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Maher Escorted Tours

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour

Begin this tour in beautiful Wanaka, before enjoying a leisurely cruise on Lake Wakatipu on board the famous TSS Earnslaw, then head to Manapouri to join an unforgettable overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound, the deepest of all the fiords in New Zealand. Special highlights include a 4WD Experience accessing a wide range of unique backcountry tracks in the High Country & Danseys Pass, a 2-night stay at the Hermitage Mount Cook at the top of Lake Pukaki and within Aoraki Dark Sky Reserve & a Tasman Glacial Encounter. And more!

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Tour summary and feature

New Zealand escorted tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$8,650 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Queenstown, finishes in Christchurch

15 days/14 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 26 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes

Olveston Historic Home

Larnach Castle

Royal Albatross Centre tour

High Country Journeys 4WD tour

Lake Wanaka Cruise and Island Nature Walk

Wanaka 4WD Tour

Blue Pools walk

Lavender Farm

Lunch at Mt Difficulty winery

TSS Earnslaw cruise and BBQ lunch at Walter Peak high country farm, Queenstown

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Bill Richardson Transport World

Day trip to Stewart Island

14 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 10 dinners

Tour at a glance
Brief itinerary - Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour

Day 1: Arrive in Queenstown and head over the hill to Wanaka. Accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Day 2: 4WD and cruise in Wanaka. Accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Day 3: Discover the famous blue pools and visit Wanaka's luscious lavender farm. Accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Day 4: Journey to Arrowtown via beautiful Lake Dunstan. Accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown (or similar)

Day 5: Explore Queenstown. Accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown (or similar)

Day 6: Surround yourself with nature on the overnight Doubtful Sound cruise. Accommodation: Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound

Day 7: Head south to Invercargil. Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel (or similar)

Day 8: Explore Invercargil. Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel (or similar)

Day 9: Visit Stewart Island/Rakiura. Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel (or similar)

Day 10: Journey to Dundein via the beautiful Catlins. Accommodation: Fable Dunedin (or similar)

Day 11: Explore Dunedin. Accommodation: Fable Dunedin (or similar)

Day 12: Head north to Mt Cook/Aoraki. Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel (or similar)

Day 13: Visit the Tasman Glacier terminal lake. Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel (or similar)

Day 14: Head to Christchurch via scenic Lake Tekapo. Accommodation: Sudima Christchurch City (or similar)

Day 15: Time to say farewell.

Detailed itinerary

Tour full itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Queenstown and head over the hill to Wanaka

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 1
Queenstown to Wanaka

This morning meet with your tour group at Queenstown Airport. Departure time from Queenstown 12.00 pm.
Set off by coach via the Crown Range Road to Wanaka, enjoying the spectacular scenery en route.
Enjoy lunch (own expense) at the iconic Cardrona Hotel; established in 1863 it is one of the oldest, most photographed and legendary hotels in New Zealand – and well known for their scones! It is one of only two remaining buildings from the Cardrona Valley gold rush era. Its rustic charm, dramatic mountain setting and rich history make it a must-see while in Central Otago. Travelling on, stop at the nearby Cardrona Whisky Distillery located in the valley of picturesque snow-capped mountains. Discover the secrets to Cardrona’s artisan spirits, see where the malt is milled, mashed, fermented, distilled and matured before tasting the wares with a tutored spirit tasting! On arrival into Wanaka this afternoon, you will be transferred to the Award-Winning Edgewater Resort located directly on the shores of Lake Wanaka.

Your accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Edgewater is Wanaka's leading hotel located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka. A short stroll to the town centres shops, cafes and restaurants and close to many walking trails the resort is ideal to explore this wonderful Alpine setting.

