7 day New Zealand South Island Tour with Wild Kiwi

New Zealand, you already know how beautiful the country is, but you probably don’t know how best to see these gorgeous spots!

Wild Kiwi have put together a 7 day southern voyager tour that captures some of those big-ticket spots that everyone is desperate to get to!


7 day Itinerary for the southern voyager

Day 1: Christchurch to Franz Josef Glacier

Day 2: Franz Josef Glacier

Day 3: Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

Day 4: Queenstown & Milford Sound

Day 5: Queenstown

Day 6: Mount Cook

Day 7: Mount Cook to Christchurch


About Wild Kiwi

If you’re aged between 18 – 35, Wild Kiwi is a small group tour with like-minded people. So it doesn’t matter if you’re travelling alone or with a group of people, Wild Kiwi is a great way to make new friends, or add to your group of friends whilst enjoying a holiday you won’t forget. We certainly picked up a few new friends from our trip!

Our highlights

There are just so many. Every turn we took, every spot we stopped at or corner we peeked around, it was all beautiful. The highlights for us were:

  • The Blue Pools (adventurous jumping off the bridge into icy water) on our drive between Franz Josef and Queenstown
  • Quad Biking in Queenstown (ridiculously fun)
  • Milford Sound as well as the helicopter flight with a snow landing in Mount Cook (absolutely stunning scenery)

Now that I write it all down… there was a highlight on every day with the exception of Franz Josef, probably because we were stuck in heavy rain with no glacier hike in sight. Had we had better weather, I’m confident this would have made the list as well!

 

Now for our detailed itinerary

Day 1: Christchurch to Franz Josef Glacier

We met Mark, our guide at 9.30am. He gave us an introduction and explained the itinerary. We stopped in at the supermarket to pick up some snacks for the long drive ahead to Frans Josef.

The day 1 itinerary, photos and a short video can be found here. Quick snapshot below:

We covered quite the distance on day 1, definitely glad we were on a tour rather than driving ourselves!

Day 2: Franz Josef Glacier

Day 2 of our tour was at Franz Josef Glacier. This was an exciting day on the tour for us as we booked in for the Heli Hike optional activity. I would love to tell you how incredible it was, but due to the heavy rain and wind, it was cancelled!!! *Insert really really sad face here*

But, we had an awesome day, despite the weather. Click here to see how we filled a rainy day in Franz Josef.

Day 3: Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

One of my favourite days. One of the highlights mentioned above was our stop at the Blue Pools – see the below short video of some of us jumping into the freezing water from one of the bridges!

To find out more about where we stopped, including seeing “That Wanaka Tree” (if you don’t know it, google it!) click here.

Again, we covered quite the distance. Hint, get a tour 😉

Day 4: Queenstown & Milford Sound

Everyone has heard of Milford Sound. And if you haven’t, google it. It is absolutely stunning and we spent the day cruising up Milford Sound enjoying what nature had to offer.

It is a 5-hour drive from Queenstown and before you say that it’s too far away and the drive is too long… the drive itself is one of the most beautiful you will get in NZ and absolutely worth the 6 am departure!!!

Click here to read about our Milford Sound day trip.

Day 5: Queenstown

We woke up early for breakfast before heading off on our half day Quad Biking tour. For us, it was a must do when in Queenstown as we missed out the first time we visited. Click here to read about Quad biking and what tour we would recommend.

Our quad bike guide Mark (yep, another Mark) suggested we head to Atlas Beer Cafe. For just under $20 you can get a rump steak, chips and salad – and have a view over Lake Wakatipu!

Wild Kiwi

In the afternoon, we decided to head up to the Skyline Gondola & Luge. It was an absolute hoot! I’d totally recommend the luge… click here to read more and to see our short video.

Dinner was at The London courtesy of Wild Kiwi. Pizza and chips – what’s not to like?

Day 6: Mount Cook

After a relaxing morning, we departed Queenstown for Mount Cook. It wasn’t a massive drive with only a couple of stops along the way. If you’re looking for some tips on what to do in Mount Cook, click here to find out more.

Day 7: Mount Cook to Christchurch (via Lake Tekapo)

It was a very sad day for us to wake up to the last day of our tour. But, Mark worked his magic and got us some sunshine and a helicopter ride with a snow landing! Thanks, Mark!

We took off at 9 am and landed on snow that was just under knee depth – it was definitely worth it. The views were amazing and it was just an overall great experience, did I mentioned that you this is a helicopter, landing on snow?

Click here to read all about it and to watch a short video on what to expect from the experience.

Next stop was at Lake Tekapo to see the famous Church of the Good Shepherd. It is probably the most photographed church in New Zealand and after seeing it for myself, I can see why. There were even a couple getting some wedding photos taken while we were there.

Lunch was at the Four Square (supermarket). They have a good range of fresh sandwiches and also some hot dishes as well, definitely a step up from most of the supermarkets. There are some tables and chairs outside where you can sit and enjoy the view of the lake.

After leaving Lake Tekapo, our next stop was at Geraldine for a toilet stop, don’t worry, I know I’ve only mentioned this one toilet stop, but there are many along the way and then if you really do need to go, just let your guide know and I’m sure he’ll allow it.

