7 Day South Island Explorer Tour
Beginning in Wellington, this great 7 day tour includes a mix of "must do" South Island activities as well as time at leisure in Queenstown for you to choose your own adventures. Visit Kaikoura, the Otago Lakes District and the glacier region before ending your tour in the "Garden City" of Christchurch.
7 Day South Island Explorer Tour
Enjoy some magical South Island scenery during included sightseeing such as the Interislander Ferry, Kaikoura Whale Watching, Queenstown Highlights Tour, Skyline Gondola, glacier viewing and the famous TranzAlpine Train.
|Tour Type:||Independent Tours|
|From:||Wellington to Christchurch|
Click on the region name to view more information about the region
- All transport
- 6 nights accommodation
- Kaikoura Whalewatch Cruise
- Queenstown Highlights Tour
- Queenstown Gondola
- Fox Glacier transfer
Day By Day Itinerary
DAY 1 - WELLINGTON / PICTON / KAIKOURA
Board the Interislander Ferry for your scenic cruise across Cook Strait. The 92 km, three hour journey between Wellington and Picton is one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist experiences, and acknowledged as one of the most spectacular cruises in the world as you pass through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. On arrival into Picton, connect with the Coastal Pacific train*. Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you travel through Blenheim and the rugged Kaikoura coastline before arriving into the quaint township of Kaikoura.
* Travel may be by coach if the Coastal Pacific train is not operating
DAY 2 - KAIKOURA / CHRISTCHURCH
This morning you will enjoy a 3 hour cruise with Kaikoura Whale Watch to marvel at the giant sperm whale and the dusky dolphin. Kaikoura Whale Watch has won many international awards for tourism excellence and marine conservation. You then have free time until your mid afternoon departure on the Coastal Pacific train*. Relax and enjoy your journey southward to Christchurch. After following the coastline for a short distance the train turns inland travelling through the mixed cropping farming areas of North Canterbury and the rapidly expanding vineyard areas of Waipara.
* Travel may be by coach if the Coastal Pacific train is not operating
DAY 3 - CHRISTCHURCH / QUEENSTOWN
Travel through the Canterbury Plains and into the MacKenzie Country before reaching the stunning shores of Lake Tekapo. Enjoy a relaxing break which gives you time for lunch and photo opportunities of the vivid turquoise water of the lake. Your journey continues over the mighty Lindis Pass and through the Kawarau Gorge before reaching Queenstown late afternoon.
DAY 4 - QUEENSTOWN HIGHLIGHTS
Spend a morning exploring Queenstown on a guided tour, taking in some of the region’s best sights and activities. Travel up Queenstown Hill and enjoy spectacular bird’s-eye views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables. Discover the secrets of bungy-jumping with a behind the scenes tour of AJ Hackett’s world famous Bungy Bridge and watch the jumpers from the viewing deck. Visit the award winning Gibbston Valley Winery and sample a selection of wines produced on site. Browse the winery’s well stocked gift shop and the region’s only cheesery. Have your camera ready as you are transported into Middle-Earth at the Kawarau Gorge – film location for the “Pillars of the Kings” in The Lord of the Rings. Then discover beautiful Arrowtown’s captivating history and colonial architecture. Highlights are the cafes and restaurants. You have the afternoon at leisure for more Queenstown exploring or shopping. We have also included a visit to the Skyline Gondola – you may use this pass anytime during the day.
DAY 5 - QUEENSTOWN AT LEISURE
Today you have a full day at leisure in Queenstown. Perhaps take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu or venture out of Queenstown for the day for a trip to Milford or Doubtful Sounds. Please ask at time of booking if you are interested in Milford or Doubtful Sounds as a day tour add on.
DAY 6 - QUEENSTOWN / FOX GLACIER
Leaving Queenstown we travel to the West Coast passing through Cromwell, Wanaka and Hawea before climbing over the Haast Pass into the Westland National Park. The Haast Pass is our southern most pass that traverses the Southern Alps linking the East Coast with the West Coast. After arriving into Fox Glacier you will collected from your accommodation and transferred to the glacier car park where you can walk to a glacier look out point. This walk is not guided.
Stay: Fox Glacier
DAY 7 - FOX GLACIER / GREYMOUTH / CHRISTCHURCH
Travel north through lush rainforests and spectacular scenery to Greymouth where we transfer on to the world famous TranzAlpine Train. A remarkable journey of little more than four hours from the West Coast to the East Coast including the beautiful rainforest of the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Pass through the Southern Alps via the Otira Tunnel, cross massive viaducts over the Waimakariri Gorge descending to the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains and on to the “Garden City” of Christchurch.
TOUR TYPE - INDEPENDENT TOUR
Independent Tours are not escorted group tours - they are for independent travellers. What this means is that it is not the same group of people travelling on their own coach with a tour leader/escort looking after you. You are travelling independently. However, you are picked up and dropped off at your accommodation each morning and evening and interesting commentary is provided on many sectors.
Frequently Asked Questions – Independent Tours
What is an Independent Tour?
