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'Sweet as' South plus Kaikoura

(End Wellington - From Oct 2022)

4.7
310 reviews
00:00 / 00:00
Group waving their arms overlooking view

The one that sees you swish through the scenic south island kicking off in Christchurch

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  • Duration

    12 days

  • Places

    14 places

  • Meals

    11 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners

  • Transport Style

    Coach

  • Group Size

    Average 45 people

  • Team

    Expert Trip Manager, Driver and Local Guides

Christchurch, Lake Ohau, Te Anau, Queenstown, Franz Josef Glacier, Kaikoura, Wellington, Lake Tekapo, Arrowtown, Milford Sound, Wanaka, Haast Pass, Hokitika, Arthurs Pass

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About this trip

Experience the best of Southern New Zealand. From Lake Ohau to Queenstown to Christchurch - it's an adventure you won't want to end. Start off on an amazing scenic flight over Mt. Cook then get ready to hit Queenstown! You could choose to cruise past stunning waterfalls in Milford Sound, or back on land the action is endless (& the nightlife is not to be legendary!) Hike a glacier & swim in a hotpool before finishing up with some good times in funky Wellington!

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  • Only $200 deposit to book

    Reserve your space now with a deposit of only $200, pay the rest 45 days before departure

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    Change your travel dates or even your trip for free

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    Book now, pay later when you're eligible for Uplift

Trip Variation

Customize the itinerary of your trip depending on yours preferences

  • End Of Year Sale

    Start Wellington

    Option 1

    This version of the trip has an extra day, starting in Wellington and finishing in Christchurch

  • End Of Year Sale

    End Wellington

    Option 2

    This variation of the trip is one day longer, starting from Christchurch and finishing in Wellington

  • End Of Year Sale

    Option 3

    This is the full version of the trip, starting in Christchurch and travelling to Lake Ohau on Day 1

  • End Wellington - From Oct 2022

    Option 4

    This variation of the trip is one day longer, starting from Christchurch and finishing in Wellington

  • End Of Year Sale

    Reverse

    Option 5

    This is the full reverse version of the trip, starting in Christchurch and travelling to Franz Josef on Day 1

  • Start Wellington - From Oct 2022

    Option 6

    This version of the trip has an extra day, starting in Wellington and finishing in Christchurch

Map & Itinerary

  • Start location
  • End location
  • Trip day
  • Via location
  • River route
  • Plane route

DAY 1 - Christchurch to Lake Ohau via Lake Tekapo

Christchurch

Christchurch what's up? New Zealand's South Island is the home to adventure, adrenaline and good times and we're here to take it all on.

Lake Tekapo

We'll stop off to see the intense milky blue waters of glacially-fed Lake Tekapo. Here (from October 2020) we'll also get to enjoy an unforgettable Dark Sky experience, an interactive multimedia exhibition that mixes stargazing, science and traditional Māori astronomy, teaching us how the Māori people used to use stars to harvest food, and about the importance of reducing light pollution.

Lake Ohau

Onto Lake Ohau, with its glorious views of Mt. Cook. Yet another swoon-worthy location where you'll have to pick that jaw up off the ground.

DAY 2 - Lake Ohau to Te Anau via Arrowtown

Lake Ohau

Another day, another natural wonder to discover.

Arrowtown

We make a quick stop for lunch in this historic gold mining town before heading onto Te Anau.

Te Anau

Arriving in the stunning lakeside town of Te Anau, we'll visit a local farm, learning about life in the outback, as well as playing some games and activities. Laura, who runs the farm, founded the Fairlight Foundation, a charity helping local girls to learn a range of practical farming skills and gain important qualifications. The goal is to advance women in the agricultural industry. For every traveller that attends this Farm Experience, Contiki will donate more funds to the Fairlight Foundation! It's feels good to do good – especially when all it takes is meeting some locals in a spectacular setting. After our trip to the farm, you'll have the day to do as you please. Decisions, decisions...If I were you, I'd opt to take a guided jet boat trip to Fiordland National Park. From Te Anau through Lake Manapouri, it's a pretty exhilarating way to soak up the scenery. Prefer to keep you feet (or wheels) on dry land. You can also take a trip to the ethereal glow worm caves (woaahhh) or simply cycle the gorgeous trails through native bush.

DAY 3 - Te Anau to Queenstown via Milford Sound

Te Anau

It's time to make tracks to the spectacular natural wonder of Milford Sound. 

 

Milford Sound

Welcome to New Zealand's most stunning attraction, with a magical combination of mountain peaks, forest-clad cliffs and deep dark waters. We take an included cruise of the fiord and experience the beauty of this pristine destination by boat, the best way to see Milford Sound in all its glory. 

