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South Island Tours, Vacation Packages & Travel Experiences


  • Enjoy a Milford Sound cruise on New Zealand's South Island - a great inclusion for all New Zealand tours

New Zealand is a country made up of two major islands, simply called North and South Islands contrasting not only terrain and physical features but also in character and attractions. The South Island has spectacular scenery consisting of sweeping plains, snow-covered mountains and rugged coasts and abounds in natural breath-taking landscapes, all to be experienced on a New Zealand vacation.

Also visit the North Island

MARLBOROUGH

The Marlborough Sounds, made up of sheltered waterways, meanders for more than 600 miles (966 km) around secluded coves and pristine beaches, with many spots accessible only by boat. The area has unlimited opportunities on New Zealand tours for cruising, sailing, diving and fishing. The Queen Charlotte Walkway, one of New Zealand's walking tracks contains both bush and coastal scenery. Marlborough's long, hot summers and frosty, clear winters make it ideal for grape growing and its 30 wineries produce some of the world's finest white and sparkling wines. They can be sampled on wine tours around Blenheim. Blenheim is a busy provincial town of pleasant parks and gardens, which enjoys more sunshine than anywhere else in the country.

 

KAIKOURA

Kaikoura, 2 hours south of Blenheim was once famous for its rock lobsters, but is better known now as one of the few places in the world where it is possible to view, at close range, huge sperm whales, along with dolphins, seals and great marine birds.

 

NELSON

Nelson's mild climate is ideal for horticulture. Nelson is a large fruit growing region in New Zealand and supplies the nation's tobacco and hops. Small boutique wineries, often with cafes, flourish in the Moutere's protected, sun-drenched valleys where you will also come across local breweries and roadside produce stands. Quality studios, art and craft shops abound in the city and district, all to be enjoyed on New Zealand tours.

Kahurangi National Park, a wilderness of lush rainforest and awesome limestone formations, is the site of the Heaphy and Wangapeka tracks. Nelson Lakes National Parks' high peaks and beech forests and the jewel-like lakes of Rotoiti and Rotoroa can be seen from fabulous walks and hikes. Abel Tasman National Park is primarily a coastal park. Its subtropical native forests stretch down to golden-sand beaches, estuaries and secluded bays. Marahau Beach, at the southern end of the park, near Motueka, offers kayaking, horseback riding, boat rentals and water taxis to various points in the park. The drive to Golden Bay, around the inland side of the Abel Tasman National Park, climbs over Takaka Hill, and the views down into Takaka Valley and out over Kahurangi National Park are incredibly spectacular. In Golden Bay, you can enjoy the uncrowded golden beaches, or visit the mesmerizing, crystal clear Waikoropupu Springs. Along Farewell Spit is a 15-mile sand spit extending into the bay, where you can take a 4WD safari to see a migratory bird sanctuary of international significance.

 

WEST COAST

The West Coast is a narrow strip of land hemmed in between the South Island's formidable Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. With most of its natural environment still intact and preserved in six national parks and a World Heritage Site, the Coast is an unspoiled, scenic gem. This wild, sparsely populated region of mountains and glaciers, tranquil lakes, unruly rivers, lush rain forests and a magnificent 360-mile (600 km) coastline overwhelms visitors with its grandeur and beauty on a New Zealand vacation.

The northern West Coast is often called Buller after its main river. The major town is Westport, a port with a coal-mining history. Nearby, Cape Foulwind is the site of the country's most accessible fur seal colony. To the north is Karamea, with its unusual limestone topography, an area of caves, sink holes, and disappearing rivers. Here the towering Oparara Arch is the result of thousands of years of erosion by the Oparara River.

Between Westport and Greymouth, the coastline features the unique Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. In south Westland, Whataroa, near Okariko, is the site of the only breeding station in New Zealand for the majestic white heron, a bird revered by the Maori. South Westland also has some of the most dramatic views in New Zealand the soaring Southern Alps, forest-fringed lakes, lush rain forests and the spectacular Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.

 

CANTERBURY

Canterbury, a flat, broad plain, borders the Southern Alps. Christchurch nestled in the heart of Canterbury is the South Island's largest city with a population of over 330,000. Christchurch is New Zealand's "Garden City ' full of many beautiful parks and reserves. Punting along the Avon River, through the inner city is a popular way to view the distinctively English character of the city on New Zealand tours.