Meals included: Dinner

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Day 2 - 4WD and cruise in Wanaka

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 2
A day in Wanaka

After breakfast, you will be met by the Ridgeline Adventures team. From the hotel, set off on a 4WD safari, travelling high into the Buchannan Mountains for the jaw-dropping scenery of Wanaka. The private back roads of West Wanaka Station, a 30,000-acre deer farm are steeped in history and bordering the majestic snow-capped peaks and glaciers of Mt Aspiring National Park. Enjoy morning tea on the top of Lookout Hill and take a leisurely walk in the alpine meadow, before descending to Calhounes Beach for a fascinating history lesson. Return to Wanaka approx. 1.00pm.
At the conclusion of the tour, return to Wanaka and enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes lining the shores of Lake Wanaka.  At 3.00 pm you'll regroup for an afternoon cruise on Lake Wanaka. Relax in comfort as you cruise to Stevensons Island where you will make a beach landing. Your guide will take you ashore for a short hike to the summit to view the Minaret Peaks with some excellent photo opportunities (optional).

Your accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Edgewater is Wanaka's leading hotel located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka. A short stroll to the town centres shops, cafes and restaurants and close to many walking trails the resort is ideal to explore this wonderful Alpine setting.

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 3 - Discover the famous blue pools and visit Wanaka's luscious lavender farm

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 3
Wanaka surrounds

This morning drive to Wanaka's famous Blue Pools to enjoy a short walk. Stroll through beech forest to a swing bridge that crosses the Makarora River, then cross the Blue Pools bridge for great views up the river gorge. Along the way lookout for large trout feeding in the pools and listen for the threatened yellowhead which can often be heard in the canopy. Enjoy morning tea in Makarora, surrounded by vast alpine scenery.
This afternoon, pay a visit to the Wanaka Lavender Farm, where you can experience 20 acres of beautiful lavender fields, farm animals & display gardens. Enjoy a walk through the flowers, meet the friendly resident farm animals, unwind over a cup of herbal tea & indulge in the famous lavender ice cream or Lakes Honey made using local ingredients.

Your accommodation: Edgewater (or similar)

Edgewater is Wanaka's leading hotel located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka. A short stroll to the town centres shops, cafes and restaurants and close to many walking trails the resort is ideal to explore this wonderful Alpine setting.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 4 - Journey to Arrowtown via beautiful Lake Dunstan

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 4
Wanaka to Arrowtown

Following breakfast, depart Wanaka and travel to Cromwell, situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Dunstan. Sit back and relax as you travel past well-known New Zealand vineyards such as Akarua, Pisa Range Estate Locharburn, Ata Mara, and more. Make a brief stop at the Hoglund Art Glass Gallery to admire the works from Ola Hoglund and Marie Simberg-Hoglund. Their glass artwork has earned them worldwide praise and is internationally renowned and highly sought after by both public and private collectors. In Cromwell, step back in time to the gold rush and explore heritage buildings with many with artisan businesses in them. Lunch today will be at the world-class Mt. Difficulty restaurant and Cellar Door, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Bannockburn and the Cromwell Basin while enjoying a delicious meal. Continue through the Gibbston Valley, also known as the 'Valley of the Vines'  as you head to the beautiful Millbrook Resort, your accommodation for the next 2 nights.

Your accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown (or similar)

This 175 room boutique hotel is situated on 500 acres of golf course and grounds. Surrounded by mountains the resort offers everything you need but is also close enough to Arrowtown and Queenstown to enjoy the region to its fullest.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 5 - Explore Queenstown

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 5
A day in Queenstown

Departing Millbrook this morning, visit the Chantecler Gardens, a 40-acre property that includes 12 acres of mature gardens and nestled in the heart of the Wakitipu Basin. At midday today, set off on a cruise aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw across to Walter Peak High Country Farm (approx. 45-minutes) for lunch. Once at the lakeside Colonel's Homestead Restaurant, savour the delicious aromas as the chef has the best of local produce sizzling away on the grill. Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown's alpine scenery, the enjoy the colonial architecture of Colonel's Homestead at Walter Peak High Country Farm is the perfect place to spend a few hours. An entertaining farm demonstration is also included, or you can explore the beautiful lakeside gardens. Before returning to Milbrook, make a brief stop in Arrowtown (time permitting), a historic New Zealand treasure. Quaint and charming, the town gained a name for itself in the 1860s following the discovery of gold in the Arrow River. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.

