New Zealand Southern Pioneer

New Zealand Southern Pioneer

From $ 4,010 AUD


New Zealand’s South Island has a reputation as one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth, yet it still manages to defy expectations. On this 10-day round trip from Christchurch, you’ll be met with astonishing sight after astonishing sight as a local leader shows you what they love about their country. Get your heart racing in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world, discover the laidback delights of postcard-perfect Wanaka, stand in awe of the Franz Josef Glacier, and cross the Southern Alps on one of the world’s most spectacular train journeys. Between glacial lakes and snow-capped peaks, you’ll soon see what all the fuss is about.

Trip Name
New Zealand Southern Pioneer
Last Updated
  • Starting and finishing in the city of Christchurch, your local leader will show you the innovative and creative ways the city is rebuilding after a devastating earthquake in 2011.
  • Live it up in the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown. Whether you fancy bungy jumping, jet boating, horseback riding or wine tasting, there’s something here to entice everyone.
  • Get to know Wanaka, one of New Zealand’s prettiest towns (and that’s saying something!). Visit Mou Waho Island - an island in a lake on an island in another lake on an island in the ocean - a spot you won't soon forget.
  • Visit a local gallery in Franz Josef and carve a pendant out of pounamu while learning about the precious stone’s significance to Maori culture.
  • You’re on track for one of the world’s most scenic train journeys – cross the spectacular Southern Alps on the famous TranzAlpine from the West Coast to Christchurch.


OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world, and there are plenty of opportunities for you to customise your itinerary with as much adrenaline as you like. However please note that a lot of activities you may be interested in can sell out well in advance of your arrival. To ensure you have the opportunity to participate in your chosen activities and don’t miss out due to unavailability, we have made a selection of those activities available to be pre-booked via your booking agent. Please see below a list of activities you can pre-book. • Queenstown - Shotover River Jet Boat Ride • Queenstown - Walter Peak Lake Cruise with Gourmet Dinner • Queenstown - Kawarau Bridge Bungy • Queenstown - Lord of the Rings 4WD Tour • Queenstown - Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise • Queenstown - Milford Sound Coach-Cruise-Coach Day Trip • Queenstown - Milford Sound Fly-Cruise-Fly Day Trip • Queenstown - Milford Sound Coach-Cruise-Fly Day Trip • Wanaka - Rob Roy Glacier Guided Walk • Wanaka - Waterfall Climbing • Wanaka - Mou Waho Island Cruise • Wanaka - Mou Waho Island Cruise & Guided Nature Walk • Franz Josef - Glacier Lake Kayaking • Franz Josef - Glacier Heli Hike • Franz Josef - Heli Experience with Snow Landing Not all activities may be available on your particular departure, and the list of activities is not exhaustive, as there are other optional activities that can be booked either via your leader or the relevant supplier on the ground. Please consult with your booking agent should you have any questions or require any further information on any of these activities. Prices are approximate and subject to change without notice, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway.

