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17 Days Summer Blast South Island Tour

Days
17

Pricing From
$2768

South Island
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Overview

JUNE SALE NOW ON!!

We are pleased to announce our biggest sale yet.

For bookings made during June 2019 you will receive a whopping 20% off all tours (excluding December & January departures). 

On this Summer Blast South Island Tour, marvel at the changes in dramatic scenery as you go from one campsite to another with your New Zealand guides – who absolutely love this trip – leading the way.

This journey takes you on a loop around South Island where remote countryside, coastal areas, hidden fjords, subtropical forest, fascinating limestone formations, glacial fed lakes, and a diverse collection of National Parks await. Expect it to be a pleasant journey where numerous opportunities, such as bike options and daily hikes that put you within short distance of unique natural features, abound.

A string of natural marvels, ranging from mountains and glaciers to dreamy beaches and breathtaking Fiords, will delightfully surprise you on your journey. Keep an eye out for wildlife: seals, penguins, dolphins, whales and a rich variety of other marine animals call the rugged coastline home and can be spotted throughout the trip. Expect that we will have everything covered on this unforgettable journey of discovery, especially for thrill-seekers who want to have their fair share of adventurous activities: dolphin swimming, kayaking, rafting, bungy jumping and glacier hiking are some of the most popular. With this abundance of choices, it’s easy to get overwhelmed so you are welcome to extend your stay in any one of our locations to carve out plenty of time to do all the things you want.

We have carefully chosen our campsites for the scenery they offer as well as access to activities and adventures available nearby. You might even be delighted to find that we have added more bush camps in this trip, a treat that many of our passengers consider a real highlight. We know you will enjoy some of the out-of-the-way camps we will take you to, and the action-packed possibilities they offer that you will want to experience the loop one more time!

Trip Options:

Embark on a complete loop of the South Island on our Summer Blast trip, allowing you to begin and end your trip anywhere, with your trip ending where it started. You may even choose to start in Christchurch and wrap up the trip in Nelson/Picton. Or you can choose from these top 3 trip options:

  • Set off in Christchurch and finish in Nelson / Picton: (16 days). If you can forgo seeing the untamed Kaikoura coastline along with the chance to swim with the dolphins or spot whales in exchange of seeing all the highlights the South Island has to offer, then this trip is perfect. This trip works even better if you are flying into Christchurch International Airport from overseas. After you complete the loop, you can simply take a flight out of Nelson, the 4th busiest airport in the country, or wrap up in Picton for a short ferry crossing to the North Island.
  • Start and end in Nelson / Picton: (17 days). If you love sunshine and art, this trip option is more suitable. The region receives the most number of sunshine hours in all of New Zealand and hosts upwards of 350 working artists and craftspeople creating Maori, traditional and contemporary arts. No visit to Nelson is complete without stopping by their studios, so don’t miss it. Wonderful beaches and a number of national parks considered to be some of the best in the world are also nearby.
  • Christchurch to Christchurch – Complete Loop: (19 days). If you wish to experience the part of New Zealand that gets the most sunshine hours, stay in either Nelson or Picton for 2 nights when starting/ending your Summer Blast in Christchurch. You will be paying for your own stay but it will allow you to see more of one of New Zealand’s most breathtaking regions.

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Summer Blast South Island Tour, New Zealand

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Picton to KaikouraB,D

Today we travel the scenic Pacific coast to Kaikoura where close encounters with seals and seabirds are common. This picturesque town sits right on the ocean at the foot of the mountains – a spectacular spot. Stretch your legs with a recommended evening peninsula walk and build up an appetite for a tasty feast of locally caught fresh seafood. Tonight we camp with the sound of the waves – perfect!

The waters off this stretch of coast are home to a variety of marine and bird life - it’s the perfect spot to get 'close to nature'. Kaikoura has an interesting Maori history and legend - Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself while he 'fished-up' the North Island from the sea. Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai - food, koura - crayfish) which is extremely appropriate with plenty to go around.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Kowhai bike track and a short road ride to camp
Walks and Hikes: Walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway where you’ll see a vast coastline, the Kaikoura Ranges, and some pretty cute seals - expect to take lots of snaps!
Optional Activities: Whale watching (boat or flight), sea kayaking, deep sea fishing
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 2Kaikoura to RangitataB, D

*If your tour starts/finishes in Christchurch you will leave/join us at 2:30pm.

For those that are keen there is the chance to rise early for a wonderful sunrise and then enjoy one of our most highly rated optional activities – dolphin swimming. The resident dusky dolphins are amongst the most interactive and entertaining in the world and it’s not unusual to swim with pods of 50 or more in their natural habitat, the ocean! We then have the chance to explore this quaint seaside town before heading through Christchurch to collect and drop off those starting /ending here. Now regarded as the Shaky Isles, you’ll have time to explore Christchurch city area as well as buy your lunch from one of the many of the quirky container cafes at the ‘Restart Mall’. Since the earthquakes, Christchurch and the residents are doing lots of cool things as well as restoring its heritage which is making the city stand out as a place to explore! Enjoy the tasteful street art, artwork from the earthquake and local crafts to purchase in the city.

Say farewell to your friends leaving and hello to new Flying Kiwis because at 2:30pm we head out towards the Southern Alps with fantastic views across the Canterbury plains - real Lord of the Rings country! Tonight’s unique camp is at the Shearer’s Headquarters (an actual operating farm) located at the foothills of the Southern Alps.

