Starting and ending in the “Garden City” of Christchurch, we show you the ultimate highlights of New Zealand’s stunning South Island over 7 action-packed days.
From turquoise lakes to towering mountains and glaciers, the South Island’s scenery will blow your mind, and the nation’s adventure capital, Queenstown, has all the adrenalin activities on offer that you could possibly wish for.
Included in your tour is a unique opportunity to carve your very own pounamu (greenstone) pendant with local carvers on the West Coast.
Activities can be pre-booked or purchased on the road - just let your tour guide know. We can't always guarantee availability when booking on the road, so we suggest pre-booking any activities you especially want to do.
As the tour starts early in the morning, you can opt to book accommodation in Christchurch with us the night before the tour – only having to walk downstairs on day 1 makes for a stress-free morning.
Accommodation is included on the last night of your tour, but we can also book a few extra nights for you if you would like to extend your stay.
The tour price includes dorm share accommodation but if you would prefer a little extra space you have the option to upgrade to a private room for the duration of your tour.
Upgrades, Extension and Epic add-on
Nothing is compulsory, just add the things that will make the best holiday ever! If you wish to add any of these epic add-ons to your tour, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your requests :)
Stay with us the night before and after your tour
Grand Traverse Scenic Flight | Tekapo $395 - (About £207) - Well worth the cost, this is a flight of a lifetime over two World Heritage National Parks and 200km of New Zealand’s most memorable and spectacular scenery. The 50 minute flight passes over Mt Cook (Aoraki) and Westland National Parks, 12 major glaciers, the highest peaks in Oceania and the sub tropical rain forests of the South Island's West Coast.
Bungy | Kawarau Bridge | Queenstown $205 - (About £108) - As you shuffle out to the edge of the bridge, heart pounding and mind racing, remember this – you’ve found yourself at the World Home of Bungy. This is the original. Many people have come and gone, on a mission to push the limits and test themselves, why not join them?
Bungy | Nevis - NZs Highest! | Queenstown - $50 - $275 - (About £26 - £144) The ultimate boast for your friends back home (though you might not want to tell your mother...) The experience kicks off with a rugged 35 minute back-blocks 4x4 drive before you get harnessed up and board a shuttle which ferries you to the Bungy Pod. The bungy itself is the highest in the Southern Hemisphere at 134m (8.5 seconds of freefall). 100% pure adrenalin, get yourself out there and do it!
Canyon Swing | Queenstown - $249 - (About £131) - The canyon swing is a bit different to a bungy. You are secured in a full body harness enabling you to depart from the 109 metre high platform in any position imaginable. Upon leaving the platform, you will have a pure free fall for 60 metres before the lines take up tension and swing you into a smooth 200 metre arc at 150 kph! This is a definite #nzmustdo. There are over 70 different jump styles to choose from on the day, some more scary than others.
Canyoning | Queenstown - $219 - (About £115) - Descend the spectacular canyons, explore your way through crystal pools and native forest, plunge down water polished chutes, abseil down waterfalls. Climb, swim and float through a spectacular world of water sculpted rock and sparkling, crashing waterfalls. Available October to April only.
Extreme Jet Boating | Queenstown - $155 - (About £82) - This is a jet boat trip like no other! Shotover Jet has been operating since 1970, and now it's your turn! The state of the art custom built jet boats are designed for one purpose: to excite and thrill you as you race through the Shotover Canyon at speed of 80km/hr. Sit back, hold on and enjoy the ride.
Horse Trekking | Glenorchy (Queenstown) - $175 - (About £92) - Ride in Middle Earth through ancient beech forest and see where Boromir was killed in the “Fellowship” also scenes from Narnia and Wolverine, learn the history while surrounded by Mount Aspiring National Park, one of three world heritage parks in New Zealand. Fantastic ride for novice riders through to experienced. Please note there is a 95 Kilogram weight limit for riders.
