9 Day Coastal Backdrops Tour

Enjoy beautiful waters all around as you travel the length of the West Coast, take in stunning Abel Tasman National Park & the Kaikoura coast before setting your sights on NZ's highest peak, Mt Cook.

9 Day Coastal Backdrops Tour

A fantastic nine day tour covering many scenic attractions of the South Island. Travelling at a relaxed pace allowing you ample time to explore the West Coast, East Coast and the inland lakes of Tekapo & Pukaki as you travel to Mt Cook.

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Queenstown to Queenstown
Departs: Daily
Duration: 9 days
Tour Code: SD9CB

Regions Visited

Click on the region name to view more information about the region

Queenstown, Haast, Fox Glacier, Franz Josef, Punakaiki, Nelson, Abel Tasman National Park, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Tekapo, Mt Cook

Tour Inclusions

  • 9 day car hire
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Superior & Premium accommodation includes breakfast
  • Abel Tasman day tour
  • Kaikoura Whale Watch tour
  • Christchurch Tram
  • Christchurch Punting on the Avon
  • Glacier Explorer tour

Day By Day Itinerary


Depart Queenstown, travel through Gibbston Valley and the rugged Kawarau Gorge to Cromwell. Continue around the shores of Lake Dunstan onto Wanaka. From Wanaka follow the original Greenstone trail around Lake Hawea to Haast Pass. Travel through rainforest, passing rocky rivers with the occasional glimpse of the Tasman Sea before arriving into the valley of the Fox River and Fox Glacier township.

Stay: Fox Glacier

South Island tours

If the weather is clear, we suggest a side trip to Lake Matheson to view the sunrise over Mt Cook in the distance. With stunning reflections, the short journey is well worth while.

Travel north through to Franz Josef, passing many lakes and you wind your way through rainforest, before the countryside opens up to a number of small goldmining towns.

Continue to Hokitika viewing the Hokitika driftwood sign and the Tasman Sea. Greymouth is your next town, before you follow the coast to Punakaiki. Punakaiki is the base from which to explore the natural wonders of the Paparoa National Park – from sandy beaches and rocky coastlines, through lush subtropical rainforest overhanging magical moody rivers, to spectacular alpine tops there is something here for everyone to discover.

Stay: Punakaiki

South Island Tours

Continue up the coast today, where the bush clad hills meet the roaring Tasman Sea. Form Westport head inland for a scenic trip, starting with the Buller Gorge. Drive under the dramatic Hawks Crag overhang. Travel up to Murchison and on through the forest clad hills to Nelson, home of artisans and beach lovers.

Stay: Nelson


Included in your tour is a day trip exploring Abel Tasman National Park. With its golden sand beaches and interesting short walks, this is a day to remember.

Cruise on Tasman Bay viewing Abel Tasman National Park from the water, or get off the boat to enjoy one of the numerous walks available within the park – the choice is yours.

Stay: Nelson


Depart Nelson and travel through to Blenheim, Marlborough wine country and famous for its Sauvignon Blanc. You may wish to enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of many wineries on route through to Kaikoura.

Stay: Kaikoura

Kaikoura Sperm Whale

Including in your tour is a Whale Watch excursion.

Kaikoura is the whale watching capital of New Zealand – as every whale watch tour is a unique experience the sightings will vary. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents.

Whilst out on the water enjoy the panoramic mountain views. After you cruise make your way south to Christchurch.

Stay: Christchurch

Christchurch, South Island Tours

Today enjoy what Christchurch has to offer. Included is the hop on hop off tram, allowing you to view the city as you sit back and relax on the iconic tram tracks.

After you tram ride, make your way to the boat sheds for a punt on the Avon River through the botanic gardens. The remainder of the day is free to explore the city at your leisure.

Stay: Christchurch

New Zealand Tours

Leave Christchurch, the South Islands largest city and make your way to Mt Cook.

Travel through the Canterbury Plains and onto the MacKenzie Basin. In the heart of “The MacKenzie” is Tekapo, sitting on the shores of Lake Tekapo, a great place for a scenic lunch stop. From Tekapo continue south around Lake Pukaki to Aoraki /Mt Cook National Park, in the heart of the southern alps.

Stay: Mt Cook

Tasman Glacier Mt Cook, New Zealand

Before leaving Mt Cook, we have included a unique excursion. Travel up the Tasman valley by bus, from here walk to the Tasman lake. From here board a MAC boat, as you cruise around icebergs that have broken off the terminal face of the “Tasman Glacier”.

After this excursion, make your way to Queenstown. Follow the shores of Lake Pukaki, over the tussock clad Lindis Pass and into Cromwell. Travel through the Kawarau Gorge arriving into the familiar scene of Queenstown. Return your rental car and reflect on the memories you have created as you have explored the south island.

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Prices valid from 1st October 2020

Accommodation Double/Twin Single Triple
Standard $1,970 NZD $3,252 NZD $1,629 NZD Enquire / Book
Superior $2,991 NZD $4,820 NZD $2,507 NZD Enquire / Book
Premium $3,510 NZD $5,910 NZD $2,769 NZD Enquire / Book
Prices are per person and in New Zealand Dollars.

