SOUTH ISLAND SHOWCASE
From the east coast to the west and back again, this 9-day journey through New Zealand’s South Island comes filled with soul-stirring scenery and unique experiences. Beginning in Christchurch, you’ll travel counterclockwise around the island, with overnight stays in Franz Josef, Wanaka, Milford Sound and Queenstown.
Don’t forget your camera - photo opportunities abound throughout this tour! Stand in awe as you travel to picture-perfect Queenstown, framed by the aptly named Remarkable Mountains; embark on an overnight cruise through UNESCO World Heritage Site Milford Sound and wake up in one of the most beautiful places on earth; spot endangered Hector dolphins, only found in NZ waters, while onboard a nature cruise in Akaroa; and be sure to grab a window seat as you board the TranzAlpine - one of the world’s greatest train journeys.
On this South Island tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Māori culture. Watch a jade (pounamu) carving demonstration with a traditional carver and learn about its cultural significance to the Māori people, before exploring the icy depths of Franz Josef glacier on a guided walk, where you’ll learn about the Māori legend behind this breathtaking landscape.
With the perfect balance of active adventure and relaxation, this Cosmos tour is the best way to explore the spectacular South.
- MealsBreakfast:8Lunch:2Dinner:2TransportTouring by private, air-conditioned motorcoach.AccommodationRooms with private bath or shower. Includes hotel taxes, porterage, tips and service charges
Itinerary - 9 Day
Day 1 ARRIVE CHRISTCHURCH 2 NIGHTS Welcome to Christchurch! Please schedule flights to arrive by 4pm in time for a welcome meeting and drink.
Day 2 CHRISTCHURCH. EXCURSION TO AKAROA 2 NIGHTS Travel to the charming village of Abarea, a former French and British settlement Take a nature cruise on Akaraoa Harbour for a chance to see some of the native wildlife, including New Zealand fur seals, the white flipper blue penguin, and the Hector's dolphin, one of the smallest a. rarest in the world. After lunch, you will have time to explore the village with its colonial architecture, galleries and cafes. Return to Christchurch where the remainder of the day is at leisure.(B,D).
Day 3 CHRISTCHURCH - TRANZALPINE TRAIN - GREYMOUTH - FRANZ JOSEF 2 NIGHTS Today, travel on the scenic TranzAlpine, one of the world's great train journeys. From the comfort of first-class carriages, see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmlands, followed by the spectacular gorges and rivers of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the majestic Southern Alps to Arthur's Pass National Park. The train features large panoramic windows. an onboard cafe, and in-seat audio commentary. Disembark in Greymouth and attend a private jade craving demonstraton with a traditional carver.
Day 4 FRANZ JOSEF 2 NIGHTS This morning, explore this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage area. Your Glacier Valley walk will take you up alongside the mighty Waiho River bed, following the glaciers path of retreat in this remarkable landscape. Here you will learn about the glacier's history, see what is left behind by this majestic giant, and learn legend of Ka Romiate o Hine Hukatere. After a brief climb, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the rapidly changing face of the glacier. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. You may opt to take a kayak tour, explore more walking tracks on your own, take a scenic flightseeing or helicopter tour, spend time at west coast wildlife centre or relax in one of the glacier hot pools. (B,L)
Day 5 FRANZ JOSEF - WANAKA 1 NIGHTS Today, journey takes us along New Zealand's rugged west coast through ralnforests, and over Haast Pass to the resort town of Wanaka. Before arriving at your hotel, visit Cardrona Distillery for a visit and tasting. The remainder of your day is free to explore as you wish. Recommendations include paddle boarding or kayaking along Lake Wanaka, take a horseback riding tour or climb to the top of Mt Iron for amazing views of the Southern Alps, Pisa Range, and Lake Wanaka. (B)
Day 6 WANAKA - MILFORD SOUND 1 NIGHTS Travel across the heart of the South Island. Board your ship for an overnight cruise in the spectacular Milford Sound (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience while you cruise the full length of this beautiful fiord before anchoring for the night in sheltered Harrison Cove. Be ready for stunning waterfalls, dramatic cliffs, and the chance to see New Zealand fur seals, dolphins, and Fordland-crested penguins. Tonight, enjoy a special dinner onboard featuring local food and wine and perhaps share in some star-,gazing. (B,D) Accommodation Spotlight: Spend the evening on the Milford Mariner and wake up in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The cruise is relaxing, allowing plenty of time to take in the fiords spectacular scenery and wildlife. The ship features a spacious viewing decks, a dining room, bar, observation lounge and all cabins feature private ensuites. Its the ultimate Milford Sound experience, NOTE:A carrying bag is recommended for the overnight on the Milford Mariner. Make sure to pack non-slip walking shoes/boots, waterproof jacket, warm sweater or jacket, change of clothes, sunscreen, sun glass. insect repellent, swimwear, camera, and cash/credit cards for the bar and snacks.
Day 7 MILFORD SOUND - QUEENSTOWN 2 NIGHTS This morning explore more of this famous sound.You may wish to take a boat or kayak tour. Disembark the ship and continue to Queenstown, "the Adventure Capital of theWorld. Your evening is at leisure, why not take a gondola ride to the top of Bob's Peak for breathtaking views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Mountains. (B)
Day 8 QUEENSTOWN 2 NIGHTS Enjoy a day at leisure. Options for your free time include an exciting jet boat on the Dart River, a self-guided cycling tour, see movie locations on a Lord of the Rings tour, grab a burger at the famous Fergburger, sample some of the region's best wines, go to new heights on a scenic helicopter flight, or browse the many shops and art galleries in town. Tonight, join your Tour Director and fellow travel companions for a fun, progressive farewell dinner through the streets of Queenstown. (B,D).
Day 9 QUEENSTOWN Tour holiday ends with breakfast this morning. You may also choose to extend your time in Queenstown and explore more on your own. Extra nights are available for purchase. (B)