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Fantail Tour: 14 days, 13 nights

Starts & ends in Picton (optional Wellington or Christchurch start & finish). Select departure date and make it happen.

From: NZ$2,395

Fantail Tour: 14 days, 13 nights

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Advantages of a Stray Tour

Dorm-style accommodation is included. Upgrades are available.

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We'll do the driving. You'll travel by private, air-conditioned bus.

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Charismatic Stray Guide: expect tips, support & insider knowledge

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From: NZ$2,395

Starts & ends in Picton (optional Wellington or Christchurch start & finish). Select departure date and make it happen.

Optional start/finish in:

Upgrade: double/twin room

Upgrade can only be added if you are travelling with a companion. Make sure to select 2 travellers!

Only a 10% deposit is needed to secure your seat

Money-back guarantee: you'll get a full refund if the tour doesn't go ahead.

Flexibility: no fee to make changes
Swap tours or change dates. Easy as!

Easy payment: pay only 10% now
Remaining 90% before departure date.

Description

The cheeky little fantail is your reliable companion for the South Island. She’ll have you fanning around the South Island highlights in a loop, showing off her favourite foraging spots. From the golden sands of Abel Tasman National Park to the West Coast’s glaciers and rainforests, the wildlife wonderland of Kaikoura and the party capital of Queenstown, she’s not shy of a good time!

Option to start/finish Wellington

Sail the Cook Strait from Wellington to Picton (and back again at the end of your tour). Select this option from the dropdown when booking.

Option to start/finish Christchurch

If you’d like to start your tour from Christchurch, we can help you to book transport to Picton either via Public Bus or via the magnificent Coastal Explorer Train (please note that the scenic train is only available during the Summer Months Dec-Apr). Select one of these options when booking your Stray tour online.

Itinerary of the Fantail Tour

Day 1: Picton to Marahau (Abel Tasman)

We depart Picton around midday from Picton Villa, before setting off through the picturesque Marlborough region where we'll stop to sample what the region is most famous for: Sauvignon Blanc wine! Then it's onwards to Marahau, situated right on the edge of the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park.

Accommodation: The Barn, waterfront accommodation

Day 2: Marahau (Abel Tasman)

Count yourself lucky - you have a full day to explore New Zealand’s most popular national park. From our accommodation you can hike straight into the park (no water taxi required!). It’s a cool 12kms to Anchorage and you’ll see the park’s natural golden sand beaches and brilliant blue waters along the way. The walk is approx. 4 hours each way but there’s enough photo stops en-route to spend an entire day exploring. Enjoy a picnic on the beach before checking out Cleopatra’s Pools, moss-lined freshwater pools with a natural water slide.

Accommodation: The Barn, waterfront accommodation

Day 3: Marahau (Abel Tasman) to Franz Josef

Buckle up for an awesome day driving down the incredibly scenic ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its untamed beaches and spectacular rainforest. Through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road named one of the top drives in the world by Lonely Planet, there’s not much cell phone reception but you are NOT gonna need it – we dare you to peel your eyes away from the window for even just a second. We’ll stop at Cape Foulwind and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blow holes to explore this unique part of coastline before continuing on to the quaint township of Franz Josef, set amongst the rainforest.

Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat

Day 4: Franz Josef

Ice, ice baby! Get ready to experience the Franz Josef Glacier, an iconic highlight of the West Coast. Take a short drive to the beginning of the track. Hike through native bush and across glacial streams to the terminal face of the glacier for spectacular photos or just hang out at the Retreat and relax in one of NZ’s largest spa pools.

Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat

Day 5: Franz josef to Wanaka (via Fox Glacier)

It’s another scenic journey today with plenty of photo stops – your Mum isn’t gonna be the only one who thinks your travel photos are world-class! First up is the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson for a short walk. We travel inland through the mountainous Haast Pass and alongside beautiful Lake Hawea to arrive in Wanaka late afternoon. It’s the perfect time to get your own photo of the famous Wanaka Tree set against a sunset backdrop. Dreamy!

Accommodation: Central Wanaka hostel

Day 6: Wanaka to Queenstown

Kick start your day with a brisk walk up Mt Iron or have a sleep in (we know they’re necessary sometimes!). Mid-morning we’ll make our way to Queenstown, known in New Zealand as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ and the spiritual home of bungy jumping. We stop at Kawarau Bridge on our way into town a.k.a. the first commercial bungy jumping site in the world. If you’re feeling brave you can tick the bungy off your bucket list or if you’d prefer to just watch then you can cheer your mates on from the viewing platform!

Accommodation: Central Queenstown hostel

Day 7-8-9: Queenstown (3 days)

Yaaaasssss Queen(stown)! You’ve got 3 full days in the adventure capital. With a buzzy nightlife, beautiful mountain scenery and plenty of outdoor activities, it’s easy to understand why so many backpackers refuse to leave this place.

