Summer Blast South Island Tour

Summer Blast South Island Tour

  • Christchurch
  • Picton
  • 15 days
  • 4.8 / 5.0 (100 reviews)
  • from NZD$4,235.00

Main Highlights

  • NZ's best National Parks
  • World heritage site
  • NZ cycle trail
  • Glacier hikes
  • Queenstown
  • Fiordland
  • Routeburn Track
  • Milford Sound
  • Abel Tasman
  • Kayaking
  • White water rafting
  • Glow-worm walks
  • Accommodation by coasts, mountains & lakes.
  • ...and many more

SUMMER BLAST SOUTH ISLAND TOUR - Overview:

If you want to experience NZ scenery that changes dramatically from one campsite to the next then the Summer Blast is for you. Expect the widest range of natural wonders from glaciers and mountains to beautiful beaches and dramatic Fiords. You’ll get to see an amazing range of wildlife such as dolphins, whales, penguins and seals and there will be numerous opportunities for daily hikes and biking that get you closer to nature.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE SUMMER BLAST TOUR:

We have included the following in the Summer Blast tour which we think shows off the very best of the South Island:

- Accommodation: Taking you further off the beaten tourist trail and getting you amongst NZ’s natural beauty we have carefully selected our campsites to include a mixture of wilderness bush camps and commercial camps. Included in the tour price is shared tent accommodation, two people per tent. You can upgrade to a single tent for a small additional cost.

- Food: Enjoy great food on our trips and most meals are included (our detailed itinerary outlines exactly what is included on a day-to-day basis). We can also cater for a broad range of dietary requirements.

- Seafood Feast: Kiwis love our seafood and as a country surrounded by water we certainly make the most of it! As part of our delicious menu we include a seafood feast from one of the best seafood locations in New Zealand. This is a meal not to be missed!

- Wine tasting Marlborough: New Zealand's flagship wine region which, in combination with Sauvignon Blanc, put the country on the international wine stage. We think it’s worth a try which is why we’ve included a taster for you.

- Hikes: We offer a range of daily walks from 10mins to a few hours. You also have access to the Aoraki Mt Cook, Westland Tai Poutini, Paparoa, Fiordland, Mt Aspiring and Abel Tasman national parks!

- Bike Rides: For those that have hired one of our bikes, we have some great rides both on road and off road for you to enjoy.

OTHER FREE INCLUSIONS:

There is a lot you can see and do for free as Kiwis really are a generous bunch. Visit the Church of Good Shepherd in Tekapo, learn some local history at the Otago Early Settlers museum, gaze in wonder at the Punakaiki Pancake rocks and blowholes not to mention the amazing sunrises and sunsets at beautiful beachside campsites, and more.

Our activities page above gives more detail on many of the free and optional activities that you might choose to do on your Summer Blast tour and how it all works.


IMPORTANT THINGS WE WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE SUMMER BLAST TOUR:

Bush Camps:
During the Summer Blast tour we stay at 2 bush camps. Bush camps are part of our charm, especially the ones we have selected for their amazing scenery and often our bush camps are what travellers have fondest memories of. Due to their remote locations there are no cabin upgrade options and they also come with only basic toilet facilities.

Please visit our 'how it works' page for everything you need to know.

  1. Today we'll depart Christchurch and start heading towards the mountains and across the Canterbury plains, a flat open area of farmland. Tonight we'll stay in Peel Forest, close to the Rangitata river.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Cycle into camp along a quite country road through fields of cows, sheep and deer with a mountainous backdrop
    • Walks and Hikes: The Peninsula Walkway is a must if you missed it yesterday! You’ll also have plenty of time on your feet when we stop through Christchurch to check out the awesome rebuild of Christchurch city!
    • Optional Activities: Highly recommended dolphin swim, dolphin viewing
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours
  2. Wake up to mountain views and try white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River! If rafting isn’t for you, soak it all in with a morning cycle or walk through Peel forest. We then head through more jaw dropping landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo.  Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour brought down from the rivers flowing from glaciers high up in the mountains.

    Relax in the nearby hot pools or enjoy star gazing at the Mt John Observatory and make the most of staying in an International Dark Sky Reserve, plus there are plenty of hike and cycle options to choose from. 

    • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
    • Bike Rides: If you're not rafting in the morning hop on your bike and head to the Peel Forest walks. In the afternoon enjoy the trails at Lake Tekapo Regional Park then ride to camp
    • Walks and Hikes: A variety of walk options today including the protected conifers of Peel Forest and then this afternoon you'll have some time to walk along the edge an incredible glacial lake or walk to the Mt John Observatory and take in 360 degree views of Tekapo
    • Optional Activities: White water rafting (grade 5 rapids!), horse-riding, Mt John Observatory tour
    • Available Upgrades: Yes - limited options
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2 hours
  3. Immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for and explore Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain following a trail up the Hooker valley where you’ll cross swing bridges and get stunning views of the mountains before finishing up at a glacial lake with views of the Hooker Valley glacier. We then travel back towards the Pacific coast for a quick stop in the historic town of Oamaru before continuing onwards to the small village of Moeraki. Walk to a great view point offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and try to spot a little Blue Penguin along the shore. If you have a bike it’s possible to visit a colony of extremely rare Yellow-eyed Penguins near to camp. 

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: During the afternoon you can ride a short section of the Alps2ocean trail followed by a ride out to Katiki Point Lighthouse where you'll find a Yellow-eyed penguin colony
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy walking into the start of Mt Cook National Park in Hooker Valley. A three hour return hike, you’ll be blown away by the mountainous landscape not to mention a glacier during the hike.
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours
  4. If the tide is low then we can walk along the beach to the mysterious Moeraki boulders. These perfectly round spheres of rock have formed over millions of years and have found their way onto the beach near Moeraki and make for some fun photo opportunities.

    Afterwards it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin, the South Island's second-largest city. This southern city is home to the world’s steepest residential street and the coastline is home to some fantastic and rare wildlife. It’s possible to take a tour onto the Otago Peninsula to view some of this diverse wildlife which includes Albatross and Fur Seals. For the adventurous, why not try surfing at one of Dunedin’s best breaks! Our camp is a short distance from St. Kilda beach with a variety of restaurants close by to choose from.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Ride from camp into town or out to the Otago Peninsula later in the day if you’re not doing any optional activities
    • Walks and Hikes: You’ll feel your heart pumping through your chest as you take a stroll up the world’s steepest residential street!
    • Optional Activities: Surfing, Otago Peninsula wildlife tour
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  5. Today is one of our longer travel days as we drive through some of New Zealand’s most dramatic natural scenery on our way to 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 briefly in Te Anau, the hub and gateway town for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound and your last chance to get supplies for those doing the Routeburn Track tomorrow. Tonight’s camp is on the lakeside in Te Anau.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Enjoy riding through the isolated and moody Fiordland National Park into Hollyford Valley where you’ll finish at our camp (literally away from all civilisation, it’s great!)
    • Walks and Hikes: Short walks today as we’re on a mission to get to Fiordland National Park!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours
  6. Travel one of the world’s most scenic routes into Milford Sound! Described as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. We highly recommend taking a cruise on Milford Sound where you'll see dramatic waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and have the chance to spot wildlife such as dolphins, penguins and seals! As it’s just the one road in and out, we head back along the same breath-taking route to our lakeside camp in Te Anau. Along the way, we drop off those doing the 3-day Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. This 3-day hike passes through two National Parks and is a haven for native birdlife. Charge up your camera as this hike offers everything from mountainous peaks and sheer rock faces to pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls and dense, luxuriant forest. 

    • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
    • Bike Rides: Leisurely ride along the lakefront of Lake Te Anau and up alongside a river before looping back to camp. Go as little or as far as you please.
    • Walks and Hikes: For those who have pre-booked, the absolutely unforgettable Routeburn Track! Explore the lakefront of Te Anau in the afternoon once we are out of Fiordland National Park.
    • Optional Activities: Highly recommended Milford Sound boat cruise, Routeburn Track (3 day/2 night alpine hike), Te Anau glowworm caves & boat ride
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  7. Today we journey to Queenstown along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. Once we arrive at the adventure capital of New Zealand you have a huge selection of activities to choose from. There is everything here, from adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing and skydiving to a relaxing horse trek or boat cruise – this place has it all. There are great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this alpine region.  Camping isn’t feasible in this bustling alpine village, for the next two nights we stay in dorm-share accommodation (cost included) in a centrally located hostel. Perfect for making the most of all Queenstown has to offer.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Queenstown offers a variety of different trails, so head out on your bike once we arrive in town
    • Walks and Hikes: Plenty of walks we can recommend once we have arrived in Queenstown. If you’re into taking on a hill for views or leisure lakefront strolling, Queenstown won’t disappoint!
    • Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes to a private room
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  8. With so much to do we spend the full day in fantastic Queenstown with the opportunity to enjoy those once in a lifetime experiences (don’t forget to try the legendary and very tasty Fergburger!). Routeburn Track walkers rejoin the group here at midday with time to try some of the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight, we dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost).  

