The Southern Drift

Uncover unique locations, secret trails, striking landscapes, natural treasures and roads less travelled on this true exploration of New Zealand's South Island.

Discover New Zealand on this Inspiring Journey through the natural treasures of the South Island. From the still waters of Milford Sound/ Piopiotahi and snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps to the rolling hills of Central Otago, delve into the beauty of landscapes that have remained unchanged for millennia.

Prices are per person, in USD

  • $6,728.00 Adult Twin

  • $8,917.00 Single

Journey Overview

  • Start
  • End
  • Overnight Stays
  • Sightseeing

Journey Itinerary (Valid: 1 April 2024 - 31 March 2025)

Day Activity
1 Welcome to Christchurch

On arrival in Christchurch you will be transferred by private car to your hotel. Spend some time at leisure to relax or explore on your own. This evening, join your Journey Director for a Welcome Reception with local wines and canapés.

  • HOTEL - Hotel Montreal
2 Christchurch – TranzAlpine - Franz Josef/Waiau

It’s all aboard the TranzAlpine train. Rated as one of the world’s great scenic railway journeys, you’ll travel in comfort across the Canterbury Plains through the Southern Alps. From Arthur’s Pass, visit the small town of Hokitika. Later we continue to Franz Josef/Waiau. Your eco-friendly accommodation is set amid native bush, with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. This evening, why not enjoy Franz Josef’s/Waiau local geothermal hot pools?

  • MEALS - Breakfast, Dinner with wine
  • HOTEL - Te Waonui Forest Retreat 2 nights
3 Franz Josef/Waiau (Relaxed Start)

An experienced local guide will host you on a walking tour in one of the most pristine places on Earth. They will share their knowledge of the glacier region, leaving you with a whole new appreciation for Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere. Later, you may want to get up close to the glaciers on an optional helicopter flight.

  • MEALS - Breakfast
4 Franz Josef/Waiau – Arrowtown - Queenstown

This morning it’s time for an adventure as we travel in a purpose-built fully enclosed river jet boat and journey down the Haast River. After a lunch stop at Makarora we head to Queenstown, taking time to stop to explore the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown. The adventure-capital awaits you for your extended 3 night stay, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore it during an orientation tour when you arrive.

  • MEALS - Breakfast, Dinner with wine
  • HOTEL - Hotel St Moritz, 3 nights
5 Queenstown at Leisure

Today is at leisure to discover Queenstown – your way.

  • MEALS - Breakfast
6 Queenstown at Leisure

Make the most of your extended stay in Queenstown. Why not sit back and enjoy a peaceful cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand’s oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station. Tonight, enjoy a Local Dining Experience at one of Queenstown’s exclusive restaurants.

  • MEALS - Breakfast, Local Dining Experience
7 Queenstown – Te Anau - Milford Sound/Piopiotahi

Travel south along Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, which is nestled on the shores of the South Island’s largest lake. Stop for lunch at a local farm, where you will hear stories of life on the land and meet a cuddly animal or two. Continue through the rainforest of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Fiordland National Park, sighting glaciers, and mountain ranges en route to the amazing Mirror Lake before driving through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel. Spend the night aboard the iconic Milford Mariner and wake up in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The cruise style is relaxed, allowing plenty of time to view the fiord’s spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains, and diverse wildlife such as seals, penguins, and dolphins. Hear from the specialist nature guide on board or choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or small boat. The Milford Mariner offers the facilities of a larger ship while retaining the intimate atmosphere of a small ship. Onboard facilities are made up of spacious viewing decks, a dining saloon with fully licensed bar, as well as an observation lounge. Dining included in your cruise are hors d’oeuvres followed by a sumptuous three-course meal, as well as a choice between continental or a cooked breakfast.

  • MEALS - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with wine
  • HOTEL - Milford Mariner
8 Milford Sound/Piopiotahi - Invercargill

We leave the majestic Fiordland National Park for the fertile sheep-dotted pastures of South Otago through to Invercargill, a commercial hub full of grand architecture and gardens. A city obsessed with motoring history, there are tributes to speed legends across town, from Burt Munro to Bill Richardson and his shed full of classic vehicles. Enjoy a tour of the largest private collection of its type in the world. Later this afternoon you will have some free time to explore this city, and an evening free to seek out local hot spots.

  • MEALS - Breakfast
  • HOTEL - The Langlands, 2 nights
9 Invercargill (Stewart Island)

Board a ferry at Bluff and cruise to Stewart Island, known by locals as Rakiura the Māori 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. 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 you will join a leisurely cruise, including a picnic lunch, 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. Travel back to Invercargill for a relaxed dinner.

  • MEALS - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with wine
10 Invercargill - Dunedin

Enjoy a relaxed start in Invercargill before departing for Dunedin. Visit Dunedin Craft Distillers, the first distillery in Aotearoa New Zealand and one of only a handful worldwide, to produce botanical spirits from surplus bread and bakery products that would otherwise go to landfill. Discover on this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience how owners, Jenny McDonald and Sue Stockwell do it, on a ‘Bread to Bottle Tour’ which takes you through the process used to turn bread into spirits. Venture just next door for a special chocolate tasting journey at OCHO Chocolate.

  • MEALS - Breakfast, Dinner with wine
  • HOTEL - Distinction Dunedin
11 Dunedin – Christchurch

Travel up the east coast of the South Island via Omarau and Timaru to Christchurch for a sightseeing tour. This evening, toast your tour at a Celebration Dinner with your new-found friends and Journey Director.

  • MEALS - Breakfast, Celebration Dinner
  • HOTEL - Hotel Montreal
12 Farewell from Christchurch

Say farewell to your fellow travellers as we transfer you by private car to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight.

  • MEALS - Breakfast

Unique Highlights

Authentic and Engaging Experiences

  • Immerse
    3 Immerse Milford Sound Cruise GettyImages 1200 800


    Delve deep into the natural wonders of Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, with specialist nature guides sharing their knowledge of this mystical landscape.

  • Indulge
    4 Indulge generic GettyImages 1200 800


    Join a behind-the-scenes tour at Dunedin Craft Distillers. OCHO Chocolate, and embark on a culinary discovery of Queenstown.

  • Explore
    5 Explore Tranz AlpineOn River Bend 1200 800


    Journey down the Haast River in a fully enclosed jet boat, and discover the remarkable glacial valley where temperate rainforest thrives.

  • Relax
    6 Relax milfordlodge 1200 800


    Take a dip in the Franz Josef/Waiau local geothermal hot pools and relax and rejuvenate after a day of discovering the South’s natural wonders.

The Southern Drift

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Additional Information

What's Included
  • 18 meals including 11 breakfasts, 7 dinners, Welcome Drinks
  • Specialist team of two highly experienced Journey Director and Driver Guide
  • Local Specialists (Guides)
  • Mixture of boutique, unique and 5-star hotels
What to Bring
  •  Comfortable walking shoes
  •  Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
  •  Warm layers in cooler months, and a waterproof
  • Camera
  • A sense of adventure
Fitness Requirements
  •  Low level of fitness required
  •  11 Full buffet breakfasts
  •  7 Dinners with wine
Flight Information

Flights are not included in holiday price.

  • Day 1: Flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm into Christchurch Airport
  • Day 12: Flights to depart anytime from Christchurch Airport

Enjoy Your Stay

Explore the South Island of New Zealand

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