New Zealand - Decidedly South / Small Group Tour

A 7 day trip to New Zealand 
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The ultimate way to see a large part of untouched New Zealand is on this 7 day Decidedly South small group guided tour, with a maximum of 12 people. On this journey you will cross plains, travel through alpine basins and over mountain passes. The landscapes are superb and the spaces wide open. Knowledgeable driver/guide will give you that fresh and personal insight into New Zealand and its culture - making the sense of what you are seeing so much more real than just the sights.

This tour is excellent if you only have a week in New Zealand, or, check out our 14 Day Guided North & South Islands - Decidedly Different Tour...

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Mt. Somer, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Wanaka, Franz Josef, Punakaiki, Christchurch

Departure Dates 

Flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1:

Christchurch - Mt Somers (L, D)
At 11.30am your driver/guide meets you in Christchurch. Travel the southern highway to Ashburton and "Akaunui" to join farming hosts Di & Ian Mackenzie for lunch in their historic 100 year old homestead set in beautiful gardens. It’s never easy to leave the Mackenzie's warm hospitality but later in the afternoon we drive over to the foothills of the Southern Alps and the small village of Mt Somers. Dine in Stronechrubie's acclaimed restaurant tonight.

Day 2:

Mt Somers - Queenstown (B)
After Burkes Pass the landscape changes to the turquoise lakes and dramatic sweeping vistas of tussock grasses and mountains of the Mackenzie Basin. At Lake Tekapo the picturesque church and sheepdog statue are favourite photo stops. At the head of Lake Pukaki is Mt Cook at 3754 metres New Zealand's highest mountain, named in Maori Aorangi, "the cloud piercer". The Lindis Pass leads to the rugged Kawarau Gorge and into Queenstown. Your boutique hotel is just a few minutes walk above the town with views to the lake and Remarkables Range. There’s a wide range of restaurants and cafes in this world famous tourist resort – and your driver/guide will let you know his favourites.

Day 3:

Queenstown - Milford Sound Nature Cruise - Queenstown (B)
This morning you are picked up from your hotel to travel by coach to Te Anau and the magnificent Milford Road deep in the heart of Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. Take short walks to beauty spots such as the Mirror Lakes and the Chasm. At Milford Sound, if you wish, take a cruise down the sound, dominated by iconic Mitre Peak, out to the Tasman Sea. It’s a stunning fiord landscape of waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. Travel back by coach to Te Anau and along the edge of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown.

Day 4:

Queenstown - Cardrona Valley - Wanaka (B, D)
The morning is free to further explore Queenstown. Perhaps take an early morning jet boat ride on the spectacular Dart River in The Lord of the Rings country before driving to Arrowtown, a picturesque goldmining village. Heading into tussock country, the road climbs up the Crown Range then down into the Cardrona Valley. We stop at quaint Cardrona Hotel, its history stretches back to the goldmining era then continue on to Wanaka to our hotel set amid a panorama of mountain peaks. We dine in Wanaka this evening.

Day 5:

Wanaka - Haast Pass - Franz Josef (B)
Drive beside Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka before heading into superb mountain and river scenery of the Haast Pass in Mt Aspiring National Park. There are great short walks on well-maintained tracks through native beech forests to waterfalls and blue pools where trout lurk. Leaving the mountains, the road winds along the edge of the river to Haast where the Department of Conservation Centre documents the regions's colourful history, flora and fauna. Continue north through the lush, primeval rainforest of Westland World Heritage Park, stopping at Ship Creek for a stroll on the beach to the dune lake and through swampland rainforest. At Franz Josef Glacier short walks take you to vantage points to view the advancing glacier.

Day 6:

Franz Josef - Punakaiki (B, D)
Early this morning you may choose to take a flight over the glaciers and Mt Cook and enjoy the thrill of a glacier landing. Later we visit Okarito's lovely lagoon, home of the rare kotuku, white heron. Travel on up the coast passing mirror lakes, boulder-laden rivers and catching glimpses of the Southern Alps. At Hokitika there are a host of craft galleries – Pounamu (greenstone) carving, glass blowing, wood and copper artisans. A beautiful coastal road following part of the ancient Greenstone Trails used by Maori for centuries in search of Pounamu leads to your hotel on the coast at Punakaiki. A little further up the road is the leading local attraction – the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, sculpted sea stacks and towering cliffs. If the tide is right, blowholes spread clouds of spray. Dine this evening in your hotel’s restaurant.

Day 7:

Punakaiki – Greymouth – TranzAlpine rail journey – Christchurch (B)
Drive back down the coast to Greymouth where your TranzAlpine rail journey awaits. Sit back and enjoy the magnificent alpine scenery of rugged Otira Gorge and Arthur's Pass National Park. Crossing the Canterbury Plains to reach Christchurch in the late afternoon. Your driver/guide meets you at the railway station and transfers you to your accommodation in this English style city of stone buildings, large parks and stunning gardens.



From $2,650.00 per person double/twin share
From $3,400.00 single accommodation

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.