Fine Tours New Zealand
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Similar itineraries

10 Day Northern Adventure

10 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Auckland
Accommodation style: Apartments

North to South Fishing Adventure

10 days starting in Wellington, finishing in Queenstown
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

12 day Ultimate South Island

12 days starting in Queenstown, finishing in Queenstown
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

 

11 Day Southern Adventure

Queenstown to Queenstown, 11 days 10 nights self drive tour, staying in Boutique lodges & hotels

11 Day Southern Adventure
11 Day Southern Adventure
11 Day Southern Adventure
11 Day Southern Adventure

Tour map

Explore the South Island in style, staying in exquisite hotels and lodges along the way. Take a 4WD adventure tour through the famous Skipper's Canyon near Queenstown and enjoy a scenic ski plane flight over the glorious Mt. Cook National Park. Swim with dolphins in the beautiful Akaraoa Harbor, explore the history and wildlife of the Otago Peninsula and kayak through the towering mountains of the marvelous Milford Sound. Starting and finishing in Queenstown, this itinerary will give you an unforgettable New Zealand adventure.

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 1847 kms / 1145 miles, 23.1 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$266 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Welcome to Queenstown

Arrive into Queenstown and private transfer to your accommodation

Arrive into Queenstown.  A private driver will meet your flight and transfer you to your Queenstown accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Your accommodation - The Dairy Private Hotel

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • All rooms non smoking
The Dairy Private Hotel
The Dairy Private Hotel
The Dairy Private Hotel
The Dairy Private Hotel
 

Day 2

Explore Skippers Canyon on a 4WD adventure tour

Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour

Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour
Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour
Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour
Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour

Nomad Safaris offers a complete 4WD tour into the historic Skippers Canyon. The Nomad Safaris Skippers Canyon adventure is a half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Travel the road that was hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley making this an exciting adventure the whole family will enjoy. As your guide navigates this awe-inspiring canyon you will visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge and the township of Skippers. Visit the restored school house where you will gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment. British Automobile Association voted Skippers Canyon Road as one of the 25 most scenic roads in the world.

Your accommodation - The Dairy Private Hotel

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 3

Collect your rental car this morning and head towards Mt Cook

Driving distance and time: 256 kms / 159 miles : 2.9 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday.  You can choose from an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles, from Europcar, Budget or Hertz.

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.

Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park

Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park

Leaving Queenstown you'll head through the Kawarau Gorge and over the historic Kawarau Bridge -  a popular bungy jumping location. Choose to participate in this daredevil sport or watch others instead. Continue through the Gibbston Valley and be sure to stop at one of its many vineyards for a tasting. As you leave the gorge you'll arrive in Cromwell, known for its many fruit orchards. If you're a foodie at heart, we recommend taking a side trip to Bannockburn for a complete food and wine experience at one its many award-winning wineries and restaurants.

Cromwell itself sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge and the old historic town is well worth the visit. Completely submerged when the Clyde Dam was built and Lake Dunstan established in 1992, the remnants of the old Cromwell town provides a unique snapshot into this areas history. Head over through the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads, with the summit reaching 971 metres. It's tussock covered hills are a barren but beautiful sight as you descend into the Mackenzie Basin. You'll go through the towns of Omarama and Twizel - the last stops before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Mount. Cook Highway to arrive in the small 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.

Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing

Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing
Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing
Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing
Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing

Take in the spectacular Southern Alps - including New Zealand's highest peak Aoraki Mount Cook - and the constantly changing glacial landscape. See the Hochstetter Icefall as you fly beneath the face of Mount Cook then along the length of the Tasman glacier before landing on the glacier itself. Experience the silence of the mountains, broken only by the rumbling of an avalanche and creaking of the snow and ice beneath your feet. You'll take off again for another incredible flight over peaks, ice falls, alpine lakes and climbing huts.

Your accommodation - Mt Cook Retreat

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • Hairdryer
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Mt Cook Retreat
Mt Cook Retreat
Mt Cook Retreat
Mt Cook Retreat
 

Day 4

Pass the alpine lakes of Pukaki and Tekapo and the foothills of the Southern Alps as you travel to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 327 kms / 203 miles : 3.7 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Leaving Mount Cook national park, travel a short distance before stopping at the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. Learn about the formation of the region and take in the spectacular views of Mt. Cook. Lake Tekapo also displays the same reflective qualities of Lake Pukaki - making the waters a bright turquoise. You’ll go through the small town of Tekapo, home to some of the most photographed subjects in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just marvel at the magnificent views. From here you travel through Burkes Pass and into the rich farming valley that surrounds Geraldine. Continue on across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch City, your destination for the night.

