Haka Tours 13 Day Backyard Beauties Itinerary


Wellington to Kaikoura

Packed with quirky cafes and beautiful street art, and famous for its wind, Wellington will blow you away in more ways than one! Your guide will introduce you to some of our favourite spots this morning. If there wasn’t a chance yesterday we’ll take a trip up Mount Victoria for the best views in town.

This afternoon we say farewell to the North Island with a scenic ferry journey across the Cook Strait. The South Island has a stunning welcome in store for us – gliding through the Marlborough Sounds as we approach Picton Harbour, you’ll feel like you’re in another world.

Our next destination, Kaikōura literally means “to eat crayfish”, and the area is teeming with them. The nutrient-rich waters of this area attract a wide variety of marine wildlife including the stars of the show – the whales and dolphins.


Kaikoura to Chirstchurch

The chance to swim with dolphins in the wild is a massive New Zealand highlight for many travellers, and Kaikōura is one of the best places to find them, with pods of up to 300 of these playful creatures hanging out here at any one time.

If you want to get up close to the giants of the ocean, a whale watching tour here is the way to do it. Humpbacks, sperm whales and orca all stop by at various times of year, so this is a great chance to meet some of them.

After visiting the local seals on our way out of town, our road trip continues to our home for the night – Christchurch, known as the 'Garden City' for its peaceful parklands and lazy rivers.


Kaikoura Whale Watching


High Country Lake Tekapo

This tour starts in Christchurch. After having breakfast and exploring the city centre of Christchurch, we head to Lake Tekapo. We leave the city today westwards through the Canterbury Plains, Stopping at at Lake Tekapo for a fantastic photo opportunity. Tekapo is one of three significant lakes that border the Mackenzie Valley. 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 its shores and the views to our highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook are remarkable.

You may want to check out the Southern Alps in a Hot Air Balloon or take a Scenic Flight. (not included)

This who area is one of the worlds first 'Dark Sky Reserves' so stargazing is amazing.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Tekapo - 1 Night



Tekapo - Queenstown

After breakfast it's a hike up Mt John to enjoy amazing views of the Southern Alps. Then we journey South from Mount Cook and through the high country towns of Twizel and Omarama before entering the beautiful Lindis Pass, the pass offers a unique mountain and tussock grassland scenery - Lindis Pass Scenic Reserve was formed in 1976 and was one of the first tussock reserves in New Zealand.

On your way you may want to Bungy Jump at Kawarau Gorge or take pictures of the amazing landscapes.

The scenery changes from rugged ranges and mirror lakes to the winding Kawarau River Gorge before emerging into the lush green farmland surrounding Queenstown.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Queenstown - 2 Nights

Queenstown Wharf


Explore Queenstown

Today relax and enjoy the stunning lakes & rivers - there is a bounty of vineyards, cafes and restaurants scattered throughout the wider district of QueenstownArrowtown and the Gibbston Valley. 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. 

Recommended excursions around Queenstown.

Routeburn Day WalkHighest Bungey JumpExplore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon      Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise  Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail

Meals: Breakfast

Jet Boat Queenstown


Over the Crown Range to Wanaka

Today our first discovery is nestled beside the Arrow River - the postcard-perfect village of Arrowtown, where the pioneer gold mining era comes alive. Continuing on we drive into tussock country and climb the road into the Crown Range looking out to sweeping views of the Gibbston Valley.

Explore Lake Wanaka in the afternoon by foot, bike or boat. You either may want to choose to go Skydiving in Wanaka, to have a Tiger Moth Aerobatic Plane Ride, to do a Bike Tour or to enjoy a Lake Cruise & Island Nature Walk. (activities not included)

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Wanaka - 1 Night

Lake Wanaka
Offering uninterrupted views of stunning Lake Wanaka and the famed Southern Alps, the YHA Travellers Lodge in Wanaka is the best choice for quality budget accommodation with a 4 Star Qualmark rating. They have a great range of facilities to make your stay enjoyable and comfortable beds after long days exploring. With a fantastic kitchen, relaxing dining area, pool table and deck to enjoy.
YHA Wanaka is a home away from home.


The West Coast / Glacier Country

Spend the morning enjoying Wanaka, perhaps go on a Bike Tour or a Lake Cruise & Island Nature Walk. (optional & cost not included)

Continue your journey this afternoon and travel along the rugged West Coast Road and over the Haast Pass. Discover the rich alpine rainforest the Gates of Haast is a lost world that’s so spectacular and remote that UNESCO designated it a World Heritage area.

The magnificent Franz Josef Glacier is widely regarded as the gem of New Zealand’s West Coast glaciers. Take the opportunity to experience the most spectacular glacier environment anywhere in the world, offering a range of glacier hiking options.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Franz Josef - 2 Nights

Wild West Coast

The YHA Franz Josef is placed right in the heart of Franz Josef and has Franz Josef and Fox Glacier right on its doorstep. And in case you are keen to take the backdoor you will directly find the west coast rainforest in front of you 


Franz Josef & Region

Today learn to carve a pounamu pendant (greenstone/jade) with your group. (included) Afterwards there is free time to explore. Many adventures await - try a Glacier Heli Hike, a Scenic Helicopter Flight with Snow Landing or how about a Kayaking Tour deep into the rain-forest. If you feel like relaxing there are steamy hot springs to chill and soak.

