Southern Dream - South Island Tours

Starts in Christchurch

Ends in Christchurch

9 days

8 nights

Southern Dream Tour

Welcome to the Southern Dream Tour, a 9 days, 8 nights small-group tour through the best of New Zealand's South Island. This extraordinary South Island tour promises a once-in-a-lifetime journey through New Zealand's unmatched landscapes, unique wildlife, and rich cultural heritage.

Welcome to the Southern Dream Tour, a 9 days, 8 nights small-group tour through the best of New Zealand's South Island. This extraordinary South Island tour, starting and finishing in Christchurch, promises a once-in-a-lifetime journey through New Zealand's unmatched landscapes, unique wildlife, and rich cultural heritage.

Our South Island tour of New Zealand starts and ends in the 'Garden City' of Christchurch. Our tour encapsulates the very best of this enchanting region. From epic mountains and the rugged West Coast to dreamy lost worlds of the fiords, we welcome you aboard.

Our tour of New Zealand's South Island offers you a great variety of vibrant city life, historic towns, and your fair share of mesmerizing nature. Our luxury bus tour takes you through remarkable destinations, including Christchurch, Dunedin, Te Anau, Queenstown, Haast, and Franz Josef, each offering a unique blend of culture, history, and landscapes.

Experience the iconic Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise, the thrilling TranzAlpine Train ride, and a visit to the captivating Larnach Castle. From exploring heritage sites in Oamaru to uncovering the tranquillity of Lake Matheson and marvelling at the majestic Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, every day holds a new adventure!

Relax and enjoy our New Zealand South Island Bus tour with our experienced tour guide, with comfortable accommodations and delightful meals included. Our small group south island tours promises an intimate and unforgettable New Zealand experience, filled with rich memories and spectacular sights.

Join us on the 9-Day Southern Dream Tour and witness the very best that New Zealand's South Island has to offer. Each day brings a new destination, a new experience, and a new memory, making this South Island trip a journey of a lifetime!

Itinerary of the 9-Day Southern Dream Tour

  • Experienced Tour Guide
  • Small Group Tour - Max 24
  • Luxury Coach Travel
  • 8 nights' Accommodation
  • 8 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 5 Dinners
  • TranzAlpine Train Experience
  • Greenstone and Glass Blowing Factory visit
  • Seafood Experience in Haast
  • Scenic Trip through the spectacular Haast Pass
  • Blue Pools Walk
  • Visit Arrowtown and Wanaka
  • Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise
  • Hokonui Moonshine Museum
  • Larnach Castle visit
  • Moeraki Boulders

Season 2024 - 2025

  • Single: NZ$6,495
  • Twin-share: NZ$5,395

Prices per person, in New Zealand Dollar (NZD).

This is why So Many Travellers Love To Travel with Kirra

Travellers worldwide have fond memories and love sharing stories of their Kirra South Island Tours. We have been creating memorable New Zealand experiences since 1968. Our passion for this country is displayed through our unique itineraries.

See what's included in our Southern Dream Tour: 9-day New Zealand South Island Tour.

Superior Accommodation

8 nights accommodation in high-end hotels

Premium Coach

luxury coach and world-class tour guide

Small Group Tour

minimum of 9 travellers, maximum: 28


8 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 5 dinners included

Map of the Southern Dream tour by Kira Tours

Itinerary of the 9-day South Island Tour

Day 1: Arrival day to Christchurch

Haere Mai (Welcome) to your New Zealand journey which begins in Christchurch, also known as the Garden City thanks to the lush parks dotted around the city.

Check in to your hotel and spend the afternoon wandering the city streets to discover hidden eateries, indulge in some retail therapy in the city’s shopping district or hop on the tourist tram and explore the city sights. This evening you’ll have dinner at the hotel and meet your Guide and your new travelling companions.

Arrival: Anytime

Visit: Christchurch

Accommodation: Distinction Christchurch (or similar)

Meals Included: Dinner (arrival time-dependent)

Day 2: Christchurch to Dunedin

After breakfast this morning, we’ll continue our South Island tour down the east coast. We’ll pass through the township of Oamaru, home to some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in New Zealand before heading onto the mystical Moeraki Boulders.

Geological marvels that began to form about 60 million years ago, the Moeraki boulders were exposed by the erosion of sedimentary rocks over time and now stand along the beach as though they are sentinels guarding the coastline.

