Best Buys

Southern Spotlight

9 Day Guided Vacation | Christchurch Return

Travel Period

Tick all the boxes of must-dos in the South Island. Journey through the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine train, have a night out at a High Country Station in Central Otago, cruise down the still waters of Milford Sound, and roam through the stone-hewn campus of New Zealand’s oldest university in Dunedin.

Prices From Code: LCQR

$3048

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.

$3687

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.

$2748

Child i A child must be accompanied by a person 18 years+. Some tours have minimum age requirements.
Prices above are per person in USD

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Southern Spotlight

Best Buys

9 Day Guided Vacation

Christchurch Return

Tick all the boxes of must-dos in the South Island. Journey through the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine train, have a night out at a High Country Station in Central Otago, cruise down the still waters of Milford Sound, and roam through the stone-hewn campus of New Zealand’s oldest university in Dunedin.

Highlights

Flexible Vacations

From epic burgers to fine dining, Queenstown’s restaurants, bars, and cafés are just waiting to be enjoyed. Ask us for tips.

Iconic Sites

Among the world’s great train journeys, the TranzAlpine traverses countryside made for postcards, as are fabled Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glacier.

Time For You

Sometimes, the best adventures are unplanned. We give you free days and afternoons to dive deep into southern attractions.

Sustainable Travel

By visiting Fiordland National Park, you’re helping protect this fragile ecosystem’s flora and fauna for future generations.

Itinerary

image map

Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4.00pm. After check-in, you can head out and explore Christchurch. Step back in time to a grand era of transport and relax as the Christchurch Tram takes you around the 'must-see' central attractions. The tram drivers provide a live commentary throughout the loop, identifying points of interest, historic architecture and the changes the city is under-going since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. This evening, meet your fellow travellers and your AAT Kings Travel Director at a welcome reception at your hotel.

  Hotel: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

This morning you may wish to take a brief walk around the city centre and Cathedral Square before departure. See how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the Christchurch Cathedral. It is the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! After a Christchurch city sights tour, you will head out over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains to soak up some spectacular sightseeing. Sweeping views across the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo framed by a backdrop of rugged hills and snow-capped mountains provide stunning alpine photography opportunities. You will view the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd and the bronze statue of a collie dog, the touching tribute to the sheepdogs which helped develop the Mackenzie Country. You may want to take in Mount Cook National Park from the air this afternoon, on a scenic flight out over New Zealand’s highest peak, the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers (Optional Experience – at own expense). Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country at Omarama. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

  Hotel: Heritage Gateway Hotel

  Included Meals: Dinner, Breakfast

Your day starts with a journey along the Waitaki River, which marks the boundary between the regions of Canterbury and Otago, and with its large catchment it is an ideal source of hydro-electric power. From the Waitaki Valley you will then travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. As well as shipping limestone to the bigger cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin for construction of their Town Halls and various churches, Oamaru locals made sure that their own town represented the best in limestone building the mid-late 1800’s had to offer. This afternoon you will make your way down to the Southernmost New Zealand city, Dunedin. With the rest of your free afternoon you may wish to take part in an optional excursion to see more of the region. Take a Wildlife Cruise out to Otago Peninsula, visit the Speights Brewery – a New Zealand institution or explore the city and its museums, cafés and shops.

  Hotel: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

  Included Meals: Breakfast

This morning you have some free time in Dunedin. You may want to journey out to the gorgeous Larnach Castle – New Zealand’s only castle. Or you may just wish to roam around the beautiful grounds of New Zealand’s first university, Otago University. Dunedin, also known as the Edinburgh of the South, has strong connections to its northern hemisphere sister city, even down to sharing many of the same street names – so take a wander down George Street, noting Dunedin’s Scottish ancestry. This afternoon travel through lush green pastures, crossing sheep-filled farming land. New Zealand is internationally known for its sheep farming, and these are sights many visitors to this country recognise as typically ‘New Zealand’. You are sure to find the perfect sheep photo here! As your journey continues, the rolling, grassy hills once again turn back into heavily forested, rugged mountains, and you meander your way up into the Fiordland National Park to the South Island’s biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. This evening you have the opportunity to head out across the lake to the Glow Worm Caves for a tour (Optional Experience – at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

