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9 Day Best of the South Tour

Best Highlights of the South Island Christchurch to Christchurch

This 9 day adventure takes in all your bucket list things to see and do on the South Island.

Highlights on this trip are sea kayaking in Doubtful Sound, two full days in Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand! Star gazing at the foot of Mt Cook, Seeing the fascinating Moeraki Boulders. Bus tour of the city sights of Christchurch, the stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery in the Fiordland National Park. Seeing the mighty Franz Josef Glacier, walking around the mirror-like Lake Matheson and admiring the stunning colours of the Blue Pools in Makarora.

Booking Conditions

Age Restriction: 7

Fitness Requirement: Easy

What's included

  • Experienced tour guide
  • Meals as indicated
  • Multi-share accommodation (or upgrade to twin/single/double)
  • Pounamu jade factory
  • Walks around Lake Matheson and Blue Pools, Mt Aspiring National Park
  • Jet Boat Ride in Makarora
  • Doubtful Sound overnight cruise
  • Sea Kayaking in Doubtful Sound
  • Mountain Biking in Wanaka
  • Tranzalpine Scenic Rail

What To Bring

  • Sturdy walking shoes/boots
  • Bathers/Towel
  • Hat & sunscreen
  • Motion sickness tablets
  • Water bottle
  • Toiletries
  • Warm Clothing and Waterproof jacket
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera

Gallery

Itinerary

Day 1 : Christchurch to Franz Josef
Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your adventure begins with one of the world’s greatest train journeys, a ride on the TranzAlpine train. Check-in at the Christchurch Railway Station at 7:45am, then sit back to watch the South Island’s most stunning scenery roll by just outside your window. You’ll travel across the vast Canterbury Plains, cross winding ice-fed rivers and traverse the majestic Southern Alps via Arthur’s Pass. Your train journey ends on the West Coast in the historic gold mining town of Greymouth, where you will meet your driver guide and coach. From there, we carry on to our overnight stop in the quaint little town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions Activities included: TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth
Meals :Dinner

Day 2 : Full day at Franz Josef
Enjoy a free day and get out and explore the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on a Franz Josef Glacier guided tour which we highly recommend (own expense). There are also many excellent bush hikes available in the region. Tonight we self-cater, giving you the opportunity to dine at one of the local cafes and restaurants in town or make use of the communal kitchen at our accommodation. Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions Optional activities: Glacier heli-hike, scenic helicopter flight
Meals :Breakfast

Day 3 : Franz Josef to Makarora
Today we head further down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in the breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson, NZ’s most photographed lake. See waterfalls as we travel through the mountainous Haast Pass towards Makarora then visit the stunning Blue Pools. On arrival in Mount Aspiring National Park we go jet boating to experience the best in shallow water boating, skimming just inches from the riverbed, viewing pristine waterways, snow-capped peaks and native bush. Accommodation included: Unique mountain chalets Activities included: Walk around Lake Matheson – Mirror Lake, walk through beech forest to the Blue Pools, Jet Boat Mt Aspiring National Park
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4 : Makarora to Doubtful Sound
Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, with stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery; and it is our first port of call today. Within Fiordland we visit Doubtful Sound, the deepest of all the fiords, surrounded by towering peaks and huge waterfalls. We will board a purpose-built boat and enjoy complimentary afternoon tea while cruising past fur seals, penguins and dolphins. There are also sea kayaks available to explore the fiord. Accommodation included: Overnight on the boat, anchored within a secluded bay in a UNESCO World Heritage Site Activities included: Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise, sea kayaking, wildlife spotting
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 : Doubtful Sound to Queenstown
We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind stunning Fiordland to head for the ‘adventure capital of the world’, Queenstown. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with excellent restaurants, pubs and live music. Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views
Meals :Breakfast

Day 6 : Full day in Queenstown
You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skydiving or walk up Ben Lomond or Queenstown Hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery around you and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging
Meals :Breakfast

Day 7 : Full day in Queenstown
You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skydiving or walk up Ben Lomond or Queenstown Hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery around you and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging
Meals :Breakfast

Day 8 : Queenstown to Mt Cook
We’ll jump back on the bus for a short drive to Wanaka, where we’ll spend the morning cycling along some of the world’s most beautiful lakeside bike paths. After lunch, we head over the Lindis Pass through the picturesque Mackenzie region to the base of the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. There is time for a hike through the Hooker Valley for breathtaking views of the dramatic mountain landscape, or opt to take an alpine scenic flight (own expense). This is also one of the best places in New Zealand to join an evening stargazing tour. Accommodation included: Alpine lodge Activities included: Mountain biking in Wanaka, scenic walk in Hooker Valley Optional activities: Big Sky Stargazing or scenic heli-flight
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9 : Mt Cook to Christchurch
Today we make our way through a landscape made famous in the 'Lord of the Rings' films. We’ll take a break for a stroll around Lake Tekapo, iconic for its historic church and turquoise waters. Between Tekapo and Christchurch there is an option for thrill seekers to hop-off and join a top-notch Grade 5 white water adventure on the Rangitata River (own expense). Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch, where your driver guide will point out the highlights of the South Island’s largest city. The rafters will rejoin the group at the accommodation in Christchurch this evening. This is where your tour comes to an end – we hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! Activities included: Explore Lake Tekapo area Optional activities: Rangitata white water rafting
Meals :Breakfast

Pickups

Departs every Thursday at 7:45am from the Christchurch Train Station. 

Please arrive 15 minutes before departure and read the instructions on the train ticket carefully.

 

Optional Excursions

Optional Activities (Available to sign up on tour with your guide)

  • Adventure

No Credit Card or Booking Fees!!

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Recent Independent Reviews

  • On Tourradar May 14, 2019

    I did the 9 day tour through the south island and it was incredible! I had such a great time traveling with Stray. The people I met on my tour and Oli our guide were all great! A highlight of the Haast tour was definitely the overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. I also really loved the stop in Queenstown and Franz Josef glacier. I highly recommend!!

    On Tourradar April 24, 2019

    The trip was amazing! I got to see all the things I wanted to in New Zealand and meet some really great people. The Doubtful Dound overnight cruise was especially wonderful. My one advice other than to do this tour is to be careful about the bike ride the second to last day. It's 25 km/15 miles and as a non-biker I didn't realize how long and hard it would be so don't be afraid to pass on the bike ride. Every other part of the trip was wonderful! Go visit New Zealand!

    On Tourradar February 8, 2019

    The best way for travelling on solo, because you get to know all the little places around that are worth looking from place to place and at and at the same time, you get to know people . It is not a party tour as kiwi which I like it and you could have single room if you ask for it ! Love stray !!

    On Tourradar January 19, 2019

    My husband and I recently travelled with Stray Journeys. The other people in the tour group were amazing and our driver was great. All accommodations were clean. We mostly had our own room and bathroom (except for the last 3 nights). The range of activities was awesome! The only downfall of our trip was that our boat in Doubtful Sound was overbooked so we ended up in Milford Sound instead. Overall, we had a great trip and would definitely travel with Stray again!

    On Tourradar May 19, 2019

    Doubtful Sound was amazing