image description

South Island Discovery

from £5499
Walk exhilarating trails, cruise the Milford Sound and experience the best of New Zealand's South Island.
  • Product Code 41809
  • Holiday Type Sightseeing And Walking Holidays, Experiential Holidays, Iconic Paths
  • Grade

    Grades 1, 2 & 3 - Leisurely grades

    Grades 4, 5 & 6 - Moderate grades

    Grades 7, 8 & 9 - Challenging grades

    Grade 4
  • Holiday Duration 17 Nights

Beginning in Christchurch; a city which has recovered with great fortitude following the earthquake of 2011. Here we meet with those who have spent some time in the North Island and together, we'll discover the city of Christchurch.

Travel to Franz Josef Glacier via Arthur’s Pass and the stunning west coast route. We'll walk around amazing Lake Matheson with incredible views of the Southern Alps, plus explore the valleys leading up to Fox and Franz Josef glaciers. 

From Wanaka, we travel on to everyone’s favourite, Queenstown. From here you'll have the option to do the Milford Track instead of walking from Queenstown. Our journey then takes us to Te Anau in the Southern Lake District from where we cruise on Milford Sound. We head back north to Twizel, a gateway to the peaks and trails of Mount Cook. This really is a holiday of a lifetime.

The maximum group size for this holiday is 22 people (20 customers and 2 leaders).

We also have options to walk the Milford Track, please see details below:

The Milford Track is world famous and the finest way to walk to Milford Sound. The first day begins with a boat journey from Te Anau Downs and a 1.6 km walk followed by a short nature walk. The following day we walk up the Clinton valley around 16 km with 200m of ascent. The next day we reach the head of the Clinton Valley and walk over the Mackinnon pass around 15km but with 720m of ascent. Please contact our Sales and Reservations department for a quote. Please note that the price quoted will be based on you staying in a multi share room. If you would like a quote for a room on a single basis then please specify at the time of booking. Please be aware that places are limited and on a first come first basis. Once the spaces are booked, it is unlikely that we will be able to obtain more so please book early to avoid disappointment! Please see the information attached for more details. 

If you have a little more time available, join us for the entire Complete New Zealand route and spend some time of the North Island too.



Holiday Highlights

  • Experience the Milford Sound with its dramatic vertical cliffs, hanging valleys and waterfalls.
  • Visit the Mount Cook region – the highest and most beautiful point of New Zealand.
  • Specially selected three and four-star hotels throughout.
  • Experience Queenstown and the glaciers of Franz Josef
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Christchurch via Singapore (Singapore Airlines) or via Dubai (Qantas)
      Airport transfers
      En suite accommodation
      Breakfasts taken at the hotels
      Seven dinners taken at the hotels or at local restaurants, and one lunch
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 4/SS

  1. Day 1 to 2

    Depart London Heathrow for Christchurch via Singapore with Singapore Airlines.

  2. Day 3

    We land in Christchurch around lunchtime, where we stay for two nights. It is the second largest city, known as the Garden City of New Zealand. Founded in 1850 as a model church settlement, the founders envisaged recreating an English town – echoed in the Gothic Architecture of its early buildings and the hundreds of acres of parkland surrounding the city. Today you will have some free time after your arrival to explore Christchurch independently or even enjoy a relax at the hotel. You may like to visit the city centre (under active restoration since the recent earthquake), the Cardboard Cathedral or the Botanic Gardens.  In the afternoon we will meet up with those travelling on our Complete New Zealand holiday. We'll then explore Christchurch as a group where we'll visit the city centre (under active restoration since the recent earthquake) and see the Cardboard Cathedral,  the Botanic Gardens, Remembrance gate and Hagley park.  

  3. Day 4

    We'll walk along the Godley Head walkway with lovely coastal views; this headland was where the original English settlers arrived in the 1860s after their 4 month voyage in the middle of the 19th century. We'll hug the coast for spectacular scenery and enjoy a picnic lunch on Taylors Mistake beach. Later in the afternoon, there will also be time for individual sightseeing or an enjoyable walk into Hagley park and Christchurch city centre.

