September & October Tours

South Island Adventure & Wildlife Tour

03 October - 10 October 2020

Tour starts in Nelson - Tour ends in Nelson

Stunning West Coast, exciting Queenstown, beautiful Kaikoura – this tour gives you the chance to experience what the South Island has on offer. The itinerary combines city activities with awesome fun adventures. Additionally to an exciting group programme, participants can book extra activities.

from $1,595*

*including discounts
Regular Price $1,645
Plus Food Kitty $190

Itinerary and Extra Activities

* INFO: Please note that the below itinerary is subject to change. NZdirect reserves the right to make any alterations to the itinerary in the interest of safety, comfort or unforeseen circumstances, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


DAY 1: Nelson - Westport

Kia Ora! Good to have you aboard the South Island Explorer International Student Tour! This morning we leave the sunny city of Nelson and make our way to Westport, the city that is also known as the gateway to the west coast. Passing by Nelson Lakes National Park and the Kahurangi National Park, the landscape will soon change to hilly scenery. The road winds up the mountains in tight curves. We follow the Buller River to Westport, where you will have the chance to try surfing or paddle boarding or just relax on the beach in the afternoon.

Extra Activities:

Surf lesson, Stand Up Paddle Boarding

DAY 2: Westport - Franz Josef

We leave Westport and make our way south through Greymouth and Hokitika along the wild west coast. We stop for a quick walk on Truman Track into the Paparoa National Park and stop in Punakaiki to visit the famous Pancake Rocks which really live up to their name. 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 3: Franz Josef - Queenstown

It’s up to you how you want to spend the morning. You can choose one of the extra activities recommended 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 in the late morning and continue our journey to Queenstown. Heading along the wild West Coast 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. Going through Haast Pass we will stop in Wanaka for lunch. Before reaching Queenstown we also stop in Arrowtown, a Wild-West like village where scenes of the movie Lord of the Rings were filmed.

Extra Activities:

Glacier Helicopter Flight

DAY 4: 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 5: 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 6: Queenstown - Lake Tekapo

In the morning 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:

Stargazing at Cowan's Observatory

DAY 7: Lake Tekapo - Kaikoura

We leave Lake Tekapo in the morning and continue our journey back up north. We stop in Christchurch for lunch break and you have the opportunity to do some shopping in New Zealand’s third largest city. The second part of our trip today takes you to New Zealand`s whale-watching capital Kaikoura. The Maori name Kaikoura translates to “meal of crayfish” (Kai – food, koura – crayfish) so make sure you try some while exploring the town. Tonight, we spend the evening at the hostel; take a swim in the hostel swimming pool or enjoy a sauna.

DAY 8: Kaikoura - Nelson - Home

In the morning you can fulfill your dream of swimming with the dolphins. Or do you prefer whales and you have always wanted to watch them from a close distance? The adventurous water lovers can get up close and personal with the world´s largest toothed whales. If you have not booked any extra activities, then you can enjoy a sunny morning at the beach and explore the small city centre while going shopping. We leave Kaikoura after lunch all together and begin our return journey home. We will have to say goodbye in Nelson, but we`re sure you´ll never forget this experience – so keep in touch.

Extra Activities:

Whale Watching, Dolphin Swimming/Watching

  • Experienced Guides/Assistants
  • Comfortable accommodation at hostels/backpackers
  • All transport during the tours
  • Visit Kawarau Bungy Bridge
  • Entry & 1 alcohol-free cocktail at Minus5 Ice Bar
  • Kiwi Haka performance and dinner in Queenstown
  • Excursions in Queenstown
  • Tour t-shirt and group photo
  • Lots of fun game evenings and group activities

Please come back soon for more information on all the extra activities we offer on tour.

  • Transport (flights, ferry, transfers) to/from tour start
  • Extra Activities
  • Food – a contribution of $190 towards a food kitty is mandatory (breakfast and dinner only)
  • Pocket money
  • If you are not from Nelson: 1 extra night accommodation (supervised) on 02 October before the tour starts
  • Minimum 15 students
  • Students who are not from Nelson will arrive a day earlier and will stay in a supervised accommodation (at extra cost)
  • Booking conditions apply
  • All inclusions are weather and time depending