Audley Travel was recommended to us by friends. We dealt with Amelia Henderson in booking a trip to...
South Island Exploration the Eco Friendly Way
18 days from $8,270pp
Sail to hidden bays in the Abel Tasman National Park.
Watch native sperm whales breach in Kaikoura.
Sleep under the stars in a Dark Sky Reserve.
E-bike around the Clutha River and stunning Lake Wanaka.
Stay aboard an overnight cruise to explore the Doubtful Sound.
- Abel Tasman National Park
- Akaroa & Banks Peninsula
- Lake Tekapo
- Mount Cook National Park
- Lake Wanaka
Itinerary idea in detailOpen all Close all
Private customized tour. Ask us about booking your international flights at our preferred rates.
Day 1 Abel Tasman National Park
This morning you'll fly down to Nelson and begin your South Island adventure. Collect your compact car and make your way to the Abel Tasman National Park. 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.
Day 2 Abel Tasman National Park
Today's sailing adventure will take you around the hidden beaches and coves of the Abel Tasman National Park. If you're lucky you might spot dolphins or an orca. The New Zealand fur seals can be found sunning themselves on a rock.
Day 3 Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman is well known as one of the best spots to sea kayak in New Zealand, as the waters and bays are calm, sheltered and great for beginners. Spend the morning paddling to Split Apple Rock, which takes you past lush vegetation and gives you a leisurely kayaking experience. The afternoon is at leisure to explore more of the National Park or to relax.
Day 4 Kaikoura
Today drive down to Kaikoura through winelands and mountainous scenery that won't disappoint as the road winds along the dramatic coastline. Welcome to Kaikoura, where you will spend the next two nights. Here you can explore the mountainous region or head to town to try cray fish, commonly found off the shores of Kaikoura.
Day 5 Kaikoura
In the morning, you'll head out into the Pacific Ocean to see if you can spot sperm whales breaching, dusky dolphins playing or the majestic albatross gliding overhead. The afternoon is at leisure to walk along the cliff tops and to take in the dramatic mountain and ocean scenery.
Day 6 Akaroa & Banks Peninsula
Day 7 Akaroa & Banks Peninsula
Today head out on a small boat to find Hector's dolphins, where you can get in the water with them to watch them swim past you and play in the water. Supporting these cruises helps the Hector's dolphin survive and spreads the conservation message.
Day 8 Twizel
Head off into the Southern Alps today, with mighty Mount Cook standing proud at the head of Lake Pukaki. On your drive across the Canterbury Plains, we recommend stopping at Lake Tekapo to walk up Mount John, marvel at the view and enjoy a hot drink in the Astro Cafe. Stay the night in Twizel, a great base for exploring the area, as there are a lot of great walks and it’s a short drive to the Mount Cook Village.
Day 9 Twizel
Spend the morning near Mount Cook Village, kayaking on a glacial lake and walking in the beautiful national park. There will be a striking difference from Abel Tasman, but this contrast is what makes New Zealand so special. This area is a part of the Dark Sky Reserve, so we recommend setting your alarm for the early morning and marvel at the abundance of stars overhead.
Day 10 Lake Wanaka
Depart from Twizel and head to Lake Wanaka, a must stop destination in New Zealand because there is so much natural beauty as the town borders the Mount Aspiring National Park. There's plenty of hiking and outdoor activities to be done here. The region also has some incredible wineries and fantastic restaurants.
Day 11 Lake Wanaka
Exploring a little off the beaten track this morning, your guide will take you over to Moa Wahu Island which is in the middle of Lake Wanaka where they have reintroduced the native Weka bird. Due to their naive nature, the Weka is an ideal prey for introduced mammals. Thankfully the island is predator free and Wally the Weka is most inquisitive of visitors. Each visitor plants a tree as well to help contribute towards the re-growth of the island.
Day 12 Lake Wanaka
Ditch the car today and spend a day cycling alongside the mighty Clutha River with the latest e-bikes. These really take the effort out of cycling and mean that you can go further and over many different terrains with relative ease.
Day 13 Manapouri
Lake Wanaka , Manapouri
Depart from Wanaka and head to Manapouri and Fiordland National Park to board a boat across Lake Manapouri. After another short coach ride over the Wilmot Pass, finally you've made it to Deep Cove and your home for the night. Spend the afternoon and night sailing into the Tasman Sea before anchoring for dinner and heading out on the water on a small zodiac or in kayaks.
Day 14 Queenstown
Manapouri , Queenstown
In the morning, you'll wake in the tranquillity of the Doubtful Sound before tucking into a delicious breakfast. There's chance to spot penguins, dolphins and many birds before you head back to Queenstown. In the evening, take a walk around Lake Wakatipu or take the gondola up to the Skyline.
Day 15 Queenstown
Day 16 Queenstown
Enjoy a sleep in this morning before being collected from your accommodation to head into the Otago wine region that is home to the world’s southern-most wine producer. You will spend the late morning and early afternoon exploring some cellar its cellars and trying the local produce of the region.
Day 17 Queenstown
Day 18 Return home
I have used Audley Travel on two occasions now to book cruises to Antarctica. Each time their...
Quality, well informed staff who are prepared to go the extra mile to achieve customers...
So glad we chose Audley again. They have made possible another dream trip to US.
Have already had a trip with Audley to South Africa and are now planning a visit to Borneo. Both...
Amazing friendly professional staff, prompt service, no pressure. Nothing was too much effort....
Contact a 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. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.Find out what sets us apart ›
When to go
Drag the slider to see monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary
|Place||Daily Max Temperature||Monthly Rainfall|
|Abel Tasman National Park||
|Akaroa & Banks Peninsula||
|Mount Cook National Park||