Arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your accommodation.
Relax and explore Queenstown, with the option to visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park, the Underwater Observatory, or the Ivan Clarke Gallery; ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for panoramic views over the Wakatipu Basin, or simply enjoy a lakefront stroll or a bit of boutique shopping.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
In the morning, get a taste of New Zealand’s farming lifestyle at Walter Peak High Country Farm. Situated on picturesque Lake Wakatipu’s southwestern shores, the farm is the perfect place to spend a relaxing few hours. The farm tour itself is a wonderful, interactive experience for the whole family, with something to keep everyone entertained and happy. Your rural host will meet you after you disembark from the TSS Earnslaw and take you for a walking tour of the farmyard. The first stop is the holding pens, where you can help feed the sheep and deer and even get up close to the Scottish Highland Cattle. Then stroll through the lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel’s Homestead for afternoon tea. Afterwards, the farmer will lead you over to the shearing shed where you can watch the farm dogs rounding up sheep from the hill paddocks and see the farmer shear a sheep. You will then board the TSS Earnslaw for your cruise back to Queenstown.
In the morning, get ready for the world’s most exciting Jet Boat ride! It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red,’ you will twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight – hold tight for the world-famous Shotover Jet full 360º spins!
Relax and enjoy Queenstown in the afternoon. You might like to make a trip to Arrowtown. You’ll be enchanted by historic Arrowtown, a New Zealand treasure located 20 minutes from Queenstown. Arrowtown is charming and quirky – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. The heart of its history is Buckingham Street, a procession of heritage buildings that stretches into a tree-lined avenue of tiny miner’s cottages. The buildings in this lovely precinct house shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants – many classy, most individual, and not one from an international chain.
Driving time Queenstown to Te Anau 171 km / 106 miles, 2.5 hours
Journey alongside Queenstown’s stunning Lake Wakatipu and then through lush green farmland to reach Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
In the afternoon, join Southern Lakes Helicopters for a spectacular scenic helicopter flight! Sample the grandeur of the Fiordland scenery on your adventure into the untamed Kepler Mountains. See what lies beyond the Te Anau horizon! Views of the Kepler Track Great Walk and the Hidden Lakes spread out before you. Land at a mountain tarn to enjoy the rugged vistas from the Main Divide. Approx. 30 minutes, and includes mountain landing.
Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.
Driving time Te Anau to Milford Sound 116 km / 72 miles, 2.5 hours
Today, enjoy the stunning Milford Sound Nature Cruise! The Milford Road (between Te Anau and Milford) is one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery is exceptional, ranging from broad grassy flats, dense rainforest, and towering mountains through to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. No other road in Fiordland offers such a diverse glimpse into New Zealand’s alpine zone.
Upon reaching Milford Sound, you will enjoy a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. With specialist nature guides on board, Real Journeys Nature Cruises offer a close-up experience of Milford Sound’s rainforest, soaring rock walls, and wildlife. Throughout the cruise, the guides share stories of the fiord’s history and are happy to answer your questions.
Relax and explore Te Anau for the afternoon.
Driving time Te Anau to Dunedin 291 km / 180 miles, 4 hours
Travel to Dunedin, one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the southern hemisphere. Dunedin offers a diverse range of experiences including the Speight’s Brewery, Larnach Castle and of course the stunning Otago Peninsula. Explore Dunedin and visit attractions of interest.
Stay 2 nights in Dunedin.
Today, join the Taieri Gorge Railway for one of the world’s great train trips, an experience not to be missed. Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station, the Taieri Gorge Railway begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most rugged, ever-changing scenery. The train travels into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep canyon carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River. The train negotiates the gorge with ease as it travels through ten tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts. The train will stop or slow down at various scenic points along the way, and you will get the chance to take photos or disembark to look around. Stand on the open-air platforms while the train moves, or enjoy a quiet drink and food from the onboard café while the train manager tells the story of the nature and history of the area.
Driving time Dunedin to Lake Tekapo 286 km / 177 miles, 4 hours
The drive to Lake Tekapo is stunning. On the way you will first come across the Moeraki Boulders, a series of unusually large and spherical boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the wave-cut Otago coast between Moeraki and Hampden. Next, you will pass through Oamaru, which is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and also features some of New Zealand’s best 19th
Lake Tekapo presents many world-class attractions such as the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, the luxurious spa complex Tekapo Springs and of course the world-famous Mt John Observatory.
Stay 1 night in Lake Tekapo.
Driving time Lake Tekapo to Wanaka 200 km / 124 miles, 2.5 hours
Venture past Lake Pukaki, a picturesque turquoise glacial lake, before you travel through the dramatic Lindis Pass which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. Wanaka awaits you, boasting panoramic views, a relaxing atmosphere and myriad walking tracks. Relax in Wanaka for the afternoon and soak in the views from one of the many lakefront restaurants and cafés.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Relax and explore Wanaka – you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction, or the National Toy and Transport Museum. Other options include strolling along one of Wanaka’s stunning walking tracks, relaxing on the lake’s edge or browsing through Wanaka’s boutique shops.
You could also visit Rippon Vineyard and Tasting Room to sample local wines, or catch a film at Cinema Paradiso, Wanaka’s quirky local theatre.
Driving time Wanaka to Queenstown 68 km / 42 miles, 1 hour
Return over the Crown Range, and make your way back to Queenstown Airport. Drop your rental car off at Queenstown Airport and depart.
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