The Rangitata River flows for over 120 kms from the Southern Alps to the Pacific ocean. This is the river where you can try white water raft tomorrow morning -- highly recommended!

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Cycle into camp along a quite country road through fields of cows, sheep and deer with a mountainous backdrop
Walks and Hikes: The Peninsula Walkway is a must if you missed it yesterday! You’ll also have plenty of time on your feet when we stop through Christchurch to check out the awesome rebuild of Christchurch city!
Optional Activities: Highly recommended dolphin swim, dolphin viewing
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours

Day 3Rangitata to Lake PukakiB, L, D

Wake up to mountain views and refresh yourself even more with the chance to try white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River, grade 5 rapids! This thrilling ride takes you through the heart of the mountains with amazing scenery and a few splashes and spills on the way! If rafting isn’t for you then no problem - soak it all in with a morning cycle ride or walk through the forest. We then head through more jaw dropping landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) through the open and vast Mackenzie Country to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo. Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour that comes all the way down from glaciers high up in the mountains and is deposited in the lake.

From there we head to one of our best wilderness camps – sat on the shores of Lake Pukaki, a similar glacial lake with turquoise waters, you can set up your tent to nothing but views of lakes and mountains. Cross your fingers for a clear night sky as this area is part of New Zealand's dark sky reserve, an incredible place to star gaze!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Bike Rides: If you're not rafting in the morning hop on your bike and head to the Peel Forest walks. In the afternoon you can follow a canal before cycling around the edge of Lake Pukaki and into camp
Walks and Hikes: A variety of walk options today including the protected conifers of Peel Forest and then this afternoon you'll have some time to walk along the edge of two incredible glacial lakes
Optional Activities: White water rafting (grade 5 rapids!), horse-riding
Available Upgrades: Not tonight - Beautiful lakeside wilderness camp
Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours

Day 4Lake Pukaki to MoerakiB, L, D

Today is a real chance to immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for. We will be exploring Aoraki National Park and hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain - Mount Cook. We then head back to the Pacific coast with a short stop in the historic town of Oamaru. From there it’s a short drive down the coast to the small village of Moeraki. Go for a walk to a view point and take in the views of the Pacific Ocean and try and spot a little blue penguin along the shore. If you have a bike it’s possible to visit a colony of extremely rare yellow-eyed penguins near to camp.

Mount Cook (Maori name - Aoraki meaning 'cloud piercer') dominates the skyline at 3,724m and is New Zealand's highest mountain. Nestled in between the other 18 peaks above 3000m within Aoraki/Mt Cook national, Mt Cook dominates the skyline and is the main feature in the backdrop of our hike to the bottom of the Hooker valley glacier.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Bike Rides: An early morning ride along the edge of Lake Pukaki takes you to one of the most impressive viewpoints in the area. During the afternoon you can ride a short section of the Alps2ocean trail followed by a ride out to Katiki Point Lighthouse.
Walks and Hikes: Enjoy walking into the start of Mt Cook National Park in Hooker Valley. A three hour return hike, you’ll be blown away by the mountainous landscape not to mention a glacier during the hike. Enjoy boardwalk terrain as well as crossing numerous swing bridge
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours

Day 5Moeraki to DunedinB

Before heading south, we make a stop at the nearby Moeraki Boulders - a collection of perfectly round rocks each weighing up to 4 tonnes that sit down on the beach, and then it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin - the South Island's second-largest city. Its name is the Scots Gaelic word for Edinburgh, a testament to the mostly Scottish settlers who came here. This southern city is also home to the world’s steepest residential street and the famous Speight’s brewery which offers an interactive and informative guided tour through the historic working brewery.

The Otago Coast stretches along the South Island's eastern side and Dunedin marks the halfway point along this coast which has a few decent surf breaks. Our camp is a short walk from the beach and you walk the short distance to St.Clair to grab some food at one of the laid back water front restaurants.

Meals: Breakfast
Bike Rides: An epic short yet sweet, downhill ride into the city of Dunedin. Ensure you use your brakes or you’ll miss out on the view of Otago Peninsula! Ride out to Otago Peninsula later in the day if you’re not doing anything else.
Walks and Hikes: You’ll feel your heart pumping through your chest as you take a stroll up the world’s steepest residential street!
Optional Activities: Surfing, Otago Peninsula wildlife tour, Speight's brewery tour
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 6Dunedin to Fiordland National ParkB, D

Journey through scenic southern pastures to Te Anau, the hub and jumping-off point for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Our accommodation tonight is a unique and historic site hidden in the unspoilt Hollyford Valley - a true wilderness escape. There is even an onsite museum to learn more about the region and history. For cyclists there is the chance to cycle into camp and for the hikers this camp offers some great short treks (ask your guide about secret glow worm trails).

