New Zealand tours - Summer blast tour

New Zealand’s top rated adventure tour in National Geographics
‘Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth’

Use on or both of the options below to view tours*:

Moeraki Boulders
Cycling near Mount Cook
Routeburn Track
Exploring the Abel Tasman
Campfires at Punakaiki

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Summer Blast Tour

Tour Starts: Christchurch or Picton
Tour Length: 16, 17 or 19 days
Tour Ends: Christchurch or Picton
Tour Costs: from $2,734.00
Summer Tour PDF: Download tour sheet
Winter Option:
Client Rating: 4.9 out of 5
Map: Click here to view map
  • Adventure
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
Guaranteed departures


 

The South Island is one of the most diverse regions of natural beauty on the planet. Our trip takes in the widest range of natural wonders from glaciers and mountains to beautiful beaches and dramatic Fiords. There are wildlife encounters throughout the trip as the rugged coastline is host to dolphins, whales, penguins, seals and more. Adrenalin seekers will be spoilt for choice with glacier hiking, rafting, kayaking and dolphin swimming to name a few. If hikes and bikes are your thing then saddle up and get those boots on as we explore stunning landscapes and amazing National parks.

Tour extensions:

If you have a few days after your trip why not extend it with one of these great trips:

Hot Rocks Tour - The full North Island loop (starting and finishing at any point in the North Island)  includes the thermal wonders of New Zealand's volcanic region, the Bay of Islands, the superb Coromandel and the World's great one day walk - The Tongariro Crossing. 

Northern Express Tour - Take the short northward journey from Wellington to Auckland and enjoy the unique Waitomo caves on the way.

Contact Us for more information.

Tour Highlights:

Below are a few of our favourite parts of this tour - but check out the itinerary as there are plenty more...

  • Amazing activity options including dolphin swimming, kayaking, skydiving, white water rafting, bungy jumping, canyoning, flying an aerobatic plane, Milford Sound cruise, whale watching and more.

  • Visit one of the World's new natural wonders - Milford Sound

  • Visit NZ’s best national Parks

  • Cycle sections of the New Zealand Cycle trail and heaps of excellent optional rides along coastlines, through forests and past towering mountains

  • Camp out at the foot of the Southern Alps, by beaches and by lakes

  • Hike the amazing Routeburn track

  • Chances to spot kiwi in the wild

  • Enjoy spectacular sunsets with accommodation on the Wild West coast

 

  • Stay overnight on a boat in the Abel Tasman National Park

  • Tuck in to fresh crayfish by the coast

  • Visit a UNESCO World Heritage site

  • Learn about kiwi culture and traditions

  • Visit secret spots other tourists don't know about

  • Enjoy dining out in amazing locations by lakes mountains and oceans

  • See the stunning Albatross and other NZ sea birds on the Otago Peninsula

  • Enjoy stunning sunrises with accommodation on the Pacific coast

  • Hike or heli-hike on the World famous Fox Glacier

  • Explore NZ's lush flora and fauna including giant Kauri trees, the NZ christmas tree and much more

Tour Itinerary:

Tour Itinerary

Picton to Kaikoura
Kayaking in Kaikoura

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

This is day 1 for those starting their trip from Picton.  For those starting a trip in Christchurch your loop begins at 2:30pm on the next day in this itinerary.  We stop off at a beautiful lunch spot with great opportunities for walks on and around the beach.  The kayak and whale watching activity options are both excellent highly recommended.

Meals Included:        Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

We head down towards Kaikoura where you can enjoy the informative and unique Whale watching tour to view the incredible sperm whales. Other activities are sea kayaking and deep sea fishing where you can catch your very own Crayfish!

Cyclists and hikers have some great choices with wonderful coastal tracks. We are staying in a beautiful coastal campsite tonight where you get to enjoy some of New Zealand’s finest coastal scenery with a camp fire on the beach.

ABOUT THE AREA:

The waters off this stretch of coast are home to a variety of marine and bird life - its the perfect spot to get 'close to nature'. Kaikoura has an interesting Maori history and legend - Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself while he 'fished-up' the North Island from the sea. Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai - food, koura - crayfish) which is extremely appropriate with plenty to go around.   The area is particularly celebrated for

It's numerous species of whale and dolphin including the huge sperm whales regularly diving to depths in excess of 1 kilometre (a depth at which little marine exploration has bee done) where they tangle with the giant squid .

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Whale Watching

Sea Kayaking

Fishing 

HIKING OPTIONS:

Beautiful evening coastal walk around the peninsula taking in the amazing scenery, with fur seals and dolphin spotting along the way. Once at camp you can stretch your legs along the beach.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

From the seal colony there is a 30km coastal ride into Kaikoura (though not possible if you are doing the Whale watching trip). After the Peninsula walk cyclists can enjoy a flat 9km ride to camp. 

ACCOMMODATION:

A beautiful sea side camp with the chance to toast marshmallows by the camp fire.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New Zealand won the first ever Rugby World Cup, held in 1987 (took us a while to get the next one but we are warming up!).

