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Hop On Hop Off bus passes for travel in January and February 2023 are now SOLD OUT

2 2 2 Wellington Christchurch

Small Group Tour

Small Group Tour

11 Day South Island Tour

Start: Wellington
Finish: Christchurch

Whats included:

  • 11 nights high-end hostel accommodation (includes 1 night before the tour starts)
  • 11 tasty breakfasts (vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options on request)
  • Dark Sky Project tour; gaze at the stars in the largest dark sky reserve in the world
  • Inter-island ferry ticket; one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world
  • Wine tasting in the world-renowned Marlborough region
  • Christchurch City street art tour
  • Return shuttle to Roys Peak; one of the most popular day hikes in New Zealand and guarantees breathtaking views over Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring, and surrounded mountains.
  • Glenorchy and Lake Wakatipu day tour
  • Greenstone carving experience; carve your very own piece of pounamu jewellery; a highly valued greenstone in New Zealand which plays an important role in Māori culture.
  • Various scenic hikes (all included and optional); Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway, Mt John walkway in Lake Tekapo, Hooker Valley in Mt Cook National Park, Roys Peak, and Franz Josef glacier valley walk.

Turquoise lakes, majestic glaciers, dramatic mountain peaks and the picture-perfect towns of QueenstownWanaka and Franz Josef. With accommodation and some activities included (see below), our all-inclusive tours are hassle-free, authentic experiences for those short on time. This 11 day South Island tour is the ultimate South Island roadie visiting Kaikoura, ChristchurchTekapo, Mt Cook and back across to Christchurch via the famous Arthur’s Pass.

This tour departs at 7:30am from Nomads Backpackers Wellington (118/120 Wakefield Street, Te Aro, Wellington), where your accommodation has been booked for the night before departure. Breakfast starts from 6:45am at the hostel before departure. The tour will finish in Christchurch at approximately 5pm. 

Read more on our Booking Guarantee here 

Tour Dates - 2022

  • 14 - 24 October         Book here - Sold out
  • 22 Oct - 1 Nov           Book here - Sold out
  • 4 - 14 November        Book here - Sold out
  • 16 - 26 November      Book here - Sold out
  • 26 Nov - 6 Dec          Book here - Sold out
  • 9 - 19 December        Book here - Sold out
  • 17 - 27 December      Book here - Sold out

Tour Dates - 2023

  • 14 - 24 January         Book here - Sold out
  • 21 - 31 January         Book here - Sold out
  • 28 Jan - 7 Feb           Book here - Sold out
  • 4 - 14 February          Book here - Sold out
  • 11 - 21 February        Book here - Sold out
  • 18 - 28 February        Book here - Sold out
  • 25 Feb - 7 Mar           Book here - Sold out
  • 4 - 14 March              Book here - Sold out
  • 11 - 21 March             Book here - Sold out
  • 18 - 28 March            Book here - Sold out
  • 25 Mar - 4 Apr            Book here - Sold out
  • 1 - 11 April                  Book here - Sold out
  • 8 - 18 April                  Book here - Sold out

NZ $2199

Day 1Wellington to Kaikoura

Today you’ll kick off by experiencing what’s regarded as one of the most beautiful inter-island crossings in the world, the Cook Straight (included). Arriving into the top of the South Island we’ll journey through the dreamy Marlborough region, home to more vineyards than your eyes can see. Stopping off for a tasting (or two…) along the way (included) to Kaikoura to spot unique marine life and experience local Kiwi cuisine.


  • Dusky Lodge

Experiences & Highlights

  • Inter-Island transport across the Cook Strait; one of the most enjoyable and beautiful ferry journeys in the world (included)
  • Wine tasting in the Marlborough region (included)
  • Visit Kaikoura Seal colony; one of the best wildlife experiences in the country where hundreds of native fur seals call Kaikoura home.

Day 2Kaikoura to Christchurch

Start the day with a sleep-in or for the more adventurous head out to sea to witness spectacular marine life such as dolphins, whales, albatrosses and so much more (extra activity). Around mid-morning, we’ll head up the Kaikoura Peninsula walkway to walk among a large seal colony (included). After a morning experiencing a real-life Planet Earth episode we’ll cruise to the diverse city of Christchurch, where we will go on a walking tour of the city (included) to learn about the street art, see the blooming botanical gardens, and learn about the history of a city that’s experienced so much in recent times.


  • All Stars Inn

Experiences & Highlights

  • Hike the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
  • Enjoy the amazing panaramic views of Kaikoura at the top of the lookout
  • Discover the hidden gems of Christchurch in a city street art trail (included)

Day 3Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Saying goodbye to Christchurch, we’ll hit the road and cruise into the magnificent Mackenzie Country, home to Lake Tekapo. Here we will visit the charming stone Church of the Good Shepherd (included), sat next to the breathtakingly blue waters of the lake framed with colourful lupins. As night falls, we will visit the Dark Sky Project situated among the UNESCO Dark Sky reserve (included).


  • Lakefront Lodge Tekapo

Experiences & Highlights

  • Marvel at the stars at the Dark Sky ProjectLake Tekapo, where science, Māori heritage and fascinating multi-media installations bring together a ‘Big Bang’ of awe and inspiration.
  • Visit the The Church of the Good Shepherd; situated on the shores of Lake Tekapō amongst the natural beauty of the lake and the mountains.
  • Hike up Mount John for a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding mountains, lakes and Mackenzie Basin flats.

