New Zealand - Active South Island
About New Zealand
New Zealand is the perfect place for adrenaline and activity, and there’s nowhere in the country more suited to that than the South Island. On this two week trip, cover the ground (or water) by sea kayak, boat, bike, and on foot. Explore Abel Tasman National Park, glide along the waters of Milford Sound, and take two-wheels through the Rail Trail in Central Otago. If you’re not out of breath just from reading all that, then it’s time to start packing.
Ferry crossing to South Island. Water taxi to Abel Tasman. Sea kayak in Abel Tasman. Trek in Paparoa National Park. Cruise on Milford Sound. Cycling the Rail Trail. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Kayak in the waters of Abel Tasman National Park, trek through the wilds of the South Island’s national parks, try exhilarating adventures in Queenstown, cross the spectacular Southern Alps, cruise on Milford Sound. cycle along the remote rail trail in Central Otago.
1) This tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour after your trip concludes.
2) Please be aware that wifi and internet access is not as readily available in New Zealand as in other parts of the world. There are often additional charges to connect to the internet, and speeds may be slower than what you are used to.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver – this person is experienced in the routes travelled and will organize and lead the meal preparations and has experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.
As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.
We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Included breakfasts will be continental style, consisting of coffee or tea, juice, a selection of breads with spreads and a variety of cereals.
Ferry, water taxi, kayak, private bus, walk, bike, boat
About our Transportation
Our vans are mini-coaches. Occasionally with smaller group sizes we will use smaller, equally comfortable 13-seater vehicles. All mini-coaches tow a trailer for luggage and camping equipment (when needed). All groups have one CEO/Driver.
The vehicles are factory built with comfortable seats and air-conditioning. It is mandatory to wear a seatbelt while riding in our vehicles.
Hostels (11nts), hotels (2 nts), floating hostel (1 nt).
My Own Room
Not available on this tour
Multi-share accommodation (typically 4-6 people per room) is very common in New Zealand and is the way you will be spending most of your nights. We have specifically chosen unique accommodations to give local flavour to your trip.
Accommodation will be varied throughout your adventure. Towels and soap are not always provided at overnight stops, so it’s best to bring your own for bathing. Bathroom and showering facilities are shared and are very rarely en-suite.
Downtown Backpackers – Waterloo Hotel
1 Bunny Street
+64 4 473 8482
By Taxi: $70-80, approximately 30 minutes.
By Shuttle Bus: $33 for 1 person, $8 per additional. The “Super Shuttle” is a 24-hour service that takes approximately 1 hour. The shuttle waits outside of the terminal and provides door-to-door service.
By Air Bus: $16 per person. Leaves from outside the airport terminal every 10-15 minutes and takes approximately 1 hour.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our local office in Melbourne. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so we may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Melbourne)
During office hours, 9am-5pm Local Time
From outside Australia: +61 3 9413 5820
From within Australia: 03 9413 5820
After Hours Emergency Number (Australia) From outside Australia: +61 432 705 621
From within Australia: 0432 705 621
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local operations manager, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We recommend the use of a well-labeled duffel bag, soft bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). Suitcases or heavy luggage are not recommended for the health of the CEO! A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential as you will have the chance to walk and hike in different national parks during these trips. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle.
For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days spent hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet.
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
•Light fleece top
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Personal clothing for mild to hot weather (check weather forecast for time of year you’ll be visiting)
•Sturdy walking shoes
•Watch or alarm clock
•Flashlight or headlamp
•Camera, memory card(s) and charger
•Electricity plug adapter
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine,
Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect
repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
Optional Items: reading/writing material, maps, guidebooks, iPod, iReader, earplugs
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements as some nationalities need to show proof of an onward travel from New Zealand at the time entry.
The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD).
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in New Zealand and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of local currency (preferably smaller bills, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s), traveller’s cheques and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is easy to find in New Zealand in the gateway cities and most banks do accommodate.
Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
It is not customary in New Zealand or Australia to tip service providers, but if you do experience outstanding service it is good to do so. Such service would only usually be in places like quality restaurants and it would be very rare that you would tip more than 10%. Unless specifically asked to do so at the time (by your CEO) – do not tip your local guides. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, you may consider a small tip – but it certainly isn’t expected.
OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES ON TOUR
All prices are per person, in NZD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators. Please note there may be weight restrictions on certain activities (eg skydiving 100 – 110 kg).
