New Zealand: South Island Family Fun

New Zealand offers a wide range of diverse activities and attractions and you will have the chance to explore the famous highlights and uncover treasures off the beaten path on a self-drive adventure. Learn about the rich history, experience the fascinating culture, and marvel at the diverse landscapes, participating in tours and activities catered to your specific tastes. From cosmopolitan city centers and rural farmlands to scenic nature hiking and exploration, you will enjoy a wide variety of activities as you make your way through this magical country.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Christchurch Arrival - Rangiora

Christchurch Arrival - Rangiora
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Tour: International Antarctic Center
  • Accommodation: Pete's Farm Stay

Welcome to New Zealand! Upon arrival at the airport in Christchurch you will be met by your private driver and transferred to your accommodations in Rangiora. Along the way, you'll enjoy a visit to the International Antartic Center, conveniently located near the airport.

International Antarctic Center

A ‘must do’ experience and interactive fun for the whole family. You will journey through modern day Antarctica and experience a taste of this unique and breathtaking continent. Learn about the human impact on the continent, the wildlife and plant systems and Antarctica’s effect on the globe. The ‘Antarctica Snow & Ice Experience’ features icy slides, a polar plunge ice water challenge, a cave and an Antarctic Storm. Included in your admission is exciting ride on the all-terrain, amphibious Hagglund and a magical simulated Antarctic Cruise in the 4D Extreme Theater.

After your visit you'll continue 40 minutes north-east into rural Canterbury to Rangiora, a typical Canterbury farming community. Here you will spend the next 2 days on a Kiwi working farm, complete with sheep, cattle, alpacas and much more. Your friendly hosts and their family will show you around the farm, show you how the shear sheep and answer all your questions. This is a great experience – not only for the kids!

Day 2: Rangiora

Rangiora
Daily Summary
  • Accommodation: Pete's Farm Stay
  • Meals: B

Farmstay Activities

The day is free at your leisure! Join the farm tour and relax in this beautiful and quiet countryside setting! You might also want to take advantage of feeding the animals and taking in the magnificent panorama of the Southern Alps.

Day 3: Rangiora - Lake Tekapo

Rangiora - Lake Tekapo
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Internal Transfer
  • Tour: Star Gazing at Mt. John Observatory
  • Accommodation: Peppers Bluewater Resort Lake Tekapo
  • Meals: B

After breakfast, you will be met by your driver for a scenic day of driving as you make your way towards Lake Tekapo! Drive on the Scenic Inland Highway 72 towards Geraldine and stop to see the impressive Rakaia River Gorge. You travel through the rich pastures of crop, dairy and sheep farming land – the patchwork quilt of the Canterbury Plains. After passing the township of Fairlie the landscape changes as you climb up towards Mackenzie County, home to some of the most evocative hill country in New Zealand.

You arrive in the afternoon in picturesque Lake Tekapo and its famous ‘Church of the Good Sheperd’. Enjoy the magnificent views towards Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain at 3’724 meters (12,217').

Star Gazing at Mt. John Observatory

In the late evening join a guided ‘star gazing’ tour at world renown Mt John Observatory, one of the world’s southern-most research observatories. The pristine starlit sky of the Mackenzie Basin is internationally acknowledged as Gold Status Dark Sky Reserve due to its high ratio of clear nights throughout the year and the stability and transparency of its atmosphere. On this tour, you explore the spectacular southern sky with a knowledgeable astronomy guide. Use large professional telescopes to see the Milky Way galaxy, the Southern Cross and seasonal planets. This tour is not only for passionate ‘star gazers’ but for everyone amazed by the deep, undisturbed and crystal clear skies nowhere else to be found. Duration: approximately 2 hours. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 4: Lake Tekapo - Twizel - Lake Wanaka

Lake Tekapo - Twizel - Lake Wanaka
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Internal Transfer
  • Tour: 'Lord of the Rings' Tour
  • Accommodation: Distinction Wanaka
  • Meals: B

Meet your driver early this morning for a very special day! Visit the original filming locations around Twizel where Sir Peter Jackson filmed scenes of ‘Gondor’. A scenic 30 minute drive brings you past Lake Pukaki with its distinctive turquoise waters. Sir Peter Jackson chose this part of the Southern Alps as the setting for ‘Lake Town’ in ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ as well as backdrop major location scenes in all Lord of the Rings- and Hobbit movies. You'll drive further another 10 minutes, arriving in the small town of Twizel.

