9 Day Southern Light South Island Tour

    The South Island of New Zealand is a visual paradise filled with jaw-dropping scenery this tour will show you the highlights.

    See the highlights of the South Island on our New Zealand camoing and cycling adventure tour.

    This tour is a small group active camping tour. Designed for all ages that want an active tour of NZ. Camp in remote locations and get involved in cycling and hiking. The buses are specially designed to carry mountain bikes. Either bring your own or hire one on tour.

    Wake up close to lakes and oceans in our perfectly designed tents, included in the tour cost is shared tent accommodation, two people per tent. You can upgrade to your own tent for the duration of the tour for a small additional cost if you choose.

    From glaciers and mountains to beautiful beaches and wild coastlines. There are plenty of wildlife encounters along the way (such as whales, dolphins, seals and penguins)

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      Our travellers often combine this trip with some of these trips:


      Day 1: Christchurch to Rangitata

      Today we’ll depart Christchurch and start heading towards the mountains and across the Canterbury plains, a flat open area of farmland. Tonight we’ll stay in Peel Forest, close to the Rangitata river.

      Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
      Bike Rides: Cycle into camp along a quite country road through fields of cows, sheep and deer with a mountainous backdrop
      Walks and Hikes: The Peninsula Walkway is a must if you missed it yesterday! You’ll also have plenty of time on your feet when we stop through Christchurch to check out the awesome rebuild of Christchurch city!
      Optional Activities: Highly recommended dolphin swim, dolphin viewing
      Available Upgrades: Yes
      Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours

      Day 2: Rangitata to Lake Tekapo

      Wake up to mountain views and try white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River! If rafting isn’t for you, soak it all in with a morning cycle or walk through Peel forest. We then head through more jaw dropping landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo. Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour brought down from the rivers flowing from glaciers high up in the mountains.

      Relax in the nearby hot pools or enjoy star gazing at the Mt John Observatory and make the most of staying in an International Dark Sky Reserve, plus there are plenty of hike and cycle options to choose from.

      Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
      Bike Rides: If you’re not rafting in the morning hop on your bike and head to the Peel Forest walks. In the afternoon enjoy the trails at Lake Tekapo Regional Park then ride to camp
      Walks and Hikes: A variety of walk options today including the protected conifers of Peel Forest and then this afternoon you’ll have some time to walk along the edge an incredible glacial lake or walk to the Mt John Observatory and take in 360 degree views of Tekapo
      Optional Activities: White water rafting (grade 5 rapids!), horse-riding, Mt John Observatory tour
      Available Upgrades: Yes – limited options
      Drive Distance: Approx. 2 hours

      Day 3: Lake Tekapo to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

      Immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for and explore Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain following a trail up the Hooker valley where you’ll cross swing bridges and get stunning views of the mountains before finishing up at a glacial lake with views of the Hooker Valley glacier. We then travel back towards the Pacific coast for a quick stop in the historic town of Oamaru before continuing onwards to the small village of Moeraki. Walk to a great view point offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and try to spot a little Blue Penguin along the shore. If you have a bike it’s possible to visit a colony of extremely rare Yellow-eyed Penguins near to camp.

      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
      Bike Rides: During the afternoon you can ride a short section of the Alps2ocean trail followed by a ride out to Katiki Point Lighthouse where you’ll find a Yellow-eyed penguin colony
      Walks and Hikes: Enjoy walking into the start of Mt Cook National Park in Hooker Valley. A three hour return hike, you’ll be blown away by the mountainous landscape not to mention a glacier during the hike.
      Available Upgrades: Yes
      Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours

      Day 4: Moeraki to Dunedin

      If the tide is low then we can walk along the beach to the mysterious Moeraki boulders. These perfectly round spheres of rock have formed over millions of years and have found their way onto the beach near Moeraki and make for some fun photo opportunities.

      Afterwards it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin, the South Island’s second-largest city. This southern city is home to the world’s steepest residential street and the coastline is home to some fantastic and rare wildlife. It’s possible to take a tour onto the Otago Peninsula to view some of this diverse wildlife which includes Albatross and Fur Seals. For the adventurous, why not try surfing at one of Dunedin’s best breaks! Our camp is a short distance from St. Kilda beach with a variety of restaurants close by to choose from.

      Meals: Breakfast
      Bike Rides: Ride from camp into town or out to the Otago Peninsula later in the day if you’re not doing any optional activities
      Walks and Hikes: You’ll feel your heart pumping through your chest as you take a stroll up the world’s steepest residential street!
      Optional Activities: Surfing, Otago Peninsula wildlife tour
      Available Upgrades: Yes
      Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

      Day 5: Dunedin to Fiordland National Park

      Today is one of our longer travel days as we drive through some of New Zealand’s most dramatic natural scenery on our way to Fiordland. Large parts of the landscape have been carved out over thousands of years to leave stunning paths that weave through snow-capped mountains. We stop briefly in Te Anau, the hub and gateway town for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound and your last chance to get supplies for those doing the Routeburn Track tomorrow. Tonight’s camp is on the lakeside in Te Anau.

      Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
      Bike Rides: Enjoy riding through the isolated and moody Fiordland National Park into Hollyford Valley where you’ll finish at our camp (literally away from all civilisation, it’s great!)
      Walks and Hikes: Short walks today as we’re on a mission to get to Fiordland National Park!
      Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
      Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours

      Day 6: Milford Sound to Te Anau

      Travel one of the world’s most scenic routes into Milford Sound! Described as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. We highly recommend taking a cruise on Milford Sound where you’ll see dramatic waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and have the chance to spot wildlife such as dolphins, penguins and seals! As it’s just the one road in and out, we head back along the same breath-taking route to our lakeside camp in Te Anau. Along the way, we drop off those doing the 3-day Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. This 3-day hike passes through two National Parks and is a haven for native birdlife. Charge up your camera as this hike offers everything from mountainous peaks and sheer rock faces to pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls and dense, luxuriant forest.

      Meals: Breakfast and lunch
      Bike Rides: Leisurely ride along the lakefront of Lake Te Anau and up alongside a river before looping back to camp. Go as little or as far as you please.
      Walks and Hikes: Explore the lakefront of Te Anau in the afternoon once we are out of Fiordland National Park. Routeburn three day hike for those who have pre-booked!
      Optional Activities: Milford boat cruise, Routeburn Track, Te Anau glow worm caves & boat ride
      Available Upgrades: Yes
      Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

      Day 7: Te Anau to Queenstown

      Today we journey to Queenstown along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. Once we arrive at the adventure capital of New Zealand you have a huge selection of activities to choose from. There is everything here, from adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing and skydiving to a relaxing horse trek or boat cruise – this place has it all. There are great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this alpine region. Camping isn’t feasible in this bustling alpine village, for the next two nights we stay in dorm-share accommodation (cost included) in a centrally located hostel. Perfect for making the most of all Queenstown has to offer.

      Meals: Breakfast
      Bike Rides: Queenstown offers a variety of different trails, so head out on your bike once we arrive in town
      Walks and Hikes: Plenty of walks we can recommend once we have arrived in Queenstown. If you’re into taking on a hill for views or leisure lakefront strolling, Queenstown won’t disappoint!
      Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
      Available Upgrades: Yes to a private room
      Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours

      Day 8: Queenstown

      With so much to do we spend the full day in fantastic Queenstown with the opportunity to enjoy those once in a lifetime experiences (don’t forget to try the legendary and very tasty Fergburger!). Routeburn Track walkers rejoin the group here at midday with time to try some of the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight, we dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries – a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost).

      Meals: Breakfast
      Bike Rides: Awesome bike options if you have a free day you can choose short or longer cycling experiences that will take you past jaw dropping landscapes, vineyards, great cafes and more!
      Walks and Hikes: Plenty of mountains you can hike to enjoy inspirational views of Lake Wakatipu and the alpine surrounds!
      Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
      Available Upgrades: Yes to a private room
      Drive Distance: No driving today

      Day 9: Queenstown

      A last chance to indulge in the Queenstown action before finishing your tour with us here and saying farewell to your fellow travellers by 2:00pm.

      Meals: Breakfast
      Bike Rides: Road cycling around town or on one of the many Queenstown trails

      Booking Info
      • World heritage site
      • NZ cycle trail
      • Queenstown
      • Fiordland
      • Routeburn Track
      • Milford Sound
      • Abel Tasman
      • Kayaking
      • White water rafting
      • Glow-worm walks
      • Accommodation by coasts, mountains and lakes
      • Small Group Active Camping Tours – This tour is designed for all ages that want an active tour of NZ. Camp in remote locations and get involved in cycling and hiking. The buses are specially designed to carry mountain bikes. Either hire one on tour or bring your own.
      What accomodation is included on tour?

      This is a camping trip. We pre-book all of the tent sites around the trip, all you need to do is put your tent up when you arrive.

      For some trips there are a maximum of 3 nights of accommodation at your own expense but we will help you reserve that in advance. Unless you tell us otherwise for these nights we will book you into a dorm room. Singles and doubles are available on request and subject to availability. You are free to book your own accommodation if you wish.

      With a department of conservation license, we have access to beautiful sites by beaches, lakes, mountains, and forests. A spacious, shared tent is included in the tour price or upgrade and have the tent to yourself.  For a taste of rural luxury, you can also upgrade to cabins most nights.

      Can I hire a bike on tour?

      If you decide to hire a bike on this tour you’ll find an excellent range of rides to enjoy.  From forest rides in Rotorua to wonderful coastlines stretches by the Pacific.  You will fill your lungs with the freshest air and escape the crowds.

      Bike Hire: $320NZD

      Bring your own Bike: $145NZD

      Do you cater for dietary requirements?

      Most meals are included, see the detailed itinerary which outlines exactly what is included on a day-to-day basis  We can also cater for a broad range of dietary requirements.


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        Lake Tekapo Regional Park, New Zealand Cycle Tour

        9 Day Southern Light South Island Tour


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