Best of the South Island

Best of the South Island

Discover the South Island of New Zealand with a self-drive vacation visiting Marlborough, Kaikoura, Akaroa, Tekapo, Queenstown and Te Anau. Included are stays at the Bay of Many Coves, Hapuku Lodge & Treehouses, Annandale, Lakestone Lodge, Sofitel Queenstown and Fiordland Lodge.

Best of the South Island

New Zealand > South Island > Christchurch & Canterbury > Nelson & Marlborough > Kaikoura > Queenstown & Wanaka > Te Anau 

13 Days, 12 Nights

Your luxury self-drive South Island vacation takes you from The Marlborough region down the east coast to Kaikoura and Akaroa to Tekapo, Queenstown and Te Anau.

Explore the beautiful bays, snowcapped mountains, stunning wildlife, and endless adventure on this 12-night self-drive luxury vacation.

Your journey commences in Marlborough with a stay at the Bay of Many Coves in the heart of Queen Charlotte Sound. Nestled between stunning native bush and our secluded bay, you will enjoy an unforgettable experience. Indulge your passions, challenge your senses, and try things you’ve always dreamt of doing. Take a walk along the Queen Charlotte Track, recharge your batteries with a treatment in the Miritu Day Spa or kayak. In the late afternoon, just a short walk from the resort, you will experience the visual magic provided by our native ‘glow worms. Look for them in the bush, under tree trunks or within the foliage and you will be amazed by this truly unique New Zealand ecosystem.

Transfer to Picton to collect a rental vehicle and make your way down the east coast to Kaikoura, the perfect place for marine encounters, coastal walks, and amazing fresh seafood. Enjoy a two-night stay at the Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses, a five-star eco-retreat located just a few miles from the coast. The Lodge provides luxurious accommodation on Kaikoura’s rugged coastline, a place for guests to relax in its intimate indoor/outdoor setting and a place from which they can explore the larger maritime landscape of Kaikoura. A variety of walks can be taken from the Lodge, from short to long, beach to bush, with a picnic basket if desired, including a botanical tour of the local native bush.

Take to the skies in a light aircraft for 45-minutes to spot the enormous whales that gracefully cruise past this seaside town from a unique and unforgettable perspective and head out to see playful dolphins in a most magnificent setting.

Continue south towards Christchurch and onto the peninsula to Annandale, a working farm nestled in the curve of picturesque Pigeon Bay. A working farm set along the Banks Peninsula, the estate has four private villas – including a super-modern couples’ escape and a clapboard-clad, 19th-century homestead – which boast sea-facing terraces, open-air firepits and heated pools. By day, go diving, kayaking, hiking, and biking in the miles of estate on offer. When the sun dips below the glittering Pacific, take advantage of the first-class stargazing opportunities: lay back on your pillow-strewn deck, cocktail in hand, and gaze up at the heavens.

Make your way to Lake Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, a stunning alpine area home to New Zealand’s highest mountain. Enjoy a two-night stay at Lakestone Lodge, a modern eco-friendly retreat set amid New Zealand’s Southern Alps and against the turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki. The lodge is an ideal base to experience the national Park around Mount Cook as well as visiting the Dark Sky Reserve, so on clear nights you can experience phenomenal stargazing.

Continue to picturesque Queenstown for a two-night stay at the Sofitel Queenstown. This is New Zealand’s adventure and outdoor capital, so thrill seekers are well catered for here, but the town itself is typically ‘South Island’ laid back and has a charm all its own. Included is a private gourmet food and wine tour, so someone else can drive while you savor the wines of the local region.

Take in panoramas of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range as you make your way to Blanket Bay, a legendary luxury lodge with outstanding views of the lake and the majestic Southern Alps. Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by some of New Zealand’s most remote and pristine wilderness – the lodge lies on the edge of one of the greatest alpine wilderness regions in the Southern Hemisphere. Blanket Bay offers the perfect location for exploring everything this spectacular region has to offer.

There are plenty of option activities to do including fly-fishing in the nearby Greenstone and Caples rivers, heli-skiing, the country’s best hiking on the Routeburn or Milford Tracks, jet boating and kayaking, 4WD tours, horse riding, or flightseeing over the World Heritage Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound are just a few of the possibilities.

Travel back to Queenstown to return your rental vehicle or extend and stay longer an discover the southern tip or West Coast of the South Island.


  • Marlborough Sound
  • Kaikoura
  • Akaroa
  • Tekapo
  • Queenstown
  • Te Anau


  • Round-trip transfers from Picton to Bay of Many Coves
  • 2-Nights Marlborough, Bay of Many Coves, One Bedroom Apartment including breakfast
  • 11-Days Group E Car Hire including unlimited mileage and GPS
  • 2-Nights Kaikoura, Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses, Upper Brand Tree House including breakfast and dinner
  • A 45-minute fixed wing Whale Watch flight
  • 2-Nights Akaroa, Annandale, Seascape including breakfast and dinner provisions
  • 2-Nights Tekapo, Lakestone Lodge, Lake View Room including breakfast and dinner
  • 2-Nights Queenstown, Sofitel Queenstown, Prestige Suite including breakfast
  • Private Gourmet Food and Wine Tour
  • 2-Nights Te Anau, Fiordland Lodge, Deluxe Lodge Room including breakfast and dinner


Based on departures

Price per person from*

Based on Double Occupancy

January 8 - March 20, 2023 11299


Call for current airfares and availability.

Group Size

Independent Vacation


January 8 - March 31, 2023


From $11299 per person based on double occupancy*

Trip Terms

Prices are quoted in USD and are ‘from’, per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplements apply.  Black-out dates may apply. Pricing is subject to availability and all prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change without notice. Prices are current at time of posting (10/31/2022) and may differ when you book your travel. Please call for our current pricing and itinerary details. NZETA Visa is required to travel to New Zealand. CA CST: 2076233-40 | WA ID: 601 684 531 | PC-1282498.

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