The Centre of the South Tour
8 Day Self Drive Touring Itinerary Starting in Christchurch
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

The Centre of the South Tour

Take to the skies on this south island adventure. You'll be treated to stunning vistas wherever you look from the bustling CBD of Christchurch where you begin your tour to the adventure capital, Queenstown. The opportunity to visit the west coast glaciers is even on the cards when you take a scenic flight with Mackenzie helicopters from Lake Tekapo. If you like hiking or adventure there are ample opportunities to get outside and explore but each destination also makes the perfect backdrop for sitting with a good book, something for everyone! Whilst your based in Queenstown maximise time and fly back from Milford to enjoy a sumptuous meal overlooking Queenstown.
In just 8 days you can really do it all!

Tour summary and feature
Brief Overview & Inclusions

Self Drive Touring Itinerary

This suggested tour costs from NZD$5,536 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Queenstown

8 days/7 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Rental car included

 Viewed 20 times in the last 7 days

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Tour full itinerary
Day by Day Itinerary
The Centre of the South Tour - Day 1
Welcome to Christchurch City

Christchurch New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. A great way to explore the city or easy way to see the sights or ride the historic trams across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral, that's right it is built of cardboard!

Private transfer Christchurch International Airport to your accommodation

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

Christchurch Trams

Trams played an important role in transporting the people of Christchurch until 1954 when they were phased out. In 1995 the city council and Tramway Historical Society brought the beautiful trams back to the city centre for the public to enjoy. Take the delightful journey throughout the central city, including sights such as Riverside Market, the Avon River, the Arts Precinct including the Christchurch Art Gallery and Arts Centre, the Botanic Gardens, and New Regent Street with its Spanish-style buildings and sunny cafes. A commentary is given by the tram driver and you can hop on and off at the various stops as you please throughout the day. It's a great way to see and explore the main city centre attractions.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens - suggestion

Located just 15 minutes from the city centre, Christchurch's 75 acre Botanic Gardens host the finest collection of exotic and indigenous plants to be found anywhere in New Zealand. The impressive collection of plants provide a tranquil oasis, from the spring drifts of daffodils, spectacular summer roses and herbaceous border, stunning autumn leaf display and cosy conservatories to warm up in over winter, there's something to delight in every season. The New Zealand Garden also offers an accessible glimpse into the country’s unique wilderness to lose yourself in throughout the year.

Your accommodation: Distinction Hotel Christchurch

This luxury hotel is centrally located in the revitalised Cathedral Square in the heart of the city, a short stroll from the Avon River, Botanical Gardens, Christchurch Casino, Cashel Mall and new Christchurch Convention Centre.
The Centre of the South Tour - Day 2
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.

Collect your rental car.

We have an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles from the top suppliers. See the range here or chat with your consultant about special requests such as vehicle type, size or features.

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route the first township of Geraldine offers an ideal refreshment stop before you head into Mackenzie country.
Passing through places such as Beautiful Valley it's not hard to understand where the names originate. Ascending Burkes Pass and onto the high country plateau and the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, the first of the large Southern Lakes. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just enjoy the magnificent views.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

Tekapo Springs offers three adjoining main Hot Pools for you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself while looking out to the beautiful Two Thumb range and stunning Lake Tekapo. Pool temperatures range from forty degrees celsius to thirty-six degrees celsius and each pool offers something different - massage jets to assist in taking away any aches and pains and fountains to splash under.

Dark Sky Project Summit Experience

Earth and Sky Stargazing tour departs nightly from the office in the Lake Tekapo township. Travel to the Mt John observatory high above the village where you will explore features of the majestic Southern Sky. Earth and Sky provide the equipment and the guidance, all you need to bring are keen eyes, warm clothes and a desire to see, learn, and experience.
Navigating your way through the Southern Sky using various telescopes and the naked eye, you will see amazing sights such as our own Milky Way Galaxy, the Southern Cross, Alpha-Centauri - our closest neighbouring star at only 4.3 light years away, and Sirius - the brightest star in our sky.
Behold and learn about our closest neighbouring galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, which grace our night sky along with constellations such as Orion the Hunter and Scorpius.
You may also have the opportunity to see star clusters like the beautiful Jewel Box; awe inspiring planets; nebulae, immense clouds of gas and dust; and distant galaxies which test the limits of human imagination.

Your accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort

Peppers Bluewater sits overlooking stunning Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps and is just a short walk to the small towns facilities. Also close by is the Tekapo Springs Day Spa, a great place to relax after a day exploring. Facilities include an on site restaurant and bar.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 247 kms / 153 miles : 2.9 hours

The Centre of the South Tour - Day 3
Mackenzie & Lakes Alpine Excursion - Mackenzie Helicopters

This short scenic flight will take you over spectacular lakes, mountains and glacial valleys. You will see stunning turquoise gem - Lake Tekapo, snowcapped mountains of the Southern Alps, golden tussock, rolling hills and deeply glaciated valleys. You will fly over this iconic high country, dramatic landscape of the Mackenzie, the rugged wilderness, landing at a private spot in the mountains for panoramic views of alpine lakes and valleys carved out by ancient glaciers.                                                                                                                                                             

Your accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort

Peppers Bluewater sits overlooking stunning Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps and is just a short walk to the small towns facilities. Also close by is the Tekapo Springs Day Spa, a great place to relax after a day exploring. Facilities include an on site restaurant and bar.
Meals included: Breakfast
The Centre of the South Tour - Day 4
Lake Tekapo to Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Lake Pukaki is just another 30 minutes from Lake Tekapo and its from here you can be rewarded with spectacular views the full length of the lake and into Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. In Mt Cook Village a myriad of activities are available from glacier landings by ski plane or helicopter, kayaking on a glacial lake and a host of walks to suit all abilities and time frames. At The Hermitage Hotel the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is a must see.
Please note: There are no food shops at Mt Cook, and dinner options are limited to one restaurant. If you wish to self-cater, you must stock up before arriving in Mt Cook, or make dinner reservations in advance.