Kaikoura to Rangitata
Dolphin Swimming

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Making the most of the unique and diverse sea life around the shores of Kaikoura from our coast side camp.  We’d highly recommend starting the day with a dolphin swim as the dolphins around the Kaikoura coast are some of the most playful performers in the World and its very common to get pods in excess of 20 dolphins.

Those starting their trip in Christchurch join us at 2:30pm by the Antarctic centre as we head out to Rangitata.

Meals Included:        Breakfast and Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 3.5 hours

 

tOUR DAY - KAIKOURA to rangitata

 

This is a unique chance to get up close and personal with dolphins in their natural environment. There are a few hours to enjoy some great walks around the area or to just relax in town.

We then continue south to Christchurch to pick up our new friends meeting us there, before heading out towards the Southern Alps with fantastic views across the Canterbury plains - real Lord of the Rings country! We set up camp near Peel Forest at shearers headquarters where we will enjoy a classic kiwi bbq. There is a great cycle ride into camp.

ABOUT THE AREA:

rangitata rainforest

Rangitata cycle by Matthias Gudath

The coastline between Kaikoura and Christchurch is home to the dusky dolphins - regarded as the most interactive and playful in the World.  They live side by side with the sloth of the sea world - the seal - you will find numerous seals scattering the coastline, taking time to sunbathe on the rocks.  Christchurch is a magnificent city which was rocked by earthquakes.  The city is now getting back on its feet with plans in place to restructure and rebuild the city to its glorious best. The Rangitata River flows for over 120 kms from the Southern Alps to the Pacific ocean. This is the river where you can White Water raft tomorrow morning -- highly recommended!  

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Dolphin swimming - highly recommended

HIKING OPTIONS:

Morning beach walks and a 1 hour walk with great views of Kaikoura peninsula.  

CYCLE OPTIONS:

There is a chance to cycle in the morning if not swimming with the dolphins. In the afternoon there is a great ride to camp which involves a few more uphill sections (17km or 35km).

ACCOMMODATION:

The totally unique Shearer’s headquarters at the foot of the Alps. 

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New Zealand has 6,000 kilometres of coastline and the furthest inland is only 120km from the coast.

Rangitata to Lake Pukaki
White water rafting group

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Waking by stunning Peel Forest near the foot of the Southern Alps. We get the chance to try rafting at one of the most consistent spots in the South Island offering exciting conditions throughout the year. Peel Forest is a great place to enjoy shorter walks and rides and get your cameras ready for the most photogenic lake in New Zealand. 

Meals Included:       Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available: No - beautiful lakeside camp (alternatives will be found in bad weather)
Driving distance:     approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - RANGITATA TO LAKE PUKAKI 

We pass through some real southern country gems and Geraldine (home of the World’s largest jersey!!!).

After a very scenic drive we arrive in stunning Lake Tekapo with its fantastic lake and beautiful Alpine surround. You have some time here to take in the beautiful scenery before we head to Lake Pukaki - our camp for the night - get your swimmers and cameras ready!

ABOUT THE AREA:

Around 300 million years ago this area and Lake Tekapo were part of a seafloor valley. The continual movement between 2 tectonic plates has pushed the horizontal seabed to rock and upwards to create the amazing spectacle you see today.

Lake Tekapo was named by the Maori after a small white berry that grows locally.  In the late 1800s, James Mckenzie (a shepherd turned sheep stealer), discovered the basin now named after him.  He drove flocks of sheep inland, with the help of his dog Friday, to escape capture. Although authorities finally caught James they couldn't take control of any of this sheep as his dog, Friday, continued to drive them without his masters control - a bronze memorial to working collies now sits by the shores of Lake Tekapo next to the Church of the Good Shepherd - one of the Worlds most picturesque churches.

lake tekapo hiking

Lake Tekapo by Chris Reynolds

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

White water rafting

HIKING OPTIONS:

A lovely short walk in the Peel Forest area. There are also great views to be had from walks around the Tekapo lookout and village. From camp there’s the chance to take a hike along the lake shore.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Some shorter cycle routes around Peel Forest in the morning and then longer rides through to Geraldine and Lake Tekapo, rides range from 17-50km. There is a fantastic 35km ride by the canal into camp.

ACCOMMODATION:

A camp nestled by the side of Lake Pukaki - absolutely stunning with views of Mount Cook!

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The heaviest insect in the world is a New Zealand native – the Weta.

Lake Pukaki to Aoraki National Park
Hooker Valley hike

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Today we have some excellent options for hikers and cyclists around the Mount Cook region.  Be prepared for snow capped mountain backdrops and amazing views around every corner - just check out the photos in our gallery.  We then head to the coast to set up camp in a stunning spot right on the beach.

Meals Included:       Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available: No - beautiful beach camp
Driving distance:     approx 2.5 hours

 

TOUR DAY - lake pukaki to Aoraki National Park

 

Today we explore the area around Mount Cook National Park - this staggeringly beautiful area is home to snow capped peaks, turquoise waters and the Tasman Glacier - the largest in New Zealand.  We then head back to the east coast passing through a few classic NZ country towns including Kurow, birth place of All Black rugby legend Richie McCaw! A quick stop in Oamaru then a short drive to our magnificent beach camp at Kakanui. An optional coastal bike ride into camp and penguin viewing at night

ABOUT THE AREA:

Mount Cook (Maori name - Aoraki) dominates the skyline at 3,754m and is New Zealand's highest mountain. It sits atop the numerous peaks of Mount Cook national park next to the 30km giant Tasman Glacier - one of the longest outside of the Himalayas. You can view this during your morning hike.

