Looking to tackle a bundle of different environments all in one go? New Zealand’s South Island has what you need and then some. Action is the common thread throughout this trip that incorporates hiking, kayaking, cycling, and even bungee jumping across a variety of landscapes, including rainforests, glaciers, and some of the most gorgeous coastline you’ll ever see. This trip is exciting even when you’re not moving; accommodations include a seasonal floating boat hostel and a wilderness hostel deep in the rainforest itself. Unique? You bet.
Excursion to Abel Tasman NP. Seal colony visit. Walks in Abel Tasman NP, Paparoa NP, and Lake Matheson. Sea kayaking (Doubtful Sound). Cycling excursion (Central Otago). All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Explore the trails of Abel Tasman National Park by foot, get an adrenaline rush in Queenstown, weave through the remote fjords of the Doubtful Sound by sea kayak, cycle the Otago Rail Trail.
1. COMBO TRIP
This tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures prior to Day one of your tour, and may change between individual tour sections. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour after your trip concludes.
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 20, avg 16
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, though generally food is cheap. 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. On truck trips in Africa, aboard the M/S Expedition or our Galapagos yachts, while trekking in remote regions etc. food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. 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.
Private bus, kayak, boat, ferry
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 (7 nts), basic hotels (3 nts), basic lodges (4 nts), floating boat hostel (1 nt in summer, cabin in winter months). Most nights are multi-share.
Multi-share accommodation, on a single-sex basis (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.
Couples: Please note that due to the types of accommodation used in New Zealand, couples will likely be split into separate rooms where we use multi-share hostels. Pending availability, couples may be able to pay extra while on tour to have their own room in some destinations.
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.
By Taxi: $40-50
By Shuttle Bus: $29 for 1 person, $6 per additional. The “Super Shuttle” is a 24-hour service that takes approximately 45 minutes. The shuttle waits outside of the terminal and provides door-to-door service.
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 5804
From within Australia: 03 9413 5804
After Hours Emergency Number
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
•Sturdy walking shoes
•Watch or alarm clock
•Flashlight or headlamp
•Camera, memory card(s) and charger
•Electricity plug adapter
-Camera with extra memory cards and batteries
-Waterproof backpack cover
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).
Whale Watch $145
Dolphin Swimming $170
Seal Swim $99-$110
ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK:
Kayaking Half Day Tour $110
Sky Diving 9,000ft $249, 13,000ft $299, 16,000ft $399
Ice Explorer Guided Hike (Heli transfer) $325
Heli Hike $429
Horseback Riding $65 – 1 hour, $99 – 2 hours
Kayaking $99 – 3 hours
Bungy Jumping $180-$260
Canyon Swing $199
Jet Boat $129
Sky Diving 9,000ft $299, 12,000ft $339, 15,000ft $439
Lord of the Rings Horse Riding Tour $195
Skyline Luge – Gondola and Dinner $76
Winery Tour $175-225
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 USD280-365 for meals not included.
15 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 7 dinners
PRODUCT_LINE: ONSE, ID: 23383
Day 1 Wellington
There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city.
Check out New Zealand’s National Museum, a must-see with great displays of historical Maori artifacts and relatively modern exhibits such as the motorbike that was built in a shed and won the world championships. Afterwards, opt for a night out on the town. Wellington has an abundance of nightlife, bars, cafes and restaurants all located on and around the entertainment district of Courtenay Place.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Wellington/Abel Tasman National Park (1B, 1D)
Catch a morning ferry and cross the scenic Cook Strait. Make sure to stand outside and enjoy the views of the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. Disembark and transfer to Abel Tasman National Park, well-known for its stunning white sand beaches. Board a water taxi to transfer to the middle of the National Park for the night. The night will be spent on a floating boat hostel.
Overnight lodging will depend on weather conditions.
Ferry (3.50 hour(s), 92km)
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 200km)
Water taxi (0.50 hour(s))
Day 3 Abel Tasman National Park (1B, 1D)
Hike and explore Abel Tasman’s golden beaches and waterways.
Abel Tasman National Park Walk
Day 4 Abel Tasman National Park/Punakaiki (1B, 1D)
Visit the Cape Foulwind seal colony, then follow the stunning coastal road down to a beach camp in Punakaiki for the night. Visit the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’ walk upon arrival into Punakaiki.
Pancake Rocks Trek
Seal Colony Visit
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 250km)
Day 5 Punakaiki/Franz Josef (1B, 1D)
Opt to kayak the river into the Paparoa National Park or stick to the local trails for some day hikes. Continue following the coastal road towards Franz Josef arriving at a unique wilderness lodge set in the rainforest for the night.
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 220km)
Day 6 Franz Josef (1B)
Free day for optional activities. Options include various hikes, horseback riding and quad biking.
Day 7 Franz Josef/Queenstown (1B)
Visit the adventure capital of the world—Queenstown.
Private Vehicle (6.00 hour(s), 365km)
Days 8-9 Queenstown
Free time in Queenstown. Get the heart pumping with some adrenaline-filled options, such as jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking or skydiving.
If you have pre-booked the Queenstown Jet Boating, your CEO will inform you when you will do the activity during your tour, as days are subject to change: Jet Boat (Day 8 or 9 – Queenstown).
Please note – in the winter months (late April – early Nov) skiing and snowboarding in the Southern Alps is a highlight for any visitor. Most of the optional activities are also available, ask your CEO which ones are in season.
Day 10 Queenstown/Doubtful Sound (1B, 1L, 1D)
Visit Fiordland National Park en route to Doubtful Sound.
Depending on weather the walk and kayak may be reversed to fall on different days.
Fiordland National Park Visit
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 250km)
Day 11 Doubtful Sound/Wedderburn (1B, 1D)
Enjoy a guided kayak excursion through jaw-dropping scenery. Travel to Central Otago.
Overnight in a historic miner’s hotel.
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 350km)
Day 12 Wedderburn (1B)
Bike 35 km of the Otago Rail Trail, passing through one historic town to the next. Along the way sample some local food and drink.
Biking Otago Rail Trail
Day 13 Wedderburn/Christchurch (1B)
Overnight in the very unique converted jail house.
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 400km)
Day 14 Christchurch/Kaikoura (1B, 1D)
Spend the afternoon 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.
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 180km)
Day 15 Kaikoura/Wellington (1B)
Morning visit to a seal colony before catching the ferry back to Wellington. Opt for a final night out with the group.
Seal Colony Visit
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 150km)
Ferry (3.00 hour(s), 92km)
Day 16 Wellington (1B)
We highly recommend pre- or post-accommodation to fully explore this vibrant city.