Tour Type: Self Drive Tour
A Self Drive tour allows you to travel at your own pace on one of our comprehensive itineraries. Our experienced New Zealand based travel consultants have planned each itinerary to ensure practical driving times while allowing you the freedom for photo opportunities as you travel. Your accommodation and car hire is pre-booked and we are happy to include optional activities to coincide with driving times.
Frequently Asked Questions – Self Drive Tours

What is a Self Drive tour?
A Self Drive tour allows you to travel at your own pace on one of our comprehensive itineraries. Our experienced New Zealand based travel consultants have planned each itinerary to ensure practical driving times while allowing you the freedom for photo opportunities as you travel. Your accommodation and car hire is pre-booked and we are happy to include optional activities to coincide with driving times.

What is required to hire a vehicle within New Zealand?
A valid driver’s licence in English is required to hire a rental vehicle within New Zealand.  Please note drivers must be over 21 years to hire a vehicle, between 21 – 25 years a young driver surcharge is applicable. We recommend all clients have a credit card for car rental, the card number is then held for a bond. All vehicles are automatic transmission, we do not offer manual transmissions.

What is driving in New Zealand like?
We drive on the right in New Zealand, all rental vehicles are set up for right hand drive. Within the cities, roads are busy, there are motorways and highways. Once out of town most of our roads two lanes, there are some divided carriage ways, however most driving will be on 2 lane paved/sealed roads. It will take you a lot longer than you think looking at the map to get from point A to point B.

What dates do your tours depart?
Our self drive tours depart daily, driving times do vary each day so please consider this when booking departure flights.

What is included in the tour cost?
All tours include accommodation and rental car. Some tours include activities listed in the itineraries. Car hire is quoted including basic insurance, with the option to upgrade to fully comprehensive insurance.  A detailed travel wallet with your travel vouchers will be sent to your arrival accommodation, a comprehensive itinerary will be sent to you prior to your departure. Your personal travel consultant will contact you on arrival, allowing ease of communication whilst you are traveling.

What is not included in the tour cost?
Expenses of a personal nature such as meals (except where stated in the itinerary), beverages, travel insurance, fuel, laundry and optional sightseeing (except where stated in the itinerary) are not included in the tour cost.

How many people can I include in a self-drive tour?
Our largest hire vehicle is 9 passengers and a driver. You can travel in a group, with a number of vehicles but each vehicle must have a licenced driver.

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 Superior and Premium tour rates include breakfast.  There are exceptions where some activities will include lunch or dinner. We are more than happy to make recommendations, please advise if there are any dietary requirements so we can recommend accordingly. .

Is Halal and other speciality 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, let us now if you require this and we will compile a list for you. We can also offer advice in regards to Vegan and other special requirements.

How will I navigate my way around New Zealand?
You will be supplied with a map in your travel wallet. If you require a GPS, this can be arranged with your car hire, if you are wishing to use your own navigational device, SIM cards can be purchased at the airport. Our comprehensive itinerary will guide you, especially with our personal touches just for you. We are only a phone call away. Most pre booked optional activities will have an informative guide giving you an insight into the activity you have chosen.

Can I add in additional days to a tour?
Yes you can. All tours are very flexible – we will gladly work with you to make our tours suit your requirements. Please ask one of our Travel Consultants for extra day rates.

What is the difference between the three tour types Quality, Superior and Premium Tours?
Standard:  Motor Lodge, apartment style accommodation, self-contained accommodation, ensuite bathrooms. Your rental car is a small compact car.
Superior: 4 star hotel accommodation, includes breakfast. Your rental car is a mid-size car.
Premium: 5 star hotel accommodation, including breakfast. Your rental car is an SUV.
Note all accommodation is reviewed regularly by staff, we have high standards and good relationships with all our providers.

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 will be delighted to plan a customised tour to suit your requirements, using our 30 years of experience. Our local knowledge will come up with many pleasant surprises for you. 

How much luggage can I take on my tour?
You can bring as much luggage as you require, we recommend 1 piece of luggage (max 25kg each), for ease of travel. 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 45 days prior to travel, Pacific Travel require a deposit of NZ$50 per person. This deposit is non-refundable. Balance of payment is due 45 days prior to travel. For bookings made 45 days or less prior to travel, full payment is required at the time of booking. Visa & MasterCard are accepted forms of payment. A 2.5% Credit Card Fee applies to all payments by credit card. You may pay via direct bank transfer to avoid the credit card fee. Bank details will be on your booking advice. 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. 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.

Do I need to tip in New Zealand?
If you wish to reward someone for a job well done it is always much appreciated, but not a requirement. It is certainly not expected, nobody will be offended should you wish to.

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.

9 Day Coastal Backdrops Tour

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours Tour Code: SD9CB From $1,629 Per Person Departs: Daily Enjoy beautiful waters all around as you travel the length of the West Coast, take in stunning Abel Tasman National Park & the Kaikoura coast before setting your sights on NZ's highest peak, Mt Cook. Enquire about this tour

Where this tour will take you...