Queenstown

Later, we head to our home for the night in Queenstown.

DAY 4 - Queenstown

Queenstown

Today is yours to get acquainted with Queenstown and spend some time mulling over the activities up for grabs in the next two days. First stop is the legendary Kawarau Bungy Bridge, get your morning adrenaline hit with a heart pounding jump at the world home of the bungy. Later, take a stroll around beautiful Queenstown, nestled in the Southern Alps this stunning town has plenty to offer other than adventure activities.

DAY 5 - Queenstown

Queenstown

With our last day in adrenalin city ahead of us, this is the time to push yourself to the limits and hurl over any mental barriers you've put up around yourself. Jump into #NOREGRETS spirit and conquer those niggling fears once and for all. For those who did their dash yesterday, a day staying mellow and enjoying this beautiful region will prove more than sufficient.

DAY 6 - Queenstown

Queenstown

It's times like this that you really start to work out what sort of traveller you are. And human for that matter. You might be the one trailing through wine country and doing a spot of horse back riding, or you may be that guy that crams in a bungy jump, a skydive and a heliraft & still craves more. It's your holiday - run wild as you see fit.

DAY 7 - Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier via Wanaka & Haast Pass

Queenstown

Time to return our adrenalin levels to normal and make tracks to the wild (and often wet) West Coast and it's towering glaciers. But before we do, bridge bungy jump, anyone?

Wanaka

Enjoying our scenic drive we'll stop for lunch in Wanaka, a pretty ski resort town situated on a lake front and dwarfed by mountains. This town is fast becoming one of NZ's most popular spots, and a trip to the 'Dough Bin' for a luscious pie should be high on the list today.

Haast Pass

Our first piece of NZ eye-candy comes in the form of Hasast Pass, beautified by ancient rainforests, small glaciers and waterfalls. Note how the scenery changes as we roll away from Queenstown through the Southern Alps.

Franz Josef Glacier

Playing host tonight is the town of Franz Josef, home to some of NZ's finest natural beauty with bushlands and glaciers that almost reach the sea. Tomorrow we'll be out and about making the most of it - who's excited?

DAY 8 - Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

This morning will be another big ol' tick off the list as we take to the ice of Franz Josef Glacier. We've got a heli ride over the glacier up for grabs, or the opportunity to carve your own Pounamu (jade) pendant, under the tuition of a Maori mastercraftsman. Pounamu is sacred to the Māori people, and this is a great way to learn about its cultural significance, while also creating a beautiful please of jewellery. An optional highlight today is a boat cruise across Lake Mapourika. But this ain't your ordinary boat cruise. You'll cruise up the glassy lake, framed by glaciers and mountains, before switching to a stand up paddle board and gliding along a narrow estuary. This takes you to your journey's destination, the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary, where you'll get to meet New Zealand's adorable but vulnerable national bird.

DAY 9 - Franz Josef Glacier to Christchurch via Hokitika & Arther's Pass

Franz Josef Glacier

Armed with a new found appreciation for frozen water, we hop back on the coach & start making our way back to Christchurch.

Hokitika

In the gold rush town of Hokitika we'll watch authentic carvers get to work on green jade and take a look at traditional Maori art. Back on the coach we're coastline bound to one of the islands most jaw-droppingly beautiful spots...

Arthurs Pass

Take in the beautiful scenery as we wind our way across the highest and most spectacular mountain pass across the Southern Alps.

Christchurch

Arriving into Christchurch marks the end of our adventure (sob). NZ - you've been real.

DAY 10 - Christchurch to Kaikoura

Christchurch

We'll set off on an inspiring tour of Christchurch this morning, the city that was totally rebuilt after the Christchurch earthquake. Look out for the Cardboard Cathedral, which as the name suggests, is the only cathedral in the world to be built mostly from plain old cardboard!

After that, it's another jaw-dropping drive up to the top of the South Island. The coach cuts across the Canterbury Plains to Kaikoura.

Kaikoura

Arriving in Kaikoura will see us amongst a seaside settlement known for whales & dolphins, so have those cameras at the ready as we roll around the coast. We'll stop at a seal colony, where you'll struggle not to break into a collective 'cuuuute' as you watch these guys sunning themselves on the rocks.

Next up, we'll visit Kaikoura Wildlife Rescue to meet a local wildlife biologist, Sabrina Leucht, who has been working to build a dedicated wildlife hospital in Kaikoura. We'll learn about the types of wildlife we might encounter here, which threats they face, and what we can all do to make a difference - locally and in our own hometowns.

