South Island Explorer

South Island Explorer Tour September/October 2015
Date: 28 September – 8 October 2015 (11 days)
Start: Nelson Finish: Nelson
Price: From NZ$1725 (incl. deals & specials) plus food kitty (NZ$250)
Regular price NZ$1780 per person – please see below for further information on what is included in the tour.
Tour Description: On this tour you will explore the absolute best of what the South Island has to offer. Fun, city, sun and awesome beaches with a full-day adventure at the Abel Tasman National Park. Stunning West Coast, exciting Queenstown, interesting Dunedin, dolphins in Akaroa and whales in Kaikoura – this tour gives you the chance to combine city activities with awesome fun adventures. Additionally to an exciting group activity programme participants can book extra activities.
Deals & Specials: Check out our Deals & Specials for great discounts! On this tour we offer:

  • Early Bird Special: Save $50 if you book this tour before 17 August 2015
  • Online Booking Saver: Save $5 if you book this tour online
  • Bring a Friend Deal: Receive an activity voucher for $25 if you get a friend to book the tour
  • Enter the draw to win a free shotover jet ride

Please contact us with enquiries, bookings or questions.


Kia Ora and welcome to Nelson, the “Sunshine Capital of NZ”. If you are coming from out of town we will arrange your transfer to the hostel where you will meet up with the others in the group and your tour leader. After checking into the hostel and getting to know each other we will spend the day exploring Nelson. Go and explore Nelson Saturday Market. This market is famous in New Zealand and this morning you can find out for yourself if this is true. It’s a very colourful place with many interesting stalls selling all sorts of things. Try a typical German sausage, or a range of authentic Asian, Middle Eastern and even Brazilian food that is on offer. Or find a special New Zealand gift to take back home to your friends and family, or a great piece of jewellery for yourself. If you have booked an extra activity, you will do this after lunch. With the others, we will head out for a walk along Nelson’s beautiful waterfront to Tahunanui Beach. Here we have time to play ball games, take a swim or just relax at the beach before heading over to the “Tahunanui Fun Park”, where you can try your skill at mini golf. In the evening we hang out together at the hostel and get to know each other.

Extra Activity Options:
Quad Biking – NZ$130 for rider (16+yrs, experience needed), NZ$35 for passenger (all ages)
Skywire – NZ$55 (up to 15yrs), – NZ$85 (16+yrs)
Horse Riding – NZ$120
Skydive Abel Tasman: NZ$249 for 9,000ft, Z$299 for 13,000ft, NZ$399 for 16,500ft

Today we head over to the Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s smallest national park. We take the bus from Nelson to Marahau, where you have the chance to participate in a sea kayaking adventure while the others enjoy some time at the beach or in a nearby café. Before lunch we will head into the park by boat. Enjoy an awesome boat cruise along the stunning coastline. We will get off the boat for a guided walk along Pitt Head and visit one of the awesome beaches, where we have time for a picnic or a swim before we drive back to Nelson in the afternoon. You an also decide to discover the national park whilst canyoning. Once back in Nelson city we have dinner together, have time to look at our photos we have shot over the past days, play games or go out to the movies.

Extra Activity Option:
Sea Kayaking Adventure: NZ$110
Canyoning – NZ$225

Sit back and relax while we drive you to the wild West Coast. Stopping at Punakaiki for a quick walk on Truman Track into the Paparoa National Park, followed by a visit to the famous Pancake Rocks which really live up to their name.
The natural wonders continue as we make our way south through Greymouth and Hokitika to 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

We leave Franz Josef after breakfast and drive further south to Fox Glacier. It’s up to you how you want to explore the Fox Glacier this morning. You can choose one of the extra activities recommended below, or join the tour guide for a visit of the famous Mirror Lake, Lake Matheson. Fox Glacier falls 2600 metres on its 13 kilometre journey towards the coast. Named after an early New Zealand Prime Minister, William Fox, the glacier is 300 metres deep. Near Fox Glacier is the beautiful Lake Matheson, icon of the West Coast with its enchanting reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. After lunch we continue along the West Coast and then head inland over the Haast Pass to Makarora, where we spend the night. We have a relaxing evening playing games and getting to know each other.

Extra Activity Options:
Half Day Glacier Walk: NZ$95 (up to 16yrs), NZ$115 (17+yrs)
Fox Glacier Heli-Hike: NZ$399 (16+yrs)
Glacier Helicopter Flight: NZ$235 (14+yrs)

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. On the way we stop at Wanaka for lunch. 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!

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 ).
For the more faint-hearted there are stunning cruises to Milford or Doubtful Sound that are sure to inspire. Those of you that do not book any of the extra adventure activities have a chance to explore Queenstown. We will go for walk into town, do some sightseeing and shopping, and we take a walk along famous Lake Wakatipu. Tonight is free time for everyone, take a stroll into town or spend time to look at the fantastic photos everyone has made and update your Facebook pages.