Walking tracks in and around Aoraki / Mt. Cook National Park

There are many short scenic walks beginning in and around the Mt Cook Village, suitable for all ages and abilities. Located within the Mount Cook Village is the Department of Conservation information centre, where updates on the track conditions and suitability is available as well as information on the history of the area and its wildlife.

Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Museum and Theatre Explorer Pass

A tribute to New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary, a humanitarian, ambassador, and one of the world's greatest explorers. The centre showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region, the history of climbing, and early transport used throughout the region. This comprehensive museum details the life of Sir Edmund Hillary, the Hermitage, and provides access to the 126-seat custom-designed theatre. Check out the daily film schedule which includes 3D Movies, documentaries, and 360-degree digital dome features.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Experience the best views in the park from the spacious top floor rooms of the magnificent Hermitage Hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 103 kms / 64 miles : 1.1 hours

The Centre of the South Tour - Day 5
The Adventurer: Tasman Glacier Heli Hike with Mount Cook Glacier Guiding

The adventure begins with a breathtaking scenic flight, experience the thrill of the helicopter as you look out over Mt Cook and the spectacular views of the Alps surrounding the glaciers. Landing on a remote part of the glacier, your guide will equip you with all the gear ready to explore ice formations in this ever-changing environment at the heart and birthplace of New Zealand mountaineering. Walking through the untouched formations and specially cut steps - You’ll return home with incredible memories of your Tasman Glacier hike in this vast mountain landscape.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Experience the best views in the park from the spacious top floor rooms of the magnificent Hermitage Hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
The Centre of the South Tour - Day 6
Mt Cook National Park to Queenstown

Leaving the alpine region of Mt Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama - the gliding capital of New Zealand. Continue on over the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads with a summit of 971 meters. Arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve, one of Otago’s original gold mining settlements.
Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Welcome to Queenstown

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities Queenstown is synonymous with adventure. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this small alpine town is nestled below soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway. Spend time on the Gibbston wine trail and end with a meal at Michelin star chef Josh Emett’s restaurant, Rata. Take a trip down memory lane on a 100 year old steamship the TSS Earnslaw. Soak in the scenery on your walk around the lake, or venture further afield into Fiordland National Park. Head over the hill to resort town Wanaka, or re-live scenes from Lord Of The Rings by four wheel drive. But - if you really do want that rush - head out on the Shotover Jet, dive off the Nevis Bungy, freefall on the Canyon swing or Zip line the Gondola. Just be sure it's done on an empty stomach  – don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship. You'll be greeted off the boat and guided through beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming homestead.
Here you'll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea and coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country.
On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship's pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Your accommodation: Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Queenstown Park Hotel is a boutique hotel with a modern romantic style in the heart of New Zealand’s adventure capital. Set in peaceful parkland, savour views of Queenstown’s majestic mountains. Enjoy easy access to the vibrant town centre where shopping, cafes and nightlife nestled on the shores of spectacular Lake Wakatipu.
Meals included: Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

The Centre of the South Tour - Day 7
Milford Sound Coach, Cruise and Scenic Flight

Travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. After a short break, the coach continues along the spectacular alpine route of the Milford Road through impressive, awe-inspiring scenery. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way. Considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world your coach driver provides detailed commentaries throughout the trip.
On reaching Milford Sound, join a spectacular one hour 40 minute cruise to the mouth of the fiord with excellent viewing opportunities. Keep a look out for seals basking on the rocks, dolphins and penguins. There are scenic highlights such as Mitre Peak and Pembroke Glacier. Informative commentary from the captain explains the history and highlights points of interest during the cruise.
Following the cruise, you will be transferred to Milford Airport for the return flight to Queenstown (weather permitting). During the scenic flight, take in expansive views of the snow-capped Southern Alps, golden tussocked high country and the upper reaches of Lake Wakatipu. A taxi transfer is provided to your accommodation on arrival at Queenstown airport.

Gondola and Buffet Dinner with Skyline Queenstown

With breathtaking views across Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, the Skyline Complex is a must-do. Catch the fully enclosed gondola to the summit for a remarkable panorama of the city surrounds. Wander the outdoor viewing decks then enjoy a gourmet buffet meal in the Stratosphere Restaurant.

Your accommodation: Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel

Queenstown Park Hotel is a boutique hotel with a modern romantic style in the heart of New Zealand’s adventure capital. Set in peaceful parkland, savour views of Queenstown’s majestic mountains. Enjoy easy access to the vibrant town centre where shopping, cafes and nightlife nestled on the shores of spectacular Lake Wakatipu.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Depart Queenstown today

Drop your rental car at the Queenstown airport today.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 1 kms / 1 miles : 0.0 hours

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