South Island, New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand

  • Duration: 14 Days
  • Activities: Hike | Bike | Kayak | Boat
  • Activity Level: 2

New Zealand is a natural wonderland. The diverse ecosystems on this small island are a naturalist’s dream and a hiker’s paradise.

Join us as we explore some of New Zealand’s best hiking, kayaking, cruising, and cycling.

After arriving in Christchurch, you’ll be picked up and transferred over New Zealand’s Alps via Arthur’s Pass. Once you arrive on the west coast of the island you’ll visit amazing forest trails, mountain glaciers, and stunning beaches. You’ll also kayak in Okarito Bay amidst many local bird species and scale the tree top towers to overlooks above the canopy.

Working your way south you’ll have a chance to stay in the adventure capitol of New Zealand: Queenstown. The optional excursions in the lively, mountain-set city are endless.

A major highlight on this tour is the overnight cruise in the Milford Sound. You’ll spend the night on the cruise ship after you’ve had a chance to sail to the Tasman Sea and back, spotting dolphins along the way.

After leaving the Milford Sound you’ll head towards Lake Te Anau. In this famous area you’ll combine two great activities: a cruise across the lake and a visit to the awe-producing Glowworm Caves. These magical creatures light up the darkness with their bio-phosphorescence.

Now it’s time to head north, towards Dunedin and on to the Otago Peninsula. You’ll have two great experiences here. The first is Penguin Place, a private nature preserve for the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. The second experience is a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre, where these massive birds nest and congregate along the steep, east coast cliffs.

And now to Mt. Cook. The tallest mountain in New Zealand, and the most impressive, Mt. Cook, also known as Aoraki, stands impressively high, covered in snow, ice, and countless glaciers. You’ll have a chance to hike in the valleys below in full view of the New Zealand giant.

After all our adventures in the New Zealand backcountry, it’s time to say goodbye. We head back to Christchurch and depart for home.


  • Milford Sound Overnight Cruise
  • Te Anau Glowworm Caves
  • Kayaking in Okarito Bay
  • Cycling a section of the great Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail
  • Tree-top Adventure in Canopy of Forest
  • Arthur’s Pass National Park
  • Paparoa National Park
  • Mt. Aspiring Natinoal Park
  • Fjordlands National Park
  • Aoraki – Mt. Cook National Park
  • Choice selections of New Zealand’s  Great Walks
    • Routeburn Track
    • Kepler Track
    • Milford Sound Track
    • Truman Track
  • Dunedin
  • Otago Peninsula
    • Penguin Place Nature Reserve
    • The Royal Albatross Centre Nature Reserve
  • Moreraki Boulders
  • Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
  • Milford Sound
  • Queenstown
  • Franz Josef Glacier
  • Fox Glacier

South Island, New Zealand


  • January-February, 2022


  • Tour Pricing: $5,895
  • Single Supplement: $1,395


South Island, New Zealand


  • All accommodations
  • Scheduled meals (all except one day in Queenstown)
  • Transportation throughout tour
  • Glowworm Cave Entrance Fee
  • Treetop Walk Entrance Fee
  • Milford Sound Cruise
  • Penguin Place Entrance Fee
  • The Royal Albatross Centre Entrance Fee
  • Airport Transfers
  • Scheduled excusions: Kayaking & Cycling
  • Personal guide


  • International airfare
  • Entrance fees to museums and other attractions not listed in ‘Inclusions’
  • Personal items: Laundry, shopping, etc.
  • Traveler’s insurance
  • Optional Excursions are available: New Zealand Optional Excursions

South Island, New Zealand


After a morning arrival at the international airport in Christchurch, you’ll be picked up by a Volant representative and transferred directly into New Zealand’s famous mountain range: The Southern Alps. You’ll cross the formidable geologic barrier via Arthur’s Pass (739 m (2,425 ft) (2h). You’ll begin your incredible exploration of New Zealand’s South Island with a refreshing mountain hike in Arthur’s Pass National Park. Transfer to Greymouth for the evening (1h 30m).

