New Zealand: Active South Island

10 days from $7,980 per person*
  • Swim with dolphins in an eco-marine adventure.
  • Voyage through Arthur's Pass on the famous TranzAlpine train.
  • Cruise Milford Sound’s stunning fjords before taking to the skies for a scenic flight to Queenstown.
  • Hike the picturesque Hooker Valley and head out to the Tasman Glacier by boat.
  • Stay at a handpicked selection of premium accommodations.
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A paradise for thrill-seekers, the breath-taking and diverse landscape of New Zealand's South Island offers the perfect backdrop for adventure. Cruise beautiful fjords, trek a world-famous valley, experience an exhilarating jet boat ride, and immerse yourself in a journey tailored for the intrepid.

Begin your journey in Christchurch, known as the country's "Garden City", exploring its Cardboard Cathedral to understand the city's resilience and innovation. Swim with the Hector's dolphins of Akaroa, the smallest and rarest marine dolphins on the planet. You'll next journey to the massifs of the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass via the world-famous TranzAlpine Train, which whisks you through the beauty of Greymouth and offers stunning photo opportunities of snow-capped peaks along the way. Opt to either explore the mesmerizing Castle Hill rocks with your guide, widely regarded as sacred by the Maori, or journey to the spectacular Otira Gorge, a route taken by the Maori in their quest for greenstone. As night falls, you'll experience an unforgettable perspective of Mount Cook's beauty with a visit to an outdoor stargazing site for spectacular views of that southern sky. Using the naked eye, high powered binoculars and state-of-the-art telescopes, you will tour the Milky Way and beyond. Then explore Mount Cook's beauty in the daytime with an excursion to the Tasman Glacier by boat and a guided hike through Hooker Valley to see some of the most dramatic views of the country's sweeping beauty. ... Show More »

The adventure continues in Queenstown as you board a cruise and set sail along the shores of New Zealand’s second largest lake, Te Anau, to reach spectacular Milford Sound. Coast through this magical land of towering mountains, ancient rainforests and mesmerizing waters, before taking to the skies for a panoramic flight back to Queenstown. Feel the pulse of adrenaline as you ride an exhilarating jet boat along the Dart River, feeling the rush during a high-speed ride before hiking the depths of an ancient forest. All the while you'll unwind in comfort with a selected of accommodation curated for your convenience and offering peace in between days of adventure.

Kensington Tours creates private trips from the world’s finest ingredients. Tailor-made with care by your personal Destination Expert, your personalized trip is always a one-of-a-kind experience made just for you. Expert local guidance and 24/7 service come standard. « Show Less

Day
Activities Hotel & Meals
Hotel & Meals
  • Day 1 Christchurch
    Christchurch
    • New Zealand - Welcome Package
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Driver (Intl Apt)
  • Day 2 Christchurch
    Christchurch
    • Private Tour - Garden City Walking Tour (3.5 hours) - Guide
  • Day 3 Christchurch
    Christchurch
    • Shared Tour - Akaroa with Dolphin Swim (9.5 hrs) - Mini Coach/Cruise
  • Day 4 Christchurch
    Christchurch
    • Private Tour - Exploring Arthur’s Pass (with TranzAlpine Train & Lunch, 10 hrs) - Train/Guide
  • Day 5 Christchurch to Mount Cook
    Christchurch to Mount Cook
    • Private Transfer - Christchurch - Mount Cook [4 hrs] - Vehicle/Driver
    • Shared Tour - Big Sky Stargazing - Vehicle/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 6 Mount Cook
    Mount Cook
    • Shared Tour - 1/2 Day Hooker Valley Guided Walk (3-4 hrs) - Guide
    • Shared Tour - 1/2 Day Tasman Glacier Exploration (3 hrs) - Boat/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 7 Mount Cook to Queenstown
    Mount Cook to Queenstown
    • Private Transfer - Mount Cook - Queenstown [3.5 hrs] - Vehicle/Driver
    Breakfast
  • Day 8 Queenstown
    Queenstown
    • Private Tour - Exploring Milford Sound (with Shared Cruise, Flight & Lunch, 9 hrs) - Vehicle/Driver-Guide/Cruise/Flight
    Breakfast
  • Day 9 Queenstown
    Queenstown
    • Shared Tour - Dart River Wilderness Safari (6 hrs) - Coach/Jet Boat
    Breakfast
  • Day 10 Queenstown
    Queenstown
    • Private Transfer - International Airport - Vehicle/Driver
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
Kensington Advantage
Personalized itinerary with private guide & driver. Award winning value.
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Day 1: Christchurch

You will receive a welcome package on arrival which will include a welcome letter, detailed itinerary, vouchers for each service, supplier contact list as well as various brochures of the destinations you will be visiting. This will be available at your first service. 

