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from pp Twin Share

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$8,749 pp

15 Day South Island Deluxe Road Trip

15 Day South Island Deluxe Road Trip

This tour is conducted at a medium-fast pace. Some long travel days may be required to complete this itinerary and you will typically spend two nights at each destination, with some one night stays required. This trip includes a mix of sightseeing and free time to explore at your own pace. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage.

Moderate Pace

On these packages you will travel from city to city on your own, exploring at your own pace. We have arranged transportation in most cases and day tours for you to see the destination. Enjoy the time and flexibility to linger longer or pick up the pace and see as much as possible. The choice is yours.

Escorted Type

Inspiring Vacations has been globally recognised and awarded for its handling of COVID-19 during the pandemic. The safety and wellbeing of our guests is our highest concern during this time of uncertainty, and we are continuously monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. 

We have adopted the advice of the WHO to ensure all customers can travel with the knowledge of how to travel safely and with confidence.

Australian owned and operated with 100% Australian Customer Service support 

We are proudly 100% Australian owned and operated, with our head office located in Melbourne, Victoria. When you make your booking, you will receive dedicated and ongoing support from our team of travel professionals throughout your booking, up until you are due to depart. 

Book With Confidence

Take advantage of our 7 day cooling-off period. 

Cooling Off Period
7 Days

These tours are our proudest creations. They have been crafted for Inspiring Vacations travellers exclusively, with personal and unique experiences in mind. Please see the Important Information on your selected tour for exact group size. Enjoy features such as hand-picked accommodation, a sampling of the region’s best culinary delights, and a range of optional activities to choose from to best suit your travel style.

Group Size
Small Group
Independent Tour
779 people have travelled to this destination

✓ Incredible sightseeing, cruise along the golden beaches of Abel Tasman National Park, whale watching cruise off the coast of Kaikoura, free time to hike in Mt Cook National Park, cruise spectacular Milford Sound, visit New Zealand’s famous glaciers and national parks and travel on the TranzAlpine, one of New Zealand's most picturesque train rides
✓ Enjoy the flexibility of independent travel
✓ 14 nights in quality, 4-star hotels
✓ 13 days Compact SUV Holden Trax or similar
✓ Airport transfers included on the last day of your tour
✓ Breakfast daily, 1 lunch
✓ Whale watching cruise off the coast of Kaikoura
✓ Cruise Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most stunning natural attraction
✓ Travel on board renowned rail journey TranzAlpine, from Christchurch to Greymouth

✈ Needing international airfares to accompany your Inspiring Vacation? You will be able to access our flight portal after securing your package to add international airfares to your booking.



What we love about this tour

Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.


Fable Christchurch or Similar

Welcome to Christchurch! After check-in, you can head out and explore Christchurch. Step back in time to a grand era of transport and relax as the Christchurch Tram takes you around the 'must-see' central attractions. The tram drivers provide a live commentary throughout the loop, identifying points of interest, historic architecture and the changes the city is under-going since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Airport transfers are not included. Our transfer portal offers the option to book your airport transfers for an easier arrival experience (additional charges apply). Access to this portal will be available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed.

Hotel check in is at 2pm. Should you arrive earlier than this, hotel staff will do all possible to check you in as soon as possible. If your room is not available before check-in time, you are welcome to leave your luggage in storage and explore the surrounding area.

Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Hotel or Similar

Make your way to Christchurch train station before boarding the TransAlpine train to Greymouth. 

Considered one of the world's greatest train journeys, this journey you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest.

The train has panoramic windows, open-air view carriage, a fully licenced cafe plus commentary allowing you to connect the scenery all around you.

On arrival in Greymouth, disembark your scenic train and collect your rental car from the Greymouth depot (next to the train station). Then continue driving south to Fox Glacier.

Approximate driving distance: 200km, 2.5hrs

Car Hire Pick Up.

Collect your car from Budget depot.

Peppers Beacon Queenstown or Similar

This morning you may want to consider one of the below helicopter rides over the glaciers. These activities require a minimum of 3 travellers to run and are weather dependent. Your flight time may vary from 8.30 pm 11am.

Afterwards, continue driving south to Queenstown.

