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A 7-day loop of New Zealand's South Island, packed full of spectacular scenery & adventure
7 nights high-end hostel accommodation, in shared dorm rooms with shared facilities
Meals included: 7 breakfasts
Discover New Zealand's most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas
Take a tour of Christchurch & see its inspiring regeneration
Visit the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo
Enjoy unparalleled stargazing opportunities in Tekapo’s Dark Sky Reserve
Spend time in Arrowtown, a historic gold rush village
Carve your own pounamu (greenstone/jade) pendant in Franz Josef
Cross the stunning Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine train
Services of an expert tour manager
Transport onboard a comfortable 22-seat Toyota Coaster
7 Day South Island Lick TourSpend a week exploring New Zealand's stunning South Island, sleep amongst the glaciers in Franz Josef & discover Lake Tekapo & Queenstown!
What to Expect
If you only have a short time to explore the largest island of New Zealand, this is the tour for you!
Fall in love with New Zealand as you explore its endless turquoise lakes, majestic glaciers, dramatic mountain peaks, golden tussock lands and the picture-perfect towns of Queenstown, Wanaka and Franz Josef on this 7 Day trip!
Day 1: Christchurch to Mackenzie Country
Starting your tour off strong, you'll spend the morning exploring iconic downtown Christchurch and enjoying this quirky city, with your guide taking you through how the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here. There's plenty to see – Christchurch locals are an innovative and creative bunch, and there's tons of art around to check out. The Transitional Cathedral, created from cardboard, is also worth a look!
After lunch, you'll leave the city behind and head for Lake Tekapo. This spot will take your breath away! The lake's stunning turquoise colour and mountain backdrop are a photographer's dream! The tiny Church of the Good Shepherd stands right at the water's edge, and couples travel from all over the world for wedding shots in front of it, so chances are you'll see a bride or two!
This evening, you'll enjoy a spot of stargazing. Tekapo is declared an International Dark Sky Reserve, and the clear skies make it the best place in New Zealand to see the stars and galaxies. So sit back, relax and enjoy.
Day 2: Mackenzie Country to Queenstown
If you're feeling energetic this morning, hike up to thesummit of Mt John. With fantastic views of the Southern Alps, you'll feel on top of the world.
Speaking of views, today's scenic drive to Queenstown is a show-stopper! From the golden surrounds of Mackenzie country – where Peter Jackson filmed epic battles of Return of the King – to the dramatic peaks of the Southern Alps, it's like you're driving into a postcard.
You'll pause for lots of photo stops en route so you can snap some pics and remember this area forever. You'll make a stop at the spectacular Kawarau Gorge, which also happens to be the World Home of Bungy. Give it a go, or enjoy watching the jumpers scream as they plummet down the gorge!
Then, it's on to more adrenaline and adventure in Queenstown. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie, an avid hiker, wine taster or scenery lover, this city has something for absolutely everyone. With two nights and plenty of daylight hours here, get ready – this town certainly knows how to live life to the max!
Day 3: Queenstown
With a full day in Queenstown, it's time to tick some things off that bucket list! There are many optional activities to choose from, like paragliding over the lake,bungy jumping, horse riding through Lord of the Rings scenery, or swinging through a canyon! There are also mountain bike parks and trails to die for.
For hikers, the Ben Lomond day walk will be right up your alley. But beware, it's not for the faint-hearted! This walk is a firm tour guide favourite, and they can recommend great shorter walks too.
For scenery lovers, Milford Sound is a must-see. Whether you fly or drive, the scenery en route is as awesome as the destination. Once there, as you're sailing beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, you'll understand why some call it the "8th Wonder of the World."
Come nightfall, and you have around 40 bars to choose from! Your guide will share their favourites, and no doubt you'll discover some of your own.
Day 4: Queenstown to Wanaka
Spend one last morning in Queenstown, squeezing in any last-minute activities to get that final thrill.
Then, after the excitement of New Zealand's adventure capital, the afternoon offers the opportunity to chill. Wanaka is Queenstown's slightly quieter little sister, and it's just a one hour drive away. On the way, you'll stop in at charming Arrowtown, a historic gold rush village with heaps of character.
As you cruise into Wanaka, you'll soon see why it's considered one of New Zealand's most beautiful mountain towns. It's a seriously stunning sight blessed with towering peaks and a glacial blue lake. There are also fantastic hikes and bike rides all around the town to enjoy.
Once you've checked out the town from the ground, take to the air – it's one of the best ways to admire Wanaka. Treat yourself to an optional skydive or a scenic flight in a vintage plane... you can even take a flying lesson! If you prefer to keep your feet closer to the ground, stroll or bike around the lake and check out the famous Wanaka Tree, standing all alone in the water. As always, it's your trip and your choice!
Day 5: Wanaka to Franz Josef
After a relaxing morning in Wanaka, it's time to make the journey to Franz Josef. This town is another stunner, and the drive there is also pretty cool.
Hit the road with a stop at lakeside lookout points at Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka. Your guide will watch the weather and pick the best option.
