Southern Explorer

7 Day Guided Vacation | Christchurch Return

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Southern Explorer

7 Day Guided Vacation | Christchurch Return

Southern Explorer

7 Day Guided Vacation | Christchurch Return | Travel Period: 1 Oct 2020 – 31 Mar 2021

Southern Explorer

7 Day Guided Vacation

Christchurch Return

Connect with locals and discover iconic natural wonders on this epic discovery of New Zealand’s South Island. Known for its rugged, untouched landscapes and mighty fiords, the splendour of the South will delight. Hear the incredible stories of Christchurch’s rebuild and spend time discovering the quirky and vibrant town of Dunedin before journeying through the stunning scenery of Te Anau and Queenstown to Fiordland National Park.

Why you'll love this trip:

  • Discover the majestic Fiordland National Park, home to Milford Sound
  • Explore the vibrant cities of Queenstown and Christchurch
  • Experience New Zealand’s rural lifestyle at a Queenstown farm
  • Delight your senses on a tour of Emerson’s brewery

image map

Local Connection

Meet locals Kerry and Peter in North Otago and discover what it takes to sustainably produce hazelnuts which are used by some of New Zealand’s best food producers.

Insider Knowledge

Hear stories and insightful commentary as you journey through Fiordland National Park out to the majestic Milford Sound on one of the world’s most scenic roads

Cultural Immersion

Experience a taste of New Zealand’s country lifestyle on Laura Douglas’ country farm, where you will try your hand at sheep mustering and whip cracking.

Sustainable Footprints

Make your travel matter in Christchurch by planting native trees as part of the flora re-generation project on the Port Hills.

Welcome to Christchurch, the thriving garden city and your basecamp for exploration. After meeting your Travel Director and fellow travellers, be joined by a local specialist as you become acquainted with the city and hear stories of its rebuild after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Over 900 buildings were demolished in the CBD after the quakes. This afternoon, make your travel matter with a native tree planting experience at Christchurch Adventure Park as part of the flora re-generation on the Port Hills after the wildfires of 2017. This evening, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception.

Hotel: Distinction Christchurch Hotel

Journey through the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains down to the East Coast township of Oamaru, stopping in at the seaside town of Timaru along the way. Enjoy lunch in one of Oamaru’s many cafes, and maybe take time to explore Steampunk HQ, a unique museum of art, sound and light set within an 1880's Grain Elevator building. This afternoon, head to Newlands Hazelnut Farm and discover what rural life in North Otago is like and learn about what it takes to sustainably produce the hazelnuts used by some of New Zealand’s best food producers. We then continue our journey on to the quirky city of Dunedin where you’ll join your fellow travellers for dinner.

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Start the day by roaming the picturesque grounds of Otago University, New Zealand’s first University, with a local specialist. Gain insight into what “scarfie” life is like by exploring the well-known locations of the infamous student flats and discover Dunedin’s enduring Scottish connection evident in its architecture, shops and street signs. Next, delight your senses and enjoy a tour and lunch at Emerson’s, one of New Zealand’s first craft breweries. With the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps take the time to explore the fascinating city or join an optional experience to see the wildlife on the Otago Peninsula.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, relax as you journey through lush green pastures, crossing sheep-filled farming land and admiring the characteristically ‘Pure New Zealand’ landscape. When we stop in Gore, New Zealand’s Country and Western music capital, be sure to indulge in an ‘only famous in New Zealand’ cheese roll. As your journey continues, the rolling, grassy hills turn into heavily forested, rugged mountains, as you meander your way up into the majestic Fiordland National Park, home to the South Island’s biggest lake and the township of Te Anau. This afternoon we take a guided walk in the Fiordland National Park along the Keppler Track before returning to Te Anau by water taxi. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Hotel: Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Prepare for a day discovering unbelievable natural wonders and ticking off bucket-list moments. Have your camera at the ready as you journey through the Fiordland National Park and out to Milford Sound on one of the world’s most scenic roads. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows and pass the stunning Mirror Lake, Homer Tunnel, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm. A cruise on the majestic natural wonder of Milford Sound takes you past the spellbinding 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. After this unforgettable experience, you will travel on to the adventure capital, Queenstown. An orientation tour skirting around the shores of Lake Wakatipu, takes you into the city centre and to your hotel.

Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a Be My Guest experience and gain insight into New Zealand country life this morning when we meet our host Laura Douglas. Born and raised on a sheep and deer farm in the deep south of New Zealand, Laura will share her story of her life growing up in the country. Try your hand at sheep mustering, whip cracking, and have the chance to feed and pet the adorable farm animals. You'll leave feeling more like a local than a visitor. Next we visit the beautiful goldmining village of Arrowtown before returning to Queenstown for an afternoon at your leisure. An Optional Experience could see you taking a jet boat ride down the river, a minibus excursion through Skipper's Canyon or delighting your taste buds on a wine tour.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Today you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, travelling through Central Otago to the Mackenzie region with time along the way to stop in Cromwell. Situated next to the pristine Lake Dunstan, here you will taste delicious stone fruit at a local orchard. Continue over the dramatic Lindis Pass before reaching the Starlight Highway and Tekapo's world renowned UNESCO Aoraki McKenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Take in the breathtaking views of Mt Cook before heading to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo; undoubtably one of the world’s most picturesque lakes. With our journey nearing its end, travel across the rolling hills of the Canterbury Plains before bidding farewell to our fellow travellers in Christchurch.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.

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

The newly renovated Distinction Christchurch Hotel is an urban escape combining sophisticated smarts and familiar warmth whilst standing proud amongst the buzz of the rejuvenation of Cathedral Square.

Ideally positioned in the heart of the city only a few minutes' walk from the Avon River, Botanical Gardens, Christchurch Casino, Cashel Mall and future Christchurch Convention Centre.

    Features

  • Wi-Fi
  • Sauna
  • Gym facilities
  • TV
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

The Scenic Hotel Southern Cross is Dunedin's largest and most established hotel. Located in the heart of Dunedin, this hotel has been extensively refurbished and now provides guests with modern style, exquisite quality, convenience and exceptional service. The Scenic Hotel Southern Cross provides stylish inner city accommodation, giving the convenience of having entertainment, shopping and restaurants close at hand. Just a short walk from the Octagon, railway station, theatres, shops, and close to Otago university, it is the perfect location from which to explore Dunedin. Whether you are staying for business or pleasure, it is hard to go past the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross.

    Features

  • TV
  • Mini Bar
  • Hair Dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Wireless Internet access
  • Guest Laundry
  • Dry cleaning service
  • Gym facilities
  • 24 hour room service
 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

Millennium Hotel Queenstown is only minutes from Queenstown shopping, entertainment and outdoor activities such as bungee jumping, white water rafting and jet boating.

    Features

  • Air Conditioning
  • Colour TV
  • Refrigerator
  • Mini Bar
  • Phone
  • In-room safe
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hair Dryer
  • Electric blankets
  • Broadband Internet access
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. Find out more

  • Quality accommodation
  • Travel by luxury coach
  • Specialist team of two highly experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • Airport Transfers (see flight information below)
  • National Park Entrance Fees

What to Bring

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

Fitness Requirements

  • Low level of fitness required

Dining

  • 6 Full buffet breakfasts
  • 1 Lunch
  • 2 Dinners

Flight Information

  • Day 1 – Flights to arrive prior to 10am at Christchurch Airport (pre-accommodation available at Distinction Hotel Christchurch)
  • Day 7 – Flights to depart anytime from Christchurch Airport

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