Experience the best of New Zealand’s South Island on this guided tour. Your private guide will meet your family at the airport and take you on an insider’s tour of New Zealand, visiting iconic landmarks and local secrets alike.

Offering New Zealand’s top escorted tour operators and highly experienced tour guides, we cater for groups between 1-20 people. With no date or itinerary restrictions, your New Zealand family tour can be fully customised.

10 Day South Island Family Guided Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Christchurch

Your South Island family guided holiday begins in Christchurch, New Zealand’s “Garden City.” With a thriving restaurant scene, a string of beautiful parks, and a historic town centre, Christchurch is an excellent holiday destination.

Explore Christchurch with your guide, visiting the botanic gardens, the Christchurch Cathedral and the RE:Start Container Mall.

Stay 1 night in Christchurch.

Day 2 Lake Tekapo

Travel time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo – 3 hours 

Your scenic journey through the Mackenzie Basin begins today as you cross over Burkes Pass. As the Southern Alps loom before you, there will be photo opportunities around every corner.

While you rest and explore the quaint lakeside town of Lake Tekapo, paying a visit to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, you have the option to add on a flight-seeing tour of the Southern Alps or a nighttime observatory tour at Mt John.

Stay 2 nights at Lake Tekapo.

Day 3 Mackenzie Country Tour

Enjoy a guided tour of Tekapo, visiting key attractions including the famous sheep dog statue, the Church of the Good Shepherd and Astro Cafe atop Mt John to enjoy spectacular views over Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps.

Discuss what you would like to do with your guide for the afternoon, recommendations include a day trip to Aoraki Mount Cook or a relaxing visit to Tekapo Springs where you can relax in the hot pools while the kids play on the waterslide, and in winter months enjoy snow tubing and ice skating!

Day 4 Steamship Cruise + High Country Dinner

Travel time Lake Tekapo to Queenstown – 3 hours 

As you continue the spectacular drive south, you have the option to make a side trip to Mt Cook Village – ask your guide for more details. There is also an opportunity to visit a salmon farm where you feed the fish and buy sashimi.

Along the way to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, your guide will take you to sample the fresh fruit from the orchards of Cromwell. You also have the option to visit several top wineries with your guide on the drive through the Kawarau Gorge.

In the evening, relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. Disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm for a stunning gourmet BBQ meal and farm tour.

Stay 4 nights in Queenstown.

Day 5 Shotover Jet

Prepare yourself for the ultimate Jet Boating experience with Shotover Jet – the unique, breathtaking white water ride and adrenaline rush you’ll never forget. From the moment the accelerator hits the floor, your adrenaline hits the roof. You’ll speed over 10cm deep water, along the famous Shotover River and deep into the spectacular Shotover River Canyons.

In the afternoon explore Arrowtown with your tour guide. This charming gold rush village sits in a natural paradise. A Queenstown “must-do.” Arrowtown is a lively, quirky, historic village. So many pleasures to choose from – Arrowtown satisfies many sides of your personality. The nature lover, photographer, the museum visitor, the shop browser. The charm of historic Buckingham Street, while savouring a coffee.

Day 6 Milford Sound Tour

Travel to Milford Sound on a custom-built theatre style glass roofed coach – you won’t miss any views; mountains, glaciers and rainforest! Get up close and personal with Milford Sound on your leisurely Nature Cruise. As you cruise the length of the fiord, learn about the history of the region and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins. You’ll see towering cliffs and peaks – including the much photographed and iconic Mitre Peak that rises more than a kilometre straight out of the sea. Waterfalls cascade into the fiord and luxuriant rain forest clings to sheer rock faces in this exceptional place.

**Upgrade your return journey to a magical scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown.

Day 7 Queenstown – The Adventure Capital of New Zealand!

The opportunities are endless today, ‘when in Queenstown..’ add any adventure activity on offer in Queenstown; bungy jumping, skydiving, paragliding, quad biking, zip lining, heli flights, 4WD off-roading, you name it we can book it.

Day 8 Wanaka

Travel time Queenstown to Wanaka – 1 hour

Your scenic tour will continue as you enjoy the drive over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Your guide will stop along the way for photos at fantastic viewing points.

Explore the alpine town of Wanaka in the afternoon – your guide could take you to Puzzling World or Rippon Winery, or you could simply relax on the lakefront and do a bit of boutique shopping.

Stay 1 night in Wanaka.

