9 day South Island Wine Adventure
9 day South Island Self Drive, from Christchurch to Christchurch
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

9 day South Island Wine Adventure

Discover two of the South Island’s highly regarded boutique wine regions while exploring the magnificent scenery of the Southern Alps, Southern Lakes and West Coast on this 9 day adventure tour.

Tour summary and feature
Itinerary details at a glance

South Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$6,972 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

9 days/8 nights

Luxury Lodges & hotels

 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible

 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers

 Viewed 12 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance
Quick itinerary overview - 9 day South Island Wine Adventure

Day 1: Arrive into Christchurch City
Accommodation: The George Hotel

Day 2: Your rental car is delivered, explore the Waipara Valley or take a day trip to charming Akaroa
Accommodation: The George Hotel

Day 3: Travel to Mt Cook National Park and explore the Tasman Glacier with Glacier Explorers
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

Day 4: Follow the dry lands to Lindis Pass which leads into Central Otago, then through the Kawerau Gorge to Queenstown
Accommodation: Matakauri Lodge
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

Day 5: Enjoy an afternoon exploring the Central Otago wineries with your own private guide
Accommodation: Matakauri Lodge

Day 6: Take the Crown Range Road to Wanaka before travelling the spectacular Haast Pass to the West Coast
Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.6 hours

Day 7: Be introduced to the magical ice world of Franz Josef Glacier on a Heli-hike tour
Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Day 8: Follow the stunning coast north along the West Coast, then continue over the Southern Alps on a scenic train journey
Accommodation: The George Hotel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

Day 9: Depart Christchurch today

Detailed itinerary
See a day by day description including activities & accommodation suggestions for this itinerary example
Tour full itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive into Christchurch City
9 day South Island Wine Adventure - Day 1
Private transfer Christchurch Airport to your accommodation

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

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

Access to our exclusive New Zealand Touring APP. The APP includes your full itinerary and reservation details, all available online and offline as well as lots of other great information such as restaurant guides, weather forecasts and local activity suggestions. Instant itinerary updates and changes are available and it's easy to keep in touch with us. The App is free and easy to download on your mobile using Android or IOS.
You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

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.

Your accommodation: The George Hotel

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. 2 superb award winning on site restaurants also feature.

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2 - Your rental car is delivered, explore the Waipara Valley or take a day trip to charming Akaroa
9 day South Island Wine Adventure - Day 2
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.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Waipara region

The Waipara Valley is situated only 40 minutes drive north of Christchurch City. The fastest growing wine region in New Zealand, it is home to around 80 vineyards covering more than 1,200 hectares of plantings. Tucked at the base of the Teviotdale hill, it is sheltered from cool easterly winds but open to warming north west winds. The valley has three general sites, valley floor, hill slopes or river terraces. The soil types include; gravely deposits on flats and terraces in the central and west of the valley, limestone derived clays on hillsides and valley floor to the eastern side and gravely loams over alluvial subsoil in the southern part of the region. The north facing sloping terrain provides an ideal sun trap for fruiting vines.
This gives each vineyard unique characters that contribute to a range of wine styles. The “Terroir” combined with the long hot autumn period helps produce unique richer, spicier Pinot Noirs and Rieslings – regional specialties. Other varieties of note include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Vineyards of note include Pegasus Bay with its award winning restaurant and Mud House which also has a cafe linked to the cellar door.  For information on all the Waipara vineyards visit Waipara Wineries.
Another great local attraction is The Weka Pass Railway. This historic rural railway uses both vintage steam and diesel-electric locomotives on 12.8 km of scenic line through the unique limestone beauty of the Weka Pass out of Waipara, where superior weather patterns provide crystal clear air and high sunshine hours. Open most Sundays and public holidays during the summer months.

Akaroa & the Banks Peninsula

The Banks Peninsula lies just around 1 hour from Christchurch city centre. Formed by ancient volcanic eruptions the regions first settlers were Maori who recognised its potential for shelter and food. The sealers and whalers followed them and European colonists founded and settled Akaroa, Little River and Lyttelton and many of the Peninsula's other bays. Abounding with wildlife and history it's a great place to spend the day exploring.

The jewel is Akaroa which lies just over 70 kilometres from central Christchurch and the drive to this picturesque harbour town is a wonderful experience in itself as it can either take you via the port of Lyttelton and along the bays or over the Summit Road of the Port Hills.

The well-signposted tourist routes will guide you on a loop around the peninsula and through some spectacular and rugged farmland scenery. As you approach the small settlement of Duvauchelle you are greeted by New Zealand's oldest hotel.

The town of Akaroa has rather a French feel with many flags flying and cottages and streets with distinctly non-kiwi names. The reason being that 63 Frenchmen arrived here to settle the Banks Peninsular under the French Flag only to find the British had beaten them by 5 days. Their influence on architecture combined with a Victorian seaside feel make the town a delightful place to spend an afternoon. There are many activities such as nature cruises and swimming with dolphins.

