Southern Wonders

9 Days Starting and ending in Christchurch

Visiting: Christchurch, Franz Josef, Queenstown, Te Anau, Dunedin, Omarama

Tour operator:

AAT Kings

Tour code:

LRQC24

Physical rating:

Low level of fitness required

Activities:

Sightseeing

From:
$3485
$2996 Operator discount: -$348 Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$141 -14%

NB: Prices correct on 19-May-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

A little bit city, a little bit country. A whole lot of nature, and just as much culture. Oh, and plenty of opportunities to indulge in food and wine. This tour of the South Island of New Zealand delivers the perfect recipe for a taste of the country. Look forward to Franz Josef Glacier tours, Milford Sound cruises and glimpses into cosmopolitan life on Christchurch and Queenstown tours.

Highlights

  • Flexible Vacations

  • Iconic Sites

  • Sustainable Travel

  • Natural Wonders

Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1 : Welcome To Christchurch

Location: Christchurch

Accommodation Name: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

You don’t have to arrive in Christchurch early, but we recommend you do – this South Island city has some of New Zealand’s most innovative architecture, not to mention forward-thinking restaurants and bars. You may choose to spot them aboard the Christchurch Tram, linking some of the city’s most legendary attractions. Tonight, it's time to meet your Travel Director and travelling companions for a Welcome Reception.

Day 2 : Christchurch - Franz Josef

Location: Christchurch, Franz Josef

Accommodation Name: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Your South Island New Zealand Tour starts on a literal high as you jump aboard the TranzAlpine train, crossing the Canterbury Plains towards the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass. This is one of the world’s most scenic rail experiences, through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. At the other end of the line is Hokitika, the home of pounamu (native greenstone or jade). Just when you thought your day couldn't get any better, Franz Josef town twinkles on the horizon. This afternoon, you may choose to fly over Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere.

Day 3 : Franz Josef - Queenstown

Location: Franz Josef, Queenstown

Accommodation Name: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown

Over the Haast Pass, alpine drama awaits. The Southern Lakes deserve their name: there are almost more waterways here than you can count. First up there’s lovely Lake Wanaka, with its Instagrammable shoreline of poplars and willows. Followed by oh-so-blue Lake Hawea and Lake Dunstan, where you’ll pause to refuel on flavour-packed stone fruit. As tempting as it is to linger in Arrowtown’s movie-set-like streets, lined with trees and character-filled boutiques, Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables await in Queenstown.

Day 4 : Queenstown Free Time

Location: Queenstown

Accommodation Name: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown

The adventure capital of New Zealand doesn’t disappoint when it comes to activities that are fast and furious. Take your pick, you could explore the natural drama of Skippers Canyon. Prefer life at a more leisurely pace? Opt to step onto a Lord of the Rings movie set or sip your way through surrounding vineyards. Wherever you wander, make sure you’re back in time to glide across Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Highlight Dinner.

Day 5 : Queenstown - Te Anau

Location: Queenstown, Te Anau

Accommodation Name: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Nature rules today as you motor from the Mirror Lakes through the Cleddau Valley. But this is just a teaser of what’s to come: World Heritage listed Milford Sound. A Milford Sound cruise across this dreamy expanse will give you goosebumps, its string of waterfalls creating a misty curtain across sheer escarpments. Look out for dolphins and fur seals – they’re a common sight here. The road back through Fiordland National Park is an intoxicating union of beech forests, alluvial flats, meadows and gin-clear rivers, carving up the countryside en route to Te Anau. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any more magical, nestled on the edge of the South Island's largest lake, Te Anau is the perfect place to savour some peace and relaxation after the spectacle of the day.

Day 6 : Te Anau - Dunedin

Location: Te Anau, Dunedin

Accommodation Name: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

The South Island’s biggest lake is a blissful place for an invigorating morning walk. If it doesn’t set your pulse racing, than your outlook of rolling green hills dotted with doe-eyed sheep surely will. This pastoral countryside surrounds the city of Dunedin. While away the afternoon in atmospheric art-lined alleys or sipping a lager or two in Speight’s Brewery (a national institution). Or venture further afield to discover the wildlife that thrives in this pretty pocket of the country – fur seals and penguins among them.

Day 7 : Dunedin - Omarama

Location: Dunedin, Omarama

Accommodation Name: Heritage Gateway Hotel

Did you know that Dunedin takes its name from the Scottish word for Edinburgh? The city nods to its European heritage at Larnach Castle – the only one of its kind in the country – as well as through the grounds of Otago University and along the city’s main George Street. Explore at your leisure, before venturing on to New Zealand’s oldest public gardens and grand limestone buildings at Oamaru.

