Southern Pioneer
Destinations Destinations
Queenstown, Lake Tekapo, Wanaka, Franz Josef Glacier, Christchurch
Activity Activity
Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Culture, Cities, Active, Trekking
Tour Type Tour Type
Group tour
Physical Level Physical Level
Mild
Season Season
January - December

Begin your South Island trip in Christchurch, exploring its mix of historic buildings and cutting-edge architecture. From here, travel to Lake Tekapo for stargazing, hiking and mountain biking, before continuing your adventure in bungy jumping capital Queenstown and laidback Wanaka. End your trip with ice exploration on Franz Josef Glacier – only accessible by helicopter – where you can hike and ski. Travel back to Christchurch and your departure home.

Tour itinerary

What you'll see and do

Christchurch

Kia ora (hello) and welcome to Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Settle into your accommodation and be ready for the 6pm pre-tour meeting. Here you will get to know your Tour Manager and be introduced to your new roadtrip friends.

Afterwards, the evening is yours to enjoy. We recommend a good night’s sleep to be ready for tomorrow’s early start, but you may want to experience Christchurch’s exciting nightlife — the choice is yours!

Christchurch to Ohau, via Lake Tekapo

This morning you’ll explore iconic downtown Christchurch and your guide will show you the creative ways the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here.

Mid morning you'll leave the city behind and head for Lake Tekapo. The lake’s breathtaking turquoise colour and mountain backdrop is a photographer’s dream come true.

If you’re feeling energetic, hike up to the summit of Mt John, which has amazing views of the Southern Alps.

Includes: breakfast, dinner
Ohau to Queenstown

The drive to Queenstown will take you through the golden tussocklands of Mackenzie country and bungee-jumper favourite Kawarau Gorge to the dramatic peaks of the Southern Alps.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, an avid hiker, wine taster or scenery lover, Queenstown has something for absolutely everyone. You'll have two nights here to enjoy the many options the city has to offer.

Includes: breakfast
Queenstown

With a full day in Queenstown, you'll have plenty of activities to choose from: paragliding over the lake, mountain bike parks and trails, bungy jumping, horse riding through Lord of the Rings scenery, and swinging through a canyon are just a few options on offer.

For scenery lovers, a trip to Milford Sound is a must-see. Whether you fly or drive, the scenery en route is as amazing as the destination. Once on the Sound, sailing beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, you’ll understand why some call it the “8th Wonder of the World”.

Tonight you have around 40 bars to choose from — your guide will fill you in on their favourites – to share your adventures with your travel buddies.

Queenstown to Wanaka

One last morning in Queenstown with a number of options to choose from, including a canyoning experience, Lord of the Rings 4x4 safari, or a jet boat ride along the Shotover River.

After the excitement of Queenstown, this afternoon is a chance to relax. Wanaka is Queenstown’s slightly quieter little sister, a mere one hour drive away. On the way we’ll stop in at charming Arrowtown, a historic gold rush village with plenty of old-world character.

Blessed with towering peaks and a glacial blue lake, you’ll soon see why Wanaka’s considered to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain towns. There are stunning hikes and bike rides all around for a welcome chance to relax.

Wanaka

Today is your chance to explore one of the most beautiful towns in the southern lakes region with plenty of activities to tempt every lover of the outdoors.

Included this morning is a guided e-bike tour along Wanaka’s lakeside.

One optional activity today is a visit to Mou Waho Island. Accessible only by boat from Wanaka and famous for being home to an (unnamed) island, in a lake (Arethusa Pool), on an island (Mou Waho), in a lake (Lake Wanaka), on an island (the South Island) in the ocean (the Pacific!).

In Wanaka there are many walks, hikes and biking trails to choose from — check out the famous “Wanaka Tree” while making your way around the lake! Or, if you feel like relaxing, ask your guide to recommend their favourite secret spots to enjoy the surrounding scenery.

One of the best ways to admire Wanaka is from the air. Treat yourself to a skydive or a scenic flight in a vintage plane – you can even take a flying lesson. As always, it’s your trip and your choice: you do you!

We mix things up tonight by heading to the stunning Criffel Station for a night of glamping.

Includes: dinner
Wanaka to Franz Josef

After a relaxing morning in Wanaka, the journey to Franz Josef is another stunner — many of our guides rate it as their favourite drive in New Zealand. You’ll stop at one of our favourite lakeside lookout points at Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka. Your guide will keep an eye on the weather and pick the best option.

