Dunedin, Catlins, Fiordland, Queenstown
The best of the Southern Scenic Route & Gardens
This tour showcases some of the best gardens and native flora and fauna of our lower South Island. We will experience various lovingly manicured garden retreats, coast with golden beaches, beautiful native forests resembling the age of the Gondwana ancient supercontinent, as well as the opportunity to experience some of the more well-known regional attractions.
Welcome to our small-group (10 maximum) tour onboard our modern minibus, where you will be escorted around the area’s highlights.
The area we would like to show you has far more to offer than we can squeeze into our standard tours! Therefore we would like to offer you an option to tailor your trip according to your particular interests.
For instance, we can also visit Bannerman Park in Gore, Queens Park in Invercargill, Birchwood near Queenstown and other private gardens, add a trip to the delightful Stewart Island, an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound, or a visit to the other remote fjords of Fiordland.
Please ask us any questions so we can properly fulfill your travel dreams.
Day 1: Flight & Dunedin
Today we have the opportunity to visit the historic area as well as Dunedin Botanical Garden. (This will depend upon your arrival time and the group make-up.) After lunch we will head to the Otago Peninsula and visit Larnach Castle with its beautiful gardens and enjoy a High Tea. From there we have several options according to the group consensus - visiting the Yellow Eyed Penguin Place, the Little Blue Penguin Colony, and Tairoa Head’s Royal Albatross Centre.
Day 2: Otago Peninsula to Catlins
In the morning we will finish what was left from the previous day (e.g. Dunedin Botanical Garden, historic town centre). In the afternoon we will drive towards the stunning Catlins area and have the opportunity for an afternoon scenic stroll to Nugget Point.
Day 3: Catlins to Invercargill
We will spend most of the day on the beautiful Catlins coast. Here we can experience Purakaunui Falls Walk, the opportunity to spot New Zealand fur seals, visit The Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowai, walk among a petrified forest at Curio Bay. The garden highlight will be a visit to Maple Glen Botanical Garden.
Accommodation: Invercargill / Riverton
Day 4: Invercargill to Te Anau
In the morning we will visit - Guyton’s Food Forest Garden, we can pop into the lovely Orepuki Cafe, in the afternoon we will visit Lake Hauroko (if weather permits) and we can do a boat cruise. This is one of the most remote, still accessible places with remarkable scenery and virgin rainforest. If time allows we will visit Dean Forest - the last remaining forest with such huge totara trees. (If the boat trip is canceled due to bad weather there are several other interesting things to do along the way to Te Anau)
Accommodation: Te Anau
Day 5: Te Anau to Milford Sound
We will spend the whole day on the most scenic NZ road on our way to Milford Sound and back - short walks and many photo spots. There is the option to take a helicopter flight over Milford Sound and surrounding mountains including a helicopter landing - this is NZ's most diverse scenic flight. We recommend that you visit Te Anau's boutique cinema and watch the acclaimed movie Ata Whenua or alternatively gain an insight into the fascinating history and drama of NZ’s deer recovery "Deer Wars".
Accommodation: Te Anau
Day 6: Te Anau to Queenstown
In the morning we will visit the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. We have the option of taking a two hour cruise onboard the lovely historic motorsailer Faith. Indulging in a bird's eye view by float-plane, plane or helicopter will give you a full appreciation of the fascinating Fiordland scenery comprising endless mountain ranges, temperate rain-forest, lakes, tarns, rivers and fjords. In the afternoon we will drive to Queenstown with a side trip up to the Remarkables viewpoint overlooking Wakatipu Basin. The rest of the evening is free for you to spend in Queenstown.
If you wish then the tour can finish here, or you may wish to consider the following extension for days 7-9.
Day 7: One day trip to/around Glenorchy - Head of Lake Wakatipu*
We will visit Paradise near Glenorchy, one of the main film locations of Lord of the Rings, Hobbit and other movies. In Glenorchy we will admire great views from the jetty and Glenorchy Lagoon Boardwalk.
Day 8: One day trip to Cromwell and Wanaka*
Enjoy the best of local wineries, gold mining history and scenic views - we will visit Gibbston Valley, Bannockburn and Wanaka wineries, private gardens and enjoy the great scenery and food and beverages of Central Otago.
Day 9: Final day / or extension
Final day, departure according to your flight. If you decide to stay in the town longer we can help with suggested activities or organise your program. Perhaps experience one of the best NZ jet boat rides while exploring the gold mining history of Skippers Canyon as a start??
*Those who need can finish the tour earlier and fly back home already on the 6th day or according to their schedule.
We are happy to assist with all bookings and adjust your itinerary accordingly.
Doubtful Sound cruise - full day or two days (overnight cruise)
Exchange Milford for Doubtful or add a day or two in Fiordland. Doubtful Sound’s fjord is a less famous neighbour of Milford Sound. However, being far larger and more remote many travelers regard it as superior. Access to Doubtful Sound is only via Lake Manapouri or in a helicopter. For overnight cruises we recommend travelling on a smaller vessel which offers a more intimate experience.
Wairaurahiri Jet - highly recommended!! This is a full day trip on a jetboat over Lake Hauroko and along the Wairaurahiri River - this is a once in a lifetime experience taking you to one of the most remote rivers in New Zealand surrounded by mountains and temperate rain-forest. Plus you get to see the ocean too (conditions permitting). Need to add an extra day.
Glenorchy - full day trip
Glenorchy is famous for its beautiful scenery, as the starting point of Routeburn and Greenstone & Rees-Dart Tracks and many movies were filmed in the area - Lord of the Rings, Race for the Yankee Zephyr or Top of the Lake TV series, to mention a few. We can be your guide or will provide an itinerary for you and you will travel at your own pace.
Wanaka & Cromwell Highlights - full day trip
The best of Central Otago. Perhaps you would like to visit a few wineries on your way along the Kawarau River - in Gibbston Valley or Bannockburn. Orchard and vineyards dominate the area around Cromwell. Fast-car enthusiasts might like to visit Highlands Motorsport Park. Enjoy great vistas over Lake Wanaka and in the Cardrona Valley, plus a charming historic gold mining pub and the highest sealed NZ road via the renowned Crown Range. In Wanaka there are several indoor activities such as the Transport and Toy Museum, Warbirds and Wheels Museum, or for families with children you might like to consider a visit to Puzzling World.
Tour for private groups on demand - please register your interest here and we will be in touch asap
7 days / 6 nights $1940*
9 days / 8 nights $2730*
Single supplement $90/night
*Per person based on double occupancy / twin share (6 pax minimum)
These prices are based on a basic package (can be tailored according to your demand from a budget to luxury trip)
average of 3.5* accommodation - motel / hotel
Breakfast (mix cooked & continental)
Transport in modern and comfortable 11 seater minibus
Main (in bold) and some optional activities
Milford Sound Cruise
Milford Sound Helicopter flight