AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23
Christchurch to Wellington
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
AAT Kings

AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23

Discover the most pristine landscapes on the planet and gain an understanding of the rich Māori culture on this remarkable journey through New Zealand's South Island. From the drama of plunging glacial valleys and rugged snowcapped peaks to the serenity of silent, crystal-clear lakes, you'll be awed at every turn. The small but vibrant cosmopolitan cities studded throughout the Island are the human face of this natural wonderland.

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Quick Itinerary Details

Escorted coach tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$5,665 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 35 times in the last 7 days

Tour Inclusions

Interislander ferry crossing
Wellington City Tour
Christchurch City Tour
Paterson Inlet Cruise
Visit to Jade Factory
13 breakfasts, 4 dinners
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Welcome to Christchurch
Accommodation: Hotel Ibis (or similar)

Day 2: Head through the Mackenzie Basin and see turquoise lakes Pukaki and Tekapo before arriving in Omarama
Accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: Leaving Omarama you'll stop at the Benmore Dam and then Oamaru before crossing into the rugged hills of Dunedin
Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin (or similar)

Day 4: Dunedin south to Invercargill
Accommodation: Kelvin Hotel (or similar)

Day 5: A day to experience Stewart Island
Accommodation: Kelvin Hotel (or similar)

Day 6: From Invercargill to the adventure capital Queenstown
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)

Day 7: Experience the delights of this pristine alpine town on your free day
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)

Day 8: You'll see Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and the Haast Pass before ending your drive in Franz Josef Glacier
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (or similar)

Day 9: Travel up the wild West Coast to reach your destination, Punakaiki
Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort (or similar)

Day 10: Follow the Heritage Highway today through the Buller Gorge to arrive in Nelson
Accommodation: Rutherford Hotel Nelson (or similar)

Day 11: Explore the best of this seaside town or venture into the Abel Tasman National Park
Accommodation: Rutherford Hotel Nelson (or similar)

Day 12: Travel to Picton where you'll catch a ferry across the Cook Strait to Wellington
Accommodation: Travelodge Wellington (or similar)

Day 13: A day to explore New Zealand's capital city
Accommodation: Travelodge Wellington (or similar)

Day 14: Depart Wellington

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 14 day tour starting in Christchurch

Day 1 - Welcome to Christchurch
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 1
Welcome to Christchurch

Explore the ‘Garden City’ at your leisure. We recommend jumping aboard the tram for a Christchurch tour – the conductors are a hoot – to discover how the city has rebuilt itself since the devastating 2010/11 earthquakes. It’s changing the way architects think about design. Case in point the mind-bending Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library.

Your accommodation: Hotel Ibis (or similar)

Superbly situated in the very heart of the garden city, Hotel Ibis Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square, and is close to cafes, restaurants, museums and many of Christchurch's most popular attractions.
Day 2 - Head through the Mackenzie Basin and see turquoise lakes Pukaki and Tekapo before arriving in Omarama
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 2
Christchurch to Omarama

From its devastating 2010/11 earthquakes, Christchurch has become one of the most forward-thinking cities in the world when it comes to design. Case in point the mind-bending Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library. This Christchurch tour is as eye-opening as it is educational. From here, your outlook is the Canterbury Plains: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, snow-capped mountains and atmospheric towns. Choose to take it in from the air for added perspective, on an optional chopper flight around the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere.

Your accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel (or similar)

Positioned at the crossroads linking north, south, east and west, the Gateway Hotel features a full restaurant and cocktail bar with views of the Southern Alps, the Heritage Gateway Hotel has everything you need to rest and refresh.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Leaving Omarama you'll stop at the Benmore Dam and then Oamaru before crossing into the rugged hills of Dunedin
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 3
Omarama to Oamaru to Dunedin

Easing through the Waitaki Valley, you’re en route toward New Zealand’s oldest public gardens. They lie in the pretty town of Oamaru, known for its stately tree-lined streets and limestone buildings. Architectural drama of a different kind awaits in Dunedin. While away the afternoon in atmospheric art-lined alleys or sipping a lager or two in Speights Brewery (a national institution). Or venture further afield to discover Larnach Castle, which nods to Dunedin’s Scottish link – it’s known as ‘Little Edinburgh’ for a reason. In truth, it could also be known as ‘Little Galapagos’: fur seals and penguins thrive in this part of the South Island.

Your accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin (or similar)

This hotel, has panoramic views over the heart of Dunedin city including city icons and nearby countryside.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 4 - Dunedin south to Invercargill
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 4
Dunedin to Invercargill

Rolling green pastures dotted with wide-eyed sheep are your backdrop to Gore. Fun fact: this is the country music capital of New Zealand. Invercargill is obsessed with something else: motor vehicles. Tributes to speed legends colour the city, telling the story of everyone from Burt Munro to Bill Richardson – his shed full of classic vehicles is the largest private collection of its type in the world.

Your accommodation: Kelvin Hotel (or similar)

Positioned in the heart of Invercargill, The Kelvin Hotel is just a short walk to major attractions, cafes and restaurants.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 5 - A day to experience Stewart Island
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 5
Stewart Island

Board a ferry at Bluff and cruise to Stewart Island. Stewart Island is known by locals as Rakiura which is the Maori reference to Glowing Skies. It has been described as rugged, pristine and tranquil – and rightly so as 97% of the island is designated National Park and Conservation Estate. This means the birdlife, native flora & fauna and other natural environmental features have been able to thrive. Once you arrive, you will gain an entertaining insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community and learn about the history and environment of Stewart Island on a Village and Bays tour. Later, enjoy some free time. Join a guided sail around Paterson Inlet that will take you past unique places including Acker’s Cottage before docking at Ulva Island to admire the bird life and native flora. For a more active option you could hire an E-bike and explore the Island for yourself. Travel back to Bluff by ferry before arriving back to your accommodation in Invercargill.

