13 Day Ultimate South Island Highlights Tour

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13 Day Ultimate South Island Highlights Tour - Bushwalking, Nature & WildlifeA 13 day round trip of the South Island, beginning and ending in Christchurch. Tranzalpine Train, a traditional Scottish Haggis ceremony and the spectacular Mount Cook, make this tour an exceptional way to experience New Zealands wonderful South Island.

Tour includes: Coach travel, airport transfers, accommodation (3 star hotels) and some activities such as: TranzAlpine Train, Cruise to Stevensons Island & Jet Boat Ride, Milford Mariner Overnight Cruise, Scottish Haggis Ceremony in Dunedin, Historic Olveston House, Skyline Gondola & Dinner.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Christchurch

Welcome to New Zealand! You will be met at Christchurch Airport and transferred to your hotel.

Accommodation: Pavilions Hotel (1 night)

Day 2 - Christchurch/Greymouth

Join the Tranz Alpine train this morning which departs at 8.15am, crossing the broad Canterbury Plains then following the Waimakariri River to Arthurs Pass. Through the snowcapped Southern Alps to Otira, descending past Lake Brunner and through rainforest to Greymouth. On arrival you are transferred to Hotel Ashley with the remainder of the day at leisure.

Accommodation: Hotel Ashley (1 night)

Day 3 - Greymouth/Fox Glacier

Remote farms, tiny landlocked lakes with dense native bush and forest, all dominated by the towering Southern Alps, highlight your journey to Fox Glacier. Plenty of time to enjoy a guided walk to the glaciers terminal face, a helicopter flight and snow landing or walk to nearby Lake Matheson.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier (1 night)

Day 4 - Fox Glacier/Wanaka

Follow the rugged coastline then inland across the Alps and the Haast Pass to the impressive bushlands of the Aspiring National Park. At Wanaka a choice of two afternoon activities. Either a launch cruise across the lake to Stevensons Island, a nature reserve, for a bush walk followed by refreshments. Look for the native Buff Weka, a small, flightless bird whose curiosity is likely to attract them close to you. Alternatively a very picturesque walk along a track beside the Clutha River as it flows from Lake Wanaka to a picnic spot. Enjoy light refreshments and a thrilling jet boat excursion on the river tailored to suit - full on exciting, leisurely scenic cruising or somewhere in between.

Accommodation: Grand Mecure Oakridge Resort (1 night)

Day 5 - Wanaka/Queenstown

Drive through a picturesque region that has a fascinating history of early settlement and goldmining, for a late morning arrival into the ever-popular resort of Queenstown. Dinner tonight is at the spectacular Skyline Restaurant. (entire group).

You have 2 choices for the next three days:

Option 1: Guided Walk.

The Hollyford Track Guided Walk
Today enjoy the sights, sounds and activities of Queenstown before attending a pre walk briefing.

Accommodation: Rydges Hotel (1 night)

Day 6 - Queenstown/Pyke Lodge

By coach to the beginning of the Hollyford Track, follow ancient Maori footsteps through beech forests, past impressive waterfalls to reach Pyke Lodge. Walking 17km.

Day 7 - Pyke Lodge/Martins Bay Lodge

See the beautiful reflections on Lake Alabaster before crossing Fiordlands longest swing bridge to board your jetboat along the Hollyford River and onto Lake McKerrow to reach Martins Bay. Walking 12km.

Day 8 - Martins Bay Lodge/Milford Sound

This morning explore Martins Bay Spit, a famous landmark seperating the Hollyford Valley and powerful Tasman Sea. Learn about the diversity of this truly remote area before taking an afternoon scenic flight into Milford Sound to rejoin your tour group for the Milford Mariner Overnight Cruise.

Board the Milford Mariner for an overnight cruise - an undoubted highlight. (1 night)

Option 2: At leisure in Queenstown

Jet boating, lake cruises, a day on the Routeburn Track, Lord of the Rings Tours, rafting and more shops, galleries and boutiques than you can count - enjoy. Dinner day 6 is not included allowing the opportunity to dine at a restaurant of your choice.

Accommodation: Rydges Hotel (3 nights)

Day 6 and Day 7

Also at leisure.

Day 8 - Queenstown/Milford Sound

Follow the lake to Kingston, across fertile farmlands to Fiordland. Visit moody Lake Manapouri then Lake Te Anau. Follow the Eglinton Valley, native forests, lakes, waterfalls and towering mountains. At The Divide collect the Greenstone Trek group and travel through the Hollyford Valley and Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound.

Board the Milford Mariner for an overnight cruise - an undoubted highlight. (1 night)

Day 9 - Milford Sound/Dunedin

Wake to the sounds of silence in a pristine world. Rugged and remote mountains change to lush green countryside, which in turn gives way to rolling hills as you approach Dunedin, the “Edinburgh of the South”. This evening prior to Dinner you will be treated to a traditional Scottish Haggis Ceremony, complete with piper, address to the Haggis and gift.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (2 nights)

Day 10 - Dunedin

A day to enjoy at your leisure with a multitude of optional activities available. A Monarch Wildlife Cruise, Natures Wonders Tour (both featuring penguins, seals and birdlife), the Taieri Gorge Railway, a Citibus Newtons Tour, fascinating Larnach Castle or Tour the Cadbury Factory or Speights Brewery. Have fun!

Day 11 - Dunedin/Omarama

Visit Olveston, Dunedin's majestic historic home with its original furnishings. See bush clad hillsides, tidal estuaries and a rocky coastline, view the unusual Moeraki Boulders then explore Oamaru. Follow the Waitaki Valley, passing several hydro lakes to Omarama.

Accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel (1 night)

Day 12 - Omarama/Mt Cook/Christchurch

Pass the milky blue waters of Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook National Park and village, amidst New Zealand's highest mountains. At Lake Tekapo view the Church of the Good Shepherd and Collie Dog memorial with time for a highly recommended (optional) flight. Descend Burkes Pass to the Canterbury Plains and Christchurch.

Accommodation: Pavilions Hotel (1 night)

Day 13 - Christchurch/Home

Today is goodbye to all your new found friends before you make your homeward journey. A Christchurch airport transfer is included in the tour cost if required.

NOTE: Unless otherwise specified, the rates listed are for the 2020 - 2021 season. The 2020 - 2021 season rates are valid from the 1st April 2020 - 31st March 2021. The 2021 - 2022 season rates commence on the 1st April 2021.

2018-2019 Season Rates

Rates valid from Sunday 1 April 2018 to Sunday 31 March 2019:

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