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12-Day Ultimate Family Adventure in the South Island NZ

12-Day Ultimate Family Adventure in the South Island NZ

Imagine a summer filled with thrilling and unforgettable moments. We will meticulously handle every aspect of your journey, allowing you and your family to fully immerse yourselves in exploring the South Islands' most picturesque locations on an exhilarating outdoor adventure. New Zealand, renowned for its safety standards, is the perfect destination for your family vacation. Your family's well-being is our top priority, ensuring a worry-free and secure holiday.

This journey is crafted to be enjoyable and mildly challenging for the young (ages 13 and above) and the young at heart. The pace is adjustable, allowing us to ramp it up for the more energetic travellers or customize an experience for younger children. The Ultimate South Island Tour is ideal for active individuals seeking to discover the best of New Zealand in 12 action-packed days, all while minimizing the driving component. 

Day 1: Christchurch arrival – Kaikoura
  • The picturesque coastal town of Kaikōura is the perfect place for marine life encounters, coastal walks, and tucking into a plate of crayfish. Kaikōura's environment is spectacular – the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikōura Range and the Pacific Ocean.  

  • Kaikōura's unique talent is marine mammal encounters—whales, fur seals, and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters. Choose swimming with Dolphin Encounter, an unforgettable experience in one of New Zealand's most breathtaking destinations. The local seal colony is always entertaining.
  • See beautiful Kaikōura from a unique perspective. Our five giant ziplines, covering o, offer breathtaking sea and mountain views and are perfect for adventure and nature lovers of all ages and abilities.
Day 2: Kaikoura - Marlborough - Abel Tasman National Park (2 nights)
  • Marlborough is the largest wine-growing region and home to the world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc. Take a wine/food tour or explore the Marlborough Sounds.

  • One of the sunniest cities in New Zealand, Nelson is the perfect spot to base yourself while you explore the Abel Tasman National Park.

  • Nelson Tasman is truly a cyclist’s paradise. Whether looking for a scenic coastal trail or rugged mountain terrain, a leisurely morning ride or a challenging afternoon on the track, we guarantee you’ll find a trail to match your needs here. 
Day 3: Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park
  • Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand's smallest national park, is an easily accessible coastal paradise, perfectly formed for relaxation and adventure.

  • One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is the perfect way to explore the unmatchable beauty of the Abel Tasman National Park. Or: Sea kayak from the lodge along the coast of the National Park and into a Marine Reserve

  • At Kaiteretere Beach, Waka Abel Tasman will offer you an on-the-water experience like no other, showcasing one of the most beautiful coasts in Aotearoa. A cultural experience like no other, share karakia (chants) and different rituals of engagement that demonstrate the close bonds between Māori and the natural WWorld.
DaWorldAbel Tasman – West Coast /Punakaiki
  • Take an exhilarating rafting trip through the granite gorges of the Buller River. This is New Zealand rafting at its best. In the whitewater capital of Murchison, we have access to rivers that cover all grades of river adventures, including the famous Buller River. 

  • Hike in Paparoa National Park among impressive limestone formations. Gaze in wonder at the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes, where water columns shoot skyward from rocks resembling giant stacks of hotcakes.
Day 5: West Coast - Franz Josef or Fox Glacier (2 nights)
  • Experience a Cave Rafting adventure like no other – with spectacular formations, water-sculpted canyons and one of the World’s world displays. Halfway between Punakaiki and Westport, in the spectacular Paparoa National Park, lies the untouched Gloworm Metro / Te Ananui cave. It is your gateway to the memories of a lifetime with the award-winning Underworld Rafting.

  • On New Zealand's west coast of the South Island, the West Coast region is a wild place of rivers, rainforests, glaciers, and geological treasures. Enjoy coastal scenery and glaciers, or explore natural rivers and mountains on the West Coast.
Day 6: Franz Josef or Fox Glacier
  • Two nights in Franz Josef Glacier in Westland National Park allow you to spend a whole day exploring the area, with an optional heli hike high up on the glacier and a scenic heli flight over the glaciers.

