Project Description


DATE: 11 – 21 December 2021
LAND ONLY TWIN SHARE: AUD $4,955 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: AUD $1,200 per person

From the rugged snow-capped Southern Alps to the majestic granite peaks surrounding pristine Milford Sound to the open spaces of the Canterbury Plains, the landscapes of the South Island are breath-taking. This tour takes in the highlights of the south island and is an excellent companion to our Magic North tour.



From the rugged snow-capped Southern Alps to the majestic granite peaks surrounding pristine Milford Sound to the open spaces of the Canterbury Plains, the landscapes of the South Island are breath-taking. This tour takes in the highlights of the south island and is an excellent companion to our Magic North tour.

We start our journey with a flight from Auckland to Dunedin, the Scottish influenced “Edinburgh of the South” and here we visit excellent local museums, an historic castle and the Royal Albatross Centre. Travel down the magical Catlins coast, experiencing unique flora and fauna and spectacular landscapes. Take a serene tour of the Te Anau glowworm caves and then on to the UNESCO world heritage Te Wahipounamu park, home of MIlford Sound declared by Rudyard Kipling in 1890 to be “the eighth wonder of the world”.

We continue on our journey to the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown. Home to adrenaline seeking bungy jumpers, thrilling jet boating, great restaurants and wineries and a number of Lord of the Rings filming locations, you will have a full day of leisure to explore or relax as you wish. Departing Queenstown we make our way to Aoraki, Mount Cook, the highest peak of the Southern alps with excellent walking and stargazing opportunities.

The tour continues to Christchurch where you can experience a city rebuilding following two devastating earthquakes. A final highlight will be a full day trip on the Tranzalpine, one of the world’s great train journeys. From Christchurch you can easily reconnect to flights home to Australia or continue exploring New Zealand with easy connection to the top of the South Island, Wellington, or Auckland.

YOUR TOUR LEADER: Peter Gibbs describes himself as a ‘restless’ soul and this probably explains his life in travel, having visited over 60 countries. Peter was originally drawn to travel in the 80’s when he worked as an overland tour guide on the route from London to Kathmandu. He describes these as exciting journeys going through places like Afghanistan during the Russian invasion, even being in Iran during the rescue of the American hostages.
He eventually settled down when he met his wife Liz on his last overland trip, had three children and then had a career in the travel industry. He was originally an owner of the company Venturetreks and then eventually an owner/manager of The Adventure Travel Company in Auckland. He sold his travel company some years ago and is now semi-retired. Peter is the honorary counsel for Nepal in New Zealand and has a close association with the Hillary family. Peter lives in Northland and is very well travelled both in New Zealand and overseas, he has led many groups around New Zealand. He will be leading our group to through Northland and continuing the journey to the South Island.



Arrive mid-morning in Dunedin, the Scottish inspired “Edinburgh of the South”. Enjoy a walking tour of the city and a visit to Toitu Otago Settlers museum which is dedicated to telling the story of the people of Dunedin and the surrounding areas. We will enjoy a historical talk from a museum curator and dinner this evening. (meal in flight, D)

Nestled on the spectacular Otago peninsula, we will visit and explore the only castle in New Zealand, Larnach Castle. Learn the history of the castle and the families that have resided in it, plus you will have time to explore the exquisite gardens which have attained a Garden of International Significance award. For lunch today we will enjoy a high tea inside historic Ballroom.
This afternoon we travel to Taiaroa Head and visit the Royal Albatross Centre, a purpose-built viewing observatory where we can witness the fascinating social and family life of the local breeding colony of Albatross. Enjoy a group dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

We drive from Dunedin to Invercargill through the Catlins, a spectacular coastal stretch which boasts a rugged beauty and untouched quality. Here you find a world of native forests fringed by high cliffs, deserted sandy beaches, sparkling bays, cascading waterfalls, hidden lakes, blowholes, caves, picturesque lighthouses and even a petrified forest. These environments are home to an array of fauna, from native birds, to seals, sea lions, dolphins, and penguins. Today you will experience the very best that the Catlins has to offer. (B,D)

After breakfast, visit Bill Richardson Transport World. This is the largest privately owned automotive museum of its type in the world where you will see hundreds of historic vehicles including retro Kombi’s, Ford Letter cars Diamond T Trucks, stunning 1930’s V8’s and more.
Drive north to the town of Te Anau, located on the lake shore of the same name. Late this afternoon we will take short cruise across the lake to visit the famous Te Anau Glowworm caves. Deep inside the caves, you will be taken by small boat into a silent hidden grotto inhabited by hundreds of glowworms, unique to New Zealand and experience a mesmerizing twinkling display above your head. Dinner tonight at leisure as we are likely to return later into the evening from the caves. (B)

Milford Sound is the jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s world heritage Fiordland National Park. The 14 nautical mile long sound is lined by sheer rock faces rising 1,200 metres from the water. Being located in the heart of a rainforest, and one of the wettest places in the world, you will be guaranteed waterfalls and will enjoy spotting for the resident colonies of fur seals, bottlenose dolphins and Fiordland crested penguins. The journey to Milford Sound is just as spectacular as the destination itself and we will make several stops on the way to enjoy spectacular scenery and short walks along the way. Following our cruise on the Sound we will return to Te Anau. (B,L)

Arrowtown is a charming, tree lined, gold rush era village housing a selection of shops, galleries, bars and restaurants. A pleasant place to browse, relax and enjoy soaking up history. (B,D)

Today we will build in a free day for guests to choose a local activity or just to relax in Queenstown.
Options include:
Lord of the Rings tours
The Queenstown area is home to many of the iconic filming locations for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie series and excellent day tours to visit the locations are available.

