Essential South Island
Essential South Island
Essential South Island

Essential South Island

Regular price
Sale price

9 days/8 nights ex Christchurch

Coach Tour | Minimum 6 to guarantee departure

Innovative Travel is here to help you rediscover New Zealand, with professional care, on inspirational coach tours, designed with our partners Inspired New Zealand Tours. Each tour has a minimum of 6 participants, and will be hosted by your professional Coach Captain. Sit back and relax while someone else does the driving, and take time to see the sights that may have previously flashed by! Whether you are a solo traveller, couple or friends, these tours present an ideal proposition.

If you are a solo traveller and would like to share a twin room please ask us for more details.


Day 1: Arrive Christchurch

On arrival to the largest city in the South Island, you will be transferred to your city hotel for the first night of your tour. Depending on your arrival time you may like to take time to enjoy the exciting redevelopment of central Christchurch. From stunning new architectural office buildings and shopping centres to the painstaking rebuild of the historic Arts Centre. This afternoon meet your local tour representative who will provide a tour briefing and confirm tomorrow’s departure details.

Day 2: Christchurch to Franz Josef (BD)

Today’s journey will take you across the vast Canterbury Plains before tackling the stunning Southern Alps mountain range. You may wish to take the opportunity to travel on the world famous Tranz Alpine train journey through to Arthurs Pass (additional cost). From Arthurs Pass, continue on to the coastal township of Hokitika where there is a long history of Gold Mining and Greenstone carving. Travel will conclude this afternoon with your arrival at Franz Josef township. There will be an opportunity depending on the weather for a scenic helicopter flight (additional cost) this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.

Day 3: Franz Josef to Queenstown (BD)

Travel south today along the rugged West Coast of the South Island passing through the small township of Fox Glacier. Continue alongside exposed Bruce Bay, past lakes Paringa and Moeraki before reaching Haast and New Zealand’s longest one Lane Bridge that crosses the Haast River. From Haast, you will move inland and back across the Southern Alps. Leaving the Alps, you will travel into Queenstown Lakes District passing through Wanaka and onto the stunning alpine playground of Queenstown for the next three nights. Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.

Day 4: Queenstown (BL)

As part of your exploration of Queenstown, today there is a morning visit to Arrowtown, established on the back of a major gold rush in the 1860’s. Then take a cruise on the iconic TSS Earnslaw Steamship across to the iconic Walter Peak High Country Sheep Station for lunch.

Day 5: Queenstown at Leisure (B)

Today is at leisure to explore the many options Queenstown has on offer. Exhilarating jet boat rides, 4WD adventures, Bungy Jumping, Sky Diving or local vineyards.   The list is endless. Your tour representative will go through a list of optional tours to suit you and assist with any bookings you would like to make. Or you may simply choose to soak up the beauty of the surrounding Lake and mountains views.

Day 6: Queenstown to Te Anau via Milford Sound (BD)

Begin today with a drive along the southern arm of Lake Wakatipu before passing through Garston – the most inland settlement in New Zealand. Continue towards Te Anau before embarking on what for many is the scenic trip of a lifetime – to Milford Sound. On route stop at the magical Mirror Lakes and pass through the Homer Tunnel before boarding your cruise and surveying the fiord. Onboard take in Mitre Peak, Stirling Falls and a range of wildlife. Following your cruise, retrace your journey back to Te Anau. Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.

Day 7: Te Anau to Dunedin (BD)

This morning travel via scenic roads to Dunedin. On arrival take a city tour of this southern Scottish influenced city.   Stop at Baldwin Street, which recently reclaimed the title of the steepest street in the World.   Continue to the historic Larnach Castle on Otago Peninsula. Dating back to 1874, the castle has been lovingly restored by the Barker family and is one of the top attractions for visitors to Dunedin. Dinner is included this evening at your hotel.

Day 8: Dunedin to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo (BD)

On leaving Dunedin this morning, the first stop is the famous Moeraki Boulders. From the boulders, you will continue north via Oamaru with its limestone architecture before heading inland up the Waitaki Valley past lakes Aviemore and Benmore. Travel to the Mackenzie Country township of Tekapo where time will be given to visit the celebrated Church of the Good Shepherd located on the shores of the turquoise coloured Lake Tekapo. From Tekapo travel through Fairlie and Geraldine before returning to State Highway one for your return to Christchurch. A farewell dinner is included this evening.

Day 9: Depart Christchurch (B)

Your tour will conclude today following breakfast and your transfer to the Airport.


  • Christchurch Airport to City Hotel Transfer
  • Welcome tour briefing on Day 1
  • A/C coach: Christchurch, Hokitika, Franz Josef, Arrowtown, Queenstown, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Tekapo
  • Professional Coach Captain
  • Eight nights in excellent centrally located accommodation
  • Daily breakfasts (B)
  • 5 x Dinners (D)
  • 1 x Lunch
  • Modern air conditioned vehicle as per Itinerary outline
  • Christchurch City Hotel to Airport Transfer

      Sightseeing includes

  • Franz Josef Glacier Valley Road
  • TSS Earnslaw cruise & Walter Peak BBQ Lunch
  • Milford Sound excursion including cruise
  • Larnach Castle Entrance
  • Church of the Good Shepherd


  • Domestic Air Fares
  • Additional /Optional Tour Costs
  • Hotel Mini Bar
  • Other Sightseeing / Meals not specified in Itinerary

Accommodation based on the below or similar

Day 1: Christchurch

Hotel: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch

Day 2: Franz Josef 

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 3: Queenstown

Hotel: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 4: Queenstown

Hotel: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 5: Queenstown

Hotel: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 6: Te Anau

Hotel: Distinction Te Anau Luxmore Hotel

Day 7: Dunedin

Hotel: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Day 8: Christchurch

Hotel: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch


A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at the time of booking. The balance of the tour price is required 45 days prior to your travel date. If you book inside 45 days, full payment will be required at the time of booking. Payment can be made by bank transfer. If you cancel between 21 and 45 days prior to your travel date 30% of your tour cost will be charged. If you cancel between 8 and 20 days prior to your tour departure you will be charged 50% of your tour cost. Cancellations within 8 working days of departures will incur a 100% cancellation charge.

Innovative Travel recommends purchasing travel insurance, even when travelling within New Zealand.


Full Terms and conditions are listed on the Innovative Travel website. When a booking is made it is accepted that these are agreed to. They include the following: Itineraries are correct when initially published, however are subject to change due to circumstances outside our control.

Flights are the responsibility of the passenger and Innovative Travel takes no responsibility for costs involved for any changes to flights that might be required due to necessary amendments in itineraries.

Note: Wheelchair passengers

Some activities are not suitable for wheelchair passengers and any passenger requiring wheelchair assistance must be accompanied by a fellow traveller that is capable of assisting with all mobility requirements. Maximum of one wheelchair per group, the wheelchair must be fully collapsible. Further wheelchairs may be allowed subject to group size.

Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any. All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings if joining one of the New Zealand tours from another country. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.

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Tel: +64 3 365 3910

NZ Toll Free: 0508 100 111

Aust Toll Free: 1800 157 163