Have you always dreamed of visiting all of the South Island’s iconic spots like Aoraki Mt Cook, Milford Sound, Queenstown & the West Coast Glaciers? Our Southern Beauty tour is the ultimate South Island 9 day itinerary, with all the world famous spots included in one very special tour itinerary.
Christchurch - Aoraki Mt Cook - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Arrowtown - Wanaka - Fox Glacier - Franz Josef Glacier - Punakaiki - Arthur’s Pass - Christchurch
From Christchurch, we head to Akaunui Farm for lunch with Di and Ian Mackenzie before driving through Burkes Pass into the tussock lands of the Mackenzie Country and a photo stop at Lake Tekapo’s church and sheepdog statue before continuing on to the Hermitage Hotel to dine in the Panorama Room where Aoraki/Mt Cook dominates the view.
Aoraki Mount Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain and ‘home ground’ of the most famous Kiwi of all, Sir Edmund Hillary. Enjoy the fresh air and wide open spaces with a short walk in this alpine wonderland. Our adventure continues on to Omarama, over the Lindis Pass and through the rugged Kawarau Gorge and Gibbston Valley onto Queenstown - our home for three nights.
Follow the shores of lakes Wakatipu and Te Anau into the mountains, beech forests and waterfalls of spectacular Fiordland National Park. Cruise beautiful Milford Sound, home to seals, dolphins and iconic Mitre Peak before a magnificent scenic flight back over the Southern Alps to Queenstown.
We start our day with a ride up the Skyline Gondola for the best views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables. Then we’ll take the Glenorchy road to the head of Lake Wakatipu for a lakeside lunch and the famous Lord of the Rings scenery. Once back in town we enjoy a cruise on Lake Wakatipu on the famous TSS Earnslaw, before returning for dinner.
We call into leafy, picturesque Arrowtown where gold mining history comes alive beside the Arrow River. From the Crown Range we take in the last views of the Wakatipu basin. We lunch at historic Cardrona Hotel and enjoy a tour and tasting at the family owned Distillery nearby before arriving at Edgewater Resort, our lakeside home in Wanaka.
We drive beside lakes Hawea and Wanaka and into the mountain and river scenery of the Haast Pass. There are short walks in the beech forests to waterfalls and coastal scenery at Ship Creek to enjoy. Lush rainforest lines the road as we head north to Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson and on to Franz Josef.
At Okarito we take a nature cruise on the lagoon looking out for birdlife in wetlands bordered by ancient forests. Our local guide Paula takes us on a walking tour of this tiny historical settlement. We visit the artists of Hokitika before reaching Paparoa National Park and Punakaiki, our home for the last two nights of our adventure.
See the Pancake rocks, blowholes, limestone cliffs and karst rock formations and river valleys of subtropical forest. Further up the coast, Denniston Plateau gives an insight into the lives of early coal miners and their families. We stroll to the seal colony near Cape Foulwind before returning down the coast road to Punakaiki.
From Lake Brunner we drive up the Otira Viaduct, a spectacular cantilevered road, and stop to photograph the cheeky Kea parrots and enjoy the alpine and river scenery of Arthur’s Pass National Park and the Canterbury High Country before continuing to Christchurch Airport.