The south west corner of New Zealand is home to Fiordland - home to wild, dramatic and rugged landscapes. The main town for access to the Fiordland National park region is Te Anau, the park is a World Heritage Area over 1.2 million hectares in size. In this area everything is oversized - gigantic waterfalls, towering mountains and forested valleys meet you around every corner.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Enjoy riding through the isolated and moody Fiordland National Park into Hollyford Valley where you’ll finish at our camp (literally away from all civilisation, it’s great!)
Walks and Hikes: Short walks today as we’re on a mission to get to Fiordland National Park!
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours

Day 7Milford Sound, Routeburn Track & Te AnauB, L

Travel one of the world’s most scenic routes into Milford Sound! Described as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. The fiord's cliffs rise dramatically from the dark waters (home to seals and dolphins) whilst waterfalls as high as 1000 metres cascade downwards. Board the optional boat cruise to explore the fiord up close. Afterwards those who love hiking are in for a treat with the start of the Routeburn Track. This 3 day walk passes through 2 National Parks and is a haven for native birdlife. Charge up your camera as this hike offers everything from mountainous peaks and sheer rock faces to pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls and dense, luxuriant forest. After dropping off our brave Routeburn hikers the rest of us will head back to Te Anau for the night where you can explore more of this small town with the awesome lake front and great mountain views.

In any weather Milford Sound is an incredible spectacle. The sheer cliffs and dramatic waterfalls lead along a spectacular 16km journey to the Tasman sea and back again. The boat cruise lasts for 1 hour 30 minutes and is a great way to see the fiord and get a feel for the scale of this awe-inspiring place!

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Bike Rides: Leisurely ride along the lakefront of Lake Te Anau and up alongside a river before looping back to camp. Go as little or as far as you please.
Walks and Hikes: For those who have pre-booked, the absolutely unforgettable Routeburn Track! Explore the lakefront of Te Anau in the afternoon once we are out of Fiordland National Park.
Optional Activities: Highly recommended Milford Sound boat cruise, Routeburn Track (3 day/2 night alpine hike), Te Anau glowworm caves & boat ride
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 8Te Anau to QueenstownB

In the morning we journey to Queenstown along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. Once we arrive at the adventure capital of New Zealand you can enjoy spectacular views, a free Gondola ride and a huge selection of activities to choose from.

There is everything here, from adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing or skydive to a more relaxed horse trek or boat trip – this place has it all. There are some great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this mountainous region.

Meals: Breakfast
Bike Rides: Queenstown offers a variety of different trails, so head out on your bike once we arrive in town
Walks and Hikes: Plenty of walks we can recommend once we have arrived in Queenstown. If you’re into taking on a hill for views or leisure lakefront strolling, Queenstown won’t disappoint!
Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 9QueenstownB

With so much to do we spend another day in fantastic Queenstown with the opportunity to enjoy those once in a lifetime experiences (don’t forget to try the legendary and very tasty fergburger!). Routeburn Track walkers re-join the group here with time to try the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight you get the opportunity to dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost).

Rightfully regarded as the adrenalin capital of New Zealand (if not, the World) Queenstown has something for every taste. It is also a spectacular location, nestled beside the deep blue of Lake Wakatipu by the foot of the Remarkables Range. Queenstown thrives year round with its superb alpine facilities and ski slopes - it was recently voted one of the top 25 cities in the World by a top travel magazine and we know why!

Meals: Breakfast
Bike Rides: Awesome bike options if you have a free day you can choose short or longer cycling experiences that will take you past jaw dropping landscapes, vineyards, great cafes and more!
Walks and Hikes: Plenty of mountains you can hike to enjoy inspirational views of Lake Wakatipu and the alpine surrounds!
Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
Drive Distance: No driving today

Day 10Queenstown to Boundary CreekB, D

Leaving at 2:30pm, after the thrills and spills of Queenstown we wind down with a beautiful campsite beside the tranquil lake with spectacular views of Mount Aspiring National Park.

Boundary Creek is located on the shores of Lake Wanaka, just north of Queenstown. Surrounded by the mountains of Mt Aspiring National Park, this wilderness camp is refreshing change from the fast pace of Queenstown. The crystal clear waters reflect the snow capped peaks year round and it's the perfect place to absorb the beauty of another incredible National Park.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: You can make the most of the Queenstown bike trails before we leave at 2.30pm and you can ride into camp later in the day along the edge of Lake Wanaka
Walks and Hikes: Lakefront walks or other walks you may have missed yesterday when doing activities.
Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, boat cruise plus much more!
Available Upgrades: No - beautiful lakeside camp with National park views
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 11Boundary Creek to Fox GlacierB, L, D

Today we're heading to the wild west coast! Today is a substantial drive but the scenery we'll be travelling through is quite dramatic plus we'll be making stops along the way for walks, views, waterfalls, coastline and a couple of bike options! We start the day tracing the northern edge of Mt Aspiring National park crossing the Haast pass and the gateway to the Westland region before meeting the Tasman Sea. From here we travel north to the small township of Fox Glacier along the start of a road that has been voted one of the top 10 coastal journeys in the world!

The wild "West Coast" refers to the beautiful and diverse area lodged between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. This area is home to arguably the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand and the the least number of people - a perfect combination for our tours. The region is dotted with towering mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, thundering rivers and rain forest. The national parks in this region have been designated as World Heritage Areas to help keep this area of supreme natural beauty intact. Residents of the region are known as "coasters" and known for their genuine friendliness.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Bike Rides: The first of two options today is a downhill ride from the top of the Haast pass and finishing up at the mighty Thunder Creek Falls. Later that day you have an option of long ride into Fox Glaicer Township or ride roughly half the distance for a shorter route.
Walks and Hikes: There are quite a number of short walks today as we make frequent stops on this epic journey to the West Coast
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours

Day 12Fox Glacier to OkaritoB, L, D

Today is your chance to explore one of NZ’s most unique and spectacular natural wonders - Fox Glacier. This staggering beautiful work of nature is over 13 kilometres in length and plummets 2,600 metres from its peak in the Southern Alps. It is fed by four alpine glaciers that receive approximately 30 metres of snowfall each year. This snow compacts at the top to produce the wonderful blue ice hundreds of metres deep. To get on the ice you have to take a guided trip by helicopter!

