Christchurch – Kaikoura
Kaikoura is known as one of the best coastal wildlife regions in the world – whales, dolphins and seals! Departing Christchurch bright and early, we arrive in Kaikoura in time for you to check out what Kaikoura is most famous for – its whale watching or swimming with the dolphins. Spend the evening chilling on the beach or sampling some of the best seafood New Zealand has to offer for your dinner. In fact, the name Kaikoura means to eat crayfish (“kai” meaning to eat, “koura” meaning crayfish).
Kaikoura – Abel Tasman
Check out seal colonies and drive along the amazing Kaikoura coastline we head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It’s a spectacular drive and we stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks. Travel through vineyards to Nelson, New Zealand’s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.
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.
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, that stretches 435 kilometres along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds through a diverse series of landscapes which 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.
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
Franz Josef (free 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.
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.
Wanaka – Queenstown
Before we leave Wanaka get your brain working at Puzzling World and then it’s 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!
Queenstown (free day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown 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. Queenstown is one of the most amazing places on Earth. No matter what time of the year it is rated as one of our passenger’s favourite spots. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn’t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as The Eighth Wonder of the World.
Milford Sound (day trip)
Visiting the Milford Sound is a must when visiting the South Island. The Milford Explorer departs Queenstown early and the first stop for breakfast, coffee or just a snack is at the picturesque town of Te Anau. Before getting to the Homer Tunnel, we make plenty of photo stops at places like Mirror Lakes and the Chasm. Once at Milford, you will go on an unforgettable scenic boat cruise through the sound exploring soaring peaks and towering waterfalls. Seeing New Zealand’s scenery and nature at its best. Then it’s back on the bus for your journey back to the adventure capital.
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 the 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.
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.