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14 Day Full South Island Tour

Our most comprehensive South Island tour

On this 14 day South Island adventure you can opt to get your adrenaline fix with some world class extreme activities, explore awesome cities and relax in spectacular landscapes.

Highlights of this two-week adventure include a visit to the Marlborough wine region and sample some New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park. You can also choose to take a water taxi ride or hire a stand-up paddle board. Visiting the historic French and British settlement of Akaroa (optional marine activities available at your own expense). Soaking in Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. Seeing the mighty Franz Josef Glacier (optional Glacier Ice Explorer or helicopter flight available at your own expense). Walking around the mirror-like Lake Matheson. Admiring the stunning colours of the Blue Pools in Makarora. Spending two full days in Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand! Seeing the fascinating Moeraki Boulders and then heading to the Kaikoura coast with option to go whale watching You will also spend a full day in Abel Tasman National Park for walks and optional sea kayaking and sailing

Booking Conditions

Age Restriction: 7

Fitness Requirement: Easy

What's included

  • Experienced tour guide
  • Meals as indicated
  • Multi-share accommodation (or upgrade to twin/double/single)
  • Cellar Door Winery visit
  • Walk in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Aqua Taxi ride or Paddle board hire
  • Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
  • Pounamu jade factory
  • Walks around Lake Matheson and the Blue Pools, Mt Aspiring National Park
  • Doubtful Sound overnight cruise
  • Sea kayaking in Doubtful Sound
  • Mountain Biking in Wanaka

What To Bring

  • Sturdy walking shoes/boots
  • Hat & Sunscreen
  • Motion sickness tablets
  • Toiletries
  • Water Bottle
  • Warm clothing and Waterproof jacket
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera

Gallery

Itinerary

Day 1 : Christchurch to Hanmer Springs
Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your journey kicks off when we depart from the city centre to the historic French settlement of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. After exploring the delights of the village, we’ll have time for lunch – make sure you sample one of the wonderful French pastries on offer in the cafes. Next, we head to the peaceful alpine town of Hanmer Springs, where you can spend the evening surrounded by mountains and forest as you relax in the thermal hot pools. Tonight is a group dinner. Accommodation included: Cozy alpine chalets Activities included: Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
Meals :Dinner

Day 2 : Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura
We start today with an invigorating walk up Conical Hill for the best views in Hanmer Springs. Then, we’ll make our way to the East Coast and the coastal village of Kaikoura, famous for a huge array of natural wonders from land to sea. We arrive in Kaikoura so you have free time to experience all this location has to offer. Why not go out on the water and experience one of Kaikoura’s famous dolphin and whale spotting tours (own expense), see seals sitting right beside the road at Goose Bay or wander around the peninsula and check out the breathtaking views from the lookout. Accommodation included: Warm modern hostel Activities included: Conical Hill walk, peninsula walk and seal colony visit Optional activities: Whale watching, swim with dolphins
Meals :Breakfast

Day 3 : Kaikoura to Picton
Today we’ll travel north on a scenic drive along rugged coastal roads to the seaside port town of Picton. You have free time this afternoon to go for a walk to get your bearings in this charming town or relax in the spa pool at your accommodation. Accommodation included: Cozy villa
Meals :None

Day 4 : Picton to Abel Tasman
Spend the morning viewing the stunning Marlborough Sounds by foot or bicycle on one of the nearby tracks. You’ll meet your group at midday to drive through the famous Marlborough wine region. We visit a local vineyard’s cellar door to sample New Zealand’s world famous Sauvignon Blanc, before heading to the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park. Tonight we enjoy some delicious seafood and a BBQ dinner at our exclusive campsite accommodation. Accommodation included: Beach accommodation in the national park Activities included: Winery cellar door visit
Meals :Dinner

Day 5 : Full day in Abel Tasman
Today is a free day to experience the incredible Abel Tasman National Park. Explore this stunning coastal area famous for being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand. Walk the coastal track and discover some of New Zealand’s best natural golden sand beaches or choose an optional activity like sailing or sea kayaking (own expense). Tonight you can self-cater and use the BBQ facilities at our accommodation on the edge of the national park. Accommodation included: Beach accommodation in the national park Activities included: Abel Tasman Track and Aqua Taxi or stand-up paddle board hire (SUP)
Meals :Breakfast

Day 6 : Abel Tasman to Franz Josef
We start early to head south along the ‘wild’ West Coast, travelling on the rugged rocky coastline that makes this stretch of road one of the country’s top drives. We’ll stop at Cape Foulwind to view a wild seal colony that’s active year round, then make our way further down the coast to visit the spectacular limestone Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. From there, we carry on to our next overnight stop in the quaint little West Coast town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions Activities included: Cape Foulwind seal colony, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks walk
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7 : Full day at Franz Josef
Enjoy a free day to get out and explore the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on a guided glacier tour, which we highly recommend (own expense). There are also many excellent bush hikes available in the region. Tonight you self-cater, giving you the opportunity to dine at one of the local cafes and restaurants in town or make use of the self-catering kitchen at our accommodation. Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions Optional activities: Glacier Ice Explorer, helicopter flight
Meals :Breakfast