We’ll arrive in Dunedin with plenty of time for a rest and some exploration of the Scottish City.

Visit: Christchurch, Oamaru, Moeraki Boulders, Baldwin Street, Dunedin

Optional Activities: Speight’s Brewery Tour, Dunedin Train Station, Yellow Eyed Penguin Tour

Accommodation: Scenic Dunedin City or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3: Dunedin to Te Anau

This morning we’ll visit the famous Larnach Castle of Dunedin, the only castle in the country. We’ll explore the area, stroll through the magnificent gardens and enjoy the amazing views before departing for our next destination.

We’ll make a stop in Gore where we’ll explore Gore’s colourful past as a centre for illicit whisky distilling and bootlegging at the Hokonui Moonshine Museum. Learn about the adventures of the Scottish settlers and their exploits to avoid run-ins with the law and taste Old Hokonui made from the original recipe.

Later, we’ll drive to our destination for the evening, Te Anau - the gateway to Fiordland National Park and the spectacular Doubtful Sound.

Visit: Gore, Te Anau

Activitiy: Larnach Castle, Hokonui Moonshine Museum

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Te Anau (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Te Anau via Doubtful Sound to Queenstown

Departing Te Anau this morning we’ll travel to Manapouri, where we’ll take a leisurely cruise across the lake to West Arm. This is followed by a short coach trip on New Zealand's most expensive road, travelling over Wilmot Pass and pausing along the way to experience the dense rainforest in Fiordland National Park and view the Doubtful Sound glistening below.

At Deep Cove, we’ll board a modern catamaran and set sail into the majestic fiord - a sight that is sure to take your breath away. Listen to the onboard commentary for an insight into the region’s history as you view the towering mountain ranges and soak up the breathtaking views of this unique and beautiful area of New Zealand. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, as penguins, seals and dolphins all enjoy spending time in the sound!

After exploring the magic of Fiordland National Park, we’ll make our way to the alpine resort of Queenstown where we’ll spend the next two nights.

Visit:: Lake Manapouri, West Arm, Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound, Queenstown

Activity: Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Day at leisure in Queenstown

Today is yours to experience Queenstown, a picturesque alpine resort town known for its vast array of adventure activities. If you’d like to explore the area, we recommend taking a ride on the world-famous Shotover Jet Boat or taking a trip to the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon.

For the best views of the town, travel to the top of Bob’s Peak by gondola and have lunch at the Skyline restaurant, why not make your way to the bungy centre to watch people hurling themselves off cliffs - bungy is a NZ invention after all!

Alternatively, make your way to the lakeside and enjoy a refreshing drink or stroll through Queenstown’s lush park. It's a great way to relax and enjoy world-class food on this part of the leg of our South Island bus tour

Accommodation: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Queenstown to Haast

This morning we’ll get to see some incredible scenery as we travel through Arrowtown, a picturesque village steeped in fascinating history relating to New Zealand's gold mining era.

Next, we’ll visit Wanaka, a popular township on the lake's edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop where we’ll enjoy lunch and spend some time enjoying the views.

Departing Wanaka, we’ll make our way north towards the east coast and the small town of Haast, a UNESCO world heritage site and home to the famous Haast River. This evening we’ll enjoy a group dinner together at our hotel.

Visit: Wanaka, Arrowtown, Haast

Accommodation: Heartland Haast (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Haast to Franz Josef

Your coach travels north along the coast of the Westland National Park this morning, we’ll travel to the home of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. The West Coast is a remarkable part of the country that is shaped by dynamic glaciers and boasts lush rainforests that grow beneath towering mountains.

We’ll stop in Fox Glacier, where we can hike the gentle 2.6km track around Lake Matheson. Nestled amongst ancient forests and famous for mirror views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mount Tasman, Lake Matheson aka Mirror Lake is a serene and beautiful place to enjoy a stroll. This evening, we’ll spend the night in the township of Franz Josef, surrounded by rainforests and mountains, and enjoy a delicious group dinner together.

Visit: Franz Josef, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson

Accommodation: Scenic Franz Josef (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Franz Josef to Christchurch

This morning our bus tour of New Zealand's South Island departs Franz Josef and travel north to the artistic town of Hokitika, famous for its beautiful Greenstone. We’ll visit the Greenstone and Glass-Blowing factory to see the work of some talented local artists before continuing to Greymouth, a historic town known for jade hunting and gold mining.

