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Inspiring JourneysInspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift

Discover 100% Pure New Zealand on this Inspiring Journey through the bountiful natural treasures of the South Island. From the still waters of Milford Sound and snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps, to rolling hills and grassy plains of Central Otago, delve into the exquisite beauty of a land that has remained unchanged for millennia.

Book your 2019/20 Inspiring Journeys tour now and SAVE! - looking at touring New Zealand in the 2019 /20 season? If so then check out our FANTASTIC earlybird deals below. Valid on all Inspiring Journeys tours departing from 1st October 2019. You just need to book and pay in full by 27 March 2019. Prices displayed have the early booking discount already applied. If you would rather book now but pay closer to your departure date then that's no problem, please hit the enquire button below and we will get you the latest prices.

 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 84 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

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

At a glance - Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift

Day 1: Arrive into Christchurch. Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Day 2: Board the Tranz Alpine Scenic Trail and had through to Arthur's Pass and later onto Punakaki. Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort

Day 3: Journey down the breathtaking West Coast, experience the Treetop Walkway on your way to Franz Josef. Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Day 4: Travel over the Haast Pass and past the lakeside towns of Wanaka and Hawea to Queenstown. Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Day 5: A day free for you to explore the pristine alpine town of Queenstown. Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Day 6: With so much to do you have a second day to experience all Queenstown has to offer. Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Day 7: Travel south along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the lakeside town of Te Anau before continuing on to Milford Sound. Accommodation: Milford Sound Lodge

Day 8: Cruise Milford Sound today and experience an informative talk by a local expert. Accommodation: Milford Sound Lodge

Day 9: Journey through pristine rainforest and onto dry arid Central Otago to a high country farm. Accommodation: Wedderburn Cottages

Day 10: Head through gold mining country to Mt Cook. Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel

Day 11: Vist Lake Tekapo and the famed Church of the Good Shepherd before continuing on to Christchurch. Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Day 12: Depart from Christchurch.

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Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Arrive into Christchurch

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 1

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.

Your Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Located in Central Christchurch just minutes from CBD dining, shopping and entertainment, Crowne Plaza Christchurch offers modern accommodation and dining options. Overlooking historic Victoria Square and the iconic Avon River, you’ll be in the perfect spot to connect with the city.

Meals included: Dinner

Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Day 2: Board the Tranz Alpine Scenic Trail and had through to Arthur's Pass and later onto Punakaki

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 2

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: Journey down the breathtaking West Coast, experience the Treetop Walkway on your way to Franz Josef

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 3

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. Continue to the gold-mining town of Ross en route to Franz Josef. You may want to get up close and personal with the glaciers on a helicopter flight. Your flight will hover over the snow face, and may land high up in the valley so that you can walk across the ice fall - subject to weather conditions (Optional Experience, own expense). Tonight, 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 tonight 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: Travel over the Haast Pass and past the lakeside towns of Wanaka and Hawea to Queenstown

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 4

Franz Josef to Queenstown

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 dinner is included at your hotel.

Your Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Overlooking stunning Lake Wakatipu with its majestic mountain backdrop, Crowne Plaza Queenstown offers contemporary, stylish accommodation in an outstanding in-town location. A chic, modern, contemporary 4+ star resort hotel, with premium accommodation, quality furnishings and amenities and world class facilities.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Day 5: A day free for you to explore the pristine alpine town of Queenstown

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 5

Explore Queenstown

Explore exciting Queenstown your way! Take the opportunity to encounter a Queenstown legend and ride the Shotover Jet Boat or venture out on a 4WD Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour. If laid-back and relaxed is more your idea of fun then join a Wine Tour and sample some of Central Otago's award-winning wines, or visit our native birds at Queenstown's Kiwi Birdlife Park. Your AAT Kings Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences. This evening, enjoy a memorable Highlight Dinner at one of Queenstown's fine dining restaurants, against the backdrop of the beautiful snow-capped Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.

