Best Buys

Southern Spirit

13 Day Guided Vacation | Christchurch to Wellington

It’s hard to do the South Island of New Zealand justice in just two weeks. But we’ve been exploring this part of the country for years, and know which azure lakes, yawning gorges, gem-like glaciers and unpeopled beaches will set your heart racing. From Milford Sound tours to Franz Josef Glacier tours, Christchurch tours to Queenstown tours, get set for 14 days of eye-opening attractions glimpsed from planes, trains, automobiles and boats. This trip to New Zealand is hard to beat.

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$4454

Adult Twin i A person 16 years and over (note a person 16–17 years must be accompanied by a person 18 years and over). All prices are per person, land only unless otherwise indicated.
Above lowest price is based on 2024-10-03 departure

$5797

Single i A person, who must be 18 years and over, travelling alone, must pay the single room price. All prices are per person, land only unless otherwise indicated.
Above lowest price is based on 2024-10-03 departure
Prices above are per person in USD
Single rooms are limited and subject to availability
Child prices may be available on request

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Trip Details

trip-details-whats-includedWhat's included

  • • Specialist team of two highly experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
    • Comfortable accommodation with easy access to city centres
    • National Park entrance fees

trip-details-diningDining

  • • 12 Full Breakfasts
  • • 3 Dinners
  • • 1 Highlight Dinner
  • • 1 Farewell Dinner

trip-details-flight-infoFlight Information

  • Day 1 – flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm into Christchurch Airport
    Day 13 – flights to depart after 2.00pm from Wellington Airport
    Flights are not included in the holiday price
    Return airport to hotel transfers are not included in the holiday price

trip-details-what-to-bringWhat to Bring

  • • Comfortable walking shoes
  • • Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
  • • Water bottle
  • • Warm layers in cooler months
  • • Camera

trip-details-fitness-level-requirementsFitness Requirements

    Low level of fitness required

Itinerary Generating PDF...

image map

Arrive early to get your bearings on a self-guided Christchurch tour. The best way to do that? Aboard the Christchurch Tram. Your journey not only takes you past jaw-dropping attractions but also tells an inspiring story of community spirit in the rebuilding and reinvigoration of the city since the 2010/11 earthquakes. Explore at your leisure. We recommend jumping aboard the Christchurch Tram. This evening, it's time to meet your fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception.

  Hotel: Wyndham Garden

Step out with your guide for a deeper dive into ‘The City of Gardens’ before traversing the colourful Canterbury Plains: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and snow-capped mountains. Your Indoor Dark Sky Astronomy Experience at Tekapo, hosted by passionate guides, will forever change the way you see the night sky. You'll see for yourself it may be one of the quietest spots on the planet, yet it has one of the busiest skies in the universe.

  Hotel: Distinction Heritage Gateway Hotel

  Included Meals: Dinner, Breakfast

Architectural drama awaits in 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 Larnach Castle, which nods to Dunedin’s Scottish link – it’s known as ‘Little Edinburgh’ for a reason.

 

  Hotel: Dunedin Leisure Lodge

  Included Meals: Breakfast

If you’ve find yourself humming a Garth Brooks tune en route to Gore, you’re not alone; it's the country music capital of NZ. Invercargill is obsessed with something else: motor vehicles. Tributes to speed legends colour the city. So it's only fitting that you visit Classic Motorcycle Mecca for a tour and Highlight Dinner.

  Hotel: Kelvin Hotel

  Included Meals: Highlight Dinner, Breakfast

Invercargill is the gateway to the southernmost community in the country. Welcome to Stewart Island, a wild and wonderful drop of land that is 97% national parkland. Naturally, it’s a magnet for endemic flora and fauna, as you’ll discover on a guided Village and Bays tour. 

  Hotel: Kelvin Hotel

  Included Meals: Breakfast

You’ve probably already noticed that there’s a lot of farmland here in New Zealand. It’s fitting, then, that you meet southern girl Laura, who will introduce you to the sheep farm where she was born and raised. The Real Country Farm Show, a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, offers an authentic taste of what rural New Zealand is like. For every guest, we donate funds to The Fairlight Foundation, Advancing Women in Agriculture. Continue to Queenstown and take the afternoon at your own pace.

  Hotel: Copthorne Hotel and Resort

  Included Meals: Breakfast

We wouldn’t blame you for using today to linger by the banks of Lake Wakatipu, marvelling at sky-scraping Remarkables. But if you want to venture further afield, we have a few ideas. Top of our list today is an epic journey through Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, carved by waterfalls and a playground for dolphins and seals. There’s a reason why this part of the island has World Heritage status.

