Every traveller knows that if it’s adrenaline you’re after, New Zealand’s South Island is the place to be! Not only is it the home of the bungee jump, but there’s a new hair-raising experience around every corner, ranging from canyoning through to skydiving, and from kayaking to water-skiing. If you’ve ever dreamed of non-stop adventure and excitement on your gap year, then this is certainly the one for you! It’s not all work and no play though, as there’s also plenty of partying to be had throughout the whole trip…
Of course, the main base for this gap year is in Queenstown, rightly dubbed the Adventure Capital of the World. But you won’t spend all your time here though – you’ll get to see places such as Milford Sound, Wanaka, Abel Tasman National Park and the Franz Josef Glacier as well! And once your 12 days of adrenaline are finished? You’ll probably start looking for a little bit of rest and relaxation…
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- Visit some of the most iconic sights of New Zealand
- Take part in loads of different adrenaline activities every single day
- See some of New Zealand’s amazing wildlife
- Party in Queenstown, a backpacker’s paradise!
- Meet other like-minded travellers and create some unforgettable memories
It should also be remembered that after this gap year program you’ll be able to continue your New Zealand gap year by exploring the rest of the country, or alternatively you could head elsewhere, as New Zealand is a great jumping off point for places like a gap year in Fiji! Of course, there’s also the famous Australian gap year to think about as well…
We think you’ll agree that the itinerary for the New Zealand Adrenaline Junkie tour is one of the most exciting around, packing in loads of amazing experiences into 12 days. Here’s what you can expect…
Day 1 – Christchurch > Lake Tekapo
After being taken on a tour of Christchurch, you’ll be transported down to Lake Tekapo. While in one of the beautiful lakeside villages, you’ll be able to take part in water sports (during the summer) or get in some serious skiing or snowboarding (during the winter).
Day 2 – Lake Tekapo > Queenstown
You’ll wake up to the beauty of Lake Takapo, where you’ll have the morning to enjoy the sights and perhaps cope with a hangover from the first night’s partying. Then the adventure really begins, as you’ll make your way to Queenstown, where adrenaline activities galore await you. The journey is truly amazing and you’ll pass by natural wonders like Mt. Cook and Lake Pukaki, plus you might get the chance to visit a salmon farm for delicious sashimi, as well as go wine tasting.
Upon arrival in Queenstown, you’ll be given an orientation tour of the town. Afterwards you can head on a gondola tour before, you guessed it, hitting the town and partying like any good visitor to Queenstown should! Don’t get too carried away though, as tomorrow is a busy day…
Day 3 – Queenstown
This day is spent in Queenstown, and you can go off and decide exactly what you want to do. Perhaps you fancy some bungee jumping? Or maybe a skydive is more your thing? Or maybe you might even take a trip to the beautiful Milford Sound? The choices really are up to you, but one thing is guaranteed: you won’t fail to have one of the best days you can imagine! Don’t worry if you can’t squeeze everything in, as you’ll have more time tomorrow morning to explore the town.
Day 4 – Queenstown > Wanaka
During the morning you can do some more exploring in Queensland, but then you’ll be off to Wanaka – via the spectacular Crown Range, New Zealand’s oldest pub and sometimes the Cardrona Adventure Park (where you can take the chance to drive a monster truck)!
When you reach Wanaka, the natural beauty will blow you away. Mountains surround pristine lakes – so once your jaw has shut again, you can swim, water-ski and wake-board, or alternatively get busy with winter sports in one of New Zealand’s best locations. Wanaka is one of those places that you’ll never forget…
Day 5 – Wanaka > Franz Josef
During the morning you’ll be able to once again get your fill of loads of adrenaline activities in and around Wanaka, with a popular choice being skydiving while taking in the spectacular views of Mt. Cook. Try to land safely though, as you won’t want to miss the next part of the trip, where you’ll be taken to the Franz Josef glacier – one of New Zealand’s true wonders.
The journey to Franz Josef encompasses loads of great experiences, so you certainly won’t get bored! You”be able to take in the stunning scenery of the Haast Pass and Lake Hawea, as well as the spectacular rainforests of the West Coast. You’ll also stop off at Roaring Billy Falls, a picture-perfect waterfall that everyone travelling in New Zealand should see.
Day 6 – Franz Josef
For many people, day 6 is the highlight of the whole trip. You’ll take a trip to the Franz Josef glacier and the braver ones can delve even further with a guided tour. What amazes most people about this area though is the fact that the glacier is surrounded by rainforest, making for a stunning yet slightly surreal sight. There’s not much more to say about this day, as words can’t do the Franz Josef glacier justice!
