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Vacation Itinerary

2018/19 Price: $5999* per person

*Price is based on double occupancy


2018 Departure Dates:
October 15, 23 & 29
November 6, 12, 20 & 26
December 4, 10, 18, 25 & 31
2019:January 6, 8, 14, 22 & 28
February 3, 5, 11, 17, 19, 25


Set foot on the iconic sites of New Zealand with this 13 day fully guided small group hiking tour. Experience the beauty and grandeur of nature without sacrificing comfort - you'll only need a day pack when you're out and about. Your belongings will be transferred from amazing destination to amazing destination while you're out enjoying Milford Sound, the Hollyford Track, and Martins Bay, just to name a few. When you return from your day's adventure, you'll find yourself in 4 star accommodations enjoying delicious local cuisine. In addition to guided hikes, this tour also includes multi-sport activities such as helicopter tours, kayaking, and an underworld adventure in the world's most spectacular glowworm caves.

Maximum group size:14


HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Guided day hikes on some of New Zealand’s best hiking trails - the Milford, Routeburn and Hollyford tracks and in Arthur’s Pass and Aoraki Mt Cook National Parks
  • Guided glacier hiking on Fox Glacier
  • Spectacular rail journey on the TranzAlpine
  • Underworld adventure in one of the most spectacular glowworm caves in the world
  • Eco kayaking on tranquil Okarito Lagoon
  • Lake Wanaka cruise and island bird sanctuary guided hiking
  • Gibbston Valley walk with wine tasting
  • Spectacular helicopter flight from Milford Sound to Martins Bay
  • Martins Bay seal colony and penguins or dolphins
  • Overnight stays in Milford Sound and remote Martins Bay Lodge
  • Hollyford River and Lake McKerrow jetboat
  • Mount Cook night sky star gazing tour and planetarium

FULL ITINERARY:

Day 1 - TranzAlpine train & Arthur’s Pass National Park
After introductions and a brief orientation, depart Christchurch and watch the Canterbury plains disappear into the rear view mirror as you head into the high-country on one of the world's greatest scenic rail journeys. Then stretch your legs and breathe some fresh mountain air in Arthur's Pass National Park. Follow your guide up the stunning Bealey Valley, through ancient beech forest, alpine wetlands, along the crystal clear mountain stream to the edge of the alpine zone with views up to Mt Rolleston and her permanent glaciers – the perfect start to your New Zealand outdoor adventure.

Stay in Punakaiki. (Lunch, Dinner)

Day 2 - Paparoa National Park, Nile River Glowworm Caves

Explore Paparoa National Park, one of the most untouched and unexplored spots in New Zealand. Then, make your way through the Primeval River Rainforest to the Underworld Glowworm caves. There are two options here – get kitted up in wetsuits to walk then float on a small inflatable raft through the most amazing glowworm caves on the planet or stay dry and walk into the heart of the caves with your guide.

Stay in Punakaiki again. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 3 - The West Coast and Okarito Lagoon

Wild West Coast Scenic Drive
First time visitors to New Zealand are always amazed by how stunning the roads are and today you will see this for yourself. Sit back in your seat and enjoy the views - the snowy peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps, virgin West Coast rainforest and the rugged Tasman Sea coastline. A quiet kayak is the best way to enjoy the flora, fauna and scenic grandeur of New Zealand's largest unmodified coastal wetland. Okarito Lagoon is well known for its outstanding avifauna (over 70 species of birds have been recorded here). All this with the backdrop of New Zealand’s highest peaks – you will be pinching yourself in disbelief at the sheer beauty.

Stay at Fox Glacier. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Day 4 - The River of Ice and Mt Aspiring National Park

At 13 kilometers in length, Fox Glacier is the largest and most accessible of the West Coast glaciers. In the company of an experienced local glacier guide, you will be lead through an alpine valley and onto the glacier itself.

As you continue your trail, the scenery is impressive all the way, once over the Haast Pass the views change dramatically as you head into the mountains and bid farewell to the coastline. You follow the Haast River into Mount Aspiring National Park and the Wanaka Lakes district.

Stay in Wanaka. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5 - Lake Wanaka and Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve

Lying close to the centre of Lake Wanaka is Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve which is only accessible from Lake Wanaka by a 35 minute boat ride. From the top you have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka, the surrounding mountains and valleys, and below Arethusa Pool. On a hot day you may not be able to resist a dip in the cool crystal clear waters.

Your afternoon drive takes you through the Cadrona Valley, over the Crown Range into the amazing Wakatipu basin and to Queenstown.

