7 Day South Island Lick Tour
Be awed by stunning mountains, fantastic views, and the amazing Queenstown on this South Island trip where you'll experience unbeatable scenery coupled with a massive range of optional activities.
Take in Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, Wanaka, Franz Josef and finish with the Tranz-Alpine Express - rated as one of the world's Top Ten train journeys.
Day 1: Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
While Christchurch was seriously damaged during earthquakes a few years ago, the city is undergoing a wonderful transformation and has nothing but potential.
We’ll explore the iconic downtown area and check out the cool ways the city has reunited and is being rebuilt. With lots of quirky shops, specialized cafes and spots to dine, along with a young fun Kiwi culture, Christchurch shouldn’t be missed.
We’ll then make our way to Tekapo, one of New Zealand’s most famous lakes. Surrounded by the jagged Southern Alps, the bright turquoise Lake Tekapo will leave you questioning if someone dropped blue food coloring in it.
Minerals left by ancient glaciers give the lake its iconic turquoise colour. Combine this with the towering mountains and purple and pink Lupin flowers along its banks, Lake Tekapo couldn’t be prettier.
Once the sun goes down, it gets even better. Thanks to the super clear skies, the area around Tekapo has been declared a “Star Reserve” and is the best place in New Zealand to see the stars and galaxies above. Watch the stars appear over the lake from the hostel that’s just a few feet from the shore.
Additional Activities • Scenic Flight • Learn to Surf at Sumner (summer only)
Day 2: Lake Tekapo to Queenstown
The road to Queenstown (scattered with dozens of glacial blue lakes, soaring mountains and lush valleys) is almost as beautiful as the town itself. Between wine tasting in the famous Otago region, to exploring some of the local salmon farms, we’ll have the chance to see a more diverse side of the South Island.
The undisputed adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown is always at the top of the list of any trip around the South Island. Surrounded by the stunning Remarkables, some of the most beautiful mountains in NZ, and sprawling along the banks of the dazzling Lake Wakatipu, its location is straight from a postcard. Together we’ll hop on up the gondola and see Queenstown from above. There is nothing like watching the sunset over New Zealand’s prettiest town with new friends before experiencing the famous nightlife in town.
We’ll crash for the night at the Haka Lodge in Queenstown, cook some meals together, and chill out in this luxury hostel-lodge. Tomorrow is going to be action packed, so be sure to get at least a few hours sleep!
Additional Activities • Paragliding • Kawarau Bridge Bungy • Scenic Flight
Day 3: Queenstown
With a full day in Queenstown, you can pack in as many bucket list activities and things to do, as you wish. There are many different options to choose from: paragliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping while your Haka friends cheer you on, horse riding through some stunning Lord of the Rings locations in Glenorchy and swinging through a canyon Tarzan-style with a new friend. Queenstown is definitely a highlight of any trip to New Zealand.
Queenstown is also home to New Zealand’s most famous burger: Fergburger. Why not grab one with your new friends as you explore the town? If you’re into hiking, you might even be able to hop on one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and tackle part of the Routeburn track.
One of the most beautiful places in New Zealand, Milford Sound, is not to be missed. Driving into the park is stunning in and of itself, but just wait ‘til you get on the water! Sailing around the fiords beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular spots in New Zealand.
Beautiful in rain or shine, Milford is universally loved by all. Whether experiencing it from the decks of a boat to kayaking around the steep cliffs, Milford takes the cake as one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful areas of the South Island. With the occasional sea lion or dolphin popping up to say hello, it makes the journey there and around even more special.
Additional Activities • Nevis Bungy • Canyon Swing • Canyoning Queenstown • Heli-Mountain Biking • Paragliding • Skydiving over The Remarks • Kawarau Bridge Bungy • Horse Trekking at Glenorchy • Extreme Jet Boating • Milford Sound Trip • Middle-earth Tour in Queenstown • Skiing/Snowboarding Day at The Remarkables (winter only)
Day 4: Queenstown to Wanaka
The drive to Wanaka from Queenstown is spectacular, filled with great views, beautiful stops and plenty of surprises. We’ll stop in the stunning and historic Arrowtown for a bit of exploring.
En route to Wanaka, we stop in at New Zealand’s oldest pub for a drink or two in Cardrona before arriving at the lakeside holiday town of Wanaka.
A year round destination, Wanaka is surrounded by towering mountains and a glacial blue lake with plenty of things to do and with a thriving young vibe in town. In the warmer months, there are tons of lake activities to choose from, such as swimming, waterskiing, kayaking and wakeboarding. There are beautiful hikes and bike rides all around the lake and plenty of adventure activities to choose from too.
In the winter, Wanaka is one of New Zealand’s most popular snow sports destinations, with several great ski fields close by. Hit the cafes on the lakefront for a drink at the end of the day with the group to unwind.
Additional Activities • Canyon Swing • Canyoning • Heli-Mountain Biking • Nevis Bungy • Paragliding • Skydiving over The Remarks • Kawarau Bridge Bungy • Extreme Jet Boating • Horse Trekking at Glenorchy • Tiger Moth Acrobatic Plane Ride • Skydiving over Southern Alps
Day 5: Wanaka to Franz Josef
Start the day right with a skydive over Wanaka, taking in the spectacular glaciers we’ll head to later in the day, and even get views of Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Or take a step back in time with a flight over the lake and town in a vintage Tiger Moth biplane.
You’ll also have the chance to mountain bike along the lake, climb up the iconic Mt. Iron in town for some sweet views or hit up the iconic Puzzling World for a bit of fun and games.
We’ll then make our way towards the wild west coast of the South Island, traversing the beautiful mountains in Haast and getting a good look towards the sea.
Get excited, this is one of the most scenic and iconic road trips around New Zealand. Apart from the sick west coast views, there are plenty of surprises and secret spots in store today.
