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South Island Bus Pass: 12 + Days

This South Island hop on, hop off bus pass allows you to travel in a clockwise loop from Christchurch in a minimum of 12 days. It’s great value, and gets you to New Zealand’s South Island’s most epic spots.  

Spend time in Queenstown – The Adventure Capital, on the West Coast, at the base of New Zealand’s highest peak and and in the seaside town of Kaikoura. Your pass gets you a driver guide who will ensure you see the best bits of the South Island.

This is similar to the Ultimate South Island Bus Pass, however it doesn't include transportation to Milford Sound or Invercargill. You can still choose to do a day trip to Milford Sound with your Free Day in Queenstown. 

Highlights

  • ON SALE! Book this pass by 28 February 2018 and SAVE. Or add on a Deep South Bus Pass at half price!
  • Explore Aoraki Mt Cook Village at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain.
  • Spend time in Queenstown – New Zealand’s self-proclaimed adventure capital
  • Chill out or ride your mountain bike in Picton – a beautiful often overlooked seaside town
  • Go for a hike or a kayak trip in Abel Tasman National Park 
  • Search for Whales in Kaikoura

What's Included

  • Knowledgable driver-guide who will help get you around the country and tell you everything you need to know about New Zealand. 
  • Accommodation guaranteed along the route, no need to book in advance (extra cost). More details here
  • Questions? Check out our FAQ or Contact Us

Important Notes

Alternative Itinerary:

We are returning to an overnight stop in Kaikoura from 2nd January 2018. However, on the dates listed below, we will overnight in Picton instead of Kaikoura.

  • January: 7, 28, 29, 30
  • February: 5, 6, 7
  • March: 2, 4, 5

On these dates, we will travel via Kaikoura, stopping for lunch, and then continue up the coast to Picton. Passengers who are able to secure their own accommodation in Kaikoura on these dates are welcome to hop off and join the next available bus.

MAIN ROUTE:  Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton

ALTERNATIVE: Christchurch > Picton (via Kaikoura) > Picton - Free Day

Book Now

WAS: $775 NZD
NOW: $599 NZD

Number of Days 12

Starts: Christchurch Finishes: Christchurch

Tour Type: Hop on Hop Off Bus Pass

DEPARTS FROM Christchurch ON

January 01, 2018 - February 28, 2018: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday
March 01, 2018 - April 30, 2018: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday
May 01, 2018 - September 30, 2018: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
Tour Itinerary EXPAND ALL

We stop briefly to do pick-ups and drop-offs at the Christchurch International Airport as we depart early this morning for a stunning drive to Kaikoura. Leaving the Canterbury plains, you’ll soon be beside the mighty Pacific Ocean – potentially passing seals just on the rocks beside the road and with dolphins playing in the sea. You have the afternoon to explore Kaikoura or head out on a Whale Watching Tour (recommended!). 

Alternative Itinerary:

We are returning to an overnight stop in Kaikoura from 2nd January 2018. However, on the dates listed below, we will overnight in Picton instead of Kaikoura.

  • January: 7, 28, 29, 30
  • February: 5, 6, 7
  • March: 2, 4, 5

On these dates, we will travel via Kaikoura, stopping for lunch, and then continue up the coast to Picton. Passengers who are able to secure their own accommodation in Kaikoura on these dates are welcome to hop off and join the next available bus.

ACCOMODATION

Warm modern hostel. 

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Walk around the peninsula and up to the lookout.

Paid Activities: Whale watching, swim with dolphins (pre-booking is advised in summer for dolphin swimming). Go fishing and eat your spoils or try the amazing fresh fish and chips!

Leaving Kaikoura in the morning, we wind our way up the rugged coastal roads with stops for photos and a seal colony. Tonight we stay in the port town of Picton.

ACCOMODATION

Cosy villa (Picton).

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Seal colony; Queen Charlotte Sound view walk, mountain biking, fishing or relax in the spa at our accommodation (Picton).

Paid Activities: Vineyard tour (Picton). 

You’ll be picked up from your hostel at 11.45am. We cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and coastal town of Nelson before heading onto Motueka and our amazing night stop Marahau on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park.

ACCOMODATION

Accommodation on the edge of National Park.

