Soak Up The Majestic Beauty

Autumn In The South

Lake Pukaki

The ideal time to travel and soak up South Island New Zealand in all it’s majestic beauty.

Autumn is especially a wonderful time of year to visit the South Island with the autumn colours a true standout. This 12 day adventure includes some of our favourite destinations from Hanmer Springs, Banks Peninsula to Arrowtown we explore all the Autumn colours of the South Island. Queenstown, Te Anau and Milford Sound are all included along with some special destinations off the beaten track Take it Easy is famous for locating.  Jase and Jimmy will ensure your 12-day tour is full of unforgettable memories and experiences you will treasure forever. Read on for more information.

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*Custom departure points available for all tours

What’s included?
11 nights accommodation
All activities stated in bold in itinerary
Comfortable tour coach
Expert tour guide
All meals included (exclusions apply)
A general level of fitness required

Tour highlights


Day 1

Home - Picton

Home (May 1st)

If departing from Whanganui meet at the Whanganui Racecourse for a 8am departure, and travel south to Levin for some home baked morning tea. 

We then head into Wellington CBD and drop you off at Te Papa museum around 11.15am. Here you have time to visit Te Papa, stroll along the waterfront or head into town to grab yourself some lunch. The coach will head out to Wellington airport to collect the flying travellers, returning to Te Papa around 1pm.


As a group, we then head to the Interislander Ferry terminal to catch our 2.45pm sailing. When we arrive in Picton, it is a very short drive to our accommodation where we settle in before meeting for tonight’s dinner at the Barn Restaurant. 

Accommodation: Asure Jasmine Court Motel

Day 2

Picton - Hanmer Springs

Picton (May 2nd)

A relaxed start to the day before heading inland to the beautiful alpine village of Saint Arnaud. Here we take in the scenery of the Nelson Lakes National Park and the beautiful Lake Rotoiti before having a delightful morning tea. 

We then continue on the scenic drive through to Murchison and down to Springs Junction where we have a great lunch lined up before carrying on down Lewis Pass and into Hanmer Springs. We arrive at mid-afternoon giving you a chance to explore the village at your own pace.  You may choose to sit back and relax in the calming waters of the famous hot pools, or take a stroll on one of the great walking and cycling tracks taking in the wonderful autumn colours. We then meet back for a fabulous group dinner.

Hanmer Springs

We then continue on the scenic drive through to Murchison and down to Springs Junction where we have a great lunch lined up before carrying on down Lewis Pass and into Hanmer Springs. We arrive at mid-afternoon giving you a chance to explore the village at your own pace.  You may choose to sit back and relax in the calming waters of the famous hot pools, or take a stroll on one of the great walking and cycling tracks taking in the wonderful autumn colours. We then meet back for a fabulous group dinner.

Accommodation Alpine Lodge Motel

Day 3

Hanmer Springs – Christchurch

Hanmer Springs (May 3rd)

Today, we continue south to Christchurch with a great first up morning visit to the famous Flaxmere Garden. A garden of national significance that is breathtakingly bold in its design and reflects the change of seasons with each spelling its own magic, especially in autumn.  We have a guided tour of the grounds and are treated to a light morning tea before we continue our day. 

Our next stop is at the beautiful Amberley House which sits in a 6-hectare garden variously planted over the past 150 years with over 2500 specimen trees.  In addition to the house and gardens, Amberley House has one of New Zealand’s largest warmblood sport horse stud and stables (breeding sport horses for the Olympic events), and a grass-fed Angus cattle raising farm for their other hill country station further back in North Canterbury’s mountains.  

Autumn is especially a wonderful time of year to visit with the autumn colours in the gardens a standout, and in addition to foal and calf weaning there is a myriad of other farming activities on any given day.  

On arrival, we will have the house tour and be given background on the property followed by a great lunch. We are then led through the wonderful gardens and stables taking in what farming and horse activities are occurring that day.  

