Southern Light South Island Tour

Southern Light South Island Tour

  • Christchurch
  • Queenstown
  • 9 days
  • 4.9 / 5.0 (72 reviews)
  • from NZD$2,595.00

Main Highlights

  • World heritage site
  • NZ cycle trail
  • Queenstown
  • Fiordland
  • Routeburn Track
  • Milford Sound
  • Abel Tasman
  • Kayaking
  • White water rafting
  • Glow-worm walks
  • Accommodation by coasts, mountains & lakes
  • ...and many more

Southern Light Southern Island tour - Overview:

The South Island of New Zealand is a visual paradise filled with jaw dropping scenery and the Southern Light tour will show you the highlights in under 2 weeks! 

• VIEWS - Expect to see incredible glacier fed blue lakes and sheer and towering cliff faces with endless waterfalls.

• CAMPING - The Southern Light will give you a very good introduction of why we love New Zealand - this section also offers some very special camp spots that we have strategically placed so we can bring you much closer to nature than you’d ever have expected.

NATURAL WONDERS - From glaciers and mountains to beautiful beaches and wild coastlines. There are plenty of wildlife encounters along the way (such as whales, dolphins, seals and penguins).

TRAVEL MATES - Bring a friend along to share this tour of discovery, or make new mates amongst your fellow Flying Kiwi travellers and create lasting memories and lifetime friendships!

  

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE SOUTHERN LIGHT TOUR:

We want you to have the best possible experience and we know New Zealand which is why we have included the following in the Southern Light tour:

- Accommodation: Wake up close to lakes and oceans in our perfectly designed tents, included in the tour cost is shared tent accommodation, two people per tent. You can upgrade to your own tent for the duration of the tour for a small additional cost if you choose.

- Food: Delicious, tasty and healthy meals are included. See our detailed itinerary for details of which meals are included on a day-to-day basis. If you have a certain dietary requirement just let our team know, we can cater for most dietary needs.

- Seafood Feast - Kaikoura is one of the best seafood locations in New Zealand which is why it’s a great place to enjoy a delicious seafood feast on us. Enjoy your meal while soaking up the atmosphere of our perfectly located seaside camp. This is a meal not to be missed.

- Hikes: Free walks are enjoyed every day (from 10mins to a few hours).

- Bike Rides: These include sections of the NZ Cycle Trail, on-road cycling and bike paths, something for everyone.

OTHER FREE INCLUSIONS:

There are lots of museums and attractions that are free of charge, as well as all access to National Parks. We take in many of these on the Southern Light tour.

Our bike rides page and the hiking pages give you lots more detail into the rides and hikes our guides will show you along the way. For many of these we include printed maps and route notes which your guides will handout when on tour.

Our activities page above gives more detail on many of the free and optional activities that you might choose to do on your Southern Light tour and how it all works.

IMPORTANT THINGS WE WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE SOUTHERN LIGHT TOUR:

End of Trip Transport Options:
The Southern Light tour has you finishing in Queenstown where there are regular daily flights to Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland with either Air New Zealand or Jetstar. There are also bus and shuttle services travelling daily from Queenstown to Christchurch costing from $70 NZD.

Please visit our how it works page for everything you need to know.

  1. Today we'll depart Christchurch and start heading towards the mountains and across the Canterbury plains, a flat open area of farmland. Tonight we'll stay in Peel Forest, close to the Rangitata river.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Cycle into camp along a quite country road through fields of cows, sheep and deer with a mountainous backdrop
    • Walks and Hikes: The Peninsula Walkway is a must if you missed it yesterday! You’ll also have plenty of time on your feet when we stop through Christchurch to check out the awesome rebuild of Christchurch city!
    • Optional Activities: Highly recommended dolphin swim, dolphin viewing
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours
  2. Wake up to mountain views and try white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River! If rafting isn’t for you, soak it all in with a morning cycle or walk through Peel forest. We then head through more jaw dropping landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo.  Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour brought down from the rivers flowing from glaciers high up in the mountains.

    Relax in the nearby hot pools or enjoy star gazing at the Mt John Observatory and make the most of staying in an International Dark Sky Reserve, plus there are plenty of hike and cycle options to choose from. 

    • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
    • Bike Rides: If you're not rafting in the morning hop on your bike and head to the Peel Forest walks. In the afternoon enjoy the trails at Lake Tekapo Regional Park then ride to camp
    • Walks and Hikes: A variety of walk options today including the protected conifers of Peel Forest and then this afternoon you'll have some time to walk along the edge an incredible glacial lake or walk to the Mt John Observatory and take in 360 degree views of Tekapo
    • Optional Activities: White water rafting (grade 5 rapids!), Mt John Observatory tour
    • Available Upgrades: Yes - limited options
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2 hours
  3. Immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for and explore Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain following a trail up the Hooker valley where you’ll cross swing bridges and get stunning views of the mountains before finishing up at a glacial lake with views of the Hooker Valley glacier. We then travel back towards the Pacific coast for a quick stop in the historic town of Oamaru before continuing onwards to the small village of Moeraki. Walk to a great view point offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and try to spot a little Blue Penguin along the shore. If you have a bike it’s possible to visit a colony of extremely rare Yellow-eyed Penguins near to camp. 

