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14 Day South Island Luxury Itinerary

Escape Highlights

Exquisite South Island Luxury Escape! Featuring: Split Apple Retreat, Hapuku Lodge, The George Hotel Christchurch, Te Waonui Retreat, Mahu Whenua, Fiordland Lodge & Eichardt’s Private Hotel Queenstown.
*Includes a complimentary New Zealand gift basket on arrival worth $200

A New Zealand South Island itinerary 14 days offers the chance to experience the best of the South Island, from top to bottom. Our 14 Day South Island Luxury Itinerary takes in dramatic scenic highlights, from golden-sand beaches to glaciers and fiords.

In addition, this New Zealand South Island itinerary 14 days allows travelers to indulge with a gourmet wine tour, a captivating tree house lodge stay, and exclusive helicopter tours.

Our recommended New Zealand South Island itinerary 14 days is as follows:

Read on for full details of our 14 Day South Island Luxury Itinerary.

Luxury New Zealand South Island Itinerary 14 Days

Day 1 Arrive in Nelson + Abel Tasman

Driving time Nelson to Abel Tasman – 1 hour 

Your exclusive New Zealand experience begins in Nelson, situated at the picturesque northern end of the South Island.

When you arrive into Nelson, venture north to Abel Tasman National Park, which offers secluded golden-sand beaches, lush native forests, and crystal-clear bays. This is the perfect way to unwind as you become acquainted with New Zealand.

Your stay here will take in the serenity and rejuvenation on offer at Split Apple Retreat, an exclusive, intimate luxury lodge, retreat, and wellness spa. The retreat is renowned for its gourmet Asian-Mediterranean fusion cuisine, where every ingredient has been selected for its positive contribution to health and wellness. Indulge in the spectacular setting, original art and antiques, and unparalleled service.

Stay 2 nights in Abel Tasman.

Accommodation: Split Apple Retreat

Split Apple Retreat Abel Tasman

Day 2 Abel Tasman National Park

Today is yours to unwind, indulge in the facilities and activities on offer at Split Apple Retreat, or explore Abel Tasman National Park further.

Every aspect of the retreat revolves around relaxation. Facilities at the retreat include a salt-water infinity pool, a Japanese spa, a sauna, a steam room, a yoga pavilion, and a meditation theatre – make the most of your stay with a massage treatment, a private yoga session, a cooking lesson with Chef Pen, or a guided meditation.

Other bespoke activities that you may wish to sample in Abel Tasman National Park or Kahurangi National Park include boat trips, sea kayaking, fly fishing, cycling, private helicopter tours, and horseback riding.

Split Apple Retreat Luxury Lodge Abel Tasman Massage

Day 3 Kaikoura

Driving time Abel Tasman to Kaikoura – 4.5 hours 

Take time to explore the top of the South Island as you journey south today. Picton is a worthwhile detour if your passion is for native wildlife – the Marlborough Sounds play host to a number of bird sanctuary islands offering unparalleled opportunities to encounter rare native species in their natural habitat.

As you continue through the verdant Marlborough wine region, you will find countless opportunities to stop and sample the unsurpassable vintages of new Zealand’s premier wine region. Before long, the rolling hills will give way to the rugged Kaikoura coast. Tucked between the Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean, Kaikoura abounds in natural beauty, marine mammal viewing opportunities, and exquisite fresh seafood.

Your accommodation is at the unforgettable Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses, located on a picturesque deer farm just north of Kaikoura. The lodge provides luxurious rooms and an intimate indoor/outdoor setting perfect for relaxation. Your stay includes gourmet three-course dinners and full breakfasts.

Stay 2 nights in Kaikoura

Accommodation: Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses

Hapuku Lodge Tree Houses Kaikoura New Zealand South Island itinerary 14 days

Day 4 Kaikoura Whale Watching Flight

Today enjoy a unique encounter with the majestic whales that call Kaikoura home. Your scenic flight offers a unique perspective on the diverse marine life around the Kaikoura peninsula, and offers stunning views over the Seaward Kaikoura range.

Learn about Kaikoura’s resident Sperm Whales and other marine mammal species. Whales and dolphins are orbited at a height of 150 metres giving passengers the opportunity to clearly see and photograph these incredible creatures. View the entire whale from head to tail as he breathes on the surface of the ocean.

Following your scenic whale watching flight, unwind and indulge in the fresh seafood on offer at Hapuku Lodge or explore the nearby trails and coastline.

Day 5 Christchurch

Driving time Kaikoura to Christchurch – 3 hours

Your next destination is Christchurch, a vibrant city influenced by English heritage and recent seismic events. Explore the city if you wish, or venture to Akaroa to visit wineries and the Barry’s Bay Cheesery.

The George is the only Luxury 5 Star Boutique Hotel Christchurch and embodies everything you could dream of in a luxury boutique hotel. The only luxury 5-star boutique hotel in Christchurch with a one-to-one staff to guest ratio, you are guaranteed to receive impeccable service. The George typifies luxury at every level. Extensive facilities, comprehensive service, excellent quality and attention to detail. Experience signature service with our one-to-one guest ratio, and consistent personalised service. With an award-winning restaurant; 50 Bistro and a beautiful setting and 5-star comfort The George is delightfully yours.

Stay 1 night in Christchurch.

