Tour title bar

16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour

16 days 15 nights
Christchurch to Christchurch
from NZD$5,073pp
Breadcrumb
Tour summary and feature with map

This loop of the lower South Island follows much of the spectacular coastline where wildlife abounds.  In Dunedin you’ll enjoy a full day encounter with the unique marine life that inhabits the Otago Peninsula before heading south along the wild Catlins coastline to the deep south.  A real highlight of this tour is exploring the remote Stewart Island. As well as the iconic Milford Sound, you’ll also venture into Mt Aspiring National Park on a Dart River Jetboat Safari from Queenstown.  On the beautiful West Coast you’ll marvel at the glaciers during your on-ice adventure, before crossing the Southern Alps on board the world famous Tranz Alpine Scenic Train back to Christchurch.

Classic driving toursFamily touringWildlife & nature
Tour full itinerary
Itinerary
Day One - Arrive into Christchurch City
Tour day 1
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 1
Private transfer Christchurch Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Christchurch accommodation.

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

Access to our exclusive Touring App. The App includes your full itinerary and reservation details, all available online and offline as well as lots of other great information such as restaurant guides, weather forecasts, and local activity suggestions. Instant itinerary updates and changes are available and it's easy to keep in touch with us. The App is free and easy to download on your mobile using Android or IOS.
You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

Welcome to Christchurch City

Christchurch, New Zealand's self proclaimed garden city is a bright and vibrant destination. Known for its large green belt, the wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens make for a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights, or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Hop On Hop Off City Tour - 24 Hour Pass

Discover the true magic of city sightseeing on-board this city tour bus. With a mix of open and closed top buses, you will ride in comfort and style, enjoying spectacular views. Join friendly local guides as they take you on a journey of discovery through Christchurch. Listen to "live" entertaining and informative commentary and learn about the fascinating history, from pioneering days to modern times.

Accommodation: Orari & Orari Apartments
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Orari Bed and Breakfast offers elegant and inviting accommodation in the heart of Christchurch city. This heritage building has all the charm of a grand Victorian home, but with modern comforts providing for an enjoyable stay.

Return to Top

Day Two - Take a day trip to the French settlement of Akaroa
Tour day 2
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 2
Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. We have a fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige sedans and SUVs. Insurance can often be included with a small excess or deductible.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Akaroa and The Banks Peninsula

Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula offers a great contrast to the South Island's largest city. An easy 1 1/2 hours drive from the city centre are rolling green hills, streams, golden sand beaches and small settlements that offer a unique insight into New Zealand's history and development plus, wineries, great cafes and restaurants and abundant wildlife.
Just on the other side of the Port Hills is Lyttelton, a busy port town that was crucial to the development of Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains. Following the road around the beautiful natural harbour the names, such as Magazine Bay, Battery Point, Corsair Point and Governors Bay, remind of the importance the navy placed on this harbour.
The Banks Peninsula is actually the remains of a long extinct volcano, the rim of which collapsed some time ago allowing the sea to flood into and create what is now the Akaroa Harbour. In 1840 French colonists settled in Akaroa in a bid to stake a claim for the South Island. Unbeknown the British had already declared sovereignty and a long drawn out dispute ensued with the British eventually being given government. However the French stayed and made this stunning part of the South Pacific their home and still to this day the town boasts French street names and every year a French Festival is held.
The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. One of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, hectors dolphin, are often seen and cruises also offer excursions with the chance to swim amongst them.

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Experience majestic scenery and stunning wildlife daily on a Black Cat Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise. You’ll see the rare, native dolphin – the Hector’s or New Zealand Dolphin. There’s also the chance to spot the world’s smallest penguin, the White Flippered Little Blue Penguin, Fur Seals and other sea birds.
Other cruise highlights are some majestic volcanic cliffs (including the impressive Cathedral Cave) and signs of Akaroa’s fascinating past including early Maori, French and British settlements.

Accommodation: Orari & Orari Apartments
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
Orari Bed and Breakfast offers elegant and inviting accommodation in the heart of Christchurch city. This heritage building has all the charm of a grand Victorian home, but with modern comforts providing for an enjoyable stay.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 153 kms / 95 miles : 2.4 hours

Return to Top

Day Three - Today you'll enjoy a scenic drive through Canterbury and the MacKenzie Country
Tour day 3
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 3
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you'll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.
Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat.  These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Big Sky Stargazing

Mount Cook is far from the city lights and therefore has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand - perfect for viewing the night sky! Their fully trained guides are delighted to show you the beautiful southern night sky using the naked eye, state of the art astronomy telescopes and binoculars at the outdoor viewing platform or if the weather is not favourable then there will be an indoor alternative featuring New Zealand's first full dome digital Planetarium - high definition video images on a suspended 9m wide x 4.5m high full dome. Unleash your imagination as you discover the night sky including the Southern Cross, seasonal ecliptic objects, planets, star clusters, moons, distant galaxies and even our very own galaxy, the spectacular Milky Way!

