WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
The South Island is home to both the very best scenery and extreme activities in New Zealand, which make it perfect for travelling adrenalin seekers, or simply those just looking to see the must see sights of New Zealand.
Our 12 day tour will take you from Christchurch to Wellington, via Queenstown, Lake Tekapo, Franz Joseph, Abel Tasman and even Milford Sound.
If you’re looking for an extreme action packed way to see this country, then look no further. You’ll be happy to know we spend 2 nights in Queenstown, the adrenalin capital of the world! You'll have plenty of opportunities to get your blood racing with the range of add-on activities available to you, such as skydiving, bungy jumping, kayaking and more.
Our tour is a complete package which includes all of your accommodation, transport and a local kiwi guide that will show you the best of each location you visit!
Day 1: Christchurch to Lake Tekapo:
Your day begins with an orientation tour of Christchurch’s surrounding area. After lunch, you will head south to Lake Tekapo.
You will be heading to a picturesque lakeside village, which is a ski resort through the winter and an aquatic playground in the summer.
Day 2: Lake Tekapo to Queenstown:
After enjoying the morning at Lake Tekapo, you will leave for Queenstown around mid-morning. You will take a break at one of the many salmon farms along the drive to allow you to feed the salmon and taste some sashimi. After heading past Lake Pukaki and Mt. Cook (the highest mountain in New Zealand) and through the village of Omarama there may also be the chance to go wine tasting just outside of Queenstown.
Once in Queenstown you will be given an orientation tour of the town centre before taking the evening gondola up the hill to view your spectacular new surroundings. The nightlife in the town is also second to none and there is always something going on no matter what day it is.
Day 3: Queenstown:
On day 3 you have a whole day to spend in Queenstown. You will have the opportunity to get involved in a range of add-on activities, including bungee jumping, skydiving, canyon swinging, quad biking, or even a visit to Milford Sound. These activities will incur and additional fee, which you will need to factor in to your own costs. Alternatively you may wish to just continue exploring the landscape on your own accord.
Day 4: Queenstown to Wanaka:
After exploring a bit more of Queenstown in the morning, you will be taken over the Crown Range along the highest inland road in the country. Along the way, we will stop for a cup of coffee in the oldest pub in New Zealand, the Cardrona Hotel. You may also have the chance to stop at Cardrona Adventure Park where more add-on activities are available including the opportunity to drive monster trucks for an additional fee.
The end of the drive will take you to the picturesque lakes of Wanaka and Hawea. Over 1,300 feet deep and an incredible blue, both lakes are fringed by breathtaking mountain ranges. Wake-boarding, water-skiing, lake cruise and swimming are high in the agenda during summer. In the winter, Wanaka transforms into a snow sports paradise.
Day 5: Wanaka to Franz Josef:
Wake up with uninterrupted views of the stunning Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. Again there is a range of add-on activities available in the morning for an additional fee, including skydiving with views of Fox Glacier and Mt Cook in the distance, acrobatic flights and wakeboarding.
With heaps to see and do along our drive today we set off after any activities, passing along the shores of Lake Hawea to the Haast Pass. This journey encompasses spectacular scenery as you travel from mountainous alpine surrounds to the luxuriant rainforest of the West Coast. You will stop off en-route at Roaring Billy Falls, a stunning waterfall and one of our favourites.
Day 6: Franz Josef:
Day 6 will see you explore New Zealand’s glacier country, with a visit to the Franz Joseph glacier. Guided treks onto the glacier itself are available as an add-on for an additional fee, which can be arranged locally. Alternatively our guide will take you as close to the bottom of the glacier as possible.
The Franz Josef glacier is unique in that whereas most glaciers are retreating, Franz still flows almost to sea level. Surrounding the glacier is a stunning landscape of temperate rainforest of ancient podocarp trees and other evergreen species. The combination of ice and temperate rainforest is a unique feature of New Zealand's glacier country and is an ecosystem found nowhere else on the planet.
Day 7: Franz Josef to Punakaiki:
The road from Franz Josef to Punakaiki is one of the most spectacular drives in the world! You will head to the beautiful west coast, a rugged primeval landscape of luxuriant rainforest juxtaposed against breath-taking beach and ocean waves.
You will pass through Ross, a town that arose from gold mining. The gold rush days of the second half of the 19th century were largely responsible for opening up the West Coast for settlement. Before this there was a small number of Maori who searched for greenstone, or Jade. You may have the opportunity to visit a Jade factory in Hokitika along the way.
You will end your drive in Te Nikau Retreat, a favourite on the tour. This resort boasts spacious cabins and lodges in a peaceful rainforest beside the coast. Take this opportunity to relax. Bond with your fellow travellers and develop long lasting friendships!
Day 8: Punakaiki:
Surfing, horse trekking, kayaking, four-wheel driving, walking or simply taking in the view are all great activities for you to choose from in Punakaiki! The region is world famous for its 'Pancake Rocks', which are huge columns of limestone resembling stacks of pancakes. With a heavy swell running at high tide, seawater is forced upwards through blowholes with an impressive roar.
Day 9: Punakaiki to Abel Tasman:
There are plenty of surprises awaiting you along the way to Abel Tasman. Exploring some awesome caves and getting acquainted with a fur seal colony may be on the list. You may also grab the chance to get involved in more adventure sports such as quad biking, extreme jet boating and river rafting along the Buller River upon reaching Westport for an extra cost.
The end of the day’s itinerary will take you to see golden beaches, tranquil lagoons, clear water, native bush, seals and bird life at Abel Tasman National Park.
Day 10: Abel Tasman:
Explore Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s smallest national park. Take a walk or kayak. Either will give you a great perspective of what the park has to offer. In the park we'll get to overnight on a boat-turned-hostel, have a BBQ together on the deck, swim off the boat and hang out together under the stars. This is one of the most unique experiences you can have in New Zealand.
Day 11: Abel Tasman to Wellington:
Azure skies, beaches, lakes, spectacular national parks, unique land forms, vineyards, gourmet cafes, artist galleries and boutique shopping experiences are only some of the offerings in-store for you in Nelson.
You may spend a few hours in Nelson before heading to Picton, where you will be catching the Inter-Islander ferry to Wellington. On the way you may have the chance to stop at Havelock, the centre of the country’s green-lipped mussel industry, to pay a quick gastronomic visit to the Mussel Pot Café and sample New Zealand’s awesome seafood!
You will board the Inter-Islander – a three hour journey penned as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. By the time we reach Wellington it will be around 10pm and so the rest of the evening is up to you! With some of the best nightlife in the country, it makes sense to take advantage of Wellington’s great bars and restaurants, many within short walking distances of the hostel.
Day 12: Wellington:
Our last stop but not by any means the least is Wellington. Wellington is a stunning and compact city. Vibrant, exciting and cultured, the nation’s capital combines the stimulation and sophistication of a big city with the quirkiness of a charming village. Your friendly Frontier tour guide will introduce you to the city with an orientation tour. Visit grand museums and the Parliament Buildings to immerse in culture. Take a drive around the bays, walk up to the lookout point at Mt. Victoria and take a cable car ride to better appreciate the stunning views. Extending just two kilometres in diameter, the capital is a truly 'walking city’.