  Hotel: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

  Included Meals: Dinner, Breakfast

Today is one of those days where you will want to have your camera battery charged, and ready to go! After leaving Te Anau, you will journey through the Fiordland National Park and out to Milford Sound on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where, as the name suggests, you can see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the waters of the lakes. Then on to the Homer Tunnel, man’s attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges, still left rough-hewn around the edges. As you emerge out the other side of the tunnel, you are presented with one of the world’s most dramatic alpine drives, down through the Cleddau Valley. You will have a stop at the Chasm, where the roaring Cleddau River has carved its way through solid rock, and then it’s on to Milford Sound, where you will cruise the waters of this natural wonder. Your cruise meanders down the sound, taking in the Bowen and Stirling Falls as they plummet from glacial hanging valleys sharply into the sea, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. From the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound, you will travel on to the beautiful sights of Queenstown. An orientation tour skirting around the shores of Lake Wakatipu, takes you into the city centre.

  Hotel: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown , 2 nights

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Explore exciting Queenstown your way! Take the opportunity to encounter a Queenstown legend and ride the Shotover Jet Boat or venture out on a 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. After a day of activity, sit back and enjoy a peaceful evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand’s oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station. Launched in 1912, the TSS Earnslaw is the largest and grandest vessel ever to ply Lake Wakatipu. Today, the TSS Earnslaw is believed to be the only coal-fired passenger carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Partake in a gourmet BBQ Highlight Dinner at Walter Peaks’ Colonel’s Homestead and then enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into high-country farm life. On the cruise back to Queenstown, join in a vintage sing-along or grab your partner for a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw.

  Included Meals: Highlight Dinner, Breakfast

This morning you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, and begin the passage through Central Otago and out to Westland. On the way out of the Queenstown region, you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. As you amble down the beautiful tree-lined avenues, past the 19th century wooden buildings, you will feel like you have stepped into a movie set. From here you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan, where you will stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town’s delicious stone fruit. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Dunstan, you will travel further into Central Otago and view the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea, followed by Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows. Following an ancient greenstone trail, you will travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes, to the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Our final destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. 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 – at own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

  Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Graham Wing)

  Included Meals: Dinner, Breakfast

If weather conditions are unfavourable on Day 15, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning or you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. Then you head off to the drift-wood strewn beaches of Hokitika. As well as being one of the few West Coast communities to embrace its coastal landscape, Hokitika struck it rich in the resource's stakes. Here you will visit a pounamu factory (native greenstone or jade), for the chance to see master carvers at work creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art. Maori tradition says it is bad luck to buy pounamu for yourself, so if you fancy a trinket of your own, make sure you have someone there to purchase it for you. From Hokitika, you will travel inland to the small settlement of Arthur’s Pass. Here you will board the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch city. This spectacular train journey dates back to 1914 and is rated as one of the world’s most scenic train trips. The train forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. This evening, join your AAT Kings Travel Director and Driver, and your new-found friends for a Farewell Dinner.

  Hotel: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

  Included Meals: Farewell Dinner, Breakfast

Your AAT Kings New Zealand holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. Your flights can depart any time today.

  Included Meals: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.


Accommodation

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

 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Ibis Christchurch is ready to welcome you. Adjacent to the new shopping heart of Christchurch, Cashell Mall. The "pop up" shopping precinct is the new vibrant heart of the city, featuring many new designer shops and modern cafes. Ibis Hotel Christchurch is very close to the famous Cathedral Square, the historic heart of the city providing easy access to the outer lying attractions and the airport. The Ibis features 155 contemporary rooms, restaurant OOPEN, a bar and meeting room.

