Southern Luxury Escape
8 Day Self Drive Touring Itinerary Starting in Christchurch
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

Southern Luxury Escape

Enjoy Southern Hospitality and the breathtaking scenery while enjoying some of our great lodges and hotels including The Hermitage overlooking the glorious Aoraki - Mt Cook. A stay in a real castle in Dunedin, along with a a special night aboard the Southern Secret in the breathtaking Doubtful Sound. Enjoy luxury in the centre of Queenstown, and a helicopter ride over the West Coast Glaciers before taking the scenic train journey of the Tranz Alpine to arrive back to the welcome arms of Hotel Montreal in Christchurch

Tour summary and feature
Brief Overview & Inclusions

Self Drive Touring Itinerary

This suggested tour costs from NZD$5,756 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

8 days/7 nights

Luxury Lodges & Hotels

 Rental car included

 Viewed 63 times in the last 7 days

Tour feature
- Private transfer Christchurch International Airport to your accommodation
- Private Transfer Christchurch Train Station to your accommodation
- Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Airport
7 breakfasts, 6 dinners, 1 special dinner
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Tour full itinerary
Day by Day Itinerary
Southern Luxury Escape - Day 1
Private transfer Christchurch International Airport to your accommodation

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

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!

Your accommodation: Hotel Montreal

A true original, Hotel Montreal is a unique, luxury escape in the heart of Christchurch city. Hotel Montreal is often recognised for the five-star comfort and convenience it affords those passing through the Garden City.
Meals included: Dinner
Southern Luxury Escape - Day 2
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 Aoraki 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 colour. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village.
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.

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.

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: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

Southern Luxury Escape - Day 3
Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to Dunedin

Today you'll leave Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and travel past Twizel, one of the locations for the Lord of the Rings films. Go through Omarama, the gliding capital of New Zealand, be sure to stop at The Wrinkly Ram, a quirky local cafe and souvenir store. 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

Keeping with the historical setting of Larnach Castle, a four-course dinner is offered in a grand Castle Dining Room. This is a trust-the-chef experience where you may indulge in incredible meals and meet other guests. The menu reflects local meats and vegetables, served in a traditional New Zealand-style cuisine with the opportunity to pair with regional wines.

Your accommodation: Camp Estate at Larnach Castle

A luxurious country house built from blue stone and features a spectacular marble staircase. The modern rooms are all double glazed and the reception rooms are all heated by open fires and underfloor heating. Staying at Camp Estate includes entry to Larnach Castle and the grounds.
Meals included: Breakfast, Speciality Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 318 kms / 197 miles : 3.7 hours

Southern Luxury Escape - Day 4
Dunedin to Manapouri

The drive to Manapouri takes you through classic Southland farmland and some wonderful scenery. The towns of Clinton and Gore (a famous trout fishing area) and Lumsden all offer insights into the industrious southerners as they built the area into one of the country's most productive. From Lumsden you start to see the larger mountains of South West New Zealand and Fiordland National Park, a taste of the magnificent scenery to come.

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise with Fiordland Cruises

At Manapouri you will board a scenic cruise across Lake Manapouri (45 min cruise) to West Arm. At West Arm you will see the above ground sections of the Manapouri Power Station, an underground hydroelectric power station which is capable of generating up to 850 MW using water from Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri. It is the largest hydroelectric power station in New Zealand. At West Arm you will meet your crew, who will take you by courtesy bus over the Wilmot Pass where you will capture breathtaking vistas of Doubtful Sound and the surrounding mountains. You will arrive at the Southern Secret and Doubtful Sound around midday, welcome refreshments will be served as you begin to explore the environs of Doubtful Sound such as Hall Arm, Crooked Arm, Bradshaw Sound and more, all the while keep watch for inhabitants such as bottlenose dolphins, penguins sea birds and seals.  Onboard the Southern Secret, your Doubtful Sound Overnight adventure includes sightseeing and exploring the history and splendor, pause at features for photographs and to observe marine mammals, cast a line for fishing, check our crayfish traps and savour the spectacular scenery and wildlife.  Conditions allowing, the skipper will select locations for fishing, and placing "pots" to capture Fiordland Lobster. Cruises may include a visit to the entrance of Doubtful Sound where, you may visit the Shelter Islands, home to a colony of Southern Fur Seals. Typical overnight anchorages in Doubtful Sound include Crooked Arm, First Arm, Hall Arm and Precipice cove in Bradshaw Sound or on the eastern tip of Secretary Island. The MV Southern Secret caters exclusively for 12 passengers who are seeking a personalised style of cruise. Each cabin includes its own private en suite and the cruise includes a picnic lunch and dinner on day one and breakfast on the second day.

