• Queenstown 18 days North and South Island
  • Honeymoon Walking Rob Roy Wanaka
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise New Zealand
Queenstown 18 days North and South Island1 Honeymoon Walking Rob Roy Wanaka2 Milford Sound Nature Cruise New Zealand3

12 Days South Island of New Zealand - Full Itinerary

Essence of the South Island in 12 days

Day 1 - Arrival in Christchurch and collect your rental car
After arrival at Christchurch Airport go to the rental car counter to collect your reserved rental car. The central city is only a short drive away (15 minutes) so depending on your flight arrival time, you’ll have some time to explore some of Christchurch.

Day 2 - Travel via Lake Tekapo to the Mt. Cook region
Drive via the Inland route (via the scenic Rakaia Gorge) through South Canterbury to Geraldine, then into the Mackenzie country to Lake Tekapo and Twizel Village (285 km, 177 miles, 4 hours). Lake Tekapo gets its milky turquoise colour from fine rock-flour formed by suspended glaciers. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and enjoy views of the Southern Alps through the altar windows.The southern hemisphere's equivalent of the Northern Lights is best seen at Lake Tekapo, between April and September. The Mount John Observatory is definitely worth a visit. Because of limited accommodation in this region, your stay may vary between Twizel, Mt. Cook Village and Lake Tekapo.

Day 3 - Explore Mt. Cook NP and continue to Dunedin
The alpine village of Mount Cook, is located in Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park.This area offers 4WD safaris, boating on the glacier lakes, horse treks, fishing, scenic flights with snow landings and numerous walks and hikes. The Glacier Explorers company operates up to 7 trips per day from early September to late May. From the Hermitage Hotel, be driven by coach to the Tasman Valley. After a 20-minute walk, take a boat cruise through the Tasman Glacier terminal lake. Touch and taste the ice crystals from the floating icebergs and get awesome views of Mount Cook and southern alps. After exploring the high country of the South Island, travel down the Waitaki Valley region and visit Oamaru, to see it's historic whitestone architecture. Stop for lunch at the nearby iconic ‘Fleur’s’ restaurant in the fishing village of Moeraki (not to be confused with the ‘Moeraki Boulders’).
Mount Cook mountain in the South Island

Day 2 - Mount Cook region

Glacier Explore tour in the South Island

Day 2 - Glacier Lake Explorer Mt. Cook

Wildlife tour near Dunedin South Island

Day 3 - Wildlife Tour Dunedin

Included in Days 1 to 3
  • Rental car with full insurance, GPS and taxes
  • ✓ 3 nights accommodation with breakfast
  • ✓ Glacier lake tour on Tasman Glacier, Mt. Cook
Optional tours at your request
  •  Stargazing night tour from Lake Tekapo (at Mt. John)
  •  Stargazing night tour at Mt. Cook Village
  •  Guided walks and heli flight into Mt. Cook NP
  •  any other tour you wish to do
Day 9 - Travel via West Coast to Fox Glacier
Travel to the beautiful rugged West Coast (Queenstown to Fox: 327 km, 202 miles, 5.5 hours). From Haast to Jackson Bay there are empty shingle beaches, lakes and wetlands, all with the backdrop of the Southern Alps. For an authentic insight to this area, join the Waiatoto River Jet Boating Safari to explore the local rivers. Join a wildlife tour to see fur seals, Hector's Dolphins and Fiordland Crested Penguins. A helicopter flight over the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier is a definite highlight, especially if you land on the snow! Do the Lake Matheson Walk (about 1 hour and a bit to walk around) or the glacier face walk in the Fox Glacier valley. Accommodation options are limited on the West Coast and will vary between Punakaiki and Greymouth, Franz Josef and Fox Village.

Day 10 - Fox Glacier to Greymouth / Punakaiki area
The West Coast region is sparsely populated parts of the country and there very few towns on the 600 kms of coastal road between Karamea and Jackson Bay (Fox to Greymouth/Punakaiki area: 200-250 km, 124-155 miles, 3-4 hours).  A visit to the White Heron colony near Whataroa is a must-do! The town of Hokitika, is famous for New Zealand Pounamu (Jade) and the gold rush from 1860-80. Stop here for a break and immerse yourself in it's history. The Great Coast Road as one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the world! Drive alongside the ancient limestone cliffs of Paparoa National Park, home to the world's smallest penguin. Go underground rafting at Charleston, caving at Fox River and visit the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki. Visit Cape Foulwind to see the seal colony and stroll the coastal walkway. Stop at ‘PR’s’ Cafe in Westport for the best home-cooked food in the West Coast!

