04 May | By Lee Saunders
11 Days of Luxury in the South Island of New Zealand
11 Day Luxury Tour through New Zealand's South Island
This eleven day luxury tour through the South Island of New Zealand will take you on a journey like no other. Our skilled and experienced guides, together with our wider network of pilots are all highly experienced and ready to take you on a journey you'll never forget!
The beauty of these tours is that you can choose to add as much or as little as you like. Simply give us an indication of what you want to see and do, who you are traveling with, and we can take care of everything. But for now, stop, sit and have a read of what your next adventure could have in store...
11 Days of Luxury in the South Island of New Zealand
Day1. Arrive to stunning Queenstown
Day 2. Milford Sound, Glacier & Waterfalls Heli Tour
Day 3. Taste the best of Central Otago
Day 4. Day of Leisure in Queenstown (Tour Inspiration Galore)
Day 5. From the Mountains to the Wild West
Day 6: Explore Franz Josef
Day 7: Venture from the Southern Alps deep into the rainforest
Day 8: Be Astounded by Akaroa
Day 9: Sink into tranquillity at Resurgence luxury eco-lodge
Day 10: Explore the Awesome Abel Tasman National Park
Day 11. The End Of This Chapter - Your last taste of New Zealand – or will it be?
Day 1 - Arrive in style to stunning Queenstown
Highlights: Take in the panoramic views of glassy lake Wakitipu for the first time.
Experience the sophistication of Hulbert House, a haven of stylish 5 star Luxury accommodation in the heart of the South Island’s Southern Lakes. A boutique hotel with a modern romantic style and exclusive service awaits you in the heart of New Zealand’s adventure capital.
Stay in designer luxury Queenstown accommodation, set in peaceful parkland, and savour views of Queenstown’s majestic mountains. Enjoy easy access to the vibrant town centre where shopping, cafes and nightlife are nestled on the shores of spectacular Lake Wakatipu. From your luxury base quintessential Queenstown is your oyster.
Day 2 - Milford Sound, Glacier & Waterfalls Heli Tour
Highlights: This full day (6 hour) tour includes accommodation transfers, boat cruise, private helicopter flight, gourmet picnic lunch and refreshments. We do the heavy lifting, so that you don’t have to…
This multi-stop tour takes in three iconic South Island locations in a single day. Enjoy spectacular views from the skies and the sea as you experience Milford Sound, Mt Tutoko and Middle earth Waterfalls in the best way possible, with us as your private guides.
Your morning will begin with coffee and breakfast in luxury at Hulbert House, from where driver will be waiting to take you to the airport to board a helicopter for an unforgettable flight to Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling called this place the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ and its World Heritage status confirms its unique beauty. Your scenic flight will take you soaring over rainforest-covered valleys, spectacular alpine lakes and across several mountain ranges as you enjoy this world-renowned area from above.
Descending to land at the bottom of a steep valley, from here it’s a 10-minute walk to the harbour where your boat will be waiting. From here the 1 hour and 40-minute cruise will take you up close to dramatic waterfalls that pour down sheer granite cliffs and throughout the fiord in search of seals, dolphins and other native wildlife.
After the cruise, you’ll return to your helicopter and continue your aerial tour of Fiordland National Park – stunning even by our standards. You’ll land high up on Mt Tutoko, the highest mountain in Fiordland National Park, and have the opportunity to snap some photos of the snow. A priceless momento of this unbeatable memory that will no doubt stay with you for years to come.
Your last stop before returning home is Middle earth waterfalls, a memorable location that we have exclusive access to. You may recognise it from the epic movie – The Hobbit. Descend past the blue ice of the hanging glacier and the waterfalls cascading down the huge rock faces to land gently on the valley floor for an impressive photo opportunity. The final leg of your adventure will take you over the Richardson Mountain range. You’ll learn about its rich mining history before landing back at Queenstown Airport around 3pm.