The area is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna including the Mount Cook "lily" - the largest buttercup in the world. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

breakfast at camp nz

Breakfast at camp by Lindsey Keith

Penguin Watching

HIKING OPTIONS:

Excellent range of short walks and a longer walk around Hooker Valley. Recommended is the 3 hour walk to view Tasman Glacier. Once at camp there’s also plenty of time to enjoy a beach stroll.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Today’s a good one to challenge the fitter cyclists in the pack. Cyclists can cycle ahead of the bus toward Mount Cook – 60kms to the Shelter. Awesome coastal cycle into camp.

ACCOMMODATION:

A lovely campsite to the south of Oamaru right by the sea.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The Lord of the Rings was filmed entirely in New Zealand.

Aoraki National Park to Otago Peninsula
Moeraki Boulders

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Enjoying waking up to the sound of waves lapping the beach, with the option to clear your head with a sunrise beach stroll.  Today is our chance opportunity to visit the wildlife capital of New Zealand, the Otago Peninsula, home to an abundance of magnificent wildlife including albatross and penguins. Tonight we camp out on the peninsula with fantastic cycle and walk options.

Meals Included:        Breakfast and Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

 

TOUR DAY - AORAKI NATIONAL PARK to OTAGO PENINSULA

 

We will be heading out towards the mystical Moeraki Boulders and onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin - home to the World’s steepest street. This southern city is also home to the Cadbury chocolate factory and the famous Speight’s brewery. 

ABOUT THE AREA:

moeraki boulders

Moeraki boulders by Planetd

The Otago Coast stretches along  the South Island's eastern side. Dunedin marks the halfway point along this coast and shortly on from there lies the mysterious Moeraki Boulders - a collection of perfectly round rocks each weighing up to 4 tonnes.

Dunedin is the South Island's second-largest city. Its name is the old Gaelic one for Edinburgh - very appropriate as the city is a carbon copy of the Edinburgh map (street names and all).  One of the main attractions of this region is the natural beauty and abundant wildlife, just 15 minutes from Dunedin you can view endangered yellow-eyed penguin, cormorants and albatross. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Visit the Cadbury chocolate factory or the Speight’s brewery 

Walk up Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street (free)!

HIKING OPTIONS:

Lovely beach strolls from our morning camp and then a beach walk to take in the famed Moeraki boulders. We also give you a couple of hours to wander the historic streets of Dunedin - try and walk or cycle the steepest street if you feel like it!

Lovely walk at camp through native bush.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Cyclists can take the chance to cycle ahead of the bus and head for the beach and Moeraki Boulders, about 27 kms. There is also an awesome downhill cycle into Dunedin and a spectacular coastal ride to the lighthouse from camp.

ACCOMMODATION:

A wonderful camp on the Otago peninsula with good facilities.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

30% of New Zealand land is forest.

Otago Peninsula to Milford Sound
Heading into Fiodland

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Journey through scenic southern pastures and enjoy a peaceful lakeside picnic. We stop in the lakeside town of Te Anau before heading to Fiordland National Park and our historic camp in the unspoilt Hollyford Valley - this site is a true wilderness escape. Excellent rides & an awesome bush trek

Meals Included:        Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 3.5 hours

 

TOUR DAY - OTAGO PENINSULA TO MILFORD SOUND

 

Heading through some of New Zealand’s most dramatic natural scenery on our way through Fiordland. Large parts of the landscape have been carved out over thousands of years to leave stunning paths that weave through snow-capped mountains. We stop off at magnificent Lake Manapouri for a picnic lunch and swim, then head to Te Anau with an optional cycle and a chance to explore the lakeside town. On the way to our rugged camp deep in the Fiordland National Park we will stop to take in the amazing views with some short walks.

ABOUT THE AREA:

lake manapouri

Lunch stop by Lindsey Keith

The south west corner of New Zealand is home to Fiordland - home to wild, dramatic and rugged landscapes.   The main town for access to the Fiordland National park region is Te Anau, the park is a World Heritage Area over 1.2 million hectares in size.  In this area everything is oversized - gigantic waterfalls, towering  mountains and forested valleys meet you around every corner.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A chance to rest your adrenalin and wallet.

HIKING OPTIONS:

There are a range of short walks from camp which explore the dense native forest.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

After lunch there is a 20km cycle ride into the lake side town of Te Anau. Also the chance to cycle into camp along a gravel road surrounded by native forest.

ACCOMMODATION:

A stunning unique camp deep in Fiordland.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

For each person who lives here, New Zealand produces 100kg of butter and 65kg of cheese each year.

