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11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour

Experience all that the incredible East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island has to offer. Sit back and enjoy the array of breath-taking natural scenery or get out amongst it with a range of adventure packed activities that are available! Interact with some of New Zealand’s rarest wildlife or relax amongst some truly incredible award winning gardens.
  • You could go searching for our giant sperm whales or swim with dusky dolphins
  • We could visit the International Antarctic Centre
  • View Dunedin’s Victorian and Edwardian architecture
  • You could have a close encounter with the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin or view the majestic Royal Albatross
  • Have the option to explore the beautiful blue waters of Stewart Island
  • You may choose to visit a destination off the beaten track and enjoy some of New Zealand’s most photographed sights in The Catlins
  • You could choose from a range of options of how to explore the breathtaking Milford Sound
  • Be spoilt for choice in New Zealand’s ‘Adventure Capital’ with plenty of adrenaline filled activities available
11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours
Full Itinerary & Rates

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: We pick you up in Christchurch, welcome to the largest city in the South Island, which suffered two major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 which sadly destroyed many of its buildings but they are bouncing back with innovative new attractions and there are still plenty of old favourites for you to enjoy.

You have the option to travel north to the seaside settlement of Kaikoura where the local speciality is crayfish and there are plenty of wonderfully unique marine wildlife experiences to enjoy. You have the opportunity to go whale watching and have exciting close encounters with giant sperm whales either by boat or by the comfort of a helicopter or aeroplane. Of if you’d rather you can go by boat and watch the dusky dolphins and if you’d like an unforgettable experience then you are able to jump in the ocean and swim with them. If neither of those ideas have got your attention, how about a truly unique experience where you can go snorkelling with New Zealand fur seals. We can also arrange fishing, kayaking, diving or snorkelling trips if you prefer. Please note that all of these activities are weather dependent and there is no guarantee they will definitely happen.

Accommodation in the Kaikoura region.

Otherwise, enjoy an extra night in the Christchurch region.

Day 2: We head back down to Christchurch, which has been long referred to as “The Garden City” and if you’d like to visit the award winning Botanic Gardens, home to an endless array of exotic flora and fauna, you will surely see why it gets that name.

The beautiful and tranquil Avon River can be experienced by a punting tour which involves a skilled punter propelling you slowly along the water on a handcrafted flat-bottomed boat. Flowing gently through the city centre this is an iconic way to see Christchurch from a different perspective. Alternatively, you can jump aboard the historic tram which provides you with a unique experience offering both history and sightseeing. Just let us know what experience would best fit you and we will happily arrange it.

Another popular sightseeing activity is the Christchurch Gondola, if you choose to do this you’ll be 500 metres above sea level and witness spectacular 360° views overlooking the Christchurch cityscape, over the Canterbury Plains to the high peaks of the Southern Alps and the dramatic views of Banks Peninsula. The unique views you witness will not be forgotten anytime soon. If that still isn’t enough we can always arrange a helicopter scenic flight where you can fly to places and witness sights that will remain unseen to many.

For a truly unique experience, we can visit the International Antarctic Centre which offers authentic, interactive fun and an exciting experience of Antarctica for everyone. You can experience a penguin encounter, which is New Zealand’s first indoor/outdoor viewing area of Little Blue Penguins. Chill out in real ice and snow and take a ride on the Hagglund - an all-terrain vehicle to experience what it's like travelling across rough terrain. Enjoy a stunning light and sound show while learning stories of Antarctic explorers or experience the 4D theatre for a simulated cruise to Antarctica.

For those seeking adventure, the Christchurch region has plenty to offer. From jet boating down the spectacular Waimakariri River to canyoning tours where you experience swimming, cliff jumping, water slides and zip lines all in one. If you want to stay dry, then try flying, jumping and swinging through the treetops at the Adrenalin Forest.

If you’d like to have an authentic Maori experience then Ko Tane is the place to visit. Here you will witness and can take part in cultural performances and learn the Maori culture and history while enjoying a Hangi - a four course dinner where the food is cooked underground long and slow on stones that are heated in a pit.

Accommodation in the Christchurch region.

