South Island New Zealand Trip 11 days (depart Christchurch)

Trip name: Te Wai Pounamu

A special trip just for you, although we are more than happy to tailor-make any itinerary to suit you.

Christchurch – Arthurs Pass National park - Hokitika - Franz  Josef and Fox glacier - Lake Wanaka – Mount Aspiring National park - Queenstown - Milford Sound – Fiordland National park and World Heritage site - Lake Te Anau - Lake Tekapo - Aoraki Mount Cook National park and World Heritage site – Christchurch.

Please note all trips can depart from Christchurch or Queenstown.

Included at no extra cost: 

  • Diamond lake Wanaka walk, hike 
  • Ata Whenua scenic movie Te Anau
  • Lake Matheson our most photographed lake
  • Sightseeing Arrowtown historic gold mining village
  • Millbrook world-class famous golf resort, Arrowtown 
  • Lake Tekapo, Mount John café, Lonely Planet rate as one of the best café’s in the world
  • Walk, hike Aoraki/Mount Cook village to the spectacular Hooker valley, base of Aoraki/Mount Cook 



Day 1: Overnight Christchurch

Pick up from Christchurch International airport to your accommodation.

Travelling distance & approximate time 20kms/13 miles: 25 minutes.


Day 2: Overnight Christchurch 

City sights Christchurch.

Highlights include:

  • Botanical gardens
  • Cathedral Square city centre
  • Container Mall Cashel street
  • Historic bridge of Remembrance
  • Arts Centre historic English Gothic architecture
  • Sign of the Takahae and Cashmere hills lookout
  • Sumner beach time for a swim and ice creams
  • Mona Vale, rose gardens, view private homes, Fendalton
  • Port Lyttelton (lunch option) Rapaki, Governors bay and Sign of the Kiwi
  • Lyttelton historic stone plaque where settlers first landed 16th December 1850
  • Spectacular views of city, South Pacific ocean, Lyttelton harbour, Southern Alps

Optional extra activities:

  • A - Punting on the Avon river
  • B - Central city sights by historic Tram
  • C - Day trip to beautiful Akaroa harbour, Banks Peninsula
  • D - Traditional Maori cultural performance including Hangi dinner
  • E - Day trip to alpine village Hanmer Springs via Waipara vineyards & wineries 
  • F - Mount Cavendish Gondola spectacular harbour, city, mountain and South Pacific ocean views


Day 3: Overnight Franz Josef glacier village

Depart Christchurch to Franz Josef glacier village.

Travelling distance & approximate time 385kms/240 miles: 5 hours.

We travel across the Canterbury Plains to the spectacular and majestic Southern Alps, before heading down the rugged coastline of the West Coast via native ancient rain forests. Spectacular views today of the mighty Tasman sea.

Highlights include:

  • Canterbury Plains
  • Unique doughnut Springfield
  • Spiritual hub of ancient Castle hill
  • Arthurs Pass National park
  • Beautiful lake Mahinapua
  • Mighty majestic Southern Alps
  • Driftwood sculputres Hokitika beach
  • Visit Ngai Tahu's Pounamu, Jade shop in Hokitika
  • Knights Point lookout stunning sea views and seal colony
  • Journey through World Heritage  Westland National park and rain forest

Optional extra activity:

  • A - Indulge in local delicacy, famous whitebait
  • B - Native Rimu tree top walk ancient rain forest lake Mahinapua


Day 4: Overnight Franz Josef glacier village

Free day Franz Josef glacier village to enjoy this world famous region, take a "once in a lifetime" scenic glacier heli-hike flight. Explore this remote scenic West Coast village set amongst an ancient rain forest with funky cafe's and restaurants, historic churches, beautiful riverside picnic areas in full view of this majestic and inspring glacier.

Optional extra activities:

  • A - Skydive, adrenlin plus
  • B - White Heron colony Okarito
  • C - Relax, hot pools in an ancient rain forest
  • D - Once in a lifetime glacier helicopter-hike


Day 5: Overnight Wanaka

Depart Franz Josef to Wanaka via Fox glacier.