Extra Activity Options:
Kawarau Bungy (43m): NZ$145 (up to 14 yrs), NZ$195 (15+ yrs), NZ$165 (with valid NZ student-ID)
Nevis Highwire Bungy (134m): NZ$245 (with valid NZ student-ID), NZ$275 (without NZ student ID),
The Ledge Bungy: $145 (up to 14 yrs), NZ$195 (15+ yrs), NZ$165 (15+ yrs with NZ student-ID) – plus gondola ticket (approx NZ$25)
Milford Sound Fly/Nature Cruise/Fly: NZ$299 (up to 14 yrs), NZ$460 (15+yrs)
Milford Sound Coach/Nature Cruise/Coach: NZ$93 (up to 14yrs), NZ$185 (15+yrs)
Doubtful Sound Coach/Cruise/Coach: NZ$138 (up to 14yrs), NZ$275 (15+yrs)
Skydiving: NZ$299.00 for 9,000ft, NZ$339.00 for 12,000ft, NZ$439 for 15,000ft

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:
Canyon Swing: NZ$215, spectators NZ$20
Horseriding: NZ$95 (up to 14yrs), NZ$120 (15+yrs)
Dart River Wilderness Safari: NZ$119 (up to 15yrs), NZ$219 (16+yrs)
Shotover Jet: NZ$69 (up to 15yrs), NZ$129 (16+yrs)
White Water Rafting: NZ$209 – (16 years or older only!)

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. 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 Options:
Elm Wildlife Tour: NZ$97

The journey today continues from Dunedin along the eastern coastline towards the north. Lots of sightseeing today, we will stop at interesting places such as the Victorian town of Oamaru and at the famous Moearki Boulders. Take fantastic photos with your friends as this spot is one of the must-do’s in New Zealand. We continue through Timaru and Ashburton and head towards the little town Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. Just 75 kilometres from the city of Christchurch, Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Explore the village with its colonial architecture, galleries, craft stores, and cafés.

This morning you can fulfil your dream of swimming with dolphins. Akaroa is the only place in the world where you can experience dolphin swimming with the world’s rarest and smallest Hector’s dolphin, which must be truly amazing. Alternatively, go on a stroll through the lovely town and harbour – Did you also know that Akaroa is the oldest town in Canterbury?
After lunch we continue our drive north and head towards Kaikoura – New Zealand’s whale-watching capital. The Maori name Kaikoura translates to ‘meal of crayfish’ (Kai = food, koura = crayfish) – so make sure you try some while exploring the town.
After days packed with activities, we will enjoy a last evening together at the hostel’s swimming pool, tell the best stories of the tour and finish off with a Farewell Kiwi BBQ!

Extra Activity Options:
Dolphin Swim: NZ$120 (up to 15 yrs), NZ$150 (16+yrs)
Dolphin Watch: NZ$35 (up to 15 yrs), NZ$79 (16+yrs)

This morning, the adventurous water lovers can get up close and personal with the world’s largest toothed whales. The rest of you can just kick back and soak in the sun or stretch your legs on the beach. We leave Kaikoura and begin our return journey home. On the way to Nelson, we stop along the coast at a seal colony before we continue to Blenheim where we have lunch.
Sadly, we have to say goodbye in Nelson, but we’re sure you’ll never forget this experience – so keep in touch!

Extra Activity Options:
Whale Watch by boat: NZ$60 (up to 15yrs), NZ$145(16+yrs)

Included in tour cost

  • Experienced Guides/Assistants
  • Comfortable accommodation at hostels/backpackers
  • All transport during the tours
  • Mini golf at “Tahunanui Fun Park” in Nelson
  • Nelson city tour, including a visit of the famous Nelson Saturday Market.
  • Day trip to Abel Tasman National Park, including a boat ride and guided walk
  • Visit Pancake Rocks
  • Short walk at Truman Track
  • Visit “Mirror Lake”
  • Walk to Thunder Falls
  • Visit Kawarau Bungy Bridge
  • Entry & 1 alcohol-free cocktail at Minus5 Ice Bar
  • Gondola ride, Kiwi Haka performance and dinner in Queenstown
  • Excursions in Queenstown
  • Visit Baldwin Street Dunedin
  • Visit Moeraki Boulders
  • Visit seal colony
  • Tour t-shirt, special group photo and postcards
  • Lots of fun game evenings and group activities

Additional Cost

  • Transport (flights, ferry, transfers) to/from tour start
  • Extra Activities
  • Food – a contribution of $250 towards a food kitty is mandatory (breakfast and dinner)
  • Pocket money


  • Minimum 15 students
  • Booking conditions apply.
  • All inclusions are weather and time depending.
  • All prices are subject to availability and correct at date of publication (October 2014).
Call Student Tours Call us on 0800 350 010

sailing Abel Tasman



Ice bar



rock hopping


The Remarkables

Kayaking in Abel Tasman


last night

Elm Wildlife Tour Seal