From Greymouth, we’ll board the Tranzalpine train, considered one of the world’s greatest one-day train journeys. Prepare to be blown away by epic vistas of forests, rolling plains and the snow-capped Southern Alps! At the end of the journey, we’ll transfer to our hotel in Christchurch, where we’ll enjoy a farewell meal together on our final tour evening.

Visit: Hokitika, Greymouth, Christchurch

Activity: Greenstone and Glass Blowing Factory visit, TranzAlpine Train Journey

Accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch (or similar)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Christchurch Departure Day

Today is the final day of the South Island tour, our trip has come to an end. Enjoy breakfast before saying a fond farewell to your tour leader and all your travel companions.

Whether you’re travelling home today or staying in Christchurch for longer, we hope you leave this tour with some happy memories and friends for life.

Meals Included: Breakfast

What Travellers Say About Kirra

Tour Dates

7-Day Northern Explorer 9-Day Southern Dream 10-Day North & South 17-Day Ultimate NZ
SEASON 2024-2025
SEASON 2024-2025
SEASON 2024-2025
SEASON 2024-2025
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4 October 2024
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-7 December 2024--
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7 February 2025
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7 February 2025
21 February 2025
7 March 2025
14 Mar 2025
28 March 2025
1 March 2025
15 March 2025
22 March 2025
7 March 2025
14 Mar 2025
28 March 2025
7 March 2025
14 Mar 2025
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4 April 2025
18 April 2025
5 April 2025
12 April 2025
26 April 2025
4 April 2025
18 April 2025
4 April 2025
18 April 2025
Northern Explorer InfoSouthern Dream InfoNorth & South InfoUltimate New Zealand Info

Compare our Premium Coach Tours

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7-Day Northern Explorer Tour: from Auckland to Wellington

Adrenaline capital of the world: Queenstown

9-Day Southern Dream: starts & ends in Christchurch

Abel Tasman National Park: another NZ must-see

10-Day North & South Tour: Auckland to Christchurch

The mysterious Moeraki Boulders

17-Day Ultimate New Zealand: explore both islands

Ready to book a Kirra Premium Coach Tour?

Visit your local travel agent or contact us directly to make a booking.

Southern Dream Tour: 9-Day New Zealand South Island Tours

Experience the best of New Zealand's South Island on our 9-Day Southern Dream Tour. We have created a tour based on our perfect South Island itinerary. Explore vibrant cities, breathtaking landscapes, and iconic attractions like Doubtful Sound, TranzAlpine Train, and Larnach Castle. Join us for an unforgettable journey filled with history, culture, and natural beauty.

Start your coach tour of New Zealand's South Island by diving into Christchurch's vibrant city life and beautiful gardens. We then, travel south to discover the preserved heritage of Oamaru and the natural wonder of the Moeraki Boulders. Journey further to explore the Scottish charm of Dunedin, before stepping into a world of Scottish settlers' adventures in Gore and uncovering the tranquillity of Te Anau.

Experience the grandeur of the Doubtful Sound with a breathtaking wilderness cruise, revealing a world of towering mountains and local wildlife. Spend a day leisurely exploring Queenstown, the adventure capital, offering thrilling activities from bungee jumping to tranquil lake strolls.

The South Island Tour continues to enchant you with a picturesque journey through Arrowtown and Wanaka, leading you to the stunning wilderness of Haast. Relish the majestic Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, get lost in the serene beauty of Lake Matheson, and explore the artistic town of Hokitika. Cap off this enchanting tour with the awe-inspiring TranzAlpine train journey, one of the world's greatest one-day train rides, before winding down in Christchurch.

With an experienced guide, comfortable luxury coach travel, and boutique accommodation, you can relax and immerse yourself fully in the New Zealand experience. The tour includes 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 4 dinners, with highlights like the seafood experience in Haast and a farewell dinner in Christchurch. Visit attractions such as the Larnach Castle, Hokonui Moonshine Museum, Moeraki Boulders, and so much more!

Come, explore, and fall in love with New Zealand on our 9-Day New Zealand tour for seniors of the South Island. Experience the essence of New Zealand's South Island - where every day unveils a new adventure, a stunning landscape, and an unforgettable memory!

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