Activities: Hike (easy; 2h)
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Greymouth, West Coast

Arthur's Pass National Park, New Zealand | Volant Travel


This morning we’ll take a drive north along the West Coast (40m). Our destination is Paparoa National Park. Within the National Park there are several beautiful hiking trails. We’ll hike the Truman Track & the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk. Both trails are easy and fun.

After our day of hiking in Paparoa National Park on the West Coast, we’ll head back to Greymouth for dinner and relaxation (40m).

Activities: Hike (easy; 4h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Greymouth


This morning we’ll head south. Traveling along the West Coast, we’ll have the expansive Tasman Sea on our right, and the snowcapped, glaciated peaks of the Southern Alps on our left. Transfer from Greymouth to Hokitika (45m)

Our first adventure of the day begins in the top of the forest. The West Coast Treetop Walk Experience is a 20-m.-high canopy walkway over mature rimu trees, plus a spiral viewing tower, cafe & souvenir shop.

After lunch, we'll transfer to Franz Josef (1h 30m). Before arriving at our hotel, we’ll make a short stop at the Franz Josef Glacier valley. We’ll take a short hike up the Wait River to the base of Franz Josef Glacier, taking in the magnitude of the surrounding landscape.

Activities: Walk | Hike (easy; 4h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Franz Josef

West Coast Treetop Walk, New Zealand


This morning we’ll start off by driving to the coastline at Okarito bay to go Kayaking among many wild bird species.

The afternoon is free to use as you wish. You may want to sign up for an optional excursion or simply go for a hike around the small town of Franz Josef. Optional Excursions & Hikes

  • Tatare Tunnels Walk
  • Terrace Walk
  • Free Glow Worms Museum

Activities: Walk | Hike (easy; 4h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Franz Josef

Franz Josef Glacier, South Island, New Zealand


If you came to New Zealand to hike and to get into nature, today is the day to do it. We have several short hikes planned as we wind our way through Mount Aspiring National Park.

First we’ll start off with a hike up the valley to the terminal moraine of the Fox Glacier, following the Fox River. It’s startling to notice how much the glacier has receded, yet the surrounding mountains dominate the landscape, moving your mind to majestic places.

As we transfer from Fox Glacier to Lake Wanaka (3h 30m), we’ll stop along the way at various viewpoints and side hikes. One in particular is the Blue Pools hike. We'll take our time to enjoy an easy hike through the thick forest.

Evening in Lake Wanaka.

Activities: Walk | Hike (easy; 4h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Lake Wanaka

Blue Pools, Mt. Aspiring National Park, New Zealand | Volant Travel


We'll start off the day with a short hike up to the top of a small overlook called Mount Iron. From the top you can see all of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding Alps.

After our hike, we’ll visit a quaint lavender farm, equipped with animals and beautiful gardens. It's a perfect place to pick up a local souvenir.

After lunch we’ll transfer to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand (1h 15m).

Activities: Hike (easy; 2h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Queenstown

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand


Today is a free day for you to explore all that Queenstown has to offer. Feel free to hit that trails hard or simply relax and enjoy a day of rest and peace.

Queenstown is a mecca for the adventurous. There are many outlets for adrenaline seekers: bungee jumping, water skiing, rafting, boating, paragliding, jet boating, horse backing riding, helicopter ride, Skyline Luge, etc.

If you would like help signing up for any of the optional excursions a Volant representative can easily do that for you. Just let us know which activity you would like to join and we'll take care of the rest.

For the less adrenaline inclined, the Queenstown Gondola offers a more gentle experience, and the view from the top is hard to beat. It also ends at a restaurant. Enjoy a dinner with a view. You could also visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park, take a quiet hike on the Tiki Trail, or simply go shopping downtown.

Lunch and dinner are on your own. Feel free to choose one of the many fine dining options in Queenstown.