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: During the afternoon you can ride a short section of the Alps2ocean trail followed by a ride out to Katiki Point Lighthouse where you'll find a Yellow-eyed penguin colony
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy walking into the start of Mt Cook National Park in Hooker Valley. A three hour return hike, you’ll be blown away by the mountainous landscape not to mention a glacier during the hike.
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours
  4. If the tide is low then we can walk along the beach to the mysterious Moeraki boulders. These perfectly round spheres of rock have formed over millions of years and have found their way onto the beach near Moeraki and make for some fun photo opportunities.

    Afterwards it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin, the South Island's second-largest city. This southern city is home to the world’s steepest residential street and the coastline is home to some fantastic and rare wildlife. It’s possible to take a tour onto the Otago Peninsula to view some of this diverse wildlife which includes Albatross and Fur Seals. For the adventurous, why not try surfing at one of Dunedin’s best breaks! Our camp is a short distance from St. Kilda beach with a variety of restaurants close by to choose from.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Ride from camp into town or out to the Otago Peninsula later in the day if you’re not doing any optional activities
    • Walks and Hikes: You’ll feel your heart pumping through your chest as you take a stroll up the world’s steepest residential street!
    • Optional Activities: Surfing, Otago Peninsula wildlife tour
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  5. Today is one of our longer travel days as we drive through some of New Zealand’s most dramatic natural scenery on our way to Fiordland. Large parts of the landscape have been carved out over thousands of years to leave stunning paths that weave through snow-capped mountains. Our destination is Te Anau, the gateway to the for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Tonight’s camp is on the lakeside in Te Anau.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Enjoy riding through the isolated and moody Fiordland National Park into Hollyford Valley where you’ll finish at our camp (literally away from all civilisation, it’s great!)
    • Walks and Hikes: Short walks today as we’re on a mission to get to Fiordland National Park!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours
  6. Travel one of the world’s most scenic routes into Milford Sound! Described as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. We highly recommend taking a cruise on Milford Sound where you'll see dramatic waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and have the chance to spot wildlife such as dolphins, penguins and seals! As it’s just the one road in and out, we head back along the same breath-taking route to our lakeside camp in Te Anau. 

     

    • Meals: Breakfast and lunch
    • Bike Rides: Leisurely ride along the lakefront of Lake Te Anau and up alongside a river before looping back to camp. Go as little or as far as you please.
    • Walks and Hikes: Explore the lakefront of Te Anau in the afternoon once we are out of Fiordland National Park. Routeburn three day hike for those who have pre-booked!
    • Optional Activities: Milford boat cruise, Routeburn Track, Te Anau glow worm caves & boat ride
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  7. Today we journey to Queenstown along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. Once we arrive at the adventure capital of New Zealand you have a huge selection of activities to choose from. There is everything here, from adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing and skydiving to a relaxing horse trek or boat cruise – this place has it all. There are great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this alpine region.  Camping isn’t feasible in this bustling alpine village, for the next two nights we stay in dorm-share accommodation (cost included) in a centrally located hostel. Perfect for making the most of all Queenstown has to offer.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Queenstown offers a variety of different trails, so head out on your bike once we arrive in town
    • Walks and Hikes: Plenty of walks we can recommend once we have arrived in Queenstown. If you’re into taking on a hill for views or leisure lakefront strolling, Queenstown won’t disappoint!
    • Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes to a private room
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  8. With so much to do we spend the full day in fantastic Queenstown with the opportunity to enjoy those once in a lifetime experiences (don’t forget to try the legendary and very tasty Fergburger!). Routeburn Track walkers rejoin the group here at midday with time to try some of the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight, we dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost).  

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Awesome bike options if you have a free day you can choose short or longer cycling experiences that will take you past jaw dropping landscapes, vineyards, great cafes and more!
    • Walks and Hikes: Plenty of mountains you can hike to enjoy inspirational views of Lake Wakatipu and the alpine surrounds!
    • Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, canyon swing, skydiving, horse riding, boat cruise plus much more! There really is something for everyone in Queenstown!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes to a private room
    • Drive Distance: No driving today
  9. A last chance to indulge in the Queenstown action before finishing your tour with us here and saying farewell to your fellow Flying Kiwi travellers by 2:00pm.

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Road cycling around town or on one of the many Queenstown trails

2023 TOUR PRICES:

Tour price departing Christchurch (9 days)

$2595

Bike hire

$245

Single tent upgrade

$135

Bring your own bike

$120

Sleeping bag hire

$75

 

2023 DEPARTURES

MONTH

DEPART CHRISTCHURCH

JANUARY

30TH

FEBRUARY

15TH 

MARCH

3RD & 19TH

APRIL

4TH

 

 

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Trip Reviews

  • The trip was excellent I've met a very nice group of people. It was a great way to see the country and more remote places.

    , travelled Southern Light South Island Tour on 23/10/2019

  • Fantastic trip with a great variety of beautiful locations and activities. Great group of people and relaxed travelling atmosphere lead by the brilliant Nick + Chrissy.

    , travelled Southern Light South Island Tour on 03/01/2020

  • Travelling with a group of like-minded and respectful people was the highlight of the trip for me. And personalized attention to detail from Genna and Charlene - I've not come across such warm and professional tours guides before.

    , travelled Southern Light South Island Tour on 01/02/2019

  • It was a great experience. Never went camping before but have definitely started to love it. Will do more camping in the future.

    , travelled Southern Light South Island Tour on 01/01/2019

  • Beautiful time with like minded people from all over the world. I would definitely do it again.

    , travelled Southern Light South Island Tour on 01/01/2019

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