NEW ZEALANDNew Zealand Splendeur Tours LogoSPLENDEUR

Your suggested New Zealand tour itinerary
New Zealand - East Coast

Tour highlights: Christchurch - Akaroa - Mount Cook - Tasman Glacier - Oamaru - Dunedin - Catlins - Stewart Island - Milford Sound - Queenstown - Wanaka - South Island West Coast - Fox Glacier - Franz Joseph Glacier - Pancake Rocks - Nelson - Marlborough Sounds - Kaikoura
6 National Parks 2 cities
2 islands (North Island and South Island)
This "New Zealand South Island Tour" itinerary is a good introduction to the specific nature, landscapes, birds and marine mammals of South Island and Stewart Island. It is aimed at whoever likes nature; you will enjoy it even if you are not an ornithologist, a geologist or a botanist.

For the more urban traveller, this tour also includes nice cities (Christchurch - the most English city out of England; and Dunedin Scottish city) as well as interesting towns (Oamaru white stone town, Twizel, Hokitika, etc.).

This suggested New Zealand itinerary starts and ends in Christchurch. You can purchase international flights arriving directly into Christchurch.

Day 1: Christchurch

personal guideArrive at Christchurch airport. Christchurch sightseeing. Museum, Cathedral, Arts Centre, Christ's College, Pastel Street, botanical gardens, primitive forest. 2 nights in Christchurch.

Day 2: Christchurch - Akaroa - Christchurch

ChristchurchScenic drive to Port Hills. Volcanic landscapes (calderas). Akaroa French colony. Dolphin spotting cruise (swim with dolphins optional). 2nd night in Christchurch.

Day 3: Christchurch - Twizel

personal limo driverChurch of the Good Shepherd, lake Tekapo. Lake Pukaki. Mount Cook National Park. Glacier lake cruise (weather permitting) and walks. Overnight in Twizel.

Day 4: Twizel - Oamaru

self-driving tourMaori rock paintings. Aviemore and Benmore lakes. Oamaru - white stone town. Blue penguin colony. Overnight in Oamaru.

Day 5: Oamaru - Dunedin

Dunedin fursealMoeraki boulders. Royal albatrosses, New Zealand furseals, cormorants, yellow eyed penguins on Otago Peninsula. Overnight in Dunedin.

Day 6: Dunedin - Catlins

self-driving tourDunedin city sightseeing. Otago University, world's steepest street, historic railway station. 2 nights in the Catlins wildlife area.

Day 7: Catlins Nature Tour

self-driving tourFull day guided nature tour in the Catlins: Hooker sealions, yellow eyed penguins, endemic plants and birds (with local naturalist guide). 2nd night in the Catlins.

Day 8: Catlins - Stewart Island

Kahikatea forestInvercargill and its museum. Ferry crossing to Stewart Island. Kiwi bird spotting tour. 2 nights on Stewart Island.

Day 9: Stewart Island Nature

self-driving tourGuided nature tours and cruises on Stewart Island and Ulva Island. Spotted bird species include: kaka parrot, tui, bellbird and pelagic birds. 2nd night on Stewart Island.

Day 10: Stewart Island - Milford Sound

self-driving tour nzBack to Invercargill. Backcountry road to Manapouri and Te Anau. Fiordland National Park. Overnight cruise on a very comfortable boat on Milford Sound. (Subject to availability; if not available, overnight in Te Anau.)

Day 11: Milford Sound - Queenstown

pukeko swamp henKea mountain parrot spotting. Te Anau bird sanctuary. Lake Wakatipu. 2 nights in Queenstown / Arrowtown.

Day 12: Queenstown

QueenstownQueenstown sightseeing (bungy jumping, jet-boating) and shopping. Driving tour to Glenorchy. Arrowtown gold mining village. Second night in Queenstown / Arrowtown.

Day 13: Queenstown - Haast

personal chauffeurWanaka and its lake. Lake Hawea. Haast Pass. Waterfalls. Jackson's Bay remote settlement. Overnight in Haast.

Day 14: Haast - Glaciers

Fox GlacierWest Coast rainforest. Swamp and dune ecosystems. Fox Glacier and / or Franz Joseph Glacier. Overnight at Fox Glacier or Franz Joseph Glacier.

Day 15: Glaciers - Hokitika

tour with self-driving tourOptional helicopter flights. White heron colony or rainforest cruise. Lake Mahinapua. Ross open cast gold mine. Overnight in Hokitika.

Day 16: Hokitika - Murchison

tree fernPunakaiki Pancake Rocks karst landscape. Truman Track walk. Cape Foulwind furseal colony. Buller Gorge. Overnight in remote mountain countryside, near Murchison.

Day 17: Murchison - Picton

watching kiwi bird tourNelson, its orchards and crafts. Marlborough Sounds scenic drive (Queen Charlotte Drive). Overnight in Picton.

Day 18: Picton - Kaikoura

New Zealand wineBlenheim winery tours (i.e. Cloudy Bay, Stoneleigh or Hunter's). Scenic coastal road (Pacific Ocean). 2 nights in Kaikoura.

Day 19: Kaikoura

watching nikau palm treePelagic bird watching cruise or whale watching cruise. Scenic drive to Hanmer Springs. Time to relax in the thermal pools. Second night in Kaikoura.

Day 20: Kaikoura - Christchurch

watching nz flax bushTransfer to Christchurch. Time for shopping, visit Botanical Gardens or Antarctic Centre. Drop-off at Christchurch International or domestic airport. Haere ra e te manuhiri tuarangi (farewell, honoured guests).

This New Zealand tour is best enjoyed in:
75°F   80°F
23°C   25°C
March   April   May
70°F   65°F  60°F
20°C   18°C   15°C
June   July   August
55°F   55°F   55°F
12°C   12°C   13°C
60°F   65°F
15°C   17°C
70°F   75°F
20°C   22°C
Catlins Eco-Tour Fergus and Mary Sutherland, of Catlins Ecotours, offer 2/4-day eco-tours with accommodation for all budgets.
Shotover Jet Queenstown offers an amazing array of adventures, from high intensity activities to many more subdued options. Bungee jumping, scenic helicopter flights, river surfing or a spin on the breathtaking Shotover Jet - an action packed ride along the famous Shotover River are all unique and exhilarating options. If you prefer a slower pace, Queenstown is a renowned wine destination and has many lovely winery tour options as well as world class spas if you feel the need to relax and be pampered. There are also many options for scenic walking and hiking, with many trails beginning from the centre of town. The many cafes, restaurants and bars create a wonderful ambience throughout the town.