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star
Meals included: Breakfast
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.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

Return to Top

Day Four - Leaving the MacKenzie Country you'll follow the Waitaki River to the coast, where you'll turn south for Dunedin
Tour day 4
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 4
Mt. Cook National Park to Dunedin

Today you'll leave Mt Cook National Park and travel past Twizel, one of the locations for the Lord of the Rings films. Go through Omarama - gliding capital of New Zealand - but be sure to stop at The Wrinkly Ram, a great local cafe also offering sheep shearing demonstrations. Driving through the Waitaki Valley follow the hydro power generating system towards the east coast. Stretch your legs in Oamaru, known for its white stone buildings constructed with the local Oamaru Stone. If you were a little late off the mark this morning you may get the chance to see the blue penguins come ashore at dusk.
Continue south down the coast to Moeraki, and take a detour towards the beach to see the Moeraki Boulders, a unique geological feature well worth a look. As you arrive in Dunedin, take in the city’s Edwardian and Scottish heritage reflected in the buildings around the city centre - The Octagon.

Dinner at Camp Estate, Larnach Castle

Dinner is offered in a Castle Dining Room, and is only available to Camp Estate guests. They do not operate a conventional restaurant, but in keeping with the historic setting of Larnach Castle, offer a three-course table d’hôte menu served house party style to all guests at one sitting – a chance to meet our other guests.

Accommodation: Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
A luxurious country house, situated 500m from Larnach Castle. The house is built from blue stone and features a spectacular marble staircase. The rooms are all double glazed and the reception rooms are all heated by open fires and underfloor heating. Staying at Camp Estate offers total privacy, with entry to Larnach Castle and grounds included.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 318 kms / 197 miles : 3.7 hours

Return to Top

Day Five - Discover the variety of wildlife that live on the Otago Peninsula
Tour day 5
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 5
Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin City has a heavy Scottish influence. Surrounded by rugged coastal plains and windswept beaches it’s home to an eclectic mix of historical and modern architecture as well as industrial technology. Renowned for its Flemish Baroque-inspired ‘gingerbread house’ Railway Station, this university town is bustling with life. Head to the Saturday farmers market held in the aforementioned railway grounds for a taste of organic produce, handmade crepes and local honey. Explore the many cafes and wine bars in The Octagon, then continue on a self-guided walking tour of the internationally acclaimed Street Art dotted around the city. Drive to the coast and watch the freighters passing in the distance while you sunbathe, or hire a mountain bike and test your legs on one of the many trails available in the area. For a more immersive historical experience, follow the coast to New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle. On your way back be sure to head to the Otago Peninsula to see the largest mainland Albatross colony in the world.

Castle to Cruise Tour + Penguin Place

Today you'll explore the wildlife and history of the Otago Peninsula. You'll be welcomed to the MV Monarch for a wildlife cruise around Taiaroa Head, home to the world's only mainland nesting site for royal albatross. Scattered along the rocks you'll also see New Zealand fur seals basking in the sun and possibly New Zealand sea lions on the beach. In the water you may also see penguins, dolphins and other marine birds. Back on land you'll take a guided tour of New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle built in 1871. Learn of the scandals and history of the castle and explore the beautiful garden of international significance. Your final stop of the day is to Penguin Place, a natural nesting site for the rarest penguin in the world, the Yellow Eyed Penguin.

Accommodation: Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
A luxurious country house, situated 500m from Larnach Castle. The house is built from blue stone and features a spectacular marble staircase. The rooms are all double glazed and the reception rooms are all heated by open fires and underfloor heating. Staying at Camp Estate offers total privacy, with entry to Larnach Castle and grounds included.

Return to Top

Day Six - Take the Southern Scenic Route along the South Otago and Catlins coastline to Invercargill
Tour day 6
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 6
Dunedin to Invercargill via the Southern Scenic Route

The scenic route from Dunedin to Invercargill takes you via the Southern Scenic Route. Well signposted from Dunedin the route takes you along the rugged Otago coastline and its many secluded beaches and bays and many are great places to spot New Zealand fur seals and sea lions. At Nugget Point, penguins and elephant seals can also be spotted. Curio Bay is home to a 160 million year old fossilised forest. Get an early start for this drive as you can easily pass the whole day exploring the many attractions along the Southern Scenic Route.

