Blenheim - Milford Sound

Fly total time: 11 days
At a glance:
  • Scenic train journeys
  • Exceptional food and wine in Marlborough
  • Hot air ballooning in Canterbury
  • Stargazing in an International Dark Sky Reserve
  • Picnic on a mountain top with a helicopter sightseeing flight
  • Get cosy on an overnight cruise in Milford Sound

Download a PDF of this itinerary 
  • Day 1: Blenheim – Marlborough Sounds

    Drive Fly 20 minutes 28 KMS 17 MI
    Fly into Blenheim via a domestic connection from Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington. A local guide will whisk you off to enjoy the famous Marlborough wine region, before boarding a scenic cruise to reach your overnight retreat in the Marlborough Sounds. Sample local salmon, mussels and Sauvignon Blanc on board, before arriving at your secluded sanctuary in the picture-perfect sounds.
  • Day 2: Picton – Kaikōura

    Drive Fly 2 hours 55 minutes by train 257 KMS 159 MI
    Enjoy a slow pace this morning before transferring back to Picton. Board the Coastal Pacific Train, which travels between snow-capped mountains and the sweeping Pacific Ocean. Watch the scenery change drastically and keep your eyes peeled for New Zealand fur seals sunning themselves on the rocks. Tonight, sleep under the stars in a private hideaway glass cabin, or embrace your inner child in a luxury treehouse.

    Recommended activities:

    • Be together in nature on the Queen Charlotte Track – which winds through towering native trees, over ridges and into beautiful coves. The trail can be easily accessed from your Marlborough Sounds accomodation for short or long walks. 
  • Day 3: Kaikōura – Christchurch

    Drive Fly 3 hours 10 minutes by train 181 KMS 112 MI
    An early start today will reward you with an amazing encounter – dusky dolphins are very friendly and the morning can be a great time to play. Kaikōura is a marine wildlife mecca, with plenty of options to get up close – swim or kayak with dolphins and seals, or spot whales from a boat or the air. Make sure you leave time for a sumptuous seaside crayfish picnic, a local delicacy. This evening rejoin the Coastal Pacific Train and head to Christchurch for the night.
    Train departs 5:20pm
  • Day 4: Christchurch – Arthur’s Pass

    Drive Fly 5 hours return 298 KMS 185 MI
    Arthur’s Pass (2 hours 52 min by train) Depart 8:15am
    Arthur’s Pass – Christchurch (2 hours by train) Depart 06:31pm 

    Back on the train this morning for a taste of one of the world’s most scenic train rides, the TranzAlpine. A local guide will share their stories about the region as you enjoy some easy paced short walks through Arthur’s Pass.  Head back to Christchurch this evening and pick up a rental car ready for the morning.
  • Day 5: Christchurch – Lake Tekapo

    Drive Fly 3 hours 228 KMS 141 MI
    An early start will be well rewarded with spectacular views of the Canterbury Plains from a hot air balloon – sunrise is the most romantic time to float effortlessly over the landscape. Once you’ve got your feet firmly back on the ground, drive south to Lake Tekapo and relax in the lakeside hot pools. This evening, enjoy your choice of star gazing activity in this International Dark Sky Reserve.
  • Day 6: Lake Tekapo – Aoraki Mount Cook

    Drive Fly 1 hour 15 minutes 105 KMS 65 MI
    This morning, take a short drive to Aoraki Mount Cook Village around the vibrant blue Lake Pukaki.  Take a scenic cruise on the Tasman Glacier terminal lake to see the glacier and numerous icebergs, you may even be lucky enough to see one flip. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try walking on the glacier – local heli-hike companies can help with this.

    Top Tip:
    If the clouds were in the way last night – try stargazing again tonight.
  • Day 8: Aoraki Mt Cook – Wanaka

    Drive Fly 2 hours 30 minutes 209 KMS 129 MI
    Take a romantic stroll on the Hooker Valley Track – an easy walk through the glacier valley alongside alpine rivers and lakes. Enjoy a picnic in a scenic spot before continuing to another beautiful lakeside town, Wanaka. Why not try something a little different with an overnight glamping experience? 
  • Day 9: Wanaka – Queenstown - Glenorchy

    Drive Fly 2 hours 114 KMS 70 MI
    If you feel your muscles need a good stretch this morning, try SUP yoga on Lake Wanaka, or just go for a leisurely morning paddle. Take the scenic route over the Crown Range and arrive into Queenstown in time for a BBQ lunch cruise on an authentic steamship,  the TSS Earnslaw. This afternoon, drop off your car and transfer to Glenorchy. Just south of Queenstown, but you’ll feel a million miles away in quiet seclusion at the base of the mountains. 

    Recommended activities:

    • Spend the night in a gorgeous eco retreat cabin in Glenorchy.
  • Day 10: Glenorchy – Milford Sound

    Drive Fly 2 hours 113 KMS 70 MI
    This morning you will be met by your helicopter pilot, who will whisk you off into the mountains and show you alpine vistas and glacier lakes that can only be seen from up high.  Picnic in private in the mountains before continuing to Fiordland National Park to meet your skipper on the Fiordland Jewel, your floating hotel for the night. Explore by kayak and relax in the on-deck hot tub after your three-course evening meal. 
  • Day 11: Milford Sound – Queenstown

    Drive Fly 3 hours 45 minutes 287 KMS 178 MI
    Wake to the serenity of the misty fiord at its most peaceful. Look out for seals, dolphins and the rare Fiordland crested penguin. After breakfast, disembark and transfer back to Queenstown by road – enjoying the scenery of the world’s largest national park along the way. Spend your last night in one of Queenstown’s many lakefront hotels. 

    Recommended activities:

    • Enjoy a final soak at Queenstown’s scenic Onsen Hot Pools. The private pool rooms feature retractable roofs, ideal for stargazing.