Day 1 - Christchurch
Welcome to Aotearoa (New Zealand). Sparsely populated and spectacularly beautiful, the South Island is a paradise for lovers of nature, wildlife and the great outdoors. Your adventure begins in Christchurch. If you arrive early, you may like to take a pleasant stroll through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to admire the collection of native plants, or stop by the Canterbury Museum to learn about the region’s cultural heritage. Meet your local leader and new travel buddies at your accommodation at 6pm for a welcome meeting, then the rest of the evening is yours.
Day 2 - Christchurch / Lake Tekapo / Ohau
Christchurch is not just a pretty city – it’s also remarkably resilient. After a devastating earthquake destroyed much of the downtown area in 2011, the city has begun to rebuild in innovative and creative ways. Head out with your leader this morning to see this for yourself. Stop by the Christchurch Cathedral, which stood as a symbol of the city before collapsing in the earthquake, and has now been replaced with an architecturally striking and quake-proof structure made out of cardboard. After a morning of exploring, say goodbye to Christchurch and drive inland to Lake Tekapo. An eye-catching combination of purple lupins, turquoise waters and snow-dusted peaks makes this one of the most photo-worthy spots in the country. The Church of the Good Shepherd sits on the shores of the lakes and attracts couples from all over the world shooting their wedding pictures. It’s easy to see why – backdrops don’t get much better than this! Continue to Lake Ohau where you’ll spend the night.
Day 3 - Mackenzie Country / Queenstown
Hit the road this morning for a journey to remember – watch out the window as you pass the sprawling grasslands of the Mackenzie Basin and showstopping peaks of the Southern Alps. Your drive will be broken up with plenty of scenic stops, including a visit to Kawarau Gorge, a popular spot for bungy jumping. If you’re feeling adventurous, get involved and jump off the suspension bridge crossing the gorge, or just stand back and watch brave jumpers take the plunge. Continue on to Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world, and rightfully so! Aside from its high-adrenaline attractions, Queenstown has a booming culinary scene, produces some of the world's best wine and boasts unbelievable scenery at every turn.
Day 4 - Queenstown
The day is all yours to discover the varied delights of Queenstown. There are loads of options to get your heartrate up, whether you fancy shooting down the river on a jet boat, river kayaking, flying above the town in a gondola or a 4WD adventure through landscapes of Lord of the Rings fame. If you’d like to take things a little slower, perhaps head to the Gibbston Valley to taste wines only topped by the inspiring scenery. A walk around the stunning Lake Wakatipu will give you a good dose of fresh air and epic views. There’s no shortage of dining options to tempt your tastebuds – if you’re willing to wait, a famous Fergburger is hard to beat!
Day 5 - Queenstown / Wanaka
Take the chance this morning to cross off any Queenstown activities you didn’t have time for yesterday – be sure to speak to your leader for tips on the best way to spend a morning here. In the afternoon, get back on the road for a seriously scenic 1-hour drive to Wanaka through the Crown Range Mountains. Stop off along the way in Arrowtown, a little goldrush town with big personality. Take a walk along the tree-lined high street where historic buildings nod to the town’s glory days. Arrive in Wanaka in the afternoon and embrace the vibe of this laidback and beautiful town. With Lake Wanaka as its glittering centrepiece and dramatic mountains as its backdrop, the town is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s most bewitching. This afternoon you may like to head out on a hike or just stretch out on the shores of the lake and take it all in.
Day 6 - Wanaka
Visit the beautiful Mou Waho Island today. Accessible only by boat from Wanaka and famous for being home to an (unnamed) island, in a lake (Arethusa Pool), on an island (Mou Waho), in a lake (Lake Wanaka), on an island (the South Island) in the ocean (the Pacific). Sounds complicated, but once you are there it will all make sense! Enjoy a walk through this fascinating scenery and learn more about this predator-free reserve with a natural glacial-formed lake at its summit. Your afternoon is free to explore Wanaka and surrounds. No visit to Wanaka would be complete without seeing #thatwanakatree. Springing up from the waters of Lake Wanaka, this sloping willow is one of the most photographed trees in the world. There's no shortage of excellent hiking routes in the region if you'd like to get out and explore on foot, or you may prefer to hire a bike and hit the cycling trails.
Day 7 - Wanaka / Franz Josef
Enjoy a morning at leisure in Wanaka before getting back on the road and making tracks for Franz Josef. This is another incredible drive that you're going to want to have your camera ready for. Depending on the weather, stop off at either Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka, both boasting incredible lookout points. Along the way, your leader will pause at some off the beaten track spots to snap some pictures and stretch your legs. Arrive into Franz Josef in the early evening and perhaps head out to one of the town’s cosy pubs for dinner.
Day 8 - Franz Josef
Rise and shine – you’re in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and there's so much to discover here. Known for the dazzling Franz Josef glacier and awe-inspiring views of Mt Cook, this is natural beauty on the biggest scale. The region also has a cultural history that’s every bit as captivating as its natural wonders. Only found in the South Island of New Zealand, pounamu (greenstone) is an important part of Maori culture. Today you’ll pay a visit to a local gallery where you’ll have the chance to carve your own pounamu pendant while learning about its spiritual and cultural significance. If you’d like to get up close and personal with Franz Josef Glacier in the afternoon, you can arrange for a helicopter to drop you in for a hike. You may prefer to sit back and unwind in local hot springs, or head out kayaking on an icy blue glacial lake. Your leader will be on hand to help make arrangements.
Day 9 - Hokitika / Greymouth / Christchurch
Begin the journey up the west coast – this is the rainiest part of New Zealand, resulting in greenery and lush rainforests like nowhere else in the country. Stop off in the lovely little town of Hokitika where a visit to a pounamu factory will give you the chance to pick up any last souvenirs of gifts. If time allows, there may be the chance to check out the National Kiwi Centre – the nocturnal house here gives visitors the opportunity to see how these delightful birds behave at night. The next stretch of your journey may just be the most magnificent – hop aboard the TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch, widely believed to be one of the top train journeys in the world. Cross through the Southern Alps via Arthur’s Pass and travel past the rushing blue waters of the Waimakariri River and endless native beech forest. Arrive in Christchurch in the evening.
Day 10 - Christchurch
Your South Island adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you’d like to spend some more time in Christchurch, just get in touch ahead of time and we’d be happy to arrange additional accommodation (subject to availability).