Day 3: You can spend today exploring the Christchurch region and we will happily arrange a fantastic day filled with activities and attractions to suit your needs. However, you also have the option of a day trip where you can enjoy the stunning scenic drive to the picturesque seaside settlement of Akaroa, the most French town in New Zealand. Here you can experience its historic buildings, the incredible harbour filled with marine mammals and the passion they have for French cuisine. You have the option to take a harbour cruise if you are interested in swimming with the world’s rarest and smallest Hector’s dolphin, as Akaroa is the only place in the world you can do this you don’t want to miss out! You may also see other special wildlife including New Zealand fur seals and the White Flippered Blue Penguin, which is the smallest penguin in the world. You won’t just witness the wildlife, you’ll be shown many incredible sea caves and volcanic cliffs. The pink, purple and red volcanic amphitheatre will surely take your breath away.

Other options include; kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and jet boating. If you’d like to know more about the history of Akaroa, we can explore the historic cottages, Akaroa museum and The Giant's House.

Accommodation in the Christchurch region.

Day 4: We leave Christchurch and drive along the beautiful east coast to the city of Dunedin where you’ll find some unique landscapes, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and some incredible wildlife.

There are plenty of interesting buildings and landmarks for you to visit. Marvel at the Dunedin railway station, one of New Zealand’s most photographed buildings. You can take a tour of the Olveston Historic Home which is an authentic historic home that sheds light on the life of a wealthy merchant family during the early twentieth century. You can also enjoy a tour through New Zealand’s infamous castle, Larnach Castle, learn the Larnach family legacy and then explore the castle’s award winning gardens. You’ll soon see why Baldwin Street is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the steepest street in the world! We can visit Dunedin Botanic Gardens, which is the very first botanic garden in New Zealand and has plenty of beauty to admire including a wide range of rare and endangered native plant species.

Chocolate lovers may wish to visit Cadbury World where you can discover and sample different elements in the chocolate making process and even get to create your own! Visit the Cadbury World Cafe for some delicious chocolatey goodness. What about beer lovers? You can visit The Speight’s Ale House, situated within the historic Speight’s Brewery. Here you’ll learn the history of beer making, the brewing process, and of course get to experience some sampling of their most famous beers. If you’re after lunch or dinner they have some Ale House classics to offer or just have some nibbles and drinks in this iconic venue.

Accommodation in Dunedin.

Day 5: Our second day here in Dunedin could be spent exploring the incredible nature it has to offer. You’ll surely enjoy the spectacular views of the Otago Peninsula and we can visit some of the magnificent world famous wildlife. First of all, we can visit the most popular city beach, St Clair which is just one of Dunedin's many beautiful beaches. Then make our way to Tunnel beach which has spectacular sandstone cliffs, a man-made tunnel that takes you to the secluded beach that has caves covered in mysterious fossils.

We can take a trip to Penguin Place to visit the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguins where you will witness and can photograph undisturbed activity at close range. Then we could head to the Royal Albatross Centre, which is the only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross in the world. You don’t want to miss out on seeing these majestic seabirds in their natural habitat! There is also the chance to go on a viewing tour to see our Little Blue Penguins in their natural habitat - they are the smallest penguin in the world. If you prefer, you can take a wildlife cruise to see the penguins and albatross, as well as other incredible wildlife like fur-seals and if you're lucky even spot dolphins and sea-lions. Or even travel on an Argo - an 8-wheel all-terrain vehicle across rugged coast to see this incredible wildlife and as an added bonus tour a New Zealand sheep shed and watch as an experienced shearer removes their fleece.

Accommodation in Dunedin.

Day 6: We head further south where you have the choice for tonight's accommodation, which can be either in The Catlins or Invercargill region.

Your first option is the friendly city of Invercargill where you can enjoy the local food specialities of Bluff oysters and blue cod. We can take a short drive to Sterling Point which is the most southern point in New Zealand and has a large signpost that displays distances to major cities in the world and is a great photo opportunity. We can also visit Oreti Beach, which was a key location for the film ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ with its 26 kilometres stretch of smooth sand. We can also visit the Southland Museum and Art Gallery to experience a wide range of the region’s history, art and natural history collections, as well as being home to the internationally recognised Tuatara breeding colony.

While here, you can take a ferry over to Stewart Island, home to some of the best land and sea birding in New Zealand as the island provides an excellent habitat and food for native birds. The other option is to take a scenic flight to Stewart Island and experience some wonderful views. Here you can enjoy exploring the beautiful blue waters either by kayak, snorkelling, diving or fishing.

