New Zealand Trails

5-21 day, all-inclusive, guided adventure tours

Intro Map Itinerary Reviews Dates Activity Level Accommodation FAQs

South Island New Zealand Tour - Pure South 7 Day

A distillation of the very best.

We’ve cherry-picked the very best destinations, hikes and experiences, combining them into an unforgettable 7 day South Island adventure. Day walk amongst the Southern Alps on our legendary Great Walks. Soar over peaks and valleys on a scenic plane flight, Alaska-style, deep into the Kiwi backcountry. Explore Milford Sound and day walk in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

If you’re short on time or you’re just after the epic highlight reel, our Pure South itinerary is the perfect bite-sized morsel. It’s everything you’ve heard about and want to see during your time in New Zealand but weren’t sure how to piece together in such a short time.

With our wonderful Kiwi guides looking after all of the details of your holiday, you’ll quickly feel the stresses and strains of everyday life melt away. All you need to do is relax and enjoy the adventure. This is 7 days of the very best of the South Island and while you probably won’t want to go home at the end of it, you’ll be satisfied knowing that you made the absolute most of every moment! We think of it as a distillation of the very best!

Activity Level 2 to 4Designed for you to have maximum flexibility. You can scale your activity level up to a 4, down to a 2, or anywhere in between every day so you can enjoy New Zealand at a pace that's right for you. Walk on well-formed tracks and enjoy a mixture of day walks and activities that showcase the best of New Zealand. You can find a full breakdown of our activity levels plus details of each activity including elevation maps for each hike on our Pure South Activity Levels page here.

Trip Style: Throughout the trip you’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked and restaurant meals to fuel you for the adventurous days of walking and activities, and sleep soundly at night in comfortable ensuite accommodation that we have chosen specifically for their fantastic locations.

**If you are looking to join us on a Pure South trip before April 2024 click here to see the itinerary and remaining departure dates for this season.**

Click here to download the Pure South - 7 Day itinerary

7 Days

South
ISLAND

map
Starts

Queenstown

Finishes

Queenstown

Activity level 2 - 4

Accommodation

Very comfortable lodging

Price
NZD$8999 NZD$8999 AUD$6499 USD$4799.00 +tax GBP£4399 CAD$6399.00 +tax
ALL INCLUSIVE!

Enquire 23/24 Season Book now

Pure South - 7 Day Route Map

PS 7 Day

Pure South - 7 Day Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day

1

Kepler Track
Te Anau

Includes

Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Hiking
Accommodation

Te Anau

PS March Guest couple Kepler Track
8 Kepler Track with New Zealand Trails kepler track wetland group hike2

Day 1 – Welcome & Hike Kepler Track

We’ve distilled down the very best experiences on the South Island for our Pure South trip, making sure you don't miss a thing on your New Zealand adventure! And it all starts today! 

After meeting your guides and fellow travellers in Queenstown, you’ll embark on your long-awaited New Zealand adventure.

Hike the Kepler Track

The Kepler Track is renowned for its vivid green moss, native beech forest, and stunning mountain ranges. We’ll walk the section from Rainbow Reach up to Moturau Hut. Following the Waiau River through beech forest and wetlands until we emerge out onto the spectacular viewpoint at the lakeside Moturau Hut. Cast your eyes out over beautiful Lake Manapouri, framed against a backdrop of Fiordland peaks. What a way to welcome you to New Zealand! Afterwards, we’ll head to our accommodation in Te Anau for a delicious home-cooked meal and the chance to rest up before tomorrow’s adventures.

Tonight we stay at Matai Lodge*

Day

2

Cruise Milford Sound
Hike Routeburn Track

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
BoatCruise Hiking
Accommodation

Te Anau

Key Summit Routeburn Track
2. Solo guests with Fiordland Waterfalls Milford Cruise

Day 2 – Cruise Milford Sound & hike the Routeburn Track

It’s time to rise and shine for your first full day of activities. We’ll head straight to Milford Sound for a beautiful morning cruise. After our relaxing morning on the water, it’s time to take on the Routeburn Track to Key Summit before ending the day back at your accommodation in Te Anau.

