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A 10-day trip around the South Island of New Zealand
Visit the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, nestled by the shores of Lake Tekapo
Join an indoor astrology Dark Sky Project experience combining science & Māori astronomy
Visit Aoraki/Mt Cook & learn about NZ's history at the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
Visit the charming, historic gold rush village of Arrowtown
Cruise along the stunning Milford Sound
Enjoy free time to explore Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world
Visit the vivid turquoise waters of Hokitika Gorge
Carve your own pounamu (greenstone/jade) pendant in Franz Josef
Explore Castle Hill rocks – named the 'Spiritual centre of the universe' by the Dalai Lama
All accommodation: Hostel (9 Nights)
Meals: 9 breakfasts
Transport: Comfortable mini-bus
What to Expect
New Zealand’s South Island is a place of breathtaking beauty. It’s home to Queenstown, the Milford Sound, Lake Tekapo and the incredible glacier country, and so much more.
With the majestic mountains, copper-blue lakes, and unbeatable nightlife, you’ll spend 10 days exploring it all while creating unforgettable memories.
Day 1: Christchurch to Rakaia Gorge to Lake Tekapo
Welcome aboard! Today is the first day of your road trip! After a quick meet and greet in Christchurch with others joining, load into the van and head west towards Rakaia Gorge for lunch.
Then, continue over the Rakaia Gorge Bridge, a historic piece of architecture dating back to 1945 and make your way towards Lake Tekapo. Enjoy a quick stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd – one of the most photographed destinations in New Zealand.
You then get to enjoy a treat for the senses at the Dark Sky Project experience for a 45-min guided tour that combines science and Māori astronomy. After this, you will give you time to settle into your accommodation which looks out at the intense milky blue waters of the glacial-fed Lake Tekapo.
In your downtime, you can walk around town or choose to soak and relax at Tekapo Springs, with views of the brilliant blue of Lake, sparse golden mountain ranges, pine forest, and the pure blue skies of the Mackenzie Region. As the sun sets, watch the beautiful changing light and colours on the mountains and in the sky.
At night, you can explore the local cuisines for dinner and hang out with your new crew. Afterwards, you can have your mind blown and discover the wonders of the night sky with many outdoor stargazing tours to choose from!
Transport: Minibus with an approx driving time of 3 hrs 30 min
Day 2: Lake Tekapo to Aoraki/Mt Cook to Wanaka
In the morning, your guides will prepare a continental breakfast before you wind your way further south. First, pass Lake Pukaki, the largest lake in the area that proudly shows off New Zealand's tallest peak and next stop – Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Take your time here exploring the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre for some extraordinary New Zealand history and a quick walk to view the largest glacier in the country. Afterwards, head towards Wānaka, a town situated on a lakefront and dwarfed by mountains.
After checking into your accommodation, you can wander the town and see why this place draws visitors from all around the world with unrivalled views of Mt. Aspiring National Park. The night is yours to try the delicious cuisines of this town and exciting nightlife.
Transport: Minibus with an approx driving time of 3 hrs 30 min
Day 3: Wanaka to Arrowtown to Te Anau
Wake up and enjoy your breakfast with panoramic views of the stunning Lake Wānaka. You'll be happy to know there is still time to relax around Wānaka before heading to Arrowtown, New Zealand's historic gold-mining destination.
The Kiwi-style 'Wild West' is full of funky cafes, charming wooden-fronted shops, and remnants of the gold rush era. While you're there, you should visit the replica miner's huts, buy some flakes of gold, wade in the river where people still pan for gold or buy some old-fashioned sweets from the Remarkable Sweet Shop.
After, head straight to the stunning lakeside town of Te Anau, where you'll stay the night to prepare for tomorrow's adventure. This picturesque township is the main visitor base for the glacier-covered wilderness of Fiordland National Park.
Transport: Minibus with an approx driving time of 3 hrs
Day 4: Te Anau to Milford Sound to Queenstown
After breakfast, head to one of New Zealand's most stunning attractions – Milford Sound. Deemed the 8th wonder of the world by Rudyard Kipling, this area has a magical combination of mountain peaks, forest-clad cliffs, and deep mysterious-blue waters.
You'll really take advantage of this beautiful spot with a 2-hour boat cruise on the sound itself. You'll get up-close views of the impressive fiord, and be in touching distance of the stunning waterfalls and local wildlife. Your guides will prepare a gourmet lunch on board the boat while you keep your eyes out for seals, dolphins, and more!
After the cruise, drive back towards Queenstown whilst making stops at Eglinton Valley and Mirror Lake. On arrival, you'll check into your accommodation, and you'll have some free time to go and explore this famous town! You can check out the world's best burger joint – Fergburger. And then, the night is yours. Have some drinks at the Ice Bar, take a trip through the haunted house, or head back to our accommodation to rest up for two more big days ahead in Queenstown.
Transport: 2-hr cruise on Milford Sound, Mini-bus with an approx driving time of 5 hrs
Day 5: Queenstown
Today is a free day, and what better place than to enjoy it in Queenstown? People come here from all over the world for an adventure holiday, and the town has subsequently been nicknamed the adventure capital for a good reason!
With two more nights in this incredible southern paradise, you'll get your chance to do as much exploring as you can fit in. Spend it how you want; bungy jumping, skydiving, exploring the town, soaking up in the onsen hot pools – the bucket list activities are endless!
Day 6: Queenstown
If you didn't manage to do or see everything you wanted yesterday, no stress – you have another full day to explore this adventurous town.
