Experience the best of New Zealand’s South Island - it's an adventure you won't want to end. Kick off this tour in the land of the Lord of the Rings, Wellington & quad bike in the bush! Hike a glacier, then it's on to Queenstown. Go bungy jumping, canyon swinging & quad biking - the activities endless (& the nightlife is legendary!) Choose to cruise through Milford Sound & take an amazing scenic flight over Mt. Cook!
Kia ora! Meet up with your Contiki crew & travel buddies & set sail on the Inter-Island ferry for good times in New Zealand's stunning South Island. The South Island means a complete change of scenery with loads of wild nature. Cruise through the gorgeous Marlborough Sounds, where thick forested peaks rise straight up from the sea. It’s a camera-friendly spot with picturesque inlets, remote coves and tiny beaches that dot the islands. You’ll also see some old wooden baches (New Zealand holiday houses) and boat jetties. After the cruise, it’s another jaw-dropping drive to Kaikoura, via Marlborough’s wine country. We travel on to the wild, rugged east coast and stop at a seal colony, before passing through Kaikoura. This seaside settlement is known for whales, dolphins and delicious, fresh crayfish sold from roadside vans. The coach cuts across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
After a leisurely start to the day we begin our journey west through stunning Arthur’s Pass, following an old trade route. The dense native forest, alpine atmosphere and crystal clear rivers give the area its pioneer feel. We’ll stop in at the former gold rush town of Hokitika on the West Coast. It’s great for a look into a traditional Maori art. Watch authentic carvers work with New Zealand greenstone (jade) and learn about the importance of this stone. You could even pick up a piece to take home. Sticking to the untamed coastline, we arrive in the Westland National Park. Franz Josef is our stop for the night, a town where lush bush land and glaciers almost reach the sea.
This morning, get physical and pull on your crampons, grab an ice-pick and head out onto the ice of either the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier. On this optional activity, you’ll learn about how these glaciers came about with our professional Local Guides. Otherwise, you can get a bird’s eye view over these icy formations and sweeping vistas in an optional helicopter ride.
Relax on the coach, chat with friends and take in the stunning scenery of the Haast Pass & Thunder Creek Falls as we head down to Queenstown. Cruise past remote beaches and the coastal dunes of the west coast before hitting Haast Pass. Ancient rainforests, small glaciers and waterfalls give this area its unique atmosphere. There’s even more scenery changes when we cross the Southern Alps and enter the region of Otago, with its golden grasslands, cliffs and hills. Next up: Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. This is one high-energy destination that has something for everyone. From jet boat rides to fantastic local food, gorgeous countryside and the world’s most southern wineries, the list really is endless.
This morning, you’ll take a ride on ‘The world’s most exciting jetboat’ the iconic Shotover Jet! Hold on tight - speeding down the Shotover River on a jetboat amongst the fierce canyon walls (so close you could probably touch them) is a thrilling experience & getting a pic to take home of the group in action is a must. Next up, legendary Queenstown! This traveller favourite is world renowned as the home of action & adrenalin & needs no introduction – your time here is guaranteed to be epic, no matter what you choose to do. The nightlife here is equally as awesome as its adrenalin fixes, tonight you will have a chance to visit some of the town’s hottest nightspots you're sure the start the night out right.
With two more days here, you’ve got time to try out adrenaline-pumping activities, to take it easy with a glass of local wine or beer and of course, to party – something Queenstown is known for. There’s also the option to take advantage of our explore more highlight optional – your chance to experience the stunning Milford Sound. Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s gems. This slice of paradise has been voted one of the world’s top destinations & is known around the world for its gorgeous waters & stunning scenery. Set in Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site so get ready for the epic scenery – high mountains rise straight out of the sea and waterfalls pour down sheer cliffs into the deep, dark waters of the fiord. You’ll get the ultimate angle on this natural wonder from the water when we cruise – you’ll learn about this jaw-droppingly beautiful region from the on-board nature specialist. You’ll get a really good look around the area and up close to its more hidden spots. You can chill out and enjoy the scenery on deck & hopefully you’ll get a chance to spot seals, dolphins, whales and penguins. Choose to take a coach over, then jump on a boat & cruise this stunning spot then head back to Queenstown on the coach. Or, if you’re feeling up for it, there’s the option to fly back to Queenstown too. Walk around the quaint town, hit the shops or head down to the lake for beautiful views of the surrounding mountain ranges, fittingly called The Remarkables. Board the old steam boat, the TSS Earnslaw, for a lake cruise and see it all from the water. For adrenaline junkies, there’s bungy jumpy, sky diving, jet boating, canyon swinging and quad biking. In fact there are so many adventure activities in Queenstown that you couldn’t do them all in the 2 days if you tried. For those who like to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground, take an easy-going hike or push yourself with a tougher trail. Pumping at night, Queenstown is the place to hit some of New Zealand’s best bars and clubs. With cool cocktail bars, old-style pubs and plenty of clubs, there is so much to choose from.
It’s time to jump on the coach as we head to New Zealand’s student hub, Dunedin. This really is the city that looks old, but definitely thinks young! Originally a Scottish settlement, you’ll see references to the city’s past dotted throughout the city. This afternoon arrival we’ll visit the iconic Speight’s Brewery for a look at how this iconic Kiwi brew is made. As you tour the brewery with our guide, learn about the brewing process of this much loved Southern Ale. You’ll finish up with a few tasters so you’ll discover for yourself why the locals love it so much! Dunedin night life goes off, so later, why not take it up a level & head to some of the local night spots for a taste of how partying is really done! Ask your Trip Manager for some tips on where’s hot to head, or make your way to one of the local favourites around the Octagon – there’s a huge variety of places to head for a fun night out.
Before we farewell Dunedin we’ll head to the base of Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street, for a look at the sheer angle. It’s time to hit the road, via Moeraki for a look at these massive boulders located right on the beach. It’s hard to believe these impressive structures really are natural & they make for some pretty cool pics to show off to your mates. We jump back on the coach & head to historic Oamaru, with its cute old buildings, many of which are made out of it’s own stunning white Oamaru stone. We’ll stop at Benmore Dam for a look at this impressive structure & maybe spot some gliders – it’s one of the world’s premier spots for this pretty cool sport. Later we reach our overnight stop – a lodge by one of the South Islands stunning lakes, Lake Ohau.
Kick start the day with a spectacular optional glacier flight over Mt Cook. Later, we’ll stop off to see the intense milky blue waters of glacially-fed Lake Tekapo, before travelling back through the MacKenzie country to Christchurch. Make your last night on tour one to remember and enjoy a fun night out with your friends!
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Trip Name: 'Sweet as' South (Start Wellington)
Duration: 10 Days
From Price: £1,165
Supplier Tour ID: NSHAD/160993
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