A private vehicle with driver will provide a transfer between the airport and hotel.

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Located in Central Christchurch and just minutes from the CBD dining, shopping and entertainment, Crowne Plaza Christchurch offers modern accommodation and dining options for travelers of all types. Overlooking historic Victoria Square and the iconic Avon River, you’ll be in the perfect spot to connect with Christchurch. The technology installed within the rooms is bound to impress, with Bluetooth and Wi Fi streaming high definition televisions, bathroom speakers and controls, electronic service indicators on the door for when you don’t want to be disturbed and plenty of USB ports for your devices. From the fully-equipped gym and library-themed business center, the property has everything you need to make your stay an enjoyable one. With the Issac Theater Royal and Christchurch’s coolest cafes, restaurants, shops and street art only a stroll away, it offers the perfect base to explore this lively city.

New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Christchurch
Christchurch
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Crowne Plaza Christchurch
Crowne Plaza Christchurch

Day 2: Christchurch

Set off with your private guide from The George Hotel on a walking tour of beautiful Christchurch, famous for being New Zealand's "Garden City". Stroll through the city's Botanic Gardens, rich in vibrant flora and featuring a collection of the country's most exotic plants. Stroll along the Avon River, running through the city center, before admiring the glass architecture of the Christchurch Art Gallery, known as Te Puna o Waiwhetū and home to unique collection of contemporary exhibitions. Reflect at the Bridge of Remembrance, a war memorial dedicated to those who fought in WWII, and the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial, honoring those who perished in the devastating and historic earthquake of 2011. You'll also stroll by the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral, also known as the Cardboard Cathedral due to its re-build out of cardboard post-earthquake. The cathedral, renovated by world-renowned architect Shigeru Ban, now serves as a symbol of the city's resilience. During today's walking tour, your guide will discuss dining options, street art, and other points of interest en-route. The tour concludes finishes at your central hotel.

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Christchurch
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Cardboard Cathedral
Cardboard Cathedral

Day 3: Christchurch

The Banks Peninsula was formed following the violent eruption of two volcanoes. A crater nurses the picturesque harbor of Akaroa with many smaller bays indenting the coastline. Sighted by Captain Cook in 1770, the Peninsula was then inhabited by Maori. In 1840, French settlers arrived at Akaroa, which had just been claimed under the Treaty of Waitangi by the English. The charm of this old French town with incredible scenery has ensured Akaroa’s position as a must-see destination. Visit Barry's Bay Cheese Factory for cheese tasting, then stroll past quaint colonial-style buildings and wander through the charming 150 year old French harbor side village of Akaroa with its museum of settlers' history, craft shops and studios, cafes and wine bars. Afterward, take part in an eco-marine adventure, swimming with Hector’s dolphins, the smallest and rarest marine dolphins on the planet. This tour departs at 8:30 am and takes approximately nine hours and 30 minutes to complete, and operates with a maximum if eight guests.

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Christchurch
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Akaroa Harbour
Akaroa Harbour

Day 4: Christchurch

Journey across the rich agricultural belt of the Canterbury Plains to Springfield to take photos of the mountains rising above you while board the famed TranzAlpine train. The voyage through the gorge is spectacular and leads to the massifs of the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass. Having arrived at Arthur’s Pass village, join your guide on an adventure that best suits your interests. The first option is the set off to view the Waimakariri River and its unique braided river system. To do so, you’ll follow the old stage coach route, viewing the spectacular Otira Gorge – testament to the road builders of the 1860’s and the route taken by the Maori in their quest for greenstone – along the way before arriving at the Cave Stream where a thread of water has carved a circular tunnel through an area of limestone cliffs, gorges and craggy outcrops. The area was featured in the film adaptation of CS Lewis’s The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, making it a site of particular interest for nature enthusiasts who also enjoy a good movie. Alternatively, set off with your guide to visit the incredible Castle Hill rocks, unique weather-worn rain outcrops of limestone widely regarded as sacred by the Maori. These incredible formations are simply mesmerizing, made all the more impressive by the backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Following your privately guided adventure in Arthur’s Pass, you’ll return to Christchurch via Porter’s Pass and the Canterbury Plains. Please note: The weather is extreme and unpredictable. In order to ensure an enjoyable experience, please wear a wind- and water-proof jacket, sweater, breathable hiking gear, comfortable hiking shoes, and hat, as well as day pack with room for water, snacks, camera, sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm.

