New Zealand South Island Discovery
While New Zealand’s North Island is known for its spectacular coastline, the South Island is gifted with gorgeous coast, rugged mountains, pristine glacier-carved landscapes and renowned wine. We’re not going to pick which one is better, but – you get the idea. Beginning and ending in Queenstown, this ten-day adventure takes you to the charming, gold rush town of Arrowtown, the rugged Catlins coastline, across the Foveaux Strait to unspoiled Stewart Island and to the breathtaking Fiordland National Park. With the perfect balance of organised activities and free time, this comfort style trip is the best way to explore the many treasures of New Zealand’s south.
Ages: 8 - 99
Accommodation: Hotel (9 nights)
Welcome to the South Island! Make your own way to the hotel, where the adventure kicks off with a 6 pm welcome meeting where you'll meet your tour guide and travel group. If you arrive early, make sure to get out and explore the 'Adventure Capital of the World'. The aptly-named Remarkables mountain ranges and Lake Wakatipu not only serve as spectacular props to get your adrenaline fix, they’re simply beautiful to look. The town is also a great base for exploring the Central Otago’s excellent vineyards and historic mining towns. You’ll have plenty of time to get active in Queenstown when you return at the end of the trip, so perhaps use free time to admire the stunning surrounds and explore the cosmopolitan town.
After breakfast, take a short drive to the well-preserved, gold mining town of Arrowtown. This charming town has retained much of its rich heritage and historic buildings. Get a sense of what it was like during the gold rush days as you stretch your legs on a guided walk. There’s time to browse some of the art galleries and museums, then it’s on to Wanaka. Head to the iconic Cardrona Hotel – one of the country’s oldest and most photographed hotels – for a bite to eat in its award-winning restaurant (not included). Meet some proper southern locals and make sure to grab a photo in front of the tavern’s historic facade, then enjoy a free afternoon to explore this quaint, lakeside township at your own pace. Later on, meet up with your group for an included traditional farm dinner and a night of glamping.
This morning you’ll head to a stunning location to learn about Maori culture. The destination: the shores of Lake Wanaka. With rugged mountains looming behind it, and the curved branches of a much-photographed tree emerged from the lake’s waters, there’s no better place to be treated to the Hongi greeting, Haka performance (traditional Maori war cry and dance) and hear traditional Maori tales. Afterwards, continue through Central Otago to the island’s south-east coast. Often overlooked by travellers, the university town of Dunedin is bound to surprise. With its thriving food scene, quirky street art, beautiful heritage buildings, live music venues and coastal walking trails, Dunedin just might be New Zealand’s coolest little city. Its dramatic landscapes are also home to colonies of albatross, sea lions and rare yellow-eyed penguins. See Royal Albatross at sunset on an optional tour. Otherwise, enjoy free time for the rest of the day.
After breakfast, hop in your transport and continue down the coast to discover the thick forests, rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls of The Caitlins. Explore the Cathedral Caves, which owe its name to its immense size (it measures up to 30 metres high and 200 metres long). After lunch (not included), witness sea lions sunbathing on the golden beaches while strolling the sands with your leader.
Take a ferry across the Foveaux Strait to New Zealand’s third largest island, Stewart Island. It takes about one hour to travel the 30-km strait. A haven for birdwatchers, Stewart Island’s unspoiled forests, beaches and bays are home to a variety of bird species including endangered brown kiwi, flightless Stewart Island kiwi and nearly extinct kakapo parrots. It’s also a great spot for hiking, with walks for all levels of fitness available. Explore the incredible surrounds on your own or choose to take part in an organised tour where a nature guide will lead you across the peninsula, providing information about the flora and fauna as you go (optional). For a quintessential Kiwi experience, tuck into some fish and chips on the beach before you get exploring.
Head to the lovely lakeside town of Te Anau – gateway to Fiordland National Park. Watch the tranquil landscapes pass by, catch up on some sleep or watch a film that provides eye-opening insight into Fiordland National Park called Ata Whenua as you make the five-hour drive. Tonight, don’t miss the chance to head underground by boat and see thousands of glow worms illuminate underground caves to spectacular effect.
Today you’ll set off on an unforgettable cruise to Doubtful Sound, the second largest fiord in the national park. Sail along Lake Manapouri, looking out for dolphins and seals at play, as you make your way past hundreds of plunging waterfalls, rugged peaks, lush rainforest and twisting inlets. Lunch will be a picnic onboard the boat. Return to Te Anau in time for dinner (not included).
After breakfast, make the leisurely journey back to Queenstown today. Stop along the way for a wine and cave tour at a winery in the Gibbston Valley, also known as the ‘Valley of Vines’. The majority of the grapes grown in this region are pinot noir, though other varieties include chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and sauvignon blanc. Upon arrival in Queenstown, the rest of your day is free to spend how you please.
Enjoy a free day in Queenstown to see the sights you missed at the start of the trip or to get your adrenaline fix in the 'Adventure Capital of the World'. Your leader can help to organise a range of optional activities on offer. Otherwise, the day is yours to spend how you please before reconvening with the group in the evening for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Your South Island Discovery comes to an end today after breakfast. There are no activities planned today.
- Wine tasting at Gibbston Winery and Cheesery plus cave tour
Holiday Inn Queenstown
594 Frankton Rd
Holiday Inn Queenstown
594 Frankton Rd
This trip starts in Queenstown on Day 1. You can arrive any time and check into your hotel.