At midday, however, there is an optional add-on for a spectacular guided tour of Skippers Canyon via the infamous Skippers Road, followed by the thrilling jet boat ride through the Shotover River's dramatic canyons! In this area, you will discover a land rich in gold mining history and breathtaking scenery, just a short distance from central Queenstown.
Day 7: Queenstown to Lake Hawea to Haast Pass to Franz Josef
Enjoy an early breakfast and head off to Cardrona, a historic village on the famous Crown Range Road. You'll be able to grab a coffee at the iconic Cardrona Hotel at the heart of the town while surely grabbing a photo while you're there!
You will then hit the road and pass by Lake Hāwea, a place of vivid beauty. Next, carry on to experience one of the best scenic drives in this area. Pass by non-stop Aotearoa eye-candy through the Haast Pass, highlighted by ancient rain forests, small glaciers, and astounding waterfalls. You might even get to meet some penguins if you are lucky!
Before lunch, visit the famous Blue Pools, a short walk from the car park. The blue of the water is not to be believed; it's clear, pure, and makes for one fantastic photo! Afterwards, you will pass by more epic waterfalls and have a beachfront lunch prepared for you by the friendly guides.
With full bellies, you'll make your way to Franz Josef Glacier for the night. Once settled into your new home, you can opt-in for a pizza night, check out the local restaurants in the area and even use the giant hot tub at the accommodation to finish off your epic day with the squad!
Transport: Minibus with an approx driving time of 5 hrs
Day 8: Franz Josef
After breakfast, you'll learn the process of carving a special Maori piece of jewellery from Pounamu, known as 'greenstone', much of which has been sourced from local West Coast riverbeds. You even get to keep what you have made as a souvenir.
After this morning's activity, explore Franz Josef and all the wild activities on offer! You can choose what you do for the rest of today. Some popular experiences are the original Franz Josef kayak adventure, epic helicopter tours, and treks for that unbeatable Instagram shot (your guides can give you some suggestions and help with bookings).
You will then meet back at the accommodation to head out for a group dinner and make the most of your night here.
Day 9: Franz Josef to Hokitika to Christchurch
Load the van back up and travel to Christchurch – from one coast and head towards the other. Stopping at Hokitika Gorge, you'll have the chance to walk one of the west coast's most popular trails! A 15 min stroll takes you to see surreal turquoise waters that drain from the distant Sale Glacier. You can then explore some lunch options in Hokitika town before hitting the road again to drive through Arthur's Pass.
Climbing to more than 900 metres through Arthur's Pass National Park, this is the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps. Halfway through, you will stop to witness the Limestone rocks at Castle Hill, also known as Kura Tawhiti by the indigenous Maori Tribe Ngai Tahu and named the 'Spiritual centre of the universe' by the Dalai Lama.
Once you arrive in Christchurch, get ready to say your goodbyes on the last night of your trip.
Transport: Minibus with an approx driving time of 5 hrs
Day 10: Christchurch
Today is checkout day! After breakfast, wrap the tour up at 10:00 am and say your goodbyes to all your new best mates!
Tour departs from the meeting point at JUCY Snooze Christchurch, 5 Peter Leeming Road, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch (meeting location may change, please check your final documents for the confirmed location).
Frequently Asked Questions
The Operator uses a variety of accommodations, from entire beach houses, ski lodges, and cabins, to private hostel dorms/twin rooms. To create a ‘community vibe’, rooms are shared but exclusive to your group. This means you will be sharing your room but only with people on the tour. The tours are typically dorm share with the occasional twin share.
Absolutely! The Operator recommends people join these tours by themselves to embrace the whole experience of meeting new friends, trying new things, and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. They also love couples joining the tours and a group of friends too. They welcome everyone and anyone!
The Operator asks that you bring a medium-sized bag for the 4-day tours and one large-sized bag for the 10+ day tours. The medium/large bag is for your clothes and general belongings, and they recommend taking one small day bag to keep with you on the bus. New Zealand weather can be unpredictable, so make sure you bring swimwear and a towel, as well as warm clothes and a rain jacket. All bedding is provided, but you can bring your favourite pillow if you like. And don’t forget your camera and chargers – you don’t want to miss out on all the photo opportunities.
The Operator will still run a tour for sure. Unfortunately, they can’t control the weather, but they can plan around it. They have backup plans always in case of bad weather, with replacement activities planned.
The Operator can cater to most dietary requirements; please just let them know when you book! They are also confident the menus at lunch stops are diverse enough to satisfy whatever you may crave.
Yes, the itinerary can change due to weather, road closures, or anything else that is out of the Operator's control. But they have procedures and plans in place for when this does happen. So don’t worry; they've got you sorted.
Meals not listed
The minimum age is 18 years
You must arrange and take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to the tour departure date if you are internationally travelling to New Zealand for this tour. If requested by your tour guide, you must produce evidence of your travel insurance prior to the commencement of the tour
You are entitled to have one piece of main luggage weighing no more than 23kg and one-day pack weighing no more than 7kg
All changes and cancellations of bookings by you must be made in writing by emailing The Operator. They will not regard a booking as cancelled unless email written notice has been received by them from you
Cancellations or changes can only be made up to 14 days before the departure date of your tour. Any cancellations or changes made within 14 days to the departure date of your tour will be rejected, and the relevant booking price cannot be refunded. If the cancellation is accepted, a refund of the total booking price (less the $99.00 deposit and any applicable credit card fees) will be paid to you
No refunds will be available for cancellations within 14 days of the departure date. If your booking was made via a travel agent, please contact them directly to discuss your options
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