South Island Family Discovery

Embark on this self-drive discovery of New Zealand’s spectacular South Island, road tripping with the family from Christchurch to Queenstown.

Journey Overview

Price: 10 days from $11,310 total based on 2 adults + 2 children travelling.

Embark on this self-drive discovery of New Zealand’s spectacular South Island, road tripping from Christchurch to Queenstown. You’ll uncover a kaleidoscope of active experiences, wildlife encounters and natural wonders from Mount Cook/Aoraki to Lake Wakatipu and Mt Aspiring National Park, bedding down each night in some of the region’s best boutique havens. Exploring by boat, funyak, and zipline to name a few, you’ll see the island from every angle on this journey sure to surprise and delight.

Journey Highlights

  • Set sail on a harbour safari, eyes peeled for native dolphins, fur seals, penguins, and a variety of seabirds
  • By spellbound by the sparkling on a stargazing discovery sky in Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve
  • Cruise the Tasman Glacier terminal lake, gazing in awe of the ancient icy monuments
  • Indulge in a lakeside high tea, looking down on the mystical landscapes of Mou Waho Island
  • Get up-close with nature as you discover the Dart River region by jet boat and funyak
  • See the wonders of Queenstown from every angle on a thrilling adventure by gondola, luge and zipline

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Christchurch

Arrive into Christchurch, known as the "Garden City" and the largest centre in the South Island. The tree-lined River Avon meanders through its heart and the neo-gothic architecture exudes a distinctly medieval air.

Make your way to the car rental depot and collect your rental vehicle, travelling at your own pace to the indulgent Hotel Montreal.
Hotel Montreal

Day 2: Christchurch

Today drive to the French-inspired seaside village of Akaroa, embarking from its main wharf on an enthralling shared nature cruise.

Floating through the harbour, keep your eyes peeled for rare native wildlife like the Hector's or New Zealand dolphin, white-flippered little blue penguin, fur seals and a variety of sea birds. Enjoy the opportunity to witness a working salmon farm, explore the natural wonder of Cathedral Cave and discover remnants of Akaroa's fascinating past including sailing by early Maori, French and British settlements.

Return to the mainland at the end of your adventure with the rest of the day yours to enjoy as you like.

Note that if children are aged 8 years or over there is an opportunity to upgrade to a swim with the dolphins cruise (additional cost).
Hotel Montreal | B

Day 3: Christchurch – Mount Cook

Today continue your journey at your own pace, cruising through the breathtaking scenery from Christchurch to Aoraki/Mt Cook, a journey of approximately 4 hours.

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is home to the highest mountains and the longest glaciers in New Zealand, its skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snow fields all set under a star-studded sky.

This evening, enjoy a shared stargazing tour in Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, the world’s largest. Be enthralled by the beautiful southern night sky as your expert guide talks you through the sparkling constellations, with the chance to try your hand using state-of-the-art telescopes and other astro-technology.
Hermitage Aoraki Mount Cook | B

Day 4: Mount Cook

Today starts with adventure, as you set off on a shared glacier explorer tour. Travelling to the Tasman Valley, be immersed in the ethereal landscapes with a short alpine walk through the national park scenery. Then take to the lake on a boat cruise, admiring up close the ever-changing surfaces of the Tasman Glacier terminal lake and its icebergs, natural wonders that have stood tall for decades.

A truly humbling experience, witness the majesty of New Zealand’s largest glacier, and its monumental ice wall that is constantly evolving as global warming continues to impact the region.

Return to your accommodation with the evening to do as you please.
Hermitage Aoraki Mount Cook | B

Day 5: Mount Cook – Wanaka

Today self-drive from Mt Cook to Wanaka, a stretch boasting breathtaking scenes sure to leave you in awe. Arrive into Wanaka and settle into your elegant lodgings on the edge on crystal-clear Lake Wanaka.
Edgewater, Lake Wanaka | B

Day 6: Wanaka

Today you will enjoy some of the South Island’s natural wonders both on land and over water with a shared guided tour, cruising the sparkling surface of Lake Wanaka and wandering the alpine scenes of Mou Waho Island.

Situated in the middle of Lake Wanaka surrounded by stunning natural vistas, your discovery of the island will be led by a local eco guide, shining a light on the varied native plant and birdlife including the rare Buff Weka, a very inquisitive flightless bird not seen on the mainland for over a century.

Set out on a bush walk to truly appreciate the diverse landscapes, discovering  a serene lake right on top of the island where you’ll enjoy a delicious high tea experience. Drink in the vibrant birdsong and the panoramas of the Southern Alps as you indulge in a selection of treats. Those feeling a little more relaxed can enjoy their own time at the base of the island.

Should you wish, there is also the opportunity to plant a native tree on the island, to add to the over 8000 trees planted since touring in this region began.
Edgewater, Lake Wanaka | B

Day 7: Wanaka – Queenstown

Today you drive at your own pace from Wanaka to Queenstown, an adventure wonderland situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by rolling farmlands and mountains.  Settle into your luxury base and enjoy the day as you would like, perhaps wandering along the shores of the lake, setting out on a discovery of the local art scene or tracking down some epicurean delights.
The Rees Hotel Queenstown | B

Day 8: Queenstown

Your appreciation for the country’s landscapes continues today, with a shared journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park.

Departing Queenstown for the Dart River, you will get up-close with nature on a funyak tour, paddling on the crystal clear waters in an inflatable kayak. Be spellbound by the beauty of the Dart River as well as hidden side streams, rock pools and dramatic chasms. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of this stunning area at your own pace as you float downstream before a sumptuous buffet lunch. Travel onwards to Glenorchy taking scenic back-country routes to return to your start point, passing by iconic scenes used to depict famed Middle Earth locales.
The Rees Hotel Queenstown | BL

Day 9: Queenstown

Today is full to bursting with adventure. Start with a birds-eye view of the region on a scenic gondola ride, drifting 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob's Peak. En route you will enjoy a spectacular 220 degree panoramas of some of the most renowned mountains, including Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter Peak and Cecil Peak.

Then it’s time to get the heart racing with a thrilling luge ride from the top of the gondola, zipping down past the spectacular scenes. The last in your trifecta of adventures, set off on an exhilarating zipline experience. High above Queenstown, you’ll journey through ancient native beech forest across four breathtaking, tree-to-tree ziplines.

Conclude your day of discovery by returning on foot to the top of the gondola, travelling back to your lodge with your last evening at leisure.
The Rees Hotel Queenstown | B

Day 10: Queenstown

Today after breakfast, drive to Queenstown airport and return your rental vehicle before your onward flight.

Show Full Itinerary
Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

Hermitage Hotel, Mount Cook

South Island Family Discovery

A haven for adventurous travellers since 1884, the world-renowned Hermitage Hotel is nestled among stunning scenery within the Aoraki... Read more

Edgewater, Wanaka

South Island Family Discovery

A lakeside haven standing proudly on Lake Wanaka. Edgewater is the perfect destination for you to experience the distinctive four seasons... Read more

The Rees, Queenstown

South Island Family Discovery

Quiet, private and sophisticated, The Rees Hotel Queenstown epitomises southern hospitality at its finest and an authentic New Zealand ex... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

10 days from $11,310 total based on 2 adults + 2 children travelling.

As this Private Journey can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey


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