Takahe Tour: 11 days, 10 nights

Starts in Christchurch, ends in Christchurch. The perfect South Island tour for travellers that want to see & do more in 11 days. Explore the South Island.

From: NZ$2,795

Takahe Tour: 11 days, 10 nights

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Advantages of a Stray Tour

Comfy 3-4 star hotels for most of the nights; high country farm or scenic lodge(s) close to the waterfront or national park in our unique destinations.

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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$2,795

Starts in Christchurch, ends in Christchurch. The perfect South Island tour for travellers that want to see & do more in 11 days. Explore the South Island.

Alternative start locations

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Description

Takahe tour logoThe big birdie Takahe is your reliable companion for the South Island. She’ll have you fanning round 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 party and adventure capital of Queenstown, to the “Roof of Aotearoa” Mt Cook National Park, she’s not shy of a good time!

Option to start from Wellington/Picton: Sail the Cook Strait and start your Stray South Island adventure from Wellington or Picton, then travel one way and finish in Christchurch.

Christchurch Intercity Bus Departure Info

7:30 am, outside Bus Interchange on Lichfield Street, near Colombo Street

Subject to change. Please be ready at the pickup 15 minutes prior to the departure.

Day 1: Christchurch to Marahau (Abel Tasman)

Kia Ora (hello) and welcome to Christchurch, where you’ll begin and end your tour. Depart early this morning aboard a public bus service (unguided) to Picton where you’ll meet your Stray Guide and group. We’ll depart from the Picton Villa around and set off through the picturesque Marlborough region.

We’ll continue through to Marahau, situated right on the edge of the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park where we’ll spend our evening relaxing around the campfire and looking at the stars.

 Accommodation: The Barn or similar

 Meal Options: We’ll stop at a supermarket to stock up on supplies - Self-cater or join the optional group dinner

 Meals Included: Breakfast

 Included activities: TranzAlpine Scenic Train

 Free activities: Stargazing

Day 2: Marahau (Abel Tasman) - Free Day

Today is a full free day to explore New Zealand’s most popular national park. From our accommodation, we can hike straight into the park (no water taxi required) and then it’s a cool 12kms to Anchorage.

The walk is absolutely beautiful with the park’s natural golden sand beaches and brilliant blue waters visible throughout. The walk is approx. 4 hours each way but there are enough photo stops en route to spend an entire day exploring, checking out Cleopatra’s Pools (yes there’s a natural water slide there), enjoying a picnic on the beach, relaxing in the sunshine - the world is our oyster.

 Accommodation: The Barn or similar

 Meal Options: Pack a picnic lunch and lots of snacks for your hike, Self-cater in the kitchen or use the BBQs

 Meals Included: Breakfast

 Optional paid activities: Kayaking, water taxi, canyoning

 Free activities: Hike in the national park, relax on the golden sand beaches, see Cleopatra’s Pools

Day 3: Marahau (Abel Tasman) to Hokitika

We’re buckling up for an awesome day driving down the incredibly scenic ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its untamed beaches and masses of lush 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 we’re not going to need it.

This road offers views for days and we won't want to stop looking out the window for a second. We’ll stop at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes to explore this unique part of the coastline before continuing on to the vibrant, artistic township of Hokitika.

Our accommodation tonight is absolute beachfront, located on the shores of the Tasman Sea. Treat yourself to some dinner in their Ocean View restaurant or go for a walk and explore Hokitika.

 Accommodation: Hokitika Beachfront Hotel or similar

 Meal Options: Local eateries

 Included activities: TranzAlpine Scenic Train

 Free activities: Head down to Hokitika Beach for sunset

Day 4: Hokitika to Franz Josef

It’s a short drive today towards the quaint village of Franz Josef. The scenery will change from a serene coastline to dramatic, lush rainforest. We’ll get to Franz Josef around lunchtime so you’ll have the rest of the day to explore the town or relax at your accommodation.

 Accommodation: Franz Josef Motels or similar

 Meal Options: Local restaurants

 Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5: Franz Josef Glacier - free day

Ice, ice baby! Get ready to experience Fox 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 relax in the township and enjoy the views.

 Accommodation: Franz Josef Motels or similar

 Optional paid activities: Shuttle to the track

 Meal Options: Local restaurants

 Meals Included: Breakfast

 Glacier hike, bush tracks

Day 6: Franz josef to Queenstown

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: Mercure Queenstown or similar

 Optional paid activities: Puzzling World, skydiving, pilot your own stunt plane or learn to fly and take a friend for free, bungy jump or swing

 Meal Options: Local restaurants and cafes

 Meals Included: Breakfast

 Free activities: Mt Iron Walk, watch people jumping off a bridge!