Day 3 – Taste the best of Central Otago’s famous Food & Wine
Highlights: Wine Tasting and Gourmet Lunch
Descend into a bygone era of history in Arrowtown, where you will visit the quaint town and historic buildings as well as the Chinese miners village. Try your hand at gold panning or simply take in the town and wander the streets as you walk back into history. Arrowtown is one of New Zealand’s most engagingly historic places to visit with buildings preserved from a time long before modern architecture.
From here you will sink deeper into the reknowned Central Otago wine region - namely the Gibbston Valley or even further through the Kawarau Gorge to Northburn - on your own private tour. Taste some of the areas famous wines in beautiful wineries with dramatic scenery. The region is famous for it's fabulous Pinot Noirs, with it's key point of difference being the high altitude conditions and cooler temperatures.
Whether you are a wine expert or recently introduced to the world of wine, this tour will be tailored to suit you. Find out how the wine is made from the makers themselves and enjoy wine and cheese pairings that will tantalise your taste buds beyond measure.
Day 4 – Day at Leisure with Tour Options Galore
Highlights – Too many to choose from
It’s widely known that Queenstown offers some of the most exclusive adventures in the world. But if you’re after more than the usual ‘tourist office’ tour you have come to the right place. Designed by locals, with exclusive access to exquisite private places to explore off the beaten tourist track, our luxury tours are hard to beat.
Skip the crowds and take to the skies to experience New Zealand from above, explore uncharted private high country and be immersed in experiences you didn’t think possible. The incredible locations are one thing, but our real difference lies in our people – local, passionate and knowledgeable guides with a passion for showing you what our big back yard has to offer.
Sip Central Otago Blanc Du Noir with the winemaker, dip into gin clear waterfalls (if you dare…) and take in majestic mountain vistas beyond your imagination. If you’re after even more immersive experiences try your hand at harvesting your own honey, creating jewellery from your very own panned gold or gain access to an exclusive private high country farm.
Day 5 – From the Mountains to the Wild West
Highlights: Immerse yourself in New Zealand culture and wilderness luxury
A true escape from real life, your accommodation for the night – The Scenic Hotel at Franz Josef Glacier – offers a unique opportunity to stay within New Zealand’s renowned pristine wilderness. Attentive luxury service is combined with a naturally earthy ambience offering a feast for the senses that will ensure you feel a million miles from daily life at home.
If that isn’t enough the menu based on local cuisine is an unbeatable way to unwind and immerse yourself in New Zealand culture. Dine in the Canavans Restaurant and sit down to wild West Coast fare, from confit duck leg to hearty West Coast lamb rump, all washed down with a local Pinot Noir.
Easy access to many excellent local attractions including the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers just minutes away.
Day 6 – Exploring Franz Josef
Highlights: Soar above Franz Josef Glacier and sink into a hot-pool haven of tranquility.
Wake up rested, ready to explore and soar high above the famous Franz Josef glacier. This is the perfect opportunity to add in a hike, helicopter ride or heli-hike in and around the glacier.
Hike the ancient path of where the glacier once stood; through lush rainforest and alongside the Waiho river. Discover the legends and history of the glacier and learn all about the flora and fauna you encounter along the way.
Your guide will lead you on an informative journey through this unique valley, with plenty of opportunities to explore the remarkable landscape and see what the glacier has left behind.
Experience pristine waterfalls, ancient temperate rainforest and the dynamic Waiho river. After a brief climb you will be rewarded with views of the glacier’s constantly changing terminal face and enjoy a well-deserved hot drink. An ideal option for those who prefer to stay off the ice, our Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk can be tailored to suit groups of most abilities and interests.
Nestled in the native rainforest, yet located in the heart of Franz Josef village, the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools are a haven of tranquillity. There are three main pools that weave their way through the rainforest and offer a superb place to relax and rejuvenate amongst nature. The pools range in temperature from 36 to 40 degrees centigrade, and are covered by giant sails offering protection from the elements.
As a totally unique and romantic experience, it is also possible to book a private pool. Surrounded by majestic rainforest and offering total seclusion, naturally. A private pool includes 45 minutes duration, private changing facilities with towels, and complimentary entry into the Main Pools. Additional Spa and Massage treatments are also available.
