Southern Beauty
9 Day / 8 Night South Island Tour visiting the very best of Te Waipounamu: Aoraki Mt Cook, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Wanaka, Glacier Country & the West Coast

Have you always dreamed of visiting all the South Island's iconic spots like Aoraki Mt Cook, Milford Sound, Queenstown & the West Coast Glaciers? Our Southern Beauty tour is the ultimate South Island 9 day itinerary, with all the world famous spots included in one very special tour itinerary.  

As well as our world famous South Island scenery, you'll meet the locals and hear their stories, see our unique native wildlife up close, get out on the water and up in the air, enjoy fresh food & wine, make new friends and at the end of each unforgettable day relax in 4-star comfort.

What Tracy loves about this tour:
Southern Beauty: Aoraki Mt Cook, Milford & Franz Josef
$5690.00 pp twin
$6290.00 pp single
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Day 1: Christchurch - Akaunui Homestead - Aoraki / Mt Cook

Canterbury Garden Lunch

After a mid-morning flight to Christchurch we head south for a special lunch at Akaunui homestead south of Ashburton, a 100-year-old country home where we dine on wonderful fresh produce prepared by our hosts, Di and Ian Mackenzie. 

We continue through Burke's Pass to the spectacular Mackenzie Country for sweeping vistas of tussock lands, glacial lakes and the Southern Alps. On route to Mt Cook we can’t miss the Church at Lake Tekapo and the unreal turquoise blue Lake Pukaki before arrival anat the Hermitage Hotel.

What you'll love today
  • A hosted country lunch with friends at Akaunui homestead
  • Stay overnight in the Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki/Mt Cook

Day 2: Aoraki/Mt Cook - Lindis Pass - Queenstown

Views of Lake Pukaki & Aoraki Mt Cook in snow

Always a memorable time on tour, your day in Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain and ‘home ground’ of the most famous Kiwi of all, Sir Edmund Hillary. Wake up to the beauty of this alpine wonderland and enjoy the fresh air and wide open spaces with a stroll in Aoraki National Park.

Our adventure continues on to Omarama, over the Lindis Pass and through the rugged Kawarau Gorge and Gibbston Valley onto Queenstown - our home for three nights. 

What you'll love today
  • New Zealand’s most stunning alpine scenery - there’s nowhere like Aoraki Mt Cook
  • Settle in for three nights in Queenstown and enjoy the vibrant mountain scene

Day 3: Queenstown - Milford Sound

Small boat cruise on Milford Sound

Today is all about the one and only Milford Sound. From Queenstown we follow the shores of the great southern lakes Wakatipu and Te Anau before heading into the heart of Fiordland National Park on the spectacular Milford Road.  

On arrival at Milford cruise by launch out onto the sound dominated by iconic Mitre Peak and home to birdlife, seal colonies and marine life. A magical flight over the Southern Alps returns us to Queenstown at the end of a fantastic day of touring by land, sea and air. 

What you'll love today
  • A magical day at Milford Sound, air and sea.
  • New Zealand’s most stunning road through the heart of Fiordland National Park

Day 4: Queenstown Sightseeing - Glenorchy

Views of the head of Lake Wakatipu from the Glenorchy Road

Today is our day to explore everything Queenstown has to offer, we'll start our day by catching the Skyline Gondola for the best views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables. Then we'll take the Glenorchy road to the stunning head of Lake Wakatipu for a lakeside lunch and the famous Lord of the Rings scenery. 

Once back in town we enjoy a cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the famous TSS Earnslaw before dinner.

What you'll love today
  • Two iconic Queenstown activities, the Skyline Gondola & TSS Earnslaw
  • Glenorchy and the "Head of the Lake"

Day 5: Queenstown - Cardrona - Wanaka

Visitors to the Cardrona Hotel

Our day starts with a short hop to leafy Arrowtown, where gold mining history comes alive. We then climb up into the tussock country of the Crown Range and our last views of the beautiful Wakatipu. The picture perfect Cardrona Hotel is our lunch venue and stop in at the family owned distillery for a wee dram before carrying on to Wanaka.

We arrive with plenty of time to explore the town centre, take a leisurely stroll along the lakefront or one of the many excellent local walks. Our accommodation this evening is the only hotel right on the waterfront, it's a beautiful secluded setting for the evening.

What you'll love today
  • Gold mining history comes to life in Arrowtown
  • Stroll along the lake edge at Wanaka, it’s right outside your door

Day 6: Wanaka - Haast Pass - Franz Josef Glacier

Walking on the riverbed at the Blue Pools, Mt Aspiring National Park

Today is unforgettable, where else in the world can you visit the beach, a rainforest and a glacier all in the same day?  We start off following the shores of Lakes Wanaka & Hawea before the beech forest and alpine streams of the Haast Pass and Mt Aspiring National Park.

We continue north along the coast through the lush, prehistoric Gondwanaland, stopping at Ship Creek to stroll the beach, keep your eye out for dolphins feeding in the shallows. Get your camera ready for Lake Matheson’s famous reflections and our first glimpse of Fox Glacier. Our home for the night is Franz Josef.

What you'll love today
  • Where else in the world can you see a glacier, rainforest and the beach all in the same day?
  • Wake up by the lakeshore in Wanaka, go to sleep surrounded by rainforest in Franz Josef

Day 7: Franz Josef Glacier - Okarito Lagoon - Hokitika - Punakaiki

Guide and guests on Okarito Lagoon wildlife cruise

This morning we explore the real heart of Te Waihpounamu World Heritage Area. Our day starts with a short walk in the Franz Josef Valley for views of the glacier and pristine rainforest. We continue to Okarito where we meet our local guides Swade and Paula for lunch. They share the colourful history and unique ecosystem on a short walk around the tiny settlement and a wildlife cruise out on the lagoon.

We continue north to Hokitika, the Pounamu capital of the country and home to carvers, glass blowing and artisans. We arrive at our home for two nights in Punakaiki, right on the beach in the perfect spot to enjoy the sunsets.

What you'll love today
  • The lush rainforest and striking alpine views of Franz Josef
  • Okarito Lagoon, breeding ground of the graceful Kōtuku White Heron

Day 8: Punakaiki - Denniston - Cape Foulwind

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

The surrounding Paparoa National Park is very different to any other area on the trip, towering limestone cliffs and karst rock formations with beautiful river valleys draped in subtropical forest. We'll start our day with a short walk at the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.

We'll then head north through Paparoa National Park, to the mining country of Westport and the famous Denniston Plateau, a spot where not many Kiwis ever get to. We'll round off our day with a short walk at the Cape Foulwind Seal Colony before returning to our beachside accommodation at Punakaiki for our final evening.

What you'll love today
  • The limestone cliffs and prehistoric valleys of Paparoa National Park
  • Toast your last Southern sunset with your friends on the beach at Punakaiki

Day 9: Punakaiki - Arthur’s Pass - Christchurch

Castle Hill rock formations in the Canterbury High Country

Today is a real day of contrasts, you'll wake up to the sounds of the Tasman Sea, traverse the Southern Alps and into the stunning Canterbury High Country and across the plains into Christchurch. 

Highlights include the Otira Viaduct and Arthur’s Pass National Park - one of the best places in the country to see the hilarious antics of our alpine parrot, the Kea. Enjoy the mountain air with short walks at Arthur's Pass and the limestone rock formation at Castle Hill before we reach Christchurch airport in the late afternoon. 

What you'll love today
  • The cheeky keas' antics at the lookout and a spectacular view of Otira Viaduct
  • Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill) on the Great Alpine Highway, a great short walk to finish your tour