21 Day South Island Paradise Private Guided Tour Package
Explore the South Island with a private guided tour personalised to suit your group. Our private guided tours are hosted by one of New Zealand’s leading tour guides. Your guide will meet your group at the airport and chauffeur your group to explore the destinations and activities included in your personalised tour package. They will tend to your needs and share valuable local knowledge with your group to enhance your holiday experience. We can cater for groups between 1-20 people.
Our private guided tour packages are flexible and are booked to suit your group’s travel dates and interests.
Private Guided Tour Package Includes:
- Private tour guide / driver
- Private vehicle including fuel (0-18 months old)
- 21 Nights in 4 Star Accommodation
- TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship Cruise & Walter Peak High Country Farm Evening Dining
- The Safaris of the Scenes – Lord of Rings 4WD Tour
- Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour
- Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise
- Taieri Gorge Railway Adventure
- Scenic Flight over Mount Cook and Glaciers
- Pohatu Penguins 4WD Nature Tour
- Christchurch Gondola, Tramway, Punting and Botanical Gardens Tour
- Gourmet Lunch Wine Tour Marlborough
- Abel Tasman Boat Cruise
- Airport transfers
Day 1 Arrive Queenstown
Arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. Your tour guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your Queenstown accommodation. In the afternoon explore downtown Queenstown with your tour guide.
In the evening get your holiday started and relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, the only coal fired passenger carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Step aboard – watch the stokers fueling the fireboxes and hear the hiss of the steam engines working as the TSS Earnslaw takes you on a nostalgic cruise over beautiful Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm where you will enjoy a stunning evening meal. An entertaining after dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high country farming life. Then on your return cruise, relax with a drink from the bar or join a fun sing-along with the ship’s pianist.
Stay 2 nights in Queenstown.
Day 2 Queenstown
Today explore the Lord of the Rings film locations around Queenstown on a spectacular half day 4WD adventure! This scenic safari offers breathtaking mountain and forest views along the shore of Lake Wakatipu towards Glenorchy and the Paradise Valley. Beyond Glenorchy travel up the Dart Valley to the filming location for Isengard, set amongst snow-capped mountains beside the turquoise waters of the Dart River. This setting offers views of Mt Earnslaw and it’s hanging glacier, used in the first instalment of The Hobbit trilogy. Explore the Paradise Forest, the location for the Forest of Lothlorien. Leaving Glenorchy and returning towards Queenstown stop at 12 Mile Delta to explore the location of the Ithilien Camp.
Day 3 Te Anau
Travel time Queenstown to Te Anau 171 km /106 miles, 2.5 hours
Journey alongside Queenstown’s stunning Lake Wakatipu and then through lush green farm land to reach Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
In the afternoon take the magical Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour. Explore a mysterious underground world of rushing water before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. Your Te Anau Glowworm Cave adventure begins with a cruise across beautiful Lake Te Anau on board the catamaran Luminosa to the western side of the lake. On arrival there is time to view the interesting displays at Cavern House before your friendly guides accompany you underground in small groups. As you explore by path and small boat, your senses will be overwhelmed. In this mysterious underground world discover fossils and rock formations, and view rushing waterfalls and whirlpools. Learn how the caves are still being carved out by the incredible and relentless power of nature, before gliding through silent darkness to the glowworm grotto. The delicate incandescence of thousands of tiny glowworms is a magical sight!
Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.
Day 4 Te Anau > Doubtful Sound
Travel time Te Anau to Manapouri 23 km /14 miles, 30 minutes
Today go on an amazing Doubtful Sound day excursion! Located deep in the heart of a World Heritage Area, Doubtful Sound is an overwhelming place. You can feel the power of nature here – the remoteness, the wilderness and the peace. In Manapouri board your luxury catamaran and cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri followed by a trip across New Zealand’s most expensive road Wilmot Pass, pausing along the way to experience the dense Fiordland rainforest and view Doubtful Sound glistening far below. In Doubtful Sound, you will board another catamaran for a three hour cruise through this pristine fiord. During the cruise your knowledgeable and friendly nature guides will share with you their passion for the region through their commentary. They will answer questions, point out landmarks and provide you with information about the varied wildlife you may encounter like dolphins, fur seals and the rare Fiordland crested penguin.