Accommodation: Safari Lodge
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
Safari Lodge is a Heritage Lodge surrounded with Edwardian charm. Just 300 metres from Invercargill's botanic garden, Queen's Park, and the Golf Course it is also only 15 minutes walk to city centre. Superb luxury in a fine stately home.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 236 kms / 146 miles : 3.0 hours

Return to Top

Day Seven - Fly from Invercargill to Stewart Island
Tour day 7
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 7
Invercargill to Stewart Island with Stewart Island flights

The first air transport to connect Stewart Island and the mainland was Stewart Island Air Service, operating an amphibian aircraft. The plane landed in the harbour and taxied up the beach to the local hotel. Twenty years ago this was succeeded by Southern Air Ltd with the establishment of an airstrip at Ryan's Creek. Today, Stewart Island Flights is a locally owned and operated business who maintain scheduled flights linking Stewart Island and Invercargill as well as a number of exciting alternatives providing access to the more remote reaches of the island. They operate two Britten Norman Islanders, two Piper Cherokee Six and one Cessna 185.
As well as offering scheduled flights between Invercargill and Stewart Island scenic flights can also be arranged on demand to suit your schedule.

Stewart Island (Rakiura National Park)

Stewart Island is New Zealand's third largest island, approximately 75 kms long and 45 kms wide and separated from the South Island by the Foveaux Strait. The Island is relatively low lying and undulating with the highest point, Mt Anglem/Hananui just 981 metres high. The island is largely uninhabited and unmodified which led to 85% of the island being declared a national park in 2002, named Rakiura National Park. 

The name "Rakiura" is the Maori name for the island - which means "Glowing Sky", apt as Stewart Island enjoys spectacular sunrises, sunsets and aurora. The island is mainly covered in native bush, with wetlands, sand dunes and a varied coastline from sandy beaches to sheer cliffs. The coastline is fringed with vegetation and bordered by crystal clear waters hosting an abundance of marine life – fantastic for fishing and wildlife watching.  

Stewart Island is New Zealand's southernmost populated area, but has less than 400 residents who mostly live around Halfmoon Bay.  With just 28km of roads and 280km of walking tracks, the island is all about appreciating the natural wilderness. Nearby Ulva Island is an idyllic, predator-free bird sanctuary for rare and endangered bird and plant species, a paradise for birds and bird lovers.  The highlight for any visit to Stewart Island and Rakiura National Park is the isolation and the untouched, unspoilt wildlife and native bush.

Accommodation: Church Hill Boutique Lodge & Restaurant
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
Fully hosted boutique lodge has three spacious, stand alone suites with full glass frontages and private decks maximising views of spectacular Halfmoon Bay where you can relax, unwind and soak up the panoramic views. Ideally located within easy walking distance of all amenities or if a retreat is what you are after all your needs can be met without leaving the lodge.

Return to Top

Day Eight - Explore remote Stewart Island and guided trip to the wildlife sanctuary of Ulva Island
Tour day 8
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 8
Ulva Island Explorer

A leisurely cruise of beautiful Paterson Inlet and a guided walk in the renowned bird sanctuary of Ulva Island. The cruise showcases some stunning scenery including the hidden coves and unspoilt beaches of Paterson Inlet. The local guides are passionate about this area and provide informative commentary during the scenic cruise. While on board look out for fur seals and penguins – there are a lot of them around. At Ulva Island there’s a 45 minute, easy guided walk. The island is a renowned wildlife sanctuary where many rare and endangered native species of birdlife and plants flourish in a predator free environment. Home to weka (native woodhen), bush robins, rare saddlebacks and yellowheads among other species. The tracks are well-formed and suitable for most ages and fitness levels and small group sizes make it highly personalised.
Includes Picnic Lunch.

Accommodation: Church Hill Boutique Lodge & Restaurant
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
Fully hosted boutique lodge has three spacious, stand alone suites with full glass frontages and private decks maximising views of spectacular Halfmoon Bay where you can relax, unwind and soak up the panoramic views. Ideally located within easy walking distance of all amenities or if a retreat is what you are after all your needs can be met without leaving the lodge.

