I was in NZ on business and wanted to get a feel for the South Island in as little time as possible. This was the perfect tour! I hate to call it a tour because it is not your typical bus tour where you are with the same people the entire 5 days. You will be on 4 different buses. Don't let that throw you off! The tour company is well organised and provides all the details you need to get where you are going. I even had pre-booked taxis, all of which arrived on time, to take me to two of the bus pick-ups. On the final leg, the tour operator met me at the rail station and took me to my hotel. I felt like I had personalised treatment and enjoyed that I wasn't with the same people all 5 days. Make sure you call to confirm in advance. When I arrived at my Christchurch hotel, a packet was waiting for me at the desk with the detailed itinerary with times, hotels, etc.
Now about the itinerary. Perfect! The views! The bus drivers are as good as tour guides. They are knowledgeable on the area, the history and keep a running commentary throughout. There are scheduled comfort breaks and photo opportunities. The first day the main stop was Mount Cook. Wow! Don't doze off on the drive at any point in the 5 days or you will miss breathtaking views! The day ends in Queenstown which is your base for the next 3 nights. A taxi picks you up the next morning to catch the bus to Milford Sound. This is a long day, but amazing. Of course, it helped that the weather was incredible. I almost didn't get off the bus at Mirror Lake because there were so many people BUT DO IT! The mountains reflect into the water. Your photos will look like postcards! The hotels chosen by the tour company were great. Heritage in Queenstown pay the extra for breakfast and Scenic Hotel at Franz Josef where I was upgraded to their spa hotel. The scenic ride on the train was also amazing. I highly recommend this tour!
Excellent driver/guides with interesting and informative commentaries. Always on time and to schedule. Well organised and supported by the Tours staff. Lots of time on coach but worth it for incredible scenery. Lovely hotels with helpful staff.
This is an excellent way to see a good deal of sights in a short time. It fairly packs them in too! The timetabling works out well and all of the bus journeys are enjoyable and include commentary and photo stops when time allows too. The train journey was a highlight for me as were the Mount Cook / Lake Tekapo views. Hotel meals aren't included so be aware of that one.
Excellent trip, all pick-ups on time. Excellent hotels. A lot of hours on the bus - 8 hours there and back for a two-hour boat ride. Scenery and stops for lunch and tea made bus travel good. Sometimes drivers a little cranky, but usually because people late returning from stops. Overall trip went very smoothly, and scenery was truly amazing.
The trip was everything we hoped it would be. However, it was different from what we expected. It was not a set tour with a constant group of people. Rather, it was a series of 4 1-day tours with different people joining and exiting. In addition, it was really a 4 days of touring with a day off in the middle. That's OK because we were exhausted after the second day. The tour guide from "Great Sights" was fantastic. The others were good, but not as good as he was. We especially appreciated the attention to details - that we were picked up and taken from location to location (drivers were waiting for us with our names on a sign.) The hotels were fine. In general, our expectations/hopes were met. This was an excellent introduction to the South Island of New Zealand. I feel comfortable considering Viator for our next adventure. THANKS!!!
Was top notch. All the pickups were right on schedule and the hotels fine. Great scenery.
This was a great way to see the highlights of the South Island and the free day in Queenstown was perfect for people wanting to try the various adventure sports The trip was very well organised and would be suitable for all types of traveller.
Because our original flight from Sydney was cancelled we had to ask that our travel arrangements be modified by 24 hours .and this was done swiftly and efficiently . Well done !.On each leg of our trip we found the Driver/couriers to be courteous and knowledgable .We particularly enjoyed our free day in Queenstown....a shangri la hidden in the mountains.Atruly memorable trip..
David R Australia
Had a wonderful time. Buses were very comfortable. drivers were friendly and informative. We learned a lot about New Zealand and were very well looked after.All the hotels we stayed at were well maintained and in central locations. People's needs were well looked after. Once again thank you for a great trip.
Jyothirmayi ... Australia
Everything was so well organized by Viator. Overall the trip was fantastic. We had a great time in NZ.
Overall it was great, itinerary could not be beat to cover in 5 days. Canterbury travels was very organized and responsive. There were few hiccups. The taxi ride to the bus on the last day in Queenstown did not show up, we had to call. We were last in the bus and seating was scattered. Hotel in Queenstown could have been better. We were not near the water or the City Center. Rooms were ok. Queenstown, Mt. Cook, Franz Josef Glacier, Tranzalpine rail trip were amazing, spectacular. The tour was a very good price and covered a lot in 5 days. Would do it again.
Enjoyed the 5 day south island tour. The schedule was adhered to and timing was good. The commentaries were pretty good by the bus drivers. However the last 1 1/2 day to and from Franz Josef Glacier the commentary was weak. The bus on day 4/5 was less comfortable and airy than the previous days.
Everything went off without a hitch. Accommodation was very good.
Well organized tour provided through several local providers. Good inclusion of highlights of South Island. First hotel below expectations, second hotel above expectations. Timing for Glacier visit too tight.
Everything went to plan as whole event well organised from the start
Most of it was very good/excellent. I do prefer smaller group tours, and the scenic train ride wasn't very scenic.
We can't imagine a more efficient way to see major South Island sites. The tour was unbelievably well organized and ran exceedingly close to schedule. Accommodations, comfort and location were very good. Tour staff, drivers and guides were a real pleasure. That said, it was a whirl wind tour designed to give you the highlights... perhaps encouraging you to come back and spend more time. If that's what you want, this is an excellent choice. If you want a less hurried pace, then maybe look for something else. This options clearly suited our needs and time constraints. But boy we wish we had had a bit more time at some of the beautiful sites that we visited.
Everything was great except we only had about half hour to see Franz Josef Glacier before it got dark (end of June), so we had to walk briskly from the parking lot through the hiking trail to catch a glimpse of the glacier, and then walk back in semi-darkness. Also note that this is actually an "independent coach tour", which means they book you on the various day tours and intercity buses and you need to be able to follow an itinerary sheet yourself; might be obvious for Europeans and Aussies/Kiwis who have a strong backpacking culture, but it would not be clear from the tour descriptions to Americans and Asians.
The tour was OK, but why 5 days' tour is only 4 days with one free day? Heidi and Uolevi
Everything was great and perfectly arranged. Prior info and opt ins for additional components (e.g. The helicopter rides) would have made it better.
Really great way of seeing the S Island with so much beautiful scenery. I just wish it had been longer, or there was an easy way of making it longer. For an adrenaline junkie like me, one free day in Queenstown wasn't enough. Also, the drive to the Franz Josef glacier is a long one, so if you go in winter, you don't end up with much time there, which was a shame.
Overall a fantastic trip which is worth the considerable time spent travelling by coach. Amazing scenery and great hotels. Would have liked a little more time at Fran Josef .Thanks for a great holiday.
Some content licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
© 1997–2016 Viator, Inc. CUR015 - 330214 All rights reserved. Viator is a registered trademark of Viator, Inc.
is a Service Mark of Viator, Inc. Travel with an Insider is a Service Mark of Viator, Inc.
Use of this website constitutes acceptance of Viator's Terms & Conditions.