trip
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2
Introductory to Moderate
Activities
  • 12 days walking and kayaking
Accommodation
  • 10 nights hotel/motel
  • 1 night cruise boat
Meals
  • 9 Dinners
  • 10 Lunches
  • 10 Breakfasts

SPECIAL OFFER

12 Days$USD

Hit the trails with confidence

COVID-19 safety measures
Read our Covid-19 travel policy and what we're doing to keep you safe

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: SHK

Trip highlights


  • Explore the outstanding beauty of some of NZ's stunning National Parks
  • Trek to the wild west coast beach and amongst the rainforest of the Paparoa National Park.
  • Kayak on the largest unmodified estuarine lagoon, feeding ground for thousands of wading birds
  • Admire the majesty of NZ's highest peak, Aoraki/Mt Cook
  • Hike up the Rob Roy Track and get face to face with active glaciers
  • Enjoy an unforgettable kayak excursion on Lake Wanaka
  • Overnight cruise on Milford Sound out to the Tasman Sea
  • Stay beneath Aoraki Mt Cook and hike up the Hooker Valley for a closer look

This tour is packed full of stunning scenery with the jaw-dropping backdrops of the Southern Alps and several of New Zealand's National Parks. We start with our first traverse of the Alps as we head across from Christchurch to the West Coast, stopping along the way for a trek to the first of many beautiful waterfalls. Reaching the West Coast at Punakaiki, in the shadow of the Paparoa National Park, we'll enjoy 2 of the Park's highlights, the Truman Track and the uniquely formed Pancake Rocks.

Heading down the Coast, our next 2 days are spent in Glacier County, kayaking amongst 70 species of wading bird and hiking in the rainforest of the Westland National Park, all the while surrounded by mountains and glaciers. Next stop is Lake Country where our home will be Lake Wanaka, gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park. The Rob Roy Glacier Track will bring us face to face with active glaciers and we'll get up close and personal with Lake Wanaka on an unforgettable kayak adventure.

From the Lakes we head to the Fiords and specifically Milford Sound, arguably the most stunning fiord in Fiordland National Park. Here we stay overnight on a purpose built cruise boat and cruise out to the Tasman Sea surrounded by towering peaks, waterfalls and dense bush with time to hop in a kayak or experience a section of the famous Milford Track.

A rest day in Queenstown follows which can be spent truly resting in the many cafes or engaging in one of the multitude of adventure activities on offer.

Our last 2 nights will be spent in the close company of Aoraki Mt Cook and its surrounding National Park. Hiking up the Hooker Valley and, weather permitting, up the 2,200 steps to the Sealy Tarns will be a memorable end to this scenic journey.


We will meet in a central city location in Christchurch around 08:00am and after a short tour briefing we’ll head straight out of town towards the West Coast. We’ll break the journey for lunch and the delightful Devil’s Punchbowl walk through beech forest, zigzagging up 240 steps to one of New Zealand’s most stunning waterfalls. We’ll reach Punakaiki, a small community on the West Coast nestled on the edge of the Paparoa National Park, in late afternoon. There may be time to visit a nearby cavern and check out the glowworms that glow through bioluminescence, thereby enticing prey to the sticky silk threads they make which hang like fishing lines. Our accommodation tonight is situated just 2 minutes from the Punakaiki beach at the Punakaiki Resort, where we’ll also enjoy our first group dinner. Hiking : 1 hr return including 240 steps Driving Time : 5 hours

Meals:  L,D

The boundaries of the Paparoa National Park were carefully established to encompass a complete range of landscapes and ecosystems running all the way inland from the coast to the rugged ice-carved Paparoa Ranges. This morning we’ll explore 2 of the Park’s highlights. The Truman Track is a short, easy, but stunning, walk through beautiful sub-tropical rainforest to a secret beach! From there we’ll head to a limestone landscape of pancake-shaped rock formations, blowholes and surge pools. The Pancake Rocks were formed 30 million years ago from minute fragments of dead marine creatures and plants landed on the seabed about 2 km below the surface. Immense water pressure caused the fragments to solidify in hard and soft layers. Gradually seismic action lifted the limestone above the seabed. Mildly acidic rain, wind and seawater sculpted the bizarre shapes. After lunch we transfer further down the West Coast to the village of Franz Josef, arriving in time for a wander. Hiking : Truman Track 1.2km return ;Pancake Rocks 1.1km loop

