Looking for incredible scenery, adrenalin fixes and a chance to try some of New Zealand's best restaurants, bars and nightlife? Then the south of New Zealand's South Island is for you! Spend nine nights visiting places in the Deep South
All about the 15 Day Full South Island Christchurch to Christchurch Winter Tour
Explore the best bits of New Zealand's South Island on this 15 day comprehensive fully guided tour. Our tour guides are experienced, filled with knowledge, passion and will give you a holiday you won't forget.
Highlights of this trip include the discovery of the charms of the Marlborough Sounds with a sneaky Marlborough winery visit, Abel Tasman National Park, mighty Franz Josef Glacier, Mt Aspiring National Park, the chance to do a bungy jump in Queenstown, wonderful day trip to stunning Doubtful Sound in Fiordland National Park. And an overnight at the base of NZ’s highest mountain Aoraki Mt Cook!
This New Zealand tour is an off the beaten track adventure, some bus companies will take you straight from A to B with barely a toilet break in between but, with us, you will experience great stops and inclusions en route to your next destination. A typical travel day can see you stopping off for a short walk to a waterfall, climbing to a lookout for a photo opportunity, pausing at an unusual piece of New Zealand art along the roadside, or stopping to check out a wild fur seal colony. You’ll fit so much more into your NZ road trip!
We know we live in an incredible country, and we are committed to playing our part, as an environmentally sustainable tourism operator, to keep it that way! We have been awarded the Enviro-Gold accreditation from Qualmark which is the highest accolade for quality, sustainably operated tourism operators in New Zealand. Qualmark recognizes businesses that a focused on protecting what makes New Zealand unique and special and at Stray, protecting our beautiful natural environment, enhancing local communities and delivering a high quality, safe experience for our passengers are things we feel extremely passionate about!
Travel in a small group with all transport by mini-bus or coach. We include all accommodation in quad share style rooms or upgraded if requested. You will be fully guided on tour with entertaining commentary by an expert including a few local secrets and plenty of support as you travel our wonderful country. You will stay with the same group on tour, meaning you will make lifelong friends while ticking off those bucket list destinations!
New Zealand's incredibly diverse natural beauty is revealed around every winding corner. Book your New Zealand adventure tour today!
15 Day Full South Island Christchurch to Christchurch Winter Tour Itinerary - 15 days
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Depart from the Christchurch International Airport at 8am and enjoy a beautiful drive up the coast to Kaikoura. You have the afternoon free for activities to check out the amazing marine wildlife that call this area home. Go on a whale and dolphin spotting tour, search for seals sunning themselves at Goose Bay or walk to the peninsula lookout for breathtaking views.
Accommodation: Warm modern hostel
Optional Activities: Whale watching by boat or by plane, swimming with dolphins, guided fishing trip.
Free activities: Walk around the peninsula and up to the lookout.
Kaikoura to Picton
Depart 8.30am. Leaving Kaikoura this morning, we wind our way up the rugged coastal roads for the top of the South Island. We arrive into Picton around midday so you have plenty of time to explore this charming port town – go for a walk to take in the stunning views of the Marlborough Sounds or kick back and relax in the spa at your accommodation.
Accommodation: Cosy Villa
Free activities: Queen Charlotte Sound view walk, relax in the accommodation’s spa pool.
Picton to Marahau
Enjoy a free morning to relax in Picton. You will meet your group at the hostel at midday and we will cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and the coastal town of Nelson, before heading through Motueka to our amazing overnight stop of Marahau, right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park.
Accommodation: Unique accommodation on the edge of the national park
Optional Activities: Wine tasting, skydiving
Free activities: Swim, walk, mussel tasting around the fire
Day in Marahau
You have the entire day free to explore this stunning coastal national park. Whether by land, sea or air, there are tons of fantastic options for getting around. An Aqua Taxi ride is included in your tour, but you are welcome to upgrade to sailing or kayaking.
Accommodation: Unique accommodation on the edge of the national park.
Included Activities: Walk part of the Abel Tasman track and catch an Aqua Taxi home.
Optional Activities: Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, hang gliding.