Christchurch Gondola

Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola

In the Heathcote Valley, just fifteen minutes from the heart of Christchurch city, ride the Christchurch Gondola for nearly a kilometre to the collapsed rim of an extinct volcano - which exploded six million years ago.  Take in the panoramic 360-degree views of the central city, Lyttelton Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury Plains and the distant peaks of the Southern Alps.  Wander the summit complex and choose one of many nature walks or visit the Time Tunnel - a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the Port Hills and Christchurch.

Dinner on board the Christchurch Restaurant Tram

Dinner on board the Christchurch Restaurant Tram
Dinner on board the Christchurch Restaurant Tram
Dinner on board the Christchurch Restaurant Tram
Dinner on board the Christchurch Restaurant Tram

A truly unique dining experience in the heart of Christchurch. You'll board a historic colonial-style dining tram for an unforgettable moving four-course restaurant experience. Journey along the inner city tram loop taking in the regenerating central business district as you enjoy gourmet cuisine and a complimentary drink. Lasting two and a half hours, you'll take three laps of the tram line passing New Regent street, The Avon River, High Street and Victoria Square.

Your accommodation - Merivale Manor House

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Merivale Manor House
Merivale Manor House
Merivale Manor House
Merivale Manor House
 

Day 5

Its a short drive to Akaroa where you'll enjoy a harbour cruise

Driving distance and time: 71 kms / 44 miles : 1.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Christchurch to Akaroa

Christchurch to Akaroa
Christchurch to Akaroa
Christchurch to Akaroa
Christchurch to Akaroa

The Banks Peninsula offers a great contrast to the South Island's largest city. Just around a 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. 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 Governers Bay, remind of the importance the navy placed on this harbour. The Banks Peninsula itself 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 swimming with the dolphins cruise

Akaroa swimming with the dolphins cruise
Akaroa swimming with the dolphins cruise
Akaroa swimming with the dolphins cruise
Akaroa swimming with the dolphins cruise

Akaroa Harbour formed as a result of an extinct volcanic crater being flooded by the Pacific Ocean. It's a beautiful place with sheer cliffs and the picturesque township of Akaroa at its heart. New Zealand's only native dolphin, Hectors dolphin, makes this sheltered harbour its home and its here you can take a 2 ½ tour to see and if you wish actually swim with these incredible creatures. Following a ½ hour briefing you depart on a 2 hour cruise of which around 1 hour is spent in the water with the dolphins. Black Cat Cruises has been operating since 1985 and their success rate at sighting dolphins is over 98%. Swimming with dolphins is not always possible either due to sea conditions, the dolphins' willingness to stay and play and other environmental reasons such as not swimming when there are babies around. You still manage to swim though on over 80% of their tours.

Your accommodation - Beaufort House Akaroa

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Beaufort House Akaroa
Beaufort House Akaroa
Beaufort House Akaroa
Beaufort House Akaroa
 

Day 6

Travel south through the Canterbury Plains where you'll join the coastline which takes you to Dunedin

Driving distance and time: 410 kms / 255 miles : 5.2 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Akaroa to Dunedin

Akaroa to Dunedin
Akaroa to Dunedin
Akaroa to Dunedin
Akaroa to Dunedin

Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains as you head South, State Highway 1 crosses many braided rivers that start their life as glacial melt water high in the Southern Alps. New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia crosses such an example. The towns of Timaru followed by Oamaru are worth a short detour to the town centre. The town of Oamaru is most famous for its buildings constructed with the unique locally quarried white stone. Explore the old quarter or if you don't mind a late arrival into Dunedin then stay around to see the blue penguins come ashore at dusk. Just a little further south and you arrive at Moeraki and its famous Moeraki Boulders. Following a look at these incredible and unique geological features don't miss taking a late lunch or coffee and cake at Fleur's Cafe in Moeraki Township. The last stretch of road follows the coastline before crossing the hills and descending into the city of Dunedin.

Your accommodation - Camp Estate at Larnach Castle

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
 

Day 7

Explore the history and wildlife of the Otago Peninsula

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
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.