Milford Sound to Fiordland National Park
Amazing Milford Sound

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Travel one of the World’s most scenic routes into Milford Sound and enjoy a relaxing downhill ride to one of NZ's best sights! Boat cruise to enjoy the fiord up close. Routeburn Track walkers depart for their 3 day adventure. Stunning lakeside camp which has a huge variety of track, road & lakeside bike rides.

Meals Included:        Breakfast & Lunch 
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - MILFORD SOUND TO FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK

 

Taking in one of the most scenic drives in the world on our way to Milford Sound. The scenery is breathtaking and make sure your cameras are well charged as there are amazing views to be seen.  On the way in we stop at the beautiful Chasm for a chance to stretch your legs.

We then spend some time at one of the world’s natural wonders and we highly recommend taking in the boat trip on Milford Sound with dramatic waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and possible wildlife spotting of dolphins, penguins and seals! As it’s just the one road in we head back along the same breathtaking route to our lakeside camp. Along the way we drop off the lucky ones who will be doing the three day hike on the Routeburn Track. Keep an eye out for Keas - they are not shy, especially if you’ve got food!

ABOUT THE AREA:

The Maori attributed the creation of the Fiordland area to a “titanic mason” (Tute Rakiwhanoa) who carved out the steep sided valleys. Few other explanations seem appropriate to describe the seemingly impossible masterpiece that nature has created here.

“For thousands of feet upwards the eye looks upon straight cut rocky frontages, not worn smooth by time, or by wind or water, but as sharply defined and as fresh looking in all respects as if riven asunder but yesterday by the stupendous wedges of Titanic Masons.“ James Hingston, 1883. 

routeburn track nz

Routeburn Track by Pedro

In any weather Milford Sound is an incredible spectacle.  The sheer cliffs, dramatic waterfalls lead along a spectacular 16km journey to the open ocean.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Cruise on Milford Sound

Routeburn Track

HIKING OPTIONS:

An excellent short walk to the Chasm.

Those doing the Routeburn Track will leave us here and re-join in Queenstown.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

For those who are returning to Te Anau you can cycle once back at camp with a relaxed lakeside option or if you like to test yourself more there is a mountain bike track right next to camp.

ACCOMMODATION:

 A lake-view holiday park with great facilities. Cabins are available for a small extra charge (subject to availability).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The kea, native to New Zealand, likes to eat the strips of rubber around car windows.

Fiordland National Park to Queenstown
The Luxmore Jet

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

An early start to the activities capital of the world...Queenstown!

Meals Included:        Breakfast
Upgrades Available:  Yes - free lodge upgrades
Driving distance:      2.5hrs

tour day - FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK TO QUEENSTOWN 

In the morning we journey to Queenstown on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown has the well-deserved reputation for being the adventure capital of the world with an abundance of activities! Test yourself with an adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing, skydive or paraglide just to name a few, or enjoy a more relaxed horse trek, sail or gondola ride - this place has it all, as well as spectacular views. Great cycle rides and walks in scenic alpine areas.

ABOUT THE AREA:

A spectacular lakeside setting surrounded by mountains.

 

mount luxmore views

Mount Luxmore views by Dave n Deb

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Bungy jumping

Canyon Swing

Skydive

Too many to name!

HIKING OPTIONS:

Multiple walking/hiking options

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Mountain bike (Skyline Queenstown Bike Park), Ride the Queenstown bike trail (various lengths)

ACCOMMODATION:

A great lodge just oustide Queenstown before for exploring the area - this lodge upgrade is included in the price

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The longest place name in the world still in use is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwenuakitanatahu, a hill in Porangahau in the Hawkes Bay.

Queenstown
Feeling brave - try the Canyon Swing !!

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

A full day to enjoy Queenstown and it's many activities on offer!

Meals Included:        Breakfast
Upgrades Available:  yes - free upgrade to lodge
Driving distance:      0 - a non driving day!

TOUR DAY - QUEENSTOWN

Providing the adrenalin junkies with the ultimate fix – Queenstown! Every mad thrill sport is here, so get ready, charge yourself up and leap, scream and ride your way along some of the best attractions in New Zealand!

Queenstown is also a stunning place with excellent shops, cafes and bars and we will be making the most of all of them. On board we have got some guides to flick through with a heap of activities to choose from including bungy, jet boat, horse riding and much, much more.

For cyclists there’s also a great route along the lake shore. At midday the Routeburn walkers will re-join the group with their amazing stories to share.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Rightfully regarded as the adrenalin capital of New Zealand (if not, the World) Queenstown has something for every taste.  It is also a spectacular location,

queenstown bungy

Bungy by Darcy Mcarthy

nestled beside the deep blue of Lake Wakatipu by the foot of the Remarkables Range. Queenstown thrives year round with its superb alpine facilities and slopes -it was recently voted one of the top 25 cities in the World by a top travel magazine and we know why!

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

There are too many to fit on one page but here are a few:

Bungy, Skydiving, White water rafting, Luge, River Boarding, Horse riding Canyon swing, Gondola ride and many more.... +

free gondola ride (included in price)

HIKING OPTIONS:

You’ve got a free afternoon to check out great walks in the Queenstown area or just explore this great little town. Feel like a challenge? Follow the steep track up to the top of the Gondola or take the Gondola up and an easy stroll down.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Once in Queenstown there are cycle options galore! Talk to your guides to select the best option for you.