  4. Day 5

    We cross the Great Divide again, traversing spectacular gorges and the ancient forest of Arthur’s Pass National Park, where we enjoy a short walk in the park before continuing to the West Coast and Hokitika with its wild windswept beach covered in driftwood.  From there, we enter Glacier Country and stop in the tiny village of Franz Josef.

  5. Day 6

    We start the day with an early morning walk around Lake Matheson, famous for its post-card reflections of the Southern Alps. Then we drive inland so we can walk to view the glacial face of Fox Glacier which lies in a magnificent wide glacial valley.  After lunch, we return to Franz Josef to walk the face of its own glacier before returning to our hotel. 

  6. Day 7

    We continue our journey south along the coast via Haast, turning inland over the Haast Pass and through wonderful country (with stops at the startling blue Lake Wanaka and the even bluer Lake Hawea) to the charming town of Wanaka (known affectionately as ‘Queenstown’s little brother) where we stay for two nights.     

  7. Day 8

    Today we will walk in the Mount Aspiring National Park. Here we may hike the Minaret Burn Track, or the Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain track.  Both tracks offer some of the best mountains & Lakes views that NZ has to offer. 

  8. Day 9
    We continue south to Queenstown, where Ben Lomond and the ‘Remarkables’ mountain range tower above Lake Wakatipu. We stay for three nights. On route, we will visit Arrowtown, a pretty gold rush village with a 'wild west' feel to it. We will enjoy a walk around the river before exploring the town and having lunch. Once we arrive in Queenstown, we will have an afternoon orientation walk to include a lakeside walk and the memorial gardens, plus the opportunity for a leg-stretch up Queenstown Hill for a birds-eye view. Dinner for our first evening in Queenstown is spent high above the town after taking the gondola up to Bolos Park to the ‘Skyline’ restaurant.

    Please note that if you choose to take the option of hiking the Milford Track (see the information below for the Milford Track option, days 1-5), you leave the main group to start your adventure tomorrow. Please ask our Sales and Reservations department to request a quote for this optional extra at the time of booking.

  9. Day 10
    Today we catch a gondola cable car to above the tree-line, then hike up a good mountain track towards the summit of Ben Lomond (with options of reaching the ‘saddle’ or the top, as this is an out-and-back walk).  There are far reaching 360 degree views throughout the day and you can relax after the walk at the Skyline restaurant and cafe by the upper gondola station before riding back down to town and the hotel.


    Milford Track option day 1:  You’ll be picked up at our Queenstown hotel, and transfer to a wharf on Lake Te Anau, where you’ll take an afternoon scenic cruise to the start of the famous Milford Track long distance trail. A short walk of just 1 mile brings you to Glade House for an overnight stay.  The local guides will show you some interesting flora and fauna along the way. 
  10. Day 11
    You will be ready to have a free day to yourself!  Queenstown is the outdoor activity and sightseeing capital of NZ and your options include a lake trip on the SS Earnslaw steam ship (built 1912), an exhilarating jet boat ride, a self-guided local walk, or simply a lie-in followed by a relaxing ‘day out’ – perhaps enjoying a lunch in the many eateries in this lovely town.

    Milford Track option day 2:  You’ll cross the Clinton River and walk through mountain beech forests and open clearings to the Hirere Waterfalls.  You then continue onto a grassy plain (known as the Prairie) where the views open out into Clinton Canyon.  A rocky but well made path takes you up to Marlene’s Creek and then to Pompolona Lodge.  A good day hike with 10 miles distance over an ascent of 400m.

  11. Day 12
    We walk the Frankton Arm, a pleasant level shoreline walk to the Frankton Tavern where we can enjoy the Boatshed cafe en route. We then continue south to Te Anau; set on a lake of the same name, where we stay for three nights. We're in the heart of the Southern Lakes region from where we can walk alongside the Lake and explore the magnificent Fjordland National Park.

    Milford Track option day 3:  Today you will reach the head of the Clinton valley and walk over the Mackinnon pass. The hardest day, this is around 9 miles but with 720m of ascent. You’ll have a chance to visit the Sutherland Falls, the world’s fifth highest waterfall with a drop of 580m.

