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10 Day South Island Luxury Itinerary

Escape Highlights

An exclusive New Zealand South Island vacation.
Treat yourself to 10 days of ultimate luxury, scenery & adventure.
*Includes a complimentary New Zealand gift basket on arrival worth $150

New Zealand Luxury Escapes is committed to offering the very best New Zealand luxury vacations. Our team combines expertise, personalized service, and attention to detail to create unforgettable luxury experiences.

Our New Zealand luxury vacations are fully customisable, and most travelers choose to work alongside a personal travel consultant to design a bespoke itinerary. However, we have designed a range of sample itineraries to showcase the best New Zealand has to offer.

For a 10 day luxury Christchurch to Queenstown road trip, we recommend the following itinerary:

Read on for the full details of this 10 Day South Island Luxury Itinerary.

10 Day South Island New Zealand Luxury Vacations

Day 1 Arrive in Christchurch

Your exclusive New Zealand experience begins in Christchurch, the perfect gateway to the South Island. Spend the afternoon relaxing in the city and sampling the exciting culinary scene, or venture to Akaroa to visit wineries and the Barry’s Bay Cheesery.

Stay 1 night in Christchurch.

Accommodation: The George Hotel

The George Christchurch

Day 2 Lake Tekapo + Mackenzie Basin

Driving time Christchurch to Lakestone Lodge – 4 hours 

The Mackenzie Basin is home to some of New Zealand’s most sublime scenery. From towering peaks (including New Zealand’s tallest, Aoraki/Mt Cook) to brilliant turquoise lakes and shimmering glaciers, the Southern Alps are an awe-inspiring destination. Your first glimpse of the glacial lakes is at Lake Tekapo, a picturesque settlement surrounded by mountains.

Continuing south, you will pass by the breathtaking southern shores of Lake Pukaki before arriving at Lakestone Lodge, a purpose built, six bedroom, off grid, luxury lodge positioned in a spectacular location on the shores of Lake Pukaki. Your stay includes a three-course dinner and cooked breakfast.

In the evening, enjoy a unique stargazing experience that will treat you to the best of the Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve. Your guide will prepare a perfectly positioned hammock so you are looking directly at the wonders above and makes you snug with a warm woollen blanket and complimentary mulled wine or hot drink. Your guide will point out all the highlights of the southern sky with a high powered laser pointer and explain some Maori legends about the sky as well as other interesting theories.

Stay 2 nights in Lake Pukaki.

Accommodation: Lakestone Lodge

Tekapo-Star-Gazing-Mt-John-Observatory

Day 3 Mackenzie Basin + Mount Cook Helicopter Tour

Enjoy a relaxing morning after your late night of stargazing. In the late morning, make the scenic drive to Mount Cook Village, where you will venture deep into the wilderness on a helicopter excursion.

Your experience begins with a stunning scenic flight to a secluded location in paradise, where you will relax and savour a gourmet picnic with the finest New Zealand produce. Round off your picnic in paradise with a glass of wine or bubbles while taking in the sublime beauty of Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.

Once your helicopter lands back in Mount Cook Village, you have the opportunity to stroll along one of the walking trails leaving from the village, or else return to your retreat to unwind.

New Zealand Heli Flights

Day 4 Wanaka

Driving time Lakestone Lodge to Wanaka – 3 hours 

Journey over the Lindis Pass today as you travel from the Mackenzie Basin to Central Otago. Wanaka marks your arrival into the Queenstown Lakes region, New Zealand’s premier alpine destination. Here you will find stunning glacial lakes, incredible mountain vistas, and all manner of outdoor pursuits.

Escape the bustle of town at Mahu Whenua, a ridgeline homestead and eco sanctuary. This luxurious high country homestead offers total privacy, unforgettable experiences, and exquisite food and wine in a setting which spans over 55,000 hectares of majestic natural beauty. Your accommodation includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning and afternoon tea, pre-dinner canapés, refreshments, picnics, and premium wine and other beverages.

Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.

Accommodation: Mahu Whenua

Mahu Whenua luxury lodge and eco retreat Wanaka

Day 5 Wanaka

Explore your surrounds at Mahu Whenua today, with the option to enjoy the Homestead facilities, which include two open fireplaces, a large open living area with expansive views, a media & games room, a library, a pool table, an outdoor spa pool, a sheltered swimming pool, and a large deck that makes the most of the incredible location.

You could also indulge in the activities in offer around Wanaka, from hiking in Mt Aspiring National Park to kayaking on Lake Wanaka and touring the wineries of Central Otago. Heli-accessed hiking, farm tours, and winery tours are also on offer.

