SUMMER BLAST SOUTH ISLAND TOUR - Overview
Our guides love the Summer Blast trip for no other reason other than the scenery changes dramatically from one campsite to the next!
Expect a loop of the South Island to encounter coastal areas, remote countryside, glacier fed lakes, isolated fiords, limestone formations, subtropical forests and plenty of National Parks. It’s definitely pretty sweet and you’ll also have numerous opportunities for daily hikes and bike options that get you closer to these special natural features.
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. Nothing is missed on this amazing adventure of discovery! Adrenalin seekers will be spoilt for choice with glacier hiking, rafting, kayaking, bungy jumping and dolphin swimming to name but a few adventurous choices. Stay longer in any of our locations if you find there is just too much to do and not enough time to do it in!
Our campsites are hand-picked for their breath-taking locations and access to the adventures and activities we can offer you. We have also included more bush camps in this trip (often a highlight for our passengers). You will be pleasantly surprised with some of the ‘off the beaten track’ camps we’ll take you to. There is so much choice you’ll want to do the loop again!
As The Summer Blast trip is a complete loop of the South Island it means you can start and finish your trip anywhere. Your trip will then finish where you started. You also have the option of starting in Christchurch and finishing in Nelson / Picton. The 3 most popular trip options are:
- Start in Christchurch and finish in Nelson / Picton: (16 days). Takes in all the highlights of the South Island except you will miss the magnificent Kaikoura coastline and the option to go dolphin swimming or whale watching. Perfect if you are flying in from overseas with Christchurch being an International airport then at the end of the trip you can either fly out from Nelson (NZ’s 4th busiest airport) or finish in Picton, the gateway to the North Island.
- Start and finish in Nelson / Picton: (17 days). In addition to being one of the sunniest areas of NZ it’s home to more than 350 working artists and craftspeople creating traditional, contemporary and Maori arts – a visit to their studios is highly recommended. Alternatively, the national parks and the beaches are amongst the best in the world!
- Full Loop Christchurch to Christchurch: (19 days) - When starting/finishing our Summer Blast in Christchurch, you get to spend 2 nights in either Nelson or Picton - the sunniest areas of New Zealand. This short break is at your own cost but gives you some extra time to explore NZ's most stunning region
We suggest one of the following 3 options:
- spend an extra night in the Abel Tasman and one night in Nelson city.
- spend two nights in Nelson city
- spend two nights in Picton
Additional stopover information is available on our Summer Blast - 2 night stopover options page.
Customise Your Trip: It is possible to only do part of the route - you may want to start in Christchurch and finish in Fox Glacier, or maybe you want to break your trip and spend longer in somewhere like Queenstown to do the world-renowned Milford Sound hiking trail. Talk to our crew in the office about how we can create you the perfect trip.
If you have a few days after your trip why not extend it with one of these great options:
- Hot Rocks - 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 - Take the short northward journey from Wellington to Auckland and enjoy the unique Waitomo caves on the way.
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!
- Queenstown Gondola: Board one of the Skyline Gondolas and experience the beauty of the region's magnificent landscapes like never before. Ride the Gondolas high above Queenstown for stunning panoramic views over the town and lake. We think it's a must do!
- 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.
- Sports Equipment: Depending on the bus you will find various sports equipment to enjoy such as bodyboards, frisbee and cricket sets.
- 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.
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.
We include printed maps and route notes for most hikes and rides offered, visit our bike rides page and the hiking pages for more detail into the rides and hikes our guides will show you along the way.
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:
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.
Hostel Nights Needed:
When starting/finishing in Christchurch (19 day trip) you will have 2 nights at your own cost to spend in either Nelson or Picton. This is because you leave the group you have been travelling with as they carry onto the North Island and you join another group travelling south towards Christchurch 2 days later. Optional hires such as sleeping bag, bikes etc are not available during this time. We are happy to help make accommodation bookings for you.
Please visit our 'how it works' page for everything you need to know.