16
days

New Zealand South Island Encompassed (18 to 39)

This adventure trip incorporates hiking, kayaking, cycling and even bungee jumping across a variety of landscapes including rainforests, glaciers and gorgeous coastline. Exciting even when you’re not moving, accommodations include a seasonal floating boat hostel and a wilderness hostel deep in the rainforest. Unique? You bet.

Excursion to Abel Tasman National Park, Seal Colony Visit, Hike Paparoa National Park and Lake Matheson, Sea kayaking in Doubtful Sound, Cycling Excursion in Central Otago.

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Itinerary

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1
WELLINGTON - Our cool little Capital

Rest your legs this morning as we drive south through rolling hill country to the capital city of Wellington. The rest of the afternoon is yours, so take your time as you stroll along the fabulous waterfront and through the busy streets of this buzzing wee city. Absorb some of New Zealand’s history in the national museum - Te Papa, explore the waterfront or simply get lost admiring the heritage houses along one of the many improbably steep streets. Nowhere is very far in Wellington. You are spoilt for choice for places to dine this evening, so take your pick.

Suggested outings in and around Wellington.

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

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Nomads Wellington (or similar)

2
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 and Dinner

Accommodation Aqua Packers Farm (or similar)

3
Hiking the Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Hike and explore Abel Tasman's golden beaches and waterways. Walk along the Coastline Track from Anchorage to Marahau to one of the world's most scenic golden sand beaches. French names left by Dumont d’Urville and his crew add character to this part of the Abel Tasman Track. After Yellow Point it turns inland, winding in and out of several little gullies before emerging in open country overlooking Torrent Bay and the coast and islands to the north. On the far side of the estuary the track passes through open country to Tinline Bay.
 
The track rounds Guilbert Point to Apple Tree Bay then passes through beech forest with large kanuka trees. After Yellow Point it turns inland, winding in and out of several little gullies before emerging in open country overlooking Torrent Bay and the coast and islands to the north.
 
Time: 4 hours   Distance: 12.4 km (7.5 mi)

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Old MacDonalds Farm (or similar)

4
PUNAKAIKI - Wild Coast, Seals and Beautiful Rock Formations

Today we head south down the coast of black-sand beaches. The West Coast is wild and untamed, sparsely populated but the views are impressive.

Seal Colony - Cape Foulwind
Stop by a viewing platform over a New Zealand fur seal colony at Cape Foulwind. Female seals will live in the same colony for the duration of their lives, whereas male seals move around more. The males visit the Cape Foulwind colony between late November and mid-January for mating season. All seasons offer plenty of activity to check out, from mating to the raising of baby pups and feeding out at sea.

Pancake Rocks Trek
​Walk along a loop trail with informative signs detailing how the 'Pancake Rocks' were formed millions of years ago. When the trail reaches the coast, there are many lookouts for photo stops and beautiful views of the coast, the rocks and the blowholes found along the area.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Te Nikau (or similar)

5
Paparoa National Park - Welcome to the Jurassic

Head out and get on one of the local hiking trails to explore the area, or hike some of the trails in nearby beautiful Paparoa National Park. There is the option to kayak the river into the Paparoa National Park or stick to the local trails for some awe inspiring day hikes - Your Friendly Guide will lead you in the right direction.

This afternoon we continue following the coastal road towards Franz Josef arriving at a unique wilderness lodge set in the rainforest for the night.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Rainforest Retreat 2 nights (or Similar)

6
Explore Franz Joseph

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
Queenstown - The Adventure Capital of the World

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and ringed by towering mountains, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s ultimate holiday destinations. It may be the adventure capital of the world, but it’s also home to an excellent food and wine scene as well as great shopping, hiking and endless opportunities to relax. It’s just as easy to go fishing, golfing, gold panning or wine tasting as it is to bungy jump or sky dive. Famed for its international winter skiing profile and outdoor beauty, Queenstown is a brilliant destination to visit year-round. One thing is certain here: you won’t run out of things to do.  

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Nomads Queenstown 3 nights (or similar)

8-9
Two Days off | Queenstown at Leisure

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: Breakfasts 

10
Fiordland Walk | doubtful sound

Today we drive deep into Fiordland and enjoy a guided interpretive bush walk in Deep Cove with a visit to the beautiful Helena Falls.

Doubtful Sound is the deepest of all fiords. A haven with its ancient rain forest and abundant wildlife it is quite simply and unquestionably breathtaking. Practically untouched by man the physical grandeur of towering peaks, outstanding waterfalls (Browne Falls cascade 619 meters (2030 feet) to the fiord near Hall Arm) and lack of wind create a powerful atmosphere of solitude and serenity. See Fiordland crested penguins, bottlenose dolphins and New Zealand fur seals.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Deep Cove Lodge 1 night (or similar)

11
Kayaking The Sound of Silence | Wedderburn

Throw on a life jacket, pick up a paddle and prepare to be wowed during this 3-4 hour kayaking trip through New Zealand's largest national park. Paddle through icy clear waters below towering cliffs and waterfalls and marvel at the moss-covered slopes and verdant rainforest terrain. Spot dolphins, seals and penguins below while birds soar above.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Wedderburn Cottages 2 nights (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

13
Christchurch - The Garden City

New Zealand’s second-largest city 'Christchurch' has bounced back after a series of major earthquakes, and has shown its resiliency with a number of new and exciting developments popping up everywhere. Don’t miss the Re Start shopping area, made out of shipping containers, as well as the many funky Pop Up bars dotted throughout the city. All public services and spaces are running as normal, and Christchurch continues to be a vibrant city to live, work and play. 

Some suggested excursions if you have time.

Easygoing Cycling Tour Punting the Avon River Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise
Māori Cultural Evening French Akaroa Tour Southern Alps Ballooning
Christchurch Gondola Clearwater Golf Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Jailhouse Accommodation 1 night (or similar)

14
Kaikoura - Serengeti of the Sea

The road to kaikoura has impressive coastal views, roaring surf, rocky bays dotted with fur seals sunbathing on rocks. The township of Kaikoura is a great place for lunch, take the opportunity to join an excursion to get up close and personal with dolphins, seals, whales and other sea creatures.

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 and Dinner

Accommodation Dusky Lodge 1 night (or similar)

15
Wine Country | Wellington

After lunch continue your journey through Marlborough to Picton. Marlborough is the engine room of the New Zealand wine industry. In the 1970's the plains would have been filled by sheep - now it  is vines as far as the eye can see, producing world cool climate varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Continuing north the vines will keep you company as you reach Blenheim. A 25 minute drive north of Blenheim you will find Picton the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds and your final leg an Interisland Cruise to Wellington.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Nomads Wellington (or similar)

16
Homeward Bound

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

We know you will enjoy the 'New Zealand South Island Encompassed Adventure Tour' and our promise to you 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