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Wild West South Island Tour

Wild West South Island Tour

  • Queenstown
  • Picton
  • 6 days
  • 4.8 / 5.0 (73 reviews)
  • from NZD$2,415.00

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:

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.

On this South Island adventure tour, 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 heart's content. 


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!


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 10 minutes 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.


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.

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

  1. This is our final morning in Queenstown and your last chance to indulge in one more walk or bike ride before we wave farewell to those finishing their tour and welcome new travellers joining us here. Leaving at 10:00am, after the thrills and spills of Queenstown we’ll travel past mountains and on 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 Hawea is just over the next ridge and it’s on the edge of this glacial lake that we find our next wilderness camp at Lake Hawea where we can enjoy great views of the lake and the mountains beyond as we absorb the beauty of the area. 



    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Hawea River Track (12 km), Lake Wanaka to Lake Hawea (30km)
    • Walks and Hikes: Multiple walking options
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  2. We’ll enjoy a relaxed morning at our lakeside camp and then we’re continuing north through Mt Aspiring National Park. Before we reach the West Coast, we’ll stop for a walk to the amazing Blue Pools, then head 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 in the iconic Fox Glacier on the wild west coast.



    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Gladstone Track (13kms Return from Lake Hawea Camp), Fox Glacier Cycle Way (12kms Return from Fox Glacier Holiday Park)
    • Walks and Hikes: Blue Pools, Ship Creek
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  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. Next, we’ll 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: Trail to Lake Matheson (4.3kms one way), Bullock Creek trail (15 km)
    • Walks and Hikes: Sunrise Lake Matheson
    • Optional Activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks & blow holes (free)
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  4. 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: Bullock Creek, Coastal ride to camp and Kaiteriteri bike park, Great Taste Trail
    • Walks and Hikes: Truman track
    • Optional Activities: Skydiving
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  5. 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
    • Bike Rides: Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park
    • Walks and Hikes: Abel Tasman National Park track
    • Optional Activities: Kayaking, canyoning, sailing, water taxi / walk
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  6. Today is the final day of your tour. We'll take a trip to 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
    • Available Upgrades: n/a





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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