ACCOMMODATION:

A well-equipped lodge just outside of Queenstown (included in trip price) perfect for exploring the town.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

Less than 5 per cent of the population of New Zealand is human - the rest are animals. This is one of the highest ratios of animals to humans in the world.

Queenstown to Mount Aspiring National Park
The gondola and luge track

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Use your free time in the morning to try any of the numerous activities including bungy, canyon swing, skydive, paraglide, horse trek or gondola ride - to name a few! There are also some excellent alpine bike rides and walks. For those joining us in Queenstown the bus heads off around 2:30pm. Camp beside a tranquil lake in nature’s paradise and a chance to relax and reflect on the thrills and spills of Queenstown.

Meals Included:        Breakfast
Upgrades Available:  No - beautiful lakeside camp (alternatives found in bad weather)
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - queenstown to MOUNT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK

 

Giving you a last chance to throw yourself off a bridge before we head towards Wanaka. There’s also the chance again to try any of the great Queenstown buzzes in the morning, then at midday we pick up our new friends joining us for the Wild West and head towards the west coast. Tonight’s camp is beside the tranquil lake with spectacular views of Mt. Aspiring National Park.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Wanaka is located on the shores of Lake Wanaka, just north of Queenstown. Surrounded by the Southern Alps, this is a spectacular location and another popular alpine resort.  The crystal clear waters reflect the snow capped peaks year round and it's the perfect place to absorb the beauty of Mount Aspiring National Park.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

queenstown luge

Luge by Mark Hassenflow

You have until midday to experience Queenstown’s great attractions.

Puzzling World

HIKING OPTIONS:

Enjoy some of the shorter walks Queenstown has to offer, Mt Iron summit

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Ride the Queenstown trail (various lengths), Lake Wanaka -Albert Town loop (11km)

ACCOMMODATION:

Bush camp with great setting by Lake Wanaka.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

There are more Scottish pipe bands per head of population in New Zealand than in Scotland.

Mount Aspiring National Park to Fox Glacier
Hike or cycle by the rivers of the Haast region

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Jet boat in Mount Aspiring National Park. Bus or cycle the dramatic Haast Pass with views of the Southern Alps. Short walks through rainforest, past waterfalls & pools to the wild West Coast. Picnic lunch then head to Glacier country & accommodation in the alpine village of Fox Glacier. 

Meals Included:        Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - MOUNT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK to fox glacier

 

Enjoy a relaxed morning at our lakeside camp with an optional jet boat ride into the beautiful Mt Aspiring National Park, or a lovely morning cycle. Just before we reach the West Coast we stop for a walk to the amazing blue pools, and then head over the dramatic Haast Pass. As we are heading out towards the wild West Coast, the scenery starts to change and there’s a great chance to sample this with a waterfall hike. After our stop for a picnic lunch we hit the coast and head north to the beach. Here you can enjoy one of the short walks and this is a great chance to find yourself some Pounamu, New Zealand’s Greenstone. Also keep an eye out for dolphins!

ABOUT THE AREA:

The wild "West Coast" refers to the beautiful and diverse area lodged between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. This area is home to arguably the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand the the least number of people - a perfect combination for our tours)  The region is dotted with towering mountain peaks, glaciers, turquoise lakes, thundering rivers and rainforest.  The national parks in this region have been designated as World Heritage Areas to help keep this area of supreme natural beauty intact. Residents of the region are known as "coasters" and known for their genuine friendliness.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Jet boating

HIKING OPTIONS:

Some great short walks including the dramatic waterfalls, one of our favourite secret spots and and exploring Ship Creek.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

There’s the chance to cycle ahead of the group with a 20km ride to Makarora and if weather permits you can cycle from the top of Haast Pass. If daylight permits there is a longer cycle into camp at Fox Glacier. 

ACCOMMODATION:

Holiday Park with great facilities. Cabins are also available for a small extra charge (subject to availability).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New Zealand has more book-shops per head of population than any other country; one for every 7500 people.

Fox Glacier to Okarito Lagoon
Hike on the World famous Fox Glacier

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Spend the morning taking in the wonderful scenery before an optional guided walk, heli hike or ice climb on the spectacular glacier. Optional cycle or walk around Lake Matheson. Head up the coast to Okarito beach. Relax next to the fire with breathtaking views all around.

Meals Included:        Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  No - amazing camp by lagoon
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - FOX GLACIER TO OKARITO LAGOON

 

Exploring Fox Glacier and the surrounding area. You have the chance to hike or ice climb on the glacier, but if glaciers aren’t your thing then you will have the day to explore. You can cycle the area or visit the must-see Lake Matheson, famous for its beautiful reflections of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. We then have a short drive up the coast to our beautiful beachside campsite next to the Okarito lagoon.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Okarito Lagoon is home to NZ's only colony of the white heron (kotuku). Fox glacier is one of New Zealand's most famous landmarks but here are a few things you might not now about this natural phenomenon:

  • Fox glacier, like all glaciers, advances and retreats - this is demonstrated by the bulging lower ice fall.