North of Christchurch, Hanmer Springs is a serene, alpine thermal resort in a natural wonderland, where you can relax in the hot, mineral waters or walk the trails through plantation forests planted early in the century. Other activities include bungee jumping, mountain biking, jet boating, rafting, horseback riding, golf and skiing.

Just over the hills from Christchurch, nestled in one of the many harbors that indent Banks Peninsula, is the bustling port of Lyttelton, where Canterbury's first settlers landed. Also on the Banks Peninsula, Akaroa, once a French settlement, still has French street signs and a charming Gaelic ambiance, along with quaint cottages, an excellent folk museum, French restaurants and a marvelous cheese factory.

Mount Hutt, 56 miles/90 km south west of Christchurch, is one of the most popular ski fields in New Zealand.

International competitions are staged here each year. The ski season at Mount Hutt is May to October. At the base of Mt Hutt lies the small country town of Methven, which in winter becomes a lively resort for one of New Zealand's top ski fields.

The alpine village of Arthur's Pass is a two-hour drive from Christchurch. Nestled in the foothills of the Southern Alps, it is surrounded by the spectacular Arthur's Pass National Park, popular for climbing, hiking, short walks, hunting and fishing. A great way to see this area is by taking the TranzAlpine.

 

THE MACKENZIE COUNTRY AND MOUNT COOK

The road from Christchurch to Mount Cook passes through a land of lakes, vast open spaces and golden, tussock-covered hills that roll toward the Southern Alps. On the way, you pass by the milky-blue, glacial lakes of Pukaki and Tekapo. Located on the shores of Lake Tekapo, the lonely little stone Church of the Good Shepherd has a spectacular view of Mount Cook, framed by the altar window. Mount Cook (12,349 ft), towers above the massive, snow-clad peaks that make up the Mount Cook National Park. On one side of Mount Cook is the mighty Tasman Glacier, a 19-mile giant and one of the longest outside of the Himalayas. Spectacular ski plane flights open up this majestic world to everyone. All sorts of ski options are available, including heli-skiing and ski touring. Glorious mountain walks and climbing expeditions are geared to suit every degree of fitness, and guides are available. A range of accommodations includes a hotel, chalets, a youth hostel and campground.

 

QUEENSTOWN

Queenstown lies beside Lake Wakatipu at the foot of The Remarkables mountain range. It is the South Island's most popular resort and the base for excursions into the surrounding mountains and nearby fiords, including Milford Sound. In winter, Queenstown is New Zealand's main skiing centre, and in summer even larger numbers of visitors come to take part in outdoor activities ranging from trout fishing to paragliding, and white-water rafting to bungee jumping on a New Zealand vacation. The town is compact enough to get around on foot, with courtesy vehicles, buses or taxis available to take you to outlying attractions. Queenstown has more than 100 restaurants, plenty of entertainment, accommodations to suit all tastes and great shopping.

 

WANAKA

Wanaka, surrounded by majestic mountains lies on the shores of the glacial formed Lake Wanaka. The township is in some respects a quieter, more relaxed version of Queenstown, with a range of accommodation, from a top-class resort to motor lodges and camp grounds. The town also has a superb selection of restaurants and cafes. Rising beyond the lake, magnificent Mount Aspiring, the focal point of Mount Aspiring National Park, is a favourite with hikers. Wanaka township sits at the base of the Treble Cone ski area, a favourite with snowboarders. Cardrona ski area is situated on the Crown Range between Wanaka and Queenstown and is an ideal ski field for families.

 

FIORDLAND

Covering nearly three million acres, wet, wild, rugged and remote, Fiordland is one of the largest national parks in the world. A World Heritage Site, this is nature on a grand scale. Protected by its isolation, some of New Zealand's rarest birds are found here, as well as some of the country's best-known hiking tracks on New Zealand tours.

Te Anau, an attractive resort on the shores of Lake Te Anau, is the starting point for the Fiordland National Park and its many outdoor activities. Sometimes referred to as the "walking capital of the world" Te Anau acquired this reputation from the Milford, Kepler, Routeburn, Greenstone, Hollyford and Dusky Tracks. Its accommodations range from four-star hotels and motels, to backpacker hostels, campgrounds and farmstays. It also has fine restaurants serving the specialties of the region: lobster, venison and fresh fish.