  • Choose the 5 Sunset Kayak Classic option for a unique evening adventure. Whether in the evening, light or sunset, this serene kayak tour promises an unforgettable experience. Or: Embark on a Scenic Cruise with an added walk on our exclusive rainforest track! Journey across Lake Mapourika, where you’ll enjoy exclusive access to our private rainforest trail through the captivating Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary. Stepping off the boat, you’ll be transported into a Jurassic rainforest, like entering another world!

Day 7: Franz Josef – Lake Wanaka or Queenstown (3 nights)
  • Wander through beautiful native forests and over a swing bridge to experience the pristine waters of Makarora River's Blue Pools.

  • Lake Hawea is an easy, scenic, short drive from Wanaka to Makarora and the West Coast. It is a place of vivid beauty and mountainous extremes.

  • For big adventures, check out Mount Aspiring National Park. Its natural environment features polished chutes, waterfalls, and pools—a perfect setting for epic canyoning.
Day 8: Wanaka/Queenstown
  • Wānaka has the buzz of a genuine alpine town and is the ultimate hub for outdoor adventures. Mount Aspiring National Park is located nearby and is the perfect destination for exploring the Southern Alps.

  • Come with us on the most exciting half-day jet boating adventure in New Zealand, beneath the spectacular scenery of Glaciers & Lord of the Rings film locations, and into Mount Aspiring National Park, part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.

  • Climb the world’s highest mountain. You can climb for big adventures and join experienced guides on one of Wildwire’s tours. With three levels of Waterfall Climbing and our New Climb & Canyon Tour to choose from - there is something for every adventurer. 
Day 10: Wanaka/Queenstown - Milford Sounds
  • Venture on a breathtaking, scenic flight to Milford Sounds, part of Fiordland National Park, one of New Zealand's iconic sceneries, and internationally recognised as part of the wider World Heritage side.

  • Join a boutique small boat cruise and experience Milford Sound the local way. The smaller size of the vessel enables you to get up close and personal with the local wildlife, like New Zealand fur seals, dolphins and the very rare Fiordland crested penguin (spring/early summer).

  • A popular holiday spot at any time of the year, Queenstown is renowned for its four distinctive seasons. Take a scenic ride in the iconic Skyline Gondola and enjoy the stunning views as you ride the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere. The Skyline Queenstown Luge is a thrilling gravity-fueled ride for all ages and abilities and one of the top things to do in Queenstown.
Day 11: Wanaka – Mt Cook/Lake Tekapo 
  • The Clay Cliffs are a stark sight—tall pinnacles separated by narrow ravines. These otherworldly formations are made up of layers of gravel and silt, initially formed by the flow from ancient glaciers over a million years ago. You can also explore the beautiful Mackenzie and Waitaki by bike.

  • Lake Pukaki, a shimmering blue jewel set against a backdrop of Aoraki/Mt Cook, gets its distinctive deep blue tones from finely ground minerals carried in the glacier-fed waters.

  • One of the most popular walks in Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park. Pass through Hooker Valley and walk beside the Hooker River.

  • Enjoy an exclusive stargazing tour of the night. Dark, clear skies, unique celestial features and otherworldly landscapes make stargazing in New Zealand a breathtakingly magical experience.
Day 12: Mt Cook/Tekapo - Return to Christchurch
  • Lake Tekapo / Takapō is about an hour's drive southwest of Christchurch in the Mackenzie Basin. The township faces north across the remarkable turquoise-coloured lake of the Southern Alps.

    OUR Selection of Luxury Stays
Plan Your Tour


The itinerary will be 100% tailored to your interest and budget.
A personal and experienced driver-guide will make your trip seamless.
Get close to some "real local" New Zealanders and our culture and lifestyle.
Experience some of the best local activities in New Zealand.

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