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Discover Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Dunedin and Coastal Otago like a local

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Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel

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  • Fully escorted trip with the same guide throughout
  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Full support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Discover the South Island like a local on this fully escorted 9-day trip, where you’ll have one guide accompany you the whole way, sharing their favourite spots and local knowledge.

Your discovery starts with a night in Christchurch before heading to beautiful Lake Tekapo, stopping en route to visit local galleries and pop into the Fairlie Bakehouse to sample their much loved sweet and savoury treats. Spend two nights enjoying the serenity of the lake, marvelling at the night sky as you star gaze from the International Dark Sky Reserve and appreciating this spectacular landscape from above with a flight over Mt Cook and Westland National Park. You’ll also take a 4WD scenic tour through the epic Cass Valley.

En route to the coastal town of Oamaru stop at Lake Rukaki and the Ostler Winery to enjoy lunch and wine tasting at the home of the owners. After a night in Oamaru and visiting its Victorian precinct packed with traditional craft shops and places to eat and drink, you’ll make your way to Dunedin. On the way stop by the mystical Moeraki Boulders, enormous spherical stones scatted across Koekohe Beach.

As you make your way further west, you’ll stop to visit the Royal Albatross Centre and explore the Bannockburn wine region. Your final destination is Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. Get the adrenaline pumping as you fly through canyons on a Shotover jet boat experience and take to the skies with a scenic helicopter ride over the beautiful Milford Sound.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-2

Christchurch

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Christchurch

Accommodation in Christchurch

Overnight in Christchurch Overnight in Christchurch

Enjoy an evening at leisure in Christchurch, once known as the most English city of New Zealand with its manicured gardens, quaint trams, stately houses and a vast central park. Since the earthquakes on 2010 and 2011, the city has reemerged as a cultural and creative hub with some wonderful restaurants, boutiques and friendly locals.

Private transfer to Lake Tekpao, via local galleries and Fairlie Bakehouse Private transfer to Lake Tekpao, via local galleries and Fairlie Bakehouse

Enjoy a scenic drive from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo (approximately three hours) stopping to pop into local galleries and for a bite to eat at the famous Fairlie Bakehouse, known for its delicious savoury pies and sweet treats.

Days 2-4

Lake Tekapo

Accommodation in Lake Tekapo

lake-tekapo
Two nights by Lake Tekapo Two nights by Lake Tekapo

The brightly hued waters of Lake Tekapo are watched over by the humble Church of the Good Shepherd, one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand. Close by are hot springs and the Mount John Observatory from which you can peer deep into starry nights of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest International Dark Sky Reserve.

Star Gazing Tour Star Gazing Tour

This evening enjoy a star gazing experience, discovering the night sky of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve at which Mount Cook is at the heart of. Use telescopes, high powered binoculars and the naked eye to identify and explore different elements of the spectacular southern sky.

The 'Grand Traverse' scenic flight The 'Grand Traverse' scenic flight

Take a spectacular scenic flight that explores the Mt Cook and Westland National Parks and shows you the region from a privileged perspective. You will see beautiful turquoise glacial lakes, the braided river system of the Mackenzie basin, remote high country sheep stations, and New Zealand’s highest mountain Mount Cook, as well as Franz Joseph, Fox and Tasman glaciers.

4WD Cass Valley backcountry tour 4WD Cass Valley backcountry tour

This 4WD scenic tour takes you through the Cass Valley’s breathtaking wilderness and New Zealand’s finest merino wool high country stations. The Cass Valley is located on the western side of Lake Tekapo, and access to this stunning alpine valley is solely through Glenmore Station. The rocky steep scree slides, u-shaped valleys carved by glaciation, waterfalls, glaciers, lateral moraines and tussock-clad terraces create a truly unique and beautiful landscape. The Cass Valley's braided river system is also home to some of New Zealand’s most endangered nesting birds such as the black stilt, wry bill, black fronted turn, banded dotterel, black billed gull and oyster catcher.

Glenmore Station is an iconic high country sheep station in the heart of the South Island’s Mackenzie Country. It sits on the western shores of Lake Tekapo and runs deep into the Cass Valley and has been farming merino sheep since 1912. Its 19,000 hectares are home to 10,000 merino sheep, studs, Angus cattle and red deer. The high country has been supplying the world with some of the finest merino wool on offer, and supplies wool for the famous Icebreaker brand.

Private transfer to Oamaru via Lake Rukaki and Ostler Winery Private transfer to Oamaru via Lake Rukaki and Ostler Winery

Drive to Kurow via Lake Rukaki for lunch and a private wine tasting at the home of the owners of Ostler wines, Jim and Annie Jerram. Ostler are producers of wines in the South Island's Waitaki Valley, North Otago. The passionate team produce cool climate wines including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Continue on to Oamaru.

Days 4-5

Oamaru

Accommodation in Oamaru

Overnight in Oamaru Overnight in Oamaru

The coastal town of Oamaru is known for its white stone architecture and preserved heritage buildings. In the late 19th century, the town prospered thanks to gold mining and quarrying, and several elegant buildings were built from the local limestone. Oamaru Harbour is also home to a colony of little blue penguins – head to the beach just before sunset and see them waddling down to their resting place for the night.

