15
days

The Awesome South Island Adventure Tour (18 to 39s)

New Zealands South Island is the perfect place for an adventure holiday.  Covering ground (or water) by kayak, boat, bike, and on foot. If you're not out of breath just from reading all that, then it's probably time to start packing. This adventure suits anyone with the right attitude but generally speaking those that join are between 18 to 35 years old.

Kayak in the Waters of Abel Tasman, Trek in True Wilderness of our Best National Parks, Adrenaline in Queenstown, Cross the Spectacular Southern Alps, Cycle the Remote Rail Trail in Central Otago.

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Itinerary

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1
Welcome to Wellington, New Zealand!

Wellington is compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums, theater and all kinds of shops. Dance, theater and musical performances are a Wellington specialty. As New Zealand’s capital, this city is rich in political history.

Tonight, the adventure begins. Feel free to explore Wellington if you have arrived early, there is plenty to see and do — there will be a group meeting and trip briefing later in the day.

Suggested outings if you have free time today.

National Museum - Te Papa Visit Cuba Street Weta Workshop Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Reserve  Wellington Cable Car
 
Carter Observatory 

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Nomads Travellers Lodge 1 night (or similar)

2
InterIsland Ferry - Abel Tasman National Park

Travel by InterIsland Ferry to the South Island, travel to Marahau at the start of the Park and then transfer by water taxi into Abel Tasman National Park.

Abel Tasman National Park

Golden beaches border the translucent turquoise sea, and sandy estuaries fringed by natural forests. The walking tracks here, both in land and costal, are world famous for their outstanding beauty. Walking and Kayaking and then just kicking back on one of the many unspoilt beaches you will discover along the way is what its all about. Plus you have the added bonus of face-to-face encounters with marine wildlife and birds. The Abel Tasman National Park is home to the ever-entertaining seal colony and who knows you may be lucky enough to spot visiting dolphins and Orcas playing in the Abel Tasman National Park waters.

Meals: Breakfast 

Accommodation Aqua-Packers Abel Tasman 1 night (weather dependent)

3
Kayak the Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park at a pleasant pace by sea kayak. Take part in a safety briefing and preparation, then head out into the water to glide in and out of the bays and islets on the route to Marahau. Look for nesting seabirds and tiny islands, and enjoy amazing views along the way. Take time to explore deserted golden sand bleaches of this beautiful National Park. 

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Old MacDonalds Farm 1 night (or similar)

4
Hiking Paparoa National Park - Welcome to the Jurassic

The Paparoa National Park is stunning today enjoy 7 kilometer (up to 4.3 mile) hike through luxuriant coastal forest surrounded by limestone cliffs and canyons and an absolutely spectacular coastline. We also visit the bizarre ‘pancake-stack’ coastal formations that attract visitors to the area. These famous Pancake Rocks, make up a limestone landscape of pancake-shaped rock formations and furious blowholes that spew jets of salt water, with a thunderous boom, some 20 meters (65 foot) in the air.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Te Nikau Retreat 1 night (or similar)

5
OKARITO LAGOON Bird SANCTUARY

Continue south along the coast towards Franz Josef, stopping for a walk at Okarito Lagoon, a haven for wildlife, that includes a variety of landscapes on the path through the estuary out through the wetlands. Walk through the wetlands of Okarito Lagoon, bordered by forest and surrounded by nature. Enjoy spectacular views all the way up to the mountains on a clear day. Take the time to soak in the scenery - the walk is gentle and includes a variety of landscapes on the path through the estuary out through the wetlands.

Spend 2 nights staying amongst verdant temperate rainforest.

Meals: Breakfast​

Accommodation Rainforest Retreat 2 nights (or similar)

6
Franz Josef Glacier

Spend the day exploring the stunning region around Franz Josef. Opt for various hiking adventures in the area, the most popular being a glacier trek. If relaxing is more your style, there are shorter day hikes and bush walks or local hot pools to take a dip. You are in the heart of Westland National Park, considered to be the most diverse and beautiful area in New Zealand.

Excursions available in and around the Franz Josef area:

Kayak Okarito Lagoon    Glacier Hot Pools    Glacier Scenic Flight
Horseback Riding   Walk to Glacier Face Glacier Heli-hike

 

Meals: Breakfast 

7
TE WAHI POUNAMU WORLD HERITAGE AREA | MAKARORA

Travel through Te Wahi Pounamu World Heritage Area to Makarora, where you can spend the afternoon exploring the area by foot, or opt for a jet boat excursion or scenic flight. See for yourself the views that make New Zealand famous - jagged mountains, snowy peaks, and clear blue waters. Wander among fjords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes, and waterfalls, and enjoy breathtaking scenery. Don't forget your camera!

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Makarora Cottages 1 night (or similar)

8
Queenstown

Travel into the heart of Central Otago, stopping at the resort town of Wanaka. Continue onto the "adventure capital of the world," Queenstown.

This sophisticated all-season town enjoys the best of both worlds offering bespoke and authentic luxury experiences in beautifully natural settings hosted by our naturally warm and welcoming people. You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to enjoy Queenstown and part of its charm is the array of less hectic quality activities on offer – but if interested Queenstown is home to the ultimate adventure bucket list – Just ask.