Lord of the Rings 4WD Safari | Queenstown - $195 -(About £103) - Queenstown was a major location throughout all of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This 4WD tour takes you through Glenorchy and the valleys, which were where some of the most famous Lord of the Rings scenes were filmed. This tour goes beyond Glenorchy and follows the Dart River. It stops in the location that was used for filming Isengard. You will then head to Paradise, where you discover the Forest of Lothlorien filming location. From here you will head back to Queenstown, making a stop at 12 Mile Delta which was the filming location for the Ithilien Camp. As a bonus, you won't just see locations for Lord of the Rings! You will also get to see locations from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Xmen Origins: Wolverine.
Milford Sound Half Day (Fly/Cruise/Fly) | Queenstown - $499 - (About £262) - Experience the extraordinary beauty of this very special part of the world from above. Then board your cruise boat to get up close to the dramatic cliffs, the resident seals, and possibly even a dolphin or two. This is a favourite activity for many of the Haka Staff
Milford Sound Nature Cruise | Queenstown - $207 - $662 -(About £109 - £347) - Get up close and personal with Milford Sound on a leisurely Nature Cruise. As you cruise the length of the fiord, learn about the history of the region and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins.
Skydive | Queenstown - $359 - $459 - (About £188 - £241) - It is said Queenstown is where beauty and extreme sports go hand in hand, and there is no better illustration than sky diving over the world's adventure capital. On the ride to altitude, take in the magnificent scenery of this world heritage area with snow capped mountains all year round surrounded by beech forests, sheer rock faces and winding rivers which promise an amazing flight and an exhilarating and breathtaking descent over Lake Wakatipu.
Skydive | Wanaka - $359 - $459 - (About £188 - £241) If you want unbeatable views of Wanaka's world-famous lakes and mountains, this it the ultimate way to get them! Strap yourself to a beautiful stranger and leap out of a plane, right into the heart of Lord of the Rings country. Scared? Believe it or not, 15,000 feet is recommended over 12,000 feet because you have more time to adjust to the freefall.
Glacier Heli Hike | Franz Josef - $499 - (About £262) - Glacier trekking is considered an absolute #nzmustdo, and is actually suitable for all abilities. We recommend the heli-hike as a quick way to reach the bluer ice of the glacier.
Glacier Kayaking | Franz Josef - $115 - (About £61) - A gorgeous way to enjoy the snowy peaks and mirror-like waters as you glide along the glassy waters of Lake Mapourika. You'll take in stunning panoramic views of the Southern Alps and up to 10 different Glaciers, including the Franz Josef Neve. On the far side of the Lake follow your guide deep into the rainforest and Kiwi Sanctuary, via a rainforest creek. Simply an awesome way to enjoy the unique Franz Josef landscape up close.
Heli Experience with Snow Landing | Franz Josef - $270 - (About £142) - Within seconds of lifting off from the Franz Helipad at the foot of the Southern Alps, the scenic views have already started. Fly over the world famous Franz Josef Glacier as you climb above and beyond to reveal the real heart of the truly magnificent Southern Alps. Take a deep breath as the highest Mountain in New Zealand comes into view: Mount Cook, shouldered by Mt Tasman and the Southern Alps.
Quad Biking | Franz Josef - $140 - (About £74) - A ton of fun as you embark on a 4WD adventure and head across stony braided riverbeds, see glacial fed rivers and listen to your guide tell you about local history. The vehicles are incredibly easy to ride. There is a passenger option if you would prefer not to drive.
1. Christchurch to MacKenzie Country: Explore downtown Christchurch before heading to the striking lakes and mountains of Tekapo.
2. MacKenzie Country to Queenstown: We take a ride on a Gondola to get the perfect view of the jewel of the South Island, a place simply like no other: Queenstown.
3. Queenstown: Take in Queenstown’s beauty and all it has to offer.
4. Queenstown to Wanaka: Cross the mountains from Queenstown into wondrous Wanaka.
5. Wanaka to Franz Josef: Wake up with uninterrupted views of the stunning Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps.
6. Franz Josef: Take in the stunning Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
7. Franz Josef to Christchurch: Road trip up the wild west coast to Greymouth and take the world-famous TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch.
Where does this tour start?
This tour starts at 8am at our Haka accommodation – (location may vary – we'll confirm the location in your final tour letter 3–4 weeks before your tour.)
