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NZ South Island First Class Drive Tour & Flights


This South Island self-drive tour starts in Christchurch and includes stops in Dunedin, Te Anau, Queenstown and Mount Cook. Includes a spectacular Milford Sound nature cruise, as well as the comfort of 4-star hotels, car hire and flights from Australia!

Trip Details:

NZ South Island Self-Drive Itinerary with 4-Star Hotels – 11 Days:

Enjoy exploring New Zealand at your own pace with a South Island trip that’s packed full of highlights and inclusions. It’s worry-free travel with pre-booked flights, car hire and 4-star accommodation!

This South Island loop takes you along the coast between the South’s two largest cities, Christchurch and Dunedin. In Dunedin you have time to explore the unique wildlife of the Otago Peninsula. Continue south to Te Anau, the gateway to Milford Sound, where you’ll cruise the length of the fiord.

This 11-day self-drive tour wouldn’t be complete without 2 nights in the ‘Adventure Capital’ of Queenstown, before you follow the Southern Alps north to Mt Cook National Park and back to Christchurch.

Why you’ll love this trip:

  • Your itinerary is planned to make the most of your time, but you get to explore at your leisure
  • Enjoy 4-star accommodation in Christchurch, Dunedin, Te Anau, Queenstown and Mount Cook
  • The convenience of having your own rental car means you can stop off at all those little places you want to see along the way
  • Flights to New Zealand are included!

Your Holiday Includes:

  • Flights – Return economy airfare to Christchurch from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane (contact us for other cities)
  • Accommodation – 10 nights in 4-star hotels with private facilities
  • Car hire – Economy car rental included for duration of self-drive itinerary
  • Transfer – Private airport transfer to hotel upon arrival in Christchurch
  • Sightseeing – Milford Sound Nature Cruise with lunch

Departs Regularly:

2023 – 01 February to 25 March, 25 April to 10 June, 25 July to 10 September, 10 October to 30 November

Note: Prices may vary depending on your departure date and are subject to confirmation by the airlines, hotels & local operators. Please contact us for current rates.

Get the Brochure:

View Brochure

Click on the button to view or download a copy of the brochure. The brochure includes more details and the full itinerary.

Want to Stay Longer?

You can extend your holiday with extra nights in Christchurch or add on a trip to the North Island.

Ask us today about staying at other properties or adding more services. We are happy to design a holiday that will suit you best.

Travelling Solo?

We can look after you! Please contact us for single traveller rates.

Booking Conditions:

This special deal is valid for a limited time.

Prices are correct as of 29 November 2022. Please contact us for current rates.

All prices are per person, based on twin share, and listed in Australian dollars (AUD). The package is subject to confirmation at the time of booking and prices may change without notice. Booking conditions and cancellation fees apply.

Please read Australia & New Zealand Travel Company’s Terms & Booking Conditions prior to making a reservation. By booking any travel service with us, you have agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions.

How to Book

To make a booking please call Australia & New Zealand Travel Company on 1300 168 910 or email reservations@anztravelco.com.

You can also select a trip and request it via this website – please make sure you enter the quantity for the number of people travelling. In the ‘Additional Information’ field on the Checkout page, add your preferred departure date plus any other information that will help us process your booking, such as departure city and travel preferences.

No payment is required to submit an online booking request, but your booking is pending and no place is being held. Your booking status will be advised when you hear from our travel consultants. Bookings are normally actioned within 24 hours – Monday to Friday.

Itinerary & Booking Info

Travel Style

Independent Self-Drive tour



DAY 1 – Fly Australia to Christchurch
Depart for Christchurch today. Make sure you arrive at the airport no later than 2 hours prior to your scheduled departure time to check-in for your International flight.
On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Christchurch accommodation. Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. A great way to explore is to take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights – or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.
Overnight: Christchurch

