Southern Light Tour

  • Picton or Christchurch
  • 9 or 10 days
  • Queenstown
  • from NZD$2,210.00
Guaranteed departures

Flying Kiwi Local's Tip

Neil - Flying Kiwi Sales UK & Europe
"The south island has some of the countries best cycling including parts of the NZ Cycle trail.  If you enjoy pedal power then id highly recommend hiring a bike for your tour."

Southern Light - Overview

If you don't have time for the full South Island trip, then this is an excellent way to see and experience some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery on the planet. The South Island of New Zealand is a visual paradise filled with jaw dropping scenery hosting adventurous activities.

Expect to see sparse high country land, incredible glacier fed blue lakes, sheer and towering cliff faces with endless waterfalls. Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand is our final destination on the Southern Light, where you can rest your legs from numerous hikes and bikes or opt for a challenge and jump out of a plane if that’s on your bucket list. 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.

From the top of the South Island, our trip takes you to a huge range of 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) as well as the odd adrenalin rush such as rafting grade 5 rapids and many other great activities. If its hikes and bike rides you’re looking for, then you won't be disappointed as we have a heap of superb options.

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!

TRIP OPTIONS:

You can start this trip in Picton (10 days) or Christchurch (9 days). You are also able to start in Nelson (10 days) by prior arrangement.

Customise Your Trip: It is possible to only do part of the route - maybe you want to start in Christchurch and finish in Fox Glacier. Talk to our crew in the office about how we can create you the perfect trip.

TOUR EXTENSIONS:

If you have a few days after your trip why not extend it with one of these great options:

  • Wild West Tour - Not ready to leave your Flying Kiwi family yet? Continue with us up the stunning west coast of the south island to finish in Nelson or Picton on this 8 day trip through the rugged and natural beauty that is ‘The Coast’.
  • Reverse Traverse - A one way adventure from Queenstown to Auckland with highlights including 2 nights by Paparoa National park, 2 nights by the Abel Tasman National Park and 2 nights in the Bay of Islands, how great is that!
  • Greymouth - Add an extra 3 nights to your trip and continue with us past Fox Glacier and onto Greymouth. From here you can take the Tranz Alpine scenic train ride through the Southern Alps to Christchurch.
  • Fox Glacier - This is a popular 2 night extension which will take you into glacier country and have you finishing in the alpine village of Fox Glacier. Take a shuttle back to Queenstown the following day after you’ve explored the ice.

SOUTHERN LIGHT TRAVEL DAYS

You can have a look at the detailed day-to-day itinerary on our Flying Kiwi Detailed Itinerary page. The Southern Light takes you to some of our best ‘hidden’ spots on this 9 or 10 day adventure.

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 only metres from the lakes edge 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!
  • Queenstown Gondola: A must do while in Queenstown. Sit back and relax as the best views in the region unfold before your eyes and the Gondola carries you 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob's Peak.
  • Sports Equipment: We have put sports equipment on board for you to use at any stage, this includes Body boards, frisbee and more depending upon the bus.
  • 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 FREEBEES

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

Bush Camp:
During the Southern Light tour we stay at our most stunning bush camp. We have selected this camp for its amazing scenery, at night you will be in awe as you gaze at the stars uninterrupted by street lights. Due to its remote location there are no cabin upgrade options and it also comes with only basic toilet facilities, but don’t worry a hot shower is not too far away and a refreshing dip in the lake comes highly recommended.

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 $55 NZD.

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

  1. Today we travel the scenic Pacific coast to Kaikoura where close encounters with seals and seabirds are common. This picturesque town sits right on the ocean at the foot of the mountains – a spectacular spot. Stretch your legs with a recommended evening peninsula walk and build up an appetite for a tasty feast of locally caught fresh seafood. Tonight we camp with the sound of the waves – perfect!

    The waters off this stretch of coast are home to a variety of marine and bird life - it’s the perfect spot to get 'close to nature'. Kaikoura has an interesting Maori history and legend - Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself while he 'fished-up' the North Island from the sea. Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai - food, koura - crayfish) which is extremely appropriate with plenty to go around.

    • Bike Rides:
    • Walks and Hikes: Walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway where you’ll see a vast coastline, the Kaikoura Ranges, and some pretty cute seals - expect to take lots of snaps!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  2. *If your tour starts/finishes in Christchurch you will leave/join us at 2:30pm.

    For those that are keen there is the chance to rise early for a wonderful sunrise and then enjoy one of our most highly rated optional activities – dolphin swimming. The resident dusky dolphins are amongst the most interactive and entertaining in the world and it’s not unusual to swim with pods of 50 or more in their natural habitat, the ocean! We then have the chance to explore this quaint seaside town before heading through Christchurch to collect and drop off those starting /ending here. Now regarded as the Shaky Isles, you’ll have time to explore Christchurch city area as well as buy your lunch from one of the many of the quirky container cafes at the ‘Restart Mall’. Since the earthquakes, Christchurch and the residents are doing lots of cool things as well as restoring its heritage which is making the city stand out as a place to explore! Enjoy the tasteful street art, artwork from the earthquake and local crafts to purchase in the city.

    Say farewell to your friends leaving and hello to new Flying Kiwis because at 2:30pm we head out towards the Southern Alps with fantastic views across the Canterbury plains - real Lord of the Rings country! Tonight’s unique camp is at the Shearer’s Headquarters (an actual operating farm) located at the foothills of the Southern Alps.

    The Rangitata River flows for over 120 kms from the Southern Alps to the Pacific ocean. This is the river where you can try white water raft tomorrow morning -- highly recommended!

