14 Day AAT Kings Southern Spirit 23/24
Christchurch to Wellington
New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
AAT Kings

14 Day AAT Kings Southern Spirit 23/24

It’s hard to do the South Island of New Zealand justice in just two weeks. But we’ve been exploring this part of the country for years, and know which azure lakes, yawning gorges, gem-like glaciers and unpeopled beaches will set your heart racing. From Milford Sound tours to Franz Josef Glacier tours, Christchurch tours to Queenstown tours, get set for 14 days of eye-opening attractions glimpsed from planes, trains, automobiles and boats. This trip to New Zealand is hard to beat.

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Quick Itinerary Details

Escorted Coach Touring

This suggested tour costs from NZD$6,560 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Wellington

14 days/13 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 20 times in the last 7 days

Tour Inclusions

Christchurch City Tour
Cruise on the Interislander Ferry
Day trip to Stewart Island
Punakaiki Rocks
Wellington City Tour
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Welcome to Christchurch

Day 2: Christchurch - Omarama

Day 3: Omarama - Dunedin

Day 4: Dunedin - Invercargill

Day 5: Stewart Island

Day 6: Invercargill - Queenstown

Day 7: Queenstown

Day 8: Queenstown - Franz Josef

Day 9: Franz Josef - Punakaiki

Day 10: Punakaiki - Nelson

Day 11: Neslon

Day 12: Nelson - Wellington

Day 13: Wellington

Day 14: Farewell from Wellington

Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Christchurch Transitional Cardboard Cathederal

Arrive early to get your bearings on a self-guided Christchurch tour. The best way to do that? Aboard the Christchurch Tram. Your journey not only takes you past jaw-dropping attractions – like the Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library – but also tells an inspiring story of community spirit in the rebuilding and reinvigoration of the city since the 2010/11 earthquakes.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Hotel Christchurch (1 night)
Christchurch Tramway

We peel off a couple more layers on a guided Christchurch tour before setting the GPS for Lake Tekapo, a blinding shade of turquoise accented by the soaring snow-capped peaks and wildflower-strewn fields that surround. It’s quite the backdrop for the stone-hewn Church of Good Shepherd. Opt for a bird’s-eye view on a scenic flight, taking you over Mount Cook and the Southern Alps, as well as Franz Josef and Fox glaciers.

Staying in:

  • Heritage Gateway Hotel (1 night)
Aerial View of Otago Peninsula

Limestone put the pretty town of Oamaru on the map – its stately tree-lined streets are a parade of grand buildings. But it’s just as popular today for nurturing New Zealand’s oldest public gardens. Architectural drama of a different kind awaits in Dunedin, in the form of Larnach Castle, the only one of its kind in the country. This afternoon is at your leisure. We can point you in the direction of atmospheric art-lined alleys or toward Speights Brewery, a national institution. Or venture further afield on a Dunedin tour to discover the fur seals and penguins that pad around the Otago Peninsula.

Staying in:

  • Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin (1 night)
Dunedin Railway Station

If you find yourself humming a Garth Brooks tune en route to Gore, you’re probably not alone. Fun fact: this is the country music capital of NZ. Invercargill is obsessed with something else: motor vehicles. Tributes to speed legends colour the town, telling the story of everyone Burt Munro to Bill Richardson – his shed full of classic vehicles is the largest private collection of its type in the world.

Staying in:

  • Kelvin Hotel (1 night)
Aerial View of Stewart Island

Invercargill is the gateway to the southernmost community in the country. Welcome to Stewart Island, a wild and wonderful drop of land that is 97% national parkland. Naturally, it’s a magnet for endemic flora and fauna, as you’ll discover touring valleys and bays with a local. Forest-clad Ulva Island is avian heaven, completely pest free and an important breeding and nesting ground for all manner of birds.