Your accommodation: Kelvin Hotel (or similar)

Positioned in the heart of Invercargill, The Kelvin Hotel is just a short walk to major attractions, cafes and restaurants.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 6 - From Invercargill to the adventure capital Queenstown
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 6
Invercargill – Queenstown

Take today at your own pace. Like things fast and furious? Feel the wind in your hair on the high-octane Shotover Jet, perhaps, twisting and revving along Queenstown’s Shotover River. There’s a reason why Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the country. Wine aficionado? Sip your way through surrounding vineyards. Tours of the South Island don’t get much tastier than this. There’s also an afternoon cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue dinner.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 7 - Experience the delights of this pristine alpine town on your free day
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 7
Explore Queenstown at leisure

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.

Your accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront (or similar)

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 8 - You'll see Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and the Haast Pass before ending your drive in Franz Josef Glacier
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 8
Queenstown to Arrowtown, Wanaka and onto Franz Josef

As if Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu wasn’t pretty enough, you have a parade of gleaming waterways to keep you company today. After departing the movie-set-perfect streets of Arrowtown, discover Lake Dunstan, surrounded by orchards where you’ll pause to refuel on flavour-packed stone fruit. Then there’s Lake Hawea followed by Lake Wanaka, with its Instagrammable shoreline of poplars and willows. Over the Haast Pass, Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere sparkles like a gem. You don’t get many opportunities in life to land and walk on a glacier. This afternoon is one.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (or similar)

Located in the heart of Franz Josef Village the hotel offers all the amenities you would expect and is close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 - Travel up the wild West Coast to reach your destination, Punakaiki
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 9
Franz Josef to Punakaiki

There aren’t many communities on the wild West Coast, Hokitika is one, and boy does it make the most of its setting. 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; flutter your eyelids at your loved one. Prepare yourself for Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and blowholes; they owe their existence to the thundering surf that will lull you to sleep.

Your accommodation: Punakaiki Resort (or similar)

The Punakaiki Resort is a modern, award-winning hotel complex, architecturally designed to harmonise with the local environment. Nestled in the foothills of Papaproa National Park the resort has spectacular views of the Wild West Coast beaches while all rooms have rainforest and/or ocean views.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Follow the Heritage Highway today through the Buller Gorge to arrive in Nelson
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 10
Punakaiki to Nelson via the Buller Gorge

Sit back and relax – that’s all you have to do today as you ease along the Heritage Highway toward Nelson. Press your nose against the glass as your coach weaves through Buller Gorge – a deep canyon home to New Zealand’s longest swingbridge – and Kahurangi National Park, a place of wild rivers, high plateaus, alpine herb fields and coastal forests.

Your accommodation: Rutherford Hotel Nelson (or similar)

The Rutherford Hotel Nelson offers luxurious accommodation with a full complement of features designed to help you achieve the most from your stay. Situated at the doorstep of three national parks and an unmatched range of sandy beaches, blue seas and mountain wilderness.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 11 - Explore the best of this seaside town or venture into the Abel Tasman National Park
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 11
Explore Nelson or venture to Abel Tasman National Park

Sleep in or work up a sweat – today is completely at your leisure. We have a few ideas up our sleeve, of course. Lace up your hiking shoes and head off on a bushwalk, or sit back on a boat and soak up the silence of Abel Tasman National Park. This pocket in the north of the island inspires calm, its golden beaches framed by sculpted granite cliffs that all unite to create one of the country’s most legendary coastal tracks.

Your accommodation: Rutherford Hotel Nelson (or similar)

The Rutherford Hotel Nelson offers luxurious accommodation with a full complement of features designed to help you achieve the most from your stay. Situated at the doorstep of three national parks and an unmatched range of sandy beaches, blue seas and mountain wilderness.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 12 - Travel to Picton where you'll catch a ferry across the Cook Strait to Wellington
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 12
Nelson to Picton, then cruise the Cook Strait to Wellington City

You’ll want a window seat for the cruise from the South Island to the North Island aboard the Inter-islander. This spectacle unfolds as you glide through Queen Charlotte Sound, up the Tory Channel and across Cook Strait, navigating a maze of arms and inlets into New Zealand’s cool little capital of Wellington. We’ll gladly point you in the direction of one of the city’s happening restaurants for dinner tonight.

Your accommodation: Travelodge Wellington (or similar)

Located right in the city centre the Travelodge Wellington offers great accommodation and facilities all within easy walking of the city attractions.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 13 - A day to explore New Zealand's capital city
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 13
Explore Wellington City at your leisure

The best way to start a Wellington day is in one of its cafes. There are too many to count, and all are fab. You’ll need it to fuel your free day, whether that sees you catching up on Māori culture at Te Papa, the city’s mind-boggling museum, or perhaps taking a Wellington tour of the Parliament. Peter Jackson fans will set their sights firmly on a Lord of the Rings movie tour or a visit to Weta Workshop, where special-effects wizards work their magic creating goblins and dinosaurs for blockbuster films.

Your accommodation: Travelodge Wellington (or similar)

Located right in the city centre the Travelodge Wellington offers great accommodation and facilities all within easy walking of the city attractions.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14 - Depart Wellington
AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23 - Day 14
Transfer to Wellington airport

We hope you’ve packed your address book with the names of new friends and your camera with photos of New Zealand’s most inspiring attractions. But at the end of the day, it’s the memories that will fuel your flight home.

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AAT Kings 14 Day Southern Spirit 22/23

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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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Jan 5, 2023
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Feb 2, 2023
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was NZD$6,196
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Mar 9, 2023
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