  • Maori legend tells the story of the glacier named Te Moeka o Tuawe. When Tu Awe fell to his death exploring the area his lover, Hine Hukatere wept, the  valley filled with her everlasting tears of ice

    fox glacier town

    Fox Glacier town by Lindsey Keith

  • Fox glacier if the largest and longest glacier on the West Coast

  • The glacier, unusually, ends in rainforest just 250 metres above sea level

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Half or full day glacier hike

Heli-hike

Ice climbing

HIKING OPTIONS:

All the glacier options or a great one hour hike around Lake Matheson

CYCLE OPTIONS:

If you’re not doing the Glacier Hike there is a hilly ride from Fox Glacier township to our camp of just under 60km. If you prefer a shorter option then you just ride the 26km over the hills to Franz or the last 12km into Okarito.

ACCOMMODATION:

A beachside camp tonight next to a beautiful lagoon.  

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New Zealand is home to the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors Dolphin, the rarest sea lion, the Hookers Sea Lion, the largest flightless parrot, the kakapo, the oldest reptile, the tuatara, the heaviest insect, a weta, the biggest earth-worms, the smallest bats, some of the oldest trees, and many of the rarest birds, insects, and plants in the world.

Okarito Lagoon to Paparoa National Park
Kayaking at Okarito lagoon

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Early morning walk & chance to spot a Kiwi in the wild. Visit Bushmans Museum, then onto Hokitika & its famous Greenstone factories. Coastal walk or ride through native forest. Travel to Paparoa National Park & the famous Pancake Rocks! Absorb the sunset & explore secret glowworm caverns

Meals Included:        Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - Okarito lagoon to paparoa national park

 

Heading up the rugged West Coast through dramatic Lord of the Rings scenery! For the early birds we definitely recommend taking a morning trek to enjoy a sunrise with outstanding views over the Alps and a chance to spot kiwis in the wild. First stop of the day is what we like to call a ‘café experience’, a great chance to learn about the local area. We then reach Hokitika - a genuine “coasters” town! After a spot of exploring in the home of Greenstone it’s on to a great coastal walk, then to the renowned Paparoa National Park, home of Punakaiki and the famous Pancake rocks.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Hokitika and the surrounding area is a traditional source of greenstone (pounamu) - several stores and outlets offer a variety of jewellery and other tiemsin this thriving arts and crafts scene. Paparoa National Park is home to a plethora of luxuriant coastal forests, limestone cliffs, canyons, caves and underground streams, and an absolutely spectacular coastline, all packed into one national park.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Bushman's Museum (included in trip price)

Visit a greenstone factory

Visit the Kiwi house

HIKING OPTIONS:

Hike up to The Trig for sunrise (1.5 hr return) and a great view of Southern Alps.  Point Elizabeth Walk coastal walk (about 1.5hrs).  

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Cyclists can hit the last 33km along the coast and into camp

ACCOMMODATION:

Punakaiki camp next to a river and beach. Cabins are an option (subject to availability).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New zealand has two national athems- God Save The Queen and God Defend New Zealand.

Paparoa National Park
The bizarre Pancake Rocks

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Delicious pancake breakfast & day to explore this dramatic National Park with walks & cycles galore! Optional river kayak. Depending on the tides you will get the chance to view the explosive blow holes & don't forget to ask you guide about our secret spot - the hidden wave rock. 2nd night at this magnificent camp.

Meals Included:        Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      0 - just relax

TOUR DAY - PAPAROA NATIONAL PARK

 

Starting the day with a hearty pancake breakfast. Once fuelled and ready to go the day is yours to explore this amazing national park. There are a number of walks available ranging from short 20 minute walks to 5 – 6 hour hikes.

There’s the opportunity to head to Pancake rocks and check out the famous blowholes. You can also try your hand at kayaking on the Pororari River or a spot of horse riding. For the cyclists there are great mountain bike tracks and also the chance to check out the glow worms hidden in the sub-tropical fauna. Alternatively, just take the day at your own pace and enjoy the easy laid-back life of the West Coast!

ABOUT THE AREA:

The national park offers great access to several coastal and historic tracks dating back to the days of the gold rush boom. Limestone is responsible for the unusual rock formations and landforms scattered along the coast.  This has also been the reason for the formation of the bizarre and impressive pancake stack of rocks at Punkaiki blowholes.

These blowholes are best caught at high tide and your guide will advise you on the best times to catch them in full flow. Birdlife in the area is also varied with  tui, bellbird/korimako and kereru all found throughout different times of year.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Kayaking

HIKING OPTIONS:

A number of walks available ranging from short 20 minute walks to 5 – 6 hour hikes.  Also a great walk to watch the blowholes at Pancake Rocks.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Cyclists have plenty of chances to explore the wonderful area.

ACCOMMODATION:

A final night in the great camp at Punakaiki.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

While it is no longer the case, New Zealand was once governed as a part of the territory of New South Wales (later a part of Australia). When Australia federated in 1901, New Zealand was offered a place as one of their states. New Zealand refused and is its own country with no ties (other than economic and commonwealth) to Australia.

