Stunning NZ South Island Self-Drive

10 Day Experience + Car Hire + Scenic Rail + Sightseeing & $1300 Bonus Value

Deal Code: MC-93446

from $... per person
Book by May 14, 2021


Tick New Zealand’s pristine South Island off your bucket-list with this laid-back self-drive tour. Enjoy the peaceful, easy to navigate back roads in your included hire car to iconic sights including Te Anau, Milford Sound, vibrant Queenstown and rugged Greymouth. Relax each night in centrally located quality hotels while you traverse from the East Coast to West via the lakes, fiords and stunning mountain ranges of the South Island. Complete your scenic South Island Circuit with a once-in-a-lifetime TranzAlpine rail journey back to Christchurch and home on your included return flight.


  • Return Flights to Christchurch With Checked Luggage
  • 9 Nights 3-4 Star Self-rated Hotel Accommodation
  • 9 Day Thrifty Rental Car Hire
  • BONUS Skyline Gondola & Luge Rides
  • BONUS Full Day Milford Sound Tour & Scenic Cruise With Lunch
  • BONUS Glacier Hot Pools Entry
  • BONUS Greymouth To Christchurch TranzAlpine Rail Excursion
  • BONUS Exclusive Package Savings

Day 1: Arrive Christchurch

Travel from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth today, to Christchurch, New Zealand. Fly with Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Virgin Australia or other, subject to rates and availability. On arrival, collect your Thrifty hire car (Toyota Corolla Auto or similar) and make your way to your centrally located hotel.

Accommodation: Ramada Suites Christchurch (or similar)

Day 2: Christchurch – Dunedin (self drive) approx 368kms

Start the day in your own time, then head south from the Garden City toward Dunedin. Plenty of photo opportunities and rest stops will appeal along the way. Consider making time to visit Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct, or Moeraki; famously home to the mysterious spherical Boulders and Fleur’s seafood restaurant.

Accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: Dunedin – Te Anau (self drive) approx 285kms

Take the Great Southern Scenic Route from Dunedin to Te Anau today. From the coastal east to the southern Fiords, take in coastal, pastoral, lakeside and mountain vistas with plenty of sleepy towns to visit for rest stops and delicious locally sourced meals.

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Te Anau (or similar)

Day 4: Te Anau – Milford Sound Day Tour

Wake up in Te Anau, with time to explore before joining your comfortable coach tour into Fiordland National Park. Expect stunning views and endless photo ops on this short drive. Then, board your Milford Sound Cruise to sail the length of the fiord, skirting cliffs and deep coves to view native forest and cascading waterfalls up close. Enjoy included lunch on board and cruise to the mouth of the fiord and Tasman Sea before returning to the wharf and back to Te Anau in the late afternoon.

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Te Anau (or similar)

Day 5: Te Anau – Queenstown (self drive) approx 171kms

Its just a few hours’ drive to beautiful Queenstown today. The ‘adventure capital’ is equally famous for its fantastic dining options, nearby wineries and European Ski Resort atmosphere. Explore and relax in your own time, with included Skyline Gondola and luge rides to enjoy.

Accommodation: Garden Court Suites & Apartments Queenstown (or similar)

Day 6: Queenstown

Enjoy another full day in and around Queenstown.

Accommodation: Garden Court Suites & Apartments Queenstown (or similar)

Day 7: Queenstown – Franz Josef (self drive) approx 351kms

Travel through some of the most beautiful scenery in the South Island today. The drive from Queenstown to Franz Josef passes through the picturesque towns of Wanaka, Hawea and Haast, before arriving in Franz Josef for a 2 night stay.

Accommodation: Quality Local Hotel/Motel

Day 8: Franz Josef

Choose from an array of scenic activities from bush walks to heli-flights as you explore the South Island’s Glacier region. Finish the day with your included visit to the soothing Glacier Hot Pools.