Accommodation: Central Queenstown hostel

Day 10: Queenstown to Tekapo

Depart Queenstown to drive over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past the vivid blue waters of Lake Pukaki. Our final destination of the day is Lake Tekapo. The Lake is a stunning electric blue and is framed by the Southern Alps. See the famous Church of the Good Shepherd, a quaint stone church right on the edge of the lake or hike up to the Mount John Observatory to see the incredible views.

Accommodation: YHA Tekapo (probably the most amazing hostel in the YHA range)

Day 11: Tekapo

This morning we’ll make our way to take in the stunning views of Aoraki Mount Cook. While you’re there you can hike the scenic Hooker Valley Track or head to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. This evening, why not head to the Tekapo Hot Springs - they're the perfect place to relax and soak up the scenery. If skies are clear tonight, be sure to head outside to experience one of the best stargazing spots in the country.

Accommodation: YHA Tekapo (probably the most amazing hostel in the YHA range)

Day 12: Tekapo to Christchurch

Our next stop is the Garden City of Christchurch, a city where old meets new, as the rebuild continues following the devastating 2011 earthquake.

Spend your afternoon wandering the city streets and laneways to discover creative street art and hidden eateries. See how Christchurch earned its nickname as the Garden City by visiting the Botanic Gardens. Take a walk to see the ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral and the earthquake memorial of 185 White Chairs.

Accommodation: All Stars Inn

Day 13: Christchurch to Kaikoura

Wakey wakey! We’ve got an early morning start for a beautiful drive up the coast to Kaikoura. Arriving in Kaikoura around midday, you will have the afternoon free to explore. See the Kekeno (NZ fur seal) colony near Goose Bay and hike around the peninsula to check out the breathtaking views from the lookout. You’re likely to see sea birds, seals and maybe even whales or dolphins if you’re lucky!

 Accommodation: Warm modern hostel

Day 14: Kaikoura to Picton

This morning we’ll hop on the bus and wind our way up the coastal roads towards the top of the South Island back to Picton where your trip comes to an end. We hope you had an incredible adventure!

See where the Fantail Tour will take you

Route map of the Stray Fantail NZ Tour

Free activities

There are so many amazing free activities to do on our Fantail Tour!

  • Day 1: Mussel tasting, stargazing
  • Day 2: Hike in the national park, relax on the golden sand beaches, see Cleopatra’s Pools
  • Day 3: Cape Foulwind, Buller Gorge, Pancake Rocks and blowholes, Hokitika
  • Day 4: Glacier hike, bush tracks, soak in the spa
  • Day 5: Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thunder Creek Falls walk
  • Day 6: Walk Mt Iron, watch people jumping off a bridge!
  • Day 7-8-9: Hike Ben Lomond, the Queenstown Hill, or Bob’s Peak
  • Day 10: Church of the Good Shepard, Hike to Mt John Observatory
  • Day 11: Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, Hooker Valley Track, stargazing
  • Day 12: Explore Christchurch on foot, check out Cathedral Square (and the progress of the cathedral restoration) and inner-city street art, Riverside Market, Botanic Gardens, and Canterbury Museum.
  • Day 13: Visit a fur seal colony, walk around the peninsula and up to the lookout
  • Day 14: Perfect moment to start sorting/editing your photos or to update your social channels on the way back to Picton.

Accommodation

Dorm-style accommodation (4-10 beds) is included. You’ll stay in comfortable backpacker hostels, cabins and lodges. All accommodation facilities have self-catering kitchen facilities.

You can choose to upgrade your accommodation to a single or twin/double private room (subject to availability) when booking the Morepork Tour online. Prices for these paid upgrades are shown when you make the booking. Please note: At some destinations, your private room will include an ensuite bathroom and at some, it won’t.

Private Coach Transport

Take the pressure off, kick back, relax, soak up the scenery and let someone else do the driving. You’ll travel by private, air-conditioned bus.

Stray Guide

Expect entertaining anecdotes, great recommendations, extra support and local insider knowledge from your charismatic guide. They know every inch of this country. You can’t get this from a google search!

Lots of free activities along the way

At each stop, there are various free activities to do, from hikes to experiencing our unique flora & fauna. Make sure the batteries of your camera are charged so you can make heaps of Insta-worthy photos.

Meals & drinks (not included)

All accommodation facilities have self-catering kitchen facilities.

Optional paid activities

Your Stray driver can book these for you, often at a discounted price. Examples of paid optional activities:

  • Shuttle to the hiking track
  • Puzzling World
  • Skydiving
  • Mountain biking
  • Pilot your own stunt plane or learn to fly and take a friend for free
  • Bungy jumping
  • Canyon swing
  • Jet boating
  • Skydiving
  • Zipline
  • Horse riding
  • Hot Springs
  • Ice Skating
  • Snow tubing

Amazing views on this tour

Book your Stray Tour with confidence

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