After the toilet stop, we then continued driving through Rakaia before reaching Christchurch.

The drive from Lake Tekapo was yet again, just beautiful.

What to see in Christchurch

If you have some additional time in Christchurch and wondering what to see, click here to see our suggestions.

Where to stay in Christchurch

If you are staying before and after the tour you will need to arrange your own accommodation. We can recommend these places:

Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square: We spent two nights after the tour in Christchurch city centre. We stayed at the Novotel as it was conveniently located. Click here to read our full review of the hotel.

Jucy Snooze Christchurch: We stayed here the night before the tour as we arrived after midnight and had an early start. Wild Kiwi also happened to use this as a base so we met Mark out front, dropped our bags in the van and then continued on to the real pickup location.

The positives to Jucy Snooze is that they are a great common area and large kitchen if that’s what you’re looking for. The pods are a unique design in that you get your privacy etc. However, being at the airport, you have people coming and going all hours of the night and morning so the quality of sleep was pretty bad. BUT in saying that, it was only one night and let’s be honest… when you’re paying $35 for a night, you can’t really complain, can you?

Wild Kiwi Van & Accommodation information

No doubt you’re considering either hopping on a tour or hiring your own transport to get around the South Island. Honestly, I’m pretty happy with the fact that we went on a tour relaxed, had some naps, and safely got from point a to point b without any drama.

The fan itself is luxurious and fitted out with everything you need; comfortable, and I mean, comfortable, leather reclining seats, USB charging points, massive windows to lap up all that scenery and most important… unlimited WIFI!!!

Wild Kiwi describe the van as a social entertainment unit on wheels – and they aren’t wrong!

Accommodation is shared, either located in hostels or cabins. Our group had a couple of rooms at each location with four people per room sleeping in bunk beds. Most of you who know us know that we don’t normally book shared accommodation, in fact, this was a first for us. How did we go with the sharing part? Well, we surprised ourselves!

The rooms were tidy, water pressure was good and no sign of running out of hot water so that was a bonus. I can’t say there is a great deal of space for everyone’s bags, so depending on the length of trip, pack light and save some space! There’s no guarantee you’ll stay in the same spots, but the accommodation we enjoyed the most was Absoloot Backpackers in Queenstown. Location was perfect, you couldn’t be more central, the bottom bunks happened to be double beds and the communal kitchen had a great view!

Hint: suggest rotating top/bottom bunk with your roommates between locations, make friends, and pick a top bunk early on to snatch the double bottom bunk here!

We also stayed at the Rainforest Retreat in Franz Josef. The grounds are really lovely and the bar and restaurant had a great atmosphere. The only letdown was that the All Blacks beat the Wallabies that night so you’ll have to put up with the local Wild Kiwi’s while they celebrate.

The last night was at Mount Cook Lodge. Probably our least favourite accommodation in terms of comfort (also a note to pay $2 to hire a towel). But the views from the restaurant are lovely and the location ideal!

Optional activities

There are so many optional activities you can add on to your holiday depending on how adventurous you might be!

Click here for the full list, the below are likely to be quite popular:

  • Bungy jumping
  • Canyoning
  • Glacier Heli-Hike
  • Jet Boating

For more information on the optional tours we chose, see below for our day to day activities.

Why choose Wild Kiwi

It’s fun. It is nice to travel with friends or people who are wanting to see and do similar things. You can not only share the experience with them but make memories forever.

Value for money. When you think about it, it includes your transport, breakfast and all accommodation. They even paid for dinner one night in Queenstown! When you work it out to cost per night, it’s pretty damn good!!

What’s included

You get quite a bit of stuff included in the price:

  • Transport in the ‘social entertainment unit on wheels’ including your driver and guide (who happens to be the same person!)
  • All accommodation which includes 2 nights in Franz Joseph, 3 nights in Queenstown, and 1 night in Mount Cook
  • Breakfast daily (and our tour had one dinner in Queenstown)
  • Transport to Milford Sound

What’s not included

Travel insurance is not included but in my opinion an absolute must when you’re travelling. Click here to read more, get a quote and book.

Food: Breakfast is available every day in the communal kitchens of your accommodation, but you will need to buy your own lunch and dinner. There are a few supermarket stops where you can stock up on snacks or grab a sandwich if you prefer.

Drinks: You will also need to purchase your own drinks, but with the number of spots, there are plenty of options to grab what you need along the way.

What to pack for your Wild Kiwi Tour

New Zealand has weather that changes at a drop of a hat! It might be springtime, but it can get freezing cold so you need to be prepared.

Click here for our packing guide for your Wild Kiwi tour.

Not everyone will follow the list, but I would definitely recommend an eye mask and ear plugs – you never know if you’ll be sharing a room with, chances are you’ll have at least one snorer or someone who needs to get up in the middle of the night, turning on the lights and flushing that toilet 😉

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Comments on “7 day New Zealand South Island Tour with Wild Kiwi

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  8. I might have missed it, but what time of year were you in New Zealand?

    • Hi Katie – We were there mid – end September this year! Are you planning a trip there yourself? If so, I hope you have an amazing time!

      • Yes I am! But it won’t be until our (U.S. winter)!

      • Have an amazing time!!!

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