Stay in Queenstown. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6 - Destination Paradise and the Routeburn Track

Today you are heading close to Paradise, not the other unofficial Paradises you have been to already, but the official Paradise, where you'll get to experience one of New Zealand's best hikes - the Routeburn Track. On the trail your guide will lead you through the Beech Forest (looks like Lord of the Rings was shot here), alongside the crystal clear river onto Routeburn Flats and for those looking for a real challenge, Routeburn Falls.

You choose how far you want to walk today, most people make the hike to Routeburn Flats, a return walk of 16km (10 miles) over 6-7 hours. The trail is excellent all the way, a gradual climb on the way in and downhill on the way back. You have all day to enjoy yourself so there is no hurry. For an extra challenge the climb to Routeburn Falls will reward you with stunning views, the return distance adds another 3km (2 miles) to your hike and it’s quite a good climb too, 300 vertical meters (1000 feet)!

Stay in Queenstown again tonight. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 7 - Explore Queenstown

Today is yours to make the most of Queenstown’s scenic beauty, easy walks, and endless opportunities to relax. Thrill seeking may be touted as the major attraction, but you can just as easily go fishing, golfing, gold panning, wine tasting, or boating. One thing is certain: You won't run out of things to do and we’ll be on hand to make sure you have all the information and support to make the most of your day.

Stay in Queenstown (Breakfast)

Day 8 - Gibbston Valley and Fiordland

Surrounded by imposing rugged schist mountains, this rocky gorge is incised by the beautifully turquoise Kawarau River, a harsh environment in winter no doubt, but perfect growing conditions for Central Otago’s pinot noir.As well as wine, the Valley is known for delicious cheese. Washed rind and sheep milk cheeses can be added to your picnic basket, which might soon also acquire a few excellent bottles of pinot noir -– perfect for your riverside picnic lunch. After lunch you head off along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, toward Fiordland National Park.

Spend the night in Fiordland (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9 AM - Milford Track, Milford Sound Sea Kayak or Cruise

Milford Sound is simply stunning and offers what is surely the most spectacular fiord scenery in the southern hemisphere. Whatever the fiord’s mood, teeming with rain or with sun glistening on deep water, it will inspire you. Milford can be experienced in a number of ways - a short cruise across the Sound for a half day walk on the world famous Milford Track, a nature cruise taking you the entire length of the Sound out to the Tasman Sea or if you feel like a little more activity, roll your shoulders over in a Sea Kayak. Whichever you choose it will be a great way to experience the grandeur of Milford.

Day 9 PM - Helicopter Flight to Martins Bay, Coastal Wildlife Walk

Our scenic flight over the rugged Fiordland backcountry into Martins Bay is simply awe-inspiring. Your afternoon hike takes you to the Martins Bay seal colony where you can view the New Zealand fur seal at close quarters in total seclusion, a totally natural wildlife experience. If you are lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.

Stay in Martins Bay Lodge on the Hollyford Track (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10 - The Hollyford Track Hike

Stepping into the Hollyford Valley is literally like entering a lost world, remote wilderness untouched for thousands of years. Your adventure today starts with a jetboat across Lake McKerrow before your guides lead you on your day hike, a flat one day walk through the World Heritage wilderness of the Hollyford Track. Some of your new friends may be departing the tour tomorrow, so tonight you all enjoy a final celebration dinner together.

Stay in Fiordland. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11 - South Island High Country and Mt Cook

Today your destination is the Mount Cook region, a beautiful area of highland turquoise lakes surrounded by vast fields of golden tussock, gazed upon by the spectacular Southern Alps. Tonight you will experience the unforgettable Mt Cook night sky, the reason the southern most observatory on earth is located here. Accompanied by an expert star watching guide you will get a learned insight into our universe and beyond.

Stay in Mt Cook Village. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12 - Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

You have a choice of hikes today - the Hooker Valley track, this gentle Annie takes you up to the Hooker glaciers terminal lake with Mount Cook towering above, living up to its Maori name Aoraki – “the Cloud Piercer”. For a slightly more challenging hike, follow your guide up the Sealy Tarns track - a top of the world view of the village and surrounds, but most impressive of all is the commanding view of the Mueller Glacier.

Stay in Mt Cook Village again. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 13 - The Last Day - Mackenzie Country and Canterbury Plains

All good things must come to an end, today is the final day of your New Zealand trail! You'll take your time through the Mackenzie country and Canterbury Plains before arriving in Christchurch for early afternoon dropoffs at the airport or city accommodation. Your trail ends today back in Christchurch. (Breakfast, Lunch)

*15% tax in addition to trip cost
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