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Christchurch
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Train
Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Train

Day 5: Christchurch - Mount Cook

You will be privately transferred from Christchurch to Mount Cook by a professional driver. Approximate travel duration is four hours.

Mount Cook is far from the city lights and therefore has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand - perfect for viewing the night sky! Begin with an introduction and orientation in the Theatre Planetarium using a special live Digital Sky presentation highlighting unique features in the southern sky. The informative astronomy guides then take you on a short drive (transport provided) to an outdoor stargazing site for spectacular views of that southern sky. Using the naked eye, high powered binoculars and state-of-the-art telescopes, you will tour the Milky Way and beyond. Unleash your imagination as you explore our neighbourhood in the universe including the Southern Cross, star clusters, planets, moons and distant galaxies.

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel

From an intrepid journey through glacial valleys to a mouth-watering culinary dining adventure, The Hermitage Hotel is the perfect place to base your adventure and discover why this region has endeared itself to Kiwi adventure seekers for so long. Choose from premium hotel rooms, motel units or cozy chalets. . The property offers some of the finest dining options in New Zealand. Guests can choose a la Carte, buffet style or informal café fare. They are the freshest and finest in New Zealand produce. Culinary experts bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from all over the world to produce menus rich in Kiwi fare and infused with international flavors.

New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Big Sky Stargazing
Big Sky Stargazing
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Mount Cook
Mount Cook

Day 6: Mount Cook

Today you’ll set out on a guided group tour of Hooker Valley, a land of breath-taking views and host to some of New Zealand's highest and most enthralling peaks. A knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide will tell you all about the unique flora and fauna of the region as well as the local history while you trek through this amazing landscape. Departing from The Hermitage Hotel, you’ll head to the White Horse Hill camping ground. The journey takes in the poignant Alpine Memorial and passes over the turbulent Hooker River twice by swing-bridge to unsurpassed vistas of Aoraki Mount Cook's south face and the surrounding glaciers and mountains. Covering a beautiful stretch of the Hooker Valley that spans roughly 3 miles (4.5 kilometers) along a well-maintained track, please be sure to wear appropriate hiking gear, and also be sure to bring your camera to capture the spectacular scenery.

Enjoy a memorable and amazing up-close encounter with the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand's largest glacier. Explore, learn and discover the ever-changing glacial landscape as you journey across the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake in a custom-built MAC Boat alongside an experienced guide. With the effects of global warming and other climatic processes taking their toll on New Zealand glaciers, it is obvious that their retreat is imminent. Now approximately 17 miles (27 kilometers) long and 1965 feet (600 meters) deep, the Tasman Glacier is melting and calving at an increasing rate. In recent years the Tasman Glacier has changed from a 'melting' to a 'calving and melting' terminus, resulting in a terminal lake that is rapidly increasing in size. This results in icebergs of every shape and size imaginable periodically tearing away from the terminal face of the glacier into the rapidly growing lake below. On either side of the Terminal Lake, lateral moraines rear up almost 665 feet (200 meters) to remind us of the scale and grandeur that the glacier has reached in previous times - the last ice age finishing in just 1890.

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Hooker Valley
Hooker Valley
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Tasman Glacier
Tasman Glacier

Day 7: Mount Cook - Queenstown

You will be privately transferred from Mount Cook to Queenstown by a professional driver. Approximate travel time is three hours and 30 minutes.

Accommodation: St Moritz

Superbly positioned in a spectacular mountain lake setting within walking distance of Queenstown attractions, Hotel St Moritz, Queenstown - member of the MGallery collection is a unique place of majestic beauty and legendary experiences. Close to the airport, this property is also near Steamer Wharf and TSS Earnslaw Steamship. Another nearby point of interest is Queenstown Harbour. Refurbished with chic design, the hotel embodies the spirit of its alpine surroundings. Boasting floor to ceiling windows and panoramic views, Hotel St Moritz features a dining room, a bar, a library, a fitness center and a hot tub garden. The property also provides a restaurant, a children's club, and a concierge desk. Guestrooms have premium bedding, minibars, and high-speed (wired) Internet access (surcharge). Rooms also include refrigerators, bathrobes and hair dryers.