Milford Sound is the most accessible and best known of the glacier-cut fiords. Lined with mountain peaks that rise sharply to heights of 7,000 feet, the most famous of which is Mitre Peak. Lush rain forest and majestic waterfalls abound. Wildlife includes the Fiordland Crested Penguin, fur seals and dolphins.

 

OTAGO

The South Island's second largest city and the commercial center of Otago is Dunedin, a gracious, distinctive city of grand 19th-century buildings and beautiful gardens. Dunedin is a city of culture and learning, distinguished by libraries, museums, parks, churches, and New Zealand's first university. Bearing the Gaelic form of the name Edinburgh, Dunedin was settled by Scots, and made prosperous by the Otago gold rushes of the 1860s. Dunedin's Victorian character is preserved in its many fine stone buildings.

The Otago Peninsula, only 15 minutes from downtown, has an abundance of wildlife, from seabirds, fur seals and the rare and endangered yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho). At the end of the peninsula on Taiaroa Head, the mighty albatross glides effortlessly on the updrafts. Nowhere else in the world does this, the largest of the world's seabirds, breed within such easy viewing access.

In Northern Otago, the town of Oamaru was also built from the wealth that came out of the Otago goldfields. In addition to its grand, stone Victorian buildings and fine gardens, it is noted for the two species of penguins that inhabit its shores. Farther up the coast a unique geological phenomenon, the Moeraki Boulders look as if giants have scattered enormous toy balls on the beach.

Central Otago was used during the gold rush days of the 1860s by thousands of miners. Along the Goldfields' Heritage Highway, the road runs through the quaint villages of Clyde, Lawrence, St. Bathans and Naseby. Alexandra is the main town on the mighty Clutha River. Clyde and Cromwell are also ideal to explore on a New Zealand vacation.

 

SOUTHLAND

Southland is a region of lush green farmlands, rain forests, spectacular coastal scenery, small towns and the longest daylight hours in the country. Its rivers and streams and lakes are filled with sizable trout, and fishing here is a way of life. The largest urban center, Invercargill is New Zealand's southernmost city. East of Invercargill on the Southern Scenic Highway from Dunedin, the Catlins Forest Park offers some great walks and magnificent coastal scenery.

Unspoiled in its isolation, Stewart Island is like stepping back in time. Reached by catamaran, aeroplane or ferry across Foveaux Strait, this is the ultimate spot for anyone seeking peace and tranquillity. Here too are superb bush walks and great launch cruises in some of the most beautiful of New Zealand's coastal scenery. Bird watchers will find the island richly rewarding, and you might even spot a kiwi in its natural environment. Activities include saltwater fishing, sea kayaking, and hiking on trails provided with huts. There is comfortable accommodation at Halfmoon Bay on New Zealand tours.

 Also visit the North Island

 

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New Zealand Travel Information

At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to a New Zealand.vacation 

Learn about the history and culture of New Zealand, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about New Zealand's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering New Zealand for yourself. Start exploring...book a New Zealand vacation today!

 

Extend Your Stay

Consider an additional stopover to your New Zealand vacation at one of Goway's South Pacific destinations. You can choose from  our selection of Australian vacationsTahiti vacation packages or stay at one of our Fiji resorts or perhaps take a Cook Island vacation. This can be done stopping over en route to or from New Zealand.

 

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South Island

  • Classic Downunder from Melbourne to Auckland

    Get to know the true Downunder by experiencing the best of both Australia and New Zealand. Visit Australia's iconic sites and cities before commencing a journey through New Zealand’s incredible islands.
    Duration:
    19 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 3,728
    Trip Type:
    Classics (Bestsellers)
    Australia See Trip Details
  • Classic Downunder: Auckland to Melbourne

    Get to know the true Downunder by experiencing the best of both Australia and New Zealand. Journey through New Zealand’s incredible islands before embarking on a tour of Australia.
    Duration:
    19 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 3,603
    Trip Type:
    Classics (Bestsellers)
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Classic New Zealand