Your accommodation: MV Southern Secret

Escape into the wilderness to discover Doubtful Sound at its very best. You will be accommodated in comfort in one of the Southern Secret’s 5 private double or twin cabins with private toilet and shower en-suite. Taste New Zealand food and relax as the crew prepares your meals and shows you around the taonga (the treasure) of Doubtful Sound.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 288 kms / 179 miles : 3.4 hours

Southern Luxury Escape - Day 5
Manapouri to Queenstown

Crossing the rolling tussock lands you pass through Mossburn, the deer capital of New Zealand. Continue north through Southland countryside towards Lake Wakatipu. The road now hugs the lake edge and the Remarkable mountain range towers over you as you approach Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.

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

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 166 kms / 103 miles : 2.0 hours

Southern Luxury Escape - Day 6
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 the 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 highway you pass through ancient temperate rainforests while getting sneak peeks of the wild coast beaches occasionally. Paringa Salmon Farm is worth a stop to stretch your legs, feed the fish, and stop for lunch and refreshments. Keep heading North and be sure to enjoy the view of the ever-changing towering snowcapped Southern Alps Mountain Range. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night Franz Josef township.

Mountain Scenic Spectacular Flight with The Helicopter Line

The premier flight! Experience two of New Zealand's finest national parks and encounter the gigantic expanse of both the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Take in the towering ice formations and top it off with a snow landing and the chance to set foot on snow and breath the clean alpine air. Along the way, get to see the Tasman Glacier and get close to Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak. Duration of helicopter flight is 40 minutes.

Your accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest at Franz Josef is a very special five-star retreat. Designed with utmost care of its precious environment, guests at Te Waonui Forest Retreat will find themselves encircled by rainforest and accommodated in natural and sustainable luxury.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.6 hours

Southern Luxury Escape - Day 7
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Today head north along the mighty West Coast highway you pass through ancient temperate rainforests while getting sneak peeks of the wild coast beach occasionally. Whataroa is the next town where you can see one of the world's rarest birds, the New Zealand white heron or Kotuku nest at the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve, and guided tours from October to March will take you there. 
Ross is the site of an old gold mining town and some of the old buildings and workings remain. In fact, Ross is still home to one of the few working gold mines left in New Zealand and the local information center offers you the chance to pan for gold.
Hokitika is a great place to explore craft and gift stores and head to the coast and take in the endless sea views. The Jade or Greenstone on offer in Hokitika is probably some of the best you will see in the country. The Hokitika Gorge is located 45 minutes inland and offers turquoise waters flowing through a narrow gorge. A great short walk will deliver you to this piece of paradise.
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 at the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island from the west to the east coast through Arthur's Pass National Park. From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private Transfer Christchurch Train Station to your accommodation

Your private transfer driver will meet you on arrival into Christchurch train station and take you to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: Hotel Montreal

A true original, Hotel Montreal is a unique, luxury escape in the heart of Christchurch city. Hotel Montreal is often recognised for the five-star comfort and convenience it affords those passing through the Garden City.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

Southern Luxury Escape - Day 8
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.

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