Day 7 – Franz Josef > Punakaiki
Day 7 is truly about the journey, as well as the destination! This is because you’ll go on one of the world’s most spectacular drives. From rainforests through to stunning coastal views, and from small mining towns through to beautiful beaches, this drive really has it all! Many people like to have a nap on the journeys, but you shouldn’t close your eyes on this drive, as you’ll miss some stunning sights…
At the end of the journey you’ll arrive in Punakaiki, which is where the group can take some time to relax, regain some energy and get to know each other a little better. Take the chance to chill out in comfortable log cabins, as the next few days will be crammed with adventure!
Day 8 – Punakaiki
Well many people use this day as another day for relaxing and hanging out with new friends, more active members of the tour will want to take advantage of all the different activities found in Punakaiki. There’s horse riding, 4×4 driving, surfing, kayaking – you won’t be able to fit everything in as there’s quite simply so much to do! Once you’re done, you can retreat back to those comfortable log cabins for a well deserved rest…
Day 9 – Punakaiki > Abel Tasman National Park
Today you’ll leave the idyllic settings of Punakaiki and head for Abel Tasman National Park, the smallest national park in the country. The journey will throw up loads of great experiences though, from exploring caves through to meeting fur seals. When you get to Westport, you can take in some more adventure activities too, with jet boating and river rafting being firm favourites.
By the end of the day you’ll find yourself in Abel Tasman, an area of New Zealand offering extreme natural beauty and bags of wildlife. Spend some time exploring the area, and make sure you take your camera, as you’ll want to take pictures everywhere you turn!
Day 10 – Abel Tasman National Park
During the morning you’ll get the chance to explore the national park on your own, either by foot or by taking a kayak. It might be small, but Abel Tasman will still throw up loads to see and do throughout the morning, including beaches, lagoons and great wildlife watching.
In the evening you’ll take a trip to Nelson, one of the quaintest and most interesting towns in the country. You’ll find loads to do here, including art galleries, shopping, beaches and great little cafes. It is also known as the Sunshine Capital of New Zealand, so hopefully the weather will be good for you!
Day 11 – Abel Tasman National Park > Wellington
During the morning you can continue exploring Nelson, before then heading to Picton and boarding the Inter-Island Ferry, which will transport you to Wellington. It’s around a three hour journey, but don’t worry if you get peckish though, as you might stop at the Mussel Pot Cafe and get to eat some of New Zealand’s unbelievable seafood there. Then you can sit back and take in the views aboard arguably the world’s most scenic ferry ride.
You won’t reach Wellington until late, but do you really want to waste your last night of the tour by going straight to bed? The answer is probably “no”, so take the chance to get out and experience the great nightlife found in Wellington, including some of the country’s best nightclubs. It does, however, mean that you might have a headache for your last day tomorrow…
Day 12 – Wellington
Your last day of the trip will be spent in Wellington, and a guide will take you around the city and show you all the important sights. You can then choose what you want to do: take a ride on the cable cars; get cultured and visit some museums; take a trip up to the lookout point at Mt. Victoria; or any other activity you are drawn to! And that will bring you to the end of the tour, but we know you’ll have made some great friends and will never forget the experiences you’ve had on this amazing adrenaline tour of New Zealand!
What’s the accommodation like?
Throughout this trip you’ll stay in a mixture of hostels and lodges, all of which are chosen for their high-quality and excellent atmosphere. The rooms will be shared and everyone will have access to free Wi-Fi, as well as a fully equipped kitchen. The is the best type of accommodation for really connecting with the other people in your group.
What’s the food like?
You will receive a complementary breakfast every single morning, so that you are well prepared for the day ahead. You will then need to sort your own lunch and dinner, but don’t worry: New Zealand offers some amazing places to eat for good prices.
Are flights included?
Flights are not included, as this allows you to decide when you will both arrive and leave New Zealand. Most people fly into Christchurch, as this is where this experience starts from.
When does the experience start?
When you make your booking, you’ll be able to choose the start date that best suits you. Because the first day starts at 8am, it is highly advisable to arrive in Christchurch the day before, so you can get a good night’s sleep before the fun starts!
What should I bring?
You’ll just need to bring everything you’ll need in terms of clothing and medication with you, as all equipment for the adrenaline activities will be supplied.
Are the adrenaline activities included within the price?
Some activities are included, such as the Abel Tasman boat trip and the tours of each city, however most are added extras that need to be purchased at the time. They are all reasonably priced though and only the best companies are chosen to do them with.
Do I need extra insurance?
It is advisable to get travel insurance for all trips abroad, however for this trip it is a good idea to get extra coverage for the different activities you will be taking part in, as they are probably not covered with standard insurance.