Your accommodation: The George Hotel

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. 2 superb award winning on site restaurants also feature.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3 - Travel to Mt Cook National Park and explore the Tasman Glacier with Glacier Explorers
9 day South Island Wine Adventure - Day 3
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you'll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.
Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat.  These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Experience the best views in the park from the spacious top floor rooms of the magnificent Hermitage Hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

Day 4 - Follow the dry lands to Lindis Pass which leads into Central Otago, then through the Kawerau Gorge to Queenstown
9 day South Island Wine Adventure - Day 4
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Today you'll leave Mount Cook National park and travel to Queenstown. Go through the lakeside town of Twizel and then pass through the gliding capital of New Zealand - Omarama - before ascending the Lindis Pass. Follow the road to Cromwell, located at the at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Continue on towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump, or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Ultimate Paradise Picnic Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks

Relax and enjoy the beauty of Queenstown, as you are flown to a beautiful location on Cecil Peak for a gourmet picnic accompanied by wine or bubbles. The perfect opportunity to indulge!

Your accommodation: Matakauri Lodge

Spectacularly situated on Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge offers stunning views from every angle of the Remarkable, Cecil and Walter Peak mountain ranges. Just seven minutes from Queenstown the lodge provides an alpine lakeside retreat nestled in one of the world’s most serenely beautiful landscapes.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

Day 5 - Enjoy an afternoon exploring the Central Otago wineries with your own private guide
9 day South Island Wine Adventure - Day 5
Appellation Private Boutique Wine Tour

For the more discerning wine lover, or simply people who prefer the flexibility of a private tour. Join one of Appellation's senior wine guides on a wine tasting journey to some of New Zealand's most memorable vineyards, at your own pace. Your guides local knowledge and familiarity with the vineyards of Central Otago is at your disposal for an intimate half day wine experience in a thriving wine region. Packages are tailor made for you, and you are encouraged to advise of any varietal or vineyard preferences when booking.

The private boutique wine tour includes tastings at four vineyards, typically two in the Gibbston Valley/Queenstown region and two in the Bannockburn/Cromwell region. You'll enjoy a delightful platter lunch at Carrick Winery with a glass of premium matched wine. You'll also explore the history and scenery of the region with a stroll through Old Cromwell Town and a stunning drive through the Kawarau Gorge. Tours last approximately 5 hours.

Your accommodation: Matakauri Lodge

Spectacularly situated on Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge offers stunning views from every angle of the Remarkable, Cecil and Walter Peak mountain ranges. Just seven minutes from Queenstown the lodge provides an alpine lakeside retreat nestled in one of the world’s most serenely beautiful landscapes.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6 - Take the Crown Range Road to Wanaka before travelling the spectacular Haast Pass to the West Coast
9 day South Island Wine Adventure - Day 6
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a 1 hour return walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

Your accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest at Franz Josef is a very special five-star retreat. Designed with utmost care of its precious environment, guests at Te Waonui Forest Retreat will find themselves encircled by rainforest and accommodated in natural and sustainable luxury.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.6 hours

Day 7 - Be introduced to the magical ice world of Franz Josef Glacier on a Heli-hike tour
9 day South Island Wine Adventure - Day 7
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Hot Pools

Nestled within the lush rainforest surrounds, the Glacier Hot Pools is a haven of tranquility. Unwind in one of the three main pools. Temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees and the water comes directly from a glacial stream. Wash off the day and rejuvenate in this unique forest paradise.

Your accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest at Franz Josef is a very special five-star retreat. Designed with utmost care of its precious environment, guests at Te Waonui Forest Retreat will find themselves encircled by rainforest and accommodated in natural and sustainable luxury.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8 - Follow the stunning coast north along the West Coast, then continue over the Southern Alps on a scenic train journey
9 day South Island Wine Adventure - Day 8
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the TranzAlpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour

From humble origins in 1868, the Monteith's family-owned Phoenix Brewery became the West Coast's most popular brewery for its strong tasting, full-bodied ale. The Phoenix Brewery later merged with a group of small breweries to form Westland Brewing Company, predecessor to today's Monteith's Brewing Company. In this informative brewery experience, you will learn about the heritage and traditions of the brewing business. Witness the making of a fine beer in open fermenters by coal-fired boilers, using only the finest ingredients. Watch the brewers carefully hand craft the beer in small batches to develop the full natural flavours. When each batch is ready, the brewers employ a brilliant time honoured tradition for quality control - they taste it.

On completion, you will receive a tasting a 3 beers of your choice from the tap at the Brewery bar, plus your very own personalised Monteith's 500ml bottle with your name on it - a personalised endorsement from the head brewer himself.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Crossing the south from Greymouth to Christchurch, the Tranz Alpine is considered one of the worlds greatest train journeys. You'll travel from east to the west of the south island through Arthur's Pass National Park.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private Transfer Christchurch Train Station to your accommodation

On arrival at the Christchurch train station, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: The George Hotel

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. 2 superb award winning on site restaurants also feature.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

Day 9 - Depart Christchurch today
9 day South Island Wine Adventure - Day 9
Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Airport

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Christchurch Airport in time for your departing flight.

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