All about the 9 Day Best of South Island Christchurch to Christchurch Summer Tour

This 9-day adventure takes in all your bucket list things to see and do on the South Island. 

Highlights on this trip are sea kayaking in Doubtful Sound, two full days in Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand! Stargazing at the foot of Mt Cook, Seeing the fascinating Moeraki Boulders. Bus tour of the city sights of Christchurch, the stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery in the Fiordland National Park. Seeing the mighty Franz Josef Glacier, walking around the mirror-like Lake Matheson and admiring the stunning colours of the Blue Pools in Makarora.

Wildlife is abundant on this 9-day  great group guided tour for your adventure tour in New Zealand.

9 Day Best of South Island Christchurch to Christchurch Summer Tour Itinerary - 9 days

  • Day 1 Christchurch to Franz Josef
    Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your adventure begins with one of the world’s greatest train journeys, a ride on the TranzAlpine train. Check-in at the Christchurch Railway Station at 7:45 am, then sit back to watch the South Island’s most stunning scenery roll by just outside your window. You’ll travel across the vast Canterbury Plains, cross winding ice-fed rivers and traverse the majestic Southern Alps via Arthur’s Pass. Your train journey ends on the West Coast in the historic gold mining town of Greymouth, where you will meet your driver guide and coach. From there, we carry on to our overnight stop in the quaint little town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. (D)
    Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions
    Activities included: TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth
  • Day 2 Full day at Franz Josef
    Enjoy a free day and get out and explore the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on a Franz Josef Glacier guided tour which we highly recommend (own expense). There are also many excellent bush hikes available in the region. Tonight we self-cater, giving you the opportunity to dine at one of the local cafes and restaurants in town or make use of the communal kitchen at our accommodation. (B)
  • Day 3 Franz Josef to Makarora
    Today we head further down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in the breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson, NZ’s most photographed lake. See waterfalls as we travel through the mountainous Haast Pass towards Makarora then visit the stunning Blue Pools. On arrival in Mount Aspiring National Park we go jet boating to experience the best in shallow water boating, skimming just inches from the riverbed, viewing pristine waterways, snow-capped peaks and native bush. (B,D)
    Accommodation included: Unique mountain chalets
    Activities included: Walk around Lake Matheson – Mirror Lake, walk through beech forest to the Blue Pools, Jet Boat Mt Aspiring National Park
  • Day 4 Makarora to Doubtful Sound
    Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, with stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery; and it is our first port of call today. Within Fiordland we visit Doubtful Sound, the deepest of all the fiords, surrounded by towering peaks and huge waterfalls. We will board a purpose-built boat and enjoy complimentary afternoon tea while cruising past fur seals, penguins and dolphins. There are also sea kayaks available to explore the fiord. (B,D)
    Accommodation included: Overnight on the boat, anchored within a secluded bay in a UNESCO World Heritage Site
    Activities included: Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise, sea kayaking, wildlife spotting
  • Day 5 Doubtful Sound to Queenstown
    We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind stunning Fiordland to head for the ‘adventure capital of the world’, Queenstown. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with excellent restaurants, pubs and live music. (B)
    Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views
  • Days 6 and 7 Queenstown
    You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skydiving or walk up Ben Lomond or Queenstown Hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery around you and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. (2xB)
    Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views
    Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging
  • Day 8 Queenstown to Mt Cook
    We’ll jump back on the bus for a short drive to Wanaka, where we’ll spend the morning cycling along some of the world’s most beautiful lakeside bike paths. After lunch, we head over the Lindis Pass through the picturesque Mackenzie region to the base of the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. There is time for a hike through the Hooker Valley for breathtaking views of the dramatic mountain landscape, or opt to take an alpine scenic flight (own expense). This is also one of the best places in New Zealand to join an evening stargazing tour. (B,D)
    Accommodation included: Alpine Lodge
    Activities included: Mountain biking in Wanaka, scenic walk in Hooker Valley
    Optional activities: Big Sky Stargazing or scenic heli-flight
  • Day 9 Mt Cook to Christchurch
    Today we make our way through a landscape made famous in the 'Lord of the Rings' films. We’ll take a break for a stroll around Lake Tekapo, iconic for its historic church and turquoise waters. Between Tekapo and Christchurch, there is an option for thrill seekers to hop-off and join a top-notch Grade 5 whitewater adventure on the Rangitata River (own expense). Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch, where your driver guide will point out the highlights of the South Island’s largest city. The rafters will rejoin the group at the accommodation in Christchurch this evening. This is where your tour comes to an end – we hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! (B)
    Activities included: Explore Lake Tekapo area
    Optional activities: Rangitata white water rafting
Real Adventure Group Real People
Real Kiwi Says:
Make friends on tour with lots of international travellers, be part of our traveller community on and offline. We are continually hunting out and creating our own authentic, off the beaten track, stop-overs and activities that aren’t in the guidebooks or on TripAdvisor. Get the most out of your travels through our local guides. Our fun and enthusiastic guides get involved with your travel experiences. Smaller group sizes in New Zealand mean it’s easier to meet other travellers, you don’t feel herded around and it allows us to include connections to off the beaten track things which can’t be accessed by individuals travelling on public transport or with mainstream travel companies.

9 Day Best of South Island Christchurch to Christchurch Summer Tour Price information
NZD per person



Tour code: SH9
Secure your seat today with only a 10% deposit!
Multi-share (Shared facilities) October 2020 to May 2021
Twin/Double October 2020 to May 2021
Single - Sole Use October 2020 to May 2021

Departure information


Thursdays from Christchurch from 17 October 2019 to 30 Apr 2020

Thursdays from Christchurch from 15 October 2020 to 6 May 2021

Departure pick-up: 7.45 am Christchurch Railway Station (Troup Drive, Addington)

Finish: Christchurch at approximately 5 pm


More information

Important Notes

Things you need to know about this tour

Upgrade accommodation is excluded Doubtful Sound
Standard accommodation is 6-share in Whakahoro.
Luggage should be restricted to 15kg per person in a single bag, plus a small day pack.

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