Introduction

Discover extraordinary treasures and dramatic extremes on this comprehensive and relaxing small group tour that reveals the hidden gems of New Zealand’s South Island.

From Wellington, “the coolest little capital in the world” (as voted by Lonely Planet), travel by Interislander ferry to the picturesque fishing village of Picton before cruising out to your remote lodge located in the stunning Kenepuru Sound. There is time to enjoy some of the many nature and cultural based activities at the small coastal town of Kaikoura before making your way south to the world-heritage listed Mt Cook National Park. Get up close to icebergs on your Tasman Glacier boat expedition and take the opportunity to take a flight over the alps by ski-plane or helicopter. Awesome Milford Sound awaits you and for those that wish, upgrade to the optional overnight cruises that are available in Milford or Doubtful Sounds. Enjoy dramatic scenery as you travel to the twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef, before returning to the garden city of Christchurch aboard the award-winning TranzAlpine train, rated as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world.

Trip Notes: Due to road closures following an earthquake in November 2016 & the subsequent accessibility issues, the inclusion of Kaikoura has been replaced by either an overnight stay in the alpine village of Hanmer Springs or the Garden City of Christchurch. We hope to be able to once again feature Kaikoura in our tours from early 2018.

Highlights
  • 2 night stopovers in the Marlborough Sounds & Mt Cook
  • 4 night stay in majestic Queenstown
  • Stunning Kenepuru Sound
  • World Heritage listed Mt Cook National Park
  • Beautiful Southern Lakes region
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • Twin glaciers of Fox & Franz Josef
  • World famous TranzAlpine Train

What's included

  • Tour Group Size

    Maximum 24 travellers

  • Accommodation

    12 nights luxury hotel & lodge accommodation

  • Dining

    Full breakfasts daily (B), 2 lunches (L) & 6 dinners (D)

Travel
  • Travel by 5 star luxury touring coach
  • Accompanied throughout by professional Coach Captain
  • Hotel porterage
  • Complimentary airport transfers on arrival & departure
Featured Experiences
  • Scenic Interislander Ferry Cruise
  • Dine at some of New Zealand’s leading wineries
  • Scenic Mussel cruise to Raetihi Lodge
  • Tasman Glacier Explorer boat expedition
  • Spectacular Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • World famous TranzAlpine train
Iconic Sightseeing
  • Free use of Raetihi Lodge kayaks, mountain bikes, dinghies & fishing tackle
  • Lake Tekapo & Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Entry to Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre
  • Historic Arrowtown

Itinerary

View Tour PDF
  • Duration:  13 days & 12 nights
  • Area:  South Island
  • Meals:  Full breakfasts daily, 2 lunches & 6 dinners
  • Starts in:  Wellington
  • Ends in:  Christchurch

On arrival at Wellington airport, you will be met by a Kirra representative and transferred to your downtown city hotel.

This morning we board the Interislander ferry for the cruise across Cook Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound to the picturesque fishing village of Picton. Continue on to Havelock where we board our vessel for a scenic mussel & wine cruise to our remote resort located in the stunning Kenepuru Sound.

A free day to relax & marvel at the magic that is the Marlborough Sounds. Lodge staff will share their love of the region with you through the wide range of water and nature based experiences they put at your fingertips. Complimentary fishing tackle, kayaks & mountains bikes are provided at the lodge and there is a number of bush walks to enjoy. Or you can simply relax with a book & soak in the spectacular scenery.

Return to Havelock by water taxi and board our coach for the journey to the small coastal town of Kaikoura. Here you can enjoy an optional whale-watching adventure, swim with the dolphins or join local Maori for a unique, award winning cultural experience.

Travel south across the Canterbury Plains and stop at beautiful Lake Tekapo to view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd. Then travel up the western side of Lake Pukaki to the Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery.

Today we experience the Tasman Glacier in the most unique way possible. An experienced guide will whisk you away in a stable MAC Boat to explore the melting ice-face of the Tasman Glacier. Get up close to touch & taste 400-year old icebergs that have been carved into the murky waters of the lake. Later today, there is time to enjoy one of the many bush walks and optional ski-plane and helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions.

Travel through the MacKenzie Country before beginning the ascent over the Lindis Pass and emerging into the lush green farmland that surrounds the spectacular alpine village of Queenstown, regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination.

  • stay at Doubletree by Hilton (4 nights)

Set beneath the rugged Crown Range is Arrowtown, a fascinating collection of mining cottages with an atmosphere straight out of last century. Enjoy time to stroll through this historic village. Onto Gibbston Valley Winery Restaurant which merges the stunning surrounds with the elegant beauty of the wine and food. Prepared by the Executive Chef, the seasonal menu features carefully-selected ingredients that reflect local flavours.

Your highlight today is a leisurely nature cruise of the breathtaking Milford Sound, cruising the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. An on-board nature guide will give you detailed information of the region’s history, flora & fauna and you will view spectacular waterfalls, rainforests and towering mountains, including the awesome Mitre Peak. Wildlife includes dolphins, seals, penguins & albatross when in season.

*** Overnight cruises on Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound are also available subject to availability – ask us for details ***

Enjoy a free day to experience this magnificent resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure & leisure activities in all forms, from extreme to relaxed exploration. Your coach captain will be happy to advise you on all the activities and options available.

There is time to wander around the resort town of Lake Wanaka before enjoying incredible scenery as we travel past the untouched native forests and pristine lakes of the World Heritage Westland National Park. On to Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers where there is the opportunity to experience an optional scenic flight over this remarkable region (subject to weather conditions).

Head north along the dramatic West Coast, steeped in history dating back to the gold rush era of the 1800’s. This afternoon, we board the TranzAlpine train for a coast to coast rail adventure through the Southern Alps, rated as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. On arrival we transfer to our resort hotel for a farewell dinner.

  • stay at Rydges Latimer

Sadly, your holiday ends today and you will be transferred to Christchurch airport to connect with your onward flight home.

Gallery

Tour Dates

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(*) G = Guaranteed Departure