Campsite at Punakaiki

Campsite by Natalie

Paparoa National Park to Abel Tasman National Park
Explore stunning bays and coves

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Travel through Buller Gorge to NZ’s best national park – Abel Tasman. Skydive, hang glide or fly an aerobatic plane - all of which give you the perfect birds eye view with varying levels of adrenalin. Cycle the golden sand bays to Marahau. Highly recommended option to spend the evening on a boat moored in the heart of the national park.

Meals Included:        Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      3 hours

TOUR DAY - PAPAROA NATIONAL PARK to abel tasman national park

 

Taking time to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand. The Abel Tasman is one of our favourite spots and we have some excellent options for everyone here. You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chance for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) You also have the option to stay a night in the park. 

ABOUT THE AREA:

New Zealand has a range of fantastic national parks but this is our favourite - maybe it's because this little gem lies on the doorstep of Flying Kiwi HQ but mainly it's due to the the golden sandy beaches, twisting rocky outcrops, turquoise clear waters and beautiful hidden bays.  The park is also home to a range of life from dolphins and orcas to tuis and bellbirds. Whether from the ground, water or air the Abel Tasman never fails to disappoint aspiring photographers looking for the perfect beach shot!

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Skydiving

Hang gliding

Micro light flight

Pilot a stunt plane

HIKING OPTIONS:

A number of short walks are available in the region and once we reach the camp.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

An excellent 25km ride into camp or try the 15 km coast road to our accommodation.

ACCOMMODATION:

 In a great, fun campsite for the next couple of days to explore the area. Cabins are available for a small extra charge (subject to availability).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

Almost three quarters of New Zealand’s electricity is generated by renewable methods, specifically hydro-electricity, wind and geothermal energy.

Abel Tasman National Park
Split apple rock - don't bite too hard!

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

This park is so good we had to stay here a bit longer.  Today you have a free day to explore Abel Tasman, kayaking or sailing the crystal clear waters. Great walking options and the chance to combine various water transport with hikes to get the best of this park by foot and water.   Our camp is right on the National Park’s doorstep. At night we celebrate the last night in the south by going out for a great group dinner.

Meals Included:        Breakfast
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      0 - just relax

TOUR DAY - abel tasman NATIONAL PARK

 

Taking time to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand. The Abel Tasman is one of our favourite spots and we have some excellent options for everyone here. You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chance for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) You also have the option to stay a night in the park. At night we celebrate the last night in the south by going out for a great group dinner.

ABOUT THE AREA:

 Abel Tasman is world renowned for its beautiful beaches and amazing coastal hikes. It has a very mild climate making it a popular destination year round. The Maori lived along the Abel Tasman coast for over 5000 years with a rich supply of food from the water and forest. On 18th Dec 1642, the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman, anchored at Golden Bay and was the 1st European to visit New Zealand. He was met by the resident Ngati Tumatakokiri people and after losing  4 crew in a skirmish with the Maori he soon moved on.

European settlement didnt begin until around 1855. The settlers soon began logging forests for ship building and quarries the granite hillsides.  The temporary

walking in abel tasman

Abel Tasman by Lindsey keith

boom soon began to dip as wood supplies depleted and in 1942 15,000 hectares of land was made into Abel Tasman National Park. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

 Sea kayaking

Sailing

Various kayak/walk/sail combinations

Canyoning

HIKING OPTIONS:

 A variety of different length walks in the National Park. We recommend you water taxi (at your own cost) into the park and hike back out at your leisure.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

The day is yours to explore the region but unfortunately there is no cycling allowed in the national park. A great option is to cycle to Kaiteri for the day.

ACCOMMODATION:

The same great camp for the last night in the south island.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

A New Zealand chef invented the meringue dessert known as the Pavlova in honor of the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.

Abel Tasman National Park to Picton
Marlborough Vineyards

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

A last morning in Abel Tasman before We head out from to Nelson with a coastal cycle option on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail. Explore the Marlborough wine region with a chance to taste the world famous wines. This is the last day for those ending their tour in Picton.  For those heading back down to Christchurch we don't include accommodation but will help arrange an option to suit in an excellent hostel ideal for exploring the sounds and picton region.

Meals Included:        Breakfast 
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      3.5 hours 

TOUR DAY - ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK TO PICTON

 

We have a relaxed start to the day then heading into Nelson for a few hours to explore this unique little city. There is also a great morning cycle option. On the way over to Picton we stop at a top winery in the world famous Marlborough region to sample award winning wines. For those continuing their loop to Christchurch we will transfer you to an excellent hostel where you will stay for the next 2 nights.

ABOUT THE AREA:

the Nelson region is situated at the top of the south island and surrounded by mountain ranges.  This provides a perfect Mediterranean-type climate and is the reason Nelson is known for its year-round sun (and the home to Flying kiwi HQ).   There is a thriving community here with over 370 working artists, boutique wineries, countless cafes, fresh seafood, and a generally relaxed lifestyle. Blenheim is the main town of the Marlborough win region - a name you will see on most leading New Zealand wine bottles.  The sunniest part of NZ its renowned for vineyards, tasty food and boat cruising. The lovely waterside

village of Picton is an ideal base to explore this marine playground of pristine beaches and secret coves.