Your accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown (or similar)

This 175 room boutique hotel is situated on 500 acres of golf course and grounds. Surrounded by mountains the resort offers everything you need but is also close enough to Arrowtown and Queenstown to enjoy the region to its fullest.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

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Day 6 - Surround yourself with nature on the overnight Doubtful Sound cruise

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 6
Arrowtown to Manapouri

Depart Millbrook Resort at approx. 8.30 am, and head towards Lake Manapouri. Originally called Roto-au (the rainy lake) by early Maori and then Moturau (many islands), this lake is the second deepest in New Zealand with a circumference of 170kms and the deepest point of 444 metres.
At midday, board the Real Journeys Doubtful Sound overnight cruise. As you cruise through some of New Zealand's most stunning scenery, knowledgeable nature guides will provide commentary ensuring you miss nothing, be it the pod of resident dolphins, fur seals or rare penguins you might encounter. An unforgettable experience.
After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, you can choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat – or to simply relax onboard. For the adventurous (or very brave), there’s even a chance to go swimming.

Your accommodation: Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound

The Fiordland Navigator is purpose built for cruising in the fiords. The vessel offers spacious viewing decks, a comfortable dining saloon and observation lounge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 7 - Head south to Invercargil

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 7
Manapouri to Invercargil

After a hearty cooked breakfast, spend the morning exploring other parts of the fiord, before returning to Manapouri and disembarking. Rejoin the coach in Manapouri and continue our drive along the Southern Scenic Route. Enjoy stops at Riverton Paua shop, Tuatapere, and more.
Arrive in Invercargill mid-afternoon and get transferred to our accommodation for the next 3-nights.
Tonight, enjoy dinner together at the hotel.

Your accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel (or similar)

The Ascot Park Hotel is Invercargill's largest hotel. Set in park like surrounds its a great base for a visit to the southern city of Invercargill.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 8 - Explore Invercargil

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 8
A day in Invercargil

No visit to Invercargill is complete without visiting the Bill Richardson Transport World and Classic Motorcycle Mecca, a wheeled collection that has taken nearly 50 years to amass. Starting out as one man's passion and further developed by his family, it now includes two world-class automotive museums which house hundreds of classic cars, vintage trucks and motorcycles. Other highlights today include Queenspark and the Tuatarium, one of the world’s best enclosures, where you can see 100+ live tuatara thriving in an environment that mimics their natural habitat (viewable from outside).
The afternoon is at leisure before dining together at a local restaurant.

Your accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel (or similar)

The Ascot Park Hotel is Invercargill's largest hotel. Set in park like surrounds its a great base for a visit to the southern city of Invercargill.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 9 - Visit Stewart Island/Rakiura

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 9
Invercargill to Bluff (Oyster Festival)

This morning travel approx. 30mins to Bluff, where you join the 9.45 am ferry to Stewart Island - New Zealand's third-largest island! Over 85% of the island is National Park and it is a prime destination for birdwatchers and those wishing to catch a glimpse of the famous Aurora Australis which often appears in these southern skies. Enjoy a day tour of the island, encompassing the history and beauty of the area. Don't forget to try the world-famous fish and chips for lunch! Mid-afternoon, return to Bluff via ferry and back to your hotel. The evening is at leisure.

Your accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel (or similar)

The Ascot Park Hotel is Invercargill's largest hotel. Set in park like surrounds its a great base for a visit to the southern city of Invercargill.

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 10 - Journey to Dundein via the beautiful Catlins

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 10
Bluff to Dunedin via the Catlins

Depart Invercargill this morning and travel the route through the Catlins, and onto Dunedin. See Curio Bay, Fossilised Forest, the Lost Gypsy Caravan (if open), Purakaunui Falls, Owaka and more. A truly beautiful way to see what this part of the coastline has to offer.
Arrive in Dunedin this afternoon and transfer to your accommodation for the next 2-nights.