From here, it is just a short drive into the exceptional Christchurch Botanical Gardens where we climb aboard an electric vehicle and tour in comfort, exploring one of the world’s most historic Botanic Gardens allowing you to view some of the best examples of native and exotic flora in New Zealand.


We then head to our central accommodation where you will be given some time to refresh before heading back out for a very special dinner. Tonight, we are dining aboard the only Tram Restaurant in New Zealand which offers you a unique way to view the inner city of Christchurch while enjoying a delicious evening dinner.

Accommodation Pavilions Hotel

Day 4

Christchurch – Banks Peninsula - Christchurch

Christchurch (May 4th)

Today you are in for a unique off-road adventure as we join forces with our friends at Hassle Free tours and make the most of their purpose built 4x4 vehicles and set out to explore the back roads of Banks Peninsula.

Banks Peninsula

We start the day by heading around to the port town of Lyttleton and catch the ferry over to Diamond Harbour. From here, we are collected by the 4x4 vehicles and set out for an adventure of the peninsula. We will see some amazing views today and meet some of the great families that have called this place home since the first settlers.


After this amazing day of exploring, we head back into Christchurch to our accommodation where we dine tonight and reflect on this unique day.

Day 5

Christchurch – Tekapo

Christchurch  (May 5th)

This morning, we head south and stop at a renowned garden which has international acclaim. Trott’s Garden has been home to Alan and Catherine Trott and their family for thirty-seven years.  It is now in the safe hands of the newly formed Trott’s Garden Charitable Trust, to ensure this beautiful garden remains accessible to people from all over the world who admire this local New Zealand paradise. We are treated to a guided tour and morning tea in this beautiful setting before carrying on our day.

This afternoon, we travel through Geraldine where you will experience a genuine slice of Kiwi life and warm southern hospitality. You will be given some free time to get yourself some lunch and maybe partake in some retail therapy in the selection of varied boutique stores.


Back on the road, we pass through the quintessential rural town of Fairlie, on the way to the heart of Mackenzie Country. After making our way over Burkes Pass, we reach the beautiful Lake Tekapo. We visit the Church of the Good Shepherd before getting into our great accommodation for some R & R before the night ahead. 

After an early dinner, you have two superb optional activities to choose from at your own expense. You can join the highly recommended Earth and Sky Observatory tour, where you can see the amazing southern night sky from two stargazing locations on the top of Mt John and be taken on a journey of discovery, learning and intrigue – a place where you will look, listen and learn about our incredible universe.

Alternatively, you can choose to go to the relaxing Tekapo Springs Hot Pools looking over the lake or simply enjoy the evening to yourself.

Accommodation Peppers Bluewater Resort

Day 6

Tekapo - Dunedin

Tekapo (May 6th)

After a great breakfast, we make our way through the basin to the majestic Lake Pukaki for a photo stop looking down the shore into Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. We then carry on through to Omarama, before heading to the East Coast passing Lake Benmore and Lake Aviemore which form part of the Waitaki hydroelectric scheme along the way.


We arrive in Oamaru and head down to “old town” and have lunch before our guided tour of Whitestone City. This historical interactive museum located in the unique Victorian precinct has amazing displays about the history of Oamaru, along with old-style collections from locals. 

Continuing down the coast, we stop at the mysterious Moeraki Boulders. Here you will have time, if you choose, to head down to the beach and see the boulders up close, or you may just want to sit and enjoy the wonderful views over the Pacific Ocean.


It is then onto Dunedin taking the scenic route into the city via Mt Cargill and stopping off briefly to view the steepest street in the world, Baldwin Street. Then just a short drive into the CBD and our great accommodation for the next two nights.

Accommodation The Victoria Hotel

Day 7

Dunedin (Otago Peninsula)

Dunedin (May 7th)

This morning is just a short drive out to New Zealand’s wildlife capital, the Otago Peninsula. Enjoy great views of this magnificent harbour as we firstly make our way to Glenfalloch Gardens. We will have a guided tour through some of the 30 acres of historic garden, which began in 1871, and is filled with splendid plantings.

