9 Day AAT Kings Southern Spotlight
Christchurch to Christchurch
New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
AAT Kings

9 Day AAT Kings Southern Spotlight

The 9-day Southern Spotlight tour explores the wonderful scenery of the South Island. The city of Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Franz Josef Glacier and you take the world-famous TranzAlpine train from Arthurs Pass to Christchurch. With lots of opportunities to enjoy the many great optional tours and activities, this is the ideal tour for those wishing to see the best of the South Island at a relaxing pace.

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Quick Itinerary Details

Escorted Coach Touring

This suggested tour costs from NZD$4,365 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

9 days/8 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 47 times in the last 7 days

Tour Inclusions

Christchurch City Tour
Christchurch Tram
Franz Josef Glacier
Milford Sound Cruise
TranzAlpine Rail Journey
TSS Earnslaw cruise & dinner at Walter Peak high country farm, Queenstown
Visit a Local Orchard
8 breakfasts, 4 dinners, 1 special dinner
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Christchurch

Day 2: Christchurch - Omarama

Day 3: Omarama - Dunedin

Day 4: Dunedin - Te Anau

Day 5: Te Anau - Queenstown

Day 6: Queenstown Free Time

Day 7: Queenstown - Franz Josef/Waiau

Day 8: Franz Josef/Waiau - Christchurch

Day 9: Farewell from Christchurch

Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Christchurch City Tram

Since its 2010/11 earthquakes, Christchurch has reinvented itself in more ways than one. Discover how when you step back in time aboard the Christchurch Tram tour, linking some of the city’s most legendary attractions. Expect quite the commentary – your conductors are a hoot.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Hotel Christchurch (1 night)
View of Lake Tekapo

Christchurch is not only rebuilding itself after the devastating 2010/11 earthquakes, but is 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. After your Christchurch tour, your outlook is the Canterbury Plains: the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo, the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, snow-capped mountains and atmospheric towns. If you wish (and you should wish) take it in on an optional scenic flight for added perspective of the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef Glacier/Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere.

Staying in:

  • Heritage Gateway Hotel (1 night)
Dunedin Railway Station

If you’ve ever wanted to see New Zealand’s oldest public gardens, today you’re in luck. Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and limestone buildings, stands proud before you journey further south toward the Edinburgh of the South: Dunedin. It’s easy to while away the afternoon in the city’s atmospheric art-lined alleys. Or venture further afield to discover the wildlife that thrives in this pretty pocket of the country – fur seals and penguins among them. Thirsty? Visit Speights Brewery, a New Zealand institution.

Staying in:

  • Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (1 night)
View of Te Anau Lake

There are some days when you’re travelling, that all you want to do is sleep in. Go for it. Or channel your inner royalty on a visit to Dunedin’s grand Larnach Castle – the only one of its kind in the country. Dunedin’s Scottish ancestry is everywhere you look, from the manicured grounds of Otago University to the city’s main George Street. Rolling green hills dotted with doe-eyed sheep are replaced by soaring mountains as you weave your way into Fiordland National Park and the South Island’s biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. Soak up the serenity – it doesn’t get any better than this.

Staying in:

  • Distinction Luxmore Hotel (1 night)
Milford Sound Cruise

From the moment you step outside today, nature rules. Your route through Fiordland National Park is an intoxicating union of beech forests, alluvial flats, meadows and mirror-like lakes. Gin-clear rivers carve the countryside, with all roads leading to your Milford Sound/Piopiotahi tour. Cruising this World Heritage listed expanse will give you goosebumps, a string of waterfalls creating a misty curtain across sheer escarpments. Look out for dolphins – they’re a common sight here.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown (1 night)
View of 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. There’s a reason why Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the country. Nature lover? Discover some of New Zealand’s feathered friends at a wildlife centre. Wherever you wander, make sure you’re back in time to glide across Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Highlight Dinner.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown (1 night)
Road to Franz Josef

Try and keep count of today’s lakes. Leaving Lake Wakatipu behind, Arrowtown appears on the horizon. We know you’ll want to linger in the movie-set-like streets, lined with trees and character-filled boutiques. But Lake Dunstan awaits, as do its orchards. 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 chances in life to land and walk on a glacier. This afternoon is one. How cool is that?

TranzAlpine Train at the Station

Swap snow for pounamu (native greenstone or jade) in Hokitika. In Māori tradition, it’s bad luck to buy this sacred stone for yourself; flutter your eyelids at your loved one. Just when you thought your adventure couldn’t get any better, you’ll aboard the TranzAlpine train bound for Christchurch, through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Hotel Christchurch (1 night)
AAT Coach Crew

New Zealand’s South Island never fails to wow. We hope you find the words to describe this epic New Zealand tour to your family back home.

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9 Day AAT Kings Southern Spotlight

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Mar 17, 2024
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was NZD$4,484
now NZD$4,448
was NZD$6,009
now NZD$5,973
Mar 24, 2024
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was NZD$4,619
now NZD$4,365
was NZD$6,417
now NZD$6,163
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