    Features

  • 220/240 V AC
  • Data port in room
  • Air-conditioning
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Satellite/cable colour TV
  • Work Desk
  • Direct Dial Telephone
  • Manual temperature control
  • Wi-Fi in room (Pay)
  • Mini-bar (surcharge)
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • Ensuite
  • Shower
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Security peephole
  • Automatic wake up call
  • Operator wake up call
  • Alarm Clock
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Located in the heart of the Mackenzie/Waitaki region, a unique area of New Zealand's South Island. Set amongst landscaped gardens with views of the surrounding mountains, the Heritage Gateway Hotel is a peaceful place to stay.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Phone
  • TV
  • Electric blankets
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hairdryer
  • Refrigerator
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

This stylish hotel has a fresh contemporary design, with clean lines and dramatic features softened by natural elements such as timber and neutral tones. At once energetic, yet restful, Scenic Hotel Dunedin City is well in tune with the beat of this vibrant city. Located in the heart of the city and just blocks from the Octagon, Scenic Hotel Dunedin City is within walking distance of many of the city's main attractions, great restaurants and shopping centres. So whether you are visiting Dunedin for business or pleasure look no further than the exquisite Scenic Hotel Dunedin City for your accommodation choice!

    Features

  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Mini Bar
  • Work Desk
  • Hair Dryer
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Refrigerator
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Escape to the serene surroundings of Lake Te Anau before heading out to explore the world-famous beauty of Fiordland National Park. The hotel is located in the heart of the visitor-friendly township of Te Anau, in the stunning and world-famous region of Fiordland.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • Heater
  • Phone
  • TV
  • Refrigerator
  • Bathroom Amenities
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront is located on Frankton Road, just five minutes stroll to the heart of Queenstown.

The hotel resort is close to many wonderful activities, from the town's world famous jet boat rides to radical white water rafting, bungee jumping, vineyards, international golf courses and ski fields.

    Features

  • Ensuite
  • TV
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Mini-bar (surcharge)
  • Telephone - Voice Mail
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hairdryer
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier sits at the edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, and is just moments from one of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions, the Franz Josef Glacier. Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier makes the most of its alpine location and offers quality accommodation in two separate hotel ‘wings’. Stay in either the Douglas or Graham wing, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings within Franz Josef village. Our hotel is in a premium location, making it the perfect place to base yourself while exploring the magnificent Westland region.

    Features

  • Hair Dryer
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Work Desk
  • Mini Bar
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Tea & Coffee Facilities
  • Refrigerator
  • Four Spa Pools
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Ibis Christchurch is ready to welcome you. Adjacent to the new shopping heart of Christchurch, Cashell Mall. The "pop up" shopping precinct is the new vibrant heart of the city, featuring many new designer shops and modern cafes. Ibis Hotel Christchurch is very close to the famous Cathedral Square, the historic heart of the city providing easy access to the outer lying attractions and the airport. The Ibis features 155 contemporary rooms, restaurant OOPEN, a bar and meeting room.

    Features

  • 220/240 V AC
  • Data port in room
  • Air-conditioning
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Satellite/cable colour TV
  • Work Desk
  • Direct Dial Telephone
  • Manual temperature control
  • Wi-Fi in room (Pay)
  • Mini-bar (surcharge)
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • Ensuite
  • Shower
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Security peephole
  • Automatic wake up call
  • Operator wake up call
  • Alarm Clock
Need accommodation before or after your tour?

Our special discounted rates make booking accommodation with us during your holiday both easy and affordable at selected AAT Kings hotels and resorts. Ask our friendly reservations at the time of booking.

Trip Details

What's included

  • • Specialist team of two highly experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • • Centrally located premium 3.5-star hotels
  • • 1 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Fiordland National Park

What to Bring

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

Fitness Requirements

  • • Low level of fitness required

Dining

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

Flight Information

  • • Day 1: Flights to arrive by 4:00pm into Christchurch airport
  • • Day 9: Flights to depart any time from Christchurch airport

Reviews

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