Next, it's back on the bus and back on the road. Don't nap on this journey – from the cascading waterfalls of Haast Pass to classic Kiwi coastal views, you won't want to miss anything. Your guide will have some epic surprise photo stops and short walks along the way.
You'll roll into Franz Josef in the late afternoon/early evening. This UNESCO World Heritage area is famous for its spectacular glacier, just 5 kilometres from town, which is begging to be explored tomorrow.
Day 6: Franz Josef
After waking to snowy surroundings, your day exploring the stunning Franz Josef Glacier begins! With Aoraki/Mount Cook (New Zealand's highest mountain) twinkling behind the glaciers, Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand.
Te Wahi Pounamu, which means 'the place of greenstone' in Maori, is the name given to this part of the West Coast because of the abundance of pounamu (greenstone/jade) that you can find here. Today, you'll participate in a special activity where you'll have the opportunity to carve your very own pounamu pendant at a local gallery.
Afterwards, it's time to get stuck into the many optional activities at Franz Josef Glacier. Weather permitting, you can take a scenic helicopter flight and hike onto the glaciers! Or, maybe you'd prefer to kayak on a glacial lake; or just relax in the steamy hot springs – the choice is yours.
As well as the awesome glacier activities, you can also try out quad biking, horseback riding and even a bit of group karaoke tonight in Franz Josef.
Day 7: Franz Josef to Christchurch
It's goodbye to snowy paradise today. After breakfast, head further along the beautiful west coast on another of the most spectacular drives in the country. Prepare yourself for a rugged, ancient landscape of rainforest juxtaposed against the breathtaking beach and ocean waves.
Along the way, stop at Hokitika and visit a greenstone factory. Time permitting, you'll also visit the National Kiwi Centre, where you're guaranteed to see rare kiwi birds in their nocturnal house.
On the way back to Christchurch, you'll traverse the South Island on the stunning TranzAlpine Train Crossing. Then, travelling across the Southern Alps through Arthur's Pass, you'll arrive in Christchurch around 6.30 pm before transferring to your accommodation.
Your tour officially ends in Christchurch, so feel free to party on with your new travel buddies for as long as you like – your accommodation tonight is included so you can treat yourself to a lie-in in the morning!
Departs from the meeting point at Urbanz Accommodation, 273 Manchester Street, Christchurch (meeting location may change, please check your final documents for the confirmed location)
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Around 70% of guests are solo so you can absolutely join this, or any other tours.
Yes - but The Operator cannot guarantee availability, especially in peak times, so if there is something that is definitely on your bucket list we suggest you pre-book it as part of your tour.
Everyone has their own favourites, but in general, these are the most popular:
- Milford Sound Day Trip
- Skydiving – Wanaka
- Nevis Bungy – Queenstown
- Scenic Flight – Lake Tekapo
- Heli-Hike – Franz Josef
Your guide will supply a continental breakfast each morning of your tour. This will consist of cereal, toast, tea, coffee and juice. And they take any special requests also.
Lunches and dinners are at your own expense. The guides know the best places in each town and city depending on your budget and what you are after, and they will point these out on the way into each location.
Some nights the tour group may choose to cook a meal together. You will head to a supermarket to get everything and then cook as a group at the hostel. Whoever joins in splits the cost, and it usually works out to be about $10 NZD per person. It's a fun, social and cheap dinner.
Likewise, the tour group and guide often head out to a local pub for a beer and a meal. Meals can range from $15 upwards. In summer, it’s not uncommon to have a BBQ washed down with a few drinks.
Yes – all cafes and restaurants in New Zealand offer these options. If you can’t see any on the menu, just ask, as most places will happily prepare something for you.
The minimum age for this tour is 18 years
The Operator requires a minimum number of bookings in order for a tour to be financially viable & to have a pleasant group atmosphere
Itineraries are subject to alteration without notice & are intended as a guide only. The Operator reserves the right to change the itinerary without any notice
Some activities are strenuous in nature. Passengers should be of reasonable health and fitness and carry all required medication and accept that degrees of risk are involved. The Operator must be advised of any prior medical conditions at the time of booking
If for any reason you do need to cancel your tour there are a few things to be aware of. Your $99 is a non-refundable deposit, however, in the event that you need to cancel outside of the cancellation period The Operator will hold your deposit on file for life & this can be used towards a future departure
Upon cancellation, you will be liable to pay a fee to cover the cost of expenses incurred by The Operator at the time of booking in the below schedule. Tour Cost is inclusive of any additional activities and pre/post accommodation
Outside 45 days Notice – Loss of $99NZD
8–44 days Notice – 50% of tour cost
Within 7 Days Notice – 100% of tour cost
Changes to activities & additional accommodation are not permitted within 45 days of departure to tour
If you need to change to an alternative departure date you may do so in accordance with the below fees:
Outside 45 days Notice – No fee
8–44 days Notice – $500 Admin Fee
Within 7 Days Notice – 100% of tour cost
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