Lake Pearson reflection. Between Christchurch and Arthur's Pass, South Island, New Zealand

Terry Thomsen:  Your private tour guide on the South Island of New Zealand.

  • As the author of a book about the native animals and plants of New Zealand, my guiding services are ideal for visitors with an interest in natural history.

  • Deeply knowledgeable about the South Island, I listen to what you want and design a tour itinerary carefully tailored to your time and interests. You can visit New Zealand’s top destinations, as well as charming and beautiful places off the beaten track.
  • My tours are suited to you if you wish to see the best sights, walk in beautiful places, stay in the best accommodation for your budget, eat well, and gain a wealth of insights into New Zealand’s nature, history and people.

Read more about me here:  Your Private Local Tour Guide in New Zealand

Private guided tours of the South Island, New Zealand

As I am currently based in the South Island, I have many proven South Island tour itineraries, mostly starting and finishing in Christchurch.

New Zealand’s South Island is a feast of mountain scenery, lakes, rivers, glaciers, forests and fiords. With charming towns and farmland thrown in.

Almost all itineraries include these major scenic destinations:

  • Lake Tekapo and Aoraki/Mt Cook
  • Queenstown
  • Wanaka
  • Milford Sound
  • Franz Josef Glacier

Longer itineraries include destinations such as Dunedin, Oamaru, Punakaiki, Abel Tasman National Park and Kaikoura.

Read about Private Guided South Island tours here

Hooker River footbridge and Mt Sefton, Southern Alps. Hooker Valley Track, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. South Island, New Zealand

Touring in the North Island, New Zealand

The North Island has diverse attractions.

It has beautiful coastlines, lush forests, thermal areas and volcanoes, a rich Maori culture, and the diverse city attractions of Auckland and Wellington.

Even a short visit to the North Island can include:

  • Auckland
  • Bay of Islands
  • Rotorua and lakes
  • Waitomo Caves
  • Hobbiton and Hamilton Gardens

Longer itineraries include destinations such as Taupo, Tongariro National Park, Napier, Taranaki and Wellington.

Read about North Island New Zealand destinations here

Lady Knox Geyser at Waiotapu thermal area. Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand

Private guided day tours from Christchurch

When not guiding tours around New Zealand, I am sometimes available to drive/guide private guided day tours to popular destinations in the Christchurch area.

The most popular private day tour destinations are:

  • Akaroa
  • Arthur’s Pass
  • Kaikoura
  • Aoraki / Mt Cook
  • Hanmer Springs

Read about day trips from Christchurch here

Why tour with The Inside Story?

I work with you to design a tour itinerary tailored to your interests.

Whether you like to take short hikes, learn about New Zealand nature, participate in adventure activities, or just want to see the best sights, I plan the right tour for you.

You may choose to stay in hotels, motels, apartments, B&Bs or luxury lodges. Most destinations have a mix of these.

The touring style is informal but always professional. I know the best stops along the road, and we make whichever stops you like.

As we go, I provide insights and stories about the wild New Zealand landscape, its unique plants and animals, the Polynesian Maori people, the pioneering European settlers, and contemporary events and culture.

Sheep herded along road, Southland, South Island, New Zealand