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Swim, walk, mussel tasting around the fire.

Paid Activities: Wine tasting, skydiving, pilot your own stunt plane!

 

You have the day at leisure to explore this coastal national park. Abel Tas (as the locals call it) is famous for being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand and for its natural golden sand beaches. It’s a great place to hop off and explore via kayak, water taxi or go for a walk. 

ACCOMODATION

Accommodation on the edge of the National Park.

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Walk in the national park or just relax on one of the golden sand beaches!

Paid Activities: Skydiving, guided kayaking, canyoning, sailing trip. 

This morning you get the chance to get involved and give something back by participating in our Tree Planting Project. Become an eco-warrior, get soil under your finger nails and plant a tree with the Otuwhero Wetland Trust. This is a fantastic opportunity to create life-long memories of your time in New Zealand, and you can come back and visit your tree in years to come!

Today we head south towards the ‘wild’ West Coast passing through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was recently rated one of the top ten drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We stop at Cape Foulwind to visit the seal colony and then head for the historic coal mining town, Westport. The sunset from our accommodation tonight is a must if the weather is clear!

ACCOMODATION

Charming character villa in the centre of town

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Westport seal colony, West Coast sunset, Truman Track walk.

Paid Activities: Surfing, horse riding, jet boating, caving. 

An early start takes us down the rugged West Coast to the spectacular Punakaiki limestone pancake rocks and blowholes. We’ll stop to take a short walk and grab refreshments at the café before we head for the historic gold mining town, Greymouth. We do pick-ups in Greymouth and make stops in Hokitika, before heading to the quaint little town of Franz Josef – home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. 

ACCOMODATION

Lodge in the middle of the rainforest

SIGHTS

Optional Activities: Bone carving and jade carving

Free Activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks and the mighty blowholes; walk along the beach.

Today is yours to explore Franz Josef. Most choose to go on a guided trip of the EPIC Franz Josef Glacier. 

ACCOMODATION

Lodge surrounded by the rainforest. 

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Explore the village, go for a hike.

Paid Activities: Franz Josef Glacier Hike, quad biking, scenic flights. 

We depart in the morning stopping for hostel pick-ups at Fox Glacier before heading for the amazing mirror Lake Matheson. Today we cross the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora towards Wanaka. We’ll pass by the beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka late-afternoon in time to enjoy this picturesque lakeside town.  

ACCOMODATION

Central hostel.

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Stunning views on the way to Wanaka, Blue Pools walk, Thundercreek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.

We depart around mid-morning, giving you time to check out amazing views of the lake either by skydiving or taking a walk up Mt Iron! Then we’re off to Queenstown – the Adventure Capital of the World. 

ACCOMODATION

Central Hostel. 

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Watch people bungy jump, go for a hike.

Paid Activities: Bungy jump, skydiving, jet boat tour. 

Today is yours to explore Queenstown, or partake in one of dozens of adventure activities. Stick around Queenstown for as long as you like, there’s plenty to do. 

ACCOMODATION

Central Hostel. 

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Walk up Queenstown Hill, check out the Resort Town’s great views.

Paid Activities: Too many too list! Adventure activities galore, Lord of the Rings Tours, Wine tastings. 

Today it’s off over the Lindis Pass en route for New Zealand’s highest peak. We arrive in the early afternoon with time to do a Mt. Cook 4WD and Argo Tour, check out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine centre or do one of the many great short walks in the park. 

ACCOMODATION

Stunning alpine lodge inside the National Park. 

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Take photos of stunning scenery.

Paid Activities: Cruise on a lake filled with iceburgs. Scenic flights. 

Leaving Mt Cook we make our way through a landscape made famous in the 'Lord of the Rings' films. We make a stop at turquoise Lake Tekapo before heading on to Geraldine, where we will drop off   the thrill seekers wanting to raft the top notch Grade 5 white water on the Rangitata River. Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch for a mid-afternoon arrival, giving you time to explore parts of the South Island’s largest city. 

ACCOMODATION

Purpose built backpackers near the city centre

SIGHTS

Free activities: Take photos of stunning scenery, go for a walk around central Christchurch

Paid activities: Rangitata River rafting (late September – late March only).

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