If you're not keen for a Heli hike it is still possible to see the glacier. From camp follow a walking track through beautiful native fern forests before the huge valley that holds the glacier opens up in front of you. Follow the walking track up the valley and you'll get to an impressive viewpoint where you can see the terminal face of this epic glacier!

Later that day we'll be heading down to Lake Matheson that has a nice, easy walking trail and, if conditions permit, the view of the southern alps gets reflected by the still waters of the lake.

We'll leave Fox Glacier mid afternoon and head towards our camp in a small town called Okarito. This has become a favourite on the tour as the tranquil little town is right on the coast and view across the Tasman sea are often accompanied by awesome sunsets. Okarito is also famous for its bird life and remains one of New Zealand's largest unmodified wetlands reserves! It is also possible to see other birds in the surrounding woodlands such as the rarest species of kiwi, the Rowi, that only lives in the small area that surrounds this quiet little settlement.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Bike Rides: Ride along the walk/cycleway to the Glacier viewpoint and then ride to Lake Matheson later in the day. There is also a beautiful ride on the quiet road that leads to Okarito
Walks and Hikes: If you're not hiking on the ice then definitely head up to the terminal face viewpoint and then in the afternoon a walk around Lake Matheson is a must do!
Optional Activities: Guided heli-hike, Terminal Facewalk
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 13Okarito to PunakaikiB, D

If you're feeling up to it then you can head out on an early morning walk to watch the sunrise before we continue up this spectacular coastal stretch to Hokitika – home to the Greenstone factories where you can see these skilled craftsmen at work and a great place for a traditional souvenir of your visit. We travel on through pristine native forest to Paparoa National Park where giant columns of water shoot skywards at Pancake Rocks! This beach camp has great sunsets, a beautiful river and incredible views of Paparoa National Park. The pancake rocks and blowholes are the main attraction in Punakaiki where limestones rocks are stacked on top of each other and ocean swells are forced through gaps in the rock creating a whale’s blowhole effect. In the evening we can relax at the local tavern and explore a cavern with some glow worms hanging out in the dark.

Hokitika and the surrounding area is a traditional source of greenstone (pounamu) - several stores and outlets offer a variety of jewellery and other items in this thriving arts and crafts scene. Paparoa National Park is home to a plethora of luxuriant coastal forests, limestone cliffs, canyons, caves and underground streams, and an absolutely spectacular coastline, all packed into one national park.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Road ride on a stretch of highway that has been voted one of the most scenic roads in the world! Expect some hills but extensive views of coastline, totally rewarding!
Walks and Hikes: If you're up for an early start then head out to the okarito trig for fantastic views of the Southern Alps as the sun comes up. Once we reach Punakaiki there are a number of different trails you can explore to get the best out of our visit to Paparoa Nati
Optional Activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks & blow holes (free!), Paddleboarding, River canoeing
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited)
Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours

Day 14Punakaiki to MarahauB, D

Leaving Punakaiki mid-morning we make our way inland through the majestic Buller Gorge to one of our favourite National Parks, Abel Tasman. In one of the sunniest areas of the country you will discover beautiful secluded bays and stunning golden sands. There are all kinds of options to experience the park but on the day we arrive it's all about getting a birds eye view by skydiving over the area. If you're not keen for this adrenaline activity we'll take you to camp and you can explore from there. Our campsite is located near the entrance to the park and we will be staying here for 3 nights to give you every chance to explore all corners of the park.

New Zealand has a range of fantastic national parks but this is our favourite - maybe it's due to the golden sandy beaches, twisting rocky outcrops, turquoise clear waters and beautiful hidden bays. The park is also home to a range of life from dolphins and orcas to tuis and bellbirds. Whether from the ground, water or air the Abel Tasman never fails to disappoint aspiring photographers looking for the perfect beach shot!

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Riding the Great Taste Trail, biking past a local beer brewer, local fruit and vegetable roadside stands, a hill to get those legs pumping, a brilliant mountain bike park and views of golden sand and invitingly warm waters, what more can you ask for?!
Walks and Hikes: Enjoy an afternoon or evening walk into Abel Tasman National Park from camp (yes that rights, it’s on your backdoor step).
Optional Activities: Skydiving
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours

Day 15Abel Tasman National ParkB, L

Taking time to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand - there are excellent options for everyone here.

You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal-clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chances for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!)

Explore the heart of the park on one of our most highly rated optional activities - canyoning high flow waterfalls and rapids! Tonight, we’ll be eating at a local hang out, The Fat Tui (own cost)

Walks: Abel Tasman National Park track

Bike rides: Kaiteriteri bike park

Activities (own cost): Single & multi-day kayaking options, canyoning, sailing, horse-riding, water-taxi / walk, conservation tour, conservation projects (free)

Cabin upgrades: dorm bed (shared room) $12pp, basic single from $50, basic double from $18pp

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Day 16Abel Tasman National ParkB, L

We spend another full day at the doorstep to New Zealand’s smallest, but most visited national park and our personal favourite, the Abel Tasman National Park.

