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Ultimate South Island Bus Pass

This Ultimate South Island hop on, hop off bus pass allows you to travel in a clockwise loop from Christchurch to each and every corner of the South Island. This is similar to the South Island Bus pass, except you’ll get to go to Milford Sound and Invercargill (where you can hop a ferry to Stewart Island – the very south Island!).  

With this pass you’ll get to spend time in Queenstown – The Adventure Capital, the West Coast (home of the famous glaciers), and time in the seaside Abel Tasman National Park. Your pass gets you a driver guide who will ensure you see the best bits of the South Island and helps you book accommodation along the way. 

This is similar to the South Island Bus Pass, however this one also includes transportation to Milford Sound and Invercargill, where you can catch a ferry to Stewart Island (extra cost, but well worth it!). 

Highlights

  • ON SALE! Book this pass by 2 July 2018 and SAVE!
  • Head to Milford Sound – one of New Zealand’s great wonders
  • 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
  • Go for a hike or a kayak trip in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Travel down the "Wild West" Coast

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. 
  • All transportation.
  • Guaranteed accommodation along the way, 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: $895 NZD
NOW: $629 NZD

Number of Days 15

Starts: Christchurch Finishes: Christchurch

Tour Type: Hop on Hop Off Bus Pass

DEPARTS FROM Christchurch ON

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. 

It’s an early start as we head towards breathtaking Milford Sound. This morning there is time to do the Milford Sound cruise, before we head for our unique overnight stop, Gunn’s Camp. Located in the solitude of Hollyford Valley (and one of our top rated overnight stops), enjoy an evening under the stars, spot glow-worms and listen out for Kiwi bird calls. 

ACCOMODATION

Historic camp on the edge of the Hollyford Track in the heart of Fiordland National Park. 

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Humbolt Falls walk, visit the historic museum.

Paid Activities: Milford Sound Cruise. 

We start the morning with a short riverside stroll through beech forest on the Viewing Gantry walk. This afternoon we travel further South to Invercargill, next stop Stewart Island! Stewart Island has an abundance of activities such as fishing, kayaking, diving, bird watching and tramping tracks. There are also options for those not going to Stewart Island to stay in Invercargill. 

ACCOMODATION

Central hostel.

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Walks, enjoy Gunn’s Camp.

Paid Activities: Ata Whenua – Shadowland, incredible movie of Fiordland National Park, Te Anau Wildlife Centre.

The morning is yours to explore the island, meet the locals, go fishing or enjoy some of the walks. We catch an afternoon ferry back to the mainland. For those who chose not to venture onto Stewart Island your bus departs mid-morning to head out to Waipapa Point, Curio Bay and Porpoise Bay for some sea-lion, penguin and dolphin spotting. 

ACCOMODATION

Central Hostel. 

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Explore the Island for amazing birdlife, relax and enjoy Island life.

Paid Activities: Hire a scooter, Ulva Island for heaps of native birds, cod fishing. 

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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Reviews

1 reviews
Dawn
May 2017

Recommend the knowledgeable, friendly staff @ Planit NZ, especially Matt for assistance with choosing tour to suit my needs, time available. Also assisted with discount, payment. Other staff provided updates about the Ronn Pass ( South Island include deep South)
Thanks, really enjoyed my trip. Dawn

Trip Date: April 2017

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