South Island New Zealand Itinerary 12 Days
Please note that our Haka Plus tour prices have increased from September 2023 onwards. This is for a number of reasons, namely that we have made some exciting accommodation upgrades for extra comfort. We have also added in a few additional included activities that are must-do experiences in New Zealand such as Hobbiton Movie Set Tour in Matamata; Zealandia Eco-sanctuary in Wellington; and Mou Waho Nature Cruise in Wanaka.
Welcome to the 12 Day Southern Explorer Haka Plus Tour!
You’re never far from either the sea or the mountains on this New Zealand South Island 2 week itinerary as you cross the Cook Strait from Wellington, the nation’s capital, to the quaint town of Picton in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. From here you venture into the heart of the majestic Southern Alps and on to the adventure playground of Queenstown.
Created for travellers in their mid-thirties and upwards, over the course of your week and a half tour you’ll travel through some of the most magical scenery you could hope to see. National Parks, rainforests, mountain ranges, UNESCO World Heritage Areas… everywhere you turn, there’s something different to behold.
This New Zealand South Island 2 week itinerary includes special activities such as one of the world’s most scenic train as well as one of the world’s most scenic ferry journeys, a scenic e-bike experience, a night of glamping and the opportunity to carve your own greenstone pendant.
You’ll have the opportunity to swim, kayak, skydive, hike, see kiwis (and whales and dolphins), relax in hot pools, eat and drink like a local, and more!
But only if you want to; this is your trip. It’s designed to be flexible – we include some high-end essentials, but let you make the call on what kind of activities appeal to you. You can pre-book the things you are certain you want to do before the trip starts – and then add more on while you’re on tour.
We'll fill your days with the best things to see and do in the South Island and also give you a great insight into New Zealand life and culture. At the end of the day, you can relax in comfortable 3–4 star accommodation to ensure you have a great night’s sleep ready for the following day’s activities.
Please note: private room upgrades are not available for two nights on this tour: the glamping experience in Wanaka where accommodation is twin or triple-share only.
Book this New Zealand itinerary for 12 days of fun and adventure in the South Island today!
Kia ora! Welcome to Wellington! Settle into your accommodation, meet your guide and new tour friends and get a tour briefing before our early start tomorrow morning.
Wellington to Kaikōura
We travel to the South Island via one of the most scenic ferry journeys in the world and we’ll toast our arrival in Marlborough by sampling some world-class wines – Cheers!
Kaikōura to Christchurch
Kaikōura is known as a whale-watching mecca, but there are many other sea creatures to observe in this stunning location: swim, kayak or keep your camera dry and fly!
Christchurch to Ohau (via Lake Tekapo)
Explore Christchurch before we visit Lake Tekapo. We’ll spend the night on the outskirts of a Dark Sky Reserve where you can feast your eyes on the visible universe!
Ohau to Queenstown
Admire the magnificent alpine scenery and perhaps get a jump in at the world’s home of bungy before we arrive in the place famed for being a hub of all things adventure.
This is your chance to cross off some NZ must-do items: bungy jumping, driving through film locations, or visiting beautiful Milford Sound.
Queenstown to Wanaka
More bucket list activities in the morning, set off to Queenstown’s slightly quieter little sister, Wanaka, in the afternoon.
Breathe in the alpine air and admire the surrounding beauty on a scenic e-bike experience before dinner.
Wanaka to Franz Josef
Today’s drive is packed with scenic highlights and hidden gems before we arrive into the World Heritage area famous for its glaciers. A rainforest retreat is our home for the next two nights.
Explore Franz Josef glacier by heli-hike (suitable for all abilities), heli-climb, or enjoy a morning kayaking a glacial lake. Today you’ll carve your own pounamu pendant.
Franz Josef to Christchurch
Yet another spectacular drive, a quick stop to a jade factory for souvenirs – then all aboard the TranzAlpine that will take us through Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch.
Oh, no, is it over so soon? Last night's accommodation was included in the tour, so be sure to share contact details with your new friends.
What's included on every Haka Plus tour:
- Passionate and knowledgeable local Kiwi guide
- Comfortable and air-conditioned bus transport
- Orientation tour of each and every location
- Small groups of maximum 16 people
- Experiences to teach you about our unique Māori culture
- Stay each night in twin-share 3–4 star accommodation: a mix of hotels, motels, lodges, and rainforest retreats.
What's also included on this tour:
- Stay 11 nights in twin-share 3–4 star accommodation: a mix of hotels, motels, lodges, and rainforest retreats.
- Feast on daily hearty breakfasts and 2 dinners.
- Ride one of the most scenic ferry journeys in the world, over the Cook Strait
- Take in the stunning Southern Alps and the vast Canterbury Plains aboard the TranzAlpine, New Zealand’s finest inland rail journey.
- Taste some of the world’s best sauvignon blanc at a Marlborough wine tasting.
- Spend one night glamping (luxury camping) in Wanaka (available for tours starting before 1 September 2023).
- Cruise through Wanaka on a scenic e-bike (bicycle with electric motor) experience (available on tours starting before 1 September 2023).
- Enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Wanaka to the remote Mou Waho Island nature reserve (available on tours starting from 1 September 2023).
- Carve your own pounamu (jade) pendant in Franz Josef.
- Plus, many more surprise stops along the way!
ENHANCE YOUR TRIP WITH ADD-ON ACTIVITIES AND UPGRADES
Your tour includes all the essentials but you can add extra wow-factor to your tour by adding on the activities and accommodation upgrades that suit you best.
Optional activities you can add to this trip at checkout:
Optional accommodation upgrades and add-ons for this trip:
- Price from (NZD)
- Deposit only
WHY CHOOSE HAKA PLUS?
Learn about the differences between this tour and our classic Adventure tours. Click here >
Only $99 to secure your seat unless you book within 45 days of departure. Once your spot is booked, you can log in and customise your tour with any extra experiences or activities up to 45 days before departure.
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