Return to Top

Day Nine - After landing in Invercargill take the Southern Scenic Route to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland
Tour day 9
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 9
Stewart Island to Invercargill with Stewart Island flights

The first air transport to connect Stewart Island and the mainland was Stewart Island Air Service, operating an amphibian aircraft. The plane landed in the harbour and taxied up the beach to the local hotel. Twenty years ago this was succeeded by Southern Air Ltd with the establishment of an airstrip at Ryan's Creek. Today, Stewart Island Flights is a locally owned and operated business who maintain scheduled flights linking Stewart Island and Invercargill as well as a number of exciting alternatives providing access to the more remote reaches of the island. They operate two Britten Norman Islanders, two Piper Cherokee Six and one Cessna 185.
As well as offering scheduled flights between Invercargill and Stewart Island scenic flights can also be arranged on demand to suit your schedule.

Invercargill to Te Anau via Southern Scenic Route

Taking the Southern Scenic Route the drive from Invercargill to Te Anau passes through some wonderful and often overlooked regions of Southland. Riverton is Southland's oldest community established by whalers in the 1830's and many of the original cottages have survived throughout the town. The Riverton Early Settlers Museum tells the story well. Orepuki on the coast was once 'almost' a gold town but the fine dust proved too hard to extract commercially. You can still sometimes see gold dust in the beach sand at Monkey Bay. The early sawmilling settlement of Tautapere is next. Known as the 'hole in the bush' the town features an attractive domain.  A little further north is the Clifden suspension bridge which dates back to 1899. The Blackmount Road offers some great side trips if you have the time and one in particular is the 50 kilometre round trip to Lake Haruoko, New Zealand's deepest lake. The Blackmount Road continues to the small township of Manapouri, the departure point for cruises to Doubtful Sound. Te Anau the gateway to Milford Sound is just a further 20 kilometres north.

Accommodation: Te Anau Lodge
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
Te Anau Lodge began its existence as a Catholic convent in 1936 before being converted into a wonderful lodge. A beautiful Rimu wood interior awaits you and each of the 7 rooms house furniture made from stunning native woods.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 177 kms / 110 miles : 2.1 hours

Return to Top

Day Ten - Journey along the magnificent Milford Road to Milford Sound where you'll enjoy an amazing cruise
Tour day 10
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 10
Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau

The road to Milford Sound offers some of the most beautiful and iconic scenery in the country. From crystal clear lakes and towering mountains to lush glacier formed meadows, this area is dramatic and unyielding. Stretch your legs on the Chasm Walk, a short stroll through native beech forest to see several powerful waterfalls .Continue on through the Homer Tunnel, an engineering marvel at 1219 metres long. Arriving into the village of Milford,you will be greeted with an amazing view of Mitre Peak. A day cruise into the heart of the sound with Real Journeys is not to be missed. You’ll learn about how this magnificent area was formed and experience the wonder of the falls that line the Fiord before back-tracking the way you came.

Milford Sound Cruise with Real Journeys

Get up close and personal with Milford Sound on a leisurely cruise of this spectacular fiord. From thundering waterfalls to sky-high mountains to lush rainforests, Milford has it all. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces. Informative, participative and relaxed, this is the perfect way to experience Milford Sound to the fullest.

Accommodation: Te Anau Lodge
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Te Anau Lodge began its existence as a Catholic convent in 1936 before being converted into a wonderful lodge. A beautiful Rimu wood interior awaits you and each of the 7 rooms house furniture made from stunning native woods.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 233 kms / 145 miles : 3.6 hours

Return to Top

Day Eleven - Travel through rolling Southland countryside then follow Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown
Tour day 11
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 11
Te Anau to Queenstown

Your drive today takes you from Te Anau to Queenstown through vast alpine tussocklands. Pass Mossburn, the deer capital of the nation then continue on through the southland countryside where the road begins to hug the lake edge. Marvel at the Remarkables mountain range as you begin the final leg of your journey to the adventure capital of New Zealand.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Enjoy a scenic cruise from central Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the historic steamship, TSS Earnslaw. On disembarking, you'll be welcomed and escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the Colonel's Homestead for dinner. Here, you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare as you watch. Choose from the  seasonal menu which includes an expansive array of New Zealand meats and produce, followed by a delicious array of desserts, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration offers you a glimpse of life in the high country. On the magical night-time cruise home, you can enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air on the moonlit decks as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Accommodation: The Dairy Private Hotel by Naumi
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
The Dairy Private Hotel – a unique blend of exquisite design, rich history and warm hospitality in the city centre. Beginning as Queenstown’s original ‘dairy’ (corner store) in 1920, it has now transformed into an interiors masterpiece after an exquisite refurbishment that features wallpapers from British luxury interiors brand House of Hackney.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 hours

Return to Top

Day Twelve - Dart River Wilderness Safari, then explore Queenstown
Tour day 12
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 12
Dart River Wilderness Jet

Journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park, where myth, heritage and fantasy come to life.
As one of Queenstown’s most exhilarating activities, the Wilderness Jet adventures on a spectacular journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mount Aspiring National Park.

