September & October Tours

South Island Explorer

30 September - 10 October 2019

Tour starts in Nelson - Tour ends in Nelson

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 trip and adventure in the Abel Tasman National Park. Stunning West Coast, exciting Queenstown, interesting Dunedin – 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.

from $1,883*

*including discounts
Regular Price $1,933
Plus Food Kitty $250

Itinerary and Extra Activities


DAY 1: Nelson

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. 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 Activities:

Skywire, Horse Riding, Skydive Abel Tasman 9,000ft, 13,000ft, 16,500ft

DAY 2: Abel Tasman National Park

Today we head over to the Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s smallest national park. We take the bus and start the Abel Tasman trip 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. 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 Activities:

Sea Kayaking Adventure

DAY 3: Nelson - Hanmer Springs

Sit back and relax while we drive you South towards the Southern Alps. We stop in Murchison for lunch and continue our way to Hanmer Springs on the famous Lewis Pass. “Hanmer” – as the locals call the town located between snow covered mountains in Northern Canterbury – is one of the top spots for hot pools and thermal springs in New Zealand. Here, you have the chance to join an amazing Alpine Horse Safari, try out clay shooting or just simply chill out in the thermal spa pools! We have a relaxing evening playing games in our very own lodge and getting to know each other.

DAY 4: Hanmer Springs - Lake Tekapo

We leave Hanmer Springs in the morning and continue our journey down south along the East Coast. We stop in Christchurch for lunch break and you have the opportunity to do some shopping in New Zealand’s second largest city. Have a walk through the colourful container mall! In the afternoon we drive you to our destination for today: 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 understandably a popular theme for postcards.

Extra Activities:

Cowan’s Observatory Tour (Stargazing)

DAY 5: 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 Activities:

Elm Wildlife Tour

DAY 6: 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 7: 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).
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 Activities:

Kawarau Bungy (43m), Nevis Highwire Bungy (134m), The Ledge Bungy, The Ledge Swing, The Ledge Bungy and Swing Combo, Milford Sound Fly/Nature Cruise/Fly, Milford Sound Coach/Nature Cruise/Coach, Doubtful Sound Coach/Cruise/Coach, Skydiving 9,000ft, 12,000ft, 15,000ft

DAY 8: 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 Activities:

Canyon Swing, Horseriding, Dart River Wilderness Safari, Shotover Jet, White Water Rafting

DAY 9: 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 10: 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.

Extra Activities:

Glacier Helicopter Flight

DAY 11: 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. Sadly, we have to say goodbye in Nelson, but we’re sure you’ll never forget this experience – so keep in touch!

Extra Activities:

Surf lesson, Stand Up Paddle Boarding

  • Experienced Guides/Assistants
  • Comfortable accommodation at hostels/backpackers
  • All transport during the tours
  • Mini golf at “Tahunanui Fun Park” in Nelson
  • Nelson city tour
  • Day trip to Abel Tasman National Park from Nelson, 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 and group photo
  • Lots of fun game evenings and group activities

Please find further information to all our extra Activities on the North Island Experience Tour here

  • 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.