Relax and explore Te Anau in the evening.
Day 5 Dunedin
Travel time Te Anau to Dunedin 291 km / 180 miles, 4 hours
Travel to Dunedin, one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the southern hemisphere. Dunedin offers a diverse range of experiences including the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, the Speight’s Brewery, Larnach Castle and of course the stunning Otago Peninsula. Explore Dunedin and visit attractions of interest with your guide.
Stay 2 nights in Dunedin.
Day 6 Dunedin
Today join the Taieri Gorge Railway – one of the world’s great train trips and an experience not to be missed. Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station the Taieri Gorge Railway begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most ever-changing, spectacular and iconic scenery. The train travels into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep gorge carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River. The train negotiates the gorge with ease as it travels through ten tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts. The train will stop or slow down at various scenic points along the way for photos where you can disembark. Stand on the open air platforms while the train moves or enjoy a quiet drink and food from the onboard cafe while the train manager tells the story of the nature and history of the area.
Day 7 Lake Tekapo
Travel time Dunedin to Lake Tekapo 286 km /177 miles, 4 hours
The drive to Lake Tekapo is stunning. On the way you will first come across the Moeraki Boulders, where you will see unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the wave cut Otago coast between Moeraki and Hampden. Next you will pass through Oamaru, which is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and also features some of New Zealand’s best 19th century architecture. Then follow braided rivers and glacial lakes to reach Lake Tekapo. Lake Tekapo presents many world class attractions such as the famous Church of the Good Shepherd, the luxurious spa complex Tekapo Springs and of course the world famous Mt John Observatory.
Stay 2 nights in Lake Tekapo.
Day 8 Lake Tekapo
Today enjoy a spectacular scenic flightseeing tour of Mount Cook and Westland World Heritage National Parks. Explore the alpine wonderland of New Zealand’s highest mountains, mighty alpine glaciers and lush coastal rain forests. View turquoise glacial lakes, golden tussock lands & braided rivers of the Mackenzie basin plus remote High Country Sheep Stations. Highlights include Mount Cook, Tasman Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier & Fox Glacier! Every passenger has a window seat, all aircraft have wings-above for optimum viewing.
Relax in Lake Tekapo for the afternoon with your guide, exploring walking tracks and attractions such as the famous Church of the Good Shepherd, the luxurious spa complex Tekapo Springs and of course the world famous Mt John Observatory.
Day 9 Akaroa
Travel time Lake Tekapo to Akaroa 280 km /173 miles, 4 hours
This far reaching road adventure takes you from the mountains to sea level. Climb through the tussocky wilds of the Mackenzie Country before reaching the flat green tranquillity of the Canterbury Plains before arriving in Akaroa. Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of Banks Peninsula. Banks Peninsula is noted for its beauty and unique wildlife as craggy volcanic peaks give way to sandy beaches and two magnificent harbours.
Stay 2 nights in Akaroa.
Day 10 Akaroa
Today join Pohatu Penguins Nature Tours – Pohatu is home to the largest Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Enjoy a scenic 4WD Nature Tour! This is a scenic 4WD adventure over one of the highest passes on Banks Peninsula. It enables you to experience the spectacular and dramatic scenery from crater rim of ancient Akaroa Volcano to volcanic coastal cliffs and Akaroa Head Reserve & Lighthouse. Includes a scenic drive to Pohatu Marine Reserve with photo stops en route, penguin monitoring during penguin breeding season, a walk through the beautiful Tutakahikura Scenic Bush Reserve, opportunity to view the Banks Peninsula Tree Weta; great variety of native birds, photo stop at crater rim, visit a working sheep farm, scenic drive to Akaroa head reserve and lighthouse, plus enjoy tea, coffee and a muffin.
Day 11 Christchurch
Travel time Akaroa to Christchurch 81 km / 50 miles, 1.5 hours
Journey to New Zealand’s Garden City, Christchurch. In the afternoon experience all four of Christchurch’s must do activities! Christchurch Gondola, Tramway, Punting on the Avon River and Botanical Gardens Tour.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Day 12 Kaikoura
Travel time Christchurch to Kaikoura 180 km /111 miles, 2.5 hours
Travel along the South Island’s stunning East Coast to reach Kaikoura. Kaikoura is famous for its delicious seafood delicacies and of course whale watching!