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.
Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Accommodation: The Dairy Private Hotel by Naumi
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
The Dairy Private Hotel – a unique blend of exquisite design, rich history and warm hospitality in the city centre. Beginning as Queenstown’s original ‘dairy’ (corner store) in 1920, it has now transformed into an interiors masterpiece after an exquisite refurbishment that features wallpapers from British luxury interiors brand House of Hackney.

Return to Top

Day Thirteen - Take the Crown Range Road to Wanaka before travelling the spectacular Haast Pass to the West Coast
Tour day 13
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 13
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a 1 hour return walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

Accommodation: Westwood Lodge
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
Westwood is a purpose built lodge, crafted entirely from wood and exquisitely decorated throughout. The lounge is the place to meet to watch the Southern Alps turn a soft pink in the setting sun.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.6 hours

Return to Top

Day Fourteen - Explore the Franz Josef Glacier region by air and foot
Tour day 14
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 14
Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is a small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice from a viewpoint you can walk along the valley floor to the viewpoint below the terminal face. However, to go on the glacier itself you must take a licensed helicopter tour.

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Accommodation: Westwood Lodge
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
Westwood is a purpose built lodge, crafted entirely from wood and exquisitely decorated throughout. The lounge is the place to meet to watch the Southern Alps turn a soft pink in the setting sun.

Return to Top

Day Fifteen - Drive north along the stunning West Coast Road and take the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch
Tour day 15
16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour - Day 15
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the TranzAlpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world's greatest train journeys, the TranzAlpine scenic train travels both ways from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the vast windswept Canterbury Plains, spectacular gorges, river valleys and native beech rainforest. A highlight for many is the crossing of the Southern Alps, passing through Arthur's Pass National Park, before descending to the Canterbury Plains and arriving in Christchurch.

Private Transfer Christchurch Train Station to your accommodation

On arrival at the Christchurch train station, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your accommodation.

Accommodation: Orari & Orari Apartments
Accommodation type: Boutique lodges & hotels
Meals included: Breakfast
Orari Bed and Breakfast offers elegant and inviting accommodation in the heart of Christchurch city. This heritage building has all the charm of a grand Victorian home, but with modern comforts providing for an enjoyable stay.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

Return to Top

Day Sixteen - Depart Christchurch today
Tour day 16
Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Airport

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Christchurch Airport in time for your departing flight.

Return to Top

Tour quick quote
Get an Instant Quote - 16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour
Step 1: Select a chosen start date
Step 2: Select a preferred vehicle for New Zealand
Step 3: Select number of passengers and room configuration
Select number of adult per room type
Single occupancy (based on 1 adult in one room)
Triple share (based on 3 adults sharing 1 room)
Double room (based on 2 adults in 1 room, 1 bed)
Twin room (based on 2 adults sharing 1 room with 2 beds)
Quad share (based on 4 adults in a 2 bedroom unit)
Triple Share (based on 3 adults in 2 bedrooms)
Select number of child per room type
Child (5-14yrs inclusive) Child cost when sharing with at least one adult
Child (0-4yrs inclusive) Child cost when sharing with at least one adult
Step 4: Additional activities
No pricing loaded - please choose another date or contact us
Your quote for this tour:
Start date:
End date:
Guests:
Rooms:
Car type
The total cost for this tour package is:0
This quote is based on vehicles to accommodate your party in the vehicle type. We suggest changing the car type or contacting us for the best options.
Save and send a copy of this quote to

NOTE: Quotes are subject to the availability of specific accommodation and other inclusions. Our touring experts will be in touch with you regarding this. Costs quoted in currencies other than New Zealand dollars (NZ$) are estimated on today's exchange rate and are subject to change and may fluctuate. The NZ$ value will not change. Terms and Conditions apply.

Remember - we can create this itinerary with any style of accommodation or customise it to suit your interests and timeframe. Just contact us here.

Enquire about this tour

We can adjust travel dates to suit you, add activities, extra passengers, adapt to your budget. Just get in touch and let us know what is required.

Contact form

See our privacy policy here

Spam Protection* complete the spam test below
Tour recommendation
Other tours you might like
14 days Map
14 Day Southern Circle Day Walks
View Tour
 
15 days Map
15 Day South Island Natural Discovery
View Tour
 
14 days Map
14 Day Journey to Middle Earth
View Tour
 
Can we help?
Call us on +64 3 443 0812

Our friendly support team is just a phone call away.

Contact Us Today