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Home6-10 Day Independent Tours from Christchurch › 8 Day Southern Traverse Tour

8 Day Southern Traverse Tour

A South Island tour including everything you would want to experience in the lower South – a memorable glacier heli hike at Franz Josef, time to explore Queenstown, visit Milford Sound and travel to the Scottish influenced city of Dunedin to observe some wonderful wildlife.

8 Day Southern Traverse Tour

You'll experience a fantastic mix of exciting activities, stunning scenery and unique wildlife while you traverse the South Island on this 8 day tour.

Tour Type: Independent Tours
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departs: Daily Except 25 December
Duration: 8 Days
Tour Code: 8S

Regions Visited

Click on the region name to view more information about the region

Christchurch, Greymouth, Franz Josef, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Te Anau, Dunedin

Tour Inclusions

  • All transport
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike & hot pools
  • Queenstown Gondola
  • Milford Sound cruise & picnic lunch
  • Otago Peninsula tour

Day By Day Itinerary


Board the TranzAlpine Train and cross the Canterbury Plains into the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Once on the West Coast we follow a narrow coastal strip of beech forest with a spectacular mountain back drop south to the glaciers.

Stay: Franz Josef


After a thrilling flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier, ready to undertake a three hour guided glacier hike. You’ll be lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery in the world. Your guide has an eye for the most spectacular ice formations and you’ll soon be making your way through an extraordinary land of towering peaks and glistening blue ice. Entry to the Glacier Hot Pools is included.

Stay: Franz Josef



Travel deeper into South Westland taking in the spectacle of Haast Pass. Admire the views of many beautiful lakes including Wanaka, Hawea, Dunstan and Wakatipu before arriving in Queenstown.

Stay: Queenstown


A free day for you to enjoy this fabulous resort town. We have included the Skyline Gondola in your tour. There are dozens of activities available. Something for everyone.

Stay: Queenstown


A full day tour to the World Heritage listed, Fiordland National Park. Enjoy cruising Milford Sound and viewing the spectacular waterfalls and towering Mitre Peak.

Stay: Te Anau


High country tussock soon gives way to the lush pastures of Southland and Otago as you travel through Gore and Balclutha arriving in Dunedin. This afternoon is at leisure.

Stay: Dunedin


Morning at leisure in Dunedin for you to view some of the many sights.  This afternoon enjoy an Otago Peninsula Tour. Cruise the length of the harbour and watch as fur seals swim and play, view ocean birds including albatross and enjoy a guided tour of Penguin Place.

Stay: Dunedin


This morning travel north through the undulating hill country of Otago and through the cities of Oamaru and Timaru before arriving in the “Garden City” of Christchurch.

Average Score: 5 (13 ratings)
1 - 5
I have been meaning for weeks, since we returned from our South Island holiday, to thank you for arranging our itinerary for us.

All the travel and accommodation worked out perfectly. There was nothing that went amiss. It was so relaxing to travel by bus between each town, rather than hiring a car and driving ourselves.

The drivers were a fount of knowledge with their many comments and observations as we travelled. The shuttle buses and taxis between motel / hotel and the bus stops (and vice versa) were all on time and the drivers were helpful.

The jet boat adventure and the TranzAlpine Train trips were great. At Fox Glacier, we enjoyed the glacier walk and the snow covered mountain experience. We had spectacular cruises on Milford and Doubtful Sounds. We didn’t see the snow-caped peaks, but we saw plenty of rain and waterfalls down the glaciated rock faces. In Queenstown we went up the chair lift, down on the flying fox and enjoyed the lake cruise (hang gliding was a bit beyond us!). Dunedin’s history was very interesting as we learnt from the museum at the railway station and the various old churches that we visited. The Dunedin Harbour Cruise was spectacular, especially seeing the albatross and later the penguin colony.

I can’t believe that although I am semi-retired our days are so full. Anyway, at last I have managed to thank you.
Thank you for a well organised trip to the South Island, NZ. It was a memorable journey of amazing wonders and till today I can picture the breathtaking scenery of Milford Sound, Lake Tekapo and many more.

Cheers for making the effort to assure us when we faced the transport challenge at Haast. It is very comforting to know that our modified travel plans were checked thoroughly in therms of timing, availability, safety and our needs.

We didn’t make it to see the penguins on our way back from Dunedin to Christchurch, however I’m glad we got a breather to walk around Dunedin rather than making a long trip back up to Greymouth – Christchurch – Dunedin. The penguins will have to wait for my next trip.

Your professionalism at handling the unexpected change of plans is most appreciated.
Best wishes.
Just to let you know that our trip went incredibly well from beginning to end. Everything clicked smoothly into place allowing us to enjoy the scenery and activities. All the hotels were excellent, especially the Distinction Fox Glacier.
We would recommend the trip unreservedly.
We just arrived back in Christchurch yesterday (Sunday) afternoon from our amazing Scenic Pacific tour of the South Island.