Travelling distance & approximate time 285kms/178 miles: 4 hours.

We continue through native ancient Rain forests of the World Heritage Westland National park. We stop at beautiful tranquil lake Matheson the most photographed lake in all of New Zealand. View Fox glacier. We travel west to east over the mighty Southern Alps via spectacular Haast pass to beautiful lakes Hawea and Wanaka, then onto Mount Aspiring National park.

Highlights include:

  • Lake Matheson
  • Fox glacier and village
  • Blue pools Makarora
  • Lakes Hawea and Wanaka
  • Rippon vineyard and winery 


Day 6: Overnight Queenstown

Depart Wanaka to Queenstown via Arrowtown and Millbrook

Travelling distance & approximate time 71kms/45 miles: 2 hours.

We pass the Cardrona ski-field and stop at the famous iconic historic Cardrona hotel for refreshments. Enjoy a spectacular drive up and over the Crown range our highest road. Stop off at the world famous historic Kawarau bridge, the world's first commercial bungy. We visit world famous Millbrook golf resort then the very scenic historic gold mining village of Arrowtown. We continue onto spectacular and exciting Queenstown.

Highlights include:

  • Famous A.J. Hackett bungy
  • Mount Aspiring National park
  • Cardrona Whiskey Distillery and tastings 
  • Visit the unexpected, famous "bra" fence
  • Visit the world famous Millbrook golf resort
  • Stop at the iconic famous historic Cardrona hotel
  • We visit the very scenic historic gold mining village Arrowtown
  • Queenstown sights and orientation tour including lake Wakatipu
  • Spectacular drive up and over the Crown range our highest road

Optional extra activities:

  • A - World famous A.J. Hackett bungy jump, Kawarau bridge the original!
  • B - Skydive Wanaka, awesome views lake Wanaka & Mount Aspiring National park
  • C - Arrowtown, treat yourself to yummy iconic kiwi jaffas, minties and more delicious sweets  


Day 7: Overnight in Queenstown

Free day Queenstown “Adventure capital of the world”.

Today enjoy this beautiful and spectacular world-class location, real New Zealand. Picnic on the beautiful shores of lake Wakatipu. Awe inspiring views of the Remarkable mountains. Enjoy watching parasailing, jet boating, paragliding or cruise on the historic vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw to scenic Walter Peak station, option farm experience.

Optional extra activities:

  • A - Glenorchy Dart river safari
  • B - Gold panning Kawarau river
  • C - Jet boating Shotover Canyon 
  • D - Golf world-famous Millbrook 
  • E - Skydive beautiful Queenstown
  • F - Lord of the Rings Nomad safaris
  • G - Tandem paragliding Coronet peak with Skytrek
  • H - Gondola ride Bob’s peak (fun luge rides available)
  • I - Horse trekking Glenorchy Lord of the Rings location
  • J - Heli-picnic high up above this world-class resort with stunning 360 degree views
  • K - TSS. Earnslaw Vintage Steamship cruise to Walter Peak station including sheep farm experience

And much more ...


Day 8: Overnight Lake Te Anau

Depart Queenstown to Milford Sound and Lake Te Anau World Heritage Fiordland National park

Travelling distance & approximate time 398kms/248 miles: 6 hours. Our longest day, we promise, you will not be disappointed 

Travel today on the most spectacular road trip in all of New Zealand, and probably the world!

Milford Sound is one of the most remote, wilderness and stunning locations in the world. Enjoy lunch on board as you cruise breathtaking Milford Sound truly one of the “wonders” of the world, often see dolphins, penguins and Fur seals. Travel via the awesome Cleddau valley and the infamous Homer tunnel. Stop off at the amazing Chasm, a breathtaking and spectacular alpine canyon. Also see Mirror lakes, so tranquil and beautiful. We travel back to the beautiful lakeside resort town of Te Anau, Maori meaning “Place of many flowing waters”.

