Dunedin and Southern Lakes South Island Family Tour
South Island Self Drive from Queenstown to Queenstown
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

Dunedin and Southern Lakes South Island Family Tour

Experience the mountains and alpine lakes of the South Island on this family tour, based from the Adventure Capital of Queenstown.  Highlights throughout include a close up encounter with the rare yellow eyed penguins in Dunedin. On reaching Queenstown you'll journey up the Skyline Gondola for a bird's eye view of the mountains and lake.  The next day you'll cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Station for a kiwi style BBQ lunch and farm tour.

Tour summary and feature

South Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$1,284 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Queenstown, finishes in Queenstown

6 days/5 nights

Motels

 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible

 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers

 Viewed 8 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

At a glance - Dunedin and Southern Lakes South Island Family Tour

Day 1: Welcome to Queenstown. Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Day 2: Today you'll cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship for a farm tour and BBQ lunch. Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Day 3: Explore more of Queenstown's scenery and activities. Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Day 4: Pass through historic gold mining towns and bountiful orchards to on your way to Dunedin. Accommodation: Motel on York
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 274 kms / 170 miles : 3.3 hours

Day 5: Discover the unique wildlife of the Otago Peninsula. Accommodation: Motel on York

Day 6: Leaving Dunedin, head to Queenstown for your onward travel.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 278 kms / 172 miles : 3.5 hours

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 6 day tour starting in Queenstown

Day 1 - Welcome to Queenstown

Dunedin and Southern Lakes South Island Family Tour - Day 1
Collect your rental car

This tour can be priced with any of the rental cars available in our fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige saloons and SUV's.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

Access to our exclusive New Zealand Touring APP. The APP includes your full itinerary and reservation details, all available online and offline as well as lots of other great information such as restaurant guides, weather forecasts and local activity suggestions. Instant itinerary updates and changes are available and it's easy to keep in touch with us. The App is free and easy to download on your mobile using Android or IOS.
You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

Your accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

The Garden Court Suites and Apartments are located just seven minutes walk from the heart of Queenstown. Self contained apartment rooms provide everything you need for your stay.

Day 2 - Today you'll cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship for a farm tour and BBQ lunch

Dunedin and Southern Lakes South Island Family Tour - Day 2
TSS Earnslaw cruise and Walter Peak Farm tour including gourmet BBQ lunch

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience - a delicious barbeque lunch and farm tour in a stunning lakeside setting. First take a scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw - one of the last remaining fully functional coal-fired passenger ships in the southern hemisphere. The vintage steamship was originally built in Dunedin and once completed it was dismantled, shipped by rail to Kingston and then reassembled before being launched onto the lake where it has been transporting goods and passengers since 1912.

Disembark and take in the picturesque shores of the Station. Relax on the lakeside terrace at the Colonel's Homestead Restaurant and savour the aromas of the best local produce being cooked on the grill. The seasonal menu has plenty to choose from - salads, vegetables and succulent meat. If you're vegetarian, you will be well catered for also. Finish your meal with a scrumptious dessert before joining an entertaining farm demonstration or exploring the beautiful lakeside gardens.

Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere! From which you can take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Coronet Peak and the magnificent Lake Wakatipu.

Your accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

The Garden Court Suites and Apartments are located just seven minutes walk from the heart of Queenstown. Self contained apartment rooms provide everything you need for your stay.

Meals included: Lunch

Day 3 - Explore more of Queenstown's scenery and activities

Dunedin and Southern Lakes South Island Family Tour - Day 3
Explore Queenstown and surrounds

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 Valley 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.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.
Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Jet Canyon Jet Boat Ride

Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the Shotover River Canyons. It's a thrilling ride! Skim past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet 'Big Red', as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight - hold tight for the world-famous Shotover Jet full 360-degree spins!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Adventure Quad Bike Tour

The Adventure Quad Bike Tour offers tailor made tours for families, beginner and experienced riders across 11,000 acres of New Zealand's best off-road terrain. The adventure tour is designed for those looking for excitement and a challenge. This tour gives you the most amount of ride time (1.5 hours) within the half day tour. You will begin your adventure at the gold workings on the Kawarau River and progresses up into the mountains. You will ride in small select groups according to ability, so whether you're a beginner or a professional you are guaranteed a challenging and exciting time.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Safaris Funyaks

The best way to see, touch and feel the breathtaking Dart River valley. Jet boat for 1¼ hours to the upper reaches of the Dart River, where visitors disembark and inflate their own canoe. After a full safety and paddling instruction, your Funyak journey begins. Paddle downstream on a glacier-fed river amidst rocky peaks and dense rainforests. Enjoy a sumptuous lunch and explore the Rock Burn Chasm and ancient beech forests. Paddle to Paradise then transfer to an awaiting back road coach for the return trip through Paradise. Funyaks is suitable for most ages with average fitness and no previous experience is required.