  Hotel: Copthorne Hotel and Resort

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Atmospheric Arrowtown was born from gold, and its movie-set-like streets still shimmer today. It’s hard to tear yourself away, but the Alpine country of the Southern Lakes is calling, from Lake Dunstan – pause for juicy stone fruit picked fresh from the tree – to oh-so-blue Lake Hawea and lovely Lake Wanaka, with its shoreline of poplars and willows. Over the Haast Pass, the pretty town of Franz Josef/Waiau, awaits. Get some perspective on an optional Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere flight tour – if the weather behaves, you may even get to land on it. New Zealand tours don’t get much cooler than this.

  Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

  Included Meals: Dinner, Breakfast

On the wild West Coast, Hokitika may be small in size, but boy is it big in personality, not to mention natural attractions. Wander the windswept coast before discovering the town’s other beauty: pounamu (native greenstone or jade). Steel yourself for Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and blowholes; they owe their existence to the thundering surf that will lull you to sleep.

  Hotel: Scenic Hotel Punakaiki

  Included Meals: Dinner, Breakfast

After action-packed days, all you need to do today is sit back and enjoy the drama of the Heritage Highway en route to Nelson. Gaze over Buller Gorge – a deep canyon home to New Zealand’s longest swingbridge – and Kahurangi National Park, a place of wild rivers, high plateaus, alpine herbfields and coastal forests. 

  Hotel: The Rutherford Hotel

  Included Meals: Breakfast

The South Island’s oldest city, Nelson is the ideal starting point for outings through Abel Tasman National Park. This pocket in the north of the island is a beguiling union of golden beaches framed by sculpted granite cliffs. It’s home to one of the country’s most legendary coastal tracks, if you fancy stretching your legs on a hike. Otherwise, drift away on a cruise around the coast, revealing unpeopled bays and dreamy inlets. The choice is yours.

  Hotel: The Rutherford Hotel

  Included Meals: Breakfast

All aboard the Interislander for a cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound, up the Tory Channel and across Cook Strait, from the South Island to the North, navigating a maze of arms and inlets into New Zealand’s cool little capital of Wellington. End your tour on a high note at a Farewell Dinner with your Travel Director and travel companions.

  Hotel: Travelodge Wellington

  Included Meals: Farewell Dinner, Breakfast

Wellington also knows a thing or two about good coffee, and you’ll need a strong one to get you through this morning's sightseeing. You may wish to linger in town, discovering Māori culture at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. It's hard to say goodbye to your tour of the South Island of New Zealand. If you can't bear to leave, we have a few ideas up our sleeves to extend your holiday.

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.


Southern Spirit

Best Buys

13 Day Guided Vacation

Christchurch to Wellington

It’s hard to do the South Island of New Zealand justice in just two weeks. But we’ve been exploring this part of the country for years, and know which azure lakes, yawning gorges, gem-like glaciers and unpeopled beaches will set your heart racing. From Milford Sound tours to Franz Josef Glacier tours, Christchurch tours to Queenstown tours, get set for 14 days of eye-opening attractions glimpsed from planes, trains, automobiles and boats. This trip to New Zealand is hard to beat.

Highlights

Flexible Vacations

New Zealand’s natural bounty is epic, as you’ll see in Nelson, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. The bounty also inspires talented chefs across Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington.

Iconic Sites

New Zealand’s cool little Capital, Wellington’s diversions range from cultural Nirvana at Te Papa to the beehive-like Parliament building.

Natural Wonders

An island off an island, Stewart Island is wild, wide and wonderful. Some 97% is national parkland – prepare for epic animal encounters.

Accommodation

Your Guided Holiday includes a range of quality accommodation for your comfort.
The accommodation you will enjoy on this tour includes:

Optional Experiences

Please note, prices for Optional Experiences are subject to change.

To ensure your holiday is filled with memorable experiences, we have included a range of quality Optional Experiences for you to choose from and partake in, if you wish, during your holiday. The experiences can be booked on tour through your Travel Director.

Air Safaris - Grand Traverse Scenic Flight (Mt Cook)

NZ$470 Adult NZ$375 Child

Explore the alpine wonderland of the Southern Alps’ highest peaks and glacial lakes on this 45-minute scenic flight, including Murchison Glacier, Tasman Glacier, Main Divide, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, westland coastal rainforests and Mount Cook.

Air Safaris - Grand Traverse Scenic Flight

Haast River Safari (Franz Josef Glacier)

NZ$119 Adult NZ$69 Child

Travel on a purpose built fully enclosed river jet boat with front-loading access. Great visibility is ensured, yet you remain warm, dry and comfortable, making this a unique and safe experience suitable for anyone of any age to participate in and enjoy.