Royal Albatross Colony Unique Taiaroa tour

Royal Albatross Colony Unique Taiaroa tour
Royal Albatross Colony Unique Taiaroa tour
Royal Albatross Colony Unique Taiaroa tour
Royal Albatross Colony Unique Taiaroa tour

The Royal Albatross colony at Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula is the only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross in the world. From the centre, it's a short walk to the observatory for the privilege of seeing the greatest of all seabirds. Wander through the McMillan Gallery and learn more of the history and wildlife of the area. The Unique Taiaroa experience offers a comprehensive 90 minutes guided tour of both the Albatross colony and Fort Taiaroa. Enjoy spectacular Albatross viewing from the Richdale Observatory including the introductory "Attenborough" video and albatross breeding cycle information. The Fort Taiaroa guided tour takes you back into New Zealand's colonial past. It covers the Maori and European occupation of the headland with a visit to 'Fort Taiaroa,' underground fortifications beneath the Albatross Colony. Walk through the underground tunnels to the 1886 Armstrong Disappearing Gun that is still in working order. This was established to counter the anticipated threat of invasion from Tsarist Russia.

Your accommodation - Camp Estate at Larnach Castle

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 8

Travel south through rural countryside to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland and home to spectacular glowworm caves

Driving distance and time: 387 kms / 240 miles : 4.7 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Dunedin to Te Anau

Dunedin to Te Anau
Dunedin to Te Anau
Dunedin to Te Anau
Dunedin to Te Anau

The drive to Te-Anau takes you through classic Southland farming scenery. Head off-the-beaten-track today and follow the coastline instead of the inland route. Go through The Catlins area and be sure to take a detour to Kaka Point to view its majestic cliffs and pounding surf.  Continue through Invercargill to Riverton and Colac Bay, and then head north to Manapouri. From here you can embark on a day or overnight cruise to the remote Doubtful Sound - renowned for its natural beauty. Just a short way further will bring you to your lakeside destination of Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.

Te Anau Glowworm Caves

Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Te Anau Glowworm Caves

Begin your Te Anau Glowworm experience with a scenic cruise across lake Te Anau on board the luxury catamaran, Luminosa, to the western side of the lake. On arrival you'll enter the caves through Cavern House, where informative displays detail the history of this 12,000 year old underground network.You'll then explore by limestone pathway while your guide points out hidden whirlpools, sculpted rock formations and a rushing underground waterfall. See a magical display of thousands of glowworms as you glide through the darkness in a small boat.

Your accommodation - Te Anau Lodge

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 15-20 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Laundry facilities: On site
Te Anau Lodge
Te Anau Lodge
Te Anau Lodge
Te Anau Lodge
 

Day 9

Explore the beautiful Milford Sound with a cruise and kayak combo

Driving distance and time: 233 kms / 145 miles : 3.6 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau

Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau
Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau
Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau
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 and Kayaking Combo with Southern Discoveries

Milford Sound Cruise and Kayaking Combo with Southern Discoveries
Milford Sound Cruise and Kayaking Combo with Southern Discoveries
Milford Sound Cruise and Kayaking Combo with Southern Discoveries
Milford Sound Cruise and Kayaking Combo with Southern Discoveries

This great Milford experience starts off with a Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Enjoy excellent up close viewing opportunity of wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season, and informative commentary is provided. Following the cruise and picnic lunch, disembark at the Milford Discovery Centre and descend 10 metres down 64 steps underwater into a spacious viewing chamber with uninterrupted 360 degree views of the undersea world to view rare black coral and colourful sea creatures such as blue cod and butterfly perch. Then gaze through crystal clear waters as you kayak around Harrison Cove with a specialist kayak and nature guide in an intimate, up close nature experience. No previous kayaking experience is necessary and there's an automated lift for easy entry and exit from the kayaks. Board a vessel for the return cruise to the Milford wharf.

Your accommodation - Te Anau Lodge

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Day 10

Return to Queenstown

Driving distance and time: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Te Anau to Queenstown

Te Anau to Queenstown
Te Anau to Queenstown
Te Anau to Queenstown
Te Anau to Queenstown

Today you’ll cross vast tussocklands on your way to Queenstown. Pass through Mossburn, the deer capital of the nation. Continue on through the Southland countryside where the road begins to hug the lake edge and the Remarkables mountain range towers over your approach into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Your accommodation - The Dairy Private Hotel

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 11

Depart New Zealand today

Driving distance and time: 1 kms / 1 miles : 0.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Depart Queenstown today

Drop your rental car at the Queenstown airport today and farewell New Zealand.

 
 
price from
NZ$ 5,653.00 pp (small car, low season - details)

This tour includes