'Lord of the Rings' Tour

Today you will have the opportunity to join an extensive and interesting tour of ‘Lord of the Rings’ around ‘Gondor’ with fantastic ‘Middle Earth’ scenery. Not only will you actually walk on these ‘sacred grounds’ but you will learn how the battle scene was created and you can even use LOTR replica swords and wear a limited edition Gondorian helmet. Guaranteed entertainment and fun for the whole family! (This service is on a group basis.)

In the early afternoon, you'll meet up with your driver and continue to Omarama with another short detour to visit the stunning Lake Ohau. Lake Ohau offers magic views over the lake to the backdrop of the Southern Alps. Omarama itself is a small town near the southern end of the Mackenzie Basin. From here it is only a 1.5h hours drive, via scenic Lindis Valley, to Lake Wanaka.

Continue via another beautiful, dark blue lake – Lake Hawea, you reach the lakeside town of Wanaka in the late afternoon.

Day 5: Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Milford Sound Scenic Flight & Cruise
  • Tour: Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World
  • Accommodation: Distinction Wanaka

Milford Sound Scenic Flight & Cruise

Today might very well be the highlight of this tour. You take a scenic flight from Wanaka Airport and see spectacular mountains and the dramatic landscape of Mt. Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, part of South West New Zealand’s World Heritage Area. See pristine glaciers, rainforest, alpine lakes and rivers from above.

You overfly the full length of Milford Sound before landing and boarding your cruise boat. Cruise Milford Sound on a small and friendly cruise boat. Seals, penguins and dolphins can often be spotted at play. Complimentary tea and coffee will be served.

After the cruise, you take a flight back to Wanaka Airport, taking in even more scenic highlights including the Milford Track, Sutherland Falls (at 1900', it’s New Zealand’s highest waterfall), the Dart River Valley, Glenorchy and more Lord of the Rings locations. Flight duration: 45 minutes per way; Cruise duration: 2 hours. (This service is on a group basis.)

Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World

This evening, have some weird good fun at the puzzling world in Wanaka! For over forty-five years Puzzling World has been messing with people’s heads no matter what age, nationality or experience. With a mix of bizarre buildings, rooms of illusion and the world-famous Great Maze this attraction is designed to baffle your brain and challenge your perceptions of reality.

Day 6: Lake Wanaka - Queenstown

Lake Wanaka - Queenstown
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Steam Ship on Lake Wakatipu
  • Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

After a hearty breakfast, drive via Crown Range Road to Queenstown and enjoy amazing photographic views along the way! With some luck, you may encounter friendly keas (parrots). Before arriving in Queenstown, visit the charming heritage town of Arrowtown. Once a gold rush settlement, today it is a perfectly preserved piece of the past! Explore the Chinese miner's settlement by the Arrow River and find a cafe to soak up the surroundings.

Queenstown sits on the shores of the crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, known as one of the clearest and coldest lakes in the world! Allow yourself to be captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers. Check in to your hotel and take in the beautiful views! Driving time: 1.5hrs.

Steam Ship on Lake Wakatipu

After checking in and freshening up, this afternoon a new adventure awaits! Board the iconic TSS Earnslaw, a 104- year old Steam Ship and institution on Lake Wakatipu. On-board enjoy the spectacular alpine scenery while exploring this piece of Queenstown's living history. You can visit the engine room and see its giant steam engines at work! As well as view the collection of historical photos in the mini-museum. Check out the bridge or even join a sing-along with the pianist.

When you reach Lake Wakatipu's south-western shore, you will be met by your rural host for a short walk to Walter Peak High Country Farm. This is the perfect place to spend a few relaxing hours! The Farm Tour is also a wonderful interactive experience for the whole family! Help feed the sheep and dear or get up close to the Scottish Highland Cattle.

When the tour is done, return to Queenstown with the TSS Earnslaw in the late afternoon. (This service is on a group basis.)

Queenstown

You've heard about all the adventure opportunities in New Zealand from your friends (the crazy ones at least) and you'd like to catch the adrenaline wave yourself. You want to go to Queenstown. Apart from the bungee jumping, paragliding, biking, rafting and all the other things you never thought you'd do, Queenstown is also where the adrenaline industry lives. It doesn't take long after learning this to realize that Queenstown is also a party town. Whether you're adventuring in the day, or burning the midnight oil, you will never be bored in Queenstown, and this small city between lake shores and mountain peaks will likely be the highlight of your time in New Zealand.