Haast River Safari

Pure Glenorchy - Lord of the Rings Scenic Tour (road-Queenstown)

NZ$189 Adult NZ$99 Child

Lord of The Rings Scenic Tour: Visit the stunning locations from Lord of The Rings. Encounter lsengard, Lothlorien Forest, The Misty Mountains, Ithilien and many more. Experience the absolute beauty of the Dart River Valley and our closest world heritage area. Learn about the remarkable history and unique culture of Glenorchy. Our tour feature’s some of the world’s most spectacular scenery visiting Mt Aspiring World Heritage Area, Glenorchy, The Dart River Valley and Paradise. Encounter ancient beech forest, braided rivers and glacier carved valleys.

Pure Glenorchy - Lord of the Rings Scenic Tour

The Helicopter Line - Neve Discoverer Flight 20mins (Franz Josef Glacier)

Adult: $330.00 NZD

Lift off and fly up over the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier to land amongst this alpine wonderland on a 20-minute scenic flight. Highlights include landing at the head of the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier and a snow or icefall landing.

The Helicopter Line - Neve Discoverer Flight 20mins

Larnach Castle Tour (Dunedin)

NZ$91.00 Adult NZ$54.00 Child

Let your local driver take you on an exciting Otago Peninsula drive to New Zealand’s only castle. Your guided tour of the Larnach family home will give you insight into not only the architecture and style of the stately building, but also into William Larnach’s family life and the restoration done by the current owners during the past three decades. Enjoy views from the tower and marvel at the immaculate gardens before your return to Dunedin.

Larnach Castle Tour

City to Sea Tour (Dunedin )

Adult: $105.00 NZD
Child: $45.00 NZD

Meet our unique local wildlife and discover why Dunedin is NZ’s nature capital. Enjoy a special wildlife experience around Taiaroa Head and out to sea. Enjoy uninterrupted views of the royal albatross nesting colony, the world’s only mainland breeding site for albatross. Watch as these huge birds glide in from the ocean on three metre wings and then soar high above the hillside. The boat will get close to spectacular volcanic cliffs for postcard views of a historic lighthouse. Below the cliffs you’ll watch as NZ fur seals play, swim and interact around their breeding rookery. A short way out to sea and we may spot rarely seen ocean birds, like other albatross species, cormorants and petrels. On some trips we come across sea lions, blue penguins, dusky dolphins, hectors dolphins and other marine mammals.

City to Sea Tour

Speights Brewery - Guided Tour (Dunedin)

Adult: $35.00 NZD

No visitor to Dunedin should leave without taking the Speight’s Brewery Tour. Since 1876 the brewery has been proudly producing Speight’s legendary ales from the same site in Rattray Street. On the Speight’s Brewery Tour you’ll see, smell, touch and taste the ingredients that go into making Speight’s beers – and of course, get to sample “The Pride of the South” for yourself!

Speights Brewery - Guided Tour

The Helicopter Line - Mountain Scenic Flight 40mins (Franz Josef)

Adult: $580.00 NZD

Discover the gigantic expanse of the Franz Josef and Fox snowfields on this 40-minute scenic flight. Cross the main divide for breathtaking views of Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Highlights include a snow landing, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and Mt Cook.

The Helicopter Line - Mountain Scenic Flight 40mins

The Helicopter Line - Twin Glacier Flight 30mins (Franz Josef Glacier)

Adult: $425.00 NZD

From a mantle of pure white snow, massive rivers of ice wind their way down glacier valleys. Explore the glaciers, an incredible natural phenomenon on this 30-minute scenic flight. Highlights include a snow landing at the head of the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier.

The Helicopter Line - Twin Glacier Flight 30mins

Abel Tasman Seashuttle - Discover Day (Nelson)

NZ$108 + $50 return transfer Adult NZ$108 + $50 return transfer Child

The ultimate boat cruise and walk combination in the Abel Tasman National Park. With a two hour walk option, the Vista Day shows all the best the Abel Tasman has to offer with a Full Scenic Boat Cruise, visits to Split Apple Rock and a Fur Seal colony, golden beaches, forest walking and wildlife encounters all in one superb day out.

Abel Tasman Seashuttle - Discover Day

Kiwi Birdlife Park (Queenstown)

Adult: $52.00 NZD
Child: $26.00 NZD

The Kiwi Birdlife Park is a wildlife sanctuary found in the heart of Queenstown. They hold and display over 20 species of native NZ wildlife in our 5 acre Park, all of which are part of nationally managed programmes. Your entry fee supports their conservation work. They offer guaranteed kiwi viewing in our specially constructed nocturnal houses, audio tours (available in English and Japanese; allow 45min), Conservation Shows (11am, 3pm; allow 30min) and Kiwi Feedings (10am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 4.30pm; allow 15min). They offer an all-day pass and the park can be enjoyed in all weather. Experience conservation in action!