Walks: Abel Tasman National Park track

Bike rides: Kaiteriteri bike park

Activities (own cost): Single & multi-day kayaking options, canyoning, sailing, horse-riding, water-taxi / walk, conservation tour, conservation projects (free)

Cabin upgrades: dorm bed (shared room) $12pp, basic single from $50, basic double from $18pp

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Day 17Marahau to PictonB

Today we head through sunny Nelson on our way to Picton. In addition to being one of the sunniest areas of NZ its home to more than 350 working artists and craftspeople creating traditional, contemporary and Maori arts. If finishing your tour in Nelson you will leave us on arrival by 11am.

After a short stopover we leave Nelson for wine country – Marlborough, home to some of the World’s best known grapes and we will be treating you to a free tasting in one of their best vineyards. On route to the winery we’ll make a stop Pelorus bridge, a Hobbit film location and great place for a quick dip on a warm day. If finishing your tour in Picton you will leave us by 5pm.

Meals: Breakfast
Bike Rides: 14-16km off road and road cycling
Walks and Hikes: Walk to the geographical centre of New Zealand
Available Upgrades: n/a
Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours

Cost per person

Oct 2019 - Apr 2020

  • JUNE SALE 16 Days: Christchurch to Picton: NZ$2,768
  • JUNE SALE 17/19 Days: Picton/Christchurch return: NZ$2,904
  • 16 Days: Christchurch to Picton: NZ$3,460
  • 17 Days: Picton return: NZ$3,630
  • 19 Days: Christchurch return: NZ$3,630

Options

  • Bike Hire: NZ$340
  • Bike (bring your own): NZ$135
  • Single Tent Upgrade: NZ$170
  • Sleeping Bag Hire: NZ$75

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Picton to KaikouraB,D

Today we travel the scenic Pacific coast to Kaikoura where close encounters with seals and seabirds are common. This picturesque town sits right on the ocean at the foot of the mountains – a spectacular spot. Stretch your legs with a recommended evening peninsula walk and build up an appetite for a tasty feast of locally caught fresh seafood. Tonight we camp with the sound of the waves – perfect!

The waters off this stretch of coast are home to a variety of marine and bird life - it’s the perfect spot to get 'close to nature'. Kaikoura has an interesting Maori history and legend - Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself while he 'fished-up' the North Island from the sea. Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai - food, koura - crayfish) which is extremely appropriate with plenty to go around.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Kowhai bike track and a short road ride to camp
Walks and Hikes: Walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway where you’ll see a vast coastline, the Kaikoura Ranges, and some pretty cute seals - expect to take lots of snaps!
Optional Activities: Whale watching (boat or flight), sea kayaking, deep sea fishing
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 2Kaikoura to RangitataB, D

*If your tour starts/finishes in Christchurch you will leave/join us at 2:30pm.

For those that are keen there is the chance to rise early for a wonderful sunrise and then enjoy one of our most highly rated optional activities – dolphin swimming. The resident dusky dolphins are amongst the most interactive and entertaining in the world and it’s not unusual to swim with pods of 50 or more in their natural habitat, the ocean! We then have the chance to explore this quaint seaside town before heading through Christchurch to collect and drop off those starting /ending here. Now regarded as the Shaky Isles, you’ll have time to explore Christchurch city area as well as buy your lunch from one of the many of the quirky container cafes at the ‘Restart Mall’. Since the earthquakes, Christchurch and the residents are doing lots of cool things as well as restoring its heritage which is making the city stand out as a place to explore! Enjoy the tasteful street art, artwork from the earthquake and local crafts to purchase in the city.

Say farewell to your friends leaving and hello to new Flying Kiwis because at 2:30pm we head out towards the Southern Alps with fantastic views across the Canterbury plains - real Lord of the Rings country! Tonight’s unique camp is at the Shearer’s Headquarters (an actual operating farm) located at the foothills of the Southern Alps.

The Rangitata River flows for over 120 kms from the Southern Alps to the Pacific ocean. This is the river where you can try white water raft tomorrow morning -- highly recommended!

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Cycle into camp along a quite country road through fields of cows, sheep and deer with a mountainous backdrop
Walks and Hikes: The Peninsula Walkway is a must if you missed it yesterday! You’ll also have plenty of time on your feet when we stop through Christchurch to check out the awesome rebuild of Christchurch city!
Optional Activities: Highly recommended dolphin swim, dolphin viewing
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours

Day 3Rangitata to Lake PukakiB, L, D

Wake up to mountain views and refresh yourself even more with the chance to try white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River, grade 5 rapids! This thrilling ride takes you through the heart of the mountains with amazing scenery and a few splashes and spills on the way! If rafting isn’t for you then no problem - soak it all in with a morning cycle ride or walk through the forest. We then head through more jaw dropping landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) through the open and vast Mackenzie Country to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo. Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour that comes all the way down from glaciers high up in the mountains and is deposited in the lake.