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Awesome bike options if you have a free day you can choose short or longer cycling experiences that will take you past jaw dropping landscapes, vineyards, great cafes and more!
    • Walks and Hikes: Plenty of mountains you can hike to enjoy inspirational views of Lake Wakatipu and the alpine surrounds!
    • Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes to a private room
    • Drive Distance: No driving today
  9. Our final morning in Queenstown and your last chance to indulge in the Queenstown’s action before we farewell those finishing their tour and welcome new travellers joining us here. Leaving at 2:30pm, after the thrills and spills of Queenstown we travel past mountains and on towards stunning glacial lakes. On the final stretch to camp we start getting views of Mt Aspiring National Park in the distance. Lake Wanaka is just over the next ridge and it’s on the edge of this glacial lake that we find our next wilderness camp. Enjoy great views of Lake Wanaka and the mountains beyond as we absorb the beauty of the area. 

     

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: You can make the most of the Queenstown bike trails before we leave at 2.30pm and you can ride into Lake Hawea village from camp
    • Walks and Hikes: Lakefront walks or other walks you may have missed yesterday when doing activities.
    • Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, boat cruise plus much more!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes limited options
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2 hours
  10. Enjoy a relaxed morning at our lakeside camp then it's northward bound through Mt Aspiring National Park. 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 travel towards the wild West Coast, the road follows braided rivers and huge glacier carved valleys. There are two more great walk options along the way, one through lush and ancient forests and the other through swampy vegetation, ending on the beach where it is possible to spot Hector dolphins. Tonight, we will be staying beside the beautiful Lake Paringa enjoying a true West Coast wilderness experience.  

    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 and the the least number of people - a perfect combination for our tours. The region is dotted with towering mountain peaks, glaciers, 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. 

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Later in the day you have an option of a long ride into camp from Knights Point lookout to Lake Paringa
    • Walks and Hikes: There are quite a number of short walks today as we make frequent stops on this epic journey to the West Coast
    • Available Upgrades: Yes limited options
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours
  11. Today is your chance to explore one of NZ’s most unique and spectacular natural wonders – Franz Josef Glacier.  This staggering beautiful work of nature is 12 kilometres and descends from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres above sea level. To get on the ice you must go up by helicopter but it’s possible to view the glacier with a stunning walk through the main valley up to the terminal face. Before arriving at Franz Josef, we take a highly recommended walk around Lake Matheson where crystal clear reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman make the perfect photo opportunity. Late afternoon, we have a short drive up the coast to our beautiful beachside campsite next to the Okarito lagoon – one of the very few places where there are still rare sightings of our native kiwi bird and the home to NZ’s only colony of the White Heron (kotuku). Enjoy a fire down on the beach taking in the rugged coast and epic mountain views.    

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Ride along the walk/cycleway to the Glacier viewpoint. There is also a beautiful ride on the quiet road that leads to Okarito
    • Walks and Hikes: In the morning a walk around Lake Matheson is a must do! In the afternoon if you're not hiking on the ice then definitely head up to the terminal face viewpoint
    • Optional Activities: Guided heli-hike, skydiving, kayaking, West Coast wildlife centre
    • Available Upgrades: Yes limited options
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  12. Enjoy an early morning walk, with a view of the sunrise over the Southern Alps as a reward. We then continue up this spectacular coastal road to the quirky town of Hokitika, home to the Greenstone factories and a great place to pick up a traditional souvenir of your visit. Passing through Greymouth we keep following the coast to Punakaiki where you’ll notice a change in the landscape and vegetation with huge limestone cliffs appearing and Nikau Palm trees becoming abundant. Our beach camp has great sunsets, a beautiful river and incredible views of Paparoa National Park. The pancake rocks and blowholes are the main attraction in Punakaiki where limestone rocks are stacked on top of each other and ocean swells are forced through gaps in the rock creating a whale’s blowhole effect. In the evening, explore a cavern with some glow worms hanging out in the dark then relax at the local tavern.  