Accommodation: Quality Local Hotel/Motel

Day 9: Franz Josef – Greymouth (self drive) approx 171kms – Christchurch TranzAlpine Rail

Follow the rugged West Coast on your drive this morning, to arrive in Greymouth around lunch time. After returning the hire car, board the world-famous TranzAlpine Rail for a once-in-a-lifetime rail journey across the South Island. Take in jaw-dropping views from panoramic windows in warmth and comfort as the train ascends through lush forest and the Otira tunnel before pausing at alpine Arthurs Pass. Then descend slowly alongside the Waimakariri River and across the Canterbury Plain to Christchurch. An unforgettable way to conclude your self-drive adventure around the South Island!

At the time of publication, future TranzAlpine Rail timetables have not been confirmed. Departure times are estimated based on current schedules. Final documentation will confirm exact Trans Alpine details.

Accommodation: Ramada Suites Christchurch (or similar)

Day 10: Depart Christchurch

Make your own way to the airport for your return flight home.

General Travel Date Information

Tour Departs on Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

Alternative Travel Dates

Saturday, December 11th, 2021^
Saturday, January 22nd, 2022*
Saturday, February 05th, 2021^

* Dates indicated with an asterisk are subject to a shoulder season surcharge of $100 per person
^ Dates indicated with a caret are subject to a high season surcharge of $300 per person


Change of mind refund

You may request a free of charge refund of your initial deposit within 7 days of booking, no questions asked.

Flexible date changes

Date changes are permitted up to 90 days prior to departure; subject to fees and fare differences if flights have been ticketed. Strictly subject to availability. Seasonal price differences may apply.

Peace of mind credit

If the tour is cancelled by the supplier or you are not permitted to travel due to government-imposed border restrictions, we endeavour to negotiate a full credit with all suppliers involved, including tour operators, transportation operators, airlines, accommodation providers, restaurants, attractions etc. If a full credit is not possible, we endeavour to negotiate the maximum possible credit value or a similar compromise. Applicable fees, if any, will consist only of unrecoverable third-party costs. We will not charge you our own fees under these circumstances. Credits will be subject to the respective supplier’s terms and conditions.

COVID Safe Plan

The tour coach will be sanitised regularly with a deep clean at the end of every shift. Hand sanitiser will be provided on the coach.
Hotels are hand-selected for enhanced COVID-19 safety and hygiene protocols. Buffet meals may be temporarily suspended for set or a la carte menus

Upgrade to 4* Novotel Cathedral Square in Christchurch, add included daily breakfast and upgraded vehicle (from Toyota Corolla or similar; to Mitsubishi Eclipse or similar), for just $400 per person, subject to availability.


  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Personal expenses
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transfers
  • Visa fees

Solo Supplement: From $1630 per person
Child Price: On request only

A low deposit of $299 per person is required to secure your booking. A second deposit of $600 per person will be required 6 months prior to departure.

Deposit is fully refundable within 7 days of purchase.
Deposit is fully transferrable up to 90 days prior to departure, subject to airfare differences where flights have already been booked.
Balance is due 3 months prior to departure.

The Peace of Mind Policy allows free of charge changes up to 90 months before departure, subject to airfare differences where flights have already been booked.
Each change within 90 days of departure: $100 per person plus applicable third-party supplier fees.
Each change within 60 days of departure: $250 per person plus applicable third-party supplier fees.

Cancellation more than 90 days before departure: Loss of deposit only.
Cancellation within 90 days of departure: 30% of package price.
Cancellation within 60 days of departure: 50% of package price.
Cancellation within 14 days of departure: 100% of package price.

Australian passport holders do not require a Tourist visa to visit New Zealand. Other passport holders should check with their embassy prior to travel.

Each person is entitled to a strict maximum of one bag not exceeding 20kg on tour, regardless of any other baggage allowance.
Porter service is not included and you are expected to carry your own bags.
Luggage and personal effects are your own risk and we hold no liability for lost or damaged belongings.

