9 Day AAT Kings Southern Wonders 25/26
Christchurch to Christchurch
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
AAT Kings

9 Day AAT Kings Southern Wonders 25/26

Explore the dramatic South Island on this 9 day tour. Crossing the Southern Alps to the Wild West Coast and Franz Josef Glacier. Travel through Mt Aspiring National Park to Queenstown, the Alpine Resort town is renowned for its exciting activities and spectacular scenery. Enjoy a cruise on Milford Sound before crossing the rolling hills of Southland towards Dunedin, 'the Edinburgh of the South'. Through the Waitaki region and onto the magical high country of Mackenzie before returning to the garden city of Christchurch.
 

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Tour summary and feature
Quick Itinerary Details

Guided Coach Touring

This suggested tour costs from NZD$5,705 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 102 times in the last 7 days

Tour Inclusions

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Milford Sound Cruise
TranzAlpine Rail Journey
TSS Earnslaw cruise and dinner at Walter Peak high country farm, Queenstown
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Christchurch

Day 2: Christchurch - Franz Josef

Day 3: Franz Josef - Queenstown

Day 4: Queenstown Free Time

Day 5: Queenstown - Te Anau

Day 6: Te Anau - Dunedin

Day 7: Dunedin - Omarama

Day 8: Omarama - Christchurch

Day 9: Farewell from Christchurch

Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Christchurch Tramway

You don’t have to arrive in Christchurch early, but we recommend you do – this South Island city has some of New Zealand’s most innovative architecture, not to mention forward-thinking restaurants and bars. Spot them aboard the Christchurch Tram, linking some of the city’s most legendary attractions. Your conductors are quite the entertainers.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Hotel Christchurch (1 night)
Franz Josef Glacier

Your South Island New Zealand Tour starts on a literal high as you jump aboard the TranzAlpine train, crossing the Canterbury Plains towards the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass. This is one of the world’s most scenic rail experiences, through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. At the other end of the line is Hokitika, the home of 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. Just when you thought your day couldn’t get any better, Franz Josef Glacier twinkles on the horizon. You don’t get many chances in life to land and walk on a glacier, and enjoy a Franz Josef Glacier tour. This afternoon is one. How cool is that?

View from Skyline Gondola

Over the Haast Pass, alpine drama awaits. The Southern Lakes deserve their name: there are almost more waterways here than you can count. First up there’s lovely Lake Wanaka, with its Instagrammable shoreline of poplars and willows. Followed by oh-so-blue Lake Hawea and Lake Dunstan, where you’ll pause to refuel on flavour-packed stone fruit. As tempting as it is to linger in Arrowtown’s movie-set-like streets, lined with trees and character-filled boutiques, Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables await in Queenstown.

Staying in:

  • Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown (1 night)
Walter Peak trip across Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw

Your New Zealand guided tour takes you from Christchurch to Queenstown. And the adventure capital of New Zealand doesn’t disappoint when it comes to activities that are fast and furious. Take your pick of zipping about on the high-octane Shotover Jet or exploring the natural drama of Skippers Canyon. Prefer life at a more leisurely pace? Opt to step onto a Lord of the Rings movie set or sip your way through surrounding vineyards. 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)
Sign to Te Anau

Nature rules today as you motor from the Mirror Lakes through the Cleddau Valley. But this is just a teaser of what’s to come: World Heritage listed Milford Sound. A Milford Sound cruise across this dreamy expanse will give you goosebumps, its string of waterfalls creating a misty curtain across sheer escarpments. Look out for dolphins and fur seals – they’re a common sight here. The onward road through Fiordland National Park is an intoxicating union of beech forests, alluvial flats, meadows and gin-clear rivers, carving up the countryside en route to Te Anau. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any more magical, glowworm-filled caves make an appearance. We highly recommend a visit.

Staying in:

  • Distinction Luxmore Hotel (1 night)
Dunedin Railway Station

The South Island’s biggest lake is a blissful place for an invigorating morning walk. If it doesn’t set your pulse racing, than your outlook of rolling green hills dotted with doe-eyed sheep surely will. This bucolic countryside surrounds the city of Dunedin. While away the afternoon in atmospheric art-lined alleys or sipping a lager or two in Speight’s Brewery (a national institution). Or venture further afield to discover the wildlife that thrives in this pretty pocket of the country – fur seals and penguins among them.

Staying in:

  • Scenic Hotel Dunedin City (1 night)
Larnach Castle in the Summer Sun

Did you know that Dunedin takes its name from the Scottish word for Edinburgh? The city nods to its European heritage at Larnach Castle – the only one of its kind in the country – as well as through the grounds of Otago University and along the city’s main George Street. Explore at your leisure, before venturing on to New Zealand’s oldest public gardens and grand limestone buildings at Oamaru.

Staying in:

  • Heritage Gateway Hotel (1 night)
View of Lake Tekapo

If there’s a lake with a more vivid turquoise colour than Tekapo, we’re yet to see it. It’s made even more dramatic by snow-capped mountains and atmospheric towns that surround. Take it in from the air for added perspective of the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Back on the ground, you’re becoming reacquainted with Christchurch, your in-the-know guide pointing out the city’s miraculous transformation over the last decade. Local spirit is strong here.

Staying in:

  • Ibis Hotel Christchurch (1 night)
AAT Coach Crew

If you feel like you’ve only seen the tip of the South Island’s iceberg, you’d be correct. This beguiling part of the country could keep travel enthusiasts entertained for eons. Thankfully, we have more itineraries – ask your Travel Director and start planning your next trip to New Zealand.

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9 Day AAT Kings Southern Wonders 25/26

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Departure dates and prices
This tour has 12 departure dates.
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Starts Status Twin/Double Single occupancy  
Apr 7, 2025
(Monday)
NZD$5,860 NZD$7,710 Enquire Book
Sep 29, 2025
(Monday)
NZD$5,705 NZD$7,504 Enquire Book
Oct 27, 2025
(Monday)
NZD$5,705 NZD$7,504 Enquire Book
Nov 17, 2025
(Monday)
NZD$5,705 NZD$7,504 Enquire Book
Dec 8, 2025
(Monday)
NZD$5,705 NZD$7,504 Enquire Book
Dec 29, 2025
(Monday)
NZD$5,705 NZD$7,504 Enquire Book
Jan 26, 2026
(Monday)
NZD$5,860 NZD$7,710 Enquire Book
Feb 9, 2026
(Monday)
NZD$5,860 NZD$7,710 Enquire Book
Feb 23, 2026
(Monday)
NZD$5,860 NZD$7,710 Enquire Book
Mar 9, 2026
(Monday)
NZD$5,860 NZD$7,710 Enquire Book
Mar 23, 2026
(Monday)
NZD$5,860 NZD$7,710 Enquire Book
Mar 30, 2026
(Monday)
NZD$5,860 NZD$7,710 Enquire Book
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