Where does this tour end?
On the final day, we take the world famous Tranz Alpine Express Train from Greymouth to Christchurch. This train journey is rated one of the top 10 train journeys in the world as the scenery is simply spectacular! This means the tour ends at Christchurch Rail Station at 6:30pm.
There are shuttle buses that take you into the city centre for around $5 and for all of you staying at Haka Lodge after your tour, a group taxi will cost just a few dollars each. There is a busy taxi stand directly outside the train station.
A high number of people stay at Haka Lodge the night the tour ends but if you are needing to depart immediately, we suggest booking flights for anytime later than 9pm.
I'm travelling alone, can I join this tour?
Yes. Around 70% of our guests are solo so you can absolutely join this, or any other of our tours.
What are the most popular activities for this tour?
Everyone has their own favourites, but in general we find that these are the most popular:
Can I book activities during the tour?
Yes - but we cannot guarantee availability, especially in peak times, so if there is something that is definitely on your bucket list we suggest you pre-book it as part of your tour.
Do we visit Milford Sound as part of this trip?
We offer an optional trip to the wonderful Milford Sound while in Queenstown. There's a full day coach/cruise/coach trip and a half day fly/cruise/fly trip, both are awesome :)
What is the accommodation standard?
We stay at the very best lodges, hostels and motels available including our own Haka Lodges. 4 - 6 bed dorm share accommodation is included in the base price and you can upgrade to a private room.
Are Tour Managers always available on tour?
Due to strict New Zealand driving laws, it’s mandatory that our awesome Tour Managers take regular days off to recharge so they can continue to show you an amazing and safe trip around New Zealand. Your Tour Manager will let you know which days these are ahead of time.
>Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
> Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
> Passport (required) (With photocopies)
> Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
> Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
Credit and debit cards are readily accepted just about everywhere in New Zealand. You can usually withdraw money from shops where EFTPOS is available. ATMs are common across New Zealand, but may be limited in remote areas but your guides will advise you when to withdraw extra cash.
Tipping is not expected but appreciated.
Please be aware that wifi and internet access is not as readily available in New Zealand as in other parts of the world. There are often additional charges to connect to the internet, and speeds may be slower than what you are used to.
2. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Over public holidays in Australia and New Zealand (such as Christmas, New Years Day, Easter, and Anzac Day) there may be some limitations of services and disruptions to schedules. In general our tours still operate effectively over public holidays, but there may be closures of optional activities and restaurants, and slight itinerary adjustments in order to provide all tour inclusions.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary, therefore, on occasions there may be some alternations. While we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Given the unpredictable nature of weather and travel, we are sometimes forced to make late itinerary changes due to unexpected heavy rain and/or storms and road closures. In the event of this occurring, itinerary changes may need to be implemented after commencement of you trip. In this event, your Tour guides have full authority to change the itinerary and/or order of activities and substitute alternative destinations and activities as necessary. No refunds are available due to itinerary changes and missed activities caused by extreme weather conditions and/or road closures.
CLIMBING & CLOTHING:
New Zealand has relaxed attitudes to standards of dress however there are a few practical considerations. New Zealand has a temperate climate but be prepared for colder temperatures even in summer months. The sunshine in New Zealand is harsh and a sunhat and sunglasses are a must.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation or simply refill with tap water (your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination). When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact GoKo Travels or your Tour leader on the numbers provided in the contact selection of this document (bottom).
If you are unable to get in touch with your with us via the details given on our website, please refer to our emergency contact details.
You do not need to pre-booked an airport transfer, as your tour leader will collect you from outside the airport and will take you to your Starting Point hotel.
Passports and Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity) and entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas.
Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
For the most up to date information on visa requirements, we recommend you contact the New Zealand embassy in your country or visit http://www.immigration.govt.nz
** Note: Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.
GoKo Travels doesn't currently have the facilities to book your external/international flights. Therefore, you will have to prearrange your own flights to the required destination. We are always looking to improve our services, therefore, are planning to implement this solution as soon as possible.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your Tour leader/ local representative, who will take note of your insurance details and emergency contact number. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability of luggage, cancellation, curtailment and loss and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. Some prefer to spend all their money on alcohol, whille other prefer souvenirs. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier.
