15 Day South Island Self Discovery
15 Day South Island Self Discovery
Explore the South Island of New Zealand at your own pace in this 15 day tour starting and ending in Christchurch.
The amount of national parks you'll visit are bewildering. From New Zealand's tallest mountain in Mt Cook National Park, to the remote wilderness in Fiordland National Park, the wild and rugged West Coast and coastal paradise of Abel Tasman National Park, the dramatic scenery is ever changing on this tour. You'll meet marine wildlife, have exhilarating adventures and marvel at the breathtaking scenery.
HighlightsAbel Tasman National Park Hiking Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound Franz Josef Heli Hike Punakaiki Pancake Rocks Kaikoura Kayaking Mt Cook National Park
Terms and Conditions
Prices are based on twin share occupancy in a double room, and are subject to availability. If anything comes back unavailable, we will endeavor to find you a suitable alternative.
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Day 1 : Christchurch
Welcome to Christchurch. On arrival you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your first night’s accommodation. Or if you’ve decided to pick up your rental vehicle immediately, you pick up your vehicle at the airport and drive to your accommodation.
Your detailed tour information pack will be given to you once you arrive at your accommodation.
Take the rest of the day to relax and explore the inner city, with its famous botanic gardens. The city has bounced back from the devastating 2010 earthquake and is once again a very vibrant place.
Hotel : Heritage Hotel Christchurch.
Motel : Bella Vista Christchurch.
Day 2 : Christchurch - Mt. Cook
Once you've collected your car first thing in the morning (in case you don't already have it), you'll cross the expansive Canterbury plains on your way to Mt Cook. The route via Geraldine is the more scenic option, just before entering McKenzie Country. The Southern Alps seem to be ever increasing in size as you approach closer, and leaving a bigger impression as you carry on.
Lake Tekapo will leave you dazzled with its remarkable turquoise coloured water against the backdrop of the Southern Alps. The picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd is a great place for great photo opportunities, but please note that photos are not allowed inside the church.
Once you arrive at Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook dominates the landscape, and how! It will leave a memorable impression, and the drive along the lake with its green and turquoise water is nothing but spectacular. This is New Zealand driving at its best!
We recommend you do one of the hikes in the Aoraki National Park.
Motel : Mt Cook Lodge.
Driving distance : 333 km - Driving time : approximately 4 hrs 12 mins
Day 3 : Mt. Cook - Queenstown
As the road takes you further south, you will cross the the Lindis Pass, one of the highest roads in New Zealand. The contrast in scenery will be noticeable as you leave the McKenzie Country and enter Otago.
Wanaka town is nestled below towering mountains, and is a little bit quieter than its neighbour Queenstown. In winters skiers from all over the world flock here for its great skiing, and in summer the impressive mountains provide for a range of adventure activities. You will return to this beautiful town in a few days, but your journey continues to the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown!
Queenstown is synonymous with adventure, and often labelled the "adventure capital of the world". Regardless of the season, Queenstown gets your adrenaline flowing year round, and the options are endless. Want to throw yourself out of a plane in amazing scenery, jump off a bridge in the birthplace of Bungy, jetboat, raft down a river, you name it...Queenstown has it all.
The afternoon is yours to enjoy. Let us know if you would like us to book one of the numerous adventure activities.
Hotel : Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Motel : Amity Lodge Queenstown.
Driving distance : 264 km - Driving time : approximately 3 hrs 17 mins
Day 4 : Queenstown
Queenstown is a place with so many things to do, so you'll stay here for an additional day. In the morning we've included the exciting Dart River Wilderness Jet Experience, deep in the Mt Aspiring National Park wilderness. The drive to Glenorchy alone will already leave you in awe. It is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand.
As appetites differ from person to person, just let us know if you would like to do something else during this day that we can help you with.
Hotel : Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Motel : Amity Lodge Queenstown.
Day 5: Queenstown - Te Anau ( Milford Sound )
Visit Milford Sound today and experience a world of cascading waterfalls, sheer rock faces and dense rainforest. Your journey along the shores of Lake Wakatipu takes you further south to Te Anau first. You will travel along the Milford Road – one of the world's most scenic roads – and through the Homer Tunnel, before arriving for your Milford Sound cruise. Enjoy striking views of iconic Mitre Peak from the head of the Sound – it rises 1,692 metres from the south shore and is named for its resemblance to a bishop’s mitre.
The pristine Milford Sound is part of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, in the south west of the South Island, and is famed for its pristine natural beauty and remote atmosphere. It is New Zealand’s best known fiord and the only one that can be reached by road. The fiord extends 15km inland from the wild Tasman Sea and is regularly visited by wildlife including penguins, seals and dolphins.
You will return to Te Anau where you will spend the night.
Hotel: Distinction Hotel Te Anau.
Motel : Te Anau Red Tussock.
Driving distance : 173 km - Driving time : approximately 2 hours 10 mins
Driving Te Anau - Milford Sound : 118 km - Driving time : approximately 1 hour 45 mins
Day 6 : Te Anau- Wanaka
Your journey will take you to Wanaka today via Queenstown and over the Crown Range. Relax by the waterfront, pay a visit to Puzzling world or the War Birds and weels, ro do one of the many great short day hikes in the area.