Your accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

The Garden Court Suites and Apartments are located just seven minutes walk from the heart of Queenstown. Self contained apartment rooms provide everything you need for your stay.

Day 4 - Pass through historic gold mining towns and bountiful orchards to on your way to Dunedin

Dunedin and Southern Lakes South Island Family Tour - Day 4
Queenstown to Dunedin

Your route today is a historic one with many small towns along the way. Go through the Kawarau Gorge and stop at one of its renowned wineries. The gorge is also home to the world's first commercial bungy jumping operation and a viewing platform lets you watch others as you build the courage to try it yourself - or not! A little further you'll come to Cromwell, sitting beside the man-made Lake Dunstan - created when the valley was flooded in 1992 as part of the hydro electric scheme. As a result, much of the original town is now submerged, but several historic buildings were relocated to 'Old Cromwell Town'.

Continue on through the Otago Goldfields. Pass the townships of Alexandra, Lawrence and Roxburgh - once with booming populations three times their current at the height of the 1800's gold-rush. Many of the old settlements remain and are worth a look if you can spare the time. Alexandra in more recent times has become the 'stone fruit capital' of New Zealand - named for its ideal fruit growing climate.  As you drive further south the landscape changes to rolling hills and windswept farmland - melding fluidly with the rugged coast of Dunedin, your destination for the night.

Your accommodation: Motel on York

Motel on York is located in the heart of Dunedin city. The property offers superior accommodation only 300 metres away from cafes and restaurants.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 274 kms / 170 miles : 3.3 hours

Day 5 - Discover the unique wildlife of the Otago Peninsula

Dunedin and Southern Lakes South Island Family Tour - Day 5
Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin City has a heavy Scottish influence. Surrounded by rugged coastal plains and windswept beaches it’s home to an eclectic mix of historical and modern architecture as well as industrial technology. Renowned for its Flemish Baroque-inspired ‘gingerbread house’ Railway Station, this university town is bustling with life. Head to the Saturday farmers market held in the aforementioned railway grounds for a taste of organic produce, handmade crepes and local honey. Explore the many cafes and wine bars in The Octagon, then continue on a self-guided walking tour of the internationally acclaimed Street Art dotted around the city. Drive to the coast and watch the freighters passing in the distance while you sunbathe, or hire a mountain bike and test your legs on one of the many trails available in the area. For a more immersive historical experience, follow the coast to New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle. On your way back be sure to head to the Otago Peninsula to see the largest mainland Albatross colony in the world.

Penguin Place Conservation Reserve Tour

Learn about the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin when you visit Penguin Place - a private conservation reserve dedicated to ensuring the survival of this unique species. The project is entirely funded by guided tours which allows the conservation team to engage in habitat restoration, predator control, a research program and an on-site rehabilitation facility. On your tour, you will learn about the issues the Yellow Eyed Penguin faces, their life cycle and how the project is carried out. You'll take a short bus trip over to the reserve and be led on foot by your guide through a system of covered trenches to viewing hides which allow access to the living and breeding habitat of this very shy bird without disturbing them.

Your accommodation: Motel on York

Motel on York is located in the heart of Dunedin city. The property offers superior accommodation only 300 metres away from cafes and restaurants.

Day 6 - Leaving Dunedin, head to Queenstown for your onward travel

Dunedin and Southern Lakes South Island Family Tour - Day 6
Dunedin to Queenstown

This drive takes you through the heart of the historical Otago Goldfields . The townships of Lawrence, Roxburgh and Alexandra - once booming mining towns in the late 1800's gold rush - now sleepy sun-traps bearing the little resemblance to their bustling past. However, some buildings do remain as do the original shafts and workings. In more recent times Alexandra has become the 'stone fruit capital' of New Zealand -  with the ideal climate for the trees. It is also a great place to buy some of the local produce. The road follows the South Island's longest river, the Clutha River, and at Clyde you will see one of the largest hydro power stations harnessing its energy before passing through the Gibbston Wine Valley to arrive at your destination today, Queenstown.  
 

Depart Queenstown today

Explore more of Queenstown before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 278 kms / 172 miles : 3.5 hours

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