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Eco-friendly South Island itinerary

20 days from £14,445pp

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Tour highlights

  • Hike to hidden bays in the Abel Tasman National Park.

  • Kayak along the coastline to see native whales in Kaikoura.

  • Explore the Southern Alps from Arthur’s Pass.

  • Ride the TranzCoastal and TranzAlpine train through scenic landscapes.

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international and domestic flights
  • Flight offers available
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

With international flights from a choice of airports including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Auckland.

  • On-board your international outbound flight to Auckland.

  • This morning you'll fly down to Nelson and begin your South Island adventure. You will be collected from the airport and transported to the Abel Tasman National Park, where you will board a small boat cruise to your lodge. Here you can immerse yourself in the wilderness for the next three nights as the park is only accessible on foot, by kayak or by boat.

  • Today, head out for a half-day guided kayaking tour around Abel Tasman National Park, one of the best spots to sea kayak in New Zealand, as the waters and bays are calm, sheltered and great for beginners. Keep your eyes out for native birdlife, seals and dolphins.

  • Abel Tasman National Park is well known for hiking in New Zealand, spend the day at leisure exploring one of the many hiking trails around the national park or relax at your accommodation’s private beach.

  • Depart the Abel Tasman National Park by cruise to Kaiteriteri, where you will be met by a private driver who will transport you to the small seaside town of Picton. Once you arrive in Picton, you will be met by a water taxi who will transport you to your Marlborough Sounds accommodation, where you will spend the next three nights.

  • Explore the Marlborough Sounds and its sheltered inlets and clear waters on your own today. You can take a small group boat trip to spot marine life in the area, or you can head out on a full day hike down the Queen Charlotte Track.

  • Spend another day at leisure around the Marlborough Sounds. We recommend taking out the lodge’s kayaks or paddleboards to explore the sandy bays that surround the lodge, or you can relax and take in the quite natural surroundings.

  • Late this morning, you will take a water taxi from your Marlborough Sounds accommodation back to Picton where you will meet the afternoon TranzCoastal train down to Kaikoura. Upon arrival in Kaikoura, you will be transported to your accommodation where you will stay the next two nights.

  • Spend the morning kayaking along the Kaikoura coastline where you are guaranteed to see seals along with the sheer cliff faces along the coast. If you are lucky, you could see some dusky dolphins, blue penguins or even a whale.

  • Enjoy the morning at leisure around Kaikoura before boarding the TranzCoastal train to Christchurch, where you will spend the next two nights.

  • Make your way to the International Antarctica Centre, near the Christchurch airport, to explore the life in Antarctica for both humans and wildlife. You can spend time going into the “Storm Dome” to experience the feel of a winter in Antarctica or you can take the Hägglund all-terrain vehicle to feel what it’s like to drive across the ice. This museum is perfect for all ages who want to learn more about the environment and humans’ impact on it.

  • This morning, take a shared transfer to the TranzAlpine train which you will take from Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass, the middle of the South Island and the small town that is situated in the Southern Alps. Once you get settled into your room, you have the rest of the afternoon to relax or take a tour of the property and its sheep farm.

  • Today spend at leisure to hike and explore the Southern Alps, the shingle-filled riverbeds, vast beech forests, and the small town of Arthur’s Pass.

  • Late this morning, you will be transported to the train to take from Arthur’s Pass to Greymouth, where you will collect your vehicle and head south to Franz Josef. Spend the next two nights exploring Franz and Fox Glaciers, two huge valleys of ice that almost run to the sea.

  • Take a two-hour hiking tour through the beautiful podocarp forest and past glacier rivers to the Franz Josef glacier terminal face. Your guide will talk through the glaciology and geology of the region and talk about the local flora and fauna. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to visit the local hot springs or to go hike around Lake Matheson.

  • Say goodbye to Franz Josef and drive south past Fox Glacier before passing over Haast Pass before descending into pristine rainforests and Mt Aspiring National Park. You will arrive into Lake Wanaka in the early afternoon, and will have the rest of the afternoon to check in to your accommodation and explore the small town of Wanaka.

  • Enjoy a half day tour biking from Albert Town down the Clutha River, New Zealand’s second-longest river. This tour is perfect for anyone who wants to get a sweat in while exploring the beautiful landscape.

  • Today is spent at leisure around Wanaka going to Puzzling World, going on a hike up Mt Iron, or relaxing at your accommodation before you depart home.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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Contact a New Zealand specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to New Zealand will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Auckland
 
Nelson
 
Abel Tasman National Park
 
Picton
 
Kaikoura
 
Christchurch
 
Arthur's Pass National Park
 
Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers
 
Lake Wanaka
 

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