Activity Option: to add on a Whale Watch Cruise or Flight.
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Day 13 Blenheim
Travel time Kaikoura to Blenheim 129 km / 80 miles, 2 hours
Relax in Kaikoura in the morning and discover this coastal paradise. In the afternoon meander around the coast to reach the Marlborough wine country. Marlborough is recognised internationally for its distinctive, herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest winemaking region, with about 65 wineries and 290 grape growers, and over 4,000 hectares planted in grapes, mainly Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer.
Stay 2 nights in Blenheim.
Day 14 Blenheim
Today enjoy a Gourmet Lunch Wine Tour. This tour is a special tour for people who want to relax and enjoy a beautiful meal in a winery restaurant during the tour. After a few wineries you will feel hungry for the beautiful smells in the wineries restaurants. Why not enjoy them too! The Gourmet tour lets you enjoy a lovely three course meal and a glass of delightful Marlborough Wine in one of the beautiful winery restaurants in this region. The starter is generally Breads and Dips to get your mouth watering. A main meal from the yummy range of choices on the menu. And for the sweet tooth a scrumptious dessert. And to compliment your main meal, a glass of the wineries estate wine to match your tastes and your food choice. After lunch visit a few more top wineries, before being delivered back to your accommodation.
Day 15 Abel Tasman
Travel time Blenheim to Abel Tasman 161 km /100 miles, 2.5 hours
Travel through native bush to reach the Abel Tasman area, renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, rich unmodified estuaries, long sunshine hours and the world-famous Abel Tasman Coast Track.
Stay 2 nights in Abel Tasman.
Day 16 Abel Tasman
Today enjoy a boat cruise into the Abel Tasman National Park where you can relax on the hot golden sand or enjoy a day walk within the park. You can enjoy a return boat cruise or disembark the boat at a location of your choice and catch another cruise back later in the day, the choice is yours.
Day 17 Hokitika
Travel time Abel Tasman to Hokitika 377 km / 243 miles, 5 hours
Discover the rugged West Coast as you travel to Hokitika, famous for its arts and crafts. Watch a masterpiece being crafted from gold, silver, molten glass, bone, silk or greywacke or carve your own creation from wood or jade “pounamu.” Take in Hokitika’s natural beauty, enjoy its expansive beach or one of the many walking and mountain bike tracks.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Day 18 Franz Josef
Travel time Hokitika to Franz Josef 136 km / 85 miles, 2.5 hours
Continue south through dense rain forest towards New Zealand’s glaciers. Stay in Franz Josef Glacier township.
Activity Option: in the afternoon take a 20 minute scenic helicopter flight sweeping above Westland National Park as you explore Franz Josef Glacier before landing in the snow to enjoy exceptional views of the majestic Southern Alps.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Day 19 Wanaka
Travel time Franz Josef to Wanaka 285 km / 177 miles, 4.5 hours
The change in landscape will amaze you as you travel down the West Coast with peeks of the Tasman Sea. Take the Haast Pass Highway and admire waterfalls and many viewing points and short walks along the way before reaching Wanaka, an alpine paradise with views so good it’s hard to put down your camera.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Day 20 Wanaka
Relax in Wanaka, exploring attractions with your guide such as Puzzling World, the National Toy and Transport Museum, the Warbirds and Wheels Museum, Have a Shot, Rippon Vineyard and Tasting Room and Paradiso Cinema.
Day 21 Queenstown
Travel time Wanaka to Queenstown 68 km / 42 miles, 1 hour
Drive over the Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest State Highway and admire vistas from fantastic viewing points before arriving back in the stunning alpine resort of Queenstown. Relax and explore Queenstown in the afternoon and celebrate a fantastic holiday!
Stay 1 night in Queenstown.
Day 22 Depart Queenstown
Depart Queenstown. Your guide will personally deliver you to the airport ready for your departing flight.