Cruise Milford Sound

This morning, we’ll head to Milford Sound for our scenic boat trip. Enjoy the crisp, fresh air and feel your everyday anxieties slip away as the tranquillity of the fiord washes over you. Have your cameras ready as you snap reels of photos of cascading waterfalls, towering peaks and native wildlife in action. Eventually, we’ll cruise back to dock to discover Fiordland National Park on foot, with a hike on part of the Routeburn Track.

Hike the Routeburn Track to Key Summit

Once back on dry land, we’ll head deeper in Fiordland’s wilderness for a heart-pumping hike on the world famous Routeburn Track up to Key Summit. A well-formed track leads us through lush beech forest and past tall tree ferns, with velvety mosses blanketing the rich earth underfoot. Native birdsong provides a beautiful soundtrack to our walk and as we climb higher, views of the Darran Mountains and Hollyford Valley stretch out beneath us providing a fitting reward for our efforts. You’ll sleep soundly tonight in your lakefront accommodation in Te Anau.

Tonight we stay at Matai Lodge again*

Day

3

Bike or Walk Arrowtown
Explore Wanaka

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Accommodation

Wanaka

1. Arrowtown bike trip guests on bikes
3. Solo guest biking Arrow River Trail Biking and hiking New Zealand South Island

Day 3 – Bike or Walk Arrowtown & Explore Wanaka

Today we leave the rainforests of Fiordland behind and head for the high-country lakes of Central Otago. We’ll take to the trails - either by bike or on foot, it's your choice - to explore Queenstown’s stunning surrounds and the world-class wine-growing region of Gibbston Valley. We then head over the Crown Range to the pretty mountain resort town of Wanaka and gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park, where we’ll spend the night.

Bike or Walk Arrowtown to the Kawarau Bungy Bridge

Welcome to our backyard! Queenstown and the surrounding area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with many purpose-built tracks and trails ideal for hiking, biking or running. As part of your introduction to New Zealand, we’ll travel to the historic Arrowtown, a quaint old gold-mining settlement just a short drive from Queenstown. Today you’ll have the choice of either biking or walking the Arrow River Bridges Trail.

Explore Wanaka

A short but incredibly scenic drive over New Zealand’s highest sealed road at 1022m takes us into Wanaka, a favourite holiday spot for Kiwis. Nestled at the foot of snow-capped mountains, this lakefront town is Queenstown’s more relaxed cousin, although its equal in stunning scenery. It’s a great place to explore on your own for a bit – be sure to try out some of the local delicacies including meat pies, fantastic coffee, uniquely flavoured gelatos and craft beers.

Tonight we stay at Te Wanaka Lodge*

Choice 1

Bike Arrowtown

We’ll get fitted out with bikes before taking to the trail on two wheels. We’ll follow the Kawarau River along a wide trail, riding past homesteads, meadows and mountains out towards the famous Gibbston Valley vineyards and the world’s first commercial bungy bridge.

Choice 2

Hike Arrowtown

If you prefer to walk rather than cycle, we have an equally exciting alternative. You can still experience the beautiful Arrowtown trail that the cyclists do except you can do it on foot! Your driver will pick you up from the stunning Southern Discoveries swing bridge and drive you to the Kawarau bungy bridge to regroup with the rest of the team.

Day

4

Mt Aspiring National Park
Siberia Valley

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Plane Hiking Jetboating
Accommodation

Wanaka

PS Jan Siberia Valley2
Flying into New Zealand South Island Siberia Valley 4. Group in Jetboat Siberia Valley

Day 4 – Scenic flight into Mount Aspiring National Park, Hike & Wilderness Jet boat

Get ready for a real Kiwi backcountry experience - this is the stuff legendary holiday tales are made of! We’ll begin the day with a scenic flight deep into the heart of Mt Aspiring National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We land in an isolated valley where we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch with views that will knock your socks off. Sufficiently fortified, we’ll hike back down to the river where a jetboat will be waiting to whisk you back to civilisation and your comfortable bed in Wanaka.

Scenic Flight into Mount Aspiring National Park

Today's adventure begins on one of Southern Alps Air’s Cessna bush planes, taking in expansive views of the 355,000ha Mount Aspiring National Park. Look out across winding rivers, virgin beech forest, glaciated valleys, alpine lakes, glaciers and the towering Southern Alps, before landing on the remote Siberia Valley air strip. Once on the ground, we'll head up the valley to a backcountry hut with outrageous views of the surrounding peaks. 

