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Southern Spectacular

10 Days from $3,595 per person

Style: First Class | Pace:

Journey from the Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki to picture-perfect Lake Te Anau. Tuck into a taste of country life with the Taylors, board the TranzAlpine train and cruise the Milford Sound.

Travel to New Zealand from the USA requires crossing the International Date Line. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1. Ensure your flights are booked two days prior to the start date of the tour itinerary.

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Overview

Journey from the Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki to picture-perfect Lake Te Anau. Tuck into a taste of country life with the Taylors, board the TranzAlpine train and cruise the Milford Sound.

Travel to New Zealand from the USA requires crossing the International Date Line. Please arrange for flights to arrive on or before Day 1. Ensure your flights are booked two days prior to the start date of the tour itinerary.

  1. Discover the delightful fusion of modern design and the elegance of yesteryear in Christchurch, your gateway to South Island. Transfer to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm), then spend time at leisure before meeting your Travel Director and fellow travelers for an evening Welcome Reception.

    meal(s):Welcome Reception
    hotel:Distinction
  2. Connect with locals and immerse yourself in New Zealand country life at Morelea, joining Angie and Stan Taylor in their home for a Be My Guest barbecue lunch, complete with Angie's famous pavlova. Leave their home-grown Kiwi hospitality behind bound for Lake Pukaki and the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Continue your journey to Mount Cook National Park and soak up the alpine scenery. There's even time for an Optional Experience scenic flight over Mt. Cook (weather permitting).

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:MacKenzie Country Inn
  3. Your day starts with a journey along the Waitaki River and a photo stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. Travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its famous white limestone buildings, and on to the soaring spires and Victorian façades of Dunedin. This afternoon your choice of sightseeing: tour Larnach Castle; ride the Taieri Gorge Railway; take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise to see the Penguins and the Royal Albatross or experience an interactive tour of Speight's Brewery.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Scenic Southern Cross
  4. Spend the morning connecting with the Scottish heritage of Dunedin, departing this southern city in the afternoon bound for Te Anau, the gateway to Milford Sound. Journey through lush pastoral lands dotted with sheep farms, arriving on the shores of Lake Te Anau for an evening at leisure. Consider a highlight this evening, joining an Optional Experience to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Distinction
  5. Savor a day filled with pinch-me moments as you explore the extraordinary natural splendor of the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park. Keep your camera close at hand as you journey through rainforest, ancient glaciers and mountain ranges before driving through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel. Pass the Mirror Lake, Pop's Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm. Take to the still waters of Milford Sound, cruising past such highlights as Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak. Later, journey over the Devil's Staircase, along the shores of Lake Wakatipu bound for Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital. Enjoy an evening at leisure after an orientation tour.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
    hotel:Millennium
  6. Expect a thrill a minute on your choice of sightseeing today. Ride the Shotover Jet boat; take a gondola to Bob's Peak for thrilling luge rides; embark on a minibus excursion through Skippers Canyon or visit Kiwi Birdlife Park. This evening, you'll board the TSS Earnslaw, New Zealand's oldest steamship, cruising across Lake to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Regional Meal at the Colonel's Homestead. Gain a deeper understanding of high-country farm life during an entertaining farm show, then return to Queenstown to sample the festive nightlife.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Regional Meal
  7. A morning visit to Arrowtown reveals its rich gold mining heritage before your journey continues to Cromwell, where you'll have an opportunity to savor the juicy flavors of local stone fruit. See a trio of lakes, Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka, then cross Haast Pass to Thunder Creek Falls in Mt. Aspiring National Park. Here you'll stretch your legs and embark on a short rainforest walk before continuing to the luminescence of the Franz Josef Glacier, the world's most accessible glacier.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Scenic Franz Josef Glacier (Douglas Wing)
  8. Take some time this morning to explore the icy depths of this white wilderness that has retreated from the sea over millennia. Later, journey to Hokitika. Here, you will delve into the delicate craft of greenstone carvery during a visit to a factory and jewelry demonstration by a Local Specialist master carver. Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks and Blowholes is your destination today. Spend the night at one the eco-friendly Punakaiki Resort located right on the waterfront. Dinner is served against the backdrop of the thundering Tasman surf.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Dinner with Wine
    hotel:Punakaiki Resort
  9. A leisurely start to your day will see you journey across Arthur's Pass where you'll board the TranzAlpine train for one of the world's most scenic rail journeys across the snow-capped Southern Alps and Canterbury Plains. Arrive in Christchurch and admire the city's efforts to rebuild itself after a devastating earthquake. Later this evening, you'll join newfound friends for a Farewell Dinner to toast to your trip.

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
    hotel:Distinction
  10. Your vacation concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).

    meal(s):Buffet Breakfast
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  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

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  • Important Note: This departure is subject to price, itinerary and hotel modification.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $925.

Air: Please note that airfares are not included in the prices above. GET guarantees to quote you the lowest possible airfare available to us on the day that you book.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift! Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

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  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment

Meal Summary

9 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 lunch, 7 dinners.

Included Highlights

Connect with Locals

  • Join your hosts Angie and Stan Taylor in their home for a barbecue lunch and hear about a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand.

Stays with Stories

  • Stay on the South Island's wild west coast at eco-friendly Punakaiki Resort. Designed in harmony with the environment, your stay gives you a unique insight into local ecology and nature.

Local Specialist

  • with a jade (greenstone) master carver at a jewelry demonstration in Hokitika.