I want you to know that every taxi, bus, train and boat arrived on time. Each hotel was expecting us. Every tour was in good weather (including the beautiful Fox Glacier hike and the incredible Milford Sound boat ride). This trip was a gem. Since each voucher had your name on it as the scheduler, we often said “thank you Jodee!”.

We are grateful to you and your fine organisation for helping us enjoy a great trip.
This is to thank you for organising a wonderful holiday for me and my family. We really enjoyed it.

It was well organized, carefully planned and the companies that you have tied up with are very professional and beyond par with service they give. We didn’t stress at all!! Everything was fantastic and excellent!

The activities that you have in the itinerary was just amazing! I personally don’t mind doing it again. And honestly, the tour exceeded my expectations. I loved it!

Definitely, we’ll contact you again and check your web site every time of any exciting things that your team have come up with. By the way, my friends and family have seen our photos and the fun we had. I have recommended your service.

Thanks heaps! God bless you.

Best Regards.
Happy New Year and thank you for doing an exceptional job organising our excursion to New Zealand for December 9th – 27th.

Everything was so well organised and easy to follow throughout the trip. The TranzAlpine Train journey, glacier Heli Hike in Franz Josef, Milford Sound and Otago Peninsula boat cruise were all very well done. We even managed to find Christmas dinner at the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross since virtually everything else was closed in town that day (as you had advised us).

My wife and I cannot thank you enough for putting together this travel package for our honeymoon! We will definitely recommend you to friends and family should their travel take them to New Zealand. We will write a recommendation on Trip Advisor for Scenic Pacific and the places we stayed.
Thank you once again for a memorable vacation!
I’m at last home after my travel (I spent some time in Brunei on the way back to the UK and then went straight to my sister’s for Easter), and I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed my New Zealand tour.

I was blessed with fine weather for all the week on the West Coast including glorious sunshine and blue skies on the Franz Josef Glacier. All the arrangements worked perfectly and the hotels were very comfortable and I enjoyed seeing so much of New Zealand from the coaches.

I was a little worried because the coaches didn’t generally have lavatories on them, but we made regular rest stop and so this didn’t turn out to be a problem.

It was only when I read the itinerary in details that I realised that I was actually going to fly up to the Franz Josef Glacier by helicopter and walk on the ice – this was quite a challenge for someone who is basically unfit and in his sixties, but thanks to the guide I was able to manage the rather strenuous glacier walk. This was probably the highlight of the tour, though I enjoyed the cruise around Milford Sound, the day in Queenstown (as well as the Gondola, I visited the Kiwi Birdlife Park and saw some Kiwi as well as other interesting birds and I also went on a lake cruise on the steamship TSS Earnslaw).

The weekend in Dunedin (I saw a Yellowed Eyed penguin in the wild as well as a Little Blue penguin in Dunedin Harbour on the Otago Peninsula Tour and also had time to visit the Otago Museum, the Settler’s Museum, Olveston House, the University of Otago and various other places), and finally the TranzAlpine Train which certainly exceeded its reputation.

There’s still a lot of the South Island that I haven’t seen, so if I get the chance to make a return visit in the next few years I’ll certainly be in touch again.

Many thanks for all your work in arranging such a memorable experience.
Kind regards
We just want you to know we are home safely and to THANK YOU for the wonderful time we had in New Zealand.

Our trip there was amazing and your magnificent planning is even more amazing. All of our pick ups / drop offs, tickets for various activities and many other things we are probably forgetting to mention were perfect. The hotels were excellent and the service and friendliness of all New Zealander’s was evident everywhere.

We do want to put your dependability and attention to detail on the web somewhere. We have given your agency’s name out everywhere and hope others will contact you on our recommendation.

We are also glad we kept in the glacier walk – it was fantastic and that is not nearly a good enough description. Our guide was so kind. We are 70 and 68. We think our guide was concerned because of our age and had us do a brief physical test. We passed with no trouble but he requested we stay at the front with him. Actually, the walk turned out to be no problem but his caring and carefulness was impressive.

Again, Karina, thank you and also pass along out thanks to others who may have had a part in our trip. Please let me know where we can best post our unqualified delight and confidence in your trip planning and your agency.
Just wanted to thank you for organising my tour. Everything so far has gone like clockwork, with everyone being there when the itinerary said they would be. Made it so easy and stress free.

The choice of activities was phenomenal. Varied, and all interesting, giving me a great overview of the South Island. I’m so glad that I decided to take your tour.

Cheers and thanks again.
Hi Sophie, Your email is timely – we just arrived back at home in the US.

