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5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch

star-4.558 Reviews
Christchurch, New Zealand
5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch

From $1,368.51

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Number of travelers
1 Adult2 Adults3 Adults
Free cancellation
Up to 7 days in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon5 days  (Approx.)
Pickup from select hotels
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English


See the top sights of the spectacular South Island on a 5-day guided coach tour, round-trip from Christchurch. Stop at Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain; enjoy free time to explore the adventure capital of Queenstown; take a boat cruise on Milford Sound, surrounded by steep rock walls; view Fox and Franz Josef glaciers; and travel by rail through the Southern Alps aboard the scenic TranzAlpine Express. Includes hotel pickup and drop-off, and four nights’ accommodation in Queenstown and Franz Josef.
  • Five-day coach tour of New Zealand's scenic South Island
  • Lunch at Mt. Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain (own expense)
  • Cruise on Milford Sound
  • Free leisure day in Queenstown
  • Spectacular Franz Josef Glacier
  • Trip aboard the famous TranzAlpine Express train
  • Fully guided tour and commentary
  • Pickup and drop-off from centrally located Christchurch hotels
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Air-conditioned vehicle
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Live commentary on board
Accommodation as per itinerary
Milford Sound Cruise
Tranz Alpine from Greymouth to Christchurch
Food and drinks, unless specified

Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered
Departure Point: Christchurch hotels
Dates: Daily
Return point: Returns to original departure point on day 5 at approximately 6:35pm

Departure Time

7:15 AM
Begin your 5-day exploration of New Zealand's South Island with hotel pickup in Christchurch. Peer through the windows of your comfortable coach at the vivid scenery while you journey through the foothills of the Southern Alps. Your guide makes a stop at Mt. Cook for lunch (own expense) before your first night in Queenstown, including free time to explore at your leisure.

After a memorable cruise on Milford Sound, nestled in the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park, drive along Haast Pass to Westland National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rugged West Coast route takes you past soaring mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the must-see Franz Josef Glacier, where you spend the night with scenic views.

On the final day, travel to the reconstructed gold-rush town of Shantytown. Conclude your South Island tour with a train trip from Greymouth aboard the TranzAlpine Express. The route takes you over the Southern Alps through Arthur's Pass to Christchurch, renowned as one of the world’s top 10 train journeys.
Canterbury Region
Your five-day exploration of New Zealand's spectacular South Island begins with the stunning scenery of the foothills of the Southern Alps. Travel through the rich pastoral farm land of the Canterbury Plains and the ever-changing spectacular scenery of the Southern Alps. Continue traveling across Burkes Pass before descending to the stunning glacial fed Lake Tekapo and visiting the Church of the Good Shepherd which stands on the foreshore.
Admission Ticket Free
Burkes Pass
Burkes Pass is a mountain pass and at its base
Admission Ticket Free
Lake Tekapo
Continue traveling across Burkes Pass before descending to the stunning glacial fed Lake Tekapo and visiting the Church of the Good Shepherd which stands on the foreshore.
Admission Ticket Free
Lake Pukaki
From here you travel up the western side of Lake Pukaki to arrive at Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain.
Admission Ticket Free
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
Stop at Mt Cook for lunch (additional at own expense) where you will be mesmerized by the surroundings of this truly unique region. Cross the Lindis Pass, leaving the MacKenzie Country and travel along the Kawerau Gorge before arriving in Queenstown.
Admission Ticket Free
South Island
Experience the south Island on this 5 day epic journey!
Admission Ticket Free
 Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or Similar)
  Not Included
Fiordland National Park
Travel along the edge of Lake Wakatipu beneath the rugged Remarkables to Te Anau, the 'Gateway to Fiordland National Park'. On entering the Fiordland National Park you pass through the Eglinton Valley
Admission Ticket Free
Mirror Lakes Walk
See ancient beech forest, stunning waterfalls and the famous Mirror Lakes where you will pause for a photo stop.
Admission Ticket Free
Hollyford Valley
Continue through the upper Hollyford Valley, past the stunning Christie Falls.
Admission Ticket Free
Homer Tunnel
Enter the 1.2 km Homer Tunnel, drilled through the solid rock of a mountain. On exiting the Homer Tunnel prepare for the breathtaking impact of the Cleddau Valley and the descent into Milford Sound
Admission Ticket Free
Milford Sound
On arrival, take an unforgettable cruise on the majestic Milford Sound
Admission Ticket Free
Mitre Peak
See the wonders of Mitre Peak and rock walls scarred by glaciers which rise to 1200m vertically from the sea. Then reboard the coach for the return journey to Queenstown. Optional lunches onboard the cruise are available.
Admission Ticket Free
 Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or similar).
  Not Included
A free day at leisure in Queenstown to either simply explore this most beautiful township nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounds by mountains which are snow-capped for much of the year or enjoy one of the many actives that are on offer.
Admission Ticket Free
 Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or similar).
  Not Included
Lake Wanaka
Travel along the shores of Lake Wanaka and Hawea.
Admission Ticket Free
Haast Pass
Haast Pass is the most stunning stretch of highway in New Zealand.
Admission Ticket Free
Westland Tai Poutini National Park
World Heritage Westland National Park. Initially the pass travels through the treeless grasslands of Central Otago, then at the highest point, the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps and the rivers and rainforests of Westland dominate the landscape
Admission Ticket Free
Fox Glacier
Continue to travel up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
Admission Ticket Free
Franz Josef Glacier
The Franz Josef Glacier is 11 kilometers in length and more than 7,000 years old. Its terminal face creaks and arches over the cave from which the river emerges, pale with powdered rock and can advance or retreat at over a meter per day. This living 'river of ice' is a must see for any visitor to New Zealand.
Admission Ticket Free
 Overnight Accommodation: Scenic Circle Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (or similar).
  Not Included
Shantytown Heritage Park
On the final day of your South Island tour, today you continue to travel along the rugged West Coast to Shantytown, a faithful reconstruction of a Westland Gold Rush town.
Admission Ticket Free
From Shantytown, travel to Greymouth, the center for thousands of diggers during the historic gold strikes of the 1860's.
Admission Ticket Free
Southern Alps
From Greymouth, journey over the Southern Alps, through Arthur's Pass.
Admission Ticket Free
TranzAlpine: Scenic Train Christchurch - Greymouth
Continue through Arthur's Pass and onto Christchurch by the famous TranzAlpine Express. This journey is renowned as one of the top ten train journeys in the world. In Christchurch you will be transferred to your accommodation or the airport where your tour concludes.
Admission Ticket Included
  Not Included
  Not Included
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Child rate applies only when sharing with 2 paying adults
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 20 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Leisure Tours