Day 11 - TranzAlpine train journey to Christchurch
There is plenty of time to discover the sights and stunning walks in the Paparoa National Park, before leaving Greymouth for Christchurch. The TranzAlpine scenic train runs between Christchurch and Greymouth (Greymouth to Christchurch: 250 km, 155 miles, 4.5 hours). From the comfort of modern carriages you can see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Continue on through the Canterbury Plains, a vast quilt of agricultural land. Arrive at Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city. Be collected at the Christchurch Railway Station and driven to your accommodation for the last night of this trip. The central business district of Christchurch is being renovated, but the city still thrives as a 'Garden City'. The innovative dining in the suburbs are delightful.The surrounds are a backyard of magnificent alpine heights, expansive plains, rivers, luxury pockets of wineries, hot pools and a gorgeous coastline.

Day 12 - Depart ex Christchurch
Depending on your flight time, you may have ample time to explore the Christchurch region before leaving. If departing in the evening, Akaroa would be a perfect day trip (only a 1.5 hour drive away (one-way). Feel free to extend your stay in Christchurch or any other location.

Important to know: every part of this itinerary can be amended to your personal requirements. We can add, delete or amend. Just contact us and it will be done!

Day 9 - Wilderness Explore near Haast


Day 10 - Heli-hiking Fox + Franz Glaciers


Day 10 - West Coast road Punakaiki


Day 11 - TranzAlpine train to Christchurch

christchurch botanic gardens peacock fountain

Day 11 - Last night in Christchurch

Included in Days 9 to 12
  • ✓ Fox or Franz Josef glacier 30 minute helicopter flight
  • ✓ 3 nights accommodation with breakfast
  • ✓ TranzAlpine train journey tickets
  • ✓ Private transfer Christchurch Railway to hotel
Optional tours
  •  White Heron tour Whataroa
  •  Charleston Underground Caving
  •  Horse Riding Punakaiki
  •  any other tour you wish to do
Day 7 - Travel to Queenstown / Wanaka
The drive to Queenstown only takes 2.5 hours and to Wanaka, 3.5 hours. Wanaka is located on Lake Wanaka and has a relaxed village atmosphere, plus it's only a 1-hour drive from the busy Queenstown. If you want a relaxed and local ‘vibe, stay in Wanaka. If you crave the nightlife and world-class facilities, then stay in Queenstown. Either way, the Wanaka-Queenstown region (with Cromwell and Cardrona in between) offers an endless supply of adventure, including zipline, jet boating, bungy or sky diving. Once in Central Otago, the rainforests of the Fiordland area are replaced by large lakes and tussock grassland. This area is renowned for it’s stunning wines and boutique vineyards. Stay 2 nights.

Day 8 - Explore Queenstown and Wanaka region
Wanaka is a 4-season holiday destination, with skiing, fishing, hiking, wine tasting, canyoning, scenic flights, skydiving and 750 kms of cycle trails. Visit the nearby town of Queenstown, Cromwell and Alexandra. Queenstown is one of New Zealand's top visitor destinations. You'll be spellbound by the crystal clear Lake Wakatipu and it’s dramatic alpine surrounds. Queenstown is also home to the ultimate adventure bucket list. Skiers love the winter months and all visitors love activities like bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting. Queenstown is now a famous cycling destination with different graded scenic track and backcountry trails.

