- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
11 DAY CENTRAL SOUTH ISLAND
Our 11 Day Central South Island escape will have your teeth chattering one minute and your body sinking into a thermal pool the next, delivering a total package holiday without the hassle, stress, or research of planning one yourself.
Welcome to the ever-stunning Garden City! Collect your bags and speed through customs, you have a free day to explore this laid-back slice of New Zealand. What will you do? The Christchurch Gondola is always an any-weather treat, boasting views of the soaring Southern Alps in the distance; if solid ground is more your speed, why not enjoy the Christchurch Rebuild Tour and witness how this spirited city continues to thrive despite recent catastrophes.
CHRISTCHURCH TO FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER, 380KM (5 HRS)
All aboard! Today you’ll be streaming across the New Zealand countryside via the TranzAlpine Express. Sit by the window as the Southern Alps undulate before your eyes, delivering ‘wow’-moments aplenty. You’ll be spoiled with sights of lush beech forests and the gorgeous Lake Brunner, after appreciating the lovely little alpine village of Arthur’s Pass – an awesome 737 metres above sea level. Cruise into Greymouth and collect your rental car before travelling along the ruggedly handsome West Coast until you arrive in Franz Josef, the home of the mighty glacier.
AT FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER
The aim of the next 24 hours is total relaxation. After breakfast (or early lunch), make your way to the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools and soak your cares away under a native rainforest canopy. Regularly described by travellers as luxurious, singular and tranquil, the Glacier Hot Pools unwind even the tightest muscles, running the temperature gamut between 36 and 40 degrees centigrade. Do you fancy a stroll to the glacier? Ask your ANZCRO travel planner for more information about our Glacial Walk packages.
FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER TO QUEENSTOWN, 350KM (4 HRS 30 MINS)
Start your engine, you’re about to embark on your first major driving leg, navigating wonders along the way until Queenstown enters your eyeline. Leave in the early morning and reach the adrenaline capital around midday, saving plenty of time for your Shotover Jet ride, operating from 8am until 6pm. Speaking of jet boats, this isn’t a jet experience quite like any other – the drivers are experienced, fearless, and hell-bent on making you scream with glee, making short work of narrow canyon passes, 360-degree spins, and a few surprising extras we won’t ruin here.
Hot Tip: Wear quick-dry clothes – you’re about to get white-water wet.
Your day begins the right way, standing on top of Queenstown savouring the striking views from the summit of the Skyline Gondola. Getting there is easy to do – we suggest leaving your car at home and catching public transport for an easy experience, free of parking hassles. After you’ve made your way to the top and snapped hundreds of pictures in the process, why not add a zip-line adventure* to your Queenstown experience? Cruise the canopies of the surrounding forests before zooming to the bottom of the mountain on your included luge ride (or three – you can’t just do it once), satisfying any lunchtime cravings at the nearby café. *Speak to our ANZCRO travel experts for more information about zip-lining in Queenstown.
QUEENSTOWN TO TE ANAU, 175KM (2 HRS)
An easy, breezy and beautiful drive awaits you this afternoon, as Queenstown disappears and Te Anau manifests in all its scenic glory, beginning with picturesque views of Lake Wakatipu and the rugged ranges of The Remarkables. You’ll be treated to tourist stops aplenty, as the South Island’s interior lends itself to many quiet places to enjoy a pre-packed snack, before reaching the Murchison Mountains and Te Anau not long after.
MILFORD SOUND DAY TRIP, 240KM (4 HRS RETURN)
A bucket-list worthy day trip, the next seven or so hours (including the drive to the docks) will leave you breathless with more wonder than you considered possible. You may have seen waterfalls, rivers and sheer cliffs in the past, but nothing can quite prepare you for this nature cruise into the heart of Milford Sound. We won’t spoil it for you here, but you’ll want to come back again and again, by kayak, boat, or overnight cruise.
TE ANAU TO DUNEDIN, 285KM (3 HRS 30 MINS)
Get ready for a journey across the Waimea Plains, featuring sprawling farmsteads and over rolling hills; the Otago region has a reputation for being nothing short of picture-worthy and you’ll soon see why. Spend the afternoon exploring the Otago Harbour via chartered cruise vessel, savouring up-close views of Taioroa Head and the cheeky layabout personalities of New Zealand fur seals or the fins of dusky dolphins. You may even spot a Northern Royal Albatross gliding over the waves!
Trade the bustling café scene of downtown Dunedin for vast green lawns, carefully curated gardens, and the grandeur of New Zealand’s only castle, overlooking the Otago Peninsula. Larnach Castle was built in 1871, serving as grand house originally and a historical attraction today, with its exquisite collection of native and international trees, flowers and ferns providing the perfect setting for a relaxing walk after the official tour is done. The views alone are worth the trip, but we know you’ll find loads to charm you, from the stories of past occupants to verdant green, leafy arches. Although you may find it difficult to pull yourself away from the castle on the hill, we promise this afternoon’s Cadbury Chocolate Factory Tour will strike all the right notes… particularly the sweet tooth! Expert chocoholics lead you through a maze of sweet making, beginning with the humble cocoa bean, all the way through to an iconic chocolate fall you’d be crazy not to taste. For quality control, of course!
DUNEDIN TO CHRISTCHURCH, 360KM (4 HRS 30 MINS)
Check a few last minute items from the to-do list in Dunedin before beginning your final driving leg. From the steep streets to coastal views, our ANZCRO planners can help you find something to do in the morning! Make the drive back to Christchurch as leisurely as you please, stopping here and there to appreciate the beauty of the New Zealand coast away from the tour groups and crowds.
You have another opportunity to see or do things you missed during your first days in Christchurch, before returning your rental car to the airport depot with plenty of time to spare. Make sure you’re at your gate well before boarding, and enjoy a safe flight home!
- 11 days car rental
- 10 nights 4 star accommodation
- Skyline Gondola ride and 3 luge rides
- Shotover jet rides
- One Way Tranz Alpine train journey
- Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools entry
- Milford sound nature cruise including lunch
- Larnach castle and gardens