HIKING OPTIONS:

Early birds can walk part of the track, and there are a few hours to stroll around the unique and charming town of Nelson - plenty of cafes, bars and shops to keep you busy.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Joining part of the national cycle trail

ACCOMMODATION:

Accommodation tonight is at your own expense but we will help arrange a great hostel.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

Picton is home to the Queen Charlotte Track , a major local attraction you can conquer by foot or bike.

Picton (2 nights)
take a break to explore beautiful Nelson or Picton

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

This section of the tour only applies to clients who are completing a Christchurch to Christchurch loop.  You will have 2 nights at your own cost in either Nelson or Picton - your Flying Kiwi staff will be more than happy to make your accommodation bookings for you and advise on things to do.

The Picton region is an amazing area with the Malrborough sounds and wine country on our doorstep.  Your group will join you on the evening of your second day.

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Trip Reviews

We love our trips...but we are a little biased. Get a real feel for our tours from previous clients reviews below. To view all Flying Kiwi tour reviews click here »

Comments

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Tour leaders were fantastic. Handled adverse events without fuss.

    Posted by Graham from AU, 27/03/2014

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    This is the best trip I've been on for friendliness, organisation, locations and activities.

    Posted by Heather from GB, 11/03/2014

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    The tour has just the right mixture of activities and relaxation, bus rides and frequents stops. I loved the little short hikes we did while enroute. I even enjoyed the kitchen duties. I could definitely go on a Flying Kiwi tour again!

    Posted by Helen from US, 10/02/2014

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    After months travelling independently and with groups I was really undecided on how I wanted to travel New Zealand. After much thought and research, I definitely made the right decision to travel with Flying Kiwi. I would never have seen all the things I have seen or stayed in such beautiful locations. The group was great, made some good friends and Vinny and Hanna were cool and two of the best guides I have had on my travels! Thank you!

    Posted by Emma from GB, 09/02/2014

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Trip of all lifetime. So pleased I booked with Flying Kiwi!

    Posted by Judith from GB, 01/02/2014

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Flying Kiwi and the South Island just plain delivered. Steely and Amy were marvellous. Thanks for an incredible holiday!

    Posted by Ken from AU, 01/02/2014

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Flying Kiwi offered me the opportunity to live my dreams in a great group to get to know New Zealand from a lot of different sites off the normal tourists track. I had a truly amazing time!

    Posted by Christina from DE, 31/01/2014

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    We were happy with our trip, but this is our first trip/tour so can't really compare it to others.

    Posted by Pete from the UK from GB, 24/10/2013

  • Trip rating: (4 out of 5)

    I enjoyed my time with Flying Kiwi. The company offers a good combination of commercial activities, city and off the beaten track sight seeing with many hiking and biking options. Great guides!

    Posted by Erin from AU, 22/10/2013

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Really good trip – had a fantastic time. The tour leaders were the best I’ve ever had on other similar tours across the globe.

    Posted by Brian from the UK, 18/03/2013

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tour Starting Nelson or Picton

24 OCT
2, 11, 20, 29 NOV
8, 17, 26 DEC
4, 13, 22, 31 JAN
9, 18, 27 FEB
8, 17, 26 MAR
4, 13 APR
+ LIMITED AVAILABILITY - Please contact us for departure options.

TOUR STARTING CHRISTCHURCHnew zealand tour departures

25 OCT
3, 12, 21, 30 NOV
9, 18, 27 DEC
5, 14, 23 JAN
1, 10, 19, 28 FEB
9, 18, 27 MAR
5, 14+ APR
MAY > SEPT - our tours don't run during the winter months as a number of the hikes, bike rides, activities and locations aren't accessible/operating because it is much colder/more likely to snow. 
+ these trips will finish in Picton. Transfers back to Christchurch can be easily arranged.
+ LIMITED AVAILABILITY - Please contact us for departure options.

trip prices

Picton to Picton (17 days) or Christchurch to Christchurch (19 days)
Trip fee     $2,860
Christchurch to Picton (16 days)
Trip fee     $2,734
 
Optional hires (Local Payment)
Cycle hire $275
Private cycle handling $105
Tent single supplement $85
Sleeping bag $50

Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below answers to some of the most common questions about these specific trips.  For general questions about our tours please visit our frequently asked questions page.   For anything else please contact us.

How do I find out the departure times for my trip?
You can find up-to-date departures times and the main pick locations from this link . If you would like to be picked up from somewhere not detailed on the itineraries you will need to contact the Flying Kiwi office via email or phone to find the specific time - we are very flexible and alternatives can easily be arranged.

What happens if i want to start my trip in Christchurch, Picton or Queenstown?
The bus runs a loop so you can jump on at any point.  However, if you start in Christchurch we have a stop off for a couple of nights in Picton as we wait for the next bus to come past.  This is a great chance to explore one of the most stunning areas of the country with the sounds and wine country on your doorstep.