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Wild West South Island Tour

Wild West South Island Tour

  • Queenstown
  • Picton
  • 7 days
  • 4.8 / 5.0 (73 reviews)
  • from NZD$2,195.00

Main Highlights

  • NZ's best National Parks
  • World heritage site
  • NZ cycle trail
  • Glacier hikes
  • Queenstown
  • Abel Tasman
  • Kayaking
  • Glow-worm walks
  • Accommodation by coasts, mountains & lakes
  • Skydiving
  • Sailing
  • Hokitika
  • Pancake Rock
  • Blowholes
  • Jetboating
  • Excellent hikes.
  • ...and many more

Wild West South Island Tour - Overview:

DOWNLOAD PDF ITINERARY

Voted one of the top 10 drives in the World by Lonely Planet, the drive along the West Coast of the South Island has been is some of the best scenery you'll ever experience! A truly special place in New Zealand where locals (affectionately known as “coasters”) are welcoming and areas are not overpopulated.

You'll see forests taking on a prehistoric appearance, Lord of the Rings style views, rugged coastlines, crystal clear lakes, striking glaciers and contrasting gold sand beaches. It’s all here!

We'll take you up the rugged West Coast, past Franz Josef Glacier and on to the stunning Abel Tasman National Park where you can mix beach and bush to your hearts content. 

TOUR EXTENSIONS:

Southern Light Tour - This tour will pick you up from where you finish up in Picton and take you back down the east coast of the South Island, wrapping things up either in Christchurch or Queenstown!

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE WILD WEST TOUR:

To maximise your experience we have included a range of activities which we think will show off the very best of this stunning region. Here are just a few of the things that you will find included in your Wild West Tour:

- Accommodation: Pitch your tent next to a lake, ocean or forest. Included in the tour price is shared tent accommodation, you can upgrade to a single tent for a small cost.

- Food: Most meals are included as outlined in our detailed itinerary. If you have a special dietary requirement, no problem we cater to most dietary needs.

- Wine Tasting: The Marlborough region is known for its wines, especially the Sauvignon Blanc which is internationally recognised for their beautiful crisp flavour and distinctive summer citrus aromas. The drinks are on us in our specially arranged wine tasting experience.

Hikes: Each day we have great walks lined up for those interested ranging from 10mins to hours in length.

- Bike Rides: If you have hired one of our bikes then our guides will point you in the direction of incredible daily rides.

OTHER FREE INCLUSIONS:

Kiwis are a generous bunch and lots of museums and attractions are free of charge, as well as all access to National Parks. We take in many of these on the Wild West Tour including glow worm walks, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, Hokitika greenstone factory, access to National Parks (Mt Aspiring, Paparoa, Abel Tasman), amazing sunrises and sunsets at beautiful beachside campsites, and more

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.

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

IMPORTANT THINGS WE WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE WILD WEST TOUR:

What happens if i want to start my trip in Christchurch?

We use a shuttle service from Christchurch to Queenstown that runs every day (excluding Christmas day). You will then join your Flying Kiwi group in Queenstown. This provides great flexibility with the added option of spending a few days in Queenstown before your tour kicks off. We can help arrange all elements including accommodation and advice on activities.

Bush Camps:
Bush camps are part of our charm and are designed to get you away from the crowds and experiencing nature at its best. You will stay at two bush camps during the Wild West tour which have been especially selected for their amazing scenery. Due to their remote locations there are no cabin upgrade options and they also come with only basic toilet facilities but don’t worry a hot shower is just around the corner.

For more useful information visit our 'how it works' page here.

  1. The first day of your tour begins in Queenstown and we leave at 2:30pm to travel towards stunning glacial lakes and calmer shores. 

    On the final stretch to camp we’ll get views of Mt Aspiring National Park in the distance. Lake Wanaka is just over the next ridge and it’s on the edge of this glacial lake that we find our next wilderness camp. Enjoy great views of Lake Wanaka and the mountains beyond as we absorb the beauty of the area. 

    • Meals: Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Hawea River Track (12 km)
    • Walks and Hikes: Lakefront walks or other walks you may have missed yesterday when doing activities.
    • Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, skydiving, horse-riding, white water rafting, jet boating & the list goes on!
    • Available Upgrades: No - beautiful lakeside camp with National park views
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours
  2. We’ll enjoy a relaxed morning at our lakeside camp and then we’re continuing north through Mt Aspiring National Park. Just before we reach the West Coast, we’ll stop for a walk to the amazing Blue Pools, before heading through the dramatic Haast Pass, on roads woven over braided rivers and huge glacier carved valleys. There are two more great walk options along the way, one through lush and ancient forests and the other through swampy vegetation, ending on the beach where it’s possible to spot Hector dolphins. Tonight, we’ll stay beside the beautiful Lake Paringa, enjoying a true West Coast wilderness experience.  

     

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Later in the day you have an option of a long ride into camp from Knights Point lookout to Lake Paringa
    • Walks and Hikes: There are quite a number of short walks today as we make frequent stops on this epic journey to the West Coast
    • Available Upgrades: Yes limited options
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours
  3. Today is your chance to explore one of NZ’s most unique and spectacular natural wonders – the Franz Josef Glacier.  This staggeringly beautiful work of nature descends from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres above sea level. To get on the ice you must go up by helicopter but it’s possible to view the glacier via a stunning walk through the main valley. We also recommend taking a walk to Peter’s Pool for another incredibly scenic view.

