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Mountains and Lakes South Island Family Tour 

7 days from Christchurch to Queenstown

Traverse the mountains and alpine lakes of the South Island on this family tour from Christchurch to the adventure capital of Queenstown. Get the whole family excited with highlights along the way including a close up encounter with the rare yellow eyed penguins in Dunedin and a tour of the Cadbury chocolate factory. When you reach Queenstown you'll journey up the Skyline Gondola for a bird's eye view of the mountains and lake, while you're there, try out some fast-action fun on the Skyline Luge! The next day cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Station for a kiwi style BBQ lunch and farm tour - meet the farm dogs and get up close with some highland cattle!

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 This suggested tour costs from per person (get instant quote here)
 7 days/6 nights from Christchurch to Queenstown
 Accommodation suggested on this tour is: Motels (Can be customised? YES )
 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible
 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers
 Tour pack: Includes detailed driving instructions, maps, guide books and much more
 This tour can be customised to suit you precisely - just request here

This Tour Also Features

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Hiking in Queenstown, New Zealand
Star Gazing, Mackenzie Country, New Zealand
 

Mountains and Lakes South Island Family Tour - at a glance (See detailed itinerary)

Day 1: Welcome to Christchurch
Accommodation: Amore Motor Lodge

Day 2: Journey through the MacKenzie Country to the alpine village of Lake Tekapo
Accommodation: Mantra Lake Tekapo
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 247 kms / 153 miles : 2.9 hours

Day 3: Leaving the MacKenzie Country you'll follow the Waitaki River to the coast, where you'll turn south for Dunedin
Accommodation: Motel on York
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 314 kms / 195 miles : 3.7 hours

Day 4: Discover the unique wildlife of the Otago Peninsula and chocolate fun at Cadbury World
Accommodation: Motel on York

Day 5: Pass through historic gold mining towns and bountiful orchards to the 'Adventure Capital' of Queenstown
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 270 kms / 168 miles : 3.3 hours

Day 6: Today you'll cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship for a farm tour and BBQ lunch
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Day 7: Explore more of Queenstown's scenery and activities before departing for your onward journey

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 8 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

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Day 1 - Welcome to Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch City

Known as New Zealand's garden city, Christchurch is a vibrant metro area. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights, or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Discover Christchurch City Tour (9am Departure)

Learn about Christchurch’s fascinating history from the back of a 1960’s London open top double decker bus. You’ll hear about the pioneering days right through to present time, including the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. On the tour you will view some of the areas affected by the earthquakes and see how Christchurch is preserving some of its iconic heritage buildings, as well as hearing about the city’s rebuild and vision for the future.

Your accommodation: Amore Motor Lodge

As one of the newest motels in Riccarton, Christchurch, no detail has been overlooked. The modern, well-appointed studio suites and spacious 2-bedroom apartments provide the ultimate in comfort and are fully self-contained.
Amore Motor Lodge

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Day 2 - Journey through the MacKenzie Country to the alpine village of Lake Tekapo

Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.  To help you on your way GPS is included with all rentals.

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route the first township of Geraldine offers an ideal refreshment stop before you head into Mackenzie country.
Passing through places such as Beautiful Valley it's not hard to understand where the names originate. Ascending Burkes Pass and onto the high country plateau and the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, the first of the large Southern Lakes. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just enjoy the magnificent views.

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

Tekapo Springs offers three adjoining main Hot Pools for you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself while looking out to the beautiful Two Thumb range and stunning Lake Tekapo. Pool temperatures range from forty degrees celsius to thirty-six degrees celsius and each pool offers something different - massage jets to assist in taking away any aches and pains and fountains to splash under.

Your accommodation: Mantra Lake Tekapo

Just a few metres walk from the lakefront and a few minutes from the small township of Tekapo, Mantra Lake Tekapo provides spacious fully equipped apartment style luxury accommodation.
Mantra Lake Tekapo

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 247 kms / 153 miles : 2.9 hours

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Day 3 - Leaving the MacKenzie Country you'll follow the Waitaki River to the coast, where you'll turn south for Dunedin

Lake Tekapo to Dunedin

Lake Pukaki is just another 30 minutes drive from Lake Tekapo and you are often rewarded with spectacular views the full length of the lake and into Mt. Cook National Park. At 3754 metres, Aoraki Mt. Cook is New Zealand highest mountain and the peak can often be seen from the visitor centre at the southern end of Lake Pukaki. It is just a quick 30 minute drive from the main road into Mt Cook Village itself (allow a couple of hours though to drive both ways and spend a little while here). Mt. Cook National Park offers the visitor a huge range of activities. Mt. Cook Ski Planes operate scenic flights that include a unique ski landing on a glacier. At around 15 kilometres long the Tasman Glacier is New Zealand's longest and a glacier explorers tour will show you these unique features. There are many short hikes in and around the park and these are well marked and there is something for almost every ability.

Twizel, just south of Mt. Cook was the location of many Lord of the Rings movie scenes and a little further on is Omarama, the gliding capital of New Zealand. Wrinkly Rams is a local café and also offers an informative sheep shearing demonstration. Heading down the Waitaki valley you follow the hydro power generating system towards the east coast.
The town of Oamaru is most famous for its buildings constructed with the unique locally quarried white stone. Explore the old quarter or if you don't mind a late arrival into Dunedin then stay around to see the blue penguins come ashore at dusk. Further south the Moeraki Boulders are a unique geological feature and worth the short detour to the beach to view.
Arriving into Dunedin you can appreciate the city's Edwardian and Scottish heritage through its fine buildings particularly around the Octagon and city centre.