Day 7: Queenstown

Queenstown
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Shotover Jet!
  • Tour: Skyline Gondola & Luge
  • Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown
  • Meals: B

Shotover Jet!

Get ready for a daredevil adventure and adrenaline ride! The only way to experience the Canyon, see their beauty and feel their power, is to go on a journey on the world’s most exciting jet boat ride. A unique combination of beauty and power, it’s an experience like no other, blending pristine natural landscape with wall to wall canyon action from start to finish! Proudly owned by Ngai Tahu, the Maori people of this land, their connection to the Kimi Kau (Shotover River) goes back centuries.

When the adventure is over, drive back to Queenstown for another fun activity!
(This service is on a group basis.)

Skyline Gondola & Luge

This afternoon, enjoy a scenic gondola ride for quick and easy access to Queenstown’s most spectacular views followed by a heart-pounding luge ride!

Marvel at the stunning views as you ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola or the Luge cart! The Luge cart makes for a thrilling experience, suitable for all ages. Select between different tracks from gentle gradient and easy bends to steeper gradients with banked corners, tunnels, and cutting.

There are 5 Luge rides and Gondola included for you to enjoy!

Day 8: Queenstown -Dunedin

Queenstown -Dunedin
Daily Summary
  • Accommodation: The Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
  • Meals: B

You are off to another great place! From Queenstown, drive via the impressive Kawarau George tp Cromwell. Stop by one of the many vineyards around Cromwell and Bannockburn to sample some of their outstanding Pinot Noir's. Central Otago's brisk cold winters and hot, dry summers have helped create the unique Central Otago terrain which produces internationally acclaimed wines. In Cromwell, you can visit the towns historic precinct on the shores of Lake Dunstan.

Continue onto State Highway 8 through Alexandra through the rocky landscape before you reach Gabriel's Gully, near Lawrence. At Gabriel's Gully, visit the old mine site and try panning for a piece of Central Otago Gold. Time permitting stop at one of New Zealand's great natural wonders, Moeraki Boulders! They have been perfectly rounded over millions of years and strewn across the beach. Just around the corner at Katiki Point, spot fur seals and yellow-eyed penguin colonies resting on the rocks alongside the Moeraki Lighthouse.

Finally, stumble upon Dunedin, one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere and home to one of New Zealand's leading universities. Head on over to your hotel for an evening at your leisure. Driving time: 3.5hs.

Dunedin

Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin is the country's city of the south, wearing its Scottish heritage with pride. Surrounded by dramatic hills and at the foot of a long, picturesque harbor, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. The accommodation is good and plentiful, the nightlife buzzes with funky bars and delicious restaurants and the natural attractions are unique and fascinating.

Day 9: Dunedin

Dunedin
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Dunedin & Otago Peninsula Full Day Guided Tour
  • Accommodation: The Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
  • Meals: B

Dunedin & Otago Peninsula Full Day Guided Tour

Today you will get to enjoy a full day guided tour of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. Tour highlights include Penguin Place, Albatross Station, and Castle Larnach.

Begin your day with a visit to Larnach Castle, New Zealand’s only Castle. Built-in 1871 by William Larnach, merchant baron and politician, for his beloved first wife Eliza. The Castle is still privately owned and decades have been spent on the Castle’s renovation. Scandalous and tragic stories, spectacular tower views and a Garden of International Significance complete this significant period of Dunedin’s and New Zealand’s history.

Continue on your exploration of the Otago Peninsula with a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre. Watch from above as the huge Northern Royal Albatross land at their nests and soar past the viewing room with their huge 3-meter wings. Next, you'll visit the Penguin Place Conservation Reserve. The Penguin Place conservation project is a private effort, founded in 1985 by Howard McGrouther. This nature reserve is part of a working sheep farm and we are creating as much breeding opportunity for the penguins as possible while minimizing the loss of grazing ground. Each winter, hundreds of native trees, bushes and shrubs are planted within the reserve to restore shade and privacy which the Yellow-Eyed Penguin requires. Along with replanting, nest boxes are provided which enables ideal conditions for successful breeding. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 10: Dunedin Departure

Dunedin Departure
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Meals: B

Although your adventure must come to an end today, you will be leaving with new friends, amazing experiences and memories to cherish for the rest of your life. Once you have checked out of your hotel in Dunedin, you will be met by your driver and transferred to the airport in good time to board your international departure flight.