Kiwi Birdlife Park

Real Journeys - Walter Peak BBQ Dinner and Earnslaw (Queenstown)

NZ$189 Adult NZ$85 Child

Relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise on Queenstown’s iconic vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the largest and grandest vessel ever to ply Lake Wakatipu. The TSS Earnslaw makes several trips daily across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm on the western shores. A cruise on this gracious heritage vessel is the perfect way to experience Queenstown’s magnificent alpine scenery. Upon reaching Walter Peak High Country Farm, you can disembark for an insight into New Zealand’s farming lifestyle. Enjoy an evening dining at the Colonel’s Homestead followed by an entertaining Sheep Show!

Real Journeys - Walter Peak BBQ Dinner and Earnslaw

Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour & Jet Boat (Skippers Canyon)

Adult $189  Child: $115

The Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour offers a great balance of stunning scenery and local history just a short drive from central Queenstown. The trip includes a guided drive into historic Skippers Canyon via the infamous Skippers Road, on board commentary from knowledgeable drivers about the history of the area including the miners who battled the harsh New Zealand conditions to extract gold from the richest gold bearing river in the world.

Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour & Jet Boat

Weta Workshop - There and Back Again Guided Tour (Wellington)

NZ$99 Adult NZ$60 Child

This movie-based experience provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse of Weta Workshop, the home of the special effects wizards whose work features in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. The tour invites you to view the creative processes of a Weta technician and to touch, feel, and hold real props, weapons and models from the films the creative Weta team have worked on. Return transfers from the Wellington i-Site are included.

Weta Workshop - There and Back Again Guided Tour

Altitude Wine Tours - Twilight Wine & Craft Beer Experience (Queenstown)

Adult: $209.00 NZD

It’s always 5 o’clock at Altitude Tours. Join our Twilight Wine and Craft Beer experience for a fun and entertaining late afternoon tastebud tingling adventure! Visit three unique locations around Queenstown and Gibbston with a minimum of 12 tastings of some of the finest drops in the region. Now, here’s the twist, if beer is more your thing then bounce from vines to hops and taste some local craft beers instead.

Altitude Wine Tours - Twilight Wine & Craft Beer Experience

Bread to Bottle Tour MTM Experience (Dunedin)

Adult: $30.00 NZD

Visit Dunedin Craft Distillers, the first distillery in Aotearoa New Zealand and one of only a handful worldwide, to produce botanical spirits from surplus bread and bakery products that would otherwise go to landfill. Discover on this Make Travel Matter Experience, how owners, Jenny McDonald and Sue Stockwell do it in a ‘Bread to Bottle Tour’ which takes you through the process used to turn bread into spirits.

Bread to Bottle Tour MTM Experience

KJET (Queenstown)

NZ$135 Adult NZ$69 Child

Take on the mighty Shotover River with Kawarau Jet (KJet) – Queenstown’s original Jet boat ride. Only KJet offers a 60 minute Queenstown Jet boat experience with unforgettable thrills, spins & exhilaration across three waterways in one of the world’s most stunning locations.

KJET

Zealandia (Wellington)

Adult: $64.00NZD
Child: $32.00NZD

ZEALANDIA has some of the most unique biodiversity and advanced conservation techniques in the world. Join an experienced guide on an engaging and informative walk through the picturesque sanctuary to witness the native wildlife that is once again living on the mainland. With everything in ZEALANDIA living wild, nature-guru guides use their knowledge of birdsong, habitats, and local flora to track down even the rarest of our unique animals.

Zealandia

Monarch Wildlife Cruise & Larnach Castle Tour (Dunedin)

NZ$160 Adult NZ$80 Child

Let your local driver take you on an exciting Otago Peninsula drive to New Zealand’s only castle. Your guided tour of the Larnach family home will give you insight into not only the architecture and style of the stately building, but also into William Larnach’s family life and the restoration done by the current owners during the past three decades. Enjoy views from the tower and marvel at the immaculate gardens before your return to Dunedin. Join our invigorating Wildlife Cruise around Taiaroa Head, home to the world's only mainland nesting place of royal albatross. Watch as these huge birds glide in from the ocean and soar high above their hillside nests.

Monarch Wildlife Cruise & Larnach Castle Tour

Ulva Island (Stewart Island)

Adult: $119.00NZD
Child: $59.00NZD

Discover Stewart Island on a leisurely cruise of Paterson Inlet and a guided walk in Ulva Island Wildlife Sanctuary. The cruise will showcase stunning scenery, hidden coves, and unspoilt beaches. Hear fascinating stories of early Māori history and European settlement from your guide. Keep a look out for fur seals and penguins. Stop at renowned wildlife sanctuary Ulva Island for a 45-minute guided walk. It is home to weka (native woodhen), bush robins, rare saddlebacks and yellowheads. It is also a protected habitat for some of New Zealand’s rarest plant species.

Ulva Island
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