DAY 2 – Explore Christchurch
This morning your rental car is delivered, then spend the day exploring Christchurch and its surrounds. Following the 2011 earthquake that razed its centre and much of the outlying suburbs, Christchurch is well into a billion-dollar makeover. In the middle of the Canterbury Plains, bordering the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand’s newest city is an ideal gateway to exploring the middle of the South.
Go punting on the Avon River, take a historic tram ride, catch the gondola to the rim of an extinct volcano or do all three! See the world's only Cardboard Cathedral and for nature enthusiasts – wander the renowned Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
Drive an hour in any direction to ski, mountain bike, wine taste, whale-watch, bungy jump or play golf. Visit the International Antarctic Centre or take a day to go on safari at Orana Wildlife Park. Take the winding Port Hills road to the French settlement of Akaroa and tour the vines in Waipara for an authentic New Zealand wine-tasting experience.
Overnight: Christchurch

DAY 3 – Christchurch to Dunedin
Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains you’ll head South on State Highway one traversing many braided rivers that start their life as glacial melt water high in the Southern Alps. Go over New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia and onwards through Timaru.
Stretch your legs in Oamaru, known for its white stone buildings constructed with the local Oamaru Stone. If you were a little late off the mark this morning you may get the chance to see the local blue penguins come ashore at dusk.
Continue down the coast to Moeraki, and take a detour towards the beach to see the Moeraki Boulders, a unique geological feature and well worth the look.
As you arrive in Dunedin, take in the city’s Edwardian and Scottish heritage reflected in the buildings around the city centre – The Octagon. Overnight: Dunedin

DAY 4 – 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. Overnight: Dunedin

DAY 5 – Dunedin to Te-Anau
The drive to Te-Anau takes you through classic Southland farming scenery. Head off-the-beaten-track today and follow the coastline instead of the inland route. Go through The Catlins area and be sure to take a detour to Kaka Point to view its majestic cliffs and pounding surf. Continue through Invercargill to Riverton and Colac Bay, and then head north to Manapouri. From here you can embark on a day or overnight cruise to the remote Doubtful Sound – renowned for its natural beauty. Just a short way further will bring you to your lakeside destination of Te-Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.
Overnight: Te-Anau

DAY 6 – Milford Sound
The road to Milford Sound offers some of the most beautiful and iconic scenery in the country. From crystal clear lakes and towering mountains to lush glacier formed meadows, this area is dramatic and unyielding. Stretch your legs on the Chasm Walk, a short stroll through native beech forest to see several powerful waterfalls. Continue on through the Homer Tunnel, an engineering marvel at 1219 metres long. Arriving into the village of Milford, you will be greeted with an amazing view of Mitre Peak. Included in the package today is a two hour nature cruise of spectacular Milford Sound. On board one of three purpose built vessels you'll experience tumbling waterfalls, towering peaks, lush rainforest and native wildlife. You’ll learn about how this magnificent area was formed and experience the wonder of the falls that line the Fiord before back-tracking the way you came. Lunch is included today.
Overnight: Te-Anau

DAY 7 – Te-Anau to Queenstown
Today you’ll cross vast tussock lands on your way to Qneenstown. Pass through Mossburn, the deer capital of the nation. Continue on through the Southland countryside where the road begins to hug the lake edge and the Remarkables mountain range towers over your approach into the adventure capital of New Zealand.
Overnight: Queenstown

DAY 8 – Explore Queenstown
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. Overnight: Queenstown

DAY 9 – Queenstown to Mount Cook National Park
Leaving Queenstown you'll head through the Kawarau Gorge and over the historic Kawarau Bridge – a popular bungy jumping location. Choose to participate in this daredevil sport or watch others instead. Continue through the Gibbston Valley and be sure to stop at one of its many vineyards for a tasting. As you leave the gorge you'll arrive in Cromwell, known for its many fruit orchards. If you're a foodie at heart, we recommend taking a side trip to Bannockburn for a complete food and wine experience at one its many award-winning wineries and restaurants.
Cromwell itself sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge and the old historic town is well worth the visit. Completely submerged when the Clyde Dam was built and Lake Dunstan established in 1992, the remnants of the old Cromwell town provides a unique snapshot into this areas history. Head over through the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads, with the summit reaching 971 metres. It's tussock covered hills are a barren but beautiful sight as you descend into the Mackenzie Basin. You'll go through the towns of Omarama and Twizel – the last stops before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Mount Cook Highway to arrive in the small village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self-cater. Overnight: Mount Cook