From the cascading waterfalls of Haast Pass to classic Kiwi coastal views, you won’t want to nap on the bus in case you miss anything. Your guide will have some fantastic surprise photo stops and short walks along the way.

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 and shouldn’t be missed. You’ll stop at one of the local spots for a taste during the season.

You'll arrive in Franz Josef around late afternoon/early evening. This UNESCO World Heritage area is famous for its spectacular glacier, just 5 kilometres from town, which you'll get the chance to explore tomorrow.

Includes: breakfast
Franz Josef

With Aoraki/Mount Cook — New Zealand’s highest mountain — twinkling behind the glaciers, Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand.

Te Wahi Pounamu (which means ‘the place of greenstone’ in Māori) is the name given to this part of the West Coast because of the abundance of pounamu (greenstone/jade) to be found here. Included in your tour today is a special opportunity to carve your very own pounamu pendant at a local gallery.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy Franz Josef Glacier; weather permitting, to get up onto the bluest ice you can take a scenic helicopter flight and hike onto the glaciers. Maybe you’d prefer to kayak on a glacial lake; or just relax in the steamy hot springs down below.

Includes: breakfast
Franz Josef to Christchurch

Before you know it, it’s your last day. After breakfast you'll head further along the beautiful west coast on another of the most spectacular drives in the country: a rugged, primeval landscape of luxuriant rainforest juxtaposed against breathtaking beach and ocean waves.

You'll stop at Hokitika and visit a greenstone factory, a great place to stock up on souvenirs for your friends and family back home. Time permitting, you 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, you'll traverse the South Island on the stunning TranzAlpine Train Crossing. Travelling across the Southern Alps through Arthur’s Pass, you'll arrive in Christchurch around 6.30pm before transferring to your accommodation.

Includes: breakfast
Christchurch

Today is the final day of the tour, where we exchange photos and stories over breakfast before saying our goodbyes and parting ways.

Includes: breakfast

Upcoming departures

Departing Returning    
26 Oct 2020 4 Nov 2020 Enquire
6 Nov 2020 15 Nov 2020 Enquire
16 Nov 2020 25 Nov 2020 Enquire
23 Nov 2020 2 Dec 2020 Enquire
27 Nov 2020 6 Dec 2020 Enquire
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25 Dec 2020 3 Jan 2021 Enquire
28 Dec 2020 6 Jan 2021 Enquire
4 Jan 2021 13 Jan 2021 Enquire
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2 Apr 2021 11 Apr 2021 Enquire
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Where to stay

Sample accommodation suggested by our New Zealand experts.

All accommodation is in twin-share 3/4 star accommodation, upgrades to private rooms available on request.

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Rainforest Retreat
Superior

Rainforest Retreat

Rainforest Retreat is a unique destination with varied options to suit the budgets and needs of all travellers...

Tour inclusions

Get in touch now for more details

Included Accommodation

All accommodation is included on this trip.

Included Some meals

Six breakfasts and two dinners are included on this trip.

Included Guided excursions

All tours include a passionate Kiwi guide.

Testimonials

What people are saying about Haka Tours

K
Kristina
24/09/2020

Don't give it a second thought — visit New Zealand and sign up for a Haka Tour! I just got back from the South Island Haka tour and definitely have to say it was one of the best vacations ever. The trip was entirely stress-free and fun, every city we visited was amazing, scenery unbeatable, accommodation was clean and nice and I made lifelong friends that I hope to travel with again in the future. Worth every penny!

W
Wade
24/09/2020

Best tour ever! Did the Amplified New Zealand Tour from Auckland to Christchurch. It was an amazing experience from front to back, enabled by the flexibility and experience of Andy advising where and when to do activities. Would absolutely recommend this as a great way to see and experience New Zealand quickly!

H
Helena Anne
24/09/2020

Amazing trip last week with Haka Tours. Perfectly paced and flawlessly organised thanks to Andy. Nice size group, good accommodation and long drives were never frustrating. It's lovely to be on an organised tour and still have independence. Very impressed with Haka, I'll certainly be back to explore the North island!

Days

10

From only

NZ$3,324 pp

This tour is operated by Haka Tours
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