Between September and December it’s whitebait season (a small fish that’s a delicacy in New Zealand). Fried up with eggs and served on toast, it’s a local treat in and shouldn’t be missed. We’ll stop at a one of the secret local spots to try it out.
Additional Activities • Tiger Moth Acrobatic Plane Ride • Skydiving over Southern Alps
Day 6: Franz Josef
You cannot visit the South Island, let alone Franz Josef, without seeing one of the glaciers. Both the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are world-renowned on account of their relative accessibility and the low level to which they descend, although they no longer extend far enough down their valleys to reach the forest.
The most popular way of visiting the glacier is by helicopter. There are a few Heli-hike options available; we truly recommend a Heli-hike if you can afford it as it will take you to the most stunning blue ice! Unfortunately the Half Day Glacier Hike is unavailable at the moment due to the bottom of the glacier being too unstable.
Trekking on the glacier is not as strenuous as it sounds, but if it still doesn’t appeal to you, your guide can take you as close to the bottom of the glacier as possible. This afternoon you might decide to take part in some awesome quad biking (booked on the day), go horse trekking, relax in the hostel’s spa pool or TV lounge or have a drink in one of the cafés or bars.
As it is your last night on tour in the South Island, we often like to have a farewell party to celebrate all the good times we’ve had!
Additional Activities • Quad Biking • Glacier Heli Hike • Kayak in Glacier Country • Heli-Ice Explorer
Day 7: Franz Josef to Christchurch
Before you know it, it’s your last day! After breakfast we head further along the beautiful west coast on one of the most spectacular drives in the world: a rugged, primeval landscape of luxuriant rainforest juxtaposed against breathtaking beach and ocean waves.
We pass through Ross, a town that arose from gold mining. The gold rush days of the second half of the 19th century were largely responsible for opening up the west coast for settlement. Before this there was a small number of Maori who searched for greenstone, or Jade. There is also a chance to stop at Hokitika and visit a greenstone factory to see how it is made into jewellery and other ornaments, and possibly buy some as a souvenir.
Time permitting, we may also visit the National Kiwi Centre where there is guaranteed viewing of rare Kiwi birds in their nocturnal house. On the way back to Christchurch, we take the stunning Tranz Alpine Train Crossing. Travelling across the Southern Alps through Arthur’s Pass, we return to Christchurch by 6.05pm to say our final goodbyes and go our separate ways.
Additional Activities • Extra Night’s Accommodation in Christchurch
We start and end in Christchurch, taking a clockwise loop to soak up the spectacular alpine surroundings of Lake Tekapo and Wanaka, and of course Queenstown, where we spend two nights.
It begins at 8am at our very own Haka Lodge in Christchurch (which also doubles as Haka HQ).
We've thrown in some special inclusions - a Gondola ride taking in stunning views of Queenstown, and on our last day you travel from one coast to the other, over the Southern Alps on the magnificent Tranz Alpine Express.
As you build your tour online, you will see many optional activities available to add - but remember, none of these are compulsory. Not sure which ones to choose? No problem. Once you've paid a deposit and secured your seat you can add activities anytime until 30 days prior to departure.
Activities can also be purchased on the road - just let your tour guide know; he'll be happy to help. However, we can't always guarantee availability when booking on the road, so we suggest if there are any activities you definitely want to do, pre-book them.
You can extend your accommodation at Haka Lodge before and after the tour if you need it. You can also upgrade your accommodation to a private room for $499. The cost is per room, so if you share the room with someone else you can split the cost between you.
NB. Please contact us for future dates in 2017
• Accommodation (max 6 share, upgrades available)
• Passionate Kiwi guide
• Ticket to ride the Tranz Alpine Express train – one of the world’s top rated train journeys
• Free gondola ride with stunning views of Queenstown
• Wake up alongside the beautiful lakes of Tekapo and Wanaka
• Two nights in Franz Josef surrounded by glaciers and rain forest
• Small groups - max 16
• Guided tour of every location. We show you places you would miss when travelling on a flexible bus pass
• Be treated to surprise stops only possible with a small group
After arriving in NZ, I was recommended by a Christchurch local to try a guided tour of the South Island. I had never tried a guided tour before, but I selected Haka Tours Wild West primarily from reading earlier reviews, as it went through the areas I had wanted to see, and since I thought the smaller group size (we were around 15) versus other guided tours would allow a more personal experience. Willow and Mike were our guides for the tour, and both did a great job showing us around, as well as organising everything. Both were very knowledgeable on the areas visited, would always accommodate any last minute requests, and created a relaxed and very pleasant atmosphere in our group. Overall, I saw beautiful scenery (Lake Wanaka was my personal favourite), had the chance to try out many different adventure sports, and met many interesting people from all over the world. A fantastic experience, and one that is highly recommended.
Had an absolutely fantastic tour of South Island over seven days with Willow as our tour guide. Nothing was too much trouble to organise, even last minute requests, and the scenery was amazing. The places we stayed, including the Haka Lodges, were very comfortable and always within an easy walk of town and/or activities. Throughly recommend booking up and experiencing it yourself!
The wife and I did the South Lick tour in January, and absolutely loved every second. Our tour guide/driver and now friend Willow shared with our small group her love and experiences of this most beautiful country. The drives were spectacular, the accomodations excellent, the booked activities great fun, and the sense of family created by Willow among our small group of 14 was brilliant. We can't wait to do another Haka tour of the North island in early 2017, and hope to experience as much fun, make similar friendships, and of course have Willow again looking after us. Do yourself a favour Aussies, don't go to Europe, the States or Bali, go to NZ....it's cheap, close, extraordinarily safe, and absolutely beautiful, and let Haka tours show you their NZ, you'll love it!!!!
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