South Island Explorer

From Invercargill to Christchurch
  • Otago & Alpine Region
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

Explore some of the many magical spots in New Zealand's South Island.

Whether you have just come off a Sub-Antarctic cruise or finished exploring Stewart Island, this is a perfect way to explore the highlights if the South Island. Starting in New Zealand's Southern city, Invercargill, you will make your way up with your hire car into some of New Zealand's most stunning regions; the Fiordland area. Whether is Doubtful Sound or the more popular Milford Sound, the beauty found in this part of New Zealand will take your breath away.  During your time here, you will have a guided hike to Lake Marion,  with an option to cruise either Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound or get a sky view of the Fiordland area with a helicopter ride, you may even opt for fishing which is also very popular in this region. Whichever it is, we can accommodate and make your time away, incredible.

Spend your next couple of nights in Queenstown where you can  explore the beautiful mountains and lakes, hike on the many trails and taste the incredible wine of this region.  Next continue on to Mount Cook Aoraki, with snow capped mountains and glacial lakes, you will be in absolute awe of the landscapes that surround this area. Admire the remarkable turquoise coloured waters at Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki along the way.  Finally head to Christchurch where you finish your adventure.

We can tailor this self drive itinerary to suit! You may opt to do this tour in reverse and board a Sub-Antarctic cruise afterwards in Invercargill. 

Viva's Best Bits...

Enjoy Lake Marion on a day hike amongst native forest and raw alpine scenery in the heart of New Zealand's South Island mountain divide.

"Discover stunning vistas and magical forests on a hike, drive to Glenorchy, a favourite little town, sip on Central Otago wine, encounter wildlife, or try fly fishing on a remote river...let us customise the perfect trip for you" Ersan, Team Viva

"Stay in a lodge located in the middle of the largest International Dark Sky Reserve, if the weather behaves you will have fab views of the milky way, southern cross and more! Ersan, Team Viva

Tour Itinerary

Customisable ? This tour can be customised to suit your tastes and timing. Enquire here for more information.
Day 1

Arrive into Invercargill anytime, you may have just disembarked an Antarctic cruise or flown in. Spend the rest of the day walking around. You may opt to visit Transport World where you will experience a family legacy that has become the largest private automotive museum of its type in the world.
Overnight in Invercargill

Day 2
Invercargill Fiordland

Pick up your hire car and leave Invercargill and drive to Fiordland region. This drive will take you through some of the most breathtaking scenery. On arrival at your luxury lodge, enjoy the rest of day at leisure, taking in the beautiful views and enjoying the amenities of your luxury lodge.
Overnight Te Anau area

Day 3

Today you will embark on a guided nature hike to Lake Marion. Begin your journey with a spectacular scenic drive along the Milford Road to the Lower Hollyford, the starting point for the guided walk to Lake Marian. En-route there are opportunities for short nature walks and photographic stops. The hike starts with a gentle walk alongside a spectacular series of waterfalls, then steepens and becomes quite rocky underfoot as we ascend through a lush forest of fuchsia, ribbon wood and beech trees. The Lake Marian guided walk allows you to enjoy a lesser-known Fiordland track with an experienced, friendly local guide. Enjoy a day hike among native forest and raw alpine scenery in the heart of New Zealand's South Island mountain divide. Your effort is well-rewarded, with a panoramic view at the top of this beautiful glacial carved, hanging valley. Please note this tour has up to a maximum of 6 people with one guide.
Overnight Te Anau area

Day 4
Fiordland Queenstown

Morning: Before departing you may want to take an optional cruise and explore the incredibly beautiful Doubtful Sounds before driving to Queenstown.

Today enjoy Queenstowns beautiful scenery by driving around Lake Wakatipu, stopping off at many of the hiking trails or head all the way to Glenorchy, a small town just a 40 minute drive from Queenstown. You may enjoy some wine tasting at one of the many vineyards of the famous Central Otago wine region.
Overnight in Queenstown

Day 5
Queenstown Lake Pukaki/ Mount Cook Area

Today drive to the stunning Mount Cook Region. Take the scenic drive through the Kawarau George and stop at the famous bungy jumping bridge. Continue along Lake Dunstan and then drive over the Lindis Pass, a tussock-covered mountainous area. Soon you arrive on the shores of Lake Pukaki where your lodge is situated. This evening dinner is included and cooked by the inhouse chef. After dinner head out for a guided night sky viewing and gaze up at the stunning star filled sky.
Overnight Lake Pukaki

Day 6
Lake Pukaki/ Mount Cook Area

You have the day at leisure. We highly recommend the drive to Mount Cook Village, an excellent starting point for many shorter walks such as the Hooker Valley or Tasman Glacier. You may want to take an optional helicopter flight and explore Mount Cook from above.
Overnight Lake Pukaki

Day 7
Lake Pukaki/ Mount Cook Area Christchurch

Today you will depart, enjoy the last glimpse of Aoraki Mt Cook. Your drive will take you through more breathtaking scenery and a stop at Lake Tekapo is a must before you continue your journey to Christchurch where your trip comes to an end.

You may want to extend however and spend a few days exploring the region and places like Akaroa or head further north to Kaikoura.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 4 nights luxury lodge accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 2 nights boutique hotels
  • Included Copy 20 6 breakfasts, 4 dinners
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Rental car ex Invercargill, drop off Christchurch
  • Included Copy 20 Guided nature hike
  • Included Copy 20 Night sky viewing excursion
  • Included Copy 7 Entrance to Transport World (paid direct)
  • Included Copy 31 Add on Helicopter overflight, or Doubtful/Milford sound cruise

Rental Car


  • Included Self drive the south of the South Island, go at your own pace
  • Included Star gazing, night sky experience, see the Milky Way!
  • Included Hike to Fiordlands glacial Lake Marian!
  • Included Explore Queenstown, sample the local wine, and take in the famous sites!
  • Included Stunning aqua lakes: Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki
  • Included Visit the largest private automotive museum of its type in the world.
  • Included Drive and walk around the Mount Cook Aoraki area
Click here for dates & prices

7 days

Price from

$2,850 USD

Per person, sharing

including GST

Daily Departures