'Sweet as' South (Start Wellington - Until October 2014)

Tour Length
12 days

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12 days
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You will visit: South Island, including Hanmer Springs, Christchurch, Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown, Dunedin & Lake Ohau

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!

Top Offers & Trip Notes

Itinerary + Inclusions & ME Time Optionals

ME Time Optionals

ME Time optionals will take your trip to a whole new level with unforgettable experiences unique to the places you visit. See more, do more, live more & go home completely regret-free. Costs for these aren’t included in your tour cost & are payable to your Trip Manager in local currency.


On our trips we don't just take you to the destinations, we make sure you get under the skin of every place you visit. From amazing food & accommodation, to exclusive access to incredible experiences, with Contiki you'll get unbeatable value & a completely unique travel experience.

1 Arrive Wellington

Check into the Abel Tasman Hotel from 2:00pm,spend the rest of the day at leisure to explore Wellington.


2 Wellington to Hanmer Springs

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.

Amazing views are at your fingertips this morning, so grab your camera for great pics as we cruise the iconic Marlborough Sounds. This world renowned spot is simply gorgeous, so keep your eyes peeled for tiny boats, traditional Kiwi ‘batches’ (holiday houses) as you cruise the water between the two islands. On arrival in cute seaside Picton, we’ll hit the road to Hanmer via Kaikoura (keep your eyes peeled for seals along the stunning coastline).

On arrival in Hanmer Springs it’s not hard to see why this little alpine hotspot is a New Zealand favourite. This tiny town is famous for its legendary hot pools – so we include it for you. A night at the pools is the perfect way to unwind & the views of the Southern Alps whilst you chill is truly relaxing at its best.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Cruise the scenic Marlborough & Queen Charlotte Sounds
  • Spectacular drive along the Kaikoura Coast & visit to a seal colony
  • Drive through New Zealand's largest wine growing region
  • Take a relaxing plunge in Hanmer Springs' famous hot pools
3 Hanmer Springs to Franz Josef Glacier via Christchurch

Today we begin our journey west through stunning Arthurs Pass, via Christchurch.

We stop by "The Garden City" for a sightseeing tour before heading over Arthurs 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.

Lodge Breakfast,Dinner

  • Scenic drive across the Southern Alps
  • Stop at Arthurs Pass
  • See a demonstration of traditional Maori greenstone carving
  • Chill out at our legendary theme party
4 Franz Josef Glacier

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.

Lodge Breakfast

  • Helihike
  • Valley Walk
  • Franz Josef Glacier Heli
  • Franz Josef / Fox Glacier Heli
  • Mt. Cook / Franz / Fox Heli - Grand Tour
  • Mt. Cook (western face) / Fox and Franz Heli
  • Ice Explorer
  • Across Country Quad Bikes
    Riders NZ$159 / Passengers NZ$69
  • Glacier Country Kayaks
5 Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Drive through Haast Pass & see Thunder Creek Falls
  • Explore tiny Arrowtown
6 Queenstown

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 & with VIP entry to one of the town’s hottest nightspots you're sure the start the night out right.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Set your pulse racing with a hair-raising ride on the Shotover Jet
  • VIP entry to one of Queenstown's hottest nightspots
  • Group Photograph
7-8 Queenstown

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.

Hotel Hotel Breakfast,Breakfast,Dinner

  • NZone Skydiving
    9,000 ft. NZ$299/ 12,000 ft. NZ$339/ 15,000 ft. NZ$439
  • Milford Sound
  • AJ Hackett Bungy - Thrillogy
  • AJ Hackett Bungy - Nevis
  • AJ Hackett Bungy - The Ledge
  • AJ Hackett Skyswing - Nevis Arc
  • AJ Hackett Skyswing - The Ledge
  • Kawarau or Shotover Rafting
  • Heliraft
  • Walter Peak Horse Riding
  • Dart River Wilderness Safari
  • Paradise Safari Scenic Adventure
  • Routeburn Trail Hike
  • Skippers Gold 4WD & Jetboat
  • Minus 5 Ice Bar
    NZ $25
  • Funyaks
  • Skyline Restaurant
  • Nomad Safaris: Safari of the Scenes
  • Canyon Swing
  • Ziptrek Ecotours
    From NZ$135
  • Queenstown Wine Trail
9 Queenstown to Dunedin

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 Tour 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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Stop at AJ Hackett's Kawarau Bridge
  • Stop in Alexandra in Central Otago
  • Tour & tasting at the iconic Speight's Brewery
  • AJ Hackett Bungy - Kawarau Bridge
  • Speight's Ale House Dinner
    NZ $31
  • Death Rattle Ghost Walk
    NZ $27
10 Dunedin to Lake Ohau

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.

Lodge Breakfast,Dinner

  • See Baldwin Street, the world's steepest street
  • Visit the impressive Moeraki Boulders
  • Stop at Oamaru & Benmore Dam
  • See Mt. Cook across the beautiful blue glacial Lake Ohau
11 Lake Ohau to Christchurch

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.

Hotel Breakfast

  • Stop at Lake Pukaki, Lake Tekapo & Geraldine
  • See the historic Church of the Good Shephard
  • Pick up a treat at NZ's famous Cookie Time factory
  • Air Safaris
12 Finish Christchurch

Say a final farewell to your new friends as your trip ends this morning after breakfast.


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What's Included

All of this & more, included as standard on your trip.


  • Cruise the scenic Marlborough & Queen Charlotte Sounds
  • Spectacular drive along the Kaikoura Coast & visit to a seal colony
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Me Time

  • Helihike
  • Valley Walk
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On a budget?

  • The average cost per day for this tour is n/a
  • You only need a US$200 deposit to book and pay in full 45 days before you travel.
  • Pay in installments, with Contiki Easy Pay



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