Explore New Zealand’s South Island: A Nature and Adventure Odyssey

13 days,

10 nights |

from $5559 per person*


Your journey begins with a warm welcome at Christchurch Airport, where you’ll be met by private transfer to your luxurious accommodation at Sudima Christchurch City. Unwind in your Luxe King room and prepare for the remarkable adventure that awaits.

After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, your eight-day self-drive adventure begins. Collect your intermediate car rental and head south towards Lake Tekapo. Along the way, take in the picturesque landscapes that encompass the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps. Arriving in Lake Tekapo, check into Peppers Bluewater Resort, your home for the night. As the sun sets, embark on the Dark Sky Project Summit Experience, where you’ll be mesmerized by the southern hemisphere’s starry spectacle.

Wake up to breathtaking lake views before hitting the road towards Oamaru. Your journey offers glimpses of New Zealand’s varied scenery, from turquoise lakes to rolling hills. In Oamaru, your enchanting Victoria Room at historic Pen-y-Bryn Lodge awaits. With intriguing history and a sumptuous interior the Victorian-era mansion exudes a sense of grace and comfort.

On one evening, embark on the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony Evening Viewing, a heartwarming encounter with these endearing creatures.

Bordered by the stunning coastline of the Pacific, Oamaru offers nature lovers the chance to explore nesting colonies of little blue penguins, yellow-eyed penguins and rare seabirds. For culture lovers the famed limestone architecture houses the cool and quirky world of steampunk and plenty of fashion, art and cuisine discoveries.  New Zealand’s best-preserved example of a Victorian streetscape is both utterly unique and altogether captivating.

Bid farewell to Oamaru and drive south to the vibrant city of Dunedin. Check into Larnach Lodge, a historic and charming accommodation nestled on the picturesque Otago Peninsula. In the afternoon, set sail on the Peninsula Encounters Wildlife Cruise, a unique opportunity to witness a wide array of marine and birdlife, including royal albatross.

Enjoy a leisurely morning in Dunedin before continuing your journey south to Queenstown. Your accommodation at Queenstown House B&B and Apartments offers splendid lake views and a perfect base for your adventures in this adventure capital. The drive takes you through magnificent Central Otago landscapes. Upon arrival, explore Queenstown’s vibrant town center and its array of restaurants and bars.

Today, embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Milford Sound. Fly from Queenstown to Milford Sound, where you’ll experience a Nature Cruise amidst the fiord’s stunning cliffs, waterfalls, and wildlife. After your cruise, return to Queenstown by air, taking in breathtaking aerial views of the region.

Leave Queenstown behind and travel through the stunning landscapes of the Southern Alps. En route to Franz Josef, take in the remarkable beauty of the Haast Pass and the West Coast rainforest. Your stay at Westwood Lodge, a quaint Bed and Breakfast will feel like a home-away-from-home.

Immerse yourself in Franz Josef’s natural wonders on a Franz Josef Nature Tour, where you’ll venture deep into the rainforest and discover the region’s unique flora and fauna.

Drive north to Greymouth, where you’ll board the world-renowned TranzAlpine Rail. This iconic journey takes you through the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass, showcasing New Zealand’s alpine beauty. Arrive in Christchurch and enjoy a comfortable night’s stay at Sudima Christchurch City.

Your South Island adventure ends with lasting memories of stunning landscapes, wildlife encounters, and incredible experiences. After breakfast, a private transfer will take you to Christchurch Airport, where you’ll bid farewell to this captivating journey through New Zealand’s natural wonders.

  • Round-trip airfare on Air New Zealand from Los Angeles to Christchurch
  • Round-trip private transfers Christchurch Airport to Hotel
  • 1 night Christchurch, Sudima Christchurch City, Luxe King including breakfast
  • 8 Day Intermediate Car Rental including unlimited mileage
  • 1 night Tekapo, Peppers Bluewater Resort, Deluxe Lakeview Room including breakfast
    • Dark Sky Project Summit Experience
  • 2 nights Oamaru, Pen-y-Bryn Lodge, Victoria Room including breakfast and dinner
    • Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony Evening Viewing
  • 1 night Dunedin, Larnach Lodge, Lodge Queen Room including breakfast
    • Castle to Cruise Tour
  • 2 nights Queenstown, Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel, Gondola Room including breakfast
    • Milford Sound Fly/Nature Cruise/Fly
  • 2 nights Franz Josef, Westwood Lodge, Main House Suite including breakfast
    • Franz Josef Nature Tour
    • TranzAlpine Rail from Greymouth to Christchurch
  • One-way private transfer from Christchurch Rail Station to hotel
  • 1 night Christchurch, Sudima Christchurch City, including breakfast
  • US/foreign taxes & fees including September 11 Security Fee

All trips include 24-hour emergency travel assistance.