DAY 10 – Return to Christchurch
Leaving Mount Cook national park, travel a short distance before stopping at the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. Learn about the formation of the region and take in the spectacular views of Mt. Cook. Lake Tekapo also displays the same reflective qualities of Lake Pukaki – making the waters a bright turquoise. You’ll go through the small town of Tekapo, home to some of the most photographed subjects in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just marvel at the magnificent views. From here you travel through Burkes Pass and into the rich farming valley that surrounds Geraldine. Continue on across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch City, your destination for the night. Overnight: Christchurch

DAY 11 – Depart Christchurch
This morning return to Christchurch airport where your will drop-off your rental car and check-in for your final departure flight back to Australia. Make sure you are at the airport no later than 2 hours prior to your scheduled departure to check-in for your International flight.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – Ko Tāne Māori Experience and Guided Kiwi Tour
Get a unique glimpse into the indigenous Māori culture when you visit the Ko Tāne Living Māori Village and Willowbank Wildlife reserve. This activity begins with a guided kiwi tour of the reserve with one of Willowbank's experienced guides. Following this enjoy the Māori cultural performance, you will be entertained with a kapa haka performance which includes action songs, poi dances, haka, stick games and weapons displays. The performance also gives you, an opportunity to learn the poi and the haka, then enjoy a four-course hāngī dinner.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – Monarch Wildlife Cruise from Wellers Rock
An unforgettable experience viewing rare and fascinating wildlife. Board the Monarch Boat and take in the fascinating sight of the Northern Royal Albatross as it comes in to nest on spectacular cliffs of Taiaroa, Otago Peninsula. You'll also see eight other species of birds including sooty shearwaters and petrels as well as sea lions and fur seals – and if you're really lucky – dolphins and whales.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – Larnach Castle and Gardens
Larnach is New Zealand's only Castle, built in 1871 by politician and merchant, William Larnach, a man of great vision who helped shape New Zealand's early history. It was built for William's beloved first wife Eliza; it took 200 workmen three years to build the shell and a further twelve years were spent by master craftsmen to embellish the interior. The Castle is located high up on the Otago Peninsula and looks down on Dunedin city giving beautiful views. The gardens have an International Garden of Significance status and have a unique collection of specialised areas for you to explore. The Ballroom cafe is a fantastic place to rest and reflect on all you have seen while enjoying a delicious range of refreshments. As with the entire castle, the ballroom had an interesting and varied history prior to its beautiful restoration, uses ranged from a lunatic asylum, antique sales room to the penning of sheep.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure
Riding the iconic ‘Big Red’ Jet Boat through the narrow Shotover Canyon is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Your skilled jet boat driver pushes the boat to 85 kph, skimming across shallow water and past towering canyon walls. This 25 minute white water ride includes 360 degree spins and maximum thrills.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship. You'll be greeted off the boat and guided through beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming homestead.
Here you'll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea and coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country.
On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship's pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY – Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Experience 500 year-old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand – and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier – The Tasman.

A rugged back road 4WD adventure accessing awe inspiring views over the Tasman Glacier and its gigantic moraine wall. You will get to stop at several vantage points and have the opportunity to walk up to the top of the Tasman Glacier moraine wall to view some of the most spectacular photographic opportunities within the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Your professional guide has a wealth of knowledge of the Aoraki/Mt Cook area. Learn about the area, its unique geology, local flora and fauna and get an entertaining insight into the rich pioneering history and stories of the past 150 years.

Please note: The day by day descriptions published are intended as an indicative guide only. Travel by nature is unpredictable. Weather patterns, road conditions, public holidays, travel restrictions and a multitude of other factors may necessitate itinerary changes that ultimately are for the client’s benefit. It is essential that clients are flexible and open minded in this regard.

How to Book

Bookings can be made by calling Australia & New Zealand Travel Company on 1300 168 910 or email to reservations@anztravelco.com.

Online booking requests may also be submitted via this website by selecting a trip. Please make sure you include your preferred departure date in the ‘Additional Information’ field on the Checkout page.

Bookings are pending and not confirmed until you receive a status update from an Australia & New Zealand Travel Company consultant.


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