Final documentation will be emailed within two weeks of departure of the respective travel component.

The itinerary and its order, sightseeing and transportation may be adjusted as deemed necessary for optimum safety, enjoyment and operation of the tour.
If attractions are not available due to reasons beyond our control such as closures or adverse weather, similar alternatives will be provided where possible.
The indicated length of trip includes time in flight and is subject to change depending on the final flight schedule.
Included admissions provide general entrance to the attraction and do not include secondary admissions or expenses inside the venue.
Any reference to ‘optional’, ‘not included’ or ‘exclusions/excluded’ means at your own expense.

Hotel star ratings are either local ratings or self-ratings provided by the supplier.
All rooms will be lead-in category or run of house unless otherwise stated.
Where some regional hotels have been subject to closures due to the impact of Covid-19, final hotels details will be shared with documentation.

Triple share is very limited and strictly on request for this tour. There is no discount for triple share.


Flights are booked approximately 9 to 10 months prior to departure. The flights included in your package are based on a specific predetermined airfare allowance. Should there be a significant increase in airfares, taxes or government fees at the time of booking flights, then an airfare supplement may be imposed. The flights team will discuss options with you prior to ticketing, should this situation arise. Flights may not operate daily or directly to your destination.

Final documentation will be emailed within two weeks of departure of the respective travel component.

Travel insurance is not included and is strongly recommended. Ask our holiday experts for great coverage options.

All efforts must be made to resolve issues on tour with the tour leader.
Complaints must be submitted in writing with substantiated evidence within 10 days of trip completion.

Please notify your guide of any special dietary requirements but note that choices may be limited or not catered for.

Force majeure means any natural disaster, accident, fire, act of God, act of war, terrorism, legally binding judgment, injunction, action of a court or other relevant authority, emergency, unplanned repairs, maintenance, strike, industrial dispute, work ban, blockade or picketing, travel ban, pandemic, epidemic or outbreak of infectious disease, or other event beyond our reasonable direct or indirect control.
In case of force majeure or other extraordinary event that prevents safe travel, we reserve the right to adjust, postpone or cancel the trip.


The pricing, terms and conditions listed herewith shall prevail in the case of any ambiguity or contradiction with other terms.

GST, Unlimited kilometres, Comprehensive insurance and 24-hour emergency road side service.

Groups CCAR & CWAR: A Bond of NZ$4,000 is payable on pick up (credit card imprint) or bond waiver (CDW) option NZ$32.50 per day (non-refundable) reduces bond to NZ$500 (per rental sector, per island).

The Excess can be reduced to Nil by purchasing Stress Free Cover. The charge is NZ$46 per day (non-refundable) for car groups CCAR -CWAR (per rental sector, per island) and NZ$52 per day (non-refundable) for car groups ISAR, IFAR, FFAR, & XVAR.

On pick up your credit card will pre-authorised with NZ$250.00 as a bond. Thrifty accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club cards. The credit/charge card must be in the name of the authorised renter. Third party credit/charge cards are not acceptable. Thrifty will charge 2% + GST for all amounts transacted on a credit card. Unfortunately, Thrifty are unable to accept a cash bond. Release of pre-auth can take between 5-7 days after the pre-auth is made.

Clients must hold a Full Valid Driver’s Licence written in English. If the licence is not in English, it must be accompanied by a current International Drivers Permit or official translation. Minimum rental age is 21 years.

Airport Pickup Fees of NZ$51.75 are paid direct in New Zealand


Tick New Zealand’s pristine South Island off your bucket-list with this laid-back self-drive tour. Enjoy the peaceful, easy to navigate back roads in your included hire car to iconic sights.
Transport: Flights, Car Hire, Rail
Places Visited: Christchurch, Dunedin, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Franz Josef, Greymouth
Tour Dates: 
Oct 2021 – Feb 2022

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