This escorted tour squeezes more jaw-dropping scenery into two weeks than any other! The South Island has an unparalleled variety of landscapes from the majestic Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, to the stunning views across Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, to the Remarkable Mountains, plus the wilderness of Fiordland.

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Day 1 Wellington

Haere mai – welcome! Today you are free to explore. Depending on your interests, we suggest a stroll along Oriental Parade, or a city tour (at own cost) to pack more in!

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

Day 2 Wellington to Nelson

Enjoy one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world. From the South Island port of Picton it’s a short drive into sauvignon country, so we pause at a Marlborough winery for a tasting session, before arriving in Nelson.

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 3 Abel Tasman National Park

The idyllic Abel Tasman National Park is best explored by boat and on foot. Sailing from Kaiteriteri, today offers a choice:

Scenic Cruise: 3-4 hours (no walking) – A morning cruise reveals golden sands and turquoise waters, returning to Nelson for a free afternoon.

Astrolabe Beaches & Bays (plus 2.5 hour walk) – After the Scenic Cruise, disembark at Apple Tree Bay for a self-guided walk (7 kms) to Anchorage Beach. Later transfer to Nelson.

Forest & Swing-Bridge (plus 4 hour walk) – After the Scenic Cruise, disembark at Medlands Beach for a self-guided hike (10.5 kms) that includes South Head lookout and Cleopatra’s Pool. Late transfer to Nelson.

Heritage Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Day 4 Nelson to Punakaiki

We travel through Nelson Lakes National Park to the shores of Lake Rotoiti, then follow the gold-miners’ route, crossing the Buller River Gorge by single-track bridges. Emerging onto the west coast, we marvel at Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks: limestone stacks weathered by the stormy Tasman Sea.

Punakaiki Resort

Day 5 Punakaiki to Fox Glacier

The Great Coast Road – one of the world’s 10 most scenic coastal drives – is our route today, to Hokitika, where there’s the chance to browse excellent art and craft galleries, and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. These rivers of ice flow down almost to sea level and (weather permitting) there’s time for an optional (at own cost) helicopter trip to see them at closer quarters!

Te Weheka

Day 6 Fox Glacier to Wanaka

A stroll beside Lake Matheson may be rewarded by a fabulous photo of Mount Cook mirrored in its waters. Then head over the Haast Pass through Mt Aspiring National Park to Lake Wanaka – for many South Islanders, their favourite spot for R&R.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

Day 7 Wanaka

Nature lovers may take a lake cruise to a conservation island with an eco-guide to discover native birds like the flightless Buff Weka or you can choose to enjoy a scenic 4WD adventure to a high country farm above the lake.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka

See native birds on a conservation island
take a scenic 4WD adventure in Wanaka

Day 8 Wanaka to Te Anau

Drive over the Crown Range to charming Arrowtown, a gold rush village, then down the eastern shore of spectacular Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau: gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Day 9 Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown

We follow river gorges through a wilderness of ancient rain forests and arrive at Milford Sound. Our small ship cruise takes us past Mitre Peak towards the Sound’s opening into the Tasman Sea. In a tour packed with scenic journeys, today’s is unforgettable!

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 10 Queenstown

What a stunning resort! Sophisticated Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu are yours to enjoy. The choice of optional experiences (at own cost) is awesome: zip-line, jet-boat and bungee thrills, with a gondola glide to Bob’s Peak, a cruise on TSS Earnslaw, wine-tasting or walking more relaxing ideas!

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 11 Queenstown to Mt Cook to Twizel

Leaving Queenstown by the Kawarau Gorge we cross Central Otago and drive beside Lake Pukaki into the Southern Alps to get as close to Aoraki Mount Cook as is possible by road.

Mackenzie Country Hotel, Twizel

Day 12 Twizel to Lake Tekapo across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch

Head down the Tasman Valley from Mount Cook and on to Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd, where the window behind the altar frames an astonishing view of the lake.

Then across the high country’s tussock plains, through Fairlie and Geraldine to the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Day 13 Christchurch

What better way to see this most English of New Zealand cities than from a punt steered by an Edwardian-era boatman on the River Avon? Then we take a trip on a heritage tram through a city re-inventing itself after the 2010/11 earthquakes, with exciting buildings like the ‘cardboard’ Cathedral. Tonight, we come together for a farewell dinner.

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Day 14 Depart Christchurch

After breakfast we transfer you to Christchurch Airport or, if we are making additional arrangements for you, set you on the next stage of your trip of a lifetime. Haere ra!

Day 1

James Cook Chancellor

Day 2 & 3

Heritage Rutherford Hotel

Day 4

The Ocean View Retreat

Day 5

Te Weheka

Day 6 & 7

Edgewater Resort

Day 8

Distinction Te Anau

Day 9 & 10

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Day 11

MacKenzie Country Inn

Day 12 & 13

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Tour date Price (£) Single supplement (£) Availability  
3 November – 16 November 2023 4,410 1,385 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
1 December - 14 December 2023 4,717 1,460 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
2 February- 15 February 2024 4,717 1,460 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
16 February – 29 February 2024 4,717 1,460 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now
1 March - 14 March 2024 4,717 1,460 [sc name="places" ] Enquire now

What’s included?

  • Comfortable touring in 16-seater vehicle
  • Services of our Driver-Guide and, where applicable, Local Experts
  • 13 nights’ accommodation in quality Hotels
  • 13 breakfasts
  • 1 lunch
  • 2 evening meals
  • Sightseeing & entrance fees listed opposite under Experiences Included

Experiences included

  • Scenic Interislander Ferry journey across the Cook Strait
  • Wine tasting at one of Marlborough’s premier wineries
  • Cruise the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Visit world-famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki
  • See native birds on a conservation island – OR – take a scenic 4WD adventure in Wanaka
  • Explore the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown
  • Cruise, with a picnic lunch, on the breath-taking Milford Sound
  • Enjoy true Kiwi hospitality with morning tea at a local home on the shores of Lake Tekapo
  • Relax as you’re guided along Christchurch’s Avon River on an authentic Edwardian punt

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Colin and Maureen Smith

The Million Dollar cruise on Lake Wakatipu was absolutely brilliant – the guide was very knowledgeable and we would highly recommend this trip.

Our meal on the Mission Estate was one of the best meals of the holiday and the gardens at Hamilton were a real surprise.

But the main highlight has to have been the Milford Mariner overnight cruise – not the best of weather, we couldn’t get out on the kayaks – but a wonderful experience.

Chris and Joyce Brill

Very much enjoyed the superb Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa Museum, Wellington. Loved the jet boat trip on our day out to Arthur’s Pass and the caves at Charleston.

A wonderful holiday!