Activities: It’s up to you to choose how active you want to be today.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: Queenstown

Skyline Viewpoint, Queenstown, New Zealand | Volant Travel


An early departure (7am) and transfer (3h 30m) set us up for a great hike on one of New Zealand’s most famous tracks: the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s top 10 Great Walks..

The Routeburn Track is a moderate to difficult trail, our hardest of the entire trip. With that said, we’ll take it slow and easy. There’s no need to worry or get over anxious. We’ll take breaks and enjoy the spectacular scenery.

After our hike on the Routeburn Track, we’ll transfer to Milford Sound (45m) in order to board our overnight cruise.

Remember, all you need to take with you on the ship is an overnight bag. Luggage space is limited so don’t break the kitchen sink. A change of clothes, hiking clothes and rain gear, and toiletries will do.

Once we’ve boarded the ship we’ll set out towards the Tasman Sea. Along the way we’re likely to see various species of dolphins, fur seals, birds, and maybe even whales. We’ll also see massive mountains and accompanying waterfalls.

Depending on timing and weather conditions, we’ll have a chance to walk on the famous Milford Track (either tonight or tomorrow morning), one of New Zealand’s top 10 Great Walks.

As the night comes, settle in and enjoy dinner on board our ship.

Activities: Hike | Cruise (moderate-difficult; 4.2 miles; 1,246 ft elevation gain; 3-4h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Overnight on board our small cruise ship.

Milford Sound, Cruise Ship, New Zealand


Depending on last night’s activities, we’ll have a chance to walk on the Milford Track this morning. Enjoy the forested walkways and pure wildness.

Once we’re back on land we’ll transfer to Te Anau (2h). We’ll head straight for the easy walkway in the unique and fragile wetland of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s top 10 Great Walks.

We’ll spend a relaxing night in Te Anau, preparing ourselves mentally for the glowworm caves tomorrow!

Activities: Walk | Hike (easy; 6 miles; 150 ft elevation gain; 3-4h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Te Anau

Kepler Track, New Zealand


One of the most unique and mind-blowing experiences New Zealand has to offer is the Glowworm Caves of Te Anau. They are mesmerizing.

This unique experience gets kicked off by boarding a ferry and crossing Lake Te Anau. The caves are easily accessible and made for all to enjoy.

Once we’re back to Te Anau we’ll transfer to Dunedin (3h 30m). We’ll spend the night in Dunedin.

Activities: Walk | Cave | Ferry
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Dunedin

Waitomo Glowworm Caves


Another absolutely amazing and unique experience New Zealand offers is the chance to get up and close to endangered penguins without disturbing them in any way.

This all happens on the Otago Peninsula (45m-1h) at Penguin’s Place, a privately owned and operated nature reserve that aims to protect and help bread the endangered yellow-eyed penguin.

We’ll have the chance to walk in specializes covered trenches to hidden animal-viewing blinds. From these nested niches we’ll get a once in a lifetime view of these spectacular little creatures.

Another great, natural experience on the Otago Peninsula is visiting the Royal Albatross Centre. On this perch, high up on a cliffside, you’ll be able to see a massive colony of wild albatross. Depending on the season, they’ll be nesting at this site. Truly a sight to behold.

After we’ve taken in as much nature as we can for the day we’ll drive back to Dunedin for the night.

Activities: Walk | Hike (easy; 3h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Dunedin

Albatross Nesting, The Royal Albatross Centre, New Zealand


An early departure from Dunedin (7am) will get us to another remarkable New Zealand site: the Moeraki Boulders on Koekoche Beach.

Local legends told by the Mori explain these boulders to be the remains of eel baskets that were washed ashore after a large sailing canoe wreck on the rocky shoals offshore. The reticulated patterning on the boulders are said to be the remains of the canoe’s fishing nets.

We’ll next transfer to Pukaki (2h 20m), a very small town near Mount Cook. You’ll have the chance to ride a bike on the famous Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail.