From there we head to one of our best wilderness camps – sat on the shores of Lake Pukaki, a similar glacial lake with turquoise waters, you can set up your tent to nothing but views of lakes and mountains. Cross your fingers for a clear night sky as this area is part of New Zealand's dark sky reserve, an incredible place to star gaze!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Bike Rides: If you're not rafting in the morning hop on your bike and head to the Peel Forest walks. In the afternoon you can follow a canal before cycling around the edge of Lake Pukaki and into camp
Walks and Hikes: A variety of walk options today including the protected conifers of Peel Forest and then this afternoon you'll have some time to walk along the edge of two incredible glacial lakes
Optional Activities: White water rafting (grade 5 rapids!), horse-riding
Available Upgrades: Not tonight - Beautiful lakeside wilderness camp
Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours

Day 4Lake Pukaki to MoerakiB, L, D

Today is a real chance to immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for. We will be exploring Aoraki National Park and hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain - Mount Cook. We then head back to the Pacific coast with a short stop in the historic town of Oamaru. From there it’s a short drive down the coast to the small village of Moeraki. Go for a walk to a view point and take in the views of the Pacific Ocean and try and spot a little blue penguin along the shore. If you have a bike it’s possible to visit a colony of extremely rare yellow-eyed penguins near to camp.

Mount Cook (Maori name - Aoraki meaning 'cloud piercer') dominates the skyline at 3,724m and is New Zealand's highest mountain. Nestled in between the other 18 peaks above 3000m within Aoraki/Mt Cook national, Mt Cook dominates the skyline and is the main feature in the backdrop of our hike to the bottom of the Hooker valley glacier.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Bike Rides: An early morning ride along the edge of Lake Pukaki takes you to one of the most impressive viewpoints in the area. During the afternoon you can ride a short section of the Alps2ocean trail followed by a ride out to Katiki Point Lighthouse.
Walks and Hikes: Enjoy walking into the start of Mt Cook National Park in Hooker Valley. A three hour return hike, you’ll be blown away by the mountainous landscape not to mention a glacier during the hike. Enjoy boardwalk terrain as well as crossing numerous swing bridge
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours

Day 5Moeraki to DunedinB

Before heading south, we make a stop at the nearby Moeraki Boulders - a collection of perfectly round rocks each weighing up to 4 tonnes that sit down on the beach, and then it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin - the South Island's second-largest city. Its name is the Scots Gaelic word for Edinburgh, a testament to the mostly Scottish settlers who came here. This southern city is also home to the world’s steepest residential street and the famous Speight’s brewery which offers an interactive and informative guided tour through the historic working brewery.

The Otago Coast stretches along the South Island's eastern side and Dunedin marks the halfway point along this coast which has a few decent surf breaks. Our camp is a short walk from the beach and you walk the short distance to St.Clair to grab some food at one of the laid back water front restaurants.

Meals: Breakfast
Bike Rides: An epic short yet sweet, downhill ride into the city of Dunedin. Ensure you use your brakes or you’ll miss out on the view of Otago Peninsula! Ride out to Otago Peninsula later in the day if you’re not doing anything else.
Walks and Hikes: You’ll feel your heart pumping through your chest as you take a stroll up the world’s steepest residential street!
Optional Activities: Surfing, Otago Peninsula wildlife tour, Speight's brewery tour
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 6Dunedin to Fiordland National ParkB, D

Journey through scenic southern pastures to Te Anau, the hub and jumping-off point for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Our accommodation tonight is a unique and historic site hidden in the unspoilt Hollyford Valley - a true wilderness escape. There is even an onsite museum to learn more about the region and history. For cyclists there is the chance to cycle into camp and for the hikers this camp offers some great short treks (ask your guide about secret glow worm trails).

The south west corner of New Zealand is home to Fiordland - home to wild, dramatic and rugged landscapes. The main town for access to the Fiordland National park region is Te Anau, the park is a World Heritage Area over 1.2 million hectares in size. In this area everything is oversized - gigantic waterfalls, towering mountains and forested valleys meet you around every corner.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Enjoy riding through the isolated and moody Fiordland National Park into Hollyford Valley where you’ll finish at our camp (literally away from all civilisation, it’s great!)
Walks and Hikes: Short walks today as we’re on a mission to get to Fiordland National Park!
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours

Day 7Milford Sound, Routeburn Track & Te AnauB, L

Travel one of the world’s most scenic routes into Milford Sound! Described as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. The fiord's cliffs rise dramatically from the dark waters (home to seals and dolphins) whilst waterfalls as high as 1000 metres cascade downwards. Board the optional boat cruise to explore the fiord up close. Afterwards those who love hiking are in for a treat with the start of the Routeburn Track. This 3 day walk passes through 2 National Parks and is a haven for native birdlife. Charge up your camera as this hike offers everything from mountainous peaks and sheer rock faces to pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls and dense, luxuriant forest. After dropping off our brave Routeburn hikers the rest of us will head back to Te Anau for the night where you can explore more of this small town with the awesome lake front and great mountain views.

In any weather Milford Sound is an incredible spectacle. The sheer cliffs and dramatic waterfalls lead along a spectacular 16km journey to the Tasman sea and back again. The boat cruise lasts for 1 hour 30 minutes and is a great way to see the fiord and get a feel for the scale of this awe-inspiring place!

