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The Southern Drift

12 Days 1 Country 8 Cities

This Hidden Journeys trip will show you the best parts of New Zealand's South Island.

"Can't imagine a better experience"


About this trip

With a small group of explorers you'll stay in boutique retreats, resorts and hotels in unique locations, with gourmet cuisine to match. And we don't just show you the places, we create immersive experiences you'll never forget.

You'll enjoy Insider moments like… feeling at one with nature on the West Coast Treetops Walkway. Roaming among the tree tops, you'll enjoy a bird's eye view of Lake Mahinapua and the wildlife that makes its home in the ancient canopy.

Trip type: Hidden Journey

Trip code: NZSI

11 Nights


20 Meals
  • 11 hot buffet breakfasts.

  • 7 dinners.

  • 2 lunches (including Be My Guest).

On-trip Transport

All transport shown.

The Southern Drift

Your Itinerary

1. Arrive Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch! On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm). Spend some free time to relax or explore on your own. Perhaps visit the International Antarctic Centre or Orana Wildlife Park, New Zealand's only open-range zoo. This evening meet your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and dinner.

Welcome Reception
The George

2. Christchurch - Punakaiki

First up it's all aboard the TranzAlpine train. Rated as one of the world's great scenic railway journeys, you'll travel across the Canterbury Plains through the Southern Alps to Arthur's Pass, where you'll re-join your coach and travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Tonight you'll stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront.

Buffet Breakfast
Dinner with wine
Punakaiki Resort Authentic Accommodation

3. Punakaiki - Franz Josef

You'll have a leisurely start to the day before visiting the small town of Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast, for a greenstone (jade) jewellery demonstration by a Local Specialist jade carver. Then take the West Coast Treetop Walk through the canopy of lush rainforest. Now you're off to the gold-mining town of Ross before arriving at Franz Josef Glacier, for a guided tour to the viewing area of this mighty glacier with a Local Specialist. Your eco-friendly accommodation is set amid native bush, with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. Why not enjoy Franz Josef's local geothermal hot pools or perhaps a massage.

Buffet Breakfast
Dinner with wine
Te Waonui Forest Retreat

4. Franz Josef - Queenstown (3 Nights)

You'll have the opportunity to see the glacier from the air on a scenic flight (own expense). Later today, travel over the Haast Pass and along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, stopping at Makarora. You'll also stop to explore the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown, followed by an orientation tour of Queenstown. Tonight you'll stay at Millbrook Resort, set amid sparkling streams and rolling hills in the Southern Alps and framed by the Remarkables Mountain Range.

Buffet Breakfast
Dinner with wine
Millbrook Resort Authentic Accommodation

5. Queenstown Free Time

Today is free for you to explore New Zealand's adventure capital on your own. Perhaps play a round of golf or indulge in spa treatment at your resort. Tonight you'll ride the Skyline Gondola to Bob's Peak for your Regional Dinner with views overlooking stunning Queenstown.

Buffet Breakfast
Regional Meal

6. Queenstown Free Time

Make the most of your extended stay in Queenstown. Why not take a trip to the Gibbston Valley Winery, 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.

Buffet Breakfast

7. Queenstown - Milford Sound

Travel south along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau and through the rainforest of World Heritage Fiordland National Park, sighting glaciers and mountain ranges. Drive through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel to a photographer's paradise, surrounded by Pop's Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the amazing Mirror Lake. Walk to see the Chasm on your way into Milford Sound and later take some time to kayak on this majestic fiord. Enjoy dinner on your overnight cruise on the Milford Mariner. You'll cruise the length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea with plenty of time to view waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife.

Buffet Breakfast
Milford Mariner Authentic Accommodation

8. Milford Sound - Stewart Island (2 Nights)

Enjoy early morning activities on board. Then it's lunchtime in Te Anau. Continue to the southern-most city in New Zealand, Invercargill. You'll board a ferry at Bluff to cruise to Stewart Island for a wondrous experience. With its clear, clean waters, lush rainforest, sweeping sands, flora, fauna and unspoilt natural beauty, you'll get a glimpse into an enviable simpler, slower lifestyle. You can dine at one of the cafés or meet the locals at the hotel.

Buffet Breakfast
Bay Motel

9. Stewart Island

This morning you're off on a Village and Bays tour before cruising on Paterson Inlet and enjoying lunch. You'll stop at Ulva Island and this afternoon take a tour with a Local Specialist from the Department of Conservation on Ulva Island's wildlife sanctuary. You'll 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.

Buffet Breakfast

10. Stewart Island - Mt. Cook

Board a ferry to the mainland. Admire the rural farming views of Southland as you travel back towards Queenstown. Travel over the Lindis Pass and into the MacKenzie high country, along the shores of Lake Pukaki to the foothills of Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere.

Buffet Breakfast
Dinner with wine
The Hermitage

11. Mt. Cook - Christchurch

See Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, where you'll stop to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. Then you're welcomed into the home of Angie and Stan Taylor to enjoy a Be My Guest barbecue lunch in their 600 acre garden. Travel along the Canterbury Plains to the Garden City of Christchurch. On a sightseeing tour see how it is being rebuilt after the earthquake of 2011.