Staying in:

  • Kelvin Hotel (1 night)
TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu Queenstown

Adventure, nature, food and wine, relaxation – Queenstown is like New Zealand’s chocolate box; there’s something for everyone. Talk to your Travel Director then head off in your own direction, perhaps to feel the wind in your hair on the high-octane Shotover Jet or bungy jumping off a bridge. Or to sip your way through surrounding vineyards. You might like to glide across Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm, where a gourmet barbecue dinner awaits. Today’s Queenstown tour is completely at your leisure.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown (1 night)
View from the Skyline Gondola in Queenstown

We wouldn’t blame you for using today to linger by the banks of Lake Wakatipu, marvelling at sky-scraping Remarkables. But if you want to venture further afield, we have a few ideas. Top of our list today is an epic journey through Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound, carved by waterfalls and a playground for dolphins and seals as you’ll discover on a Milford Sound cruise. There’s a reason why this part of the island has World Heritage status.

AAT Kings coach alongside a South Island lake

Atmospheric Arrowtown was born from gold, and its movie-set-like streets still shimmer today. It’s hard to tear yourself away, but the Alpine country of the Southern Lakes is calling, from Lake Dunstan – pause for juicy stone fruit picked fresh from the tree – to oh-so-blue Lake Hawea and lovely Lake Wanaka, with its shoreline of poplars and willows. Over the Haast Pass, Franz Josef Glacier glistens like nature’s gem. Get some perspective on an optional flight over this natural wonder – if the weather behaves, you may even get to land on it. How cool is this Franz Josef Glacier tour?

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

On the wild West Coast, Hokitika may be small in size, but boy is it big in personality, not to mention natural attractions. Wander the windswept coast before discovering the town’s other beauty: pounamu (native greenstone or jade). In Māori tradition, it’s bad luck to buy this sacred stone for yourself. That’s what your loved one is for, right? Steel yourself for Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and blowholes; they owe their existence to the thundering surf that will lull you to sleep.

Nelson Inlet

After action-packed days, all you need to do today is sit back and enjoy the drama of the Heritage Highway en route to Nelson. Gaze over Buller Gorge – a deep canyon home to New Zealand’s longest swingbridge – and Kahurangi National Park, a place of wild rivers, high plateaus, alpine herbfields and coastal forests.

Staying in:

  • The Rutherford Hotel (1 night)
Bell Tower in Nelson

The South Island’s oldest city, Nelson is the ideal starting point for outings through Abel Tasman National Park. This pocket in the north of the island is a beguiling union of golden beaches framed by sculpted granite cliffs. It’s home to one of the country’s most legendary coastal tracks, if you fancy stretching your legs on a hike. Otherwise, drift away on a cruise around the coast, revealing unpeopled bays and dreamy inlets. The choice is yours.

Staying in:

  • The Rutherford Hotel (1 night)
Interislander Cruise to Wellington

Your tour of the South Island is about to take you to the North Island. All aboard the Interislander for a cruise through Queen Charlotte Sound, up the Tory Channel and across Cook Strait, from the South Island to the North, navigating a maze of arms and inlets into New Zealand’s cool little capital of Wellington. Your local guide will help you get your bearings on a Wellington tour, then point you in the direction of some of the city’s most innovative restaurants and bars. Wellington is a bit of a foodie mecca.

Staying in:

  • Travelodge Wellington (1 night)
The Beehive in Wellington, NZ Parliment Building

Wellington also knows a thing or two about good coffee, and you’ll need a strong one to get you through today’s sightseeing. You may wish to linger in town, discovering Māori culture at Te Papa museum. Or head further afield on a Lord of the Rings movie tour or visit to Weta Workshop, where special-effects wizards work their magic creating goblins and dinosaurs for blockbuster films. Decisions, decisions.

Staying in:

  • Travelodge Wellington (1 night)
Wellington Cable Car

It’s hard to say goodbye to your tour of the South Island of New Zealand. If you can’t bear to leave, we have a few ideas up our sleeve to extend your holiday…

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14 Day AAT Kings Southern Spirit 23/24

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Starts Status Twin/Double Single occupancy  
Mar 7, 2024
limited space left
was NZD$6,935
now NZD$6,560
was NZD$9,807
now NZD$9,432
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