Day 7: Queenstown - free day #1

Today you’ll hop aboard a Coach which will take you to the stunning Milford Sound. You’ll take a Cruise across this impressive Sound and see towering Mitre Peak, plus rainforests and waterfalls as well as spotting some amazing wildlife like Fur Seals, Penguins and Dolphins.

Once you’ve snapped as many pics as you possibly can, it’s back to Queenstown. We recommend checking out the buzzy nightlife and many restaurants Queenstown has to offer.

 Accommodation: Mercure Queenstown or similar

 Meal Options: Local restaurants

 Meals Included: Breakfast

 Free activities: Hike Ben Lomond, the Queenstown Hill, or Bob’s Peak

 Included activity: Milford Sound Day Cruise

Day 8: Queenstown - free day #2

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

 Accommodation: Mercure Queenstown or similar

 Optional paid activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jet boating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…)

 Meal Options: Local restaurants

 Meals Included: Breakfast

 Free activities: Hike Ben Lomond, the Queenstown Hill, or Bob’s Peak

Day 9: Queenstown to Mount Cook

Depart Queenstown early to drive over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past the vivid blue waters of Lake Pukaki on the way to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook.

We arrive in the early afternoon with time to do an optional experience like a 4WD & Argo Tour or a boat tour on a glacial lake surrounded by snow-capped alps and views of the gigantic Tasman Glacier Ice wall. Alternatively, you can check out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre or do one of the many great short walks in the park.

If it’s a clear night, make sure you head outside to experience one of the best stargazing spots in the country. There are some incredible longer walks to do if you want to hop off the bus for a few days (we’d recommend you leave climbing Mt Cook to the experienced mountaineers though).

 Accommodation: Stunning alpine lodge

 Optional paid activities: Alpine Argo tour, visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, Glacier Explorer boat tour

 Meal Options: We’ll stop at a supermarket to stock up on supplies - Self-cater or join the optional group dinner

 Meals Included: Breakfast

 Free activities: Alpine Argo tour, visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, Glacier Explorer boat tour

Day 10: Mount Cook to Christchurch

Leaving Mount Cook we make our way through a landscape made famous in the ‘Lord of the Rings films. We’ll stop to admire the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd, a famous photo stop.

Relax in the Tekapo hot pools, go snow tubing or ice skating (winter only) or hike up to the Mt John Observatory where you’ll witness stunning views of the lake from above.

After lunch, we will continue to our overnight stop in 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 intended to bring cheer and colour to a city once buried in the rubble.

On arrival in Christchurch, we’ll make our way to the Ibis hotel which is our accommodation for the evening.

 Accommodation: Ibis Christchurch or similar

 Meals Included: Breakfast

 Free activities: Hike to Tekapo Mt John Summit, check out the historic Church of Good Shepherd, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Hagley Park, street art

Day 11: Christchurch

Today your adventure comes to an end. We hope you had a blast!

If you have some time at the end of your trip, why not stay a few extra days in Christchurch and explore the city.

 Meals Included: Breakfast

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See where the Takahe Tour will take you

Map of 11 Day Takahe Tour
Map of 11 Day Takahe Tour

Free activities

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

  • Head down to Hokitika Beach for sunset
  • Glacier hike
  • Bush tracks
  • Mt Iron Walk
  • Watch people jumping off a bridge!
  • Hike Ben Lomond
  • Hike to the Queenstown Hill
  • Hike to Bob’s Peak
  • Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery
  • Do one of the many great short walks to the Hooker glacial lake (weather dependent)
  • Stargazing
  • Hike to Tekapo Mt John Summit
  • Check out the historic Church of Good Shepherd
  • Canterbury Museum
  • Christchurch Botanic Gardens
  • Hagley Park
  • See amazing street art

Accommodation

High-quality twin share rooms are included. You’ll stay in comfy 3-4 star hotels for most nights and high country farms or scenic lodges close to the waterfront or national park in our unique destinations. Hotel rooms are ensuite, while shared facilities are in Stradmark places.

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!

Milford Sound Cruise

On this tour, you’ll hop aboard a cruise across this impressive Milford Sound. You’ll see Mitre Peak, rainforests and waterfalls as well as being able to spot some amazing wildlife like fur seals, penguins and dolphins.

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.

Accommodation info

You’ll stay in comfy 3-4 star hotels for most of the nights and high country farms or scenic lodges close to the waterfront or national parks in our unique destinations. Hotel rooms are ensuite, while shared facilities are in Stradmark places. Upgrade to solo occupancy can be booked online but are subject to availability.

Please note: At some destinations, such as Lake Aniwhneua, Blue Duck Station or Marahau (Abel Tasman National Park), your private rooms may not be with ensuite, but shared bathroom or kitchen facilities.

Optional paid activities

All optional paid activities mentioned in the itinerary can be booked via your Stray driver, often at a discounted price.

Amazing views on this tour

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