Independent Tours are not escorted group tours - they are for independent travellers. What this means is that it is not the same group of people traveling on their own coach with a tour leader/escort looking after you. You are traveling independently. However, you are picked up and dropped off at your accommodation each morning and evening and interesting commentary is provided on many sectors.
What dates do your tours depart?
The Pacific Travel Independent Iour programme operates on a daily basis (with daily departures) using the services of Great Sights, InterCity, Interislander and KiwiRail. All tours are subject to availability at time of booking.
What is included in the tour cost?
All tours 2+ days in length include coach travel, transfers, accommodation and sightseeing activities where specified. A detailed travel wallet with your travel vouchers and comprehensive itinerary will be sent to your agent prior to your departure or delivered to your pre tour accommodation for you to collect on check in.
I am travelling alone – can I pay the triple or twin share rate and be linked with other travellers?
No, unfortunately. You must pay the single room – per person cost.
I am travelling with children, what price will I pay?
Please contact us for information on child fares, as these vary based on the specific product you require. Some sightseeing activities are unsuitable for children.
Are any meals included in the tour cost?
Our Independent Tours do not include meals. There are exceptions where a picnic lunch is included on particular sectors. The coach does make various refreshment / comfort stops throughout the day where food can be purchased. Each evening you are free to relax and dine at you choice of restaurant either on site if you choose quality class, or just a short walk into town with tourist class. Many accommodation providers offer a breakfast service which can be arranged directly.
Is Halal food available in New Zealand?
Along with a small population of Muslims, New Zealand has an increasing number of Muslim visitors. Halal food and restaurants are now found in many areas of the country.
Do Independent Tours have a tour escort?
As these tours are Independent, you do not have an escort traveling with you. However all coach drivers are experienced professionals. They will share their vast knowledge of our country with you by providing an informative commentary on most routes.
Can I add in additional nights to a tour?
Yes you can. All tours are very flexible. Please ask one of our Travel Consultants for extra nightly rates.
What is the difference between quality and tourist class accommodation?
Quality class: Hotel style accommodation with a restaurant on site, 4 star standard. At times 4 star motor lodges are also used.
Tourist class: Self contained style accommodation with ensuite bathrooms and kitchenette facilities, 3.5 – 4 star standard. Breakfast provisions can be purchased from these properties but you will need to go to the town centre to purchase your evening meal. We endeavour where possible to book accommodation that is within easy walking distance of the centre of town.
What if I cannot find exactly what I am looking for on the website?
Let us know what is on your wish list to see and do and we are more than happy to help you plan a customised tour.
How much luggage can I take on my tour?
Each passenger may take 2 pieces of luggage (max 25kg each). For safety reasons, each passenger is limited to one carry on item (max 5kg). We also advise you check the maximum baggage allowance with your chosen airline.
How do I make a payment for a tour?
For bookings made more than 30 days prior to travel, Pacific Travel require a NZ$500 per person or 10% of the value of the package price (whichever is greater). This is a non-refundable deposit. Balance of payment is due 30 days prior to travel. For bookings made 30 days or less prior to travel, full payment is required at the time of booking. Visa & MasterCard are accepted forms of payment. All prices advertised are in New Zealand dollars and are GST inclusive.
What is your cancellation policy?
If after your booking has been confirmed you wish to cancel, the following cancellation fees will apply:
Cancellations 31 or more days prior to travel: Your deposit plus a further 10% of the total package price.
Cancellations 15 – 30 days prior to travel: Deposit + a further 20% of the total package price.
Cancellations 0-14 days prior to travel: 100% of total fare (no refund).
Booking amendments made by you: an amendment fee of 10% of total package price will be charged to cover our administration and communication costs. We may also need to pass on any amendment/cancellation fees imposed by our suppliers.
Conditions of travel
Pacific Travel reserves the right to alter fares, amend itineraries, book alternative accommodation or to cancel tours. Pacific Travel Ltd shall not be held responsible for any loss or damage to luggage or personal effects and/or damage resulting in death or personal injury, which may arise whilst travelling with Pacific Travel Ltd or its nominated suppliers. All transportation, both land and sea, is subject to the terms and conditions of the company providing the transport, some of which limit or exclude liability. These are available from the carriers concerned on request.
Will I need travel insurance?
We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance. Factors may arise that require you to cancel or amend your holiday, so it is essential you are covered for any costs that may be incurred. We recommend purchasing your travel insurance locally at the same time as you book your tour and flights. Unfortunately Pacific Travel does not sell travel insurance.
Do I need to tip in New Zealand?
If you wish to reward someone for a job well done it is always much appreciated.
Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?
Most visitors to New Zealand do not require a visa to enter for the purpose of a holiday or vacation under the visa waiver program. If you do need a visa to visit New Zealand then you should contact the New Zealand consulate in your home country well before your departure date. We recommend you also check with your local travel agent or airline for any visa requirements to New Zealand particularly if you are passing through Australia.
What currency is used in New Zealand?
The New Zealand dollar is the only legal tender in New Zealand. View a guide between your local currency and the New Zealand dollar. Please note: Your tour and all purchases using a credit card in New Zealand will be charged in New Zealand Dollars (NZD) at the current exchange rate at the time of purchase. The above currency conversion page is to be used as a guide only.