Day 7 – Venture from the Southern Alps deep into the rainforest
Highlights: Take in the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rainforest
Travel from Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers along the rugged West Coast to arrive at the glacier region of The Tranz Alpine train journey. This journey is rated as one of the world’s great scenic railway journeys. This wonderful train journey is 223 kilometres long and takes four and a half hours. There are nineteen tunnels, and four viaducts, the highest being the Staircase standing at 73 metres.
Your train follows into the Southern Alps before descending through lush beech rain forest. From your train carriage you will see the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River followed by thee Canterbury Plains and farmland, before arriving to Christchurch where you will be met by your guide and transfered to your accommodation.
This luxury boutique hotel in Christchurch is equal parts sophistication and relaxation. Unique in design and beautifully finished, Hotel Montreal offers accommodation that is the perfect mix of refined elegance and modern sophistication.
Day 8 - Be Astounded By Akarua
Highlights: Meet the locals – from Dolphins to Alpacas
Pickup from your hotel and head towards Banks Peninsula, stopping at Hilltop view point and Barry’s Bay Cheese Factory enroute to Akaroa. Arrive at Akaroa Dolphins ready for your 10.15am Nature Cruise , a small intimate cruise run by husband and wife , Hugh and Pip who have strong family links to the area . Spend two hours exploring the Akaroa Harbour and the marine life that abounds. Return to Akaroa in time for lunch.
There is a wide variety of cafes and restaurants offering seafood and other local delicacies for you to choose your own place to eat.
Explore the old French township on foot before leaving at 1.30pm for a short drive to Wainui to visit Shamara Alpacas - full of attitude, seriously cute and very, very photogenic – these award winning creatures are an experience to behold. Here you will learn about the many uses for Alpaca fleece or alternatively stretch your legs at E-Bicycle through well marked tracks overlooking the bays and inlets from your wonderful vantage points.
Day 9 - Watch Whales at Kaikora on your way up to Nelson
Highlights: Whales watching, National Parks and Farm-to-Table Dining
Get up close and personal with some of New Zealand’s (and indeed the world’s) most majestic marine mammals as you drive up the east coast of the South Island past Kaikoura. Take either a boat or helicopter tour to get as close as you can to these incredible creatures. Your guide will educate you on the whales and their environment.
After a long day, prepare to sink deep into holiday relaxation mode at one of New Zealand’s premier luxury eco-lodges – Resurgence Luxury Eco-Lodge. Set in 50 acres (22 hectares) of native bush and on the edge of 2 national parks, the Lodge‘s setting is impeccable, with 5km of hiking tracks to explore from your doorstep. Lodge dining is a highlight. Choose from an international dinner party, with aperitifs & delicious farm-to-table dining with fresh local produce from the garden; or basque in the setting sun and enjoy a BBQ on your deck with a glass of single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. The perfect location to explore Abel Tasman with easy day trips to Golden Bay and Kahurangi National Park.
Day 10 – Explore Abel Tasman National Park
Highlights: Set sail, swim, hike or simply relax
This morning you have a private transfer to Stephen’s Bay. The Abel Tasman is our smallest national park yet it consistently ranks as one of the top 5 tourist attractions in New Zealand. Its golden beaches, turquoise waters, native bush and pristine marine reserves make this world-renowned Park a “must-do” experience.
Boating here give you several options for sightseeing the waterways and coastline of the park. From a boat tour meandering around the regions numerous islands, hop off for a swim, to go hiking or to simply relax before getting picked up later in the day. Or simply get comfortable on board and sit back with a glass of local wine and enjoy the sights and surroundings.
Day 11: The End Of This Chapter
Highlight: Your last taste of New Zealand – or will it be? Take off from Nelson Airport.
It might be the last day of the tour but there is certainly no need to rush off. Start the day with a coffee and a delicious lodge breakfast sourced from the surrounding gardens. From here you will have a private transfer to Nelson airport from which you can continue your journey. As you catch your flight that day, we’ll be sad to see you go and we suspect you might be just as sad to leave. But remember, what might seem like the end of your epic New Zealand adventure, we are sure will only be the beginning!