Day 8 : Omarama - Christchurch

Location: Omarama, Christchurch

Accommodation Name: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

If there’s a lake with a more vivid turquoise colour than Tekapo, we’re yet to see it. It’s made even more dramatic by snow-capped mountains, the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd and atmospheric towns that surround. Your Indoor Dark Sky Astronomy Experience at Tekapo, hosted by passionate guides, will forever change the way you see the night sky. You'll see for yourself it may be one of the quietest spots on the planet, yet it has one of the busiest skies in the universe. Back on earth, you’re becoming reacquainted with Christchurch, your in-the-know Travel Director pointing out the city’s miraculous transformation over the last decade. Local spirit is strong here.

Day 9 : Farewell From Christchurch

Location: Christchurch

If you feel like you’ve only seen the tip of the South Island’s iceberg, you’d be correct. This beguiling part of the country could keep travel enthusiasts entertained for eons. Thankfully, we have more itineraries – ask your Travel Director and start planning your next trip to New Zealand.

What's Included

  • Travel Director and Driver Guide

    Specialist team of two highly experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide

  • Accommodation

    Centrally located premium hotels

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites

    1 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Fiordland National Park

  • National Park Fees

    National Park entrance fees

  • Dining

    8 Full Breakfasts, 3 Dinners, 1 Highlight Dinner, 1 Farewell Dinner

What's Not Included

  • Flights

    Flights are not included in the holiday price

  • Airport Transfers

    Return airport to hotel transfers are not included in the holiday price

Mode of Transport

Your South Island New Zealand Tour starts on a literal high as you jump aboard the TranzAlpine train, crossing the Canterbury Plains towards the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass. This is one of the world’s most scenic rail experiences, through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys.

Accommodation

Your Guided Holiday includes a range of quality accommodation for your comfort. The accommodation you will enjoy on this tour includes: Ibis Hotel Christchurch, Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Scenic Hotel Dunedin City, Heritage Gateway Hotel.

Check out our Q&As

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    The beauty of taking a holiday with us is you’ll have the opportunity to meet and travel with people from all over the globe.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    It is important to adhere to departure times while on tour for the comfort of everyone on-board, and to make sure no one misses out on the planned experiences. The coach will not be able to wait for you, and in some instances, if you miss a departure time you will need to make your own way to the next destination to re-join the tour.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    AAT Kings operated Guided Holidays have competitive single supplement rates available if you prefer to confirm your own room. Or we can match you to share with a guest of the same gender at no extra cost. If we fail to match you, we will accommodate you in a single room at no extra cost.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Over 100 years

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    We will email your documents to you approximately four weeks before your departure date provided you have completed your pre trip registration using the My Travel Portal. If you’ve booked through a travel agent, your documents will be emailed directly to your agent.

Reviews of this operator

Ann Purcell  

Well worth the money

24-Feb-2023

Absolutely wonderful trip. Tastes of southern Australia. Hotels were good quality. Sightseeing was amazing. Manuela our travel director was lovely. A great trip all round

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Lynda Whittingham  

Particularly loved QUEENSTOWN (jet boat) and plane ride over Mt Cook

18-Feb-2023

Great guide “Dexter” who was pleasant and knowledgeable, skilled and pleasant driver, Aaron, interesting activities, and comfortable hotels in good locations. I have been on organized bus trips in different countries and this company stands out. I would travel with them again. Read less

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Trusted Customer  

Milford Sound , West Coast , Queenstown, Christchurch

22-Feb-2023

The most professional tour group i have ever travelled with. Both tour director (Hope) & driver (Dave) had extensive knowledge of NZ. Highly recommended.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Keith Jones  

Christchurch, Milford Sound and the Franz Joseph Railway journey

02-Mar-2023

Very professional service throughout. Friendly experienced tour guide imparting excellent knowledge and local anecdotes. Friendly professional driver enhanced the overall pleasure. Excellent hotels throughout the holiday.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Allison Cooper  

Wonderful experience, highlight had to be Uluru so spiritual and beautiful

22-Feb-2023

Very professional. Excellent travel director very knowledgeable and a lovely guy. Amazing experience seeing do many great places.

Feefo Trusted Reviews

1 Dates & Availability

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Sep 30, 2024 - Oct 08, 2024
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Operator discount: -$174

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Operator discount: -$174

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Dec 09, 2024 - Dec 17, 2024
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Operator discount: -$348

Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$141

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Jan 27, 2025 - Feb 04, 2025
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Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$162

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Feb 24, 2025 - Mar 04, 2025
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Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$162

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Monday - Tuesday

Mar 10, 2025 - Mar 18, 2025
$3590 $3428

Exclusive Tourhub Members Discount: -$162

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    AAT Kings requires a minimum deposit of 100 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of aat kings charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 15 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 7 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 1 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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