New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Queenstown
Queenstown
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  St Moritz Queenstown
St Moritz Queenstown

Day 8: Queenstown

Today’s excursion begins with a lakeside drive from Queenstown through the lush greens of Southland’s alpine farming country to reach the dazzling scenery of the Fiordland’s. With your private guide leading the way, pass along the shores of New Zealand’s second largest lake, Te Anau, to reach spectacular Milford Sound. With extraordinary vistas around each bend, your guide will bring you to a few hidden gems often overlooked by visitors; obscured waterfalls, placid lakes, and snow-capped peaks revealed through short walks through native bush. Later, you’ll arrive at the Milford Sound harborfront and board a cruise vessel with like-minded travelers, setting out on a relaxing 90-minute navigation through the fiord, a land largely unchanged since Captain Cook’s arrival in the late 18th century. After coasting through this land of towering mountains, ancient rainforests and mesmerizing waters, the ship will return to the pier in Milford Sound, at which time you’ll transfer to the local airstrip for a panoramic return-flight to Queenstown. Please note: The weather is highly unpredictable in Milford Sound, and as a result, your panoramic return-flight may be cancelled. In this situation, you will return to Queenstown via private transfer.

Accommodation: St Moritz
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Milford Sound
Milford Sound

Day 9: Queenstown

Take part in the world-famous Dart River Wilderness Safari. The tour includes a jetboat ride, a short guided bush walk and a backroad adventure in a 4-wheel drive coach. Always dress warmly, wear comfortable walking shoes/boots and bring eyewear (sunglasses or prescription glasses). Bring a sunhat and sunscreen in summer and a warm hat and gloves in winter. Approximately 45 minutes are allowed for refreshments prior to the coach departing Glenorchy for Queenstown. The trip starts at 7.40 a.m. (weather permitting) and takes 6 hours. Upon completion of your tour you will be returned to Queenstown.

Accommodation: St Moritz
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Jet Boating
Jet Boating

Day 10: Queenstown

A private vehicle will provide a transfer between the airport and your hotel.

Accommodation: Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard)

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

Trip Terms & Conditions

  • Your deposit is due immediately on booking (30% of program price, minimum $350). The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations of confirmed bookings 90 days or more prior to departure will receive full refund minus a $350 (per person) administrative fee and any non-refundable paid fees (e.g. non-refundable airfare, cruise or hotel deposits). 60-89 days will be subject to loss of 30% of program price. 30-59 days will be subject to loss of 50% of program price. 29 days or less will be subject to loss of 100% of program price.
  • Tour quotes do not include airfare to/from the trip start point unless noted on the itinerary
  • Cost increases in currency exchange, government fees, taxes, surcharges or hotel/lodge tariff increases between quote date and start date are payable by the client.
  • Availability cannot be guaranteed until booked. We will exercise best efforts to book hotels per the itinerary, however, in busy seasons and with client bookings made within 90 days of tour date we may be forced to offer substitutes.
  • Payment of the program price constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out at www.kensingtontours.com/terms-and-conditions
  • Living Standards and practices at destination may differ from those in North America with respect to provisions of utilities, services and accommodation.

Crowne Plaza Christchurch : Christchurch

Located in Central Christchurch and just minutes from the CBD dining, shopping and entertainment, Crowne Plaza Christchurch offers modern accommodation and dining options for travelers of all types. Overlooking historic Victoria Square and the iconic Avon River, you’ll be in the perfect spot to connect with Christchurch. The technology installed within the rooms is bound to impress, with Bluetooth and Wi Fi streaming high definition televisions, bathroom speakers and controls, electronic service indicators on the door for when you don’t want to be disturbed and plenty of USB ports for your devices. From the fully-equipped gym and library-themed business center, the property has everything you need to make your stay an enjoyable one. With the Issac Theater Royal and Christchurch’s coolest cafes, restaurants, shops and street art only a stroll away, it offers the perfect base to explore this lively city.