Otago Peninsula

Stroll amongst the beautiful seasonal displays and enjoy the lush surrounds of native ferns, exotic imports, and indigenous New Zealand trees.

It is then a short drive to one of New Zealand’s premier visitor attractions, Larnach Castle. On a guided tour, we discover its rich history that dates back to 1871. We will explore the exquisite gardens, which have attained a Garden of International Significance award. For lunch, we enjoy a delicious Victorian style meal in the Castle before making our way right to the end of the peninsula.

We arrive at the Royal Albatross Centre for a totally unique experience. We will embark on a guided tour telling the story of the Northern Royal Albatross, which we will also get to view. This is combined with learning about the history of Pukekura/Taiaroa Head. From a small Maori camp in the 1300s to a large defense base in WWII, we are taken on a journey which will finish with a visit through Fort Taiaroa and view the Armstrong Disappearing gun.


We then make our way back down the harbour to our accommodation before meeting again for a great group dinner.

Accommodation The Victoria Hotel

Day 8

Dunedin - Alexandra

Dunedin (May 8th)

After breakfast, it is time to leave this great southern city as we head north into Central Otago. Up SH87, with our first stop being at Middlemarch where we will have a quick refreshment break and stretch the legs. We then go well off the beaten track, heading to the northern reaches of the Manuherikia Valley to the former gold mining town of St Bathans. 

Blue Lake

We have a great lunch organised at the famously haunted Vulcan Hotel before the short walk to the idyllic Blue Lake, which was once the deepest mining hole in the Southern Hemisphere.

After viewing the historic town which includes the oldest mud brick hall in the country, we continue our way to the quaint little town of Clyde where you will be given some free time to wander the main street and visit the shops of your choice.


It is then a short drive into Alexandra for a short tour of the famous landmarks before arriving at our accommodation for the night. 

Accommodation Centennial Court Motor Inn

Day 9

Alexandra – Te Anau

Alexandra (9th May)

A relaxed start to the day before we head south down SH8 through to view the impressive Roxburgh Hydro Dam. From here, we carry on towards Gore before heading to the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre. This nationally significant museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating New Zealand’s civil aviation heritage. We are treated to a guided tour through the Aircraft Collection at the Heritage Centre, as well as a visit to the Aircraft Restoration Workshop of Croydon Aircraft Co.

In addition to this, you can view the Steam Locomotive and explore the developing Heritage Railway Yard of the Waimea Plains Railway. Also, there is a Gift Shop and Art Exhibition Space to enjoy before our scrumptious lunch at the cafe. Before we depart, you have a special opportunity to take a flight in a Tiger Moth! (optional extra).

Te Anau

We are back on the road and head to the picturesque township of Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park. If time permits, we will head to Punanga Manu o Te Anau/Te Anau Bird Sanctuary to take a peek at some of Fiordlands special birds that are difficult to see in the wild, like the Takahē and Kaka.

From here, it is a short drive to our lovely accommodation which is where we will also dine.

Accommodation Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 10

Te Anau – Milford Sound - Queenstown

Te Anau (10th May)

Today is an early rise and we set out to one of the most beautiful places New Zealand has to offer, Milford Sound. Along what is rated one of the most scenic drives in the world, we will stop at highlights such as Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Homer Tunnel and the Chasm.

Milford Sound

When we arrive at the end of the road, we get up close and personal with Milford Sound on a leisurely cruise of this spectacular fjord. From thundering waterfalls to sky-high mountains to lush rainforests, Milford has it all. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces. Informative, participative, and relaxed, this is the perfect way to experience Milford Sound to the fullest. We will have lunch on board while taking in the breathtaking scenery.


We then head back out towards Te Anau with a few more special stops along the way before stopping for afternoon tea. SH6 will take us into Queenstown where we will check in to our great lakefront accommodation.  This is where we will also dine tonight.

Accommodation Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Day 11

Queenstown– Arrowtown -Queenstown

Queenstown (11th May)

A relaxed start to the day with a chance for an early stroll amongst the gardens before we depart for the charming and quirky town of Arrowtown.