Trip finished in Queenstown after breakfast. Onward travel can be booked at any time.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. In New Zealand your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish in a coaster vehicle. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Our crew are chosen for their driving skills, their knowledge of the country, their personality, and of course their leadership abilities. 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.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Wireless (wi-fi) is common across accommodation in New Zealand. Some properties may charge a fee for use.
Cafe's and pubs across NZ may have wi-fi for a fee, with those in more tourist area's offering it for free. Shopping centre's, airports and other public spaces offer limited free wi-fi access.
If you are spending longer in New Zealand, it might be a good idea to purchase a local SIM card for data and your mobile device.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
Some passport holders are required to request a NZeTA ((New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) prior to traveling to New Zealand. It's important you check the requirements prior to travel. For the most up to date information on this and all visa requirements, we recommend you contact the New Zealand embassy in your country or visit http://www.immigration.govt.nz
Why we love it
Trek through the Catlins, a breathtaking land full of waterfalls, titanic caves, illustrious nature walks and remains of a petrified wood forest.
Visit the well-preserved gold rush town of Arrowtown and sample renowned local drops in Gibbston Valley.
A cruise along Lake Manapouri to Doubtful Sound – the second largest fiord in Fiordland National Park – will leave you speechless. Sail past hundred of plunging waterfalls, rugged peaks, lush rainforest and twisting inlets and dolphins and fur seals play.
Head to stunning Lake Wanaka and be treated to the Hongi greeting, Haka performance (traditional Maori war cry and dance) and hear traditional Maori tales.
Enjoy plenty of opportunity to get your adrenaline fix in Queenstown, the 'Adventure Capital of the World'.
Is this trip right for you
10 Days in the beautiful Southern region of NZ, visit places others won't have the opportunity to
Semi-active, a good level of fitness is required for this trip.
Our trips require a level of independence and physical endurance. Before embarking on one of our trips, it is important to consider your physical and mental health and your suitability for the trip. It is recommended that you consult with your doctor about your current health and the possible implications of doing the trip. We also ask that you advise us of any mental or physical conditions you have and raise any concerns that you, or your travelling companions, may have with us before you travel.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Food and dietary requirements
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
New Zealand is renowned for its fresh air and clean waters. Fresh food, including dairy (amazing cheese and milk), produce, seafood and meat - especially lamb. From high end restaurants and gastro pubs and cafe's to local restaurants and suburban dairies there is plenty of choice for all budgets. Wine is also done extremely well in NZ and not just sav blanc, but excellent pinot's and cool climate red's.
Vegetarians and Vegans are well catered for in New Zealand and most restaurants and cafe's will have a good selection of vegetarian meals. Gluten and Lactose free diets are also well catered for.
Tap water is safe and delicious in cities and towns. Further out of town its best to check with your guide if in doubt. Please bring a reusable bottle and drink tap water where you can. You'll use less plastic, saving both the environment and money.
New Zealand has strict laws regarding arriving with fruit and veg into the country. Please pay attention to signs when arriving internationally.
Please budget approximately $15 per lunch, and $20 - $40 for each dinner, perhaps a little more if you intend to also enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your meal.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
The currency of New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZD). US$1 = NZ$1.42 (rate current for March 2017). For the latest exchange rate refer to www.oanda.com or check at your local bank or in the newspaper prior to travel.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). This allows you to draw funds from your personal account at a superior exchange rate. Most ATMs will also give you a cash advance on your credit card but be wary of high fees imposed by banks for this service. Bank fees for these withdrawals can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Check with your bank for information on their international fees. There are ATMs (which accept both Visa and MasterCard) throughout the main stops on our itinerary and these are also accepted by the majority of local service providers. When leaving home don't forget your PIN number and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen.
It is a smart idea to take some of your money in travellers' cheques of a major brand in a major currency ($US, GBP, $AUD and EURO are all fine). Travellers' cheques have security advantages although please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change travellers' cheques in remote locations, on weekends and public holidays.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes). Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are also convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:
CLOTHING & CLIMATE: New Zealand has relaxed attitudes to standards of dress however there are a few practical considerations. New Zealand has a temperate climate but be prepared for colder temperatures even in summer months. The sunshine in New Zealand is harsh and a sunhat and sunglasses are a must.
LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS: Pack only your bare essentials. Due to limited space and strict road laws limiting gross weight of vehicles, you are required to limit your luggage to one reasonable sized suitcase or backpack (maximum weight limit of 20kg) and a small airways bag/day pack, which can be carried inside the coach. We cannot guarantee to carry overweight or oversized luggage.
WATER BOTTLE Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation or simply refill with tap water (your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination). When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
Climate and seasonal
Our routes have been carefully chosen to include the best night stops and highlights. However, as road conditions, weather, local restrictions and group input may vary, no two trips will ever be the same. With the help of your tour leader and fellow travellers you may modify certain nightstops and highlights to give a truly unique experience!
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency only, Haka Tours can be reached on Tel: +64 9 520 5593 For further contact details please use the following page:
Intrepid’s Local Operator: +64 9 520 5593
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
Accommodation is on a twin share basis, and single travellers are paired with someone of the same sex. On rare occasions there may be triple rooms. Single supplement room upgrades can be requested at the time of booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Australians travelling to New Zealand are eligible for publicly funded health care whilst in New Zealand. This medical care generally covers emergency treatment and is free.
Please note that Intrepid travellers still require comprehensive travel insurance to cover against emergency repatriation, personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Hotel (9 nights)