If you cancel at least 7 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.

If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee.

If you cancel within 2 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during 5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch?
This activity will have a maximum of 20 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by 5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch.

Traveler Tips

  • "If you don’t like long 12 hour bus rides, this is not for you." See review


58 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 58 reviews
NZ south island
, Nov 2019
great trip. great accommodations. driver narrations were relevant. coaches we're spacious. magnificent countryside
icon Response from Host , Nov 2019
Thanks for the great review! I'm glad you had such a nice time on your 5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch. It's great to hear you enjoyed each and every aspect of your tour including accomodation, coaches, and guides! The lower part of the South Island offers some of the best landscapes in New Zealand and we do our best to show you those top destinations within a relatively short period of time. Thanks again for your review and we hope you get to visit New Zealand and the South Island again soon!
New Zealand south island
, Nov 2019
The superb organisation made this a memorable trip. The timetable was adhered to perfectly. At no point were we left wondering will someone come and pick us up!
icon Response from Host , Nov 2019
Thanks for the 5 star review, Neil. I'm happy you had such a great time on the South Island and that your time exploring our country was a memorable one! We do what we can to ensure that itineraries are as detailed and as clear as possible so that travellers can feel rest assured when travelling on one of our tour packages. I'm really pleased that we made you feel at such ease. All the best and we hope you visit NZ and the South Island again soon!
Good way to see s. Island!
, Jan 2019
If you don’t like long 12 hour bus rides, this is not for you. Our only complaint were the bus drivers/ tour guides were difficult to understand and we speak English. Sights and activities were wonder and well organized.
Great Trip with Spectacular Scenery
, Oct 2018
We thoroughly enjoyed this 5 day tour of the South Island. It is the best way to take in all the spectacular scenery of this special part of the world. The distances involved were long but the buses we rode in were comfortable. All of the drivers were professional and also made great guides as they provided commentary throughout the journey. The hotels we stayed in were all excellent. The best part was the trip through the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine train. This is really one of the best rail journeys in the world.
, Aug 2018
Our South Island itinerary was perfect.We saw snow capped mountains,fiords,rain forests,glaciers and the sea-all in 5 days.Whether traveling by coach,train or taxi/shuttle,because Viator was so organized,we were always on time.Coach drivers,Stuart and Peter, were outstanding with their commentary.
Our trip from Christ Church to...
Wijeyasingam S
, Apr 2018
Our trip from Christ Church to Queens town was not satisfactory. The driver guide almost missed us from the hotel. The van was small and packed. Beyond Queens town the trip was well organised and fantastic. We enjoyed everything.
A good way to see many sights in...
Peter W
, Mar 2018
A good way to see many sights in South Island, in comfort with someone else driving! The coaches are comfortable but be prepared for the long distances covered. There are regular stops but they are usually very brief time for a quick coffee and visit to the toilet and little more. This is not a conventional coach tour. Each day is a different bus, different driver, different passengers, but the whole package was very well-organised and operated efficiently. The drivers all provide commentaries each has his own style but they are always informative and often very amusing. And the scenery, wow! Things are very much weather-dependent though. Franz Josef Glacier and the Trans-Alpine train journey were spoilt by heavy rain and poor visibility, and were it not for fine weather at Mount Cook, Milford Sound and in Queenstown my impressions might have been less favourable. It's a lot of money to spend and not see anything! The hotels were superb - the Millenium in Queenstown is very plush and the Scenic in Franz Josef more than adequate, with the unexpected bonus of a superb breakfast included. I felt some frustration at not being able to explore some of the sights more fully, but overall felt that this was the best way to cover a huge area and visit many spectacular locations in a degree of comfort.
We chose this tour as it included...
, Mar 2018
We chose this tour as it included many of the must-see sights in the South Island. This was accomplished by using a series of coach journeys linking places, picking up and dropping off travellers along the route. We were given short comfort breaks with an occasional stop at a place of interest. The exception to this was the very long day tour to Milford Sound for the two hour cruise which was breath-taking. The other highlight was the Trans-Alpine rail journey from Greymouth back to Christchurch which gave a view of many facets of the country side and areas almost inaccessible by any other methods of transport. The audio commentary headphones provided was well worth listening to, although many people didn't bother. The accommodation provided was adequate in Queenstown and excellent in Franz Josef. Overall we found it frustrating passing through places we will probably never visit again and not having the chance to look aroundeven at Mount Cook we only had an hour, so there was a choice between lunch or a short walk around, certainly no time to walk a trail!
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
very interesting spots that were...
Emanuel S
, Jan 2018
very interesting spots that were visited. however be ready to sit on a bus for about 8 hours each day.
This is an excellent tour for a...
, Jan 2018
This is an excellent tour for a family who wants to see most of the South Island in a short time with less or no stress. You get the value for money and the tour was very well coordinated by the tour operator.

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