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Dunedin, Christchurch
  • Visit Franz Josef Glacier, historic Arrowtown, the Pancake Rocks, Blowholes at Punakaiki
  • Cruise on Milford Sound, Lake Wakatipu
  • View the Southern Alps from the TranzAlpine train
  • See spectacular sights in Fiordland National Park en route to Milford Sound
Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

Print Itinerary

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Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

Print Itinerary
  • U.S. citizens traveling to New Zealand must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens to enter New Zealand.

  • You will be using the New Zealand dollar on your trip. You can use your debit or credit card for purchases. The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • Food in New Zealand is innovative and diverse. As island nations with strong agricultural traditions, culinary traditions here are guided by local ingredients and seasonal variations, as well as international influences. You’ll find a variety of seafood including fresh oysters and crab, grilled steaks and lamb chops, meat pies, and fish and chips.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of comfortable, lightweight clothing that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Sturdy walking shoes are important. Insect repellent and sunscreen may come in handy, as well as a light jacket and reusable water bottle. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • It is not customary to tip at restaurants in New Zealand. If you would like to reward good service when dining out it’s appropriate to leave 10 percent gratuity for your waiter.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group.

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Dunedin

Grand Traverse Scenic Flight

Explore the alpine wonderland of the Southern Alps’ highest peaks and glacial lakes on this 45-minute scenic flight, including Murchison Glacier, Tasman Glacier, Main Divide, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Westland coastal rainforests and Mount Cook.
Adult Price: $395.00

Te Anau

Monarch Wildlife Cruise

Cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour, passing by the historic fishing village of Careys Bay and the working port of Port Chalmers. Then continue your tour out to the tip of the Otago Peninsula, enjoying unrivaled wildlife viewing. See what cannot be seen from land – Albatross, New Zealand Fur Seals and up to 20 species of bird and marine life in their undisturbed and otherwise inaccessible environment.
Adult Price: $150.00

Taieri Gorge Railway

Taieri Gorge Railway is one of the world’s great train trips, taking passengers from the hustle and bustle of Dunedin’s city center to the rugged mountain interior of Central Otago, and back. Travel in comfort, cross magnificent stone and wrought iron viaducts, travel through a series of tunnels with rock walls only inches from the side of the train.
Adult Price: $105.00

Larnarch Castle Tour

Let your local driver take you on an exciting Otago Peninsula drive to New Zealand’s only castle. Your guided tour of the Larnach family home will give you insight into not only the architecture and style of the stately building but also into William Larnach’s family life and the restoration done by the current owners during the past three decades. Enjoy views from the tower and marvel at the immaculate gardens before your return to Dunedin.
Adult Price: $76.00

Queenstown

Te Anau Glow Worm Caves

2.5-hour tour incorporating a cruise across Lake Te Anau to Cavern House. Enjoy a guided tour (in small groups) through the limestone caverns, waterfalls, and the glow worm grotto. Complimentary tea & coffee is available at Cavern House
Adult Price: $98.00

Punakaiki

Kiwi Birdlife Park

The Kiwi Birdlife Park is a wildlife sanctuary found in the heart of Queenstown. They hold and display over 20 species of native NZ wildlife in our 5 acre Park, all of which are part of nationally managed programmes. Your entry fee supports their conservation work. They offer guaranteed kiwi viewing in our specially constructed nocturnal houses, audio tours (available in English and Japanese; allow 45min), Conservation Shows (11 am, 3 pm; allow 30min) and Kiwi Feedings (10 am, 12 pm, 1.30 pm, 4.30 pm; allow 15 min). They offer an all-day pass and the park can be enjoyed in all weather. Experience conservation in action!
Adult Price: $48.00

Shotover Jet

Enjoy a 30-minute jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River and through Shotover Canyon with the only company permitted to operate in this area. A major highlight is experiencing the famous “Shotover Jet Turn” where your boat spins through a full 360 degrees turn. Includes return transfers from Queenstown. (Duration: 1.5 hours in total)

Boutique Wine Tour

An afternoon amongst the boutique vineyards and splendid alpine scenery of Central Otago. Taste wines at 4 premium vineyards over two contrasting wine regions, learn about the wine and pioneering history and visit the Historic Precinct of Old Cromwell. Includes a delightful platter lunch and a glass of wine with lunch.
Adult Price: $199.00

Skippers Canyon Scenic Tour and Jet Boat Ride

Skippers Canyon Jet is the only company to offer a complete 4WD tour of Skippers Canyon and access to the unique mining relics available in the Sainsbury gold claim museum. Following the winding, yet majestic Skippers road, which carves its way down from the Coronet Peak ski road, over the saddle and down “Long gully” through to Skippers Canyon; your guide will detail the history of the road, hardships of the miners and how many miners were killed building the road over a century ago.
Adult Price: $195.00

Christchurch

Mountain Scenic Spectacular Flight

Discover the gigantic expanse of the Franz Josef and Fox snowfields on this 40-minute scenic flight. Cross the main divide for breathtaking views of Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Highlights include a snow landing, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and Mt Cook.
Adult Price: $460.00

Haast River Safari

Travel on a purpose built fully enclosed river jet boat with front-loading access. Great visibility is ensured, yet you remain warm, dry and comfortable, making this a unique and safe experience suitable for anyone of any age to participate in and enjoy.
Adult Price: $109.00

Twin Glacier Flight

From a mantle of pure white snow, massive rivers of ice wind their way down glacier valleys. Explore the glaciers, an incredible natural phenomenon on this 30-minute scenic flight. Highlights include a snow landing at the head of the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier.
Adult Price: $320.00

Request a Quote
  • 30 Day Refund Guarantee

    We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

  • Add air to your reservation

    Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.