After a busy day of wildlife wonders, we'll check into our seafront hotel, before heading out for a spot of dinner. Did you know that Kaikoura literally translates into 'eat (kai) crayfish (koura)'? So, no prizes for guessing what type of local cuisine we'll be trying!

DAY 11 - Kaikoura

Kaikoura

We all love a free day - especially one spent in beautiful Kaikoura! We recommend taking a whale watching tour, where you'll have the opportunity to see giant sperm whales in action, as well cute seas, dusky dolphins, and the endangered wandering albatross. Other free time add-ons include a thrilling helicopter ride over the Kaikoura Peninsula, a kayak trip across the coastline, and more. We'll stay another night in Kaikoura after an action-packed day, before heading to Christchurch tomorrow morning.

DAY 12 - Kaikoura to Wellington

Kaikoura

Boo hoo - it's the last day of our trip! But we won't go home until we've seen Wellington, so back on the Contiki coach we go. In 1893, Wellington parliament was the first in the world to allow women the right to vote. A pretty cool city all in all.

Wellington

We reach Wellington in afternoon, just in time for an orientation around the city's narrow streets. After our city tour, it's time to say goodbye and swap numbers with pals - it's been a blast!

Where to start?

Same itinerary, different starting point, so you can pick your dream adventure tailored for you

Top Experiences

7 included & 23 free time add-ons available to add later

  • Funyaks

    NZ$359

    Queenstown

  • Jump off the third highest bungy platform in the world at AJ Hackett's Nevis Bungy in Queenstown

    NZ$275

    Queenstown

  • See the peak of Mt Cook from across the beautiful blue glacial Lake Ohau

    Included

    Lake Ohau

'Sweet as' South plus Kaikoura (End Wellington - From Oct 2022)

7 Inclusions

Experiences that are included with your trip

  • See the peak of Mt Cook from across the beautiful blue glacial Lake Ohau
  • See the historic Church of the Good Shepard
  • Stop at Lake Pukaki, Lake Tekapo & Geraldine
  • Experience rural NZ country life with a farm visit in Te Anau
  • Cruise the glassy waters of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Milford Sound
  • Stop at AJ Hackett's Kawarau Bridge
  • View a native greenstone carving demonstration in the goldrush town of Hokitika

23 Free Time Add-Ons

Optional experiences that you can choose from and pay for on your trip

  • Grand Traverse Scenic Flight NZ$340
  • Cruise Fiordland National Park on a guided jet boat trip followed by an optional cycle ride
  • Be awed by the magical twinkle of the Te Anau glowworm caves NZ$98
  • Group Photograph NZ$19
  • Queenstown Wine Trail
  • Swing through the tree tops on a Ziptrek Zipline tour in Queenstown NZ$189
  • Enjoy dinner with unparallelled views at Queenstown's Skyline restaurant NZ$85
  • Canyon Swing NZ$215
  • Funyaks NZ$359
  • Take your happy hour in sub-zero temperatures at Queenstown's Ice Bar experience NZ$20
  • Canyon Fox NZ$150
  • Take the plunge on the world's OG bungy at Kawarau Bridge, Queenstown NZ$205
  • Jump off the third highest bungy platform in the world at AJ Hackett's Nevis Bungy in Queenstown NZ$275
  • Get a thrilling perspective of Queenstown's skyline with the famous AJ Hackett Ledge bungy NZ$205
  • Go all out with Thrillogy - 3 of Queenstown's world class bungy jumps including the historic Kawarau Bungy, the freestyle Ledge Bungy, and the hair-raising Nevis Bungy NZ$420
  • Take the swing of your life on the 300m Nevis Swing, one of the world's biggest canyon swings in Queenstown NZ$210
  • Get your adrenalin pumping with AJ Hackett's Ledge Swing with sweeping views of Queenstown NZ$165
  • Queenstown Adventurer Canyoning NZ$199
  • Take the plunge on the world's OG bungy at Kawarau Bridge, Queenstown NZ$205
  • Glacier Country Kayaks NZ$115
  • Ice Explorer NZ$359
  • Across Country Quad Bikes NZ$160
  • Scenic Helicopter Flight and Glacier Landing From NZ$245

Where You'll Stay

Learn more about the accommodation available on this trip

  • 11 nights

    All accommodation is included on this trip

    7 nights in Lodge, 4 nights in Hotel

    Throughout your trip you’ll be getting your beauty sleep in cosy, warm beds in multi-share rooms, plus the chance to stay in funky sleeping pods that can be completely enclosed for sleeping and chilling out. Your accommodation will always be located in the heart of the action, with communal areas for you and your new best friends to relax and socialise.

310 Reviews

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4.7
310 independent reviews
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