Day 8 : Franz Josef to Makarora
Today we head down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in some breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson, NZ’s most photographed lake.  See waterfalls as we travel through the mountainous Haast Pass towards Makarora then visit the stunning Blue Pools.  On arrival in Mount Aspiring National Park we go jet boating to experience the best in shallow water boating skimming just inches from the riverbed, see pristine waterways, snow-capped peaks and native bush. Accommodation included: Unique mountain chalets Activities included: Walk around Lake Matheson, walk through beech forest to the Blue Pools, jet boat in Mt Aspiring National Park
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9 : Makarora to Doubtful Sound
Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, with stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery; it is our first port of call today. Within Fiordland we visit Doubtful Sound, the deepest of all the fiords, surrounded by towering peaks and huge waterfalls. We will board a purpose built boat and enjoy complimentary afternoon tea while cruising past fur seals, penguins and dolphins. There are also sea kayaks available to paddle in the fiord. Accommodation included: Overnight on the boat, anchored within a secluded bay in a UNESCO World Heritage Site Activities included: Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise, sea kayaking, wildlife spotting
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10 : Doubtful Sound to Queenstown
We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind the stunning Fiordland to head for the ‘adventure capital of the world’ Queenstown. For your first evening here, Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge!) night out with many excellent restaurants, pubs and live music. Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views
Meals :Breakfast

Day 11 : Full day in Queenstown
You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skiing, sky diving or walk Ben Lomond or Queenstown hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging
Meals :Breakfast

Day 12 : Full day in Queenstown
You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skiing, sky diving or walk Ben Lomond or Queenstown hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging
Meals :Breakfast

Day 13 : Queenstown to Mt Cook
We’ll jump back on the bus for a short drive to Wanaka, where we’ll spend the morning biking some of New Zealand’s most scenic lakeside trails. After lunch, we head over the Lindis Pass through the picturesque Mackenzie region to the base of the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. There is time for a hike through the Hooker Valley for breathtaking views of the dramatic mountain landscape, or opt to take an alpine scenic flight (own expense). This is also one of the best places in New Zealand to join an evening stargazing tour. Accommodation included: Alpine lodge  Activities included: Mountain biking in Wanaka, scenic walk along the Hooker Valley track Optional activities: Big Sky Stargazing or scenic heli-flight
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 14 : Mt Cook to Christchurch
Today we make our way through a landscape made famous in the 'Lord of the Rings' films. We’ll take a break for a stroll around Lake Tekapo, iconic for its historic church and turquoise waters. Between Tekapo and Christchurch there is an option for thrill seekers to hop-off and join a top-notch Grade 5 white water adventure on the Rangitata River (own expense). Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch, where your driver guide will point out the highlights of the South Island’s largest city. The rafters will rejoin the group in Christchurch this evening. This is where your tour comes to an end – we hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! Activities included: Explore Lake Tekapo area Optional activities: Rangitata white water rafting
Meals :Breakfast

Pickups

Departs Saturdays from Christchurch

Optional Excursions

Optional Activities (Available to sign up on tour with your guide)

  • Adventure

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Recent Independent Reviews

  • On Tourradar Febuary 17, 2019

    Just finished fabulous 15 day South Island NZ tour. We were the old couple on the tour, traveling with mostly 20 somethings. They were so much fun and we all did our own dreams, whether sky diving, glacier hiking, mountain biking, and so on. Our driver Gullum was top notch! His commentaries were great. He kept us on the tight schedule so we didn't miss a thing. Accommodations varied from questionable to wonderful which made every night a new adventure. Would highly recommend this Stray tour

    On Tourradar December 13, 2018

    Hi there The Stray Journeys Tour in New Zealand, which I travelled with, I definitely would recommend. We had a really good, friendly, funny and qualified driver - Lego. I appreciated the way how the Tour was organized and I also loved our group. The people I met during the tour were really nice and turned into friends. In addition we saw all the beautiful places of this country and we were super lucky with the weather. In the end it was just a phenomenal three weeks we had in New Zealand! Keep it up and kind regards, Robin

    On Tourradar March 8, 2019

    Amazing tour. Postie was a fantastic guide and maintained enthusiasm and energy throughout. Some wi fi available on bus. Great accommodation. Perfect number of people on the tour. Lots of solo travellers.

    On Tourradar February 7, 2019

    The 2-week journey was a perfect way to see most of New Zealand's beautiful south island. We drove more than 5000km through breathtaking scenery. Travelling in a small group allowed us to get off the beaten track a couple of times. It is hassle free with the pre-booked accomodations, lots of great activities are included and discounts apply to other activities you can book in addition (but there is never any pressure to do so). My personal highlight was the Doubtful Sound Overnight cruise, which was absolutely stunning. As most travellers on the journey, I travelled by myself. I met great people in all age groups from all over the world and truly enjoyed it. I felt that we were unlucky with our driver as there could have been more input by him. But overall you see and learn a lot about this great country and I would definitely recommed this journey.

    On Tourradar January 4, 2019

    I highly recommend Stray for budget travellers who do not self drive in NZ. Just make sure that Stray has a better accommodation in Queenstown.