South Island Experience Tour October 2017
DAY 1: NELSON – KAIKOURA
Kia Ora! Good to have you aboard the South Island Experience Tour! Sit back and relax while we drive you to the East Coast. We stop in Blenheim for lunch and continue our way to Kaikoura- New Zealands’ whale-watching capital. The Maori name Kaikoura means translated ‘meal of crayfish’ (Kai = food, koura = crayfish) – so make sure you try some while exploring the town. In the afternoon you will have the amazing chance to swim with dolphins or watch these beautiful animals. You also get the chance to experience a close encounter with sperm whales, the world’s largest toothed whales. You may even catch a glimpse of orcas, dolphins & seals. The rest of you can just kick back and soak in the sun or stretch your legs on the beach. We have a relaxing evening playing games and enjoying the hostels’ swimming pool.
DAY 2: KAIKOURA – LAKE TEKAPO
We leave Kaikoura after lunch and continue our journey down south along the east coast. We stop along the coast at a seal colony before we make our way inland through Ashburton. Our destination for today is the picturesque turquoise coloured Lake Tekapo. Dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is the perfect spot for stargazing. Don’t forget to take a picture with the famous Church of the Good Shepherd in the background. The stunning lake is not for nothing a popular theme for postcards.
DAY 3: LAKE TEKAPO – DUNEDIN
We leave the turquoise lake in the morning, stop at Lake Pukaki, another spot for breathtaking pictures of the lake with Mt. Cook in the background. We drive through the cozy little town Twizel and stop at the famous Moeraki Boulders. Take fantastic photos with your friends as this spot is one of the must-do’s in New Zealand. Then we continue our drive to New Zealand’s most famous university town – Dunedin. Students make up one fifth of the population so it’s no wonder that the city is hailed to have a great atmosphere. On the way to Dunedin we travel through the stunning area of central Otago, along lakes and hydro dams and through fertile horticulture country with many fruit orchards along the way. Having arrived in Dunedin, we will definitely visit Baldwin Street, the worlds’ steepest street – see who can reach the top of the street fastest. In the afternoon you have the chance to explore Otago Peninsula on the Elm Wildlife Tour, an eco-experience on which you can see penguins, fur seal colonies and the famous albatross birds. If you choose not to go on the Elm Wildlife tour, there are plenty of other things to do in Dunedin: go shopping, visit the Otago Museum to explore the history of New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere, check out the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, one of New Zealand finest art museums. To top it all off, a visit to the famous Cadbury Chocolate Factory with lots of opportunity to taste different chocolates could be on the programme for those of you who have a “sweet tooth”.
Extra Activity Option:
DAY 4: DUNEDIN – QUEENSTOWN
Today is the day all you thrill-seekers and adrenalin-junkies have been longing for – we head off to the birth place of bungy jumping. Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, if not the world. After checking into our hostel in Queenstown, we will take the Skyline Gondola up to Bob’s Peak. This is the steepest gondola in the southern hemisphere and from the top of the mountain, you have an awesome view over Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the mighty Remarkables mountain range. We will enjoy a traditional & powerful Maori Haka performance, followed by an original Kiwi buffet dinner. A truly unique New Zealand experience!
DAY 5: QUEENSTOWN
Jump off a bridge, swing over a canyon, paddle your way through a raging river – there’s nothing you can’t do (as long as you have permission from your parents of course ).
Extra Activity Options:
DAY 6: QUEENSTOWN
Another free day to continue your adrenalin rush. For those of you who do not book any extra activities today there is lots to do and see in Queenstown. Go and check out the world famous Fergburger for lunch or enjoy a coffee on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. Tonight has a special treat in store for everyone. After dinner we head along to the ‘Minus 5 Ice Bar’ for a non-alcoholic cocktail. The bar is made completely of ice, even your cocktail glasses. But you do not have to freeze, you will be given warm clothes and gloves, so you can enjoy your experience in comfort and marvel at the great ice sculptures at the bar.
Extra Activity Options:
DAY 7: QUEENSTOWN – FRANZ JOSEF
We leave Queenstown in the morning and stop in Arrowtown, a Wild-West like village where scenes of the movie Lord of the Rings were filmed. We continue our way up north and stop in Wanaka for lunch. Heading to the wild West Coast through the Haast Pass we reach soon the beautiful Lake Matheson, icon of the West Coast with its enchanting reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. If the weather’s nice, we stop there and go for a walk around the lake. Our destination for today is one of the world’s most accessible glaciers, the Franz Josef Glacier. Franz Josef Glacier was named after the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, and is one of only three glaciers world wide that borders a rain forest. In the evening you get the chance to relax and soak in the Franz Josef Hot Pools.
DAY 8: FRANZ JOSEF – WESTPORT
It’s up to you how you want to spend the morning. You can choose one of the extra activities recommended below and explore the Franz Josef Glacier, relax in the hostel or visit the West Coast Wildlife centre and spot some kiwis. We leave Franz Josef after lunch and make our way north through Hokitika and Greymouth along the wild west coast. We stop in Punakaiki, visit the famous Pancake Rocks which really live up to their name and stop for a quick walk on Truman Track into the Paparoa National Park. Then we continue our journey towards Westport. After days packed with activities, we will enjoy a last evening together at the hostel, tell the best stories of the tour and finish off with a Farewell dinner.
DAY 9: WESTPORT – NELSON – HOME
In the morning you have a chance to try surfing or paddle boarding in Westport or relax at the beach. After your activities we leave Westport and begin our return journey home.
This tour can be booked on its own or together with the Nelson-Abel Tasman Escape for a comprehensive and fun exploration of New Zealand’s “main island”.
Call us on 0800 350 010