Your second option is to stay in The Catlins region. Here you can experience the natural beauty of The Catlins, a destination off the beaten track that has some truly stunning must-see’s! You can enjoy the dramatic views from Nugget Point, where one of New Zealand’s oldest lighthouses is located. You’ll quickly see where it got its name ‘Nugget’ from, as the many wave-eroded rocks are shaped like gold nuggets. This area is a wildlife reserve for yellow-eyed penguins, fur seals, elephant seals and many seabirds so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

You may take a brief walk through some lovely beech forest to arrive at the stunning cascading Purakaunui Falls. This is one of New Zealand’s most photographed waterfalls and has featured in many calendars and postcards. We can also visit Curio Bay which is best viewed at low tide as you can watch the tide go out to reveal a 180 million year old Jurassic forest, which is one of the few unique places in the world where you can view such a treasure.

Accommodation in The Catlins or Invercargill region.

Day 7:
We head to the town of Te Anau, which lies nestled on the beautiful Lake Te Anau - the largest lake in the South Island and has a spectacular backdrop of Mt Luxmore and the Murchison mountains. If you’re interested, we can check out the incredible 12,000 year old Te Anau Glowworm Caves, which are reached by taking a cruise across Lake Te Anau. We can also visit Te Anau Bird Sanctuary to see some of Fiordland’s special birds that are difficult to see in the wild. Here you can see the rare flightless Takahē that’s indigenous to New Zealand, and if you’re lucky you may even get the unique opportunity to assist a ranger in feeding one.

Accommodation in Te Anau.

Day 8: You have the choice to visit Milford Sound.
Milford Sound is truly spectacular with its breathtaking scenery and is a sight not to be missed. The road from Te Anau to Milford Sound is a destination in itself! It is one of the most spectacular highways in the world and is a stunning alpine drive. There are plenty of viewing points along the way so make sure you have your camera ready as you will not want to miss the incredible scenery you see before you.

Once we arrive in Milford Sound there are various options you may be interested in when it comes to exploring this incredible landscape. You can take a scenic cruise to experience Milford Sound’s towering peaks and wild waterfalls. You have the option to add on a unique experience and visit New Zealand’s only floating underwater observatory. Or join a small group and a private guide in sea kayaking to get close to waterfalls and explore the fiord edges. If you’re on the water keep your eyes peeled for seals, penguins and possibly even dolphins! You can also join a guided small group for a day walk on the world famous Milford Track.

After an incredible day spent exploring Milford Sound, we set off towards our next destination. Surrounded by majestic mountains and situated on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu we arrive in Queenstown, our premier four season lake and alpine destination. With its stunning scenery and wide range of activities it offers a perfect mix of both action and relaxation.

Accommodation in Queenstown.

Day 9: You’ll shortly see why Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. There’s snowboarding and skiing in winter, and activities ranging from jet boating, bungy jumping, river rafting, horse trekking, skydiving, paragliding, hang gliding to even hot air ballooning for you to enjoy all year round.

A must see Queenstown attraction is the Skyline Gondola which offers absolutely breathtaking views overlooking Queenstown. There are plenty of things to enjoy at the top including the award winning cuisine at the scenic Stratosfare restaurant and bar, a Maori cultural experience witnessing a Haka being performed, two thrilling luge tracks, paragliding, AJ Hackett's Bungy and Swing, and if you go up after dark you can have an amazing stargazing experience as it provides an unbelievably clear view of the night sky.

You have the opportunity to cruise Lake Wakatipu aboard the iconic steamship the TSS Earnslaw to experience some of Queenstown’s most spectacular alpine scenery while also exploring this 103 year old steamship. If you’d like more than just a cruise you can add on a visit to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a taste of New Zealand’s farming lifestyle. Here you can take a guided farm tour, go on a horse trek, and have a lovely barbecue lunch or dinner.

You can also take a helicopter flight to expose breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and the stunning Queenstown region.
We can take a short drive to the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown. Whether you want to explore its great outdoors or browse its shops and museum or relax over a delicious meal, the choice is yours. If you are a golfer, then the golf course at Millbrook Resort is a must play! It is one of the most scenic golf courses in the world and is also a championship course. From Arrowtown, we can continue on to the small resort town of Cardrona and visit the iconic Cardrona Hotel either for a look around and a photo opportunity or for a coffee and bite to eat.

If you want to witness a true slice of paradise then we can take you on the spectacular drive to Glenorchy which sits at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu. If you like you can explore the beautiful scenery Glenorchy has to offer by horseback, jet boat, kayak or even by air either on a scenic flight or experience the thrill of a skydive. Any Lord of the Rings fans? Glenorchy has been the backdrop for many of the trilogy’s key scenes and you can take a scenic guided tour to explore some of these locations and gain a great insight about the filming stories and secrets.

