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Adventure on the South Island

Adventure on the South Island

This 13-day adventure offers you a taste of New Zealand’s iconic South Island. From active adventures to scenic beauty to amazing local food and wine…you will fall in love with New Zealand and its friendly people, known affectionately as “Kiwis.”

Itinerary & Adventure Highlights

Day 1: Arrive Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park

Upon arrival in Nelson, transfer to your accommodation in the lovely town of Nelson, or near the National Park for a more remote wilderness experience. The Nelson and Abel Tasman area is known for its golden beaches, sunny days, and stunning natural landscapes.

3 nights Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park

Day 2: Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park

So much to choose from today in the sunny Nelson region! Options include kayaking, sailing or hiking the pristine coastline of Abel Tasman National Park, biking along the Tasman Great Taste Trail, or taking a helicopter tour to see the LOTR filming locations in Kahurangi National Park.

Day 3: Nelson/Abel Tasman National Park

Another full day to explore the area. Horseback ride along Wharariki Beach or visit Farewell Spit, the northernmost point on New Zealand’s South Island. This outdoor mecca is also home to many hiking trails in the Nelson Lakes National Park.

Day 4: Nelson to Blenheim

Transfer today from the Nelson/Abel Tasman area to Blenheim, located in the Marlborough wine growing region. Enjoy a Greenshell Mussel Cruise in Havelock, the Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World, or drive via Picton and explore the Marlborough Sounds before arriving into Blenheim.

2 nights Blenheim

Day 5: Blenheim

Today is devoted to exploring the region’s famous wineries, or mix up your day with a combination of boutique wine estate tastings and a seafood cruise through the Marlborough Sounds. For a more active day, consider biking through the vineyards or hiking along the Queen Charlotte Track.

Day 6: Coastal Pacific Train from Blenheim to Christchurch

Transfer to the Blenheim train station and board the Coastal Pacific, one of the “Great Journeys of New Zealand,” bound for Christchurch. This is a stunning part of the country, between mountains and coastline, and the fertile farmland of the Canterbury Plains. On arrival in Christchurch, transfer to your accommodation for the next two nights.

2 nights Christchurch

Day 7: Christchurch

A full day to explore the “Garden City” of Christchurch and the surrounding area. Stroll through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens or take a boat ride “punting” on the Avon River. For those a bit more adventurous, hop on board a wildlife cruise out of the French settlement of Akaroa, where you can swim with wild dolphins. Another option would be a full day tour to Arthur’s Pass on board New Zealand’s most famous train journey, the TranzAlpine, along with an exhilarating jetboat ride through the gorges of the Waimakariri River, and a farm visit for a sheep shearing and mustering demonstration. Time permitting, enjoy dinner aboard the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant.

Day 8: Christchurch to the Mount Cook/MacKenzie Region

Transfer from Christchurch to your accommodation in the Mount Cook/MacKenzie Region. This area is known for the towering Southern Alps, glaciers and turquoise glacial lakes, and the International Dark Sky Reserve. A star-gazing tour tonight is a must-do!

2 nights Mount Cook area

Day 9: Mount Cook/MacKenzie Region

Options for today include a Tasman Glacier heli-hike, glacier boat cruise, a scenic flight, or hiking the Hooker Valley Track.

Day 10: Mount Cook to Queenstown

Transfer to Queenstown, New Zealand’s Adrenaline Capital, where you will spend the next three nights. For dinner tonight, you might choose to cruise Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak high country sheep station for a gourmet BBQ dinner, or take the Skyline Gondola up to Bob’s Peak and enjoy dinner and star-gazing high above Queenstown.

3 nights Queenstown

Day 11: Queenstown

A visit to the famous Fiordland region is an excursion not to be missed. Venture to the famous Milford Sound via coach, fixed wing aircraft or helicopter, and take in the majestic setting on board a nature cruise along the length of the fjord. An optional kayak in a quiet cove along the sheer rock walls is breathtaking. If a more remote fjord appeals to you, consider the awe-inspiring Doubtful Sound, where you will find a fiord three times longer than the Milford Sound in an isolated location.

Day 12: Queenstown

Today is your opportunity to experience the magic of Queenstown. Some of our favorite touring options include boutique wine tours, jet-boating on the Dart or Shotover Rivers, guided hiking tours, or bungy jumping at New Zealand’s original site off the Kawarau Bridge! Of course, you could also spend the day wandering through Queenstown and discovering the charming shops, pubs and restaurants.

Day 13: Depart Queenstown

Transfer to the airport today for your onward flight.

Ready to start planning your adventure?

Call us at 1-800-554-9059 or get started by sending us your dream trip details below.

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