Approximate driving distance: 330km, 4.5hrs

Optional Tour - Twin Glacier Helicopter Ride (from Fox Glacier)

Fly over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers and land at the head of either the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier. View the incredible natural phenomenon of the glacier as it winds slowly down the carved valleys from its origin in the mountains high above you.
Duration: 30 minutes

Optional Tour - Fox Glacier & Mount Cook Helicopter Ride (from Fox Glacier)

Fly over the legendary Fox Glacier and snowfields and discover the crevasses and ice forms being exposed below you. Land in the snow above the icefalls of the glacier and experience the magnitude of the scenery surrounding you. Then let the impressive presence of Aoraki/Mount Cook amaze you as you explore its majestic west face, before descending into the valleys below.

Peppers Beacon Queenstown or Similar
Breakfast, Lunch

Today let someone else do the driving - you simply sit back, relax and enjoy stunning vistas. You will be collected from your hotel and travel by coach on an unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound - located within the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. Highlights include Te Anau, Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Christie Falls, Upper Hollyford Valley, Homer Tunnel, Cleddau Valley and Milford Sound. Your tour includes a cruise on Milford Sound Red Boat where you will see the wonders of Mitre Peak, glacier scarred rock walls that rise 1,200m vertically from the sea, and waterfalls that tumble from hanging valleys and crash into the sound far below. In the afternoon return to Queenstown by coach

Peppers Beacon Queenstown or Similar

Today is at your leisure to do as little or as much as you want. With literally hundreds of activities to choose from, Queenstown will sure have something to offer you. From helicopter rides, to hiking, fishing, winery visits, cycling...cycling through wineries and so on you will find it hard to settle for just one of them.

Optional Tour - Wine & Food Sampler

This half day wine and food experience delivers an unforgettable taste of Central Otago’s wine region, showcasing its superb local produce. Your winery lunch consists of several tasting dishes each perfectly matched by the Chief Winemaker and Head Chef, using estate wines and fresh local produce. Enjoy wine tasting and presentations at 3 wineries, generally visiting one larger well-known winery and two boutique style wineries. An underground wine cave tour & tastings gives you inside information about our great wines and the Central Otago wine industry.

Optional Tour - Half Day Bike The Wineries Tour

This half day self-guided tour begins with an afternoon pick up from our shop at 9 Duke Street in central Queenstown and a scenic transfer to the Kawarau Suspension Bridge, the home of bungy and the beginning of the Gibbston Wine Region.

After bike fitting, helpful winery and trail information from your knowledgeable driver, you’re free to set off riding the Gibbston River Trail at your leisure using our informative trail map with exclusive offers to visit as many of the amazing wineries, a cheesery and brewery linked throughout this section of easy riding trail.

We will pick you up from the Gibbston Tavern (or another pre-arranged point in the valley) for your relaxing vehicle transfer back to Queenstown. Total biking distance is 5-12 kms depending on how many wineries you wish to visit.

The Hermitage Hotel or Similar

Enjoy breakfast and hit the road; today your final destination is Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, one of New Zealand most picturesque and recognised Alpine regions..

We strongly recommend you to pay Wanaka a visit along the way.

Weather permitting, make sure you drive along the Crown Range - the highest main road in New Zealand. Be aware, between May and September this road is often covered in snow and ice when we recommend against driving on this road. In such conditions, please take the slightly longer route through Cromwell.

The quaint town of Wanaka is picture perfect, complete with snow capped mountains views, wilderness of glaciers, beech forests and alpine lakes. 

Approximate driving distance: 280km to 320 km, 4hrs to 6hrs

The Hermitage Hotel or Similar

Today is free for you to explore Aoraki/Mt Cook. Snow capped peaks, tussock lands, glaciers and blue lakes make Aoraki Mt Cook a wonderful place for hiking or taking a leisurely stroll. Walking or trekking options abound. From the Governors Bush Walk (45 minutes) to perhaps the most popular Hooker Valley Track (3hrs). The best and most reliable time for hiking in this area is during the summer months.

Alternatively, you may want to take a helicopter flight and enjoy bird’s eye views of the region mountains and glaciers 

Optional Tour - Alpine Vista Helicopter Ride

This short scenic option is ideal if you're looking for the opportunity to touch snow and experience the thrill of a helicopter flight. Sweep through the rugged high country landscape of the Ben Ohau Mountain Range to a landing site on the snowfield high in the mountains. Enjoy the fantastic vista from this alpine setting as you look out to the mountains and glaciers, and down the valleys that were carved out by glaciers centuries ago.