    This is the ultimate classic New Zealand tour. Begin in Auckland and then it’s on to Rotorua, next head south to the capital, Wellington before embarking on the scenic South Island.
    Duration:
    13 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 2,287
    Trip Type:
    Classics (Bestsellers)
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • 13 Day Australia & New Zealand Cruise: Auckland to Sydney

    Escape on a New Zealand cruise from Auckland to Sydney. Begin on the North Island with its abundance of geothermal areas and Maori history before passing onto the South Island to cruise fjords and tour vineyards before closing out your vacation in Australia’s largest city, Sydney.
    Duration:
    13 Days
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Cruises & Sailing
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Alps & Ice

    New Zealand’s South Island is an astonishing land filled with dramatic gorges and powerful glaciers.
    Duration:
    3 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 2,297
    Trip Type:
    Escorted Coach Touring, Small Group Touring
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park: Heli Hiking on the Tasman Glacier

    Combine the excitement of walking on New Zealand's biggest glacier with the thrill of breathtaking helicopter fly-bys of New Zealand's largest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. Explore a remote area of the glacier where every journey is unique because the glacier is in constant motion.
    Duration:
    3 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Auckland and Hawaii Escape

    Say aloha to Honolulu and Auckland on this escape across the Pacific. In Honolulu, visit Pearl Harbor to get a sober reminder of World War II history. Then head on to Auckland to explore the gorgeous harbour and experience one of the world’s most livable cities. This vacation showcases two cities in one incredible trip.
    Duration:
    7 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 1,199
    Trip Type:
    Vacation Packages with Airfare
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Auckland, Queenstown and Hawaii Escape

    Escape to Hawaii and say aloha to Auckland on this journey across the Pacific. Begin in Honolulu, where you can explore history and savour the island’s tropical climate. Continue on to New Zealand, where you’ll cruise Auckland’s famous natural harbour and get your adrenaline kick in Queenstown, the nation’s adventure capital.
    Duration:
    11 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 2,299
    Trip Type:
    Vacation Packages with Airfare
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Aussie Kiwi Explorer

    An adventure to keep the kids amused while the grown-ups enjoy the ultimate Downunder holiday.
    Duration:
    11 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 2,343
    Trip Type:
    Classics (Bestsellers), Family Vacations
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Bush & Beach Walk 3 Day

    Spend three days walking through native forests, past headlands, through estuaries and onto sandy beaches. This is a great alternative for those with limited time to explore New Zealand.
    Duration:
    3 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 891
    Trip Type:
    Active & Adventurous, Tailor-made Travel Ideas
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Bush & Beach Walk 5 Day

    Abel Tasman National Park, at the top of the South Island, offers amazing ocean views, beaches and water. The track is reasonably well graded making it suitable for most people and families.
    Duration:
    5 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 1,287
    Trip Type:
    Active & Adventurous, Tailor-made Travel Ideas
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Christchurch: Akaroa Small Group Full Day Tour

    Visit the French harbourside village of Akaroa and explore the gorgeous Banks Peninsula on this full day tour. As you travel along a high summit route with stunning views, you'll explore farmlands, learn about the region's history of arts and culture, and enjoy lunch at an award-winning café.
    Duration:
    9 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Christchurch: Arthur's Pass Small Group Hike Full Day Tour

    Explore the picturesque Arthur's Pass on this small group tour from Christchurch. First, ride the TranzAlpine train through the Southern Alps. Upon reaching Arthur's Pass, you'll head on a hike to explore the area's natural splendor and visit the Castle Hill Rocks, weatherworn limestone rocks famed the world over.
    Duration:
    10 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Christchurch: Arthurs Pass Small Group Full Day Tour

    Board the famous TranzAlpine train for a morning journey to Arthur's Pass. Once there, explore this breathtaking region, passing from the local village, through the national park, and down into Otira Gorce, where you'll see an underground area of limestone cliffs and gorges. Alternatively, visit the famous Castle Hill Rocks before returning to Christchurch.
    Duration:
    10 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Christchurch: City & Wine Small Group Full Day Tour

