Queenstown Southern Loop

6 Days | Discover the silent Sounds, spectacular scenery and Stewart Island of the south

4.7 out of 5 based on 29 reviews submitted.
USD $2,455
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Explore the rugged reaches of the South Island on this six-day trip with Intrepid, beginning and ending in Queenstown. Make your way to the shores of the South Island’s biggest lake and sail the silent waters of glacier-carved Fiordland National Park with an unforgettable cruise on Milford Sound. Cross to the sometimes forgotten corner of Otago – the rugged cliffs of the Catlins – to hike to coastal caves, then span the gap to untouched Stewart Island to explore the wilderness, listening out for the call of the kiwi. Crafted to give the right amount of active adventure and time to relax, this is the perfect southern getaway.

Trip overview

Map of Queenstown Southern Loop including New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
This trip generates 12 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Soak up the silence of Milford Sound on a cruise across its waters – you’ll be left speechless by the hundreds of tumbling cascades and deeply forested mountains.
  • Explore the Cathedral Caves of the Catlins, an untamed coastal wilderness home to rugged cliffs, dense forest, and spectacular hidden waterfalls.
  • Cross the Foveaux Strait to unspoilt Stewart Island, a haven for hikers and birdwatches and the place to spot a wild kiwi.
  • Enjoy two nights and one full day to explore the wilderness of Stewart Island, cruising the bays and inlets to spot penguins and seabirds and walking along its forested coastal tracks.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Forest & Bird. Donations help them give nature a voice - protecting wildlife and wild places in Aotearoa New Zealand by advocating for conservation on the ground and at a government level.

Is this trip right for you?
  • With six days in the lesser visited regions of the South Island, you’ll have time to visit places others don’t.
  • This trip involves some walking over varied terrain and is best suited to travellers with a good level of mobility. Details on physical activities can be found in the itinerary.
  • This trip is the second part of a combination of 2 trips. Some of your fellow travellers may arrive into Queenstown off another trip. Please see our 'New Zealand South Island Adventure' (trip code PHSQC) for details.


Map of Queenstown Southern Loop including New Zealand



5 breakfasts


Private vehicle, Ferry


Hotel (2 nights), Hostel (twin share with shared facilities) (2 nights), Cabin (with shared facilities) (1 night)

  • Milford Sound - Nature Boat Cruise
  • Milford Sound - Leader-led walk to Milford Lookout
  • Milford Sound - Walk to Mirror Lakes & Lake Gunn
  • The Catlins - Leader-led walk to Nugget Point & McLean Falls
  • Stewart Island - Scenic Ferry Crossing
Add on activities
  • Te Anau - Glow Worm Cave with Cruise & Guide - NZD119
  • Stewart Island - Village & Bay Trip - NZD50
  • Stewart Island - Wild Kiwi Encounter - NZD229
  • Stewart Island - Beaks & Feathers Kiwi Spotting - NZD125
  • Stewart Island - Ulva Island Explorer - NZD119

Dates and availability

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Important notes

This trip will begin on Day 1 at 10:30am at the Heartland Hotel Queenstown, and concludes at 2pm on Day 6. Please take this into account when making onward travel arrangements.

A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Read Essential Trip Information


4.7 out of 5 based on 29 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Rosemary · Traveled March 2024
Excellent well paced introduction to the highlights of the South Island
Review submitted 04 Apr 2024

Grace · Traveled March 2024
This is my first time in New Zealand. The experience that I never forget. I love the Country and the people around as well the Landscape. It's my first time to see a lot of herds, along the way to Stewart Island. And also the World Heritage site of Millford Sound. And when we are at Te Anue. We have the experience of Jet Boat on the river. And that was exciting 😄. Over all I Love this experience. I have something to tell to my grand Daughter.
Review submitted 07 Mar 2024

ieshea · Traveled January 2024
Enjoyed trip seeing my own country for the first time to south island enjoyed all locations. Milford sounds so beautiful including Stewart island totally recommend intriped for organising everything. thanks to lexi tour guide for her knowledge and driving us.
Review submitted 04 Feb 2024

Tomoe · Traveled December 2023
It was my first time to join Intrepid and my experience was 5 out of 5
Review submitted 17 Dec 2023

Jennifer · Traveled November 2023
This trip gave us a good overview of areas of beauty, nature and different experiences.
Review submitted 14 Nov 2023
Queenstown Southern Loop
USD $2,455