We wish you safe and happy travels home! (This service is on a private basis.)

Accommodation

Pete

Pete's Farm Stay

Pete's Farm Stay is a real kiwi farmstay Bed & Breakfast, with Sheep, Alpacas & Cows. We are close to Christchurch on the North Canterbury Plains of New Zealand's South Island. Get up close with Pete's Farm Stay animals. Watch Pete shear a Sheep. Touch, cuddle and feed the pets. Help out with activities around the farm or simply relax with a glass of New Zealand wine whilst taking in the scenic views and tranquility of the farm.

Peppers Bluewater Resort Lake Tekapo

Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo, is the latest glimmering spectacle on New Zealand's South Island. Surrounded by the spectacular landscapes of the Southern Alps, Lake Tekapo is the largest and highest glacial lake in New Zealand. Peppers Bluewater Resort is located on State Highway 8, a scenic two-and-a-half hour drive from both Christchurch and Queenstown. Inspired by the lake's characteristic turquoise-blue hue, 142 rooms offer a variety of accommodations, from standard hotel rooms to one, two and three bedroom villas, all with essential modern comforts. Timber and leather textures reflect the earthy tones of the Mackenzie Basin, while moods are reflected in the calming blue waters across the foothills of the Southern Alps.

Distinction Wanaka

Distinction Wanaka

Distinction Wanaka Alpine Resort is nestled in a quiet Lake Wanaka location and guests can enjoy access to the resort facilities whilst staying in the serviced apartments. The stylish, self-contained, serviced apartments each provide a high level of personal comfort and convenience, perfect for all seasons. Offering a range of large, stylish 1, 2 & 3 bedroom apartments and a 5 bedroom villa. The spacious self-contained apartments provide a high level of personal comfort and convenience. They offer a fully equipped kitchen, televisions with 50+ channels of SKY channels, free WiFi, under-floor heating in the bathrooms, private & secure car garages, perfect for storing additional equipment such as skis and bikes. Enquire about daily, weekly and longer term servicing options. Guests can relax and unwind in the resort's hot spas, swimming pools (heated in Summer), barbeque area, tennis court, petanque terrain, games room and gym, all complimentary during your stay. Whilst in Wanaka you will find much to do and discover including three excellent ski-fields; Treble Cone, Cardrona Alpine Resort and Snow Park, all within easy reach. Lake Wanaka is a beautiful aquatic playground, Mt Aspiring National Park offers sensational hiking and mountain bike trails and visitors can also enjoy truly unique attractions such as the Warbirds' Museum and Puzzling World.

Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Heartland Hotel Queenstown has a distinctive design close to all the action in the bustling resort town. Even with the amazing views of the mountains and Lake Wakatipu you can still feel cozy and tucked away in these A-Line style chalets in the hills. A soft refurbishment of the guest rooms at Heartland Hotel Queenstown has recently been completed. You can feel even more comfortable with an upgrade of beds including new bedding, interior painting, installation of flat screen TV’s, air conditioning and double glazing/ hush glass to all road frontage rooms. Heartland Hotel Queenstown is linked to Scenic Suites Queenstown, with an adjoining reception area, however each hotel maintains its distinct style and quality of accommodation.

The Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

The Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

The Scenic Hotel Southern Cross is Dunedin's largest and most established hotel. Located in the heart of Dunedin, this hotel has been extensively refurbished and now provides guests with modern style, exquisite quality, convenience, and exceptional service. The Scenic Hotel Southern Cross provides stylish inner city accommodation, giving the convenience of having entertainment, shopping, and restaurants close at hand. Just a short walk from the Octagon, railway station, theatres, shops, and close to Otago University, it is the perfect location from which to explore Dunedin. Whether you are staying for business or pleasure, it is hard to go past the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross. Dating back to 1883, this landmark building now blends Dunedin’s distinctive charm and heritage with modern style and comfort. Your every comfort is well provided for, with 178 attractive rooms and suites, extensive hotel facilities, and a very high standard of service. This has earned the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross a 4-star plus Qualmark rating, as well as the Enviro-Silver award.

Pricing and Details

Starting from $ 7,278 per person

*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.

Price Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

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