Hike Siberia Valley

After a tasty picnic lunch on the deck of the hut, we'll begin our walk along a well-marked track through the thick forest linking the Siberia Valley to the Wilkin Valley wilderness below. Be on the lookout for native birds along the way and the many photo opportunities as you immerse yourself in nature. The track was originally used by Mount Albert Station to take stock into the valley for grazing. The track is 6.8km in length, the first half of which climbs gently 200m in elevation from the airstrip, before heading downhill for the second half of the walk - a total drop in elevation of 470m.

Wilderness Jet Boat Trip

Jet boats were invented in 1954 in New Zealand by Sir William Hamilton for the shallow waters of our braided rivers. Jet boating originally started on the Wilkin River in 1968 transporting venison out of the mountains before hiking and commercial work became more commonplace. On reaching the Wilkin River at Kerin Forks, jet boats will be waiting to take us for a thrilling 30-minute ride down the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers back to the Makarora Village. Get a whole different perspective on this dramatic valley as you watch the landscape rush by and feel the wind in your hair.

Tonight we stay at Te Wanaka Lodge again*

Day

5

Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
Hike Aspiring National Park

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Hiking
Accommodation

Mt Cook Village

PS Nov Rocky Mountain
New Zealand guided hiking trips up Rocky Mountain in Wanaka 9. Guest couple at Rocky Mountain summit

Day 5 – Hike Wanaka & Aoraki/Mount Cook

If you’re feeling energetic this morning, we’ll start the day off with a heart pumping hike up to Rocky Mountain. If you’d prefer a more relaxed start, there’s plenty to do in the town itself, from great coffee and boutique gift shops to a gentle amble along the beach and obligatory photo in front of Wanaka’s ‘giant hand’ sculpture. This afternoon it’s a change of scenery as we make our way to the Mackenzie Country, an area of jaw-dropping beauty, wide-open skies, glacial lakes and distant towering peaks. We’ll spend the next two nights staying at the foot of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Hike Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain Track

We’ll kick the day off with a hike to Diamond Lake to appreciate the sweeping views out over the Southern Alps and Lake Wanaka, before carrying on up the Rocky Mountain trail. It’s a steady climb and one that will no doubt get your heart pumping, but with each passing step, the scenery just gets better and better, making it all worth it at the top.

Tonight we stay in the Aoraki/Mt Cook region*

 

Day

6

Aoraki/Mt Cook
Your choice

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Accommodation

Mt Cook Village

Pure South Aoraki Mt Cook
5. Amazing glacier views happy guests Mt Cook National Park Majestic Mt Cook3

Day 6 – Your Choice in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Home to not only its namesake, known as “the Cloud Piercer” to Māori looming at 3,724 metres (over 12,000 feet), Aoraki Mount Cook National Park boasts a further 19 peaks topping more than 3,000 metres. These are the mountains where Edmund Hillary honed his skills before becoming the first to successfully summit Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay in 1953. This incredible outdoor playground is a hiker’s paradise, and you have several experiences to choose from today. Get up close to the icebergs on a glacier boat tour, or even splurge on a heli-hike if you’d like. Check out the many hiking tracks and trails, or simply explore the village at your leisure. Whatever you decide, it’s an incredible place to spend the day.

After a full day of activities, we’ll meet up and return to our accommodation for a tasty meal and a chance to trade stories from the day as well as gaze up at the impressive night sky in this internationally recognised Dark Sky Reserve.

Tonight we stay in the Aoraki/Mt Cook region again*

Choice 1

Hike to Red Tarns

Offering phenomenal views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and the surrounding mountains the Red Tarns Track is one of Aoraki/Mt Cook's hidden gems. On a calm day, you'll enjoy incredible mirror-like reflections of Aoraki/Mt Cook that will leave a lasting memory of this magical spot.

Choice 2

Walk the Hooker Valley Track

This is one of the South Island’s most popular glacier country trails. Looking down from swing bridges over rushing rivers, you’ll walk a track that leads to an alpine lake complete with icebergs. For those with an interest in New Zealand flora, the Hooker Valley is one of the best places to see Mount Cook lilies in season.

Choice 3

Free time around Mount Cook Village

Today is a great opportunity to explore on your own. Visit the museum and planetarium at the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. Take some short walks around the area or just soak in the views with a coffee and good book.

