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Backyard Beauties Tour

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Fully Guided Adventure Small Group
Our Price From 3,193 Per Person
 Trip Length
14 Days
 Trip Starts
Wellington
 Trip Finishes
Wellington
14 Day Backyard Beauties Tour Itinerary (Haka Tours)
Countries Explored: New Zealand
Trip Operator:
No Reviews
Budget
Affordable
Max. Group Size
16
Trip Style
Adventure
Trip Code
SIAJ

Overview

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Haka Tours 14 Day Backyard Beauties Tour. Join us on this New Zealand adventure tour for thirteen unforgettable days exploring Wellington, Christchurch, Wanaka, Abel Tasman National Park, Franz Josef Glacier, Punakaiki and Queenstown – with the option to visit Milford Sound along the way.

We have some amazing included sights and activities over your 13 day action-packed adventure holiday in New Zealand. You’ll be strolling secluded beaches, whale watching in Kaikoura, traversing jaw-dropping mountain ranges, paddling a Māori waka, staying in...read more a lush rainforest, being wowed by the stars at an International Dark Sky Reserve, admiring turquoise lakes, intriguing rock formations, blue glaciers, picturesque cities, quaint gold-rush towns and carving your own greenstone pendant – phew! So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get this adventure started!

Plus feel free to add on your choice of activities along the way to maximise your New Zealand holiday. Perhaps you yearn to take on New Zealand’s highest bungy? Step right up! Want to experience a high-speed jet-boat ride through a canyon close to where jetboating was invented? You got it! Want to hike the blue ice of a glacier after a breathtaking helicopter ride? We know the place to go! Fancy a scenic flight over two World Heritage Parks? We’ve got it covered. If paragliding has been your dream, we know where to get the best air – and dream views!

Itinerary

Packed with quirky cafes and beautiful street art, and famous for its wind, Wellington will blow you away in more ways than one! Your guide will introduce you to some of our favourite spots this morning. If there wasn't a chance yesterday we'll take a trip up Mount Victoria for the best views in town. This afternoon we say farewell to the North Island with a scenic ferry journey across the Cook Strait. The South Island has a stunning welcome in store for us – gliding through the Marlborough Sounds as we approach Picton Harbour, you'll feel like you're in another world. Our next destination, Kaikōura literally means “to eat crayfish”, and the area is teeming with them. The nutrient-rich waters of this area attract a wide variety of marine wildlife including the stars of the show – the whales and dolphins.

Included
  • Cook Strait Ferry Crossing

The chance to swim with dolphins in the wild is a massive New Zealand highlight for many travellers, and Kaikōura is one of the best places to find them, with pods of up to 300 of these playful creatures hanging out here at any one time. If you want to get up close to the giants of the ocean, a whale watching tour here is the way to do it. Humpbacks, sperm whales and orca all stop by at various times of year, so this is a great chance to meet some of them. After visiting the local seals on our way out of town, our road trip continues to our home for the night – Christchurch, known as the 'Garden City' for its peaceful parklands and lazy rivers.

Included
  • Visit a seal colony
  • Whale Watching

This morning we'll explore iconic downtown Christchurch and your guide will show you the cool and creative ways the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here. Christchurch folk are an innovative and creative bunch – the Transitional Cathedral, created from cardboard, is totally inspirational. After lunch we leave the city behind and head for . The lake's breathtaking turquoise colour and mountain backdrop is a photographer's dream come true. The tiny Church of the Good Shepherd stands right at the water's edge, proving that small is definitely beautiful. Grab some confetti and congratulate any passing brides – couples travel from all over the world for wedding shots in front of the chapel! Tekapo has been declared an International Dark Sky Reserve and the super clear skies make it the best place in New Zealand to see the stars and galaxies on a clear night. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Christchurch City Tour
  • Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Experience Tekapo's Dark Sky Reserve

This morning if you're feeling energetic, hike up to the summit of Mt John. With awesome views of the Southern Alps, you'll feel on top of the world. Speaking of views, today's scenic drive to Queenstown is a show-stopper. From the golden tussocklands of Mackenzie country – where epic battles of Return of the King were filmed – to the dramatic peaks of the Southern Alps, it's like you're driving into a postcard. We'll pause for lots of photo stops en route to give your camera a workout, including a stop at the spectacular Kawarau Gorge. This also happens to be the World Home of Bungy, give it a go or enjoy watching the jumpers scream their way through the gorge! Whether you're an adrenaline junkie, an avid hiker, wine taster or scenery lover, has something for absolutely everyone. With two nights and plenty of daylight hours here, get ready – this town certainly knows how to live life to the max!

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Hike up Mt John (optional)
  • Visit Kawarau Gorge

With a full day in Queenstown, let's work on that bucket list! There are heaps of options to choose from: paragliding over the lake, mountain bike parks and trails to die for, bungy jumping while your Haka friends cheer you on, horse riding through Lord of the Rings scenery, and swinging through a canyon are just a few of our favourites. For scenery lovers, is a must-see. Whether you fly or drive, the scenery en route is as awesome as the destination. Once on the Sound, sailing beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, you'll understand why some call it the “8th Wonder of the World”. Tonight you have around 40 bars to choose from – your guide will fill you in on their favourites – to share your adventures with your travel buddies, and party the night away.