    Before arriving at Franz Josef, we’ll take a highly recommended walk around Lake Matheson where crystal clear reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman make the perfect photo opportunity. Late afternoon, we have a short drive up the coast to our beautiful beachside campsite next to the Okarito lagoon – one of the very few places where there are still rare sightings of our native kiwi bird and the home to NZ’s only colony of the White Heron (kotuku). Enjoy a fire down on the beach taking in the rugged coast and epic mountain views.    

     

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Te Ara a Waiau cycleway, Okarito road ride (10 km)
    • Walks and Hikes: A highly recommended walk around Lake Matheson in the morning
    • Optional Activities: Guided Heli-Hike, guided kayak or SUP tour, West Coast Wildlife Centre, skydiving
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours
  4. Enjoy an early morning walk, with a view of the sunrise over the Southern Alps as a reward before we board the bus and continue up this spectacular coastal road to the quirky town of Hokitika, home of the Greenstone and a great place to pick up a traditional souvenir. Passing through Greymouth we’ll keep following the coast to Punakaiki where you’ll notice a change in the landscape as huge limestone cliffs appear and Nikau Palm trees become abundant. Our beach camp for tonight offers great sunsets, a beautiful river and incredible views of Paparoa National Park. The pancake rocks and blowholes are the main attraction in Punakaiki where limestone rocks are stacked on top of each other and ocean swells are forced through gaps in the rock creating a whale’s blowhole effect. This evening, explore a cavern with some glow worms hanging out in the dark and then enjoy a beverage at the local tavern.  

     

     

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: West Coast Wilderness Trail (14 km), Bullock Creek trail (15 km)
    • Walks and Hikes: Once we reach Punakaiki there are a number of different trails you can explore to get the best out of our visit to Paparoa National Park
    • Optional Activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks & blow holes (free)
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours
  5. Before leaving Punakaiki we’ll take some time to explore part of the Paparoa National Park, walking along the Pororari river or cycling up Bullock creek road to visit a cave resurgence. Leaving mid-morning we’ll travel inland through the majestic Buller gorge and onto the famous Abel Tasman National Park. Situated in one of the sunniest areas of the country and home to heaps of beautiful secluded bays and stunning golden sand beaches. We look forward to spending 2 nights at our perfectly located camp, close to the park entrance which makes it the ideal place to explore all corners of the stunning Abel Tasman. 

     

     

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Coastal ride to camp and Kaiteriteri bike park, Great Taste Trail
    • Walks and Hikes: Truman track
    • Optional Activities: Skydiving
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: approx. 5 hours
  6. Take time today to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand - there are excellent options for everyone here. You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal-clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chances for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) and for those seeking a thrill, join the one in a lifetime canyoning experience!

     

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park
    • Walks and Hikes: Exploring the Abel Tasman National Park
    • Optional Activities: Kayaking, canyoning, sailing, water taxi / walk
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: No driving today
  7. Today is the final day of your tour. First, we head to sunny Nelson, one of the sunniest areas of NZ and home to more than 350 working artists and craftspeople creating traditional, contemporary and Maori arts. Relax and enjoy the sunshine and café culture before we depart for wine country – Marlborough, home to some of the World’s best known grapes and where we’ll treat you to a free tasting in one of their best vineyards before your tour finishes in Picton.

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: 14-16km off road and road cycling
    • Walks and Hikes: Walk to the geographical centre of New Zealand
    • Available Upgrades: n/a
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours

TOUR PRICES:

Tour price 

$2195

Single tent upgrade

 $110

Bike hire

$200

Bring your own bike

$100

Sleeping bag hire

$75

 

2023/24 DEPARTURES

MONTH

DEPARTURE DATE

JANUARY 2024

30TH - FULLY BOOKED

FEBRUARY 2024

15TH

MARCH 2024

2ND, 18TH

APRIL 2024

19TH

 

 

2024/25 TOUR PRICES

TOUR PRICE FROM OCTOBER 2024 $2415
BIKE HIRE $220
SINGLE TENT UPGRADE $115
SLEEPING BAG HIRE $80

 

2024/25 DEPARTURES

MONTH DEPARTURE DATE
NOVEMBER 1ST, 15TH, 29TH
DECEMBER 13TH
JANUARY 31ST
FEBRUARY 14TH, 28TH
MARCH 14TH, 28TH
APRIL 11TH

 

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Trip Reviews

  • Had the most amazing time it was a great way to see New Zealand. Thank you!

    , travelled Wild West South Island Tour on 15/11/2019

  • Really nice experience, travel with other people and sharing moments together.

    , travelled Wild West South Island Tour on 29/11/2019

  • Keep doing what you are doing, it is a fantastic experience delivered by people passionate about their country.

    , travelled Wild West South Island Tour on 01/03/2019

  • Honestly the best thing I have ever done, thank you so much. Genna and Charlene have been amazing and know so much, always happy to help. I've loved learning about the NZ culture and am very jealous of you all!

    , travelled Wild West South Island Tour on 01/03/2019

  • It was an unforgettable experience for me! I met many cool and friendly people. The tour was well organised and the staff were so friendly and helpful.

    , travelled Wild West South Island Tour on 01/02/2019

MORE REVIEWS