Day 6 Optional Add-ons

Below are some of the optional add-ons you can also enjoy:


Glacier heli-hiking

Take a helicopter up to land high on the Tasman, New Zealand’s longest glacier. In the company of an experienced guide, you’ll don crampons to explore the dramatic ice caves of this frozen wonderland. If you book this optional add-on it will replace this morning's hike to Red Tarns, after which you'll rejoin the group for an afternoon on the Hooker Valley Track.

NZD$795

Glacier lake boat tour

Hop aboard a Zodiac boat and set off across the iceberg-filled lake for an up-close encounter with the Tasman Glacier’s terminal face. If you book this scenic boat tour it will replace this morning's hike to Red Tarns, after which you'll rejoin the group for an afternoon on the Hooker Valley Track.

NZD$179
Day

7

Aoraki/Mt Cook
Hike Mt John

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Meals
Activities
Sightseeing Walking
Accommodation

Today we finish the trip in Queenstown.

8. Guests in the lupins Lake Tekapo
3. Guest couple Mt John 7. Solo guest looking out over Lake Tekapo

Day 7 – Hike near Lake Tekapo

It’s our last morning together and the adventure isn’t quite over just yet. We’ll start today with a hike through the picturesque Mackenzie Country. We'll climb through forest and tussock until we reach a spectacular view of the surreal turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki before heading back to Queenstown to say our farewells. 

Hike Mt John 

This morning we’ll make the steady climb up Mount John though forest and tussock to the observatory at the top. As we walk, we’ll look out over 360-degree views across the impressive Mackenzie Basin flats and surrounding mountains and lakes. After our hike, we’ll check out the famous and much-photographed Church of the Good Shepherd, as well as Tekapo’s statue to the working dog, commissioned in 1968 by local farmers to pay tribute to the role these intelligent canines played in working the land.

*For logistical reasons, we may make small changes to our itineraries or accommodation from time to time.

Don’t take our word for it...

JANE SINCLAIR 1001
One of the best trips I have taken. I could not have asked for a better trip or better guides. The guides made us all feel welcome and knew a lot about everything. I am not sure there was a question asked that they did not have an answer to. Your country is simply beautiful and I really enjoyed getting to experience it.
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Jane Sinclair (Pure South, January 24)

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NATALIE 1003
We had such an amazing trip. I wasn't prepared for how much I would laugh, and learn, with our incredible guides Megan and Georgia. I honestly am not sure how they did it so well. We were so lucky to share our tour with a wonderful family who now feel like close friends. It was an absolutely magical trip. I wish I could put it on repeat for every vacation. As the Kiwis say, sweet as!
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Natalie Gustafson (Pure South, November 23)

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Customer rating:

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Pure South - 7 Day Accommodation

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Frequently asked questions

It's very important to us that you have all your questions answered about our Pure South trip. We’ve collected some of the questions we get asked most often and answered them below. Or visit our general FAQ page here for more answers!

And if you still can’t find the answers you need, give us a call or send us an email and we’ll help you out!

How fit do I need to be for the Pure South?

What is the accommodation like on the Pure South?

What time does the Pure South trip start and finish?

What's not included on my Pure South tour?

What's included on my Pure South tour?

What hikes are included in the Pure South trip?

What activities are included on the Pure South trip?

Will I have WiFi or internet access throughout the trip?

Is there electricity at all of the places we stay on the Pure South trip?

Tell me about your safety standards

Biking isn't really my thing. Do you have other options?

What National Parks and Great Walks does the Pure South trip visit?

What kind of people will be on my Pure South trip?

Do I have to pay extra if I'm travelling by myself?

Do you need any outdoors experience for the Pure South trip?

How many people will be on my trip?

What does going on a guided trip entail?

Can you help with pre/post-trip accommodation and flights?

How do we get around New Zealand? What happens with my luggage?

How fit do I need to be for the Pure South?

What is the accommodation like on the Pure South?

What time does the Pure South trip start and finish?

What's not included on my Pure South tour?

What's included on my Pure South tour?

What hikes are included in the Pure South trip?

What activities are included on the Pure South trip?

Will I have WiFi or internet access throughout the trip?

Is there electricity at all of the places we stay on the Pure South trip?

Tell me about your safety standards

Biking isn't really my thing. Do you have other options?

What National Parks and Great Walks does the Pure South trip visit?

