Day 17 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 18 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 19 Mt Cook/Christchurch: Return to Christchurch where you will drop off your hire car and your tour concludes with your onward journey (approx 4 hours).
Accommodation: 3* PLUS Rydges Latimer, Christchurch; 3* The White Morph, Kaikoura; 5* Chateau Marlborough, Blenheim; 4* Saxon Lodge, Nelson; 3* Kingsgate, Greymouth, 3* Glenfern Villas, Franz Josef, 4* Edgewater, Wanaka, 3* PLUS Copthorne Hotel, Queenstown; 4* Distinction Luxmore, Te Anau; 3* PLUS Quest Invercargill; 4* Scenic 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 international flights, accommodation, Milford Sound Nature Cruise excursion from Te Anau on day 14 and 17 days group C car hire.
WHY NOT TOUR BY MOTORHOME?
16 night self-drive motorhome tour
Total South Island is available with a motorhome rather than a car. The price shown includes return international flights, one pre-night in Christchurch and a Britz Venturer motorhome with bonus pack for 16 days.