Best of the South Island

Ref: 3119597

Cruise beautiful Milford Sound

Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Aoraki Mount Cook, Queenstown, Wanaka, Franz Josef, Punakaiki, Nelson, Blenheim, Kaikoura,

Includes return economy airfares

20 days priced at £pp flight and hotel inclusive

Tailor-made Journey

20 days from £pp

Best of the South Island Holiday

New Zealand plays host to some of the most incredible natural wonders you’ll ever experience.


From towering snow-capped mountains to rugged coastlines, hauntingly beautiful fiords and majestic glaciers; prepare to be awe-struck by the beauty of the South Island. This comprehensive itinerary is full of exciting experiences and an array of unforgettable landscapes.  

Some of the highlights included are:

  • Visit the iconic Lake Tekapo
  • Cruise beautiful Milford Sound
  • Sample New Zealand’s finest wines
  • Admire the views of stunning Mount Cook
  • Go whale watching in Kaikoura

Holiday Type

Wildlife & Nature
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What's included

  • Indirect international flights
  • 16 nights in 4-5* hotels & hand-picked accommodation
  • 17 days' car hire
  • Milford Sound Cruise with lunch
  • Nomad Tour - Safari of the Scenes, Wakatipu Basin
  • Franz Josef heli-hike
  • Beaches, Bays & Seals Guided tour
  • Scenic Marlborough Wine tour
  • Whale watching in Kaikoura

Need to know

  • Arrives: Christchurch International Airport (CHC)
  • Time difference: GMT+13
  • Visa requirements: British passport holders do not require a visa
  • Language: English and Maori
  • Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
  • Flying time from UK: around 27 hours
  • Plug type: 3-prong flat blade plug
  • Voltage: 240 volts/50 cycles

Your route



Days 1-2

Fly from UK to Christchurch

Day 3


Collect your hire car from the airport and set off to your first stop: Christchurch. After settling in, spend the rest of your day at leisure. Watch as the historic trams wind their way through the city, enjoy a ride on a punt and glide along the attractive Avon River before enjoying sensational shopping at The Tannery and delectable cuisine in one of the many up-and-coming restaurants.

4* Rendezvous Hotel
Best of the South Island Holiday

Day 4

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is approximately three hours’ drive south-west of Christchurch at the northern end of the idyllic Mackenzie Basin. A place of wondrous natural beauty and striking landscapes, the area boasts remarkable turquoise waters framed by New Zealand’s Southern Alps. A leisurely stroll along the lakeshore to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd will yield breath-taking views and photo-ready vistas.

5* Peppers Bluewater Resort
Best of the South Island Holiday

Day 5

Aoraki Mount Cook

Take in the scenery around towering Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak at 3,734 metres, and home to mountaineering, heli-skiing and boarding, kayaking on glacial lakes, horse trekking and the obligatory ‘flightseeing’ opportunities. Other ways to appreciate the surroundings include heading to the Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre, stargazing at the world’s largest International Dark-Sky Reserve or simply staring up at the mountain and its surrounding peaks.

4.5* Hermitage Hotel
Best of the South Island Holiday

Days 6-8


Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown is famous for its iconic scenery and its huge range of outdoor activities available for all ages. From walking and biking trails to skiing, river rafting, horse trekking and everything in between, you’ll never be short of things to do in Queenstown. While you’re here, set sail on a spectacular cruise across Milford Sound and explore the local Lord of the Rings film locations and the rugged canyons and rolling farmland of the Arrowtown area on a Safari of the Scenes tour.

5* Hilton Queenstown Milford Sound Cruise with lunch Nomad Tour - Safari of the Scenes, Wakatipu Basin
Best of the South Island Holiday

Days 9-10


Wanaka, a small town that sits on the tranquil lake of the same name, is a laid back place. Admiring the spectacular mountain scenery is the main activity here, or perhaps setting off into the wilderness of Mount Aspiring National Park. In town, the National Transport and Toy Museum has plenty to entertain the little ones, while older children will love the intriguing optical illusions and the mystifying maze at Puzzling World.

4* Oakridge Resort Lake Wanaka
Best of the South Island Holiday

Day 11

Franz Josef

Franz Josef is one of the most visited glaciers in New Zealand, and for good reason. This stunning natural phenomenon is a 7.5-mile-long glacier which descends to less than 300 metres above sea level and is surrounded by lush rainforest, making for an incredible sight. Marvel at the glacier from above on a thrilling helicopter ride and then gain an appreciation of the workings of nature on a glacier hike across its icy face.

4* Franz Alpine Retreat Franz Josef heli-hike
Best of the South Island Holiday

Day 12


Punakaiki is best known for its bizarre rock formations, the intriguing Pancake Rocks which look like a giant stack of pancakes, and the Punakaiki Blowholes, which squirt seawater high into the air, much to the delight of observers. Punakaiki is also a good base for exploring the wilderness of Paparoa National Park, either by kayak, on foot or on horseback. There’s also a glow worm cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites to discover.

4* Punakaiki Resort
Best of the South Island Holiday

Days 13-14


Pretty Nelson is just a stone’s throw from the delights of Abel Tasman National Park, where you’ll explore the lush landscape of sandy bays and thundering rapids by kayak on a Beaches, Bays & Seals guided tour, including a picnic lunch on a golden sand beacg. In this region, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and canyoning are all popular pursuits, as is looking out for the colony of friendly fur seals. Lord of the Rings fans can take in a raft of local Hobbit hotspots such as Rivendell, Dimrill Dale and more.

4.5* Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Beaches, Bays & Seals Guided tour
Best of the South Island Holiday

Days 15-16


Pretty Marlborough is most famous for its wines; in fact, over 90% the country’s famous Sauvignon Blanc is produced here. Visit some of the 40 local vineyards in and around Blenheim on a Scenic Marlborough Wine tour, sampling the vintages and learning more about wine production as you go. Perhaps buy a bottle or two to take home as a souvenir. And don’t forget to try the tasty local artisan food while you’re here as well.

4.5* Scenic Marlborough Hotel Scenic Marlborough Wine tour
Best of the South Island Holiday

Day 17


The next stop on your itinerary is the peaceful town of Kaikoura – the perfect area for spectacular wildlife encounters. Kaikoura’s most famous residents are the marine mammal – whales, dolphins and fur seals grace the waters year-round. Set off on a whale watching cruise, which run from the town throughout the year and offer you the chance to get a closer view of these beautiful creatures – you may even have the opportunity to swim with wild dolphins.

4* White Morph Motor Inn Whale Watch Kaikoura
Best of the South Island Holiday

Day 18


Your trip comes to end back in Christchurch where you’ll have one final night to look back on your fabulous adventure.

4* Rendezvous Hotel
Best of the South Island Holiday

Days 19-20

Depart Christchurch and return to the UK

Book Now

price from £3775pp for travel up to 11 months in advance
This journey can be tailor-made by our experts to suit your plan or budget.

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Round the World Experts offer superior travel experiences, have a global team,
and over 40 years of experience as part of the Flight Centre Travel Group.

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