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New Zealand—South Island Encompassed

Tour Map

Tour style - Active & Adrenaline, Chill out & Beach

15 days

Looking to tackle a bundle of different environments all in one go? New Zealand’s South Island has what you need and then some. Action is the common thread throughout this trip that incorporates hiking, kayaking, cycling and even bungee jumping across a variety of landscapes, including rainforests, glaciers and some of the most gorgeous coastline you’ll ever see. This trip is exciting even when you’re not moving; accommodations include a seasonal floating boat hostel and a wilderness hostel deep in the rainforest itself. Unique? You bet.
  • Day 1 Wellington

    Arrive in Wellington at any time. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. Please try to arrive before 7pm for an important group welcome meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Afterwards, opt for a night out on the town. Wellington has an abundance of nightlife, bars, cafes and restaurants all located on and around the entertainment district of Courtenay Place. Please note: if you have pre-booked Queenstown Jet Boat your CEO will inform you when you will do the activity throughout your tour, days are subject to change: Jet Boat (Day 8 - Queenstown). For more information on the Extra see the Optional Activities section. If you arrive early enough, you'll have time to head into the city to explore. Check out New Zealand's National Museum, a must-see with great displays of historical Maori artifacts and relatively modern exhibits such as the motorbike that was built in a shed and won the world championships. A short walk from our accommodation displays the sights of the coastal central business district. Wellington is renowned for its coffee – be sure to grab a cup of java from one of the many cafes. A suggested activity is to take a taxi to the nearby suburb of Miramar, and visit Weta Workshops. Here, marvel at the creative team behind the Lord Of The Rings, and many other feature films. Entrance is free.

  • Day 2-3 Abel Tasman National Park (2B,2D)

    The itinerary for Abel Tasman National Park varies in summer and winter months. SUMMER (MID NOV - MID APRIL): Catch a morning ferry and cross the scenic Cook Strait. Make sure to stand outside and enjoy the views of the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. Disembark and transfer to Abel Tasman National Park, well-known for its stunning white sand beaches. Board a water taxi to transfer our home in the middle of the National Park. Depending on weather conditions the night will be spent on a floating boat hostel or in a local campsite. Spend Day 3 exploring Abel Tasman National Park by following the various walks throughout the park. Walk along a coastline track to one of the world's most scenic golden sand beaches. The walk from Anchorage to Marahau is approx 12.4km (4 hours). Optional activity: sailing in the Abel Tasman. Overnight in a floating boat hostel or in a local campsite. *Please note that due to operational reasons, the following departures will be following the winter itinerary: 2013: Dec 19, Dec 23, Dec 26, Dec 30. 2014: Jan 2, Mar 17 WINTER (LATE APRIL - EARLY NOV) Catch a morning ferry and cross the scenic Cook Strait. Make sure to stand outside and enjoy the views of the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. Disembark and transfer to our bus for a journey to the Abel Tasman National Park, well-known for its stunning white sand beaches. For the next two nights we overnight in cabins in a true rural setting on the edge of the park. Day 3 starts with an beautiful water taxi ride into the Abel Tasman National Park. Walk along a coastline track to one of the world's most scenic golden sand beaches. The walk from Anchorage to Marahau is approx 12.4km (4 hours). Share stories about your day over a group meal as you complete your experience in the Abel Tasman. Optional activities: sailing and kayaking day trips in the Abel Tasman. Overnight in Cabins in a true rural setting on the edge of the park. Estimated travel time: 3 hours drive, 3 hour ferry, 30 min boat Travel distance: 200 km drive

  • Day 4 Punakaiki (1B,1D)

    Morning drive through the stunning Buller Gorge to the West Coast of the South Island. Visit the Cape Foulwind seal colony, then follow the stunning coastal road down to our beach camp in Punakaiki for the night. Opt to kayak the river into the Paparoa National Park or stick to the local trails for some day hikes. The evening offers an opportunity to express our cooking skills and create a group meal together! Estimated travel time: 4 hour drive, 30 min boat trip Travel distance: 250 km

