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Tour Code : ITTNZ-15, Duration : 10 Days

Highlights Itinerary at a Glance
- Arthur's Pass National Park
- Franz Josef
- The Makarora Valley
- Queenstown
- Te