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Bike Rides: Leisurely ride along the lakefront of Lake Te Anau and up alongside a river before looping back to camp. Go as little or as far as you please.
Walks and Hikes: For those who have pre-booked, the absolutely unforgettable Routeburn Track! Explore the lakefront of Te Anau in the afternoon once we are out of Fiordland National Park.
Optional Activities: Highly recommended Milford Sound boat cruise, Routeburn Track (3 day/2 night alpine hike), Te Anau glowworm caves & boat ride
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 8Te Anau to QueenstownB

In the morning we journey to Queenstown along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. Once we arrive at the adventure capital of New Zealand you can enjoy spectacular views, a free Gondola ride and a huge selection of activities to choose from.

There is everything here, from adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing or skydive to a more relaxed horse trek or boat trip – this place has it all. There are some great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this mountainous region.

Meals: Breakfast
Bike Rides: Queenstown offers a variety of different trails, so head out on your bike once we arrive in town
Walks and Hikes: Plenty of walks we can recommend once we have arrived in Queenstown. If you’re into taking on a hill for views or leisure lakefront strolling, Queenstown won’t disappoint!
Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 9QueenstownB

With so much to do we spend another day in fantastic Queenstown with the opportunity to enjoy those once in a lifetime experiences (don’t forget to try the legendary and very tasty fergburger!). Routeburn Track walkers re-join the group here with time to try the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight you get the opportunity to dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost).

Rightfully regarded as the adrenalin capital of New Zealand (if not, the World) Queenstown has something for every taste. It is also a spectacular location, nestled beside the deep blue of Lake Wakatipu by the foot of the Remarkables Range. Queenstown thrives year round with its superb alpine facilities and ski slopes - it was recently voted one of the top 25 cities in the World by a top travel magazine and we know why!

Meals: Breakfast
Bike Rides: Awesome bike options if you have a free day you can choose short or longer cycling experiences that will take you past jaw dropping landscapes, vineyards, great cafes and more!
Walks and Hikes: Plenty of mountains you can hike to enjoy inspirational views of Lake Wakatipu and the alpine surrounds!
Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
Drive Distance: No driving today

Day 10Queenstown to Boundary CreekB, D

Leaving at 2:30pm, after the thrills and spills of Queenstown we wind down with a beautiful campsite beside the tranquil lake with spectacular views of Mount Aspiring National Park.

Boundary Creek is located on the shores of Lake Wanaka, just north of Queenstown. Surrounded by the mountains of Mt Aspiring National Park, this wilderness camp is refreshing change from the fast pace of Queenstown. The crystal clear waters reflect the snow capped peaks year round and it's the perfect place to absorb the beauty of another incredible National Park.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: You can make the most of the Queenstown bike trails before we leave at 2.30pm and you can ride into camp later in the day along the edge of Lake Wanaka
Walks and Hikes: Lakefront walks or other walks you may have missed yesterday when doing activities.
Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, boat cruise plus much more!
Available Upgrades: No - beautiful lakeside camp with National park views
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 11Boundary Creek to Fox GlacierB, L, D

Today we're heading to the wild west coast! Today is a substantial drive but the scenery we'll be travelling through is quite dramatic plus we'll be making stops along the way for walks, views, waterfalls, coastline and a couple of bike options! We start the day tracing the northern edge of Mt Aspiring National park crossing the Haast pass and the gateway to the Westland region before meeting the Tasman Sea. From here we travel north to the small township of Fox Glacier along the start of a road that has been voted one of the top 10 coastal journeys in the world!

The wild "West Coast" refers to the beautiful and diverse area lodged between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. This area is home to arguably the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand and the the least number of people - a perfect combination for our tours. The region is dotted with towering mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, thundering rivers and rain forest. The national parks in this region have been designated as World Heritage Areas to help keep this area of supreme natural beauty intact. Residents of the region are known as "coasters" and known for their genuine friendliness.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Bike Rides: The first of two options today is a downhill ride from the top of the Haast pass and finishing up at the mighty Thunder Creek Falls. Later that day you have an option of long ride into Fox Glaicer Township or ride roughly half the distance for a shorter route.
Walks and Hikes: There are quite a number of short walks today as we make frequent stops on this epic journey to the West Coast
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours

Day 12Fox Glacier to OkaritoB, L, D

Today is your chance to explore one of NZ’s most unique and spectacular natural wonders - Fox Glacier. This staggering beautiful work of nature is over 13 kilometres in length and plummets 2,600 metres from its peak in the Southern Alps. It is fed by four alpine glaciers that receive approximately 30 metres of snowfall each year. This snow compacts at the top to produce the wonderful blue ice hundreds of metres deep. To get on the ice you have to take a guided trip by helicopter!

If you're not keen for a Heli hike it is still possible to see the glacier. From camp follow a walking track through beautiful native fern forests before the huge valley that holds the glacier opens up in front of you. Follow the walking track up the valley and you'll get to an impressive viewpoint where you can see the terminal face of this epic glacier!

Later that day we'll be heading down to Lake Matheson that has a nice, easy walking trail and, if conditions permit, the view of the southern alps gets reflected by the still waters of the lake.