Book by:

May 31, 2024

Valid for travel between:

May 1 – June 28, 2024

Additional dates, gateway cities and airlines may be available.

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Day 1: Depart USA

This evening make your way to the Los Angeles Airport for your overnight flight aboard Air New Zealand to Auckland. Enjoy a dining experience full of super fresh ingredients and flavors and an extensive range of premium New Zealand wines to complement each meal. Relax in the ergonomically designed seats that create generous personal space to ensure a comfortable journey. Take control of on-demand entertainment and enjoy a wide range of audio and video and a collection of the very best in music.

Day 2: International Date Line

During your flight, you will cross the International Date Line.

Day 3: Christchurch

After you clear Customs and Immigration, collect your luggage and transfer by private vehicle to your hotel for an overnight stay. This afternoon is free to explore the city at your leisure. Enjoy punting on the Avon River, explore the Botanic Gardens or discover the city on the Hop-On Hop Off Tram.

Day 4: Christchurch – Tekapo

The drive from Christchurch to Tekapo unveils the natural beauty of New Zealand’s South Island, with the Canterbury Plains gradually giving way to the dramatic landscapes of the Southern Alps. En route to Lake Tekapo, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas, serene lakes, and glimpses of the snow-capped peaks that await you at your destination. This evening, enjoy the wonders of the southern night sky and experience the thrill of peering through powerful telescopes. When the stars are hidden from view, you will be taken on a journey to discover the nocturnal world of an astronomer. See research equipment that is out-of-bounds to the public and experience the wonders of astronomy. With the use of powerful telescopes, you can view distant object such as planets, star-clusters, nebulae and distant galaxies

Day 5: Tekapo – Oamaru

The drive from Tekapo to Oamaru is a picturesque journey that transitions from the mesmerizing turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo to the charming town of Oamaru on New Zealand’s East Coast. Along the way, you’ll be captivated by the diverse landscapes, from the serene countryside to the dramatic coastal vistas, setting the stage for your exploration of Oamaru’s unique attractions, including the enchanting Blue Penguin Colony.

Day 6: Oamaru

Pen-Y-Bryn Lodge in Oamaru is a charming Victorian-era retreat nestled on the picturesque Otago Peninsula. This luxurious accommodation offers an elegant blend of heritage and modern comfort, with its Victoria Room providing a tranquil haven for guests. With its rich history and captivating landscapes, Oamaru promises a unique and memorable experience.

Day 7: Oamaru – Dunedin

The scenic drive from Oamaru to Dunedin takes you through the stunning Otago region, offering picturesque vistas of rolling farmland and rugged coastline. As you approach Dunedin, the landscape transitions into a captivating mix of hills and valleys, foreshadowing the city’s vibrant culture and charming architecture. Arrive Dunedin mid-morning to take a wonderful journey back in time, on a guided tour of New Zealand’s castle, Larnach Castle. Meet your guide back on the bus and continue the tour along the Peninsula. Join an invigorating Wildlife Cruise around Taiaroa Head, home to the world’s only mainland nesting place of royal albatross. Watch as these huge birds glide in from the ocean and soar high above their hillside nests. You’ll cruise beneath a historic lighthouse, perched high above volcanic cliffs. Watch as NZ fur seals play and swim around the rocky outcrops below. Then it’s a short way out to sea to spot other species of albatross, cormorants, petrels and other rarely seen ocean birds. Occasionally you might spot blue penguins, dusky or hectors dolphins or sea lions.