New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Crowne Plaza Christchurch
Crowne Plaza Christchurch
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Crowne Plaza Christchurch Lobby
Crowne Plaza Christchurch Lobby

Hermitage Hotel : Mount Cook

From an intrepid journey through glacial valleys to a mouth-watering culinary dining adventure, The Hermitage Hotel is the perfect place to base your adventure and discover why this region has endeared itself to Kiwi adventure seekers for so long. Choose from premium hotel rooms, motel units or cozy chalets. . The property offers some of the finest dining options in New Zealand. Guests can choose a la Carte, buffet style or informal café fare. They are the freshest and finest in New Zealand produce. Culinary experts bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from all over the world to produce menus rich in Kiwi fare and infused with international flavors.

New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Hermitage Hotel
Hermitage Hotel

St Moritz : Queenstown

Superbly positioned in a spectacular mountain lake setting within walking distance of Queenstown attractions, Hotel St Moritz, Queenstown - member of the MGallery collection is a unique place of majestic beauty and legendary experiences. Close to the airport, this property is also near Steamer Wharf and TSS Earnslaw Steamship. Another nearby point of interest is Queenstown Harbour. Refurbished with chic design, the hotel embodies the spirit of its alpine surroundings. Boasting floor to ceiling windows and panoramic views, Hotel St Moritz features a dining room, a bar, a library, a fitness center and a hot tub garden. The property also provides a restaurant, a children's club, and a concierge desk. Guestrooms have premium bedding, minibars, and high-speed (wired) Internet access (surcharge). Rooms also include refrigerators, bathrobes and hair dryers.

New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  St Moritz Queenstown
St Moritz Queenstown
New Zealand: Active South Island  Tours 2020 - 2021 -  Approach to Hotel St Moritz
Approach to Hotel St Moritz

Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard): Global Location

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
  • Mona Y — June 14, 2019 — Australia & Pacific

    Rehana was wonderful. Her recommendations were all top notch and made me realize how well she knew Australia. Everything ran like clockwork and that allowed us to make the most of what was actually a short time in Australia. She was also very patient with my many questions and gave me alternatives when I asked. It is the third time that we've used Kensington Tours and I can't imagine using anyone else. We've never been disappointed.

  • Curtis L — March 21, 2019 — Australia & Pacific

    Kerry Brown was an exceptional travel consultant throughout the entire planning phase as well as a responsive resource as we encountered a few challenges while travelling. Her personal interest in our comfort, convenience, and pleasure made our trip an unforgettable experience. We will definitely consider using Kensington for international travel.

  • Ellen M — February 12, 2019 — Australia & Pacific

    Wonderful trip, tailored to our exact needs and wishes, quality hotels, tours, experiences. Very satisfied, the best part of our trip was through Kensington.

  • Holly T — April 17, 2019 — Australia & Pacific

    Samantha was amazing and the trip was wonderful and enchanting! Guides were amazing and super knowledgeable. Special shout out to Kenn Holmes (Brisbane) who not only provided an amazing tour of the Australian Zoo but went above and beyond to look for medical care for me for an ear infection during our day together. He was amazing!

  • Susan S — June 05, 2019 — Australia & Pacific

    Our trip to New Zealand was a special occasion in that I was celebrating my 70th birthday. Our itinerary was jam-packed as we were visiting both the North and South Islands, that included 6 cities and 4 national parks. Kensington Tours truly did an outstanding job arranging for our transportation, hotels and tour guides. They far exceeded my expectations.

  • Jennifer B — February 19, 2019 — Australia & Pacific

    We felt like rock stars on this trip! Everything was so well arranged and of high quality. The guides were all excellent and even the drivers to and from the airports provided a mini-tour during the transport. Many thanks for Jennifer May for accommodating our preferences of activities and hotels and making this all possible.

  • Jennifer U. — September 30, 2018 — Australia & Pacific

    We had run into a snag on our trip. When we could not resolve this on our own we reached out to the after-hours contact at Kensington and between her and our original trip organizer, the issue was resolved for us promptly. It let us enjoy the rest of our trip without the stress of having to deal with the issue on our own. Peace of mind is priceless.

  • Ronald J. — August 13, 2018 — Australia & Pacific

    Ashwarya, my Destination Expert, was on top of everything and answered all my questions.

  • Joshua J. — July 24, 2018 — Australia & Pacific

    I am always thrilled with Kensington and their experts.

  • Emily D. — June 22, 2018 — Australia & Pacific

    Renee, our Destination Expert, put together a great trip for our family. She listened to what our priorities were and designed a trip within our budget.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

* USD per person, double occupancy. Custom designed personal tour. Prices subject to change.

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