Essential South Island - Group Tour

From Christchurch to Christchurch
  • Canterbury & Upper South Island
  • Otago & Alpine Region
  • Group
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Tour Description

Join a group  & relax with the hard work taken care of for you!

Soak up some of the fantastic highlights of the South Island; Franz Josef, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Dunedin, on this 9 day coach tour. Explore Larnach Castle, take a TSS Earnslaw cruise across to the Walter Peak High Country Sheep Station for lunch and more. Your tour operates as a round trip from Christchurch.

Guaranteed departures in March and April 2021 - why not check out the fantastic colours of Autumn this April!

Viva's Best Bits...

"Anytime is a fantastic time to explore the South Island, the vista are always stunning, but why not try for the colours of Autumn" Tara, Team Viva

Enjoy some iconic kiwi experiences including the scenic road to Milford Sound with cruise, and a TSS Earnslaw cruise with Walter Peak BBQ Lunch

Group tours mean you don't have to worry about the driving, have more time for your photos, and you get to make new friends along the way.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

On arrival to the largest city in the South Island, you will be transferred to your city hotel for the first night of your tour. Depending on your arrival time you may like to take time to enjoy the exciting rede-velopment of central Christchurch. From stunning new architectural office buildings and shopping cen-tres to the painstaking rebuild of the historic Arts Centre. This afternoon meet your local tour repre-sentative who will provide a tour briefing and confirm tomorrow’s departure details.
Hotel: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch

Day 2
Christchurch Franz Josef

Todays journey will take you across the vast Canterbury Plains before tackling the stunning Southern Alps mountain range. You may wish to take the opportunity to travel on the world famous Tranz Alpine train journey through to Arthurs Pass (additional cost). From Arthurs Pass, continue on to the coastal township of Hokitika where there is a long history of Gold Mining and Greenstone carving. Travel will conclude this afternoon with your arrival at Franz Josef township. There will be an opportunity depending on the weather for a scenic helicopter flight (additional cost) this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.
Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 3
Franz Josef Queenstown

Journey south today along the rugged West Coast of the South Island passing through the small township of Fox Glacier. Continue alongside exposed Bruce Bay, past lakes Paringa and Moeraki before reaching Haast and New Zealand’s longest one lane bridge. From Haast, you will head inland and back across the Southern Alps. Leaving the Alps, you will travel into Queenstown Lakes District passing through Wanaka and onto the stunning alpine playground of Queenstown for the next three nights. Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.
Hotel: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 4

As part of your exploration of Queenstown, today there is a morning visit to Arrowtown, established on the back of a major gold rush in the 1860’s. Then enjoy a cruise on the iconic TSS Earnslaw Steamship across to the Walter Peak High Country Sheep Station for lunch.

Day 5

Queenstown has so many options on offer. Exhilarating jet boat rides, 4WD adventures, Bungy Jumping, Sky Diving. The list is endless. Your tour representative will go through a list of optional tours to suit you and assist with any bookings you would like to make. Or you may simply choose to soak up the beauty of the surrounding lake and mountains views.

Day 6
Queenstown Te Anau via Milford Sound

Begin today with a drive along the southern arm of Lake Wakatipu before passing through Garston – the most inland settlement in New Zealand. Continue towards Te Anau before embarking on what for many is the scenic trip of a lifetime – the drive to Milford Sound. En route stop at the magical Mirror Lakes and pass through the Homer Tunnel before boarding your cruise and surveying the fiord. Onboard take in Mitre Peak, Stirling Falls and a range of wildlife. Following your cruise, retrace your journey back to Te Anau. Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.
Hotel: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 7
Te Anau Dunedin

With an early start from Te Anau, you will arrive in Dunedin for a city tour of this southern Scottish influ-enced city. Your tour includes a stop at Baldwin Street, which recently reclaimed the title of the steepest street in the world. You will also visit Larnach Castle on the Otago Peninsula. Dating back to 1874, the castle has been lovingly restored by the Barker family and is one of the top attractions for visi-tors to Dunedin. Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.
Hotel: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Day 8
Dunedin Christchurch via Lake Tekapo

On leaving Dunedin this morning, the first stop is the famous Moeraki Boulders. From the boulders, you will continue north via Oamaru with its limestone architecture before heading inland up the Waitaki Valley past lakes Aviemore and Benmore. Travel to the Mackenzie Country township of Tekapo where time will be given to visit the celebrated Church of the Good Shepherd located on the shores of the turquoise coloured Lake Tekapo. From Tekapo travel through the rural service towns of Fairlie and Geraldine before returning to State Highway one for the final stretch back to Christchurch. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening.
Hotel: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch

Day 9
Depart Christchurch

Our tour will conclude today following breakfast and your transfer to the Airport.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 Eight nights in excellent centrally located accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 Daily breakfast
  • Included Copy 20 5x Dinners 1x Lunch
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Group tour in modern air conditioned vehicle
  • Included Copy 20 Transfers Christchurch airport to hotel and vv
  • Included Copy 20 TSS Earnslaw cruise & Walter Peak BBQ Lunch
  • Included Copy 20 Larnach Castle Entrance
  • Included Copy 20 Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Included Copy 20 Milford Sound excursion including cruise
  • Included Copy 20 Franz Josef Glacier Valley Road
  • Included Copy 7 Airfares, drinks, additional sightseeing


  • Included Explore Franz Josef Glacier Valley
  • Included Visit the famous Moeraki Boulders
  • Included Visit Larnach Castle on the Otago Peninsula.
  • Included One of the scenic trips of a lifetime – the drive to Milford Sound!
  • Included Plenty of time for Queenstown - three nights
  • Included Optional scenic helicopter flight at Franz Josef glacier
Click here for dates & prices

9 days

Price from

$1,722 USD

Per person, sharing

including G.S.T

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