Day 7 - Matukituki River Jet, Wanaka


Day 8 - Lake Cruise and Walk Wanaka

Included in Days 7 to 8
  • ✓ 2 nights accommodation with breakfast.
  • ✓ Dart River Safari or Wanaka River Journeys jet boating
Optional tours at your request
  •  Walter Peak or private farm tour
  •  Eco Wanaka lake or walking tours
  •  Skydive Queenstown or Wanaka
  •  Boutique Wine & Food tours
  • any other tour you wish to do
Days 4 - Penguins and Albatross colonies near Dunedin
Its time to explore the wild and stunning beauty of the Otago Peninsula. Nestled at the foot of Tairoa Head is the Royal Albatross Centre, the only place in the world on a mainland where you can view Northern Royal Albatross in their natural habitat. (The Albatross colony is closed between 15 Sept and 25 Nov.)  At Dunedin's doorstep, you'll find an incredible variety of wildlife, including the rare yellow- eyed penguin. See fur seals, sea lions and the cute little blue penguins. If exploring the peninsula on your own, do the ‘Tunnel Beach Walk’ then the ‘Sandfly Bay’ beach walk. Visit New Zealand’s only castle ‘Larnach’ and stroll through it’s stunning gardens.

Days 5 - Via Southern Scenic Route to Te Anau
Travel the ‘Southern Scenic Route’ via the Catlins or from Invercargill to Te Anau. This 200km (124 miles) drive via Tuatapere takes approx 2.5 hours. The drive traverses the eastern boundary of Fiordland National Park and the rugged south coast, connecting to the southern parts of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. There are opportunities for tramping, mountain biking, trout fishing, hunting, boating and caving. When you arrive at New Zealand’s hiking capital, Te Anau, take the ‘LOTR walk’ along the Waiau River (on the Kepler Track). Start from the ‘Rainbow Reach’ swing bridge between Te Anau and Manapouri. The Fiordland region features 1.3 million hectares of untouched national heritage park. Now's your chance to see gigantic waterfalls, enormous fiords, ancient rainforests and pristine lakes. Stay a minimum of 2 nights.

Days 6 - Explore Fiordland and Milford Sound
Milford Sound is a mixture of spectacular and breathtaking natural features (125 km, 78 miles, 2.5 hours one-way). The fiords rise vertically and when it rains, waterfalls transform into giant water canons of power. To avoid the 5-hour drive from Te Anau to Milford, join a local tour into Milford Sound for a nature cruise in the fjord. This guided tour begins from Te Anau then along the Milford Road. With a maximum of 11 passengers, this is a quality Fiordland experience. Once in Milford Sound and included in the tour, is a leisurely Nature Boat Cruise to the Tasman Sea. Kick back and enjoy the majesty of the land and it's wildlife. At the end of the boat cruise, the overland part of the tour begins. Go on a series of short short walks with your nature guide, or a 2.5 hour walk on the Routeburn Track to Key Summit. Return back to Te Anau around 5.30pm.

Day 4 - Yellow Eyed Penguin, Dunedin

Southland Te Hikoi Museum Riverton

MUST STOP! - Te Hikoi Museum Riverton


Day 5 - Key Summit Walk Fiordland


Day 6 - Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Included in Days 4 to 6
  • ✓ 3 nights accommodation with breakfast
  • ✓ Elm Wildlife albatross + penguin tour
  • ✓ Guided Milford Sound day tour + fjord cruise
Optional tours at your request
  •  Te Anau Caves tour in evening
  •  Scenic flights over Fiordland NP
  •  Heli-hiking Kepler Track
  •  Lake Hauroko Wilderness Jet
  •  Milford Track guided day walk
  •  any other tour you with to do
>>> Click on Picture or Button below and choose 1 of 3 Travel Package Options...


from NZ$300
pp/ per day
(Not including international flight)

Included in this holiday

  • 3 star accommodation
  • Motel, Hotel, B&B styles
  • Partly breakfast included
  • Tours with 10-25 Person
  • Coach Transfers
  • Compact Rental Car
  • PDF travel documents


from NZ$500
pp/ per day
(Not including international flight)

Included in this holiday

  • 4 star accommodation
  • Lodges, Boutique Hotels
  • All breakfast included
  • Tours with 6-10 Person
  • Private Transfers
  • Intermediate Rental Car
  • Travel App + PDF docs


from NZ$800
pp/ per day
(Not including international flight)

Included in this holiday

  • 5 star accommodation
  • Exclusive Resorts + Retreats
  • Full meal plan included
  • Private Tours 2-4 Person
  • Exclusive Transfers
  • SUV / 4WD Rental Car
  • Travel App + PDF docs
Contact us by email
Ph ++64 (0)21 629 498
PO Box 3449
Tasman, New Zealand