Day 4Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook (return)

Cruising past the ‘powerade factory’ Lake Pukaki (you’ll know what we mean when you see it) we head for Mount Cook village where we will enjoy a couple of breathtaking scenic hikes in the National Park (included) which will break your internet and blow your mind. Here you will have the opportunity to experience the Tasman Glacier by helicopter or take a scenic flight through the Mt Cook National Park (Aoraki). 


  • Lakefront Lodge

Experiences & Highlights

  • Spend the day at Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.
  • Hike the Hooker Valley track to Hooker Lake. An awe-inspiring landscape of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana on one of our best day hikes - wind up the Hooker Valley past alpine streams and glaciers in the shadow of Aoraki/Mount Cook.
  • Enjoy a scenic flight over Aoraki National Park (not included).
  • Go skydiving over Aoraki National Park (not included). 

Day 5Lake Tekapo To Queenstown

We drive on through the stunning Lindis Pass and onto Queenstown; known as the adrenaline capital of New Zealand. There is so much to see and do here for everyone, you will not be dissapointed. This evening why not enjoy the nightlife that Queenstown has to offer. 


  • Nomads Queenstown

Experiences & Highlights

Day 6Queenstown

Carrying on the adrenaline-pumping theme, you have a full day to fill with activities that suit all budgets and appetites for adventure. Try your hand at activities such as white water rafting, bungy jumping, skydivingjet-boating or canyon swinging… if you dream it, it probably exists here in Queenstown. Speak to your Driver Guide who will be able to point you in the right direction.


  • Nomads Queenstown

Day 7Queenstown

Today we will head out into the heartlands of Otago to the picturesque town of Glenorchy to experience a scenic landscape brimming with southern charm.


  • Nomads Queenstown

Experiences & Highlights

Day 8Queenstown

Spend the Whole day in Queenstown soaking up the beautiful scenery. Make the most of the adreneline activities such as bungy jumping and skydiving. 


  • Nomads Queenstown

Experiences & Highlights

  • Soack up the sights of Queenstown
  • Experience the adrenaline activities such as bungy jumping and skydiving. 

Day 9Queenstown to Franz Josef

We start out early in order to stroll round Lake Wanaka and some lunch. We then cruise up the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. We'll then head to Lake Matheson where you can catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps. The onwrads to Franz Josef. 


  • Rainforest Retreat

Experiences & Highlights

  • Lake Wanaka and the famous Wanaka Tree
  • Lake Matheson mirror lake
  • Franz Josef Glacier

Day 10Franz Josef

Incredible Franz Josef sits in the world heritage area, the combination of alpine scenery and west coast rainforest makes for an epic setting for your free day. You can experience a Heli-Hike on the glacier or you can explore this lush corner of New Zealand (for free) on foot; hitting up the many walking trails in the area. Relax afterwards in a Hot Spring with breathtaking views.


  • Rainforest Retreat

Experiences & Highlights

Day 11Franz Josef to Christchurch

Today we travel from coast to coast right over the Southern Alps! We’ll stop for the chance to carve your own greenstone necklaces (pounamu), a unique gift from this special place. Then a journey through the Arthur’s Pass National Park, a landscape of 2 halves. Ascending the western side, we’ll venture through dense rainforest alongside and over deeply gorged rivers, on the eastern side, you'll see wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast swathes of beech forest. Along this road, we will stop off at the Devil’s Punch Bowl and the breath-taking Castle Hill (included).

Experiences & Highlights

  • Scenic hikes across Arthurs Pass
  • Walk the Castle Hill track; wander through majestic limestone rock formations of special significance to Ngāi Tahu.
  • Devils Punchbowl waterfalls. 

What's Included

Optional Extras

Our Small Group Tours offer a fixed itinerary, with a few bucket list items included. There are plenty of additional activities you can add on to your experience as you travel.

What our passengers think

Read More


  • I’m a solo traveller... will I meet other solo travellers?

    Absolutely! The majority of our passengers are travelling solo. Kiwi Experience is a social experience guaranteed to leave with new friends from across the globe.

  • Am I too old/young for Kiwi Experience?

    We welcome the young, and the young at heart aboard our buses, there is no upper limit! There is however a lower limit; you’ll need to be 18 at the time of travel.

  • What visas do I need?

    Luckily, many nationalities are able to visit New Zealand for less than 3 months without a visa. However, if you are not from one of these countries, obtaining your own visa is your own responsibility. We ask that you check out the Immigration New Zealand website before booking your Kiwi Experience trip.

  • Do I need travel insurance?

    While not mandatory, travel insurance is strongly recommended and should be taken out when travelling with us. As well as making sure your expensive stuff is covered, you should also get comprehensive travel insurance (covering all medical expenses you could incur while travelling).

  • How much should I budget for each day?

    We recommend you budget between $70 - $100 per day to cover food and super fun times. From time to time, it may be worth putting a little more aside to pay for the really crazy stuff like skydiving.

  • How much luggage am I allowed to bring?

    Passengers are allowed one 23kg suitcase/backpack and one day bag, as there are strict weight restrictions on our buses.

Available Dates


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