Your Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Overlooking stunning Lake Wakatipu with its majestic mountain backdrop, Crowne Plaza Queenstown offers contemporary, stylish accommodation in an outstanding in-town location. A chic, modern, contemporary 4+ star resort hotel, with premium accommodation, quality furnishings and amenities and world class facilities.

Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Day 6: With so much to do you have a second day to experience all Queenstown has to offer

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 6

Another day to experience Queenstown

Make the most of your extended stay in Queenstown. Why not sit back and enjoy a peaceful cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealands oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station Otherwise, you could simply relax, shop or enjoy time at one of the many cafes and restaurants while soaking up the alpine views.

Your Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Overlooking stunning Lake Wakatipu with its majestic mountain backdrop, Crowne Plaza Queenstown offers contemporary, stylish accommodation in an outstanding in-town location. A chic, modern, contemporary 4+ star resort hotel, with premium accommodation, quality furnishings and amenities and world class facilities.

Meals included: Breakfast

Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Day 7: Travel south along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the lakeside town of Te Anau before continuing on to Milford Sound

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 7

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 (Optional Experience - own expense). Tonight stay at the magical Milford Sound Lodge, with views of the Cleddau Valley.

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: Cruise Milford Sound today and experience an informative talk by a local expert

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 8

Milford Sound

Wake up to the startling beauty of Milford Sound. Board the Southern Discoveries vessel for a half day exploration of Milford Sound, often called the "eighth natural wonder of the world". Sail out to the Tasman Sea, looking for wildlife along the way, for a visit to the Underwater Observatory and the opportunity to go sea kayaking in Harrison Cove. This afternoon learn more about breathtaking Fiordland National Park with an informative talk by a local expert.

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, Lunch, Dinner

Milford Sound Lodge

Day 9: Journey through pristine rainforest and onto dry arid Central Otago to a high country farm

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 9

Milford Sound to Wedderburn

This morning, embark on a journey from the rainforests of pristine Fiordland National Park, through Te Anau and the rolling hill country of Southland to the dry and arid region of Central Otago. Arrive in Wedderburn and head out to a high-country farm to learn about life on the alpine plains. Finish the day with dinner at the local pub.

Your Accommodation: Wedderburn Cottages

Situated right on the Central Otago Rail Trail with direct access from the trail itself. Nestled under the Hawkdun Range and surrounded by stunning landscape of farmland and tussock country, Wedderburn Cottages is a must-stay after a long day.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Wedderburn Cottages

Day 10: Head through gold mining country to Mt Cook

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 10

Wedderburn to Mt Cook

Travel to the town of Naseby to learn the history of this gold mining region. Maybe you'll try your hand at the ancient sport of curling! From here it's on towards the spectacular scenery of the Southern Alps and then along the shores of majestic Lake Pukaki, before arriving in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, helped Sir Edmund Hillary hone his skills in preparation for his conquest of Everest. Tonight enjoy dinner with a breathtaking 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: Vist Lake Tekapo and the famed Church of the Good Shepherd before continuing on to Christchurch

Inspiring Journeys 12 Day The Southern Drift - Day 11

Mt. Cook to Christchurch

Your epic encounter with New Zealand's scenic beauty continues this morning as you see the splendour of Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, where you'll stop to view the famous and iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie region, with its alter window framing stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Later, begin your return journey to Christchurch, the City of Churches, and the largest city in the South Island. Crossing the Canterbury Plains, arrive in Christchurch this afternoon and embark on a sightseeing tour of the city to learn about its rebirth after the devastating 2011 earthquake.

Your Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Located in Central Christchurch just minutes from CBD dining, shopping and entertainment, Crowne Plaza Christchurch offers modern accommodation and dining options. Overlooking historic Victoria Square and the iconic Avon River, you’ll be in the perfect spot to connect with the city.

Meals included: Breakfast

Crowne Plaza 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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