The Roys Peak Track - a NZ must do - will give you magnificent views of Wanaka, the lake and Southern Alps. The Rob Roy Glacier Track half day walk leads you into Mount Aspiring National Park, an amazing world of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes. The Mt Iron Track is one of Wanaka's most popular short walks with spectacular views over the lake and surrounding mountains.
Hotel : Edgewater Hotel Wanaka.
Motel: Wanaka Clearbrook Motel.
Driving distance : 226 km - Driving time : approximately 2 hours 55 mins
Day 8 : Wanaka- Franz Josef
Passing through a number of national parks today, the road from Wanaka to Frans Josef and Haast winds its way along Lake Hawea first, then through majestic Mt Aspiring National Park, until you reach the town of Haast on the West Coast, which is located in the heart of Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Area. The road between Haast and Frans Josef continues along the rugged West Coast with lush native bush and rainforest.
From Frans Josef township you'll have a number of options to explore the extraordinary glaciers.
Hotel : Scenic Hotel Franz Josef.
Motel : Bella Vista Franz Josef.
Driving distance : 286 km - Driving time : approximately 3 hrs 40 mins
Day 9 : Franz Josef - Punakaiki
Westland National Park and its glaciers is an area of magnificent primeval vistas – snow-capped mountains, glaciers, forests, tussock grasslands, lakes, rivers, wetlands and beaches.
And you'll have the best view of all today, from a helicopter. After a thrilling flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier, ready to undertake a three hour guided heli hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery in the world.
You'll continue northbound in the afternoon along the coast. The seaside town of Hokitika is a place to appreciate the fascinating history of the west coast. The Arahura River, which enters the sea just north of Hokitika, is a traditional source of pounamu (greenstone). There are a number of jewelry stores selling greenstone in town, and are well worth a look.
Your final destination will be Punakaiki in the smallest national park of New Zealand, Paparoa National Park, known for its famous pancake rocks, where columns of water shoot skyward from rocks that resemble giant stacks of hotcakes.
Hotel : Punakaiki Resort.
Driving distance : 217 km - Driving time : approximately : 2 hrs 55 mins
Day 10 : Punakaiki - Nelson
The scenery changes dramatically driving through the Buller Gorge on the way to Nelson today. Once past the gorge a recommended side trip and stop is Lake Rotoroa in the Nelson Lakes National Park.
Nelson, the sunniest place in New Zealand, will be your base for your next adventure tomorrow.
Hotel : Trailway Hotel Nelson.
Motel : Nelson Saxton Lodge.
Driving distance : 286 km - Driving time approximately : 3 hrs 47 mins
Day 11 ,12 and 13 : Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and its world-famous coast track. For the next 3 days you will be walking the most beautiful sections of this track .
Read here for more details about your journey into this coastal paradise Abel Tasman Unguided trekking 3 Day Guided trip.
At the end of your hiking adventure, you will be dropped off at your Nelson accommodation again.
Day 14 : Nelson - Hanmer Springs
You'll be travelling to the picturesque alpine village of Hanmer Springs today, best known for its natural hot pools and stunning landscapes. The town is an attractive year-round holiday destination for adventure, relaxation and indulgence. Surrounded by dramatic mountains and towering forests, this charming town has a main street filled with boutique shops, cafes and eateries.
Hotel : Heritage Hotel Hanmer Springs.
Motel : Hanmer Spring Spa lodge.
Driving distance : 300 km - Driving time : approximately : 3 hrs 55 mins
Day 14 : Hanmer Springs - Kaikoura
It's not a long drive to Kaikoura today, a picturesque coastal town and the perfect place for marine life encounters, coastal walks, and tucking into a plate of crayfish. Kaikoura's environment is truly spectacular – the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. In winter the mountains are covered with snow, adding to the drama of the landscape.
Get up close and personal with the abundance of marine wildlife from the water on an amazing evening kayaking trip Kaikoura Kayaks Sunset Evening Classic
Hotel : Kaikoura Boutique.
Motel : Kaikoura Bella Vista Motel.
Driving distance : 130 km Driving time : approximately 1 hrs 54 mins
Day 15 : Kaikoura - Christchurch
- Complimentary airport transfers
- Detailed tour pack upon arrival of first night's accommodation.
- 15 day car rental with unlimited daily kilometers
- Standard insurance with zero excess reduction option.
- 14 Nights Accommodation.
- Dart River Wilderness Experience.
- Queenstown Kiwi Bird Life Park entrance fee.
- Milford Sound Cruise.
- Franz Josef Heli Hike.
- Abel Tasman Guided trekking3 Day Guided trip.
- Kaikoura Kayaks Sunset Evening Classic.
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 45 days or more before the start of the tour, the cancellation fee will be equivalent to the deposit paid
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 30 to 45 days before the start of the tour the cancellation fee shall be 25% of the contract price
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 7 to 30 days before the start of the tour the cancellation fee shall be 50% of the contract price
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 7 days or less before the start of the tour the cancellation fee shall be 100% of the contract price
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