  12. Day 13
    Today we visit the world famous Milford Sound. Even our drive there is along one of the most spectacular roads in the world, with dramatic lakes, cliffs and mountains.  We enjoy short scenic walks en route, then a boat trip on the Milford Sound simply takes your breath away. We sail out on deep waters between towering spires of rock surrounding the narrow inlet, with unforgettable views of the sheer mile-high Mitre Peak and the thundering Lady Bowen Falls.


    Milford Track option day 4: Today’s walk gives you a wonderful view of the Lady of the Snows, a distinctive mountain at the head of Green Valley. The 13 mile walk covers a long distance, but is comfortable with only 125m of descent.  The interest never wanes as you pass various hills, flats and waterfalls on our way to the end of the Track at Sandfly Point.  From there, we are collected by motor launch across the Milford Sound to Mitre Peak Lodge.

  13. Day 14
    Today we visit the National Park Visitor Centre, then walk some of the famous ‘Kepler Track’ – a fabulous hike through NZ rainforest with all the sights and sounds that make these areas so special. In the afternoon, we visit the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves. We take a cruise across lake Te Anau to the caves where we have a guided tour to see the spectacular show. 

    Milford Track option day 5: Take a boat trip on the Milford Sound out on the deep waters between towering spires of rock surrounding the narrow inlet, with unforgettable views of the sheer mile-high Mitre Peak and the thundering Lady Bowen Falls.  You’ll then enjoy a scenic coach ride back to Te Anau where you’ll rejoin the main group and visit the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves. 

  14. Day 15

    We leave Te Anau and travel north through the centre of the island into the sparsely populated MacKenzie Country to our hotel in the tiny village of Twizel, our gateway to the Mt Cook region.

  15. Day 16

    We spend today walking in the area around Mount Cook (3741m), which dominates this spectacular alpine region. We walk up the Hooker Valley, crossing three swing bridges, towards the base of Mt. Cook with views of the hanging glaciers of Mount Sefton and Mount ‘Footstool’.  Our walk reaches the glacier terminal moraine where we take some unforgettable photographs of the icebergs in the glacial lake. 

  16. Day 17

    Today we say goodbye to New Zealand and transfer to Christchurch airport to check in for our flights home to London Heathrow via Singapore.

  17. Day 18

    Arrive in the UK.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Christchurch via Singapore (Singapore Airlines) or via Dubai (Qantas)
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class.
  • Stopover package: If you would like to break your journey in Singapore please contact us for details on the stopover packages available when flying Singapore Airlines.
  • We can offer regional flight options and often there will be up to two transfer vehicles (which may include coaches, minibuses or taxis) from the airport to the hotel and vice versa which will minimise any waiting time at the overseas airport.
  • Arrival transfer by road c.30mins

Trip Map

See where this holiday travels to.

The map will be available soon...

Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Chateau on the Park, Christchurch

Chateau on the Park, Christchurch is located in the heart of the city. The hotel is designed to provide maximum tranquility and the surrounding scenery is simply breathtaking. The hotel grounds boats a beautiful rose garden, a moat and a vineyard. The hotels ideal location is within walking distance to Christchurch’s beautiful Botanic Gardens. 



Edgewater Resort

Edgewater Hotel is located in the beautiful destination of Lake Wanaka, only 2km from Wanaka town centre in the South Island of New Zealand. The hotel has a restaurant and a café and allows the opportunity to take in the wonderful scenery of Lake Wanaka. The hotel has many facilities such as a spa, a sauna and a tennis court. The Edgewater Day Spa is located on site of the hotel with stunning views of the lake and nearby surrounding mountains. It offers a wide range of beauty and spa treatments. There is also kayaking on the lake, and mountain biking on the surrounding mountains.



Mackenzie Country Inn, Twizel

MacKenzie Country Inn is located in Twizel, in the heart of the Aoraki Mount Cook and MacKenzie Country Region. Featuring natural stonework, the architecture beautifully reflects and compliments the mountains and riverbeds of the surrounding landscape. All rooms have a shower over bath ensuites and private balconies/patios from which to admire the glorious mountain views.