Bike rentals
Excellent bike riding options, with E-bikes available, including opportunities to stop for wine tasting along the Gibbston Valley trail.

TSS Earnslaw cruise and lunch
A leisurely cruise across Lake Wakatipu on a century old coal-fired steamship is one of the best ways to soak up Queenstown and its stunning landscapes. A special extended option to visit Walter Peak sheep station for a gourmet BBQ lunch and farming demonstration.

Wineries & Whiskey
Queenstown is home to some excellent Pinot Noir producers while nearby, the Cardona whiskey distillery produces outstanding small batch whiskey and spirits.

The 45 minute drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy has been called one of the world’s great drives. Hugging lake Wakatipu you drive through native beech forest and towering mountain ranges, the drive is awe-inspiring. The spectacular landscapes are a prime movie location and feature in many scenes from Lord of the Rings and the Narnia series.
The Dart river offers opportunities for jetboating, kayaking or horse trekking, however even a drive and lunch in Glenorchy will be a memorable excursion.

Jet Boats
The area is famous for thrilling and scenic jet boat rides. Whether on the Shotover Canyon river, the Dart river or Lake Wakatipu.

Bungy jumping and adventure sports
Queenstown is the home of AJ Hackett bungy jumping and a plethora of options to find a thrill are possible. If you are more inclined to be a spectator, the bungy centre on the Kawarau river allow the public to watch brave souls launch themselves off the bungy platform towards the river 43 metres below.

Today we make our way North to the highest peak in New Zealand, Aoraki Mount Cook. This was the backyard training group for Sir Edmund Hillary prior to his famous ascent of Mount Everest in 1953.
After travelling through spectacular alpine and big sky country we will arrive at the foot of Aoraki Mount Cook and have time to learn of the local stories, history and people at the Department of Conservation visitors centre.
A free afternoon to enjoy some of the excellent walking tracks which cater for all levels of fitness and walking ability. We will stay at the Hermitage hotel nestled at the foot of Mount Cook and enjoy a group dinner together and if the night is clear you will enjoy stargazing in the world’s largest dark sky reserve. (B,D)

This morning we will allow time for an optional (cost not included) glacier explorer boat trip. After a short walk to the terminal lake of the Tasman glacier, you will board a small boat and explore the lake and melting ice face and icebergs of the Tasman glacier.
In the late morning we will set off towards Christchurch stopping for pictures at Lake Tekapo and the picture postcard Church of the Good Shepherd and the monument to all the working sheep dogs of the MacKenzie basin.
Arriving in Christchurch later afternoon you will have the opportunity to stretch your legs before dinner and observe the progress of the rebuild of the centre of Christchurch following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. (B,D)

The TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth traverses the mighty Southern Alps and the majestic Canterbury plains as you make a 223 km (one way) from the East coast to the West coast and return in the same day. Epic alpine vistas and miles of native beech forest from the panoramic windows of your seat or from open air carriages. A licensed café on board and an audio commentary system make this a comfortable and unforgettable journey. (B)

Transfer to the airport for your return flights home or to continue your New Zealand journey. (B)



Land Only per person, twin-share A$4,955
Single Supplement A$1,200

• Twin-share accommodation in comfortable hotels with private facilities
• Transport in comfortable air conditioned coaches
• Transfers, touring and entry fees as indicated
• Breakfast daily and other meals as indicated in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, D = Dinner)
• Service of a Tour Leader throughout the itinerary
• All applicable tipping and gratuities for group arrangements
• Tour notes

• Return air travel from Australia to NZ
• Applicable passenger airport taxes
• Meals not listed in itinerary
• Beverages with meals
• Airport transfers
• Travel Insurance
• Items of personal nature (phone, laundry)

Please contact Tony at Alumni Travel ( for the best airfares available at the time of booking.

I’m Interested…How Do I Book?
Fill in the online Booking Form, read and agree with our Terms & Conditions, select your payment option for your deposit of $450.00 per person to Alumni Travel and Submit. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing.

The deposit is accepted as a first installment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements can not be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. Final payment for the tour needs to be received at least 60 days prior to tour departure. An invoice will be sent to you about a fortnight before the final payment becomes due.

Any cancellation from the tour needs to be done in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Because of the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:

Over 60 days $100.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 40 days 25% of tour cost
39 – 10 days 50% of tour cost
Within 10 days 100% of tour cost

If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply.

There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.

Any payments by credit card will be subject to a 2% non-refundable Merchant Administration Fee.

It is now standard policy with our company that all our international travellers have some type of international travel insurance, so that you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A comprehensive Insurance brochure is available from Alumni Travel. The insurance brochure contains the terms and conditions under which insurance cover will be offered to you.

If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.

An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they possess the necessary travel documentation for the tour, such as a valid passport and any required visas. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your journey and have two clear pages for each country to be visited in your journey.

In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants (approximately 10, excluding the tour leader) required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.

This tour price has been calculated on the basis of exchange rates and tariffs at time of print and is subject to change up until final payment has been received. At the time of final invoicing (approximately two months prior to the tour departure date), Alumni Travel reserves the right to re-cost the tour based on actual exchange rates. This could mean an increase or decrease to the above listed prices. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.