The White Morph or Similar

Gear up for the longest driving day of your itinerary as you traverse the South Island from South to North. Your final destination for today: Kaikoura - a marine wonderland.

Approximate driving distance: 505km, 6.5hrs

The White Morph or Similar

Today you will join a whale watching cruise. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents. A typical Whale Watch touring day  may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales. Kaikoura often hosts the world's largest dolphin - the Orca - and is home to the world's smallest and rarest - the Hector's. Kaikoura also attracts the largest concentration and variety of seabirds on mainland New Zealand including 13 species of Albatross, 14 varieties of Petrels and 7 types of Shearwater.

The Rutherford Hotel or Similar

Prepare for a stunning drive as you head toward north towards Nelson. Once checked in at your accommodation, take a stroll along Nelson’s streets and explore the many artisan stores and galleries. 

Approximate driving distance: 260 km, 3.5hrs

The Rutherford Hotel or Similar

Drive 60 kilometers north to the town of Kaiteriteri in time to join your Abel Tasman National Park cruise. Your cruise hugs the shore, travelling in close to the idyllic bays and through the Tonga Island Marine Reserve, viewing the New Zealand Fur Seal colony enroute. Then the scenery changes, Onetahuti (Tonga Beach) marks the beginning of the northern beaches - large sweeps of golden sand separated by picturesque bush headlands.

Approximate driving distance: 120 km, 2hrs

Hanmer Springs Retreat or Similar

Continue heading south towards Hanmer Springs. This small and pictoresqeu alpine villages is known for its natural hot pools and stunning landscapes. Take your time to walk through town, seat at a cafe and soak in this little village's atmosphere.

Approximate driving distance: 375km, 5.3hrs

Hanmer Springs Retreat or Similar

Today is free for you to relax and unwind. You may want to pay Hanmer Springs thermal pools & spa a visit and make the most of their mineral rich hot pools or pampering massage and treatments. Please visit their website HERE for treatments, prices and to pre-book.

Optional Tour - Hanmer Springs - Spa Pass

Begin your experience by relaxing in a sauna or steam suite to stimulate and refresh before indulging in a full body relaxation massage to ease tension and leave you totally relaxed. Allow 80 minutes

Use of outdoor pools and waterslides
Towel hire

Optional Tour - Hanmer Springs - Vichy Rainshower Detox

Warm rain shower waters cascade over your body, while the healing hands of your therapist massage away all your tension. This is a therapeutic total body detox that decreases muscle fatigue and stimulates circulation. A restorative treatment that will send you into a deep state of relaxation. Allow 50 minutes.

Use of outdoor pools and waterslides
Towel hire

Optional Tour - Hanmer Springs - Revitalizer Package

Relax in our sauna or steam suites, before drifting off as the soothing hands of your therapist gently ease tension in your back, neck and shoulders. Finish with an express facial that will have you renewed and re-energised. Allow 80 minutes.

Use of outdoor pools and waterslides
Towel hire

Fable Christchurch or Similar

Start the day at leisure before travelling back to Christchurch. In the afternoon perhaps visit Christchurch Botanic Garders or go river punting on the Avon River.  Tonight explore the city's foodie scene which spans from organic pastries to microbrews.

Approximate driving distance: 135km, 2hrs

Optional Tour - Hanmer Springs - Thermal Pools Admission

The best place to indulge, with a range of 22 outdoor thermal pools including the new cascades, relaxing rock pools, soothing sulphur pools, an array of water jets and bubbles - at a range of temperatures. Plus a luxurious day spa with a range of treatments, private pools, sauna and steam rooms.


Today your New Zealand South Island Deluxe Road Trip  comes to an end. Please return your vehicle as indicated below.

If you may wish to extend your stay in Christchurch, we can assist you to book additional accommodation.

Car Hire Drop Off.

Drop off your vehicle Budget downtown or airport depots.


