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Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift

Loop around the South Island on this 12 day escorted coach tour with AAT Kings for an unforgettable New Zealand adventure. Head north across the Southern Alps from Christchurch to Punakaiki on board the TranzAlpine scenic train, from there its down along the West Coast to Franz Josef to enjoy a glacier tour. Continue to Queenstown for some adventure time, and on to Milford Sound and a stunning breakfast cruise through the fiord. Head further south for a visit to the beautiful Stewart Island and then its back to the mainland for a final stop in the spectacular Mt. Cook National Park, before finishing up back in Christchurch.

 New Zealand small group tour
 Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch
 12 days/ 11 nights
 Hotel 4 star
  Pre and post tour options? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 66 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Mt Cook National Park, New Zealand
AAT Kings tours New Zealand

At a glance - Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift

Day 1: Arrive into Christchurch. Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Day 2: Christchurch to Punakaiki. Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort

Day 3: Punakaiki to Franz Josef. Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Day 4: Franz Josef to Queenstown. Accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

Day 5: Free Day to Explore Queenstown. Accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

Day 6: Another Free Day in Queenstown. Accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

Day 7: Queenstown to Milford Sound. Accommodation: Milford Sound Lodge

Day 8: Milford Sound to Stewart Island. Accommodation: Bay Motel

Day 9: Explore Stewart Island. Accommodation: Bay Motel

Day 10: Stewart Island to Mt Cook. Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel

Day 11: Mt Cook to Christchurch. Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Day 12: Depart from Christchurch.

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Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Arrive into Christchurch

Arrive Christchurch

On arrival in Christchurch you will be transferred by private car to your hotel. Spend some time at leisure to relax or explore on your own. Perhaps visit the International Antarctic Centre or Orana Wildlife Park, New Zealand’s only open-range zoo. This evening meet your Travel Director for dinner and a welcome drink.

Your Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. 2 superb award winning on site restaurants also feature.

Meals included: Dinner

The George Hotel, Christchurch

Day 2: Christchurch to Punakaiki

Christchurch to Punakaiki via The Tranz Alpine Scenic Train

All aboard the famous TranzAlpine train! Rated as one of the world’s great scenic railway journeys, you’ll travel across the Canterbury Plains through the Southern Alps. Then re-join your coach at Arthur’s Pass and travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You’ll stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront. Enjoy dinner while watching the thundering surf at your door step!

Your Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort

The Punakaiki Resort is a modern, award-winning hotel complex, architecturally designed to harmonise with the local environment. Nestled in the foothills of Papaproa National Park the resort has spectacular views of the Wild West Coast beaches while all rooms have rainforest and/or ocean views.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Punakaiki Resort

Day 3: Punakaiki to Franz Josef

Punakaiki to Franz Josef

Today visit Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast, for a greenstone (jade) jewellery demonstration by a local carver. Then visit the West Coast’s newest attraction, the Treetop Walkway through the canopy of this lush rainforest. Stop at the gold-mining town of Ross en route to Franz Josef, where you’ll take a guided tour to the viewing area at the mighty Franz Josef Glacier with a local expert glacier guide. Your eco-friendly accommodation is set amid native bush, with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. This evening, why not treat yourself to Franz Josef’s local geothermal hot pools or perhaps a massage. Dinner is at the retreat.

Your Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest at Franz Josef is a very special five-star retreat. Designed with utmost care of its precious environment, guests at Te Waonui Forest Retreat will find themselves encircled by rainforest and accommodated in natural and sustainable luxury.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Day 4: Franz Josef to Queenstown

Franz Josef to Queenstown

You’ll have the opportunity to see the glacier from the air on an optional scenic flight. Later today, travel over the Haast Pass and along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, stopping at Makarora at lunchtime. Also stop to explore the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown, followed by an orientation tour of Queenstown. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown’s scenery is inspiring. Tonight you’ll stay at Millbrook Resort, set amid sparkling streams and rolling hills in the Southern Alps.