Day 8: Dunedin – Queenstown

The drive from Dunedin to Queenstown is a journey of ever-changing scenery, taking you from the charming coastal city through rolling farmland and into the heart of Central Otago’s alpine landscapes. As you approach Queenstown, the dramatic landscapes of the Southern Alps and the glistening Lake Wakatipu come into view, setting the stage for your adventure in this renowned South Island destination. Enjoy a two-night stay in Queenstown.

Day 9: Queenstown

Explore the extraordinary beauty of Milford Sound with a comprehensive adventure. After check-in, your pilot provides a briefing on the route, encompassing the famous Skippers Canyon, the Paradise region known for its role in the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit Trilogies, and awe-inspiring features like the Donne Glacier. A 35-minute flight offers a majestic overview of Milford Sound, followed by a personal escort to the “Spirit of Milford” for a Nature Cruise, ensuring an intimate experience with stunning flora and fauna. The return flight showcases Fiordland National Park’s pristine alpine lakes and waterfalls, including the 580m-tall Sutherland Falls. This unforgettable journey concludes in Queenstown. The remainder of your day is free.

Day 10: Queenstown – Franz Josef

The drive from Queenstown to Franz Josef is a captivating journey that takes you through the heart of New Zealand’s South Island. As you navigate through the rugged landscapes, you’ll witness the transition from the stunning alpine scenery of Queenstown to the lush rainforests and glacier-clad peaks of Franz Josef, offering a diverse range of natural beauty along the way.

Day 11: Franz Josef

This morning, join a guided tour and venture into the lush West Coast temperate rainforest, the majestic Franz Josef Glacier rises before you – a geological wonder and one of the world’s most unique glaciers. This adventure promises awe-inspiring beauty whether under the clear blue skies or a shroud of mystical mist, evoking the ethereal realms of Narnia or the iconic landscapes of Lord of the Rings. Explore at your own leisure, meandering alongside glacial rivers, pristine streams, and through the enchanting podocarp forests, uncovering hidden natural gems like native snails, wild mushrooms, and a plethora of orchid species. Immerse yourself in the symphony of native bird songs and cascading waterfalls, all while savoring a hot cup of tea and keeping an eye out for the elusive Chamois or Tahr atop the snow-capped mountains. This journey promises a magical encounter with nature.

Day 12: Franz Josef – Greymouth – Christchurch

Embark on an unforgettable transition from Franz Josef to Greymouth, where you’ll journey through the captivating landscapes of New Zealand’s West Coast. Following this scenic drive, return the rental vehicle and then board the iconic TranzAlpine Train, a rail adventure renowned for its breathtaking vistas. This unforgettable ride winds its way to Christchurch through the Southern Alps, providing an unparalleled window into the South Island’s rugged beauty, from rainforests to towering peaks, making it a truly remarkable way to experience the heart of New Zealand’s natural wonders. On arrival in Christchurch, you will be transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 13: Depart Christchurch

After breakfast, you have free time to explore the city before transferring to Christchurch Airport for your return flight to the USA via Auckland.

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Based on Departures Price per person from*

Based on Double Occupancy

April 1- April 30, 2024 5699
May 1 – June 28, 2024 5559
June 29 – July 24, 2024 6059
July 25 – September 17, 2024 5699
September 18 – October 16, 2024 6339
October 17 – December 4, 2024 5959
December 5 – December 12, 2024 6339
December 13 – December 23, 2024 6799
December 24 – January 3, 2025 6349
January 4 – January 13, 2025 6869
January 14 – January 29, 2025 6339
January 30 – March 20, 2025 5949

Additional upgrades and add-ons may be available.

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*Terms & Conditions: Pricing is per person based on double occupancy. All prices are in US dollars and correct at time of posting for travel during specified travel dates. Single supplements, black-out dates and seasonal supplements may apply. Airfare is not included unless indicated. Prices may differ when you book your travel and are not guaranteed until full payment is received. Airline and hotels frequently change their prices as a result of fare increases and/or fuel surcharges. Prices may increase before full payment for those and other reasons. Package is not combinable with any other offer or discounted vacation package. After full payment, prices are guaranteed except only due to an increase in government-imposed taxes or fees. By paying your deposit, you affirmatively agree to the possibility of such increases. Package is strictly subject to availability, not retroactive and not combinable with any other special or vacation package offer. Minimum night stays or required room types may apply. All prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change without notice. Please call for our current prices. CST#2001136-20

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