  • Incredible sightseeing, cruise along the golden beaches of Abel Tasman National Park, join a whale watching cruise tour off the coast of Kaikoura, enjoy free time to hike in Mt Cook National Park, cruise the waters of spectacular Milford Sound, visit New Zealand’s famous glaciers and national parks and travel on the Tranzalpine, one of New Zealand's most picturesque train rides
  • Enjoy the flexibility of independent travel
  • 13 days Compact SUV Holden Trax or similar
  • 14  nights accommodation in quality 4 star hotels
  • Airport transfers included on the last day of your tour
  • 14 breakfasts and 1 lunch
  • Cruise Abel Tasman National Park
  • Whale watching cruise off the coast of Kaikoura
  • Cruise Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most stunning natural attraction
  • Travel on board the TranzAlpine from Greymouth to Christchurch

  • Explore Christchurch and see how it has been rebuilt from the devastation of earthquakes
  • Relax and pamper yourself in Hanmer Spring
  • Cruise along the golden beaches & sculptured granite cliffs of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Go whale watching on a cruise off the coast of Kaikoura
  • Enjoy free time to go hiking in Mt Cook/Aoraki National Park 
  • Continue the drive to Queenstown, driving the mesmerising Crown Range (weather permitting)
  • Cruise the spectacular waters of Milford Sound
  • Travel on board the TranzAlpine. Considered one of the world's greatest train journeys

TranzAlpine, between Greymouth and Christchurch

Scenic Class carriage experience combines comfort and panoramic views, making our trains the perfect way to explore New Zealand. 

At the heart of our Scenic Class experience are spacious reclined seats, panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights. These details bathe our carriages in light and bring New Zealand's famous landscapes to your seat. 

Our Scenic Class carriages deliver extremely wide viewing angles by spacing the seating out. This spaciousness also creates generous amounts of legroom and comfort.

Driver License Requirements

All drivers must be 21 years old or over and hold a Full, current non probationary drivers licence (with an English translation shown on the driver licence) for their home country. If the licence is not issued fully (i.e. every single endorsement) in English, it must be accompanied by either an international driver permit or an approved translation. There is no maximum age for hiring a vehicle in New Zealand.

  • Additional Authorised Drivers have to be registered on the rental agreement.

Each additional driver will cost $5+GST NZD per day up to a maximum of $25+GST NZD for the entire length of rental. Partner / Spouse (not restricted to marriages / relationships between individuals of any gender) are exempt from this fee.

All additional drivers must meet the above criteria 


A credit card issued in the renter’s name must be provided at time of collection. A minimum of $100 NZD pre-authorisation will be charged plus total value of any optional extras elected

Damage Excess 



Chip on windscreen will incur a  $60+GST fee
Cost of tyre replacement is not covered unless the Road Side Assistance is purchased at the counter.

Rates Include

Goods and Services Tax (GST), currently at 15%, Unlimited kilometres Standard Motor Vehicle Damage Waiver, Nil excess

Rates Exclude

Special Request Delivery Fees, Optional Extras (GPS, child safety seats, etc), Fuel.  These above items are to be paid directly by clients on car collection Budget Standard Terms and Conditions can be found here

Fine Print

This product requires full payment upfront to secure your booking.
Once you have created your booking you will be directed to your invoice to choose your preferred payment method.

This is a land only package.

This package does not include international airfares. If you would like to add airfares to your booking our flight portal will be available via your Traveller Hub. The flight portal will allow you to search for all available airfares to your destination. The function works like most general flight search engines allowing you to select your preferred airline, book different cabin classes (eg. Business class) and view flight durations and transit times to your destination. 

The flight portal will be available via your Traveller Hub once the following criteria has been met:

  • Your booking is confirmed
  • Your departure date is within 11 months
  • You  have completed your passenger detail form

Visit our Flight Hub for more information on terms and conditions, amending your flights and information on luggage allowances.

Some of our packages will include airport transfers in either one or both directions when arriving or departing from your destination. To know if transfers are included please view the ‘inclusions’ section of your selected package. If airport transfers are stated, transfers will be included as advised.

If transfers are not included, we also offer the option to book your airport transfers using our online portal. Access to this portal is available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed. Transfers are readily available and do not need to be booked until your final hotel list has been confirmed. Once you have made a transfer booking, please refer to your confirmation email for all transfer details including a local contact number for the transfer company.

If you book pre and/or post-tour accommodation on your own arrangement, and the tour includes transfers, note that these will be forfeited. The transfers are only provided in line with the tour dates and pre and/or post-tour accommodation purchased through Inspiring Vacations when available.

It is the traveller's responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return. Visas may be required for your destination. For further visa information, click here.

Fitness Requirements
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers.

As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.

This particular tour is categorised as a “3”.

3 – Moderate Tour: A good level of fitness and mobility is required, as this tour includes a moderate level of physical activity and is considered a medium-fast paced tour. You should be able to walk up and down stairs and able to walk reasonable distances of approximately 2 kilometres per day or more with ease. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.

