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Gemstone Beach

Best of the South – NZ

Best of the South - NZ


Visit the Catlins, Stewart Island, Doubtful Sound overnight cruise, Queenstown




9 Days

Why choose this trip to the Southland region?

Our Best of the South trip gives you an overview of the stunning scenery in the South of New Zealand. Enjoy such things as short Catlins scenery walks, exploring Stewart Island and an overnight Doubtful Sounds cruise, plus much more.

What’s the Best of the South Activity level ?

This is quite a laid back and relaxed itinerary on most days. The day walks are mostly scenic and are an easy to moderate walk, which require a moderate fitness level.

What’s the transport and accommodation like?

We will be travelling in a private 12 seater minivan for the majority of the trip, plus a flight from Invercargill to Stewart Island and return, and a return bus and boat trip to the Doubtful Sound. Our accommodation is a 3 star standard hotel and motels, with comfortable rooms and ensuite facilities, except during our overnight Doubtful Sound cruise, you will be in a quad share cabin.

*All our tours are non-smoking/vaping


Duration: 9 days from Dunedin to Queenstown
Trip focus: A moderately active sightseeing, nature and walking tour
Accommodation: 7 nights in local hotels and motels with en suite facilities, and 1 night on your Doubtful Sound cruise in a quad share cabin.
Transport: Private 12 seater minivan, flights, bus and boat.
Group size: Maximum 10 + tour leader
Single supplement: NZ$790


  • Accommodation in hotels, motels and one night on Doubtful Sound cruise.
  • All transport throughout the tour
  • Guided tour of Olverston House
  • Farm visit with drinks and nibbles in Owaka
  • Visit and independent walks in the Catlins
  • Guided tour of Stewart and Ulva Island
  • Guided tour of the Te Anau Glow Worm caves
  • Overnight cruise of Doubtful Sound, quad share
  • Visit to Arrowtown
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Tour leader / driver so you get the best out of your trip
  • 15% GST


  • Transport to Dunedin / from Queenstown
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not listed
  • Pre and post trip accommodation


We ask that you arrive in Dunedin in the morning and make your way to the hotel to meet your fellow travellers.

This afternoon we’ve planned a visit and guided tour to Olveston House, Dunedin’s most impressive historic house. 

This evening enjoy a welcome drink and briefing, to find out more about the exciting days ahead. Then we’ll head out to a nearby restaurant for our welcome dinner. If you would like more time to discover Dunedin, we are more than happy to book extra nights for you. 

Meals Included: Dinner


After breakfast, we’ll start off onto the scenic coastal route today as we travel on to the Catlins. We’ll travel off the beaten track via Brighton beach and Taieri Mouth to Waihola.

We will have a real treat for you today. Our exclusive access for an afternoon farm visit with drinks and nibbles on the clifftops overlooking the coast. The beach below was the scene for one of the Narnia movies and is a spectacular viewpoint.

Enjoy our overnight stop in the Catlins at beautiful Kaka Point. Another highlight this afternoon is the short walk to Nugget Point Lighthouse. Then we’ll head back to the village for dinner at the local pub.

Meals included: Breakfast


Today we will take a leisurely drive through the Catlins with multiple scenic stops. The area is quite small but there are too many scenic stops to count here! Waterfalls, lagoon and estuary walks, beaches and much more to explore and enjoy. 

A highlight of the more eclectic kind is sure to be the Lost Gypsy Curios at Papatowai. You’ll be amazed at the incredible inventions and gadgets on display. 

We’ll also head past our accommodation down to Niagara and stunning Curio Bay for the a chance to see Hectors Dolphins as they come into the bay in the evening. You may also like to visit the Curioscape interpretation centre or relax and have a coffee there. 

Meals included: Continental Breakfast at the Motel


On our way to Invercargill we will stop at Slope Point. This is an easy 15min walk across farmland to the southernmost point on mainland NZ.

Next is the Waipapa Lighthouse, with its truly amazing windblown Macrocarpa trees. It’s a very wild and windy place!

Then we head on to Invercargill for our flight to Stewart Island, departing early afternoon.

On arrival into Oban (Stewart Island) we will collected and taken to our accommodation. There is time today to explore Oban and take one of the short walks nearby. This evening we’ll mingle with the locals, check out the Oban pub and restaurant for dinner.

Meals included: Self made Breakfast and pub Dinner


This morning we’ll head off early for a guided tour of the amazing Ulva Island. Ulva Island is part of Rakiura National Park and is now free of introduced animals. Several species of threatened birds have been reintroduced to this open sanctuary and are flourishing. The orchids are particularly impressive during their flowering seasons. 

We’ll then head back to Stewart Island for a short lunch break, then we’ll split into 2 groups and enjoy an Island Discovery Road Tour. This unique tour will inform you of the history of the island, right up to how it is to live there in current days. 

In the evening we’re off to spot Kiwi, which many of us Kiwi’s have never seen in the wild. This is one of the best places in NZ to see them.

Meals included: Continental Breakfast at the Motel.


After breakfast we’ll hop on our return flight to Invercargill. Exploring the lesser travelled splendid south coast as we head west and stop in at the Riverton Museum a real local gem, perched on the edge of the beautiful Riverton Estuary.

The Orepuki Beach Cafe is a great lunch stop at a lovely old villa. They serve delicious food and its a well known local haunt. We’ll have a quick stop for a fossick at Gemstone beach with views of the mountains in the background.

You can stock up on the best sausages in NZ as you pass through Tuatapere. You have cooking facilities in your motel tonight, so its a great chance to try these tasty morsels!

Tonight enjoy a guided tour of the Te Anau Glowworm caves. This underground world is astonishingly beautiful and the caves will be a sure highlight.

Meals included: Continental Breakfast at the Motel.


Today, after breakfast, we head off to Manapouri for the start of our Doubtful Sound Overnight Wilderness cruise.

Your journey starts with a short boat trip across Lake Manapouri. Then a coach takes you over Wilmot Pass, travelling on a sub-alpine road through dense rainforest. On arrival at Deep Cove you’ll be met by the crew at your boat.

As you cruise through some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery, the knowledgeable nature guides will provide commentary ensuring you miss nothing, be it the pod of resident dolphins, fur seals or rare penguins you might encounter.

After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, you can choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat – or to simply relax on board.

Meals included: Breakfast and 3 Course Buffet Dinner.


Start the day with a hearty breakfast and spend the rest of the morning exploring the fiord, before returning to Manapouri around 1pm.

We will then drive the picturesque route along Lake Wakatipu, the Devils Staircase, and via the Shotover Gorge to visit charming Arrowtown. We’ll be able to explore the old centre, before heading to Queenstown for our final evening together.

Tonight we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner by heading up the Skyline Gondola and enjoying the amazing view over Lake Wakitipu as we dine. It’s sure to be a memorable experience.

Meals included: Buffet Breakfast and Farewell Dinner


Today is departure day. Or you may like to stay longer and explore Queenstown and the surrounding area.

Meals included: Breakfast
HikingSightseeingWildlife WatchingCultural ExperiencesFood and CookingPlaneBoatNature


  • Guided tour of Olveston House
  • Return flights from Invercargill to Stewart Island
  • Ulva Island and Stewart Island tours, with Kiwi spotting
  • Te Anau Glow Worm caves
  • Doubtful Sound overnight cruise
  • Queenstown and Arrowtown visits
  • Your fabulous local guide and driver


Start Date End Date Availability Cost
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