Southern Splendour

The South Island Sampler provides a wonderful blend of culture, nature and adventure in a compact tour that takes you from the South Island’s golden beaches in the north to its alpine splendour in the south. Cycling through vineyards, paddling turquoise waters, exploring subterranean chambers, flying over glaciers and creating your own ‘just do it’ menu in Queenstown all make for an extraordinary South Island adventure.

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All payment is in NZD. Pricing in other currencies is indicative based on the current exchange rate. Final payment amount is determined by your bank based on the latest conversion.

Single supplement from: NZ$1,680
Price based on double occupancy. Single supplement is a surcharge for single occupancy.

Length9 days | 8 nights
DestinationWellington to Queenstown

Classic Stays
Modern, well-appointed properties that provide a comfortable, convenient base from which to explore. Perfect for the region, they’re typically within easy access to cafes and other amenities.

Premier Stays
Quality lodgings in superb settings, from stylish lakeside lodges to restful alpine retreats. Note that in a few cases, Classic Stays are used on a trip classified overall as Premier to allow access to stunning, remote locations where Premier Stays are not available.

Luxe Stays
Exclusive, indulgent hideaways with exceptional facilities and service. The best in New Zealand (and perhaps the world). Note that in a few cases, Premier Stays are used on a trip classified overall as Luxe to allow access to stunning, remote locations where Luxe Stays are not available.

Special Stays
Some tours feature overnight cruises and multiple-day hikes, with stays in private lodges or Department of Conservation huts, for special wilderness experiences.


You’re comfortable on tracks with gently undulating terrain and can move comfortably and freely. Suitable for families with young children. Note, activity add-ons may change rating.

You enjoy walking/light hiking, can handle a hill or two, and appreciate life-affirming soft adventures that dip a toe outside your comfort zone.

You’ve got a bit of Kiwi in you and are ready to hit the hills and push yourself a little. Some of these trips include multi-day hikes that get you further into the wild. It’s not all Bear Grylls, though. You’re happy to enjoy a rewarding glass of pinot at day’s end.

This is an overall guide. Our trips include a range of activities across the spectrum. Request a Detailed Itinerary for more details on fitness levels needed for individual activities.

StyleSmall Group

Small Group
Scheduled, guided adventures with just the right number of like-minded travellers to share in the laughs and make new friends.

Guided, professionally crafted trips with your own group and your choice of travel dates.

Self Drive
Self-guided, stress-free road trips with all the elements sorted for you. Our professionally crafted itineraries and booking team, your dates and travel companions.

Guided or self-guided, this is your personal New Zealand dream made manifest. A fully customized experience based on your passions, finessed with our professional planning.

Soft Adventure,

Trip Departures


Want to make this itinerary exclusive to your own group? Request As a Private Trip and we can advise pricing based on your dates and the number of travellers in your group.

Daily Brief

Click on the orange icons to read about lodging along the way (not available on mobile). C=Classic, P=Premier, L=Luxe, S=Special Stays. Note accommodation may vary based on departure date. For hotel links and more information, Request a Detailed Itinerary above.

Your tour starts in Wellington, named ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet. Depending on your arrival time, explore the city sights or rest up from your overseas journey before we come together to toast our impending adventure.


Board your ferry and cross the Cook Strait to the South Island via the soft folds of the Marlborough Sounds. On land, it’s a short drive to the renowned Marlborough region for a winery lunch. Visit the excellent war exhibitions at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, brought to life by the talents of Weta Workshop, before settling into your vineyard lodging.


Return to the Sounds this morning for an eco cruise to an island bird sanctuary or take a guided cycle tour of the region’s top wineries, riding along scenic country roads and filling your panniers with pinot. This afternoon, travel to Nelson for your two-night stay.


This morning, travel to nearby Abel Tasman National Park for a very special sea kayaking and hiking experience along its picturesque coast. Alternatively, take a guided hike in the park or choose a scenic cruise. Return to Nelson to dine on your own and relax after your day’s adventure.


Pass through the beautiful Nelson Lakes region on route to the wild West Coast. This part of the South Island is a labyrinth of intricate cave systems. Stop and explore natural formations and glowworm constellations on a scenic caving tour (or a cave rafting adventure for the intrepid/slightly mad amongst us) before continuing to the fascinating Pancake Rocks region to settle into your seaside eco lodge.


Head south to spectacular Glacier Country for a scenic helicopter flight over the Franz Josef Glacier’s blue-ice crevasses, landing on its neve. Continue to nearby Fox and take a self-guided hike to the Fox Glacier face and through a stand of old-growth rainforest near your alpine lodging.


Take a morning walk around a forest-rimmed kettle lake created by retreating glaciers. From there, it's a stunning drive through the Mt Aspiring National Park, with stops at hidden trails and secluded waterfalls. Pause in the lakeside town of Wanaka before crossing the spectacular Crown Range and descending to your lakeside lodging in Queenstown.


If you can dream it, Queenstown has likely found a way for you to do it. After breakfast, the day is yours to pick and choose which dream to fulfill. We’ll make recommendations on optional activities based on your interests, be it white water rafting or wine trails, bungy jumping or cycling, jetboating or golf. Or just spend it enjoying the buzz of the town and soaking up the views. Gather this evening to swap stories about your day and celebrate your journey together.


Depending on your flight schedule, take a lakeside stroll or squeeze in that massage before you’re dropped at the airport for your reluctant flight home.

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Trip Inclusions

While Black Sheep prides itself on the intangibles that make our Small Group trips special, our packages are known for being stuffed with features. Check out what’s included in your Black Sheep adventure below.


All accommodation during your tour

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Wine tasting in Marlborough
Island bird sanctuary visit or vineyard cycling tour
Abel Tasman kayak, cruise, or guided hike
Glow-worm cave expedition
Scenic glacier heli flight
Additional guided tours, museum entry, walks and more

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All breakfasts
4 lunches
5 dinners with NZ wine sampling
Onboard snacks & beverages

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Tour vehicle with professional driver/guide
Ferry ride to South Island
Airport transfers within tour dates
All baggage transport within tour

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Services of a doting Black Sheep guide
Background support from Black Sheep HQ
Flight assistance available

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Gear & Amenities

Stainless steel water bottle & holder
NZ map & travel journal
Use of walking sticks, neck pillows, onboard library, and more
A few surprises

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South Island Sampler
Small Group