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5 Day South Island Adventure

5 Day South Island Adventure

Start your journey in Christchurch, the South Island’s international gateway. From here you'll journey to magnificent Aoraki/Mount Cook, then continue to the resort town of Queenstown, on the way pass through filming locations from The Hobbit Trilogy. Your Middle-earth adventure finishes with a day trip through awe inspiring Fiordland.

Day 1

You will arrive into the international gateway of Christchurch and enjoy a leisurely day in this vibrant and changing city. 


Christchurch is framed by the Pacific Ocean and the majestic Southern Alps, there is plenty to see and explore in and around the city including cultural, historical and wildlife experiences.

Recommended activities:

  • Visit the International Antarctic Centre or the Willowbank Wildlife Centre for a memorable wildlife experience.

  • Head into central Christchurch for some local history at the beautiful heritage building of the Canterbury Museum

  • Stretch your legs with a leisurely walk through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Or punt through the gardens by boat on the beautiful Avon River with Welcome Aboard.

  • Take an inner city bus tour from the museum to look at the rebuild after the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2010-11

  • Take a trip on the historic Christchurch Tram

  • Ride the Christchurch Gondola for a view of the city

  • Take a Lord of the Rings Edoras Tour 

Day 2

Drive from Christchurch to Aoraki/Mount Cook, approximately 5 hours.  There’s an option to take the longer inland scenic route and see more of the Southern Alps.  Arrive in time for lunch and explore the region’s delights.

Surrounded by golden grasslands and turquoise lakes, Aoraki/Mount Cook is Australasia’s highest peak measuring 3,754 meters or 12,316 feet, it is part of UNESCO’s Te Wahipounamu World Heritage region.

Mount Cook and its surrounding alpine peaks were used in the backdrop of some the aerial filming in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Recommended activities:

  • Explore the spectacular Hooker Valley with views of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook, on your own or with a guide

  • Head to the skies for a scenic flight above the Southern Alps by helicopter or fixed wing aircraft

  • Between mid-September and late May take a trip with Glacier Explorers out onto the spectacular Tasman Glacier terminal lake  

  • Explore the area by land via Tasman Valley 4WD and Argo Tours

  • Experience the wonder of the Southern Hemisphere at night in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve through Big Sky Stargazing 

  • Experience the wonder of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve by stargazing

  • Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre

Please note all outdoor activities are weather dependant.

Day 3

Depart Aoraki/Mount Cook and journey less an hour to the glacial fed waters of Lake Pukaki, the location for Lake-town in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. From here continue a short distance to Twizel, another film location in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The alpine resort town of Queenstown is 2 hours 55 minutes’ drive from Twizel.

There is plenty to do in Queenstown from cruising Lake Wakatipu to teeing off on championship golf courses. Queenstown offers world-class dining and a vibrant nightlife scene.


Queenstown it is another filming location in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; it is also a great base for you to experience the region’s spectacular scenery and multitude of activities.


Recommended activities:

Lake Pukaki & Twizel

  • Discover Middle-earth filming locations and learn about movie making with OneRing Tours Twizel

  • View the small display of limited edition Lord of Rings props memorabilia at the Mackenzie Country Hotel in Twizel


  • Take a tour and check out some of the stunning locations featured in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies

  • Adventure activities include bungy jumping, jet boating, white water rafting and ziplining

  • Enjoy the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu on a boat cruise and visit a high country station

  • Enjoy world class golf courses including Jack’s PointMillbrook and The Hills.

  • Take a wine tour to get a taste of the region’s 75 wineries

  • Grab a bike and go cycling – options are available to suit everyone, including cycling on the Queenstown Trail, mountain biking and heli biking

  • Ride the gondola and enjoy spectacular views from the Skyline complex on Bob’s Peak

Day 4

Take a day trip to nearby Fiordland for a cruise through stunning Milford or Doubtful Sound.


Fiordland National Park was used as a backdrop for scenes from The Hobbit Trilogy. The scene where The Company flees the mountains on the backs of eagles in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was also filmed here.

Recommended activities:

  • Experience a step back in time with a scenic daytrip to the waterfalls cascading down bush clad cliffs to the deep waters of Milford Sound.  Cruise on the Sound and hear the native birdsong.   For a once in a lifetime experience you can choose to fly back from Milford to Queenstown, subject to weather conditions

  • Journey to Doubtful Sound. Start with a boat trip across Lake Manapouri, followed by a bus journey over the rugged Wilmot Pass. This 22km road connects West Arm in Lake Manpouri to Deep Cove in Doubtful Sound

  • Both Milford and Doubtful Sound are easily accessible from Queenstown by a scenic daytrip by coach through the beautiful native bush in Fiordland National Park

  • Get a bird’s eye view of the giant fiords and spectacular waterfalls with a helicopter or fixed wing flight

Day 5

Enjoy more of the experiences Queenstown has on offer or depart Queenstown.

Please note - these are sample itineraries - they are subject to change/availability

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