Your Accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

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, Dinner

Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

Day 5: Free Day to Explore Queenstown

Queenstown free day

Today is free for you to explore New Zealand’s adventure-capital. Perhaps play a round of golf or indulge in a spa treatment. Tonight you’ll ride the Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak for dinner with a view overlooking stunning Queenstown, the awesome Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.

Your Accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

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, Speciality Dinner

Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

Day 6: Another Free Day in Queenstown

Another day to experience Queenstown

Make the most of your extended stay in Queenstown. Why not take a trip to the Gibbston Valley Winery or take a jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River (both own expense). Tonight you can dine at one of the many restaurants and cafés in town, or simply relax at your resort.

Your Accommodation: Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

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

Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

Day 7: Queenstown to Milford Sound

Queenstown to Milford Sound

Travel south along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau on the shores of the South Island’s largest lake. Later you’ll travel through the rainforest of World Heritage Fiordland National Park, sighting glaciers and mountain ranges before driving through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel to the amazing Mirror Lake. Afterwards, walk to see the Chasm on your way into Milford Sound and take some time to kayak this majestic fiord, considered by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Tonight stay at the magical Milford Sound Lodge, with views of the Cleddau Valley. Hotel: Milford Sound Lodge.

Your Accommodation: Milford Sound Lodge

Experience the tranquility of Milford once the day visitors have left. Breakfast on the deck while keas look on. The Mountain View and River Chalets offer a spectacular views from the sumptuous comfort of your self contained chalet.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Milford Sound Lodge

Day 8: Milford Sound to Stewart Island

Milford Sound to Stewart Island

This morning board your Southern Discoveries breakfast cruise out to the spectacular Tasman Sea. Later, it’s on to the southern-most city in New Zealand, Invercargill. Board a ferry at Bluff and cruise to wild Stewart Island. With its clear, clean waters, lush rainforest, flora and fauna and unspoilt natural beauty, you’ll get a glimpse of an enviable slower lifestyle. Dine at one of the cafés or meet the locals at the hotel.

Your Accommodation: Bay Motel

Stewart Island is New Zealand's third island and home to the new Rakiura National Park. Island of Nature with crystal clear waters. The Bay Motel is located only a short 5 minute walk to the ferry terminal, airline depot, shops, restaurants. It has magnificent views of Halfmoon Bay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Bay Motel

Day 9: Explore Stewart Island

Stewart Island

This morning you’re off on a Village and Bays tour before taking a lunch cruise on Paterson Inlet, where you’ll see many remote sandy beaches and wildlife. You’ll stop at Ulva Island and tour with the Department of Conservation on Ulva Island’s wildlife sanctuary. Learn about native birds like the Weka and spend time up close to native flora and fauna. Tonight, try your hand at a bit of kiwi-spotting in the native bush near your accommodation.

Your Accommodation: Bay Motel

Stewart Island is New Zealand's third island and home to the new Rakiura National Park. Island of Nature with crystal clear waters. The Bay Motel is located only a short 5 minute walk to the ferry terminal, airline depot, shops, restaurants. It has magnificent views of Halfmoon Bay.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Bay Motel

Day 10: Stewart Island to Mt Cook

Stewart Island to Mt Cook National Park

Board a ferry to the mainland. Admire the rural farming views of Southland as you travel back towards Queenstown. Travel over the Lindis Pass and into the MacKenzie high country, along the shores of Lake Pukaki to the foothills of Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere. Tonight enjoy dinner with a mountain view.

Your Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel

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

Hermitage Hotel

Day 11: Mt Cook to Christchurch

Mt. Cook to Christchurch

Travel to Lake Tekapo, where you’ll stop to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. Later, join us at the home of Angie and Stan Taylor to enjoy a barbecue lunch in their 240 hectare garden. Then travel along the Canterbury Plains to the Garden City of Christchurch. On a sightseeing tour see how the city is being rebuilt after the devastating 2011 earthquake.

Your Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. 2 superb award winning on site restaurants also feature.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

The George Hotel, Christchurch

Day 12: Depart from Christchurch

Farewell From Christchurch and Transfer to Airport

Say farewell to your fellow travellers as your Inspiring Journey comes to an end and you'll be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight.

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