Stay in some of New Zealand’s finest boutique hotels as you take in the amazing sights of the South Island under your own steam
- Take in the magnificent attractions of the South Island, getting intimate with the Southern Alps
- Stay in southern New Zealand’s most elegant boutique hotels
- Enjoy thrilling excursions including whale watching, a TranzAlpine train journey and a spectacular twin glacier helicopter tour
- 1 Night Wellington
- 2 Nights Marlborough
- 2 Nights Nelson
- 2 Nights Kaikoura
- 1 Night Christchurch
- 1 Night Franz Josef Glacier
- 2 Nights Wanaka
- 4 Nights Queenstown
Mountains | Natural world | Photography | Self-drive
From the rolling hills of the world-renowned wine regions of Marlborough and Nelson and the neighbouring Abel Tasman coastal national park to the high peaks and spectacular glaciers of the Southern Alps, New Zealand’s South Island is a huge magnet for nature lovers. There’s no better way to explore its attractions than by car, pausing as often as you fancy to immerse yourself in the magnificent scenery. Flying into Wellington, you’ll navigate Cook Strait and the Marlborough Sounds on the Interislander ferry before setting off to explore the pristine beaches and majestic cliffs of the northwest coast. Next, head south for the whale-watching capital Kaikoura, via a vineyard tour or two in Marlborough. Then, from the Garden City of Christchurch, take the TranzAlpine over the Canterbury Plains and through the Southern Alps before winding down beside Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu.
Day by day itinerary
Fly from the UK to Wellington, arriving on day three.
Arrive in Wellington refreshed and transfer to your city-centre hotel. Then, spend the day exploring New Zealand's vibrant capital city.
Stay: The InterContinental Wellington (Deluxe)
Cross to the South Island on the Interislander ferry, navigating Cook Strait and the Marlborough Sounds to Picton, where you pick up a water taxi to the Bay of Many Coves. Enjoy a seafood cruise on Queen Charlotte Sound, tucking into the clams, mussels and fish that have made it famous the culinary world over.
Stay: Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough Sounds (Deluxe)
Pick up your hire car in Picton and head out on the twisting, super-scenic Queen Charlotte Drive towards Nelson, your base for exploring the natural and adventure attractions of coastal Abel Tasman National Park. Here, a network of forest hiking trails are hidden behind idyllic beaches and secret coves.
Stay: Atholwood, Nelson and Abel Tasman (Superior)
Head south to Kaikoura via the wine country around Blenheim, picking up the spectacular Coastal Highway 1. The next day enjoy a whale-watching cruise, with a high chance of spotting these huge cetaceans year round.
Stay: Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses, Kaikoura (Deluxe)
Meals: B D
Follow the coast down to the Garden City of Christchurch, gateway to the Canterbury region, and spend the evening at leisure. New Zealand’s English City is famed for its river punting and world-class Botanic Gardens.
Stay: The Classic Villa, Christchurch (Superior)
Take the TranzAlpine for one of the world’s great train journeys across the Canterbury Plains and through the mighty Southern Alps. From Greymouth, take the west coast road to the rainforests sprawling below Franz Josef Glacier.
Stay: Te Waonui Forest Retreat (Deluxe)
Meals: B D
Take an amazing Twin Glacier helicopter ride over Fox and Franz Josef, landing at the head of one of the ice giants. Then, pick up the coast road and journey inland through Mount Aspiring National Park and the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawee to central Otago.
Stay: Lime Tree Lodge, Wanaka (Deluxe)
Next is a short drive to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Satisfy your lust for adventure with a 4WD heritage tour to Skippers Canyon and the long-abandoned gold-prospecting township.
Stay: Browns Boutique Hotel
Drop your car at the airport and board your flight home, arriving in the UK on day 17.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
from £4,485 pp. incl. flights
from £4,890 pp. incl. flights
- Complimentary UK airport lounge access
- Return flights between London, Wellington and Queenstown
- Private transfers in Wellington
- 12 days Medium car hire including GPS
- Inter-islander ferry with premium service, water taxi to Bay of Many Coves, Tranz Alpine train
- 13 nights accommodation staying in 5* (Deluxe) hotels on a B&B basis, with dinner as specified
- Touring highlights include a Seafood Odyssey cruise of the Marlborough Sounds, Whale watching in Kaikoura, Glacier Heli-ride in Franz Josef and 4WD tour in Queenstown
Terms & Conditions
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.
Meet our experts
Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0614Meet the team
Adjust your itinerary with our recommended extensions
This is wilderness living in style, with fine dining and ultra-luxe accommodation sitting alongside adventure activities
Escape the crowds with an overnight cruise that takes in all the fjord’s wildlife-populated cliffs, rainforests and waterfalls
Sample the finest viticulture and gourmet dining on a private tour of one of New Zealand’s most respected wine regions.