  • Day 5-6 Franz Josef (2B,1D)

    Trek the famous Punakaiki 'Pancake Rocks' walk and continue following the coastal road towards Franz Josef arriving at a unique wilderness lodge set in the rainforest for the night. The next day is free for optional activities. Options various hikes, horseback riding and quad biking. Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 220 km

  • Day 7-9 Queenstown (3B)

    Early start to travel to the picturesque Lake Matheson. When the weather is right you can get a great photo of the Southern Alps reflected in the lake. Follow the wild West Coast Road, through the rainforest before stopping for some small walks and waterfall visits. Adrenaline junkies will be happy with a stop at the world's original commercial bungee site. Opt to take the plunge or simply observe the site where it all started while getting some great pictures of those who do decide to jump. Days 8 and 9 are free days to maximize time for all the optional activities in the area. Opt for a jet boating outing, bungee jumping, mountain biking, sky diving, or a vineyard tour. The options in this adventure capital are endless. Three nights at a centrally-located hostel means that fitting everything in won't be too hard. *Please note - in the winter months (late April - early Nov) skiing and snowboarding in the Southern Alps is a highlight for any visitor. Most of the aforementioned activities are also available, ask your CEO which ones are in season. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 365 km

  • Day 10 Doubtful Sound (1B,1L,1D)

    Travel to Fiordland National Park, one of the most stunningly rugged places on earth - think 'Lord of the Rings' country. Take a boat across Lake Manapouri to meet the local kayaking guides. Spend the afternoon on a guided 3 hour interpretive bush walk in deep cove with a visit to Helena Falls. The night is spent in a lodge on the edge of Doubtful Sound. The following day we engage in a 4-5 hour kayaking trip through the national park below towering cliffs and waterfalls while admiring the wild rainforest terrain. Spot dolphins, seals and penguins as the abundant birdlife surrounds you. Note: Depending on weather the walk and kayak may be reversed to fall on different days. Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 250 km

  • Day 11-12 Central Otago (2B,1D)

    Spend the morning paddling back to the wharf, then transfer by bus to the historic central Otago mining counry. Overnight in a historic miners hotel. The next day, drive to one of the best starting points of the Historic Otago Rail Trail. Spend the better part of the day cycling (easy gradient) through stunning scenery along 35km of the old rail trail. In the evening opt to try your hand at luging and/or curling at the only year-round curling facility in Australasia. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 350 km

  • Day 13 Christchurch (1B)

    Drive through breathtaking central Otago, stopping at historic towns to buy supplies for a picnic lunch. Arrive to Christchurch in the early afternoon, stretch the legs with a short walk through Hagley park to the downtown district. Get to know sights around the central business district and witness the rebuilding that is going on in this recently devastated city. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 400 km

  • Day 14 Kaikoura (1B)

    Early start to drive the scenic coastal road to Kaikoua. The views are breathtaking in this small town where the mountains meet the ocean. This area is well-known as one of the primer spots in the world to go Sperm Whale watching. A free afternoon can also be spent swimming with dolphins, visiting a colony of Southern Fur seals, or taking a scenic flight over the peninsula. Bird watchers will be pleased to know that big ocean birds such as albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters frequent the area. Hikers can opt to go on several day hikes in the Seaward Kaikoura mountains, part of the Southern Alps range, that provide an excellent backdrop to the town's picturesque landscape. On of the most popular routes is climbing Mt. Fyffe for panoramic views of the peninsula. Estimated travel time: 3 hours Travel distance: 200 km

  • Day 15 Wellington (1B)

    Visit the seal colony before embarking on the ferry from Picton to Wellington. The ferry arrives into Wellington from Picton at around 17:00 and the tour ends upon arrival into Wellington. Feel free to book onward travel after 8pm. We highly recommend pre- or post-accommodation to fully explore this vibrant city. Estimated travel time: 2 hours Travel distance: 150 km

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