What kind of people will be on my Pure South trip?

Do I have to pay extra if I'm travelling by myself?

Do you need any outdoors experience for the Pure South trip?

How many people will be on my trip?

What does going on a guided trip entail?

Can you help with pre/post-trip accommodation and flights?

How do we get around New Zealand? What happens with my luggage?

More frequently asked questions

Activity Level

The Pure South trip is an activity level 2 to 4, designed for you to have maximum flexibility. You can scale your activity level up to a 4, down to a 2, or anywhere in between every day so you can enjoy New Zealand at a pace that's right for you. Walk on well-formed tracks and enjoy a mixture of day walks and activities that showcase the best of New Zealand. 

Elevation Maps & Hike Information

Tour dates

Short on time? No worries. Discover the highlights of the South Island over 7 incredible days as you hike, bike, cruise on and soar over iconic New Zealand sights. You’ll enjoy tasty home-cooked meals and local restaurant cuisine, resting your head at night in very comfortable and perfectly located accommodations.

If you have a little more time up your sleeve, experience the best of both North and South over 12 days by combining this trip with our Sweet North.

Find your ideal dates below using the date picker and keep an eye on availability as our small groups fill up fast.

Thinking of visiting New Zealand in the next year or so?

We only run a limited number of departures each year and as you can see below, they fill up months in advance! Most of our guests lock in their trips at least a year out from travelling so they don't miss out on their preferred dates. If you have specific dates in mind, let’s chat!

2024

Pure South - 7 Day
21 Oct 2024 - 27 Oct 2024
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Pure South - 7 Day
04 Nov 2024 - 10 Nov 2024
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Pure South - 7 Day
11 Nov 2024 - 17 Nov 2024
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Pure South - 7 Day
18 Nov 2024 - 24 Nov 2024
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Pure South - 7 Day
25 Nov 2024 - 01 Dec 2024
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Pure South - 7 Day
02 Dec 2024 - 08 Dec 2024
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Pure South - 7 Day
09 Dec 2024 - 15 Dec 2024
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Pure South - 7 Day
16 Dec 2024 - 22 Dec 2024
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Pure South - 7 Day
30 Dec 2024 - 05 Jan 2025
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2025

Pure South - 7 Day
13 Jan 2025 - 19 Jan 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
20 Jan 2025 - 26 Jan 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
27 Jan 2025 - 02 Feb 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
03 Feb 2025 - 09 Feb 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
10 Feb 2025 - 16 Feb 2025
Full - Private Departure.
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Private Departure. Sold out.
Pure South - 7 Day
17 Feb 2025 - 23 Feb 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
24 Feb 2025 - 02 Mar 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
03 Mar 2025 - 09 Mar 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
10 Mar 2025 - 16 Mar 2025
Nearly Full - Only four spots left!
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Only four spots left!
Pure South - 7 Day
17 Mar 2025 - 23 Mar 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
24 Mar 2025 - 30 Mar 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
27 Oct 2025 - 02 Nov 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
10 Nov 2025 - 16 Nov 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
24 Nov 2025 - 30 Nov 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
08 Dec 2025 - 14 Dec 2025
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Pure South - 7 Day
29 Dec 2025 - 04 Jan 2026
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2026

Pure South - 7 Day
19 Jan 2026 - 25 Jan 2026
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Pure South - 7 Day
02 Feb 2026 - 08 Feb 2026
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Pure South - 7 Day
16 Feb 2026 - 22 Feb 2026
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Pure South - 7 Day
02 Mar 2026 - 08 Mar 2026
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Pure South - 7 Day
16 Mar 2026 - 22 Mar 2026
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Pure South - 7 Day
30 Mar 2026 - 05 Apr 2026
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See all available dates

Pure South - 7 Day – ready to book?

Ready to start your New Zealand adventure?

A distillation of the best hiking New Zealand and the South Island has to offer, as well as unique Kiwi experiences and action-packed adventures, our Pure South is a smorgasbord. All you need to do is relax and enjoy the adventure.

What’s included:

Local guides, small groups

All food (except where noted on itinerary), transportation and activities

All inclusive

All accommodation

NZD$8999 AUD$6499 USD$4799.00+tax GBP£4399 NZD$8999 CAD$6399.00+tax
per person (twin or double share)

pure south island tour of new zealand2

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