Transfer to Lake Tekapo for the evening (35m).

If you are interested in astronomy, tonight would be the night for your to join an optional excursion: Mt John, Night Tour, Dark Sky Stargazing. Please let a Volant representative know if you are interested in joining this night viewing excursion. We’ll make all the arrangements for you.

Evening at Lake Tekapo.

Activities: Walk | Bike (easy-moderate; 4h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Lake Tekapo

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand


Today we travel to the base of Mount Cook itself, the final treasure of our incredible New Zealand adventure (1h 15m).

After arriving at Mount Cook National Park, we’ll take a hike on yet another Great Walk of New Zealand’s top 10 list: the Hooker Valley Track.

Winding our way up this relatively flat valley on a nice, groomed trail, we’ll have front row seat access to the best views of Mount Cook (3,724m | 12,218 ft). Take in all of its glory: the ice, the rock, the sheer height and scale of it. It is no wonder that this very mountain impassioned and prepared the first man to climb Mount Everest: Sir Edmund Hillary.

After we’ve taken in enough of the tallest mountain in all of the Southern Alps, we’ll head back to Lake Tekapo for the evening, where we’ll enjoy our final, celebratory dinner (1h 15m).

Activities: Walk | Hike (easy; 4h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Lake Tekapo

Hooker Valley Track, Mt. Aoraki National Park, New Zealand


Today is a day to drive back to our starting point and to reflect on the epic adventure we just completed.

Transfer to Christchurch (3h).

Your Volant guide will ensure timely arrivals to the Christchurch International Airport (CHC) where you will depart home.

Thank you for choosing Volant and travel home safe!

Activities: Walk | Hike (easy; 2h)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

South Island, New Zealnd Tour Map | Volant Travel

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Optional Excursions

The South Island of New Zealand is full of opportunities for adventurous activities.

In order to help you personalize your trip, we provide you with a few chances during this trip to choose your own optional excursions.

Examples include:

Title Address Description
Arthur's Pass National Park
Arthur's Pass 7875, New Zealand

Arthur's Pass National Park, New Zealand | Volant Travel

Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch, New Regent Street | Volant Travel

Whataroa River
Whataroa River, West Coast 7886, New Zealand

Whataroa River, New Zealand | Volant Travel

Franz Joseph Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier 7886, New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier, South Island, New Zealand

Mount Cook | Aoraki National Park
Mt Cook, Canterbury 7999, New Zealand

Aoraki, Mount Cook, New Zealand, South Island

Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand | Volant Travel

Mount Cook | Aoraki National Park
Mt Cook, Canterbury 7999, New Zealand

Aoraki, Mount Cook, New Zealand, South Island

Blue Pools, Haast Pass
Blue Pools Walk Haast Pass-Makarora Rd, Mt Aspiring National Park 9382, New Zealand

Blue Pools, Mt. Aspiring National Park, New Zealand | Volant Travel

Haast 7886, New Zealand

Haast, New Zealand | Volant Travel

Moeraki Boulders
Moeraki Boulders Rd, Hampden 9482, New Zealand

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand | Volant Travel

Milford Sound
Milford Sound, New Zealand

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand | Volant Travel

The Royal Albatross Centre
Royal Albatross Centre 1260 Harington Point Rd, Dunedin 9077, New Zealand

Albatross Nesting, The Royal Albatross Centre, New Zealand

Penguin Place
Penguin Place 45 Pakihau Rd, Portobello, Harington Point 9077, New Zealand

Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand | Volant Travel

22 Anzac Ave, Dunedin, 9016, New Zealand

Dunedin Railway Station - Taieri Gorge Railway and the Seasider | Volant Travel

Te Anau Glowworm Cave
Te Anau, New Zealand

 Te Anau Glowworm Cave, New Zealand

Mirror Lakes
6334 Te Anau-Milford Hwy, Fiordland National Park 9679, New Zealand

Milford Sound, Mirror Lakes, New Zealand | Volant Travel

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