Included
  • Breakfast

One last morning in Queenstown to work on that bucket list. What will it be today – a canyoning experience, Lord of the Rings 4x4 safari, or a jet boat ride along the Shotover River? There are so many options. You decide. After the excitement of Queenstown, this afternoon is a chance to chill. is Queenstown's slightly quieter little sister, a mere one hour drive away. On the way we'll stop in at charming Arrowtown, a historic gold rush village with heaps of old-world character. Blessed with towering peaks and a glacial blue lake, you'll soon see why Wanaka's considered to be one of New Zealand's most beautiful mountain towns. There are stunning hikes and bike rides all around for a welcome chance to relax.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Visit Arrowtown – a charming and historic gold rush village

This morning is about exploring Wanaka. How, exactly, is up to you! Optional activities include a flying lesson, skydiving, a bike tour along Wanaka's lakeside, or a lake cruise and nature walk on Mou Waho Island. If none of those appeal, there are lots of scenic short walks in the area - including a visit to #thatwanakatree. Talk to your guide for the best options. The journey to Franz is another stunner – many of our Haka Guides rate it as their favourite drive in New Zealand. As we hit the road, we'll stop at one of our favourite lakeside lookout points at Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka. Your guide will keep an eye on the weather and pick the best option. From the cascading waterfalls of Haast Pass to classic Kiwi coastal views, you won't want to nap on the bus in case you miss anything. Your guide will have some epic surprise photo stops and short walks along the way. We roll into Franz Josef around late afternoon/early evening. This UNESCO World Heritage area is famous for its spectacular glacier, just 5 kilometres from town, which is begging to be explored tomorrow.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lake Hawea Lookout
  • Haast Pass

With Aoraki/Mount Cook (New Zealand's highest mountain) twinkling behind the glaciers, Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand. Te Wahi Pounamu (which means ‘the place of greenstone' in Māori) is the name given to this part of the West Coast because of the abundance of pounamu (greenstone/jade) to be found here. Included in your tour today is a special opportunity to carve your very own pounamu pendant at a local gallery. There are heaps of ways to enjoy Franz Josef Glacier; weather permitting, to get up onto the bluest ice you can take a scenic helicopter flight and hike onto the glaciers. Maybe you'd prefer to kayak on a glacial lake; or just relax in the steamy hot springs down below. As well as the awesome glacier activities you could also try out quad biking and even a bit of group karaoke tonight in Franz Josef!

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Carve your own pounamu necklace

Driving along the incredible coastal road and exploring the lush West Coast forests, it almost feels like you've stepped back in time. It's a rare treat to experience such remote prehistoric landscapes, so make the most of this awesome opportunity to unplug from the outside world. Get excited; our trusty guides always have some surprises up their sleeves for this part of the trip, including a spot or two to get your feet wet. We'll visit one of the famous artisan greenstone factories in Hokitika as we make our way north, as well as passing through some old gold mining towns before arriving in . One of Punakaiki's many natural wonders is the subtropical rainforest – and we are staying in the heart of it for the next two nights! Cook up a group dinner (not included) in this rainforest paradise, and be sure to end the day watching the sun set over the ocean tonight.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Visit Hokitika Greenstone Factory
  • See the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
  • Stay in a rainforest retreat

Whether you decide to soak up the sun on the unspoilt beaches or stroll through the rainforest to a chorus of birdsong, you'll shed your cares in this magical place. A short walk to see a giant stack of pancakes is a must-do: developed over 30 million years ago. You'll see what water pressure can do when the waves power through some seriously impressive blowholes – watch out for that spray! Today you could try your hand at surfing or exploring the region's underground caves by tube. Or simply chill by the beach near your rainforest home. On a clear night, head to the beach with your buddies and watch the stars come out to play – seriously, is there a better way to end the day?

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Stay in a rainforest retreat

Cruising up north from Punakaiki, the scenery gets better and better. The powerful, untouched coastline gives way to rivers and gorges before we drive over the hills and down towards the bayside town of Nelson, to stock up on supplies before our next remote hideaway. Marahau, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, boasts golden beaches, tranquil lagoons and crystal clear waters. Abel Tasman is the perfect contrast to the wildness of the rainforests and mountains. Why will you fall in love with Abel Tasman? Lush forests, sandy beaches, sheltered bays, and jaw-dropping views... not to mention the resident wildlife. Get ready to lose your heart to the most popular National Park in New Zealand.

Included
  • Breakfast

Abel Tasman... you beauty. Lush forests, golden sandy beaches, sheltered bays, and jaw-dropping views... not to mention the local seals, dolphins and bird life.. You might like to hike part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track – one of New Zealand's nine Great Walks – or paddle a kayak to Split Apple Rock. You could jump, slide, abseil, float and zipline your way through the park on an awesome canyoning adventure. Fancy a relaxing day instead? Choose yourself a golden beach and make yourself at home.

