This premium trip is created for mature travelers from their mid-fifties and upwards in mind. Together with amazing insights from your local guide, you will encounter scenery more beautiful in person than any film could portray. Fall in love with the highlights of this 12 day South Island itinerary that takes you on a journey into deep glacial lakes, ancient rainforest, and wide-open grasslands.
From wildlife to wineries, glacial valleys to star-filled skies, the South Island offers sightseeing in its best; you'll constantly be open-mouthed before the incredible scenery. Our South Island Small Group Tours are perfect for mature travelers who want to discover the best of the amazing South Island in comfort. All-inclusive, fully guided tours with a maximum of 12 travelers to the very best sights in the South. TIAKI Promise
Small-Group Tour with max 12 people with a professional local tour guide
Private guided tour 11 nights
Category: Active, Nature
Location: South Island
Accommodation: 4* or 5* quality hotels
Next Departure: 4th of November 2021 and 3rd of March 2022
BOOK NOW - PAY LATER
Price inclusive of GST:
NZ$5990 (around 5490AUS$) per person in double/twin share
NZ$7490 (around 6890AUS$) per person in a single room
Terms & Conditions
Our hand-selected hotels for this journey
Christchurch - Sudima City Center
Punakaiki - Punakaiki Resort
Franz Josef - Westwood Lodge
Queenstown - Hotel St Moritz
Te Anau - Radfords on the Lake
Dunedin - Fable Dunedin
Oamaru - Mariner Suites
Mt Cook - AorakiMt Cook
Inclusions and Highlights:
Day 1: Arrival Christchurch - Day trip Akaroa Peninsula - 1 night (dinner included)
Christchurch is the basecamp for South Island exploration, with the Banks Peninsula within reach and the stunning Southern Alps and famed Canterbury Plains. Located on the southeast side of the deep, sheltered Akaroa Harbour, the charming township of Akaroa has a special point of difference - it was the only French settlement in New Zealand. Experience cruising through an extinct volcanic crater and encounter the world's rarest and smallest dolphin, New Zealand fur seals, coastal birds, and more. Enjoy your welcome dinner at the Tramway Restaurant, which offers you a unique way to view the inner city of Christchurch while enjoying a delicious evening dinner.
Day 2: Christchurch - Arthur's Pass – West Coast – Punakaiki - 1 night (dinner included)
Experience one of the world's greatest train journeys aboard our TranzAlpine™ train. Experience the South Island’s striking natural landscape by taking a train between Christchurch and Greymouth. Along this journey, you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest. Gaze in wonder at the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes, where columns of water shoot skyward from rocks that resemble giant stacks of hotcakes.
Day 3: Punakaiki - Hokitika - Franz Josef Glacier - 2 nights (dinners included)
The West Coast region of South Island is a wild place of rivers and rainforests, glaciers, and geological treasures. Escape with an exhilarating treetop adventure at The Treetop Walk & Cafe. Experience life with the birds, high in the ancient Rimu & Kamahi tree canopy. Hokitika Gorge Tour takes you through the lush dairy farmlands of the Kokatahi / Kowhitirangi Valley with majestic views of the Southern Alps, native rainforest to view blue-green waters of rock sided Hokitika Gorge. The West Coast’s two largest glaciers – Fox and Franz Josef – extend almost to sea level, making parts of them easily accessible for walking and hiking.
Day 4: Franz Josef Glacier - Day trip to Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson
With easy walking at your pace, information on glaciology, geology, geomorphology, flora, fauna, local legends, history, and private guided groups with fantastic guides, you will experience this glacier in style and the best hands with the only local company. Wander through ancient forest and gaze on mirror-like reflections of New Zealand's highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook, on this easy Lake Matheson hike. (additionally, we can arrange a Heli flight/landing on-ice experience, extra charges)
Day 5: West Coast – Mt Aspiring National Park - Queenstown - 2 nights (dinners included)
Mount Aspiring National Park - Stretch your legs and feed your soul in this beautiful wilderness of native forests, towering mountains, and long river valleys. Join the only Wilderness Jet Boat tour to take you from the Ocean to the Alps within a UNESCO World Heritage Area. Glamping at its best. Traveling through the Mount Aspiring National Park. Stretch your legs and feed your soul in this beautiful wilderness of native forests, towering mountains, and long river valleys. We end our day in Queenstown to explore the shore of Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges. It’s rumored that gold prospectors - captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers - gave this now cosmopolitan town its name.