Ice Explorer Guided Hike (Heli transfer) $299
Heli Hike $399
Horseback Riding $60-90
Jet Boat $90
Bungy Jumping $180-$260
Swing $180 ($160 pp Tandem)
Jet Boat $129
Sky Diving 9,000ft $299, 12,000ft $339, 15,000ft $439
Mountain Biking (Skippers Guided Tour) $129
Lord of the Rings Horse Riding Tour $195
Vineyard Cycle Tour $155
Whale Watch $145
Dolphin Swimming $170
Seal Swim $80-$110
Half day bike hire $30
Fiordland Cinema “Ata Whenua” (screens several times daily, 32 min, $10)
Portion of Kelper Track (return via water taxi) $25
Jet Boat ride ($99, 1hr ride)
Please note: Usually there is time for one activity in each location (except Queenstown where there are two free days for activities).
Safety and Security
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Allow USD320-420 for meals not included.
14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
PRODUCT_LINE: ONSA, ID: 23311
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Wellington
Arrive at any time.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Wellington/Abel Tasman National Park (1B, 1D)
Travel by ferry to the South Island and then transfer by water taxi into Abel Tasman National Park.
Day 3 Abel Tasman National Park/Marahau (1B, 1L)
Set off from the beach and kayak along the Abel Tasman coastline towards Marahau.
Kayaking to Marahau
Day 4 Marahau/Paparoa National Park (1B, 1D)
Transfer to Paparoa National Park, and enjoy a trek in the park.
Should you prefer, there is the option to kayak in the National Park.
Paparoa National Park Trek
Pancake Rocks Trek
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 5 Paparoa National Park/Franz Josef (1B)
Continue south along the coast towards Franz Josef, stopping for an invigorating walk at the wildlife mecca of Okarito Lagoon. Spend 2 nights staying amongst verdant temperate rainforest.
Okarito Lagoon Walk
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 220km)
Day 6 Franz Josef (1B)
A free day for optional activities. Options include various hikes, horseback riding, quad biking as well as the unique and stunning Franz Josef Glacier.
Day 7 Franz Josef/Makarora (1B, 1D)
Travel through Te Wahi Pounamu World Heritage Area to Makarora, where you can spend the afternoon exploring the area by foot, or opt for a jet boat excursion or scenic flight.
Te Wahipounamu Visit
Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours, 225km)
Day 8 Makarora/Queenstown (1B)
Free day to maximize time for all the optional activities in the area. Opt for a jet boat outing, bungee jumping, mountain biking, sky diving, or a vineyard tour. The options in this adventure capital are endless. Two nights are at a centrally-located hostel, which means you can make the most of your time here.
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 130km)
Day 9 Queenstown (1B)
Free day to enjoy the city.
Day 10 Queenstown/Milford Sound (1B)
Continue to the fjords of the South Island. Enjoy the stunning scenery of Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound from the deck of a boat.
Milford Sound Cruise
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 11 Milford Sound/Te Anau (1B)
Continue onto Te Anau with a free day to explore the area surrounding Lake Te Anau, including the start of the Kepler Track.
Optional activities including hiking, biking, exploring the Te Anau glowworm caves or taking in a screening of the award-winning ‘Ata Whenua’ – ‘Fjordland Film’ documentary at the local cinema.
Explore Lake Te Anau
Day 12 Te Anau/Central Otago District (1B)
Cycle the Rail Trail, a route created specially for mountain biking. Pass through scenery unspoiled by traffic and not visible from any roads.
Otago Rail Trail Cycling
Day 13 Central Otago District/Christchurch (1B)
Drive through breathtaking central Otago via the Lindis Pass and Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Arrive in Christchurch for the evening.
Private Vehicle (7.00-8.00 hours, 500km)
Day 14 Christchurch/Kaikoura (1B)
Early start to drive the scenic coastal road up to Kaikoua.
A free afternoon can also be spent swimming with dolphins, visiting a colony of southern fur seals, or taking a scenic flight over the peninsula. Bird watchers will be pleased to know that big ocean birds such as albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters frequent the area.
Hikers can opt to go on several day hikes in the Seaward Kaikoura mountains.
Drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 180km)
Day 15 Kaikoura/Wellington (1B)
Transfer to Picton and visit a seal colony along the way before taking the ferry back to Wellington where the tour ends upon arrival.
Seal Colony Visit
Departure Day (Activities)
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours, 156km)
Ferry (3.00-3.50 hours)