Dunedin's museums - suggested activity

Otago Museum

Discover rare objects, special exhibitions and a live butterfly rainforest experience at the Otago Museum.  Through the galleries you’ll discover the unique culture, heritage and wildlife of the Otago region.  Highlights include the Tangata Whenua gallery which tells the story of the Southern Maori life and mythology.  The Discovery World Tropical Forest is fun for young and old, you’ll enter a rainforest filled with hundreds of beautiful butterflies.  The special exhibitions are always fascinating and when you’re ready for a break there’s a great café to relax at.  The museum is open 10am to 5pm daily, except Christmas Day.  For information on current exhibitions and admission fees for exhibitions and the Discovery World Tropical Forest visit the Otago Museum.

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

Encounter history at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. Learn about the people whose character, culture, technology, art, fashion, and transport shaped New Zealand’s First Great City – Dunedin. In the galleries you can trace the fascinating journeys from the earliest settlers, Kai Tahu and their ancestors, to the most recent arrivals.  The themed galleries weave the stories of past and present with future thinking, featuring interactive displays with stunning visuals and powerful narratives. Admission is free and the museum is open daily (except Christmas Day) from 10am to 4pm April to September, 10am to 5pm October to March and Thursdays until 8pm.  For more information visit the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum website.

Your accommodation: Motel on York

Motel on York is located in the heart of Dunedin city. It offers superior luxury accommodation only 300 metres away from cafes and restaurants. Qualmark 5 star rated.
Motel on York

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 314 kms / 195 miles : 3.7 hours

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Day 4 - Discover the unique wildlife of the Otago Peninsula and chocolate fun at Cadbury World

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin City has a heavy Scottish influence. Surrounded by rugged coastal plains and windswept beaches it’s home to an eclectic mix of historical and modern architecture as well as industrial technology. Renowned for its Flemish Baroque-inspired ‘gingerbread house’ Railway Station, this university town is bustling with life. Head to the Saturday farmers market held in the aforementioned railway grounds for a taste of organic produce, handmade crepes and local honey.

Explore the many cafes and wine bars in The Octagon, then continue on a self-guided walking tour of the internationally acclaimed Street Art dotted around the city. Drive to the coast and watch the freighters passing in the distance while you sunbathe, or hire a mountain bike and test your legs on one of the many trails available in the area.

Take a tour of the Cadbury Chocolate Factory and visit the Otago Museum for a glimpse of local history. For a more immersive historical experience, follow the coast to New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle. On your way back be sure to head to the Otago Peninsula to see the largest mainland Albatross colony in the world.

Penguin Place Yellow Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve

Learn about the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin when you visit Penguin Place, a private conservation reserve dedicated to ensuring the survival of this unique species. The project is entirely funded by guided tours which allows the conservation team to engage in habitat restoration, predator control, a research program and on-site rehabilitation care for the sick starving and wounded birds.

Cadbury World Tour

Discover the inner workings of one of the most known chocolate brands, Cadbury. Learn about how this iconic chocolate is created and sample some of the elements in the chocolate making process. You’ll watch chocolate being tempered and also have the chance to make a little creation of your own. The tour concludes in true Willy Wonka fashion as you watch the Cadbury chocolate waterfall.

Your accommodation: Motel on York

Motel on York is located in the heart of Dunedin city. It offers superior luxury accommodation only 300 metres away from cafes and restaurants. Qualmark 5 star rated.
Motel on York

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Day 5 - Pass through historic gold mining towns and bountiful orchards to the 'Adventure Capital' of Queenstown

Dunedin to Queenstown

This drive takes you through the heart of the historical Otago Goldfields . The townships of Lawrence, Roxburgh and Alexandra - once booming mining towns in the late 1800's gold rush - now sleepy sun-traps bearing the little resemblance to their bustling past. However, some buildings do remain as do the original shafts and workings. In more recent times Alexandra has become the 'stone fruit capital' of New Zealand -  with the ideal climate for the trees. It is also a great place to buy some of the local produce. The road follows the South Island's longest river, the Clutha River, and at Clyde you will see one of the largest hydro power stations harnessing its energy before passing through the Gibbston Wine Valley to arrive at your destination today, Queenstown.  
 

Skyline Gondola

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere - and take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and Coronet Peak - one of Queenstown’s Ski field.

Your accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

The Garden Court Suites and Apartments are located just seven minutes walk from the heart of Queenstown. Self contained apartment rooms provide everything you need for your stay.
Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 270 kms / 168 miles : 3.3 hours

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Day 6 - Today you'll cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship for a farm tour and BBQ lunch

TSS Earnslaw cruise and Walter Peak Farm tour including gourmet BBQ lunch

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience - a delicious barbeque lunch and farm tour in a stunning lakeside setting. First take a scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw - one of the last remaining fully functional coal-fired passenger ships in the southern hemisphere.

Disembark and take in the picturesque shores of the Station. Relax on the lakeside terrace at the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant and savour the aromas of the best local produce being cooked the grill. The seasonal menu has plenty to choose from - salads, vegetables and succulent meat. If you’re vegetarian, you will be well catered for also. Finish your meal with a scrumptious dessert before joining an entertaining farm demonstration or exploring the beautiful lakeside gardens.

Your accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

The Garden Court Suites and Apartments are located just seven minutes walk from the heart of Queenstown. Self contained apartment rooms provide everything you need for your stay.

Meals included: Lunch

Garden Court Suites and Apartments

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Day 7 - Explore more of Queenstown's scenery and activities before departing for your onward journey

A final morning in the Adventure Capital before dropping your car at the airport

Explore more of Queenstown before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 8 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

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