Day 6: Queenstown - Day trip to Lake Wanaka and Gibbston Valley
Located in the spectacular Alps of the South Island, visitors worldwide are drawn to the Lake Wanaka region by its outstanding beauty. Anticipate in an exclusive Wild Hills Safari on a private Hight Country Station. Participation with predator control conservation projects, yarns about farming life, and fascinating local history will leave a deep and lasting connection with the land. Words fail to describe how utterly spectacular this adventure through West Wanaka High Country Station is. Wild and empty silence, jaw-dropping mountain-top scenery with views for days are just the beginning. Then, venture back through the Gibbson Valley for some local wine tasting and ending your day with a gourmet meal at a local winery.
Day 7: Queenstown - Glenorchy - Te Anau - 2 nights (dinners included)
Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, Glenorchy is nestled on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu & is the gateway to hiking trails and Middle-earth magic. Set against a background of native beech forest and towering mountain ranges, Glenorchy’s surrounds are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Walk an easy, picturesque walking track known as the Glenorchy Walkway or the Glenorchy Lagoon Walkway, and some as the Glenorchy Lagoon Boardwalk. Driving past the incredible lingering view of Lake Wakatipu, we will end the day in Te Anau. Kown as the entree to Fiordland. Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Site and includes Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds. (additionally, we can arrange a sea-plane flight over parts of Fiordland, extra charges)
Day 8: Te Anau – Day trip and cruise in Milford Sounds
Situated on the west coast of the South Island, Milford Sound is a fusion of natural features that are spectacular even in the rain. Rudyard Kipling described Milford Sound as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Situated on the west coast of the South Island, hours from the nearest town, Milford Sound is where plunging cliffs and raging waterfalls meet inky dark waters. This is New Zealand's wild side at its absolute best. The Road to Milford Sounds is almost as beautiful as the fiord itself. Please make the most of our trip and explore some of Fiordland's best short walks, including stops such as the Mirror Lakes and The Chasm. Get incredibly close to nature, including the famous Stirling Falls from your Nature Cruise.
Day 9: Te Anau – Otago Peninsula - Dunedin - 1 night (dinner included)
Flanking the southern edge of Dunedin's extensive harbor, Otago Peninsula is high and rugged on the ocean side, warm and sheltered on the harbourside. Visit the world's only mainland Albatross Colony Watch Dunedin's famous Royals from our exclusive 'Royal Box' observatory. Taking in views along the high road, learn about Dunedin's pioneers and early European settlers who arrived in the 1840s. Dunedin is a region of unique landscapes and rich cultural heritage.
Day 10: Dunedin - Moeraki Boulders - Oamaru - 1 night (dinners included)
You can't drive along the North Otago coast without stopping to stare at the Moeraki Boulders - they're amazing! The boulders are mysteriously spherical stones scattered across a beach. Fleur’s Place is a little restaurant on the jetty in Moeraki Bay British television chef and restaurateur Rick Stein chose Fleurs Place in Moeraki, his favorite restaurant in the world. Next, visit Oamaru for the country’s oldest public gardens, renowned Victorian architecture, a large whisky collection, and Steampunk HQ. In the evening, take part in a premium experience to watch close-up Blue Penguins. You will learn about the lives of the penguins during a commentary delivered by one of our guides.
Day 11: Oamaru - Mt Cook National Park - 1 night (dinner included)
Visit Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to glimpse Mt Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand. Despite the sometimes difficult weather conditions at the valley, Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park is a wonderful visit. Walking one of the tracks is the best way to experience this ancient landscape. The Tasman Valley 4WD Tours are a unique mountain adventure to view New Zealand's longest glacier. This trip guarantees to be both memorable and very enjoyable. The 4WD travels through avalanche areas and alpine flats, where you will be amazed at the awesome mountain scenery. (we can arrange a stargazing experience for the evening, extra charges)
Day 12: Mount Cook - Lake Tekapo - Christchurch departure
Stop at Lake Tekapo, which faces north across the remarkable turquoise-colored lake to the mountainous drama of the Southern Alps. Lake Tekapo gets its intense milky-turquoise color from the fine rock flour (ground by glaciers) suspended in the water. By afternoon we reach Christchurch. On the shores, on the lake, you'll see the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd, where the altar window frames a perfect view of the Southern Alps beyond the lake. (additionally, we can arrange a scenic flight over Mt Cook, extra charges)
Today you leave our country, or let us know if you like us to book an additional night stay?