We'll leave Fox Glacier mid afternoon and head towards our camp in a small town called Okarito. This has become a favourite on the tour as the tranquil little town is right on the coast and view across the Tasman sea are often accompanied by awesome sunsets. Okarito is also famous for its bird life and remains one of New Zealand's largest unmodified wetlands reserves! It is also possible to see other birds in the surrounding woodlands such as the rarest species of kiwi, the Rowi, that only lives in the small area that surrounds this quiet little settlement.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Bike Rides: Ride along the walk/cycleway to the Glacier viewpoint and then ride to Lake Matheson later in the day. There is also a beautiful ride on the quiet road that leads to Okarito
Walks and Hikes: If you're not hiking on the ice then definitely head up to the terminal face viewpoint and then in the afternoon a walk around Lake Matheson is a must do!
Optional Activities: Guided heli-hike, Terminal Facewalk
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

Day 13Okarito to PunakaikiB, D

If you're feeling up to it then you can head out on an early morning walk to watch the sunrise before we continue up this spectacular coastal stretch to Hokitika – home to the Greenstone factories where you can see these skilled craftsmen at work and a great place for a traditional souvenir of your visit. We travel on through pristine native forest to Paparoa National Park where giant columns of water shoot skywards at Pancake Rocks! This beach camp has great sunsets, a beautiful river and incredible views of Paparoa National Park. The pancake rocks and blowholes are the main attraction in Punakaiki where limestones rocks are stacked on top of each other and ocean swells are forced through gaps in the rock creating a whale’s blowhole effect. In the evening we can relax at the local tavern and explore a cavern with some glow worms hanging out in the dark.

Hokitika and the surrounding area is a traditional source of greenstone (pounamu) - several stores and outlets offer a variety of jewellery and other items in this thriving arts and crafts scene. Paparoa National Park is home to a plethora of luxuriant coastal forests, limestone cliffs, canyons, caves and underground streams, and an absolutely spectacular coastline, all packed into one national park.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Road ride on a stretch of highway that has been voted one of the most scenic roads in the world! Expect some hills but extensive views of coastline, totally rewarding!
Walks and Hikes: If you're up for an early start then head out to the okarito trig for fantastic views of the Southern Alps as the sun comes up. Once we reach Punakaiki there are a number of different trails you can explore to get the best out of our visit to Paparoa Nati
Optional Activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks & blow holes (free!), Paddleboarding, River canoeing
Available Upgrades: Yes (limited)
Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours

Day 14Punakaiki to MarahauB, D

Leaving Punakaiki mid-morning we make our way inland through the majestic Buller Gorge to one of our favourite National Parks, Abel Tasman. In one of the sunniest areas of the country you will discover beautiful secluded bays and stunning golden sands. There are all kinds of options to experience the park but on the day we arrive it's all about getting a birds eye view by skydiving over the area. If you're not keen for this adrenaline activity we'll take you to camp and you can explore from there. Our campsite is located near the entrance to the park and we will be staying here for 3 nights to give you every chance to explore all corners of the park.

New Zealand has a range of fantastic national parks but this is our favourite - maybe it's due to the golden sandy beaches, twisting rocky outcrops, turquoise clear waters and beautiful hidden bays. The park is also home to a range of life from dolphins and orcas to tuis and bellbirds. Whether from the ground, water or air the Abel Tasman never fails to disappoint aspiring photographers looking for the perfect beach shot!

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Bike Rides: Riding the Great Taste Trail, biking past a local beer brewer, local fruit and vegetable roadside stands, a hill to get those legs pumping, a brilliant mountain bike park and views of golden sand and invitingly warm waters, what more can you ask for?!
Walks and Hikes: Enjoy an afternoon or evening walk into Abel Tasman National Park from camp (yes that rights, it’s on your backdoor step).
Optional Activities: Skydiving
Available Upgrades: Yes
Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours

Day 15Abel Tasman National ParkB, L

Taking time to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand - there are excellent options for everyone here.

You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal-clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chances for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!)

Explore the heart of the park on one of our most highly rated optional activities - canyoning high flow waterfalls and rapids! Tonight, we’ll be eating at a local hang out, The Fat Tui (own cost)

Walks: Abel Tasman National Park track

Bike rides: Kaiteriteri bike park

Activities (own cost): Single & multi-day kayaking options, canyoning, sailing, horse-riding, water-taxi / walk, conservation tour, conservation projects (free)

Cabin upgrades: dorm bed (shared room) $12pp, basic single from $50, basic double from $18pp

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Day 16Abel Tasman National ParkB, L

We spend another full day at the doorstep to New Zealand’s smallest, but most visited national park and our personal favourite, the Abel Tasman National Park.

Walks: Abel Tasman National Park track

Bike rides: Kaiteriteri bike park

Activities (own cost): Single & multi-day kayaking options, canyoning, sailing, horse-riding, water-taxi / walk, conservation tour, conservation projects (free)

Cabin upgrades: dorm bed (shared room) $12pp, basic single from $50, basic double from $18pp

Meals: breakfast & lunch

Day 17Marahau to PictonB

Today we head through sunny Nelson on our way to Picton. In addition to being one of the sunniest areas of NZ its home to more than 350 working artists and craftspeople creating traditional, contemporary and Maori arts. If finishing your tour in Nelson you will leave us on arrival by 11am.

After a short stopover we leave Nelson for wine country – Marlborough, home to some of the World’s best known grapes and we will be treating you to a free tasting in one of their best vineyards. On route to the winery we’ll make a stop Pelorus bridge, a Hobbit film location and great place for a quick dip on a warm day. If finishing your tour in Picton you will leave us by 5pm.

Meals: Breakfast
Bike Rides: 14-16km off road and road cycling
Walks and Hikes: Walk to the geographical centre of New Zealand
Available Upgrades: n/a
Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours

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