Overall, our trip was AMAZING!! We had SO much fun. Unfortunately the Heli Hike was cancelled due to weather 🙁 but we still hiked to the bottom of the glacier on our own and had a fun day in Franz Josef.

Bungy jumping was TERRIFYING!!!! I’m glad I did it, but I think it will be my first and last jump 🙂 I still don’t know how they convinced me to jump off on the count of 3!! I also couldn’t get my feet unhooked so I still got pulled up feet first.

The Milford Sound tour was definitely as a highlight – and we were nervous because the day before we were supposed to go we heard the road was closed, but luckily it all worked out for us.

The penguin tour was also really fun! All of our accommodations were very conveniently located and everything ran smoothly from start to finish – thank you so much for your help!

The only thing we didn’t love was the bus ride back from Dunedin to Christchurch on our last day – I think because we were also flying to Auckland that day it just felt like a lot of being in transit and we didn’t feel like the bus ride on that route was anything we hadn’t seen, so I think we would skip that in the future but we wouldn’t have known that unless we tried it. I don’t think we would have been able to pack as much into our trip without your help!
Thank you to Sophie for planning the most amazing tour of New Zealand’s South Island! I cannot recommend Scenic Pacific Travel enough. We typically plan our own vacations, but I am really glad we went through Scenic Pacific because we were able to pack in much more than we would have if we had planned ourselves over the course of 7 days. I found the three biggest benefits of using Scenic Pacific Travel to be:

1. Convenience – everything was incredibly seamless. We picked up our travel wallets at our first accommodation and knew exactly where we needed to be for all tours/bus rides. I saved a lot of time not having to figure out exactly what bus stops we would need to be dropped off at for our accommodations in each town.

2. Central Location – all of our accommodations were in great locations with easy options to walk to for grocery stores and restaurants/cafes.

3. Customer service!!! I cannot say enough about how incredibly helpful Sophie was through our planning process. She very quickly helped us tailor our itinerary to be exactly what we wanted and answered all of our questions so promptly. She also sent me personal pictures of herself bungy jumping which convinced me to try it! I honestly don’t know if I would have done it without her encouragement.

We had such an amazing trip and would recommend Scenic Pacific to anyone considering it!
I am just writing in to let you know that we are now back in Hong Kong after our nine days in NZ.

Needless to say, we had the most enjoyable experience that we had anticipated. We were quite impressed by the professionalism, courtesy, friendliness and concern of staff in all the providers that we used. And a big thanks to you and the Scenic Pacific team for providing such a detailed and organised itinerary that made it so easy for us throughout the stay.

We certainly look forward to repeat the New Zealand experience once again over the next 2-3 years, perhaps covering places and activities that we missed out on this time round.
Thanks and regards.
Dear Tess

How are you? My husband and I have already returned home for about a week. The trip was really great and we had a lot of good memories of New Zealand. Thank you very much for all the thoughtful arrangement, the carefully chosen local trips as well as the accommodations. My husband keep saying that this was the best travelling experience that he has ever had.

We particularly liked the Franc Josef glacier tour, the penguin tour at Dunedin, the boat trip at Milford Sound… the tress house at Rainforest Retreat… We really like such independent travelling experience with your professional support that we need not to worry about the transportation and the sight seeing arrangement!

I will sure my experiences with my friends and colleagues and recommend your service and New Zealand to them. Hope we can visit New Zealand again soon.

Prices for period 1st October 2018 to 30th September 2019

Accommodation Tourist (Motel) Quality (Hotel)  
Twin/Double $2,840 NZD $3,580 NZD Enquire / Book
Triple $2,630 NZD $3,180 NZD Enquire / Book
Single $3,840 NZD $5,315 NZD Enquire / Book

Prices are per person and in New Zealand Dollars.

Expenses of a personal nature such as meals (except where stated in the itinerary), beverages, travel insurance, laundry and optional sightseeing are not included in the tour cost.



Independent Tours are not escorted group tours - they are for independent travellers. What this means is that it is not the same group of people travelling on their own coach with a tour leader/escort looking after you. You are travelling independently. However, you are picked up and dropped off at your accommodation each morning and evening and interesting commentary is provided on many sectors.

Frequently Asked Questions – Independent Tours

What is an Independent Tour?
Independent Tours are not escorted group tours - they are for independent travellers. What this means is that it is not the same group of people traveling on their own coach with a tour leader/escort looking after you. You are traveling independently.  However, you are picked up and dropped off at your accommodation each morning and evening and interesting commentary is provided on many sectors.

What dates do your tours depart?
The Pacific Travel Independent Iour programme operates on a daily basis (with daily departures) using the services of Great Sights, InterCity, Interislander and KiwiRail. All tours are subject to availability at time of booking.

