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Small Group Tour

Small Group Tour

9 Day South Island Tour

Start: Christchurch
Finish: Christchurch

Whats included:

  • 9 nights high-end hostel accommodation (includes 1 night before the tour starts)
  • 9 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
  • Christchurch City orientation 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); Mt John walkway in Lake Tekapo, Hooker Valley in Mt Cook National Park, Roys Peak, and Franz Josef glacier valley walk.
  • Private double/twin room upgrades available for an additional cost (simply add when booking)

Spectacular scenery and lots of opportunity for adventure, this 9 day South Island adventure starts and finishes in the diverse city of Christchurch. Turquoise lakes, majestic glaciers, dramatic mountain peaks and the picture-perfect towns of QueenstownWanaka and Franz Josef are all a part of this epic road trip. With accommodation and some activities included (see below), our all-inclusive tours are hassle-free, authentic experiences for those short on time.

This tour departs at 9am from Hotel Give (12 Hereford Street, Christchurch Central), where your accommodation has been booked for the night before departure. Breakfast is from 8am at the hostel before departure. The tour will finish in Christchurch at approximately 5pm. 

Read more on our Booking Guarantee here 

Tour Dates - 2022

  • 25 Sep - 3 Oct           Book here - Sold out
  • 16 - 24 October         Book here - Sold out
  • 24 Oct - 1 Nov           Book here - Sold out
  • 6 - 14 November        Book here - Sold out
  • 18 - 26 November      Book here - Sold out
  • 28 Nov - 6 Dec          Book here - Sold out
  • 11 - 19 December      Book here - 1 seat left
  • 19 - 27 December      Book here - Sold out

Tour Dates - 2023

  • 16 - 24 January         Book here - Sold out
  • 23 - 31 January         Book here - 4 seats left
  • 30 Jan - 7 Feb           Book here
  • 6 - 14 February          Book here
  • 13 - 21 February        Book here - 7 seats left
  • 20 - 28 February        Book here
  • 27 Feb - 7 Mar           Book here
  • 6 - 14 March              Book here
  • 13 - 21 March            Book here
  • 20 - 28 March            Book here
  • 27 Mar - 4 Apr            Book here
  • 3 - 11 April                  Book here
  • 10 - 18 April                Book here


SAVE $179

NZ $1610

Day 1Christchurch 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 2Lake Tekapo to Mt Cook

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). 


  • YHA Mt Cook

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 3Mt Cook To Queenstown

After a morning of exploring Mt Cook National Park 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 4Queenstown

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 5Queenstown

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 6Queenstown to Wanaka

After a couple of amazing days in Queenstown, today we leave it behind and set off for Wanaka. This afternoon you'll get the opportunity hike Roys Peak which gives you amazing views across Lake Wanaka and the peak of Mount Aspiring. Or if you're more inclined to relax, take a walk or bike ride round the lake and look out for the famous Wanaka tree. 


  • YHA Wanaka

Experiences & Highlights

  • Roys Peak hike (6 hour return); take in breathtaking views over Lake Wānaka, Mount Aspiring/Tititea and surrounding peaks (only accessible November to May)
  • Mt Iron hike (alternative to Roys Peak); providing 360-degree views of the The Pisa range, the Upper Clutha Basin, Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. (June to October)
  • Visit the famous Wanaka tree

Day 7Wanaka to Franz Josef

This is one of the most scenic drives of your tour. We’ll cruise by the breath-taking Lake Hawea, past the aptly named ‘Blue Pools’ and visit the pounding Thunder Creek Falls before visiting Lake Matheson; a spot that makes a mockery of Instagram filters. We’ll then arrive in Franz Josef where we’ll retire to a wilderness hostel deep in the rainforest itself.


  • Rainforest Retreat

Experiences & Highlights

  • Thunder Creek falls; an extremely tall and easy accessible 96-metre waterfall, located in Mt Aspiring National Park. 
  • Lake Matheson; nestled in ancient forest and is famous for mirror views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.

Day 8Franz 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 9Franz 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

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  • 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 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 you for 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