    Deep dive into the city's history and culture on this full-day tour. As you explore the city, you'll see rebuilding projects from the 2010/2011 earthquakes, visit the historic Botanic Gardens, and tour local wineries to see why New Zealand's wine is well-regarded the world over.
    Duration:
    7 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Christchurch: Discover Christchurch Half Day Tour

    Discover the treasures of Christchurch on this half-day tour. First, ride a double-decker bus to see the sights and learn about the rebuilding process following the earthquakes of 2010/2011. Afterwards, explore points of interests on foot, including the Mona Vale Gardens and the Sumner and Port Hills.
    Duration:
    3 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Christchurch: Lord of the Rings Edoras Full Day Tour

    Take a day to explore remote and beautiful Mount Potts High Country Station, home to Mount Sunday, which was transformed into Edoras in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This full day tour takes you through unspoiled and beautiful landscape and shares behind-the-scenes secrets about your favourite movie trilogy.
    Duration:
    8.5 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Christchurch: The Alpine Safari

    Embark on the ultimate alpine safari on this day trip from Christchurch. Beginning with a jetboat ride at Waimak Gorge, you’ll off-road on Mount Torlesse, lunch at a country café, and ascend to Arthur’s Pass, where you’ll board the world-famous TranzAlpine Train and enjoy breathtaking scenery as you return to Christchurch.
    Duration:
    10 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Christchurch: Tramway Restaurant

    Enjoy an exceptional dinner at the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant, a one-of-a-kind restaurant that offers luxury meals in a 36-seater air-conditioned, colonial-style tram car. The Tramway Restaurant combines modern flavours with old-world design to deliver a night to remember.
    Duration:
    2.5 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Classic Wine Trail Self Drive

    Famous for its wines, embark on a self drive through New Zealand’s Classic Wine Trail sampling gourmet food while taking in culture and some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes.
    Duration:
    10 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 1,347
    Trip Type:
    Self-Drives
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Dunedin: Peninsula Cruise Half Day Tour

    Take half a day to cruise beautiful Otago Harbour and see the incredible wildlife that call the region home. On this tour, you’ll take a wildlife cruise along the tip of the Otago Peninsula to spot albatrosses and New Zealand fur seals and learn about the area’s long and storied history.
    Duration:
    3.5 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Dunedin: Peninsula Encounters Tour

    The tour combines tourism and conservation in a symbiotic relationship, and provides absolutely unrivalled viewing of estuarine and marine wildlife. Knowledgeable guides will inform you of activity being viewed and visit places where the best possible viewing of Hooker's Sea lions, Yellow-eyed Penguins, Blue Penguins, a breeding colony of New Zealand Fur Seals and Royal Albatross can be had. A further 25-30 other estuarine and marine bird species are seen during the experience. Up close, unobtrusive viewing from beach locations and strategically placed observation hides is guaranteed.
    Duration:
    6 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Dunedin: Wild Coast Explorer Private Peninsula Tour

    The Wildlife Coast Explorer is an exclusive, private guided wildlife and/or nature tour. Experience close encounters with nature, coastal farms, small bays and inlets, rugged hills white sand beaches. See unique wildlife going about their daily routines. Witness one of the world's rarest penguin species waddle up a beach after a long day's feeding, Hooker's Sea lions dozing in the sun and bedlam in a fur seal breeding colony. See the world's largest sea bird, the Royal albatross soaring above the famous Taiaroa headland. This itinerary is the most popular option for private touring, but guests can personalize the day to their liking.
    Duration:
    10 Hours
    Prices:
    On request
    Trip Type:
    Day Trips
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Explore Like A Local

    This immersive New Zealand vacation takes you beyond Auckland to explore some of the North Island’s most beautiful regions. Then fly to magnificent Queenstown, with the option of a trip to Milford Sound.
    Duration:
    9 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 1,253
    Trip Type:
    Self-Drives
    New Zealand See Trip Details
  • Fiordland Navigator Overnight Cruise

    Soak up the stunning surrounds and discover Doubtful Sound. See a great deal of wildlife including fur seals and dolphins riding the bow waves then kayak and explore with a nature guide.
    Duration:
    2 Days
    Prices From:
    US$ 255
    Trip Type:
    Cruises & Sailing, Tailor-made Travel Ideas
    New Zealand See Trip Details
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