Have you always dreamed of visiting all the South Island's iconic spots like Aoraki Mt Cook, Milford Sound, Queenstown & the West Coast Glaciers? This Southern Beauty tour is the ultimate South Island 9 day itinerary, with all the world famous spots included in one very special tour itinerary.
As well as our world famous South Island scenery, you'll meet the locals and hear their stories, see our unique native wildlife up close, get out on the water and up in the air, enjoy fresh food & wine, make new friends and at the end of each unforgettable day relax in 4-star comfort.
- All transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers).
- Services of your knowledgeable Kiwi guide.
- Quality accommodation chosen for a “sense of place".
- Return airfares from Auckland (please ask us about flights from other airports)
All Meals Are Included
- All breakfasts (B).
- All lunches (L) including special lunches at Di and Ian Mackenzie's Akaunui Farm homestead and the Cardrona Hotel.
- All dinners (D).
Included Activities & Entrance Fees
The following activities and attractions are all included in the price of your tour:
Meet a South Island farming family on a working sheep and beef farm and enjoy their warm hospitality.
Experience the pristine landscapes of Milford Sound with a 1.45 hour nature and wildlife cruise.
Soar high above the Southern Alps from Milford Sound to Queenstown on a scenic flight.
Lake Wakatipu cruise on the TSS Earnslaw
Enjoy a tipple and a tour of the Cardrona Distillery
Guided nature cruise on Okarito Lagoon in search of birdlife
Guided historical walk at Okarito Village
Included Sightseeing & Exploring
You'll visit and discover all these iconic New Zealand places on your tour:
- Take a memorable photograph of the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of the turquoise-hued Lake Tekapo.
- See New Zealand’s highest mountain in the Aoraki/Mt Cook region.
- Drive through the diverse beauty of the Lindis Pass and Kawarau Gorge.
- Learn about Arrowtown’s place in New Zealand’s gold mining history.
- Drive the stunning Crown Range & Cardrona Valley road
- Explore the shores of the Great Southern Lakes of Wakatipu, Wanaka and Hawea.
- Drive the world famous Milford Road & Haast Highway with time to enjoy all the best stops on route.
- Stroll in Haast Pass’ mountain beech forests to waterfalls and blue pools
- Explore the Glacier Country highlights of Lake Matheson and Franz Josef Glacier, overnight stay in Franz Josef.
- See the blow holes at the Punakaiki Pancake rocks and walk in the rainforest
- Visit remote Denniston where coal was first mined in 1879
- Drive the dramatic Otira Gorge highway to Arthur’s Pass and say hello to New Zealand’s cheeky mountain parrot, the Kea.
- Short walks in the great outdoors in Aoraki/Mt Cook, Fiordland, Mt Aspiring, Tai Poutini Westland, Paparoa and Arthur’s Pass National Parks.
Christchurch - Akaunui Homestead - Aoraki/Mt Cook
After a mid-morning flight to Christchurch we head south for a special lunch at Akaunui homestead south of Ashburton, a 100-year-old country home where we dine on wonderful fresh produce prepared by our hosts, Di and Ian Mackenzie.
We continue through Burke's Pass to the spectacular Mackenzie Country for sweeping vistas of tussock lands, glacial lakes and the Southern Alps. On route to Mt Cook we can’t miss the Church at Lake Tekapo and the unreal turquoise blue Lake Pukaki before arrival and dining in house at the Hermitage Hotel.
Aoraki Mt Cook - Lindis Pass - Queenstown
Always a memorable time on tour, your day in Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain and ‘home ground’ of the most famous Kiwi of all, Sir Edmund Hillary. Wake up to the beauty of this alpine wonderland and enjoy the fresh air and wide open spaces with a stroll in Aoraki National Park.
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.
Queenstown - Milford Sound
Today is all about the one and only Milford Sound. From Queenstown we follow the shores of the great southern lakes Wakatipu and Te Anau before heading into the heart of Fiordland National Park on the spectacular Milford Road.
On arrival at Milford cruise by launch out onto the sound dominated by iconic Mitre Peak and home to birdlife, seal colonies and marine life. A magical flight over the Southern Alps returns us to Queenstown at the end of a fantastic day of touring by land, sea and air.
Queenstown sightseeing - Glenorchy
Today is our day to explore everything Queenstown has to offer, we'll start our day by catching the Skyline Gondola for the best views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables. Then we'll take the Glenorchy road to the stunning 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 aboard the famous TSS Earnslaw before dinner.
Queenstown - Cardrona - Wanaka
Our day starts with a short hop to leafy Arrowtown, where gold mining history comes alive. We then climb up into the tussock country of the Crown Range and our last views of the beautiful Wakatipu. The picture perfect Cardrona Hotel is our lunch venue and stop in at the family owned distillery for a wee dram before carrying on to Wanaka.
We arrive with plenty of time to explore the town centre, take a leisurely stroll along the lakefront or one of the many excellent local walks. Our accommodation this evening is the only hotel right on the waterfront, it's a beautiful secluded setting for the evening.
Wanaka - Haast Pass - Franz Josef Glacier
Today is unforgettable, where else in the world can you visit the beach, a rainforest and a glacier all in the same day? We start off following the shores of Lakes Wanaka & Hawea before the beech forest and alpine streams of the Haast Pass and Mt Aspiring National Park.
We continue north along the coast through the lush, prehistoric Gondwanaland, stopping at Ship Creek to stroll the beach, keep your eye out for dolphins feeding in the shallows. Get your camera ready for Lake Matheson’s famous reflections and our first glimpse of Fox Glacier. Our home for the night is Franz Josef.
Franz Josef Glacier - Okarito Lagoon - Hokitika - Punakaiki
This morning we explore the real heart of Te Waihpounamu World Heritage Area. Our day starts with a short walk in the Franz Josef Valley for views of the fast disappearing glacier and pristine rainforest. We continue to Okarito where our local guides Swade and Paula share the colourful history and unique ecosystem with a short walk and wildlife cruise out on the lagoon.
Our journey continues north to Hokitika, the Pounamu capital of the country and home to carvers, glass blowing and artisans. We arrive at our home for two nights in Punakaiki, right on the beach in the perfect spot to enjoy your last few sunsets of our South Island adventure.
Punakaiki - Denniston - Cape Foulwind
The surrounding Paparoa National Park is very different to any other area on the trip, towering limestone cliffs and karst rock formations with beautiful river valleys draped in subtropical forest. We'll start our day with a short walk at the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.
We'll then head north through Paparoa National Park, to the mining country of Westport and the famous Denniston Plateau, a spot where not many Kiwis ever get to. We'll round off our day with a short walk at the Cape Foulwind Seal Colony before returning to our beachside accommodation at Punakaiki for our final evening.
Punakaiki - Arthur's Pass - Christchurch
Today is a real day of contrasts, you'll wake up to the sounds of the Tasman Sea, traverse the Southern Alps and into the stunning Canterbury High Country and across the plains into Christchurch.
Highlights include the Otira Viaduct and Arthur’s Pass National Park - one of the best places in the country to see the hilarious antics of our alpine parrot, the Kea. Enjoy the mountain air with short walks at Arthur's Pass and the limestone rock formation at Castle Hill before we reach Christchurch airport in the late afternoon.