Your accommodation: Fable Dunedin (or similar)

Located in the centre of Dunedin, Fable Hotel is within walking distance of shopping, cafes and restaurants and the central focus of the Octagon. Beautifully appointed accommodation and a chic restaurant and bar are augmented by contemporary touches throughout.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 11 - Explore Dunedin

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 11
Explore Dunedin

Today explore Dunedin and pay a visit to some of the well-known attractions including Larnach Castle and Gardens and Olveston Historic Home. Tour the Royal Albatross Centre; the only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross in the world. Witness the fascinating social and family life of the breeding colony, devoted parents guarding their chicks; adolescents posturing and displaying as only juveniles can, courtship proceedings, nest building and interplay. Nowhere else in the world can you enjoy the privilege of viewing these majestic seabirds in their natural environment!

Your accommodation: Fable Dunedin (or similar)

Located in the centre of Dunedin, Fable Hotel is within walking distance of shopping, cafes and restaurants and the central focus of the Octagon. Beautifully appointed accommodation and a chic restaurant and bar are augmented by contemporary touches throughout.

Meals included: Breakfast

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Day 12 - Head north to Mt Cook/Aoraki

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 12
Dunedin to Mount Cook

Leaving Dunedin, take the coach through to Naseby and meet with the High Country Journeys team. Join a 4WD tour through some of the most stunning and majestic scenery in the South Island, accessing a wide range of unique backcountry tracks in the High Country.
Continue over Danseys Pass, a classic, unsealed and stunningly beautiful alpine pass. Once well used for gold mining traffic, races dug by Chinese miners into the hillsides scar the landscape and are a reminder of the intense hard work required to source water for inland and high country prospecting. Rejoin your coach in Duntroon and continue on to your accommodation. Nestled in the beautiful Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, The Hermitage Hotel is the perfect base. Recognised as part of the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Area, the National Park is a breath-taking environment of glaciers, terminal lakes, turbulent rivers and of course our tallest peak, the mighty Aoraki Mt Cook soaring above at 3,724 metres.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel (or similar)

The Hermitage Hotel ringed by magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, is a world-renowned tourist destination and has been an icon of superior accommodation and dining since 1884.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 13 - Visit the Tasman Glacier terminal lake

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 13
Explore Mount Cook

There is time to wander around the Hermitage grounds before moving on to New Zealand's Tasman Glacier terminal lake for a fascinating glacial encounter. From here, cruise the rapidly growing terminal lake taking in spectacular mountain views and scenery. Icebergs of every shape and size periodically tear away from the glacier allowing you to touch and taste the 300-500-year-old glacial crystals.
The afternoon is at leisure until dinner is shared together.
This evening, at 10.30 pm, you can opt to join the Big Sky Stargazing tour. Experienced guides will introduce you to the beautiful southern night sky using the naked eye, astro-binoculars and state of the art 14' and 11' astronomy telescopes. Unleash your imagination as you discover our neighbourhood in the universe including the southern cross, seasonal ecliptic objects, planets, stunning star clusters, moons, distant galaxies and even our very own galaxy, the spectacular Milky Way.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel (or similar)

The Hermitage Hotel ringed by magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, is a world-renowned tourist destination and has been an icon of superior accommodation and dining since 1884.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 14 - Head to Christchurch via scenic Lake Tekapo

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 14
Mount Cook to Christchurch

Departing Mount Cook, enjoy a short drive through to Lake Tekapo. Spend some free time in Tekapo and take in picturesque views of the milky-turquoise lake, the church of the Good Sheppard, and other local sights of interest. Continue through to Christchurch and to your overnight accommodation. Enjoy one final dinner together this evening.

Your accommodation: Sudima Christchurch City (or similar)

Sudima Christchurch City is a brand new 5-star boutique hotel, ideally located on Victoria Street. Amidst an array of cafes, restaurants and bars, stay only a martini olive pips’ throw from beautiful Hagley Park and Christchurch’s CBD. Experience the garden city in comfort and style.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

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Day 15 - Time to say farewell

Maher Excorted Tours - Lower South Island Tour - Day 15
Depart Christchurch

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Bid your fellow tour members farewell today as you transfer to Christchurch airport to join your flight home. Arrive at the airport by 1.00 pm.

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Nov 6, 2021
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NZD$8,650
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