This Package heads up the coastline from Christchurch instead of cutting straight over to the West Coast. This way you get to see Kaikoura, Blenheim, Picton, Kaiteriteri, the Abel Tasman National Park and its famous golden beaches
Day 1: Christchurch - Nelson
Today will see you travel over the Lewis Pass - the northernmost of the three main passes across the Southern Alps. It is higher than the Haast Pass, and slightly lower than Arthur's Pass. State Highway 7 traverses the pass on its route between north Canterbury and the West Coast; it passes through extensive unmodified beech forest. The pass is the saddle between the valleys of the Maruia River to the northwest and the Lewis River to the southeast. The saddle is located close to the small spa of Maruia Springs. The Lewis Pass is named after Henry Lewis who, together with Christopher Maling, was the first European to discover the pass, in April 1860 while working as a surveyor of the Nelson Provincial Survey Department. Before this time the pass was used by the Ngāi Tahu Māori of Canterbury to transport Pounamu (greenstone) from the west coast. The area around Lewis Pass is protected as a national reserve.
Day 3: Abel Tasman - Westport
Travel through snow-capped mountains and fantastic lakes on your journey towards the wild West Coast. Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays near Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. This afternoon we stop at the iconic Nelson Lakes on the way to Westport so you can get your legendary wharf jumping shot before hitting surf town Westport.
Day 4: Westport - Lake Mahinapua
Explore the rugged West Coast of NZ, see the Pancake Rocks and spend the night in a traditional West Coast pub! Today we start our journey down spectacular State Highway 6, which stretches 435 kilometers along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds through a diverse series of landscapes that never cease to amaze. Highlights today include the Cape Foulwind seal colony walk, rugged beaches, and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight's unique accommodation is a chance to enjoy a delicious group meal and bond with your bus mates.
Day 5: Lake Mahinapua - Franz Josef
Continue along the beautiful West Coast of New Zealand through forests and past the towering Southern Alps to glacier country. After breakfast at Lake Mahinapua we hit the road on our way to Franz Josef. Franz Josef is the northern gateway to Te Wahipounamu, the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage area. The region includes Aoraki/Mount Cook, Westland Tai Poutini, Mount Aspiring, the Fiordland National Parks, and surrounding conservation lands. We factor in a free day in Franz Josef so that you can get out there and experience what Franz Josef has to offer. It’s a wicked spot and whatever you get out and do, you will be blown away by the views of the glacier and Alps.
Day 6: Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there’s so much to do there. If you’re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner. Today is your chance to hike on Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities in New Zealand by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also enjoy a scenic heli-flight over the glacier, go horseback riding, kayaking or explore the various walks in the area.
Day 7: Franz Josef - Wanaka
Journey to the magical Southern Lakes region to take the time to chill by beautiful Lake Wanaka. We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it’s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.
Day 8: Wanaka - Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand…and the world! What more do we need to say! Before we leave Wanaka get your brain working at Puzzling World and then its on to the world’s first commercial bungy site - the Kawarau Bridge. Only the brave will sign themselves up for this iconic NZ activity. On arrival in Queenstown we will head down to the spectacular waterfront before it’s out on the town exploring Queenstown’s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Day 9: Queenstown
Today, onboard a luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown, travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides a commentary and interpretation material is available in foreign languages. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road through impressive alpine scenery. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way. On reaching Milford Sound, enjoy a full-length cruise of the fiord in modern, purpose-built vessels. The vessels offer excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife with large windows, spacious decks and comfortable lounges. Commentaries are provided in several languages and interpretation handouts are available in eight languages. Following the cruise return to Queenstown by luxury coach. This tour also includes a Jet Boat Tour: Get ready for an insane 60 minute Jet boat ride across three waterways traveling at speeds of up to 95kph on the fastest and meanest Jet boats in town.
Day 10: Queenstown - Lake Tekapo
Discover the untouched beauty and crystal clear skies in the world's largest dark sky reserve. We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ‘Lord of the Rings’ territory. After stopping to admire Mt Cook at Lake Pukaki, we travel to Lake Tekapo with its amazing location by snow-capped alps and clear starry skies. Lake Tekapo has something for everyone - relaxing at the lakeside and taking in the untouched view, soaking in the hot springs, discovering one of the many scenic walkways or checking out the mind-boggling stars in what is the world’s largest dark sky reserve.
Day 11: Lake Tekapo - Christchurch
A day of contrasts from snowy peaks to fertile plains home to the Garden City. We have a straight run into Christchurch, our largest city in the South Island and the 3rd largest in New Zealand. Witness a city rebuilding and flourishing in the wake of the 2011 earthquakes. Check out the funky Re: Start Mall and keep your eyes peeled for the sweet pop-up bars around the city.
Start Christchurch finish where you started.
What to bring
Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jet boating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…)
AORAKI / Mt COOK
MARAHAU (Abel Tasman)