Meals:  B,L,D

Okarito is New Zealand's largest unmodified estuarine lagoon - home to more than 70 bird species, including the beautiful kot or white heron and royal spoonbills. The lagoon is surrounded by lush native rainforest, above which rise the towering snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps. The area is an important feeding ground for thousands of wading birds and there's a huge area of shallow open water and tidal flats perfect for sheltered water kayaking. We’ll spend the morning following a self-guided kayak trail which will bring us up close (but not too close) and personal with this amazing colony of birds. After lunch you can either return to Franz Josef for a leisurely afternoon or stay in Okarito and hike to the Okarito Trig Viewpoint. This walk initially winds through bush before crossing the estuary on a curving broadwalk and then winding gently uphill to the Trig. On a clear day, the view is unbeatable overlooking Westland National Park from the snow-capped Southern Alps extensive native forest to the lagoons and beaches of the coast. Heading back to Franz Josef there’ll be time to soak in the hot springs before dinner which the legs should appreciate! Kayaking : 3.5 hrs Hiking : Optional 4.2km 1.5 hrs

Meals:  B,L,D

The heart of Glacier Country, the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier, offer the most accessible rivers of ice in the world, plunging down through rainforest almost to sea level. This morning, depending on the weather, we’ll pick from one of several hikes in the area to experience this dynamic, glacial environment. After lunch we’ll experience one of the best scenic drives in New Zealand from the Glaciers to the Lakes. Tracking down the West Coast through the breath-taking Haast Pass, into the heart of the Southern Alps, we’ll travel past coastal scrub, rain forest and native bush, alpine tussock lands, lakes and mountains - this road showcases the best of South Island scenery all in one go. Ending the day at a central motel within walking distance of Wanaka and its lakefront which will be our base for the next 2 nights. Hiking : upto 3 hours, distance 8-10kms Scenic Drive : 5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Continuing with our glacier theme, today’s hike brings us face to face with active glaciers. The Rob Roy Glacier Track leads into Mount Aspiring National Park, an amazing world of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes. The track follows Rob Roy Stream through beech forest with waterfalls and a luxuriant understorey of ferns and mosses. At the tree line, the forest gives way to alpine vegetation and spectacular views of the hanging glaciers beneath Mount Rob Roy. The walk to the viewing point is mostly uphill, but the incline gradual. The cheeky kleptomaniac kea (mountain parrots) are fond of anything edible or not that you may leave unattended on a rock – just saying! Returning to Wanaka, the evening is free for you to enjoy dinner on your own. Hiking : 10km, 3-4 hours Driving : 1 hr each way

Meals:  B,L

Lake Wanaka is one of New Zealand’s largest lakes situated in a glacier carved basin and is surrounded by the majestic snow capped mountains of the Southern Alps. This makes it the ideal location for an unforgettable kayaking adventure exploring the beautiful coastline whilst enjoying the outstanding scenery. After lunch we get to sit back and enjoy another stunning drive, starting with a spectacular 69km between Wanaka and Queenstown on the Crown Range Road. Renowned for its beautiful views and epic scenery the road traverses New Zealand's highest sealed alpine pass at 1076m. From there we hug the scenic shores of Lake Wakatipu to Kingston and then cross through several small farming settlements before finishing up in the township of Te Anau on the shores of another stunning lake. Kayaking : 4 hours Scenic Drive : 3.5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

The drive to Milford Sound this morning is every bit as impressive as the destination. Climbing through the Southern Alps, the Milford Road is one of the highest and most scenic roads in New Zealand traveling through lush beech forest and vast valleys, past mirror-like lakes, towering mountains and impressive feats of roading engineering in the form of the Homer Tunnel. Milford Sound itself is arguably the most stunning fiord in Fiordland National Park, a World Heritage Area. It’s lined by sheer rock faces that soar 1,200m or more from the water. At 1692 metres, the iconic Mitre Peak is a spectacular sight and New Zealand’s most photographed mountain. The Sound is in the heart of a rainforest, which creates walls of temporary waterfalls. Glorious on a fine day, Milford Sound’s ethereal, moody beauty in the rain is equally spectacular. The Milford Mariner is a purpose-built vessel designed to replicate a traditional trading scow and is perfect for cruising the fiord with private ensuite cabins, an onboard specialist nature guide and delicious food prepared by the onboard chef. During our time on the Mariner, there are options to kayak, explore the shoreline and hike on a section of the renowned Milford Track. Hiking/ Kayaking options Scenic Drive : 2.5hrs

