Southern Spotlight

9 day Guided Tour - from £1920

An unforgettable journey around New Zealand’s remote and mountainous South Island, with magnificent scenery throughout.


  • Towering mountains through Mt. Cook National Park
  • Cruise on mystical Milford Sound
  • Sail on Lake Wakatipu aboard TSS Earnslaw
  • Discover fascinating Franz Josef Glacier
  • Journey over the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine Train
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Your Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Christchurch

An eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture, Christchurch’s art galleries, boutiques and open-air markets add to the city’s creative vibe. Meet your Travel Director this evening for a Welcome Reception.

Hotel: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

Day 2: Christchurch - Omarama

See how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and pop into the Transitional Cathedral, the temporary home of the Christchurch Cathedral built almost entirely of cardboard! Later, travel over the fertile Canterbury Plains to soak up spectacular scenery.

You’ll view the famous Church of the Good Shepherd, and stop for a quick photo with the bronze statue of a collie dog. You may wish to view Mount Cook National Park from the air this afternoon on a scenic flight (own expense). Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country at Omarama.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel: Heritage Gateway Hotel

Day 3: Omarama - Dunedin

Your day begins on the Waitaki River with a visit to the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme. See the monumental spillway of nearby Benmore Dam. Then travel to the historic town of Oamaru, with its celebrated white limestone buildings. Continue to Dunedin and enjoy an orientation tour. New Zealand’s southernmost city, Dunedin is known for its Scottish and Māori heritage, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and large student population.

The afternoon is free for you to relax or explore independently. You might like to take a wildlife cruise, or a ride on the historic Taieri Gorge Railway. The train negotiates the deep, narrow gorge with ease as it travels through ten tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

Day 4: Dunedin – Te Anau

Enjoy some free time here this morning, during which you might like to visit the lovely stately home known as Larnach Castle. A walk in the lovely grounds of the University of Otago, New Zealand’s oldest university, is another option. Then travel across the fertile sheep-dotted pastures of South Otago en route to Lake Te Anau, the largest in the South Island.

Tonight you may choose to travel by flat-bottomed boat through the mysterious Te Anau Glowworm Caves (own expense). The Te Anau Caves are a culturally and ecologically important system of limestone caves on the western shore of Lake Te Anau, with some of the caves nearest to the shore providing a habitat for the bioluminescent insect larvae known as glowworms.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Hotel: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 5: Te Anau - Queenstown

Your experience in magnificent Milford Sound today is sure to be one of the highlights of your journey. Travel first through the tall native rainforests and rugged mountains of Fiordland National Park, traversing the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel. Milford Sound, named after Milford Haven in Wales, is a fiord that runs 15 Kilometres inland from the Tasman Sea and is home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins.

Your unforgettable cruise takes in cascading waterfalls, hanging glacial valleys, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, which rises 5,560 feet from the water. After disembarking, travel on to beautiful Queenstown via the breathtaking stretch of highway called the Devil’s Staircase, and Lake Wakatipu. Enjoy an informative orientation tour of the city before settling in for your two-night stay.

Meals: Breakfast
Hotel: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown, 2 nights

Day 6: Queenstown

Explore New Zealand’s adventure capital at your own pace today. There are jet boat rides and 4WD safaris for the thrill-seekers, and wine tours or intimate cafés for those who enjoy a more leisurely rhythm. Later this afternoon, enjoy a cruise across peaceful Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Highlight Dinner. An entertaining after-dinner farm show completes your evening.

Meals: Breakfast & Highlight Dinner

Day 7: Queenstown – Franz Josef

Your first destination today is the faithfully-restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown, where more than 70 original buildings from the gold-rush era are still beautifully preserved. Sample luscious stone fruit in Cromwell and enjoy the serenity of the region’s vivid blue lakes, the most famous of which is pristine Lake Wanaka. Drive over spectacular Haast Pass, passing the 96-metre Thunder Creek Falls and stopping for a tranquil rainforest walk on your way to the extraordinary Franz Josef Glacier. An optional scenic flight over the glacier is available.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Graham Wing)

Day 8: Franz Josef - Christchurch

Travel to Hokitika, home of New Zealand’s famous greenstone. Pounamu (its Māori name) is of great cultural significance in Māori culture and was prized for its strength, durability and beauty. It was used for weapons, tools and personal ornaments, and also denoted great status.

Continue to Arthur’s Pass to board the iconic TranzAlpine train and embark on one of the world’s most renowned rail journeys. Pass through magnificent landscapes ranging from the rugged gorges and pristine ice-fed streams and lakes of the Southern Alps to the lush pastureland of the Canterbury Plains. This evening in Christchurch, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Farewell Dinner.

Meals: Breakfast & Farewell Dinner
Hotel: Ibis Hotel Christchurch

Day 9: Farewell from Christchurch

Say farewell to your fellow travellers when your holiday comes to an end this morning after breakfast.

Meals: Breakfast

9 day Guided Tour - from £1920

With flights from £2870


  • Add extra nights in Christchurch from £63 per night
  • Tour available in both directions
  • Choose to fly economy, premium or business class


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All prices are per person, based on 2 sharing a twin room, and include meals where shown. Call Freedom Destinations for departure dates and availability. Itineraries outlined are for departures from 1 April 2019.

Southern Spotlight Map

Your Touring Experience

First class touring with like minded travellers. Our experienced guides will make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Your guided tour includes:

  • Sightseeing, walks and activities
  • Luxury air conditioned coach travel
  • 8 nights hotel accommodation
  • 8 breakfasts and 6 dinners
  • Expert tour director
  • Airport transfers and extra night options

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