The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZD).For the latest exchange rate refer to https://www.xe.com
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in New Zealand and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work so check with your bank before you travel. A travel card is recommended to save you money on transaction fees and they are normally accepted at all ATMS
We also recommend a combination of local currency (preferably smaller bills, 5's, 10's and 20's), and credit cards for best practice. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, however, currency exchange is easy to find in New Zealand in the gateway cities and most banks do provide this service.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra GBP£300 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved.
All bespoke Hostel Accommodation is included in this trip
If you wish for a private room, you must request before booking.
Sharing a Dorm
Our included accommodation is 4 or 6 dorm share with your fellow tour guests (though during super busy times you may be in a slightly bigger dorm for a few nights). Some rooms have an ensuite bathroom and others will have shared facilities. Most tour members love the dorms as it gives you an extra chance to bond with the other people in your group.
Female-Only Dorm Rooms
We ask for tour groups to be put together in dorm accommodation, so you are sharing with people you are familiar with. You are able to request female-only dorms, but this may mean sharing with other girls outside of your tour group. We cannot guarantee availability for every location on tour, so if this is a big concern to you we'd suggest upgrading to a private room. If you have any other request related to accommodation, don’t hesitate to contact us – our team will make every effort to meet your needs.
Upgrading to a Private Room
If you wish to upgrade your accommodation to a private room, you can choose from either a double (one large bed) or twin (two single beds). If you will share the room with someone else you only need to book one upgrade and split the price between you both.
Due to the layout of the lodges and hostels we stay at, you may not have an ensuite bathroom for the majority of locations. While we do try our best to secure ensuite rooms for all guests, we cannot guarantee it.
Included in this tour are 5 continental breakfasts and 2 dinners – including a traditional M?ori h?ng?, cooked in an underground oven.
Our guides know the best places in each town and city for different budgets and tastes, and they will point these out on the way into each location.
The tour group, along with your guide, will often head out to a local pub for a beer and a meal. Meals can range from NZ$15 upwards.
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with GoKo Travels you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally, meals are included in the trip price, therefore, it is your responsibly to let us know if you have any food allergies at time of booking, so we can make arrangements accordingly.
Travellers with special dietary requirements or food allergies are required to advise us at the time of booking. If you do not inform us before departure date, it may be difficult to source special dietary requests.
You may be asked to pay for any additional food if you have not advised us of any special dietary requirements beforehand.
The below dietary can be easily catered for:.
Dairy Free (soy available )
Please bring your own staples (nuts, bars, snacks) if you require a diet differing from the above.
You will need to purchase any alcohol and other drinks separately unless otherwise highlighted in the itinerary.
All transport is included in this trip, unless transport is required when you opt in for an "Extra Add On".
As you may well know, adventures always carry an element of danger. Our GoKo trips are not just package holidays, they are immersive experiences that go off the beaten path and push can you beyond your comfort zone. That’s what makes them awesome, and that’s why we take safety very seriously.
Different countries have their own infrastructures, laws, regulations, transport systems, cultures, political situations, climates and ecosystems so the nature of an adventure means it carries genuine risks. With this is mind, we are dedicated to ensuring all reasonable precautions are made to provide trips that are safe.
We closely monitor all the countries we travel to, keeping in regular contact with our operators and suppliers for their local knowledge and expertise.
If you have any concerns about travelling to a particular country, most governments provide their own travel advice. Here are some useful links regarding foreign travel: UK citizens; US citizens; Canadian citizens; Australian citizens; New Zealand citizens. If you are not from one of the follow countries, please visit your official government advice page.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safekeeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities, have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our guides to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
All GoKo travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our tour leader / local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, GoKo Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure. Information should be gathered round necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure.
We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements.
For legal reasons, our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group guides or local representatives straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/ local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
If for whatever reasons, you wish to contact GoKo directly regarding changes to your scheduled trip or make a complaint while you are already on your trip, or need to contact us in cases of an emergency, please use the following details below:
Emergency Contact Number: +44 7305027666