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
11-08-202420-08-2024AUD $ 4,010-
11-09-202420-09-2024AUD $ 4,365-
18-09-202427-09-2024AUD $ 4,365-
21-09-202430-09-2024AUD $ 4,365-
25-09-202404-10-2024AUD $ 4,365-
28-09-202407-10-2024AUD $ 4,365-
05-10-202414-10-2024AUD $ 4,365-
08-10-202417-10-2024AUD $ 4,365-
16-10-202425-10-2024AUD $ 4,365-
23-10-202401-11-2024AUD $ 4,365-
26-10-202404-11-2024AUD $ 4,365-
30-10-202408-11-2024AUD $ 4,365-
02-11-202411-11-2024AUD $ 4,365-
04-11-202413-11-2024AUD $ 4,365-
09-11-202418-11-2024AUD $ 4,365-
09-11-202418-11-2024AUD $ 4,365-
15-11-202424-11-2024AUD $ 4,365-
20-11-202429-11-2024AUD $ 4,365-
15-12-202424-12-2024AUD $ 4,540-
20-12-202429-12-2024AUD $ 4,540-
26-12-202404-01-2025AUD $ 4,540-
02-01-202511-01-2025AUD $ 4,540-
16-01-202525-01-2025AUD $ 4,540-
19-01-202528-01-2025AUD $ 4,540-
24-01-202502-02-2025AUD $ 4,540-
26-01-202504-02-2025AUD $ 4,540-
26-01-202504-02-2025AUD $ 4,540-
30-01-202508-02-2025AUD $ 4,540-
03-02-202512-02-2025AUD $ 4,540-
06-02-202515-02-2025AUD $ 4,540-
14-02-202523-02-2025AUD $ 4,540-
23-02-202504-03-2025AUD $ 4,540-
24-02-202505-03-2025AUD $ 4,540-
02-03-202511-03-2025AUD $ 4,365-
06-03-202515-03-2025AUD $ 4,365-
13-03-202522-03-2025AUD $ 4,365-
14-03-202523-03-2025AUD $ 4,365-
24-03-202502-04-2025AUD $ 4,365-
30-03-202508-04-2025AUD $ 4,365-
10-04-202519-04-2025AUD $ 4,365-
27-04-202506-05-2025AUD $ 4,365-
04-05-202513-05-2025AUD $ 4,365-
08-05-202517-05-2025AUD $ 4,365-
15-05-202524-05-2025AUD $ 4,365-
04-06-202513-06-2025AUD $ 4,365-


Hotel/Motel (9 nights)


Private Vehicle,Train