10 day Southern Icons
Christchurch to Christchurch
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Thrifty Tours

10 day Southern Icons

This 10 day is one of our most popular, taking in the best of the South Island. With a great balance of included activities and free time, plus of course the must see locations you get to experience.

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Please note: The TranzAlpine train is currently operating on a reduced schedule and some departure dates for this tour may be affected. However if you are unable to select an alternate date our team of NZ experts can re-arrange these itineraries to accommodate. Just get in touch with us tell us what you need.

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Quick Itinerary Details

Independent tour (bus & coach)

This suggested tour costs from NZD$4,920 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

10 days/9 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 455 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

Day 1: Welcome to Christchurch, transfer to accommodation, rest of day at leisure
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Day 2: Christchurch to Mt Cook National Park
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel Room Mount Cook View

Day 3: Mt Cook National Park to Dunedin
Accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Day 4: Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
Accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Day 5: Dunedin to Te Anau
Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 6: Te Anau to Milford Sound, nature cruise then return to Queenstown
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 7: Free day to explore Queenstown
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 8: Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 9: Franz Josef to Greymouth train station, Tranz Alpine train to Christchurch
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Day 10: Depart Christchurch today

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 10 day tour starting in Christchurch

Day 1 - Welcome to Christchurch, transfer to accommodation, rest of day at leisure
10 day Southern Icons - Day 1
Private transfer Christchurch Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Christchurch accommodation.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Hop On Hop Off City Tour - 24 Hour Pass

Discover the true magic of city sightseeing on-board this city tour bus. With a mix of open and closed top buses, you will ride in comfort and style, ...

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Discover the true magic of city sightseeing on-board this city tour bus. With a mix of open and closed top buses, you will ride in comfort and style, enjoying spectacular views. Join friendly local guides as they take you on a journey of discovery through Christchurch. Listen to "live" entertaining and informative commentary and learn about the fascinating history, from pioneering days to modern times.

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Your accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

The Heartland Hotel Cotswold is just a few minutes walk to boutique shopping at Merivale and Hagley Park. The distinctive architecture of the Heartland Hotel Cotswold reflects Christchurch's image as the most English of cities outside of England.
Day 2 - Christchurch to Mt Cook National Park
10 day Southern Icons - Day 2
Christchurch to Aoraki/Mount Cook Small Group Tour

This small group, fully-guided day trip combines all of the key highlights in the area with the famous Lake Tekapo, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and Tasman Glacier. The ultimate way to get from Christchurch to Aoraki/Mount Cook. Led by famously passionate tour guides, notorious for bringing your journey to life by sharing their stories and rich background knowledge and run in modern, comfortable minibuses packed with extras ensuring your comfort and safety.

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass

A tribute to New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary - humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world's greatest explorers - the centre showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region and its people within a comprehensive museum as well as a 126-seat custom-designed theatre and Digital Dome Planetarium.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel Room Mount Cook View

The Hermitage Hotel ringed by magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, is a world-renowned tourist destination and has been an icon of superior accommodation and dining since 1884.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Mt Cook National Park to Dunedin
10 day Southern Icons - Day 3
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and on...

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Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat.  These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

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Mount Cook to Dunedin with Iconic

In the afternoon you will be picked up from your accommodation in Mt Cook Village for the journey through to Dunedin. Along the way you stop for a short break in Omarama, then onto Oamaru for a scenic tour of the historic Whitestone Prectinct. You will then enjoy a guided walk along Koekohe Beach at Moeraki Boulders before reaching Dunedin, where you will be dropped off at your accommodation.

Your accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Distinction Dunedin Hotel occupies the grand Chief Post Office built in the 1930’s. This art deco inspired building has recently been transformed into a 4 star hotel with elegant décor, set in the heart of the city.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
10 day Southern Icons - Day 4
Castle to Cruise Tour + Penguin Place

Today you'll explore the wildlife and history of the Otago Peninsula. You'll be welcomed to the MV Monarch for a wildlife cruise around Taiaroa Head, home to the world's only mainland nesting site for royal albatross. Scattered along the rocks you'll also see New Zealand fur seals basking in the sun and possibly New Zealand sea lions on the beach. In the water you may also see penguins, dolphins and other marine birds. Back on land you'll take a guided tour of New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle built in 1871. Learn of the scandals and history of the castle and explore the beautiful garden of international significance. Your final stop of the day is to Penguin Place, a natural nesting site for the rarest penguin in the world, the Yellow Eyed Penguin.