Oamaru's Victorian Precinct Oamaru's Victorian Precinct

At the Victorian Precinct you can visit galleries, museums, shop for traditional crafts and look for rare and out-of-print books. There are plenty of spots to eat and drink, and there is also the option to enjoy whisky, wine and beer tasting.

Private transfer to Dunedin via the Moeraki Boulders Private transfer to Dunedin via the Moeraki Boulders

The mystical Moeraki Boulders are enormous spherical rocks, weighing several tonnes each, scattered across Koekohe Beach. It is believed they formed in the sea floor sediment around 60 million years ago. Maori legend has it that the boulders are remains of gourds and eel baskets that were washed ashore when the legendarry canoe, the Araiteruru was wrecked at Shag Point.

You'll also stop at Fleurs Place for lunch, a lovely restaurant right on the waterfront where the specialty is fresh fish straight from Moeraki Bay. Continue on to Dunedin.

Days 5-6

Dunedin

Accommodation in Dunedin

Overnight near Dunedin Overnight near Dunedin

The main city of the southern part of the South Island, Dunedin is a vibrant place to spend a few days. Its name is distinctly Scottish and the city has a strong and proud Celtic history. The city is full of Victorian and Edwardian architecture and its centre is compact and easy to explore. It is centred around The Octagon, which itself is surrounded by the Public Art Gallery, municipal chambers and St. Pauls cathedral.

Private transfer to Clyde via the Royal Albatross Centre and Roxburgh Private transfer to Clyde via the Royal Albatross Centre and Roxburgh

The Royal Albatross Centre is located at the foot of Taiaroa Head, and is the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatrosses. While here you can also explore the hidden tunnels of historic Fort Taiaroa and see the little blue penguin colony at Pilots Beach.

Continue on to Clyde stopping at Roxburgh, located on the banks of the Clutha River.

Days 6-7

Clyde

Accommodation in Clyde

Overnight in Clyde Overnight in Clyde

Enjoy an evening relaxing at Olivers Lodge in the heart of Clyde. Enjoy great food and drink at the restaurant, deli and the on-site brewery.

Private transfer to Queenstown via  the Bannockburn wine region Private transfer to Queenstown via the Bannockburn wine region

Stop and enjoy lunch at Wild Earth Wines in the Kawarau Gorge, producers of fantastic Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Rose. You'll also visit the Gibbston Valley Cheesery before arriving in Queenstown.

Days 7-9

Queenstown

Accommodation in Queenstown

Two nights in Queenstown Two nights in Queenstown

Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most picturesque towns, sitting on the tip of the crystal clear Lake Wakatipu. It’s a bustling hub of international and local visitors come to seek out one of the endless thrills on offer here from skiing, white water rafting, canyon swinging, jet boating, mountain biking and bungy jumping.

But Queenstown is not just a gathering point for adrenaline junkies, slow down to the cosmopolitan pace of life and you’ll discover its flourishing arts scene, excellent vineyards, fine dining, international-standard golf courses and quiet lakeside shores where you can take in the incredible scenery.

shotover-jet-boat-ride-new-zealand
Shotover Jet experience Shotover Jet experience

The Shotover Jet has thrilled over 3 million people since 1965. Take a breathtaking ride through dramatic and narrow canyons, and hold on tight for exhilarating full 360° spins.

Arrowtown tour Arrowtown tour

Arrowtown is a living historic settlement with many stories to tell. Wander the tree-lined streets of restored cottages and explore gold mining sites alongside the gold-bearing Arrow River. The town was established in 1862, during the height of the Otago gold rush, with pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels and churches, more than 60 of which can still be seen today. A special highlight is the Chinese settlement at the edge of the river.

Then hop on a bike and ride the special bike trails which will take you along the Arrow River, across suspension bridges, along Kawarau Gorge and into the heart of the Gibbston Valley. This is a leisurely cycle and you will be met along the way with a picnic lunch. You will have a choice of a front suspension mountain bike or an e-bike which will make the ride a little easier on the mild but sometimes rolling terrain.

Cardrona Distillery Tour Cardrona Distillery Tour

Drive over Crown Ranges to the Cardrone Distillery, where you'll enjoy a tour and learn about the spirit making process from grain to glass. You will see where the malt is milled, mashed, fermented and distilled and matured before tasting the end product with a tutored spirit tasting of Cardrona spirits and lunch. Visit the famous Cardrona Pub on the way back to Queenstown.

milford-sound-helicopter
Helicopter Experience: Milford Sound with fjord cruise Helicopter Experience: Milford Sound with fjord cruise

Explore Milford Sound's stunning fjord from both the air and the water. Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter flight past spectacular rivers, valleys and mountains with blue-green ice falls, and land on Mt Tutoko glacier in the heart of Fiordland National Park. Upon landing in Milford, you'll enjoy an unforgettable cruise past sheer cliffs and waterfalls - keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, seals and penguins.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Queenstown Airport

Flight

Flight from Queenstown to Auckland

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