Southern Start

20 day Holiday Idea - from £2775

Join a 9-day guided tour of the South Island with excursions, accommodation and a knowledgeable guide before exploring the North with a leisurely self-drive from Wellington to Auckland.


  • Sail on Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw
  • Journey over Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine train
  • Art deco scene of Napier
  • Geothermal wonders of Taupo & Napier
  • City sights of Wellington and Auckland
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Your Itinerary

Day 1 – Christchurch

Fly with a scheduled airline to the gateway of the South Island for a two night stay prior to the start of your guided tour. Christchurch is constantly evolving following the devastating earthquake that hit the city in 2011 and has become a modern and thriving garden city.

Day 3 – Omarama

Following a city tour of Christchurch you will travel over the fertile Canterbury Plains to visit the famous Church of Good Shepherd. There is also the opportunity to take an optional scenic flight over towering Mount Cook National Park. Your day ends in the heart of the Mackenzie Country at Omarama.

Day 4 - Dunedin

Your tour guide will drive you through the historic town of Oamaru and on to Dunedin for a city orientation tour. The afternoon is free for you to explore New Zealand’s southernmost city, known for its Scottish and Maori heritage.

Day 5 – Te Anau

Enjoy a leisurely morning before travelling through the sheep-dotted pastures of South Otago en route to Lake Te Anau. There is the option of cruising through the local Glowworm Caves or simply explore this lakeside township at your own leisure.

Day 6 & 7 - Queenstown

Today’s highlight is a cruise over New Zealand’s most famous natural wonder, Milford Sound. Your unforgettable cruise takes in cascading waterfalls, hanging glacier valleys and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak. Following your cruise, you will journey onwards to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu for a 2 night stay.

The next morning is free for you to take in the breathtaking scenery of this most picturesque of towns before an afternoon cruise on board the TSS Earnslaw – a traditional paddle steamer which will take you back in time, as well as to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet BBQ dinner.

Day 8 – Franz Josef

Enjoy a visit to the gold-rush era township of Arrowtown on route to Lake Wanaka and the extraordinary Franz Josef Glacier. An optional scenic flight over the ice flow is available.

Day 9 – Christchurch

Journey north to Hokitika, home to New Zealand’s famous greenstone, Jade. Wander through the workshops and craft boutiques before boarding the TranzAlpine train from Greymouth across the Southern Alps back to Christchurch.

Day 10 - Wellington

It is time to bid farewell to the South Island as you depart Christchurch and fly to the capital city of Wellington. Pick up your car rental from the airport and travel to the city for a relaxed two-night stay allowing time to explore the Botanical Gardens, Zealandia and Te Papa National Museum.

Day 12 – Napier

Take your time to travel through along the southern tip of the North Island towards Napier. This coastal resort town is famous for its art deco appearance and wine production. A two night stay here will allow ample time to relax and immerse yourself in this cultured town. Tour the region in a traditional art deco vintage car or join a self-guided bike tour of the surrounding vineyards.

Day 14 – Taupo

Drive through the rugged hills, plunging valleys and expansive vistas towards Taupo. This resort town sits on the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake and is surrounded by impressive natural wonders, such as the powerful Huka Falls and the steaming Craters of the Moon.

Day 15 – Rotorua

The road to Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s most fascinating. The lakeside town of Rotorua sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire which contributes to the abundance of geothermal activity which occurs within this region. On your way towards the town stop at one of the geothermal parks to see bubbling mud pools and erupting geysers. Rotorua is also the perfect destination to discover more about the country’s unique Maori culture at Te Puia Arts and Craft Institute or during a traditional evening Maori Hangi feast.

Day 17 – Auckland

The final part of your self drive takes you through green countryside and rolling farmland as you head towards the bright lights of Auckland for a 3 night stay. Take a day cruise over to Waiheke Island or for the more adventurous hike up Mount Eden at sunrise or sunset and take in the panoramic views.

20 day Holiday Idea - from £2775

With flights from £3929

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Holiday Ideas

This itinerary shows the type of holiday you can enjoy with Freedom Destinations. You can change it to suit your individual needs.

Your holiday includes:

  • Fully guided South Island escorted tour
  • Knowledgeable guide and excursions
  • Domestic flight from Christchurch to Wellington
  • 10-day North Island self-drive
  • Pre-booked accommodation and car hire

You can:

  • Choose the style of accommodation you prefer
  • Add day tours and activities in the places you visit
  • Extend your stay in any of the locations
  • Add other destinations or visit family and friends

See more 3 Week New Zealand Holiday Ideas…

For advice or to start planning your holiday

talk to a New Zealand Expert on 0333 234 3209