What is included in the tour cost?
All tours 2+ days in length include coach travel, transfers, accommodation and sightseeing activities where specified. A detailed travel wallet with your travel vouchers and comprehensive itinerary will be sent to your agent prior to your departure or delivered to your pre tour accommodation for you to collect on check in.

I am travelling alone – can I pay the triple or twin share rate and be linked with other travellers?
No, unfortunately. You must pay the single room – per person cost.

I am travelling with children, what price will I pay?
Please contact us for information on child fares, as these vary based on the specific product you require. Some sightseeing activities are unsuitable for children.

Are any meals included in the tour cost?
Our Independent Tours do not include meals. There are exceptions where a picnic lunch is included on particular sectors. The coach does make various refreshment / comfort stops throughout the day where food can be purchased. Each evening you are free to relax and dine at you choice of restaurant either on site if you choose quality class, or just a short walk into town with tourist class. Many accommodation providers offer a breakfast service which can be arranged directly.

Is Halal food available in New Zealand?
Along with a small population of Muslims, New Zealand has an increasing number of Muslim visitors. Halal food and restaurants are now found in many areas of the country.

Do Independent Tours have a tour escort?
As these tours are Independent, you do not have an escort traveling with you. However all coach drivers are experienced professionals. They will share their vast knowledge of our country with you by providing an informative commentary on most routes.

Can I add in additional nights to a tour?
Yes you can. All tours are very flexible. Please ask one of our Travel Consultants for extra nightly rates.

What is the difference between quality and tourist class accommodation? 
Quality class:
 Hotel style accommodation with a restaurant on site, 4 star standard. At times 4 star motor lodges are also used. 
Tourist class: Self contained style accommodation with ensuite bathrooms and kitchenette facilities, 3.5 – 4 star standard. Breakfast provisions can be purchased from these properties but you will need to go to the town centre to purchase your evening meal. We endeavour where possible to book accommodation that is within easy walking distance of the centre of town.

What if I cannot find exactly what I am looking for on the website?
Let us know what is on your wish list to see and do and we are more than happy to help you plan a customised tour.

How much luggage can I take on my tour?
Each passenger may take 2 pieces of luggage (max 25kg each). For safety reasons, each passenger is limited to one carry on item (max 5kg). We also advise you check the maximum baggage allowance with your chosen airline.

How do I make a payment for a tour?
For bookings made more than 30 days prior to travel, Pacific Travel require a NZ$500 per person or 10% of the value of the package price (whichever is greater). This is a non-refundable deposit. Balance of payment is due 30 days prior to travel. For bookings made 30 days or less prior to travel, full payment is required at the time of booking. Visa & MasterCard are accepted forms of payment. All prices advertised are in New Zealand dollars and are GST inclusive.

What is your cancellation policy?
If after your booking has been confirmed you wish to cancel, the following cancellation fees will apply:
Cancellations 31 or more days prior to travel: Your deposit plus a further 10% of the total package price.
Cancellations 15 – 30 days prior to travel: Deposit + a further 20% of the total package price.
Cancellations 0-14 days prior to travel: 100% of total fare (no refund).
Booking amendments made by you: an amendment fee of 10% of total package price will be charged to cover our administration and communication costs. We may also need to pass on any amendment/cancellation fees imposed by our suppliers.

Conditions of travel
Pacific Travel reserves the right to alter fares, amend itineraries, book alternative accommodation or to cancel tours. Pacific Travel Ltd shall not be held responsible for any loss or damage to luggage or personal effects and/or damage resulting in death or personal injury, which may arise whilst travelling with Pacific Travel Ltd or its nominated suppliers. All transportation, both land and sea, is subject to the terms and conditions of the company providing the transport, some of which limit or exclude liability. These are available from the carriers concerned on request.

Will I need travel insurance?
We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance. Factors may arise that require you to cancel or amend your holiday, so it is essential you are covered for any costs that may be incurred. We recommend purchasing your travel insurance locally at the same time as you book your tour and flights. Unfortunately Pacific Travel does not sell travel insurance.

Do I need to tip in New Zealand?
If you wish to reward someone for a job well done it is always much appreciated.

Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?
Most visitors to New Zealand do not require a visa to enter for the purpose of a holiday or vacation under the visa waiver program. If you do need a visa to visit New Zealand then you should contact the New Zealand consulate in your home country well before your departure date. We recommend you also check with your local travel agent or airline for any visa requirements to New Zealand particularly if you are passing through Australia.

What currency is used in New Zealand?
The New Zealand dollar is the only legal tender in New Zealand. View a guide between your local currency and the New Zealand dollar. Please note: Your tour and all purchases using a credit card in New Zealand will be charged in New Zealand Dollars (NZD) at the current exchange rate at the time of purchase. The above currency conversion page is to be used as a guide only.