Highlights include:

  • Milford Sound boat cruise & lunch
  • Walk part of the beautiful Kepler track
  • Visit a local Department of Conservation site office
  • See  towering mountain peaks, spectacular waterfalls, awesome Cleddau valley, Mirror lakes, the Chasm and much more

Optional extra activities:

  • A - Ata Whenua movie Te Anau
  • B - Glow-worm cave experience, evening visit lake Te Anau
  • C - Enjoy a spectacular two hour Milford Sound boat cruise, lunch included 


Day 9: Overnight Lake Tekapo

Depart Lake Te Anau to Lake Tekapo via beautiful Aoraki Mount Cook village

Travelling distance & approximate time 418kms/260 miles: 5 hours.

An early start as we travel through some very typical scenic rural New Zealand country side. See lush rich farmland, mainly red deer, sheep and some dairy. Travel via Mossburn, deer capital of New Zealand, see their impressive local wind farm.

Travel through the very barren desert like landscape of the famous MacKenzie basin to the spectacular Aoraki Mount Cook National park, World Heritage site with 19 peaks over 3,000 meters/10,500 feet. Walk up to the longest glacier in New Zealand, the mighty Tasman glacier, 27kms/16miles long, and view the Tasman lake, with its impressive icebergs. Then travel onto beautiful lakes Pukaki and Tekapo. Interested in star-gazing? Tekapo is the one of the prime locations on earth with incredibly clear night skies.

Highlights include:

  • Mount John Observatory & cafe Tekapo
  • Spectacular photo stop lake Pukaki lookout
  • Walk upto view the Tasman glacier, see icebergs in Tasman lake
  • Tarras village, visit local musuem to see famous Shrek the sheep  
  • Visit lake Tekapo and the most photographed church in New Zealand, the “Church of the Good Shepherd”

Optional extra activities:

  • A - Visit one of three salmon farms, taste and option to buy fresh & delicious
  • B - Aoraki Mount Cook National park scenic helicopter flight with snow landing
  • C - Visit the iconic Hermitage hotel and the impressive Sir Edmund Hillary centre
  • D - Mount John Observatory evening tour star gazing with Earth & Sky, one of the best locations on earth for seeing our spectacular night sky


Day 10: Overnight Christchurch

Depart Lake Tekapo to Christchurch.

Travelling distance & approximate time 226kms/140 miles: 3 hours.

Travel up over Burkes Pass to this quaint rural village, step back in time to the 1950's, great photo opportunities. Visit the oldest church in New Zealand. Onto villages Fairlie and Geraldine, then Christchurch via the beautiful expansive farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, Wheat and barley are grown here plus sheep, dairy and deer farming.  We cross over the mighty braided rivers of Rangitata and Rakaia. Time for extensive sightseeing Christchurch city. 


Day 11:

Pick up from your accommodation to Christchurch International airport 

Travelling distance & approximate time 20kms/13 miles: 25 minutes.

Tour ends. 


Something in particular you want to experience? Please do not hesitate to ask, we will do everything possible to make it happen for you.

Whether you want a full on adrenalin packed adventure or a quiet slow paced relaxing trip, or a mix of both, we are happy to tailor-make an itinerary especially to suit you.

We offer Maori cultural trips (including overnight) world-famous Lord of the Rings trips, Hobbiton, visit many beautiful National parks, World Heritage sites. See majestic glaciers, pristine lakes and rivers, remote golden sandy beaches, active volcanoes, enjoy our unique nature and wildlife. Visit world-class award-winning wineries, Experience fun activities, amazing attractions and much more.

Whatever the occasion, Real New Zealand Tours will ensure you enjoy a world-class experience.


Trip price

South Island self-drive or private driver (fully guided) trips are available with accommodation (as requested) double occupancy. Single supplement accommodation is also available for single occupancy and is additional, 

Trip prices vary depending on the number of people travelling, the style of accommodation requested, the time of year (seasons) and transport options available. 

Please contact us for more information.


Real New Zealand Tours specializes in handcrafted luxury travel with self-drive or private driver (fully guided) trips - personalized bespoke tailor-made itineraries to ensure you have a truly unique and authentic experience. 

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