Meals: Breakfast)

Accommodation Nomads Travellers Lodge 2 nights (or similar)

9
Queenstown - Adventure Capital of the World

Explore everything Queenstown has to offer and do it your way on a day of leisure. You can get your adrenaline pumping with a thrilling Wilderness Jet Boat Ride  or if you prefer something more relaxing like a wine tour in the stunning vineyards of the Gibbston Valley, you won’t be disappointed. 

Recommended Queenstown excursions:

Routeburn Track Guided Day Walk Explore Historic Arrowtown Highest Bungy Jump
Wine Tasting Tour Central Otago Biking Skippers Canyon Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise Dart River Jetboat Safari Gibbston Valley Wine Trail
 

Meals: Breakfast

10
Milford Sound Scenic Cruise

When it comes to visiting New Zealand’s famous Milford Sound, the journey is just as amazing as the destination. The Milford Road winds through the heart of Fiordland National Park; showcasing beautiful, tussock-filled valleys; stunning lakes, soaring mountains and rugged granite cliffs. Allow plenty of time for this 291km (180 mile) journey, as opportunities for spectacular photos await around every corner. There are a number of short nature walks dotted along the road as well. 

At Milford Sound join an informative cruise that sails the full length of Milford Sound - highlights such as the 150m (492 ft) Stirling falls, and the immensity of the high peaks above ranging from 300m to 900m (1000 to 3000 ft.).

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Accommodation Milford Sound Lodge 1 night (or similar)

11
Te Anau - Gateway to Fiordland National Park

Continue onto Te Anau with a free day to explore the area surrounding Lake Te Anau, including the start of the Kepler Track. Te Anau is a township of tranquil beauty nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau. It is located close to the main southern walking tracks such as the Hollyford, Routeburn and Greenstone Tracks, Kepler, being a circular track, starts and finishes in Te Anau and is one of the newest tracks in Fiordland National Park.
 
Other activities based at Te Anau include flight seeing, fishing, kayaking, sailing and horse riding as well as a variety of trips on the lake itself. You can also visit the underground waterfall and glow-worm grotto of the Te Anau Caves. This mountainous region of unspoilt forests and lakes was the home of two of the more remote regions of the Lord of the Rings movies.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Te Anau Lake View Holiday Park 1 night (or similar)

12
Mountain-biking a Section of the Otago Rail Trail

This morning we head into Central Otago to spend the afternoon cycling from best starting points of the Historic Central Otago Rail Trail 42 km (26 mi). Pass through scenery unspoiled by traffic and not visible from any roads. 

Highlights include seeing The Rock and Pillar Range, this is Otago's most distinctive upland features; its summit ridge dominated by impressive schist tors or rocky pillars. The Taieri River, the Kakanui Mountains, the trail provides beautiful scenery and a peaceful scenic atmosphere

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Wedderburn Cottages 1 night (or similar)

13
Southern Alps - Christchurch

Drive through breathtaking central Otago via the Lindis Pass onto Mount Cook National Park - A Fantasy Land of Ice and Rock. Mt Cook National Park, known for its exquisite alpine beauty and is home to the highest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook. Its Maori name, ‘Aoraki’ means ‘cloud piercer’ and at 12,016ft (3,755m) it towers above the surrounding snow-covered peaks in the park.

Tekapo is one of three significant, neighboring lakes that border the Mackenzie Valley in New Zealand's South Island. Golden tussock grass carpets the surrounding hillside and roll away into the distance where the Southern Alps frame the horizon. The charming 'Church of the Good Shepherd' sits alone on Lake Takapo's shores and the views to our highest mountain, Mt Cook, are remarkable. Then the landscape transforms itself into leafy farmland that follows you all the way to the Garden City of Christchurch.

Meal: Breakfast

Accommodation ​Jailhouse Christchurch 1 night (or similar)

14
Kaikoura - Serengeti of the Sea

Up for an early start to drive the scenic coastal route north to Kaikoura. Known as the Serengeti of the Sea, Kaikoura’s unique submarine environment supports a phenomenal array of marine life. And it’s not just marine mammals that can be experienced up-close here – Kaikoura is one of the world’s most exciting arenas from which to view ocean birds (pelagic).  Hikers can opt to go on several day hikes in the Seaward Kaikoura mountains.

Suggested Wildlife Encounters in Kaikoura

Whale Watching Cruise Swim with the Seals in Kaikoura
Whale Watching Flight Kaikoura Dusky Dolphin Viewing or Swimming
Kayaking with Fur Seals Albatross & Pelagic Bird Watching Kaikoura

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Dusky Lodge 1 night (or similar) 

15
Wellington | Homeward Bound

Transfer to Picton and visit a seal colony along the way before taking the ferry back to Wellington where the tour ends upon arrival. Onward travel can be booked after 8pm. Ferry Picton – Wellington 3h 30m Sail across the Cook Strait to Wellington.

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We know you will love this tour of New Zealand and our promise is to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Meals: Breakfast