There is a wide range of outstanding accommodation options here in Queenstown and we can help advise what would be the best fit for you and arrange these on your behalf.

Accommodation in Queenstown.

Day 10: Choose what you’d like to do from the range of wonderful options that allow you to enjoy the best of what Queenstown has to offer.

Accommodation in Queenstown.

Day 11: We are happy to drop you off at Queenstown airport or any other locations in Queenstown, please just arrange this with us prior to the tour.

Rate Information: (NZ$)

Rates: 01 April – 30 September (Low Season)*

5 or more Adults price per adult per day: $295
4 Adults price per adult per day: $345
3 Adults price per adult per day: $445
2 Adults price per adult per day: $645

Rates: 01 October – 31 March (High Season)*

5 or more Adults price per adult per day: $345
4 Adults price per adult per day: $395
3 Adults price per adult per day: $495
2 Adults price per adult per day: $695

Please note: Accommodation, attractions/entry fees and meals are not included and are at your own cost however we are more than happy to provide you with recommendations and arrange these for you.

Children 4-11 years 50% off adult price

This Tour is available for a minimum of 2 people. If you would like to make a booking for one person click here to enquire.

Tour Type: Private Tour

View our Additional Information section below for a breakdown on the difference between Small Group Tours and Private tours, along with all inclusions explained.
11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours 11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours
Have a question about this tour? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team or click here to view our Frequently Asked Questions.
Additional Information

Tour Inclusions:

Pick-up and drop-off services, our knowledgeable and friendly professional guiding services in a Luxury Vehicle, all guide and vehicle expenses including guide accommodation and guide meals. All taxes are also included. Our Experienced Host-Guides (Kaiarahi) not only become your local host but can lead you to popular local places and share with you our knowledge of New Zealand’s special cultures, cuisine, cityscapes and coastlines along with its unique flora and fauna.

All our private tours can be customised further specially for you. Any of our private tours can start from the final location instead and be enjoyed travelling the other way.         

Please bring: Please bring comfortable clothing/shoes for changeable weather, sun protection, any personal medication, your camera and a smile! Where possible we encourage you to leave behind any unnecessary valuable items.

Age Information:

  • Adults are from 12 years
  • Children's age is between 4 and 11 years
  • Infants age is 0-3 years (Please note: we are only able host infants on our Private Tours)
  • Our Private Tours can be for any number of guests

General Information:

All our Private Tours can be offered in foreign languages such as German, French, Spanish and others but are subject to availability and additional fees apply. Please request this additional service at the time of booking along with any other special requirements (i.e. dietary requirements, mobility issues, medical information / equipment requests, children’s ages for NZ child seat rules, special reasons for travel, etc)

On Private Tours pick-up and drop-off locations can be at your designated accommodation, airport, cruise ship or other location. Please specify the location when booking. When pickup is from a designated meeting place including cruise ship terminal or airport, we would really appreciate receiving our guest’s mobile phone number with the booking. This helps us greatly to locate our guests just in case when we are not picking up directly from your accommodation.

Our Different Tour Types:

Small Group Tours are operated on a non-exclusive basis with other guests min 2 pax and max 15 pax and are priced on a per person basis.

Private Tours
are operated exclusively for our guests and are priced per day per passenger for any group size from 1 pax to any number required.

Please note: when we incorporate visits to attractions on Private Tours (these must be specifically stated as included, otherwise entry fees to attractions are NOT included on our Private Tours), these may or may not be private depending on what is booked. Our Private Tours on the other hand will be private just for your party.

Cancellation Policy:

Click here to view our most up to date Cancellation Policy located on our Terms and Conditions page.
11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours 11 day Christchurch to Queenstown via the East Coast of the South Island Private ONE WAY Tour
TIME Unlimited Tours

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What our customers say:
Your Auckland Tour was the best day out we have had. Great tour with lots of interesting info from someone who was more like a friend than a tour guide. Thank you very much!
Neill Sperath
TIME Unlimited Tours
Our Guides
Neill Sperath is a passionate New Zealander by choice. He is of Irish and German descent and has become a proud New Zealander and a New Zealand citizen since relocating from Europe many years ago, after falling in love with New Zealand and Ceillhe. Previous to that he lived mainly in Ireland and Germany and is well travelled, having visited over 50 countries so far. Before coming to New Zealand Neill managed several large shopping centres in Europe.
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Suite 9, 17b Farnham Street
Auckland 1052
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+64 9 846 3469
+64 274 846 369
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