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AAT Kings

9 Day AAT Kings Southern Wonders 24/25

Explore the dramatic South Island on this 9 day escorted coach tour. Cross the Southern Alps to the wild West Coast and Franz Josef Glacier. Travel through Mt. Aspiring National Park to Queenstown, known for its exciting activities and spectacular scenery. Enjoy a cruise on the beautiful Milford Sound before crossing the rolling hills of Southland towards the quirky and architecturally exciting city of Dunedin. Through the Waitaki region and on to Mt. Cook National Park, you will see the magical high country of the Mackenzie region before returning to the garden city of Christchurch.

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Tour summary and feature

Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Escorted Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$4,325 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

9 days/8 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 94 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Milford Sound Cruise
TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Arthur's Pass
TSS Earnslaw cruise and dinner at Walter Peak high country farm, Queenstown
8 breakfasts, 4 dinners, 1 special dinner
Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Christchurch City Tour Tram

You don’t have to arrive in Christchurch early, but we recommend you do – this South Island city has some of New Zealand’s most innovative architecture, not to mention forward-thinking restaurants and bars. Spot them aboard the Christchurch Tram, linking some of the city’s most legendary attractions. Your conductors are quite the entertainers.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Hotel Christchurch (1 night)

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Franz Josef Glacier

Your South Island New Zealand Tour starts on a literal high as you jump aboard the TranzAlpine train, crossing the Canterbury Plains towards the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass. This is one of the world’s most scenic rail experiences, through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. At the other end of the line is Hokitika, the home of pounamu (native greenstone or jade). In Māori tradition, it’s bad luck to buy this sacred stone for yourself; flutter your eyelids at your loved one. Just when you thought your day couldn’t get any better, Franz Josef Glacier twinkles on the horizon. You don’t get many chances in life to land and walk on a glacier, and enjoy a Franz Josef Glacier tour. This afternoon is one. How cool is that?

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View of Queenstown

Over the Haast Pass, alpine drama awaits. The Southern Lakes deserve their name: there are almost more waterways here than you can count. First up there’s lovely Lake Wanaka, with its Instagrammable shoreline of poplars and willows. Followed by oh-so-blue Lake Hawea and Lake Dunstan, where you’ll pause to refuel on flavour-packed stone fruit. As tempting as it is to linger in Arrowtown’s movie-set-like streets, lined with trees and character-filled boutiques, Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables await in Queenstown.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown (1 night)

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Skyline Lookout over Queenstown

Your New Zealand guided tour takes you from Christchurch to Queenstown. And the adventure capital of New Zealand doesn’t disappoint when it comes to activities that are fast and furious. Take your pick of zipping about on the high-octane Shotover Jet or exploring the natural drama of Skippers Canyon. Prefer life at a more leisurely pace? Opt to step onto a Lord of the Rings movie set or sip your way through surrounding vineyards. Wherever you wander, make sure you’re back in time to glide across Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Highlight Dinner.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown (1 night)

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Milford Sound

Nature rules today as you motor from the Mirror Lakes through the Cleddau Valley. But this is just a teaser of what’s to come: World Heritage listed Milford Sound. A Milford Sound cruise across this dreamy expanse will give you goosebumps, its string of waterfalls creating a misty curtain across sheer escarpments. Look out for dolphins and fur seals – they’re a common sight here. The onward road through Fiordland National Park is an intoxicating union of beech forests, alluvial flats, meadows and gin-clear rivers, carving up the countryside en route to Te Anau. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any more magical, glowworm-filled caves make an appearance. We highly recommend a visit.

Staying in:

  • Distinction Luxmore Hotel (1 night)

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View of Lake Te Anau

The South Island’s biggest lake is a blissful place for an invigorating morning walk. If it doesn’t set your pulse racing, than your outlook of rolling green hills dotted with doe-eyed sheep surely will. This bucolic countryside surrounds the city of Dunedin. While away the afternoon in atmospheric art-lined alleys or sipping a lager or two in Speight’s Brewery (a national institution). Or venture further afield to discover the wildlife that thrives in this pretty pocket of the country – fur seals and penguins among them.

Staying in:

  • Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (1 night)

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Larnach Castle

Did you know that Dunedin takes its name from the Scottish word for Edinburgh? The city nods to its European heritage at Larnach Castle – the only one of its kind in the country – as well as through the grounds of Otago University and along the city’s main George Street. Explore at your leisure, before venturing on to New Zealand’s oldest public gardens and grand limestone buildings at Oamaru.

Staying in:

  • Heritage Gateway Hotel (1 night)

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View of Lake Tekapo

If there’s a lake with a more vivid turquoise colour than Tekapo, we’re yet to see it. It’s made even more dramatic by snow-capped mountains and atmospheric towns that surround. Take it in from the air for added perspective of the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Back on the ground, you’re becoming reacquainted with Christchurch, your in-the-know guide pointing out the city’s miraculous transformation over the last decade. Local spirit is strong here.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Hotel Christchurch (1 night)

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AAT Kings Coach on the Road

If you feel like you’ve only seen the tip of the South Island’s iceberg, you’d be correct. This beguiling part of the country could keep travel enthusiasts entertained for eons. Thankfully, we have more itineraries – ask your Travel Director and start planning your next trip to New Zealand.

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9 Day AAT Kings Southern Wonders 24/25
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Departure dates & prices
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Apr 8, 2024
(Monday)
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was NZD$5,345
now NZD$5,050
was NZD$7,030
now NZD$6,735
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Sep 30, 2024
(Monday)
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was NZD$4,667
now NZD$4,419
was NZD$6,138
now NZD$5,890
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Oct 28, 2024
(Monday)
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was NZD$4,667
now NZD$4,565
was NZD$6,138
now NZD$6,036
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Nov 18, 2024
(Monday)
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was NZD$4,667
now NZD$4,585
was NZD$6,138
now NZD$6,056
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Dec 9, 2024
(Monday)
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was NZD$4,407
now NZD$4,325
was NZD$5,797
now NZD$5,715
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Dec 30, 2024
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was NZD$4,407
now NZD$4,325
was NZD$5,797
now NZD$5,715
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Jan 13, 2025
(Monday)
Sold out
was NZD$5,345
now NZD$5,060
was NZD$7,030
now NZD$6,745
Jan 27, 2025
(Monday)
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departure date
was NZD$5,345
now NZD$5,060
was NZD$7,030
now NZD$6,745
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Feb 10, 2025
(Monday)
Sold out
was NZD$5,345
now NZD$5,060
was NZD$7,030
now NZD$6,745
Feb 24, 2025
(Monday)
Guaranteed
departure date
was NZD$5,345
now NZD$5,060
was NZD$7,030
now NZD$6,745
Enquire Book
Mar 10, 2025
(Monday)
Guaranteed
departure date
was NZD$5,345
now NZD$5,060
was NZD$7,030
now NZD$6,745
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Mar 24, 2025
(Monday)
Sold out
was NZD$5,345
now NZD$5,060
was NZD$7,030
now NZD$6,745
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