Day 1 : Home Country
Depart from your home country.
Day 2 : International Dateline
Cross the International Dateline and lose a day.
Day 3 :
Arrive at the Christchurch airport mid-morning. We arrange a group transfer
to accommodate all arriving trip members. Then we head west, crossing the
Southern Alps and stopping for lunch along the way. It's a 4-1/2 hr. drive
to the West Coast, where we follow the coastal road to the gorgeous seaside
village of Punakaiki. We arrive in the early evening and spend the night.
Hiking distance: 1-4 miles. Lunch and dinner included.
4 : Paparoa National Park
After a good breakfast, we start the day with a hike into Paparoa National
Park. We travel through lush, temperate rainforest and under steep limestone
bluffs to some great coastal views. The rainforest in this area is
unbelievably lush, and the limestone canyons and distant, hazy mountains of
Paparoa National Park make this an awesome day's hike. We'll also follow the
Truman Track to a small surf beach and visit the famous Pancake Rocks and
Blowholes. For those interested, there is an optional
dolphin/wildlife-viewing boat trip that can be arranged directly with the
trip leader. In the late afternoon, we drive to Okarito, and stay in a
private motel for two nights. Hiking distance: 5 miles, 500' elevation gain,
3-4 hours. 2-1/2 hours driving time. All meals included.
Day 5 : Okarito
The Okarito lagoon is host to the only white heron colony in New Zealand.
We'll spend three hours sea kayaking on the lagoon with a backdrop of
snowcapped mountains and exploring the deserted beach or hiking in the
rainforest. Sunsets here are not to be missed! After dark, we'll head out to
listen for New Zealand's most famous bird, the rare and exclusive kiwi. It's
very rare to see one-they're shy, nocturnal birds-but they have a
distinctive call. We may also see some local glowworms. Hiking distance: 4
miles, 500' elevation gain. Sea kayaking three hours. All meals included.
(No driving today.)
6 : Glaciers of the South
Today we visit the great glaciers of the South Island. We'll hike through
the rainforest to Robert's Point which overlooks the terminus of the Franz
Josef Glacier. This enormous river of ice cuts right through the rainforest,
almost to sea level. In rainy weather, we'll substitute a shorter walk to
the terminal face of the Fox Glacier, hike around Lake Matheson and visit
the Blue Pools near Haast Pass. Then we'll cross the Main Divide to Makarora
and stay in a lovely homestead. Hiking distance 6 miles, 1500' elevation
gain, 5 hours. 4-1/2 hrs. driving time. All meals included.
Day 7 : Makarora
An early morning start takes us down the Makarora Valley to Lakes Wanaka
and Hawea. We cross the spectacular Crown Range to Queenstown, where we'll
arrive in time for a late lunch. In the afternoon the guides will help you
book optional activities for the following day. We spend two nights in
Queenstown at the Beech Cove condominiums. 2-1/2 hours driving time. All
Day 8 : Queenstown
A free day in Queenstown allows you to explore the "adrenaline capital
of the world". Possible activities include jet boating, bungy jumping,
hiking or cycling. Your trip leader can help arrange optional activities
upon arrival. Breakfast only included. Lunch, dinner and activities on your
Day 9 : Te Anau
After a short drive to Te Anau, we take to the bikes in the Eglinton Valley
and spend the afternoon riding up to the Divide, then down the Hollyford
Valley. The cycling takes place on roads with very little traffic. You can
do as much or as little cycling as you like. Afterwards we'll drive past
fantastic scenery, through the Homer Tunnel and down to Milford Sound. The
lush rainforest carpeting gives way to massively steep, glacier-carved
slopes and waterfalls of the Darren Range. We spend the night at the very
rustic Milford Lodge - quite literally the only place in town. It's very
similar to a European-style mountain hut, and travelers from around the
world lend an international flavor. Basic accommodations include men's and
women's shared bathrooms. Cycling distance up to 40 miles, elevation gain up
to 1500'. 3 hours driving time. All meals included.
Day 10 : Milford Sound
Milford Sound, rated the 8th Wonder of the World by Rudyard Kipling, is a
beautiful place. Sheer rock walls, surrounded by snow capped mountains,
plunge thousands of feet to the sea. Seals and dolphins are very friendly
and eager to visit! Most people see Milford Sound from the deck of a ship,
cruising out to the sea and back again. We have a better way - three feet
above the waterline with Roscoe's Sea Kayaks. We finish our morning paddle,
have lunch at the lodge, then retrace our drive through the tunnel. We then
hike up to Key Summit, part of the famous Routeburn Track. If the weather is
clear, we can enjoy the unbelievable views of the surrounding peaks. We'll
spend the night at Lake Manapouri Inn where every room has a great view over
the lake and surrounding countryside. Sea kayaking 2-4 hours, hiking 2-3
hours. Elevation gain 1000'. 2 hours driving time. All meals included.
11 : Mt Cook
Today we have the option of an early morning bike ride. Then we head to a
high-country sheep station near Mt Cook, stopping at Te Anau along the way.
We spend two nights in genuine shearers' quarters on Braemar Station.
Sleeping bags are needed for this portion of our stay. Optional activities
include cycling and easy hikes. 4-1/2 hours driving time. All meals
Day 12 : Mt
It's an hour's drive to Mt. Cook village at the head of Lake Pukaki, where
we begin today's hike. Most of the day is spent hiking up to the main ridge
above Mueller Glacier to admire the incredible views of Mount Cook, Mount
Sefton and the rest of the main divide. We then head back to the shearer's
quarters for our last night and farewell dinner. Hiking distance 5 miles,
elevation gain 4000'. 2 hours driving time. All meals included.
13 : Christchurch
Christchurch is a four-hour drive from the high-country sheep station, so
we plan to leave by 9 a.m. We'll arrive at the airport in the early
afternoon, so those departing on evening flights can check in. Breakfast and
picnic lunch included.
Other New Zealand Tour Packages