Marahau to Westport
Today we head south towards the ‘wild’ West Coast, passing through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was rated one of the Top 10 drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We stop at Cape Foulwind to visit the seal colony and then head for the historic coal mining town of Westport. The sunset from our accommodation tonight is a must see if the weather is clear!
Accommodation: Charming character villa in the centre of town.
Optional Activities: Surfing, caving, craft brewery tour.
Free activities: Westport seal colony, West Coast sunset.
Westport to Franz Josef
An early start takes us down the rugged West Coast to the spectacular limestone Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We’ll stop to take a short walk and grab refreshments at the café before we head for the historic gold mining town of Greymouth. We do pick-ups in Greymouth and make a stop in Hokitika before heading to the quaint little town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.
Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest
Free Activities: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and their mighty blowholes, Truman Track walk.
Day in Franz Josef
Enjoy a full free day to explore the glacier. Live your glacier walking dream with a guided tour through world of ice on the glacier or hike from town to view it from below, then unwind in the relaxing spa pools afterwards.
Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest
Optional Activities: Guided Glacier Heli-hike, Glacier Valley Walk
Free Activities: Many bush walks in the area
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Depart at 8am. We head to Lake Matheson for a walk at the amazing mirror-like lake, stop at Fox Glacier for pick-ups, and then travel through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora with plenty of photo stops along the way. We pass by beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka by late afternoon.
Accommodation: Central hostel
Free Activities: Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thundercreek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.
Wanaka to Queenstown
This morning, head out to cycle some of New Zealand’s most beautiful bike paths along the lake before we depart Wanaka at 10.30am and cruise down to the famous A.J. Hackett bungy site, where you can take the plunge - if you dare! Then, it’s on to the ‘Adventure Capital of the World!’ Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with plenty of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music.
Accommodation: Central hostel
Included Activities: Scenic bike ride (suitable for all levels)
Days 10, 11 and 12
With so much to see and do in and around Queenstown, you need three full days to take it all in! To get you started, a couple highlight activities are included – an exhilarating Shotover Jet Boat ride in the morning on Day 10 and a full day trip to jaw-dropping Doubtful Sound on Day 11. Day 12 is free for you to do as you please.
Accommodation: Central hostel
Included Activities: Shotover Jet (Day 10) and Doubtful Sound day trip (Day 11)
Optional Activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jet boating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…), trip to Milford Sound.
Free Activities: Sleep in, great short walks, take in beautiful views from this cool resort town.
Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook
Depart from 8.40am. We head over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past Lake Pukaki, then head north to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook, arriving in the early afternoon so there’s time for scenic walks.
Accommodation: Stunning alpine lodge
Optional Activities: Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
Free Activities: Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks to the Hooker Glacial Lake.
Mt Cook to Christchurch
Today we make our way through a landscape made famous by the Lord of the Rings films. First, we head to turquoise Lake Tekapo, where we stop for ice skating, snow tubing or a swim at the hot springs. In the early afternoon we pass through Geraldine, and then continue across the Canterbury Plains to our overnight stop in the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch.
Accommodation: Purpose built backpackers near the city centre
Optional Activities: Ice skating, snow tubing, soak in the hot springs
Free Activities: Take photos of stunning scenery, explore Christchurch by foot.
Day in Christchurch
Your journey officially ends here. If you have more time to explore before you depart, we recommend checking out some of the city’s highlights, such as the Re: Start Mall, Quake City exhibition, Canterbury Museum or the gorgeous Botanical Gardens. We hope you’ve had a blast!
|Tour code: AS15W|
Sundays from Christchurch from May to October 2018. Pick up at Christchurch International airport 9.45am.
Travelling from October 2017 to April 2018 or October 2018 to March 2019 Check out our 14 Day Full South Island Christchurch to Christchurch Summer Tour
Important NotesThings you need to know about this tour
Luggage should be restricted to 15kg per person in a single bag, plus a small day pack.
During the winter months, tours will operate in conjunction with the Stray travel network allowing all Real Kiwi winter departures to be 100% guaranteed. Clients will still have a set itinerary with included accommodation and activities however meals are not included and the guide and group may change during the tour.
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