Buffet Breakfast
Be My Guest Dining
The George

12. Depart Christchurch

Say farewell to your fellow travellers as your hidden journey comes to an end with your transfer to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).

Buffet Breakfast

The Trafalgar Difference

  • Authentic Accommodation
    at Millbrook Resort in Queenstown and on an overnight cruise on Milford Sound.

  • Authentic Accommodation
    Punakaiki Resort-
    Punakaiki Situated on idyllic Punakaiki Beach, this environmentally friendly Authentic Accommodation offers views of the ocean and rainforest. Designed in harmony with the environment, your stay gives you a unique insight into local ecology and nature.
    Millbrook Resort -
    Queenstown Framed by the Remarkables Mountain Range, you'll discover the natural beauty, history and character of the Central Otago region at this internationally renowned Authentic Accommodation, voted New Zealand's top hotel by TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice Awards. Milford Mariner - Milford Sound You'll discover the waterfalls and rainforests of stunning Milford Sound with an expert naturalist on this Authentic Accommodation cruise. You'll explore by kayak, star gaze and enjoy a delicious dinner on board, before the tranquil waters of the fiord lull you to sleep.

  • Be My Guest
    on a 600 acre farm on the Canterbury Plains with your hosts Angie and Stan Taylor.

  • Hidden Treasures
    Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure.

  • Local Specialists
    with a jade (greenstone) carver, a geologist on Franz Josef Glacier and a wildlife expert.

Find out what makes Trafalgar different.

What's Included

Sightseeing Highlights

    • Cruise overnight on spectacular Milford Sound and across the Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island.

    • View the rainforest from the Treetop Walkway and the Southern Alps from the TranzAlpine train.

    • Visit Franz Josef Glacier, historic Arrowtown, a jade factory and the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.

What's Included


    • 11 hot buffet breakfasts.

    • 7 dinners.

    • 2 lunches (including Be My Guest).

What's Included

Travel Highlights

    • Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most regions or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)

    • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted

    • Hand-picked Insider Experiences

    • Optional Experiences and free time

    • Porterage, local tips and charges

    • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras

    • An expert Travel Director and separate Driver, Driver Guide only on Mini-Stays

    • All hotel charges and local taxes

    • Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday

    • VIP entry to many sights

    Airport Transfers

  • Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page

Why Trafalgar?

The Trafalgar Experience


Enjoy the wonder of travel, crisscrossing the globe through the seasons. On effortless adventures in breathtaking new horizons, forge lifelong friendships and memories. Our lovingly crafted itineraries are a fascinating mosaic of cultures, flavours, festivals and local stories. We’re with you all the way, guiding you and ensuring you experience the real thing: the sheer love of travel, entirely hassle-free.

sunset heart

Love... Travel

"Is simply the best way to position what our guests love to experience and what we love to deliver" - Gavin Tollman CEO


Meet warm-hearted locals and like-minded travellers. Along your journey of discovery, stop to share stories and flavours with local farmers, chefs and winemakers. Pause to admire the handicrafts and rich traditions of amazing artisans. Explore the essence of Europe through captivating accounts shared by expert historians and savvy local guides.


Travelling with your tastebuds, treating them to new flavours, spices and textures along the way. From the very first breakfast to the last nightcap, travelling through Europe indulges your palate, with every meal an opportunity to discover regional fare. Savour each new flavour, try the local tipple and take home fresh culinary inspiration. Let us share our love for food and hospitality with you.


Once you've packed your suitcase, we take care of the rest, removing all your concerns so that you can be secure in the knowledge that an award-winning global company with an impeccable reputation has taken care of every little detail. We arrange everything you'll need along your journey - meals, accommodation and travel logistics, because we are with you all the way. Travel the world with peace of mind, knowing you’re in the hands of Trafalgar.

The Southern Drift

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12 Days, 1 Country, 8 Cities

The Southern Drift

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Christchurch (Nz), New Zealand


Christchurch (Nz), New Zealand

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i Please read our Trip Notes before booking

    • Departures between 1 Oct 2017-31 Mar 2018 are subject to price, itinerary and hotel modification.
    • *Air: Please note that airfares are not included in the prices above. Trafalgar guarantees to quote you the lowest possible airfare available to us on the day that you book.
    • Hidden Journeys: Itinerary has a maximum of 20 guests.
    • Room Share: Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.
    • This trip will be operated in conjunction with our sister company and South Pacific Specialists - AAT Kings.
    • All prices are per person, double share.
    • For the best savings and to avoid disappointment book early.
  • Trip prices are per person, land only, based on double occupancy and reflect applicable discount. Discounts are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice.
  • Trip prices are correct at the time of the products going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however are subject to change - please confirm all details at time of booking.
  • For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Website Terms of Use page.
  • Twin-share option not available for trips to South America, Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey. It's also not available on Small Group trips.  Guided Vacations included in this restriction are Newfoundland and Labrador (DNLA) as well as Panama, the Canal & Beyond (LPAN).  
  • For trips that are part of our Guaranteed Room Share, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless travelling as part of a family group. 

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