Meals: Breakfast

Franz Josef Glacier


Franz Josef - Punakaiki

Your destination today is Punakaiki. The heaving, rugged swells of the Tasman Sea have carved the coastline of the South Island’s West Coast over millions of years, creating unique, otherworldly geological formations. Nowhere is this effect on the landscape more profound than on the Punakaiki coastline. Here, sandstone cliffs and ravines tower high above the ocean, complete with hundreds of horizontal slices along their vertical faces, closely resembling huge stacks of Pancake Rocks.

Deep inside these formations lie narrow, vertical air shafts that are met with horizontal tunnels. Around high tide or during stormy weather, ocean swells rush through these blowholes, throwing up columns of dazzling ocean spray high into the air. When the sun is peeking through spectacular cloud formations at the same time, reaching its rays through the columns of water, the effect is dazzling.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Punakaiki - 2 Nights

punakaiki Aerial Photo


Punakaiki - A Wild Coast & Unusual Rock Formations

This morning check out the famous Pancake Rocks.

This afternoon there is time for some very cool activities. You could hike through the amazing coastal rainforest and explore stunning west coast beaches. You may like to try out an underground rafting and glowworm adventure or perhaps try kayaking, horseback riding or explore the region's underground caves. (cost not included) 

How about spending the night on the beach around a bonfire enjoying this remote and beautiful location.

Meals: Breakfast

Pancake Rocks


Punakaiki to Abel Tasman National Park

Cruising up north from Punakaiki, the scenery gets better and better. The powerful, untouched coastline gives way to rivers and gorges before we drive over the hills and down towards the bayside town of Nelson, to stock up on supplies before our next remote hideaway. 

Marahau, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, boasts golden beaches, tranquil lagoons and crystal clear waters. Abel Tasman is the perfect contrast to the wildness of the rainforests and mountains.

Golden beaches border the translucent turquoise sea, and sandy estuaries fringed by natural forests. The walking tracks here, both in land and coastal are famous for their outstanding beauty. Walking or Kayaking or kicking back ion one of the many beaches is what its all about. Plus you have the added bonus of face-to-face encounters with marine wildlife.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Abel Tasman - 2 Nights

Sandy Beach


Abel Tasman National Park

Get to know the amazing Abel Tasman National Park.

Perhaps paddle a kayak to Split Apple Rock or jump, slide, abseil, float and zipline on an unforgettable canyoning adventure. How about a daring Sky  Jump or a day Sailing Adventure - There are plenty of things to see and do. (cost not included) Your helpful guide is more than willing to organize anything you may want to do.

​​​​​​Meals: Breakfast

Hiking Abel Tasman


Abel Tasman to Wellington

Today is the last day of your tour!

You’ll start things off by learning to paddle a traditional waka (Māori war canoe). Experience a karakia (blessing for protection), and learn tikanga (waka etiquette) all while getting out on the water to enjoy this unique included activity.

Our road trip continues along the northern edge of the South Island this afternoon. We’ll make a quick stop at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve (a film location for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) and make our way through Havelock as we wind our way towards Picton to catch the afternoon ferry to Wellington.

As the lights of Picton Harbour fade into the night, relax on board together for a chilled evening.

The tour officially finishes at 8pm tonight in Wellington, but your accommodation tonight is included.


  • Paddle a Waka (Māori war canoe)
  • Visit Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve
  • Cook Strait Ferry Crossing to Wellington

*Although your accommodation for this evening is included, breakfast tomorrow morning will be at your own cost*

Accommodation Wellington - 1 Night

Wellington Statue Waterfront

"Wellington's best hostel" Lonely Planet, 2015. The YHA Wellington is one of the most centrally located hostels in Wellington. With a location like this, it is ideal for everything Wellington has to offer. With quality rooms and a vibrant atmosphere with espresso bar, Wellingtons YHA is a great place to stay.

Wellington Front


Please contact us for current pricing and availability

Tour Inclusions:

  • 2 nights in Queenstown
  • 2 nights in the Abel Tasman National Park
  • 2 nights in Franz Josef
  • 2 nights in Punakaiki
  • Interislander Ferry ride
  • Paddle a waka (Maori canoe)
  • Carve your own Pounamu (jade) pendant
  • Expert Tour Guide
  • All transport
  • 12 x nights’ accommodation (max 6 share, upgrades available)
  • All maps, passes and shuttles
  • Daily breakfast
  • All maps, detailed trail advice and recommendations
  • Small group sizes (16 max)
  • Guided tour of every location. We show you places you would miss when travelling on a bus pass
  • Plus many surprise stops on the way
Map of the 12 Day South Island Adrenalin Junkie Tour

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What Amelia says about this tour: These tours are Fun with a capital F. Rather than locking you down to certain activities - you decide what suits you whether it be bungy jumping or skydiving. Travelling with like minded young 18-35 year olds - this tour hits all the high notes.
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