    • 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!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours
  3. Wake up to mountain views and refresh yourself even more with the chance to try white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River, grade 5 rapids! This thrilling ride takes you through the heart of the mountains with amazing scenery and a few splashes and spills on the way! If rafting isn’t for you then no problem - soak it all in with a morning cycle ride or walk through the forest. We then head through more jaw dropping landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) through the open and vast Mackenzie Country to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo. Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour that comes all the way down from glaciers high up in the mountains and is deposited in the lake.

    From there we head to one of our best wilderness camps – sat on the shores of Lake Pukaki, a similar glacial lake with turquoise waters, you can set up your tent to nothing but views of lakes and mountains. Cross your fingers for a clear night sky as this area is part of New Zealand's dark sky reserve, an incredible place to star gaze!

    • Bike Rides: If you're not rafting in the morning hop on your bike and head to the Peel Forest walks. In the afternoon you can follow a canal before cycling around the edge of Lake Pukaki and into 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 of two incredible glacial lakes
    • Available Upgrades: Not tonight - Beautiful lakeside wilderness camp
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours
  4. Today is a real chance to immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for. We will be exploring Aoraki National Park and hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain - Mount Cook. We then head back to the Pacific coast with a short stop in the historic town of Oamaru. From there it’s a short drive down the coast to the small village of Moeraki. Go for a walk to a view point and take in the views of the Pacific Ocean and try and 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.

    Mount Cook (Maori name - Aoraki meaning 'cloud piercer') dominates the skyline at 3,724m and is New Zealand's highest mountain. Nestled in between the other 18 peaks above 3000m within Aoraki/Mt Cook national, Mt Cook dominates the skyline and is the main feature in the backdrop of our hike to the bottom of the Hooker valley glacier.

    • Bike Rides: An early morning ride along the edge of Lake Pukaki takes you to one of the most impressive viewpoints in the area. During the afternoon you can ride a short section of the Alps2ocean trail followed by a ride out to Katiki Point Lighthouse where you may s
    • 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. Enjoy boardwalk terrain as well as crossing numerous swing bridge
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours
  5. Before heading south, we make a stop at the nearby Moeraki Boulders - a collection of perfectly round rocks each weighing up to 4 tonnes that sit down on the beach, and then it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin - the South Island's second-largest city. Its name is the Scots Gaelic word for Edinburgh, a testament to the mostly Scottish settlers who came here. This southern city is also home to the world’s steepest residential street and the famous Speight’s brewery which offers an interactive and informative guided tour through the historic working brewery.

    The Otago Coast stretches along the South Island's eastern side and Dunedin marks the halfway point along this coast which has a few decent surf breaks. Our camp is a short walk from the beach and you walk the short distance to St.Clair to grab some food at one of the laid back water front restaurants. 

    • Bike Rides: An epic short yet sweet, downhill ride into the city of Dunedin. Ensure you use your brakes or you’ll miss out on the view of Otago Peninsula! Ride out to Otago Peninsula later in the day if you’re not doing anything else.
    • Walks and Hikes: You’ll feel your heart pumping through your chest as you take a stroll up the world’s steepest residential street!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  6. Journey through scenic southern pastures to Te Anau, the hub and jumping-off point for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Our accommodation tonight is a unique and historic site hidden in the unspoilt Hollyford Valley - a true wilderness escape. There is even an onsite museum to learn more about the region and history. For cyclists there is the chance to cycle into camp and for the hikers this camp offers some great short treks (ask your guide about secret glow worm trails).

    The south west corner of New Zealand is home to Fiordland - home to wild, dramatic and rugged landscapes. The main town for access to the Fiordland National park region is Te Anau, the park is a World Heritage Area over 1.2 million hectares in size. In this area everything is oversized - gigantic waterfalls, towering mountains and forested valleys meet you around every corner.

    • 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
  7. In the morning we journey to Queenstown along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. Once we arrive at the adventure capital of New Zealand you can enjoy spectacular views, a free Gondola ride and a huge selection of activities to choose from. There is everything here, from adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing or skydive to a more relaxed horse trek or boat trip – this place has it all. There are some great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this mountainous region.

     

    • 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!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  8. With so much to do we spend another 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 re-join the group here with time to try the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight you get the opportunity to dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost).

    Rightfully regarded as the adrenalin capital of New Zealand (if not, the World) Queenstown has something for every taste. It is also a spectacular location, nestled beside the deep blue of Lake Wakatipu by the foot of the Remarkables Range. Queenstown thrives year round with its superb alpine facilities and ski slopes - it was recently voted one of the top 25 cities in the World by a top travel magazine and we know why!

    • 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!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: No driving today

2017-2018 TOUR PRICES: 

Tour price departing Picton (10 days) $2,365
Tour price departing Christchurch (9 days) $2,210
Bike hire $210
Bring your own bike $80
Single tent upgrade $90
Sleeping bag hire $50

 

2017-2018 DEPARTURES FROM CHRISTCHURCH - (9 DAYS)

MonthDeparture Dates
October '17       25th
November '17                3rd                12th                21st                30th               
December '17   9th 18th 27th
January '18 5th 14th 23rd  
February '18 1st 10th 19th 28th
March '18   9th 18th 27th
 April '18 5th  14th    

 

2017-2018 DEPARTURES FROM PICTON - (10 DAYS)

MonthDeparture Dates
October '17        24th
November '17                2nd                11th                20th                29th               
December '17   8th 17th 26th 
January '18 4th 13th  22nd 31st
February '18   9th 18th 27th
March '18   8th 17th 26th
April '18 4th 13th    
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