Day 9 Franz Josef Glacier + Heli Flight with Snow Landing

Travel time Wanaka to Franz Josef – 4 hours 

The Haast Pass Highway is one of the most scenic alpine routes in New Zealand. Explore the pass with your guide, stopping to view cascading waterfalls, broad alpine meadows, craggy snowcapped mountains, and the turquoise depths of the Blue Pools.

Continuing along the West Coast, your guide will take you to the base of Fox Glacier, where you have the option to enjoy a 1-hour return walk to a viewing point over the mighty glacier.

In the afternoon, take an unforgettable helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier, where you will land in the snow to enjoy incredible views of the majestic Southern Alps.

Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.

Day 10 TranzAlpine Train Journey

Travel time Franz Josef to Greymouth – 2 hours

Scenic train travel time Greymouth to Christchurch – 4.5 hours

Travel north to reach Greymouth where you will climb aboard the TranzAlpine Train one of the world’s most famous train journeys. Ascend through thick stands of native beech forest before traversing the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. Enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River, then cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, before arriving in the Garden City of Christchurch.

Your guide will be waiting for you at Christchurch Railway Station ready to take you to your Christchurch City accommodtion.

Choose from your guide’s range of restaurant recommendations as you celebrate your final night in paradise.

Stay 1 night in Christchurch.

Day 11 Depart Christchurch

Your guide will deliver you to Christchurch Airport for your departing flight.

Highlights Include: 

  • Driving through the Mackenzie Basin – see the craggy, snow-capped Mt Cook.

Aoraki/Mount Cook, Mackenzie Basin, New Zealand guided holidays

  • Visiting the Church of the Good Shepherd and famous sheep dog statue.

Church of the Good Shepherd Lake Tekapo

  • Visiting a salmon farm to feed the salmon and visit a fruit farm where you can taste delicious fresh fruit, real fruit ice creams and manuka honey.
  • Staying in the vibrant alpine resort town of Queenstown – a family favourite.

Queenstown New Zealand

  • Experiencing a family adventure activity, the world’s most exciting jet boat ride – Shotover Jet!

Shotover Jet Queenstown

  • Experiencing farm life and enjoying a gourmet dinner at Walter Peak High Country Station.

TSS Earnslaw Walter Peak Farm Queenstown

  • Journeying through the heart of New Zealand and experiencing famous Milford Sound.

  • Visiting Arrowtown, a historic gold mining village transformed into a boutique shopping and dining hub.

  • Driving over the lofty Crown Range and stopping for sweeping views of the valley below. Touch snow in winter.
  • Travelling through Haast Pass, past hanging glaciers and pounding waterfalls and turquoise rivers.
  • Flying over the magnificent Franz Josef Glacier on a helicopter tour, and landing in the pristine snow!

Glacier helicopter guided tour New Zealand with snow landing

  • Traversing the Southern Alps by train as you travel from Greymouth to Christchurch.

TranzAlpine Train New Zealand

Your privately guided tour includes:

  • All transportation within New Zealand including Airport Transfers
  • Excellent 4-star accommodation
  • Private tour guide
  • Sightseeing and Photo Stops En Route
  • TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise and High Country Farm Dinner
  • Shotover Jet – the world’s most exciting Jet Boat ride!
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise ex Queenstown by Scenic Coach
  • Scenic Heli Flight over Franz Josef Glacier with Snow Landing
  • TranzAlpine Scenic Train Journey Greymouth to Christchurch

** Your privately guided tour does NOT include flights, food (except where included in activities) or travel insurance.

 

Pricing

As guide prices are split between travellers, the pricing will vary depending on the number of travellers on your tour.

1 Traveller:    NZD$17,899

2 Travellers:  NZD$9649 per adult | NZD$9099 per child

3 Travellers:  NZD$7299 per adult | NZD$6749 per child

4 Travellers:  NZD$6099 per adult | NZD$5599 per child

5 Travellers:  NZD$5399 per adult | NZD$4899 per child

6 Travellers:  NZD$4949 per adult | NZD$4399 per child

7 Travellers:  NZD$4599 per adult | NZD$4049 per child

8 Travellers:  NZD$4349 per adult | NZD$3799 per child

9 Travellers:  NZD$4349 per adult | NZD$3799 per child

10 Travellers: NZD$4149 per adult | NZD$3599 per child

11 + Travellers:  Please enquire for your custom quote