Mahu Whenua luxury lodge and eco retreat Wanaka New Zealand vacations

Day 6 Te Anau

Driving time Wanaka to Te Anau – 3.5 hours 

Fiordland is a special part of New Zealand. With dramatic fiords, abundant wildlife, pristine alpine lakes, and New Zealand’s tallest waterfalls, this is a landscape that needs to be seen to be believed.

Te Anau is the perfect base for exploring this untouched wilderness. Set amidst stunning mountain and lake scenery, Fiordland Lodge offers a secluded retreat on the doorstep of the national park. Your stay includes a complimentary mini-bar, pre-dinner canapés, a four course dinner, and breakfast.

Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.

Accommodation: Fiordland Lodge

Fiordland Lodge Te Anau New Zealand luxury vacations

Day 7 Fiordland Helicopter Experience

Departing from a lakeside helicopter pad on the Te Anau lakefront, journey deep into the Fiordland wilderness and discover the treasures of our backyard. Soaring high over the Main Divide with its ever-changing scenery of beech forest, mountains, bright blue alpine lakes, waterfalls and hanging valleys, you’ll love this little-seen part of South-West New Zealand.

Breathe the crisp alpine air when you land on Mount Kidd, a remote, picturesque area complete with inky blue lake. From here, soak up the epic views out over Fiordland’s landscapes. Make sure your phone or camera is charged – this is a scene you’ll want to revisit time and time again!

This flight is 40 minutes in duration, with the option to add a hike to your excursion.

Day 8 Queenstown

Driving time Te Anau to Queenstown – 2.5 hours

Today your journey takes you to Queenstown, the ultimate luxury destination on New Zealand’s South Island. From world-class luxury lodges to indulgent spa experiences, superb cuisine and exclusive tours, Queenstown is a delight to experience.

Your accommodation in Queenstown is at Hulbert House, regarded as one of the most beautiful luxury boutique hotels that Queenstown has to offer, Hulbert House provides both luxury accommodation in Queenstown and a luxury experience suitable for all discerning travellers. Situated just a short walk from Queenstown’s vibrant centre, Hulbert House is imbued with a sense of serenity and historic elegance. Your accommodation includes breakfast, refreshments, pre-dinner drinks and canapés, and personal concierge service.

Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.

Accommodation: Hulbert House Queenstown

Hulbert House Queentown luxury accommodation

Day 9 Queenstown + Heli Wine Tour

Explore the Queenstown area today on a heli wine tour. You will enjoy a scenic helicopter flight which includes a Queenstown landing high up on the Remarkables Mountain Range for dramatic views overlooking Queenstown.

Your guide will meet you at the Bannockburn vineyard to begin your private, chauffeured journey through Cromwell, Bannockburn and the Land at Peregrine Winery for a complimentary wine tasting in the picturesque Central Otago wine region.

Please enquire for private tasting and tour options.

Queenstown wine tour New Zealand luxury vacations

Day 10 Queenstown

Today is spent at your leisure, either relaxing at Hulbert House and perhaps indulging in one of the spa treatments on offer, or adding another activity from the wide array on offer in Queenstown. Options range from hot air ballooning, guided nature walks, and private cruises on Lake Wakatipu to more adrenaline-fuelled activities such as jet-boating and rafting.

Hot air ballooning Queenstown

Day 11 Depart Queenstown

As your unforgettable holiday draws to a close, soak in the views one last time before departing Queenstown at your leisure.

Creating Unforgettable New Zealand Luxury Vacations

The above itinerary follows a comfortable pace while visiting many of the top destinations of the South Island. Highlights include:

  • Lake Tekapo
  • Aoraki/Mt Cook
  • Tasman Glacier
  • Queenstown
  • Wanaka
  • Fiordland National Park
  • Central Otago Wine Region

In addition, this South Island luxury holiday includes stays at many of New Zealand’s most sumptuous luxury lodges, such as Matakauri Lodge and Mahu Whenua.

Of course, our New Zealand luxury vacations are fully customisable, so you can modify this itinerary as much as you wish. For example, change your accommodation level to 5-star hotels for a more affordable luxury package, or add sightseeing experiences based on your preferences.

Can you drive from Christchurch to Queenstown?

Yes. It takes approximately 6.5 hours to drive from Christchurch to Queenstown. However, we recommend staying one night along the way to break up the drive. This also allows more time to explore the highlights of the Mackenzie Basin, which include Lake Tekapo and Aoraki/Mt Cook.

This itinerary includes a stay along the shores of Lake Pukaki, looking out towards Aoraki/Mt Cook. However, other popular places to spend the night include Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook Village, and The Lindis Luxury Lodge.

Browse our other South Island New Zealand luxury vacations

We offer a range of South Island luxury vacation packages. You may wish to consider our 7 Day South Island Luxury Itinerary or our 14 Day South Island Luxury Itinerary. In addition, you will find a range of special interest holidays, including honeymoon and elopement packages and luxury adventure tours.

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