The famous autumn colours are a must see and there is also a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. You’ll be enchanted by the historic and beautiful town during your free time in this New Zealand treasure. For those slightly more active travellers, you have the chance to stroll or bike (electric available) the famous cycle ways through this spectacular landscape.

From here it is a scenic drive out to the Gibbston Valley, also known as the 'Valley of the Vines', one of the most scenic wine growing areas you will ever encounter. Here we have a fantastic lunch organized along with a Winery Tour where you can visit Home Block, the region's oldest vineyard, do a tasting (non alcoholic drinks available) in New Zealand’s largest wine cave and catch a glimpse of the winemakers in action.

From here, we are into what is arguably the most beautiful area of New Zealand. 'Chantecler' is truly a garden for all seasons with spring, summer, autumn, and winter, each displaying unique characteristics. In autumn, the leaves on the deciduous trees are staggeringly beautiful especially framed by the snow-covered Remarkable mountains. We will also see a large vegetable garden, berry garden, orchard, nut trees as well as alpacas, fallow deer, and other farm animals.


Just a short drive back into Queenstown, where you will be given some time to enjoy your surroundings before meeting back for our final group dinner of the tour.

Accommodation Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Day 12

Queenstown – Home

Queenstown (12th May)

A relaxed morning and after our final breakfast as a group we pack our bags and make our way to the airport. We will be there in plenty of time to catch our midday flight to Palmerston North. We transit for an hour in Christchurch, which will be great timing to grab yourself some lunch.


A coach will be waiting at the airport to take you on the final leg home.

*If you are travelling to another destination, your travel arrangements will be made for you in your customised itinerary. 

Optional extras

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Meet your tour guides

Jimmy Elliott

Jimmy has a wealth of experience and uses this to ensure all trips with Take It Easy Tours are well organised, informative, diverse and a whole heap of fun.

Jason Granville

After years in the broadcasting industry, Jase hung up his headphones to run Take It Easy Tours. This has meant he can still pick up the microphone to inform travellers and encourage friendly banter while on tour.

Reserve your spot

initial deposit
Payment plans available
per person

There is limited availability for this tour. Please contact us to find out more.

Frequently asked questions

Can I earn Air New Zealanad airpoints on my flights?

Yes, you can earn airpoints with Take It Easy Tours when we are using Air New Zealand flights. All you need to do is get in contact with us and let us know your airpoints number for each time you wish to earn points.

Can you collect me from my door?

Yes, it would be our pleasure. We can arrange for you to be picked up and returned to your front door at the conclusion of any tour.

How about travel insurance?

We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. It just puts your mind at ease. Remember to make sure you are covered for and loss of personal possessions, sickness, accidents or travel delays. Feel free to ask us for any tips to make this quick and easy for you.

How active are your tours?

We are called Take it Easy for a reason as we like to do just that. Do as much or as little as you like - after all it's your holiday! However, there is walking and various activities on each tour that require various levels of fitness. Please check with us if you are unsure about anything and relax knowing that there's always another option for you if you would rather miss out on any activity. We always have a back up plan.

I have some dietary requirements?

Please just let us know in advance and we will sort everything for you. Chefs are used to all sorts now when it comes to diet so as long as we know - we’ll have you covered.

What happens if I have to cancel?

Cancellation charges do apply so again we recommend travel insurance. Our cancellation policy is clearly outlined for each tour so make sure you cast your eye over it and please feel free to ask any questions.

What kind of accommodation do we stay in?

Having a good night's rest after a day out touring is very important so we personally choose all of our accommodation. Generally, four star accommodation when available - with all the comforts you need for a relaxed night.

What types of transport do we use?

Our buses are quality touring coaches that are very comfortable and fully air conditioned. They range in size from 19-28 seats ensuring that we can easily access all those secret spots off the beaten track. All vehicles are regularly serviced as your safety is our priority.

Coaches and luggage trailers are always locked and secure but we recommended you take any valuables with you when staying overnight.

Still have questions?

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