Meals:  B,L,D

After farewelling the Milford Mariner, we’ll head back towards Te Anau, so a second opportunity to take in the extraordinary sights on this stunning drive. We’ll stop just shy of Te Anau to experience a delightful section of another of NZ’s Great Walks, the Kepler. The track follows the terraces of the Waiau River through red and mountain beech forest to Rainbow Reach and is on easy terrain. Then we continue onto Queenstown for the next 2 nights, with a rest day tomorrow which can be spent resting or otherwise! Hiking : 9km 2.5hrs Scenic Drive : 4 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Today there’s the option of a very long lie-in and spending the rest of the day cruising Queenstown’s many cafes and outdoor shops or you can stick with the active theme of the tour and choose one of the myriad of activities offered by NZ’s adrenaline capital! Bunjy jumping, jet boating, rafting, ziplining, off-road driving, mountain biking, hiking…the list is almost endless. Surrounded by mighty mountain ranges, glistening lakes and swooping trails there is literally something for everyone to enjoy in Queenstown.

Meals:  Nil

Today we head to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, a rugged land of ice and rock, with 19 peaks over 3,000 metres including New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook. Leaving Queenstown, we pass through the Gibbston Valley wine growing region before entering the historic gold mining district of the rugged Kawarau River Gorge. Next up the famous fruit growing region of Cromwell followed by a drive up the shores of Lake Dunstan that leads us to the dramatic Lindis Pass. Crossing the Pass we enter the high-country landscape of the MacKenzie Basin and then the final stretch takes us up the shores of the stunning Lake Pukaki to the Aoraki/Mt Cook village. The afternoon is free to stretch your legs on one of the short walks in the Park or perhaps explore the Edmund Hillary Centre or the highly recommended DOC centre and keep the legs fresh for tomorrow. Hiking : 1+ hours Scenic Drive : 3.5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is a rugged land of ice and rock. Walking one of the tracks is the best way to experience this ancient landscape. The Hooker Valley track leads up the Hooker Valley and along the Hooker River, ending at the glacier lake, where there are amazing views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Mueller Glacier on a clear day. Along the way we’ll cross the Hooker River via three swingbridges and encounter picturesque icebergs, glaciers and majestic mountains. For those keen to experience more of this special environment, time and weather permitting, we may venture up the 'stairway to heaven' - 2,200 steps take you straight up to the freshwater lakes of Sealy Tarns. An abundance of alpine flowers in summer and the views from the tarns make the effort worthwhile. Returning to our lodge accommodation we’ll gather for a final trip dinner and enjoy reliving all the great experiences we’ve had! Hiking : Hooker Valley 10km rtn, 3hrs; Sealy Tarns 3-4 hrs, 2200 steps +600m

Meals:  B,L,D

The drive back to Christchurch offers more great views as we head back down Lake Pukaki and continue through the MacKenzie Basin via Lake Tekapo to the pretty country towns of Fairlie and Geraldine. We plan to arrive at Christchurch Airport by 3pm to allow for any domestic flights departing from 4pm. There will be a second central drop off for those wanting to stay longer in Christchurch.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 10 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 9 dinners
  • 10 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 1 night in a cruise boat ensuite cabin on a twin share basis
  • Professional qualified driver/guide
  • Private vehicle transport
  • Kayak expeditions on Okarito Lagoon and Lake Wanaka
  • Entry to Franz Josef hot pools and Sir Edmund Hilary Visitor Centre
  • Water and snacks while trekking and kayaking
  • Poles on request if required - please let our staff know in advance
  • Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own drink bottle or hydration system)
  • Optional activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips

About Your Leader

Our guides are one of our biggest assets. We pride ourselves on the standard and quality of these great people who you will be spending your holiday with. They come from all walks of life but they all have a common desire to give you the best possible experience, heaps of fun and lots of fond memories to take home with you. We provide you with the services of two guides for many of our trips, (this may depend on the size of the group). All are certified in first aid and CPR and many are advanced mountain guides.


Accommodation


Departure dates


Notes

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Total Priceper person from

$USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Christmas & New Year Holiday SupplementUSD$300
  • Single Supplement - Limited to 2 per departureUSD$1050
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed South Island Hike & Kayak trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

Thoughtful Travel

Responsible travel is at the heart of every program we offer as a fundamental and long held philosophy. When you book one of our 100% carbon offset adventures you’re supporting true sustainability in the protection of local communities, natural environments and wildlife.

Ultimate Value

 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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