Southern Drift - Insight Vacations

The Southern Drift (Luxury Gold - Summer 2017)

Duration: 12 days Visiting: New Zealand

Prices from {{lowPrice}}

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Accommodation
  • Dates & prices

No stone is left unturned as you venture into parts of the South Island less travelled. Experience the wild and pristine natural wonderland of Stewart Island, the spectacular vistas of Mt. Cook, and where you will fall asleep under a blanket of mist and shadows on the still waters of Milford Sound.

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to Christchurch!

    On arrival at Christchurch Airport you’ll be transferred by private car to your hotel. Spend some time at leisure to relax or explore on your own. Perhaps visit the International Antarctic Centre or Orana Wildlife Park, New Zealand’s only open range zoo. In the evening meet your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Dinner with wine.

  2. Day 2

    Christchurch to Punakaiki

    First up it’s all aboard the TranzAlpine train. Rated as one of the world’s great scenic railway journeys, you’ll travel in the comfort across the Canterbury Plains through the Southern Alps. From Arthur’s Pass, travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You’ll stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront. Enjoy dinner while watching the thundering surf at your doorstep!

  3. Day 3 - Relaxed Start

    The mighty Franz Josef Glacier

    (Relaxed Start) Visit the small town of Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast, and meet a local greenstone (jade) carver for a jewellery demonstration. Then visit the West Coast’s Treetop Walkway, where you may take a stroll through the canopy of this lush rainforest. Now you’re off to the gold-mining town of Ross before arriving at Franz Josef, where a glacier guide explains the history behind the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Your eco-friendly accommodation is set amid native bush, with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. This evening, why not enjoy Franz Josef’s local geothermal hot pools or perhaps a massage?

  4. Day 4

    Romantic Arrowtown and on to Queenstown

    Later today, travel over the Haast Pass and along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, stopping at Makarora at lunchtime. You’ll also stop to explore the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown on the Arrow River, followed by an orientation tour of Queenstown.

  5. Day 5 - Relaxed Start

    Take to the skies in Queenstown

    (Relaxed Start) Today is free for you to explore New Zealand’s adventure-capital at your leisure. Perhaps play a round of golf or indulge in spa treatment at your resort? Tonight ride the Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak for dinner with a view overlooking stunning Queenstown, the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    Queenstown at leisure

    (Relaxed Start) Make the most of your extended stay in Queenstown. Why not take a trip to the Gibbston Valley Winery, take a jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River or get wet white water rafting down the Kawarau River? Tonight you can dine at one of the many local restaurants and cafés in town, or simply relax at your resort.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Queenstown to Milford Sound

    (Relaxed Start) Travel south along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau on the shores of the South Island’s largest lake. Later you’ll travel through the rainforest of World Heritage Fiordland National Park, sighting glaciers and mountain ranges before driving through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel to the amazing Mirror Lake. Afterwards, walk to see the Chasm on your way into Milford Sound and take some time to kayak this majestic fiord, considered by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Tonight stay at the magical Milford Sound Lodge, with views of the Cleddau Valley.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Milford Sound to Stewart Island

    (Relaxed Start) Venture to the southern-most city in New Zealand, Invercargill. You’ll board a ferry at Bluff to cruise to Stewart Island, the 3rd largest island in New Zealand, for a wondrous experience. With its clear, clean waters, lush rainforest, sweeping sands, flora and fauna and unspoilt natural beauty, you’ll get a glimpse into an enviable simpler, slower lifestyle.

  9. Day 9

    Stewart Island wildlife

    Sightseeing this morning takes you to see the villages and bays. Later, cruise on Paterson Inlet to see remote sandy beaches and beautiful wildlife. Stop at Ulva Island and take a tour with a Local Expert from the Wildlife Sanctuary. Learn about native birds like the Weka and spend time up close to native flora and fauna – a day of exploration and education. Tonight, try your hand at a bit of kiwi-spotting in the native bush near your accommodation.

  10. Day 10

    Stewart Island to Mount Cook

    This morning you’ll board a ferry and journey across Foveaux Strait, making your way back to the New Zealand mainland. Admire the rural farming views of Southland and the spectacular alpine scenery of the Southern Alps. Venture over the Lindis Pass and along the shores of Lake Pukaki into the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere, helped Sir Edmund Hillary hone his climbing skills in preparation for his conquest of Everest. In the evening, enjoy dinner with a breathtaking mountain view.

  11. Day 11

    Mt. Cook to Christchurch

    See Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, where you’ll stop to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. You’re welcomed into the home of Angie and Stan Taylor to enjoy a barbecue lunch in their 240 hectare garden. Then travel along the Canterbury Plains to the Garden City of Christchurch. On a sightseeing tour see how Christchurch is being rebuilt after the earthquake of 2011.

  12. Day 12

    Farewell from Christchurch

    Say farewell to your fellow travellers as your journey comes to an end with your transfer to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight.




  • Christchurch: Journey on the iconic TranzAlpine Train.
  • Milford Sound: Sea kayaking is by far the best way to truly discover Milford Sound. Look out for the New Zealand fur seals, Fiordland crested penguins, famous blue penguins and even bottlenose dolphins.
  • Stewart Island: Take a tour of Ulva Island with a Local Expert from the Department of Conservation to learn about the island's wildlife sanctuary.


  • Queenstown: Ride the Skyline Gondola to Bob's Peak for dinner with the most incredible view overlooking Queenstown, the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.
  • Christchurch: Enjoy a home-cooked barbecue lunch and a farm tour at Morelea Farm with your hosts Angie and Stan.
  • 11 Buffet Breakfasts (BB), 2 Lunches (L) and 1 Dinner (D); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD) and 1 Highlight Dinner (HD) both with wine, plus tea or coffee.


  • Franz Josef: Surrounded by natural rainforest on New Zealand's West Coast, Te Waonui Forest Retreat is a short drive from Franz Josef Glacier. This five star retreat offers luxuriously appointed rooms which include organic cotton bed sheets, pillow menu and large private bathrooms.
  • Queenstown: Millbrook Resort is set amid sparkling streams and rolling hills in the Southern Alps and framed by the Remarkables Mountain Range.


  • Be escorted by the crème de la crème of Insight Travelling Concierges - handpicked for every departure. This skilled guide will act as consummate organiser and be your 'friend in a foreign land'.
  • Enjoy the unique comfort of Insight's luxury air-conditioned 40-seat coach, with extended leg room and an on-board restroom. It's Business Class comfort, complete with complimentary bottled water for you to enjoy during your luxury coaching tour.
  • A personal radio headset gives you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating insights and commentaries.
  • At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling with prompt delivery to inside your door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus, we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available).
  • With Insight Flourishes, from time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with local tidbits, each representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Airport transfers to and from your hotel are included.



The George Christchurch

Christchurch (Central) - New Zealand

The George, Christchurch

Punakaiki Resort

Punakaiki (Scenic) - New Zealand

Punakaiki Resort

Te Waonui Forest Retreat Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier (Scenic) - New Zealand

Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef

Millbrook Resort Arrowtown

Arrowtown (Scenic) - New Zealand

Hotel accommodation and year round retreat located on the outskirts of historic Arrowtown.

Bay Motel on Stewart Island

Stewart Island (Scenic) - New Zealand

Bay Motel, Stewart Island

The Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook

Mt Cook (Central) - New Zealand

The Hermitage, Mt. Cook

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Note prices displayed reflect available discounted rates (i.e. Early Payment Discount, Red Hot Deal). All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
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