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Road ride on a stretch of highway that has been voted one of the most scenic roads in the world! Expect some hills but extensive views of coastline, totally rewarding!
    • Walks and Hikes: If you're up for an early start then head out to the okarito trig for fantastic views of the Southern Alps as the sun comes up. Once we reach Punakaiki there are a number of different trails you can explore to get the best out of our visit to Paparoa Nati
    • Optional Activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks & blow holes (free!), Paddleboarding, River canoeing
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours
  13. Before leaving Punakaiki we take time to explore part of the Paparoa National Park with a walk along the Pororari river or cycle up Bullock creek road to visit a cave resurgence. Leaving mid-morning we travel inland through the majestic Buller gorge and onto our favourite National Park, Abel Tasman. In one of the sunniest areas of the country you will discover beautiful secluded bays and stunning golden sand beaches. We look forward to spending 2 nights at our perfectly located camp, close to the park entrance which makes it the ideal place to explore all corners of the stunning Abel Tasman. 

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Trail, biking past a local beer brewer, local fruit and vegetable roadside stands, a hill to get those legs pumping, a brilliant mountain bike park and views of golden sand and invitingly warm waters, what more can you ask for?!
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy an afternoon or evening walk into Abel Tasman National Park from camp (yes that rights, it’s on your backdoor step).
    • Optional Activities: Skydiving
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours
  14. Taking time to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand - there are 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 chances for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) Explore the heart of the park on one of our most highly rated optional activities - canyoning high flow waterfalls and rapids!   

     

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Kaiteriteri mountain bike park, cycle rides from camp if not on activities
    • Walks and Hikes: Exploring the Abel Tasman National Park - single & multi day walk options
    • Optional Activities: Multi day & single day kayaking options, canyoning, sailing, water taxi / walk, conservation projects (free), conservation tour
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: No driving today
  15. Today we head to sunny Nelson. In addition to being one of the sunniest areas of NZ its home to more than 350 working artists and craftspeople creating traditional, contemporary and Maori arts + it's a wonderful place to live! Relax and enjoy the sunshine and café culture before we depart for wine country – Marlborough, home to some of the World’s best known grapes and where we’ll treat you to a free tasting in one of their best vineyards before your tour finishes in Picton.

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: 14-16km off road and road cycling
    • Walks and Hikes: Walk to the geographical centre of New Zealand
    • Available Upgrades: n/a
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours

2023 TOUR PRICES:

Tour price

$4235

Bike hire

$360

Single tent upgrade

$185

Bring your own bike

$150

Sleeping bag hire

$85

 

2023 DEPARTURES:

MONTH

DEPART CHRISTCHURCH

JANUARY 2023

30TH

FEBRUARY 2023

15TH

MARCH 2023

3RD & 19TH

APRIL 2023

4TH

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Trip Reviews

  • I feel really bad as I went on this trip a few years ago however, since the pandemic, I've seen images of NZ and it reminded me of my amazing experience. I really can't praise Flying Kiwi highly enough. Everyone from the staff who helped me with my online booking to everyone throughout the 3 week trip. You really feel like a family, everyone is so nice and welcoming. I have too many highlights to mention. NZ is one of the most breathtaking places I've ever visited. When we are past the Covid-19 pandemic please book a place and go. You won't regret it.

    , travelled Summer Blast South Island Tour on 01/10/2018

  • Easily the best trip I've been on. Not just for the itinerary but also the company I had going on this trip.

    , travelled Summer Blast South Island Tour on 01/04/2019

  • Im leaving the South Island trip wishing Id done the North Island too. I couldn't have asked for more from this holiday and would definitely recommend it to friends.

    , travelled Summer Blast South Island Tour on 01/02/2019

  • I loved it. Loved being outside and I felt at home so quickly, the group feeling was amazing, people were so like minded and the age difference didn't matter at all. Going with you was one of the best decisions I ever made. Thank you, had the best experience.

    , travelled Summer Blast South Island Tour on 01/01/2019

  • Overall, the trip was absolutely fantastic and far exceeded my brilliant expectations. Being in the outdoors for 2 full weeks was amazing. Great guides, great locations and great fellow passengers put the cheery on top!

    , travelled Summer Blast South Island Tour on 01/01/2019

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