A friendly reminder that tipping is not included in your package. While tipping is not customary, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations.

You may also consider tipping your tour leader and driver for outstanding service throughout your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, but we can’t guarantee your request will be available at all properties.

Single travellers
When booking this tour, solo travellers will be presented with two options:

1 - Single Supplement
By paying an additional $3,550.00 per person, in addition to the twin-share price, you guarantee the privacy of your own room throughout the entire trip.

2- Shared Room with a known friend
If travelling together with a friend, you can opt to share your room with him/her and avoid paying a single supplement. 

You and your friend can create a unique booking each. Creating a unique booking, gives each of you the flexibility of making different travel arrangements (such adding extra accommodation, flights, etc), make separate payments and have individual access to our Traveller’s Hub

During the purchase path, you will need to provide your friend’s booking ID (if known) or at a minimum, your friend’s full name.

Triple Share
Available on request

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is recommended to protect yourself against the unexpected. In addition to the support that a policy may provide, you may be asked to present a copy of your travel insurance documentation while traveling.

Children must be 5 years old or above and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.

Group Size
20- 60 people

When travelling with a group, no matter the size, we ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. 

Bedding requests
We do our best to meet your bedding preference, however, bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only and cannot be guaranteed. All efforts will be made to meet your preference, however, any changes are beyond our control and limited by the hotel facilities and availability.

Tour Styles
To meet the needs of various types of travellers, we choose to operate various types of tours and depending on your selected package will mean different services are provided throughout your trip. The following descriptions of each tour style we hope will ensure that each traveller has appropriate expectations before they start their travels: 

  • Independent - On these packages you will travel from city to city on your own, exploring at your own pace. We have arranged transportation in most cases and day tours for you to see the destination. Enjoy the time and flexibility to linger longer or pick up the pace and see as much as possible.

Who is operating this package
We have partnered with a wide range of third party operators who assist in fulfilling your booking and delivering an enjoyable on-tour experience. Each package will consist of multiple operators meaning both guides and fellow travellers may change day to day. But don't worry, regardless of the operator, you'll be in good hands to experience the most out of each destination.

All participants must be in good physical condition to fully engage in this journey. For the safety and welfare of yourself and fellow travellers, if you are feeling unwell prior to departure, we advise staying home and contacting us to arrange alternate plans.

Prior to selecting your trip, carefully review the itinerary to assess your ability to comfortably manage our travel style. Please be aware that if, based on evaluation by our leader or local representative, a participant is deemed unable to safely complete the itinerary, we retain the right to exclude them from all or part of the trip without reimbursement.

It is advisable to consult your physician for current medical travel advisories and any required vaccinations before embarking. We recommend carrying a first aid kit and any necessary medications in their original packaging, as they may not be readily available during travel. For those carrying medication, it's essential to check your government's foreign travel guidelines for local restrictions or regulations.

To enhance your journey, we are offering guests a choice of the following optional activities (prices are per person):

  • Twin Glacier Helicopter Ride (from Fox Glacier) (Day 3) - $529 per person
  • Fox Glacier & Mount Cook Helicopter Ride (from Fox Glacier) (Day 3) - $529 per person
  • Wine & Food Sampler (Day 5) - $280 per person
  • Half Day Bike The Wineries Tour (Day 5) - $113 per person
  • Alpine Vista Helicopter Ride (Day 7) - $396 per person
  • Hanmer Springs - Spa Pass (Day 13) - $200 per person
  • Hanmer Springs - Vichy Rainshower Detox (Day 13) - $200 per person
  • Hanmer Springs - Revitalizer Package (Day 13) - $213 per person
  • Hanmer Springs - Thermal Pools Admission (Day 14) - $44 per person

Optional tours can be selected once you have finalised your tour purchase and paid your deposit. When completing your Passenger Booking Form, you will be asked if you would like to add Optional Tours, where any applicable cost will be added to your final balance. If you choose not to select them at this time, you can choose to add them later by logging in to your Account online.

Please note that you must select your Optional Tours no later than 70 days before departure, after which you will be required to purchase them on tour. Please keep in mind that anything purchased on-tour is subject to availability and prices may vary as you will be paying in local currency. We appreciate your understanding.

  • International Flights
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • No meals, unless stated in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional activities
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Parking costs (if applicable)

Departure Dates for 15 Day South Island Deluxe Road Trip

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