Your accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Distinction Dunedin Hotel occupies the grand Chief Post Office built in the 1930’s. This art deco inspired building has recently been transformed into a 4 star hotel with elegant décor, set in the heart of the city.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5 - Dunedin to Te Anau
10 day Southern Icons - Day 5
Dunedin to Te Anau Transfer

The drive to Te Anau takes you through classic Southland farmland scenery. Pass through the tranquil river town of Balclutha, the largest town in South Otago, which hosts a range of shops and services. Balclutha is memorable for its arched concrete bridge, under which flows the mighty Clutha River. The river is open for salmon and trout fishing all year round.
As you head inland, you will pass through the small rural town of Clinton before reaching Gore, the official home of country music. It's also known for great fly fishing, with the Mataura River and many other productive streams close by. Take time to enjoy the lush farmland scenery as you journey east towards your lakeside destination of Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.

Your accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

The perfect base for all your Fiordland travel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable accommodation right in the heart of Te Anau.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6 - Te Anau to Milford Sound, nature cruise then return to Queenstown
10 day Southern Icons - Day 6
Premium Milford Sound Small Group Tour, Cruise & Picnic Lunch

This small group, fully-guided day trip combines the amazing return journey to Milford Sound with a boutique Milford Sound Cruise aboard Cruise Milford. Led by famously passionate tour guides, notorious for bringing the journey to life by sharing their stories and rich background knowledge and run in modern, comfortable minibusses packed with extras ensuring your comfort and safety.

Your accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

The Heartland Hotel Queenstown is the ideal place to stay if you want to be close to all the action of Queenstown's main centre, yet be elevated enough to take advantage of the spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu to the mountains.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7 - Free day to explore Queenstown
10 day Southern Icons - Day 7
Free day in Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic, and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour.
Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata' or simply take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Wilderness Jet

Journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park, where myth, heritage and fantasy come to life.As one of Queenstown’...

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Journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park, where myth, heritage and fantasy come to life.
As one of Queenstown’s most exhilarating activities, the Wilderness Jet adventures on a spectacular journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mount Aspiring National Park.

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SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola Queenstown and Buffet Dinner

With breathtaking views across Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, the Skyline Complex is a must-do. Catch the fully enclosed gondola to the summit for a re...

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With breathtaking views across Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, the Skyline Complex is a must-do. Catch the fully enclosed gondola to the summit for a remarkable panorama of the city surrounds. Wander the outdoor viewing decks then enjoy a gourmet buffet meal in the Stratosphere Restaurant.

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SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Arrowtown and Around Tour

Discover Queenstown, Arrowtown and the surrounding regions amazing scenery with a local knowledgeable guide. Enjoy the region’s best sights and ...

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Discover Queenstown, Arrowtown and the surrounding regions amazing scenery with a local knowledgeable guide. Enjoy the region’s best sights and history on a small group guided tour leaving from Queenstown. Includes stops at a bee farm to taste premium Manuka Honey, Queenstown Hill for views over Lake Wakatipu, the Kawarau Bungy bridge, and Lord of the Rings site with free time to explore in Arrowtown.

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Your accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

The Heartland Hotel Queenstown is the ideal place to stay if you want to be close to all the action of Queenstown's main centre, yet be elevated enough to take advantage of the spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu to the mountains.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8 - Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier
10 day Southern Icons - Day 8
Queenstown to Franz Josef with Glacier Shuttles

Leaving Queenstown, travel past picturesque scenery of massive mountain peaks and crystal-clear blue lakes. Travel across the Haast Pass to the other side of the Southern Alps, the landscape changes dramatically. Welcome to the wild and wonderful West Coast, a remote and unspoiled region. Wind your way past native rainforest, rocky coastlines and powerful waterfalls. Your journey concludes in the village of Franz Josef, your base for exploration of the area.

Glacier Valley Shuttle

You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Shuttles and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Shuttles.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Only a breath away from the Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel is located in the heart of Franz Josef Village. Here you will find all of the amenities you would expect, as well as being close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer in the beautiful Westland region.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9 - Franz Josef to Greymouth train station, Tranz Alpine train to Christchurch
10 day Southern Icons - Day 9
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station with Hokitika Scenic Tours

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island from the west to the east coast through Arthur's Pass National Park. From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private Transfer Christchurch Train Station to your accommodation

On arrival at the Christchurch train station, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

The Heartland Hotel Cotswold is just a few minutes walk to boutique shopping at Merivale and Hagley Park. The distinctive architecture of the Heartland Hotel Cotswold reflects Christchurch's image as the most English of cities outside of England.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10 - Depart Christchurch today
10 day Southern Icons - Day 10
Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Airport

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Christchurch Airport in time for your departing flight.

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10 day Southern Icons

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Remember - we can create this itinerary with any style of accommodation or customise to suit your interests and timeframe. Just contact us here.

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