Essential South Island Tour

9 Days / 8 Nights | Tour includes Christchurch, Franz Josef, Arrowtown, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Te Anau, Dunedin, Tekapo, TSS Earnslaw cruise, Larnach Castle | Price is Per Person, Twin Share

From NZD 3590.00 pp


  • Christchurch Airport to City Hotel Transfer
  • Eight nights in excellent centrally located accommodation including Breakfast Daily (B)
  • Modern air conditioned vehicle as per Itinerary outline 
  • Meals as stipulated in Itinerary include 5x Dinners (D) & 1x Lunch (L)
  • Sightseeing includes: Franz Josef Glacier Valley Road, TSS Earnslaw cruise & Walter Peak BBQ Lunch, Milford Sound excursion including cruise, Larnach Castle Entrance, Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Christchurch City Hotel to Airport Transfer

Dates, Availability & Printable Version

Click here for a list of departure dates and availability, including our guaranteed departures.

Click here to download your printable PDF version of the Essential South Island Tour.

9 days/8 nights Essential South Island Tour

Day 1 | Arrive in Christchurch

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 redevelopment of central Christchurch. From stunning new architectural office buildings and shopping centres to the painstaking rebuild of the historic Arts Centre.

This afternoon meet your local tour representative who will provide a tour briefing and confirm tomorrow’s departure details.

Hotel:  Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch

Day 2 | Christchurch to Franz Josef  | (B,D)

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. (*Nov & Dec departure only).

Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.

Hotel:  Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier or Similar

Day 3 | Franz Josef to Queenstown | (B,D)

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 that crosses the Haast River.

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 | Queenstown | (B,L)

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 at Leisure | (B)

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 to Te Anau via Milford Sound | (B,D)

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 – to Milford Sound.  On 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 to Dunedin | (B,D)

With an early start from Te Anau, you will arrive in Dunedin for a city tour of this southern Scottish influenced 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 visitors to Dunedin.

Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.

Hotel:  Scenic Hotel Southern Cross Dunedin

Day 8 | Dunedin to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo | (B,D)

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 | (B)

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

Tour Exclusions:

Domestic Air Fares

Additional /Optional Tour Costs

Hotel Mini Bar

Other Sightseeing & Meals not specified in Itinerary

Tour Price:

Until APR 2022: $3590.00 Per Person on a Share Twin Basis

Single Supplement: Additional $1080.00 per person

See below for full Terms and Conditions.

Dates, Availability & Printable Version:

Click here for a list of departure dates and availability, including our guaranteed departures.

Click here to download your printable PDF version of the Essential South Island Tour.

Payment Terms & Conditions

A non-refundable deposit of $450 per person is required at the time of booking.  

The balance of the tour price is required 45 days prior to your travel date. If you book inside 45 days, full payment will be required at the time of booking. Payment can be made by bank transfer. 

If you cancel between 21 and 45 days 30% of your tour cost will be charged. If you cancel between 8 and 20 days prior to your tour departure you will be charged 50% of your tour cost.  Cancellations within 7 days of departures will incur a 100% cancellation charge.

Inspired New Zealand Tours recommends purchasing  travel insurance, even when travelling within New Zealand.

Full terms and conditions including Covid-19 policy are available here.  

When a booking is made it is accepted that these are agreed to. They include the following:  Itineraries are correct when initially published, however are subject to change due to circumstances outside our control.  Flights are the responsibility of the passenger and Inspired New Zealand Tours takes no responsibility for costs involved for any changes to flights that might be required due to necessary amendments in itineraries.