Included
  • Breakfast

Today is the last day of your tour! You'll start things off by learning to paddle a traditional waka (Māori war canoe). Experience a karakia (blessing for protection), and learn tikanga (waka etiquette) all while getting out on the water to enjoy this unique included activity. Our road trip continues along the northern edge of the South Island this afternoon. We'll make a quick stop at Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve (a film location for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) and make our way through Havelock as we wind our way towards Picton to catch the afternoon ferry to Wellington. As the lights of Picton Harbour fade into the night, relax on board together for a chilled evening. The tour officially finishes at 8pm today in Wellington, but your accommodation tonight is included.

Included
  • Breakfast
  • Paddle a Waka (Māori war canoe)
  • Visit Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve
  • Cook Strait Ferry Crossing to Wellington

Note: Breakfast is not included on the final morning

Trip Inclusions

  • Iconic ferry ride between the North and South Islands across the Cook Strait
  • Fall in love with Wellington's cafe and craft beer culture
  • Whale Watching in Kaikoura
  • Welcome BBQ
  • Explore downtown Christchurch and see its inspiring regeneration since the 2011 quake
  • Visit the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, nestled by the shores of Lake Tekapo
  • Unparalleled stargazing opportunities in Tekapo's Dark Sky Reserve
  • Visit the charming, historic gold rush village of Arrowtown
  • Carve your own pounamu (jade) pendant in Franz Josef
  • Visit the Mountain Jade Factory in Hokitika
  • Visit the famous Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki
  • Two nights and a full day to play in the coastal paradise of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Learn to paddle a waka (Māori war canoe) along the Abel Tasman coastline

  • Small groups, up to 16 people
  • Passionate Kiwi guides
  • Comfortable bus transport
  • High-end hostel accommodation
  • Tasty continental breakfasts every day (except day 14)
  • Experiences to teach you about our unique Māori culture

  • Shared dorms in hostels & lodges. Private room upgrades available!
  • 13 nights in high-end hostel accommodation (dorm share as standard)

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • Price is for land, cruise and internal flights as specified. Flights not specified are not included
  • Activities can be pre-booked or purchased on the road - just let your tour guide know. We can't always guarantee availability when booking on the road, so we suggest pre-booking any activities you especially want to do.

Trip Optionals These optional activities can be pre-booked & included in your trip price.

  • Location: Punakaiki.
  • There’s no better memento of your time in New Zealand than a traditional bone pendant, especially when carved by your own hand. Duration: 2.5 hours. Read more.

  • Location: Queenstown.
  • The canyon swing is a bit different to a bungy jump, as you’re secured in a full body harness which lets you to depart from the 109 metre high platform in any position imaginable, plummeting into the spectacular Shotover River Canyon. Duration: half day. Read more.

  • Location: Queenstown.
  • Canyoning the spectacular Queenstown Canyons would have to be one of New Zealand's most exhilarating half-day experiences. Duration: Half Day. Read more.

  • Location: Abel Tasman.
  • Enjoy New Zealand’s beautiful Abel Tasman National Park as you jump, slide, abseil and zipline your way down Torrent River. Read more.

  • Location: Lake Tekapo.
  • Embark on a journey through time and space with this ticket to the Dark Sky Experience at Lake Tekapo. No need to wait until after dark to admire the night sky at this indoor exhibition which draws on Māori astronomy and recent discoveries to tell the story of our skies. This kid-friendly attraction is ideal for families, with multimedia exhibits and hands-on activities offering something to do for everyone. Duration: 45 min.

  • Location: Queenstown.
  • Funyaks are inflatable kayaks and an amazing way to explore the Dart River. Your experience starts with an exhilarating jet boat ride up the Dart River into the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park. Duration: 9 hours. Read more.

  • Location: Kaikoura.
  • Add on a beautiful encounter with dusky dolphins off the coast of Kaikoura on your tour of the South Island, New Zealand. Duration: half day. Read more.

  • Location: Wanaka.
  • A wonderful 20 minute of air adventure experience for those who are wanting to experience flying a plane AND want to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Lake Wanaka.

  • Location: Franz Josef.
  • A gorgeous way to enjoy the snowy peaks and mirror-like waters as you glide along the glassy waters of Lake Mapourika. You'll take in stunning panoramic views of the Southern Alps and up to 10 different Glaciers, including the Franz Josef Neve. On the far side of the Lake follow your guide deep into the rainforest and Kiwi Sanctuary, via a rainforest creek. Simply an awesome way to enjoy the unique Franz Josef landscape up close. Duration: Half day. Read more.

  • Location: Franz Josef.
  • A truly amazing way to experience Franz Josef, this heli hike experience starts with a scenic flight from Franz Josef Village to Franz Josef Glacier where you will land on the ice itself. Once on the glacier you have around 3 hours to explore this exquisite natural icescape. Duration: half day. Read more.
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Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Haka Tours.

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