Accommodation: The George Hotel Christchurch

The George Christchurch luxury 5 star hotels

Day 6 Franz Josef

Driving time Christchurch to Franz Josef – 5.5 hours 

Your journey from east to west today is also a journey from civilisation to wilderness. New Zealand’s West Coast is a landscape of extremes, a narrow margin of land caught between the dramatic western faces of the Southern Alps and the wave-tossed Tasman Sea.

Along the way, your route will pass through Arthurs Pass, surrounded by rolling tussock-lands, dramatic peaks, and braided rivers.

You will be perfectly poised to experience the solitude and grandeur of the West Coast from your accommodation at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, an exclusive luxury hotel. Encircled by native bush, Te Waonui Forst Retreat has been built with both comfort and ecological awareness in mind. During your stay, indulge in a 5-course degustation dinner along with daily breakfast.

Stay 2 nights in Franz Josef.

Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Te Waonui Forest Retreat Franz Josef

Day 7 Franz Josef Glacier Experience

Experience the best of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier from the air today with an unforgettable scenic helicopter flight. See pinnacles, crevasses, and the deep blue ice of glacier country. Your glacier experience also encompasses breathtaking views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, and culminates in a snow landing to immerse you in the magnificent surroundings.

To make the most of your stay in Franz Josef, you may wish to stroll along one of the local forest walks this afternoon or indulge in a spa treatment at Amaia Luxury Spa or Glacier Hot Pools.

Southern Alps helicopter flight New Zealand South Island itinerary 14 days

Day 8 Wanaka

Driving time Franz Josef to Wanaka – 4.5 hours 

Discover Haast Pass today as you venture through the heart of the Southern Alps once more on the journey to Wanaka. This is a densely forested wilderness with cascading waterfalls, tumbling rivers, and hanging glaciers.

Lakes Wanaka and Hawea are your first glimpse 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 9 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.

Mahu Whenua Luxury Retreat Wanaka

Day 10 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 South Island itinerary 14 days

Day 11 Te Anau + Doubtful Sound Helicopter Flight

Doubtful Sound is one of the region’s largest – and most spectacular – fiords, it is also located deep in the heart of remote Fiordland.

The Doubtful Sound Scenic Flight offers a spectacular birds’ eye view of the rugged mountains, waterfalls and rainforests of this fiord.

Leaving from a lakeside Te Anau base, soar high above the Iris Burn Valley and Lake Manapouri, also known as the ‘Lake of Many Islands’ (it’s easy to see why!) Spot the infamous West Arm Power Station on Lake Manapouri before flying up and over the Wilmot Pass into Doubtful Sound. This long and winding fiord is one of Fiordland’s deepest and is home to a number of stunning waterfalls.

If the weather is suitable, your helicopter will detour into magical Campbell’s Kingdom, a beautiful hanging valley encompassing a lake and a waterfall. This is the stuff of fairytales.

From here, take a peek at Bradshaw Sound before soaring over the Main Divide of the Southern Alps for a second remote landing at scenic Mount Kidd. Make sure you have the camera or phone well charged for this flight – you’ll want to re-visit the scenes and landscapes you visit over and over again!

Day 12 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.

Eichardt’s Private Hotel is a Queenstown icon providing fine accommodation in seven luxurious Lake View Suites, four comfortably appointed Lakefront Apartments, The Residence and The Penthouse, all situated on premium lakefront positions in the heart of Queenstown.

Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.

Accommodation: Eichardt’s Private Hotel Queenstown

Eichardts Queenstown 5 star hotels New Zealand luxury accommodation

Day 13 Queenstown + Paradise Picnic

Today, enjoy an unforgettable helicopter picnic. You will be flown to a favourite Queenstown location  – Cecil Peak, where you get to land, relax and enjoy the stunning scenery with a gourmet picnic put together with all the finest New Zealand produce, including wine or bubbles.

You will also get an amazing view of The Remarkables Mountains and a bird’s eye view across Queenstown.

This is the perfect place for proposals, honeymooners or simply taking time out in paradise.

Mt Nicholas – Fiordlands Finest & Lunch

Day 14 Queenstown + Gourmet Wine Tour

Explore the Queenstown area today on a private gourmet wine tour that visits some of New Zealand’s most memorable vineyards. This intimate experience will showcase the best of Central Otago, with tastings at 4 vineyards and a gourmet lunch with five stunning dishes cooked in wine barrels and paired with matching wines. Other highlights include a tour through New Zealand’s largest underground wine cave and a cheese and wine presentation at one of the wineries.

Queenstown vineyard wine tasting New Zealand South Island itinerary 14 days

Day 15 Depart Queenstown

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

Planning a New Zealand South Island Itinerary for 14 Days

Our luxury holiday packages include superb accommodation, exclusive sightseeing and activities, and transportation.

The above itinerary is merely an example of what is possible. When planning your South Island luxury escape, you have many choices.

  • Accommodation: Choose your level, from 5-star through to all-inclusive luxury lodges
  • Transportation: Choose to self-drive with a luxury vehicle or travel with a private guide
  • Activities: Add or remove activities based on your preferences
  • Schedule: Modify destinations or timing to suit your preferred pace

Is 2 weeks enough in New Zealand?

Two weeks is enough time to see the major highlights around New Zealand. If you choose just one island, two weeks allows you to travel at a relaxed pace and still see most of what the island has to offer.

Explore our other South Island luxury itineraries

We offer a range of South Island luxury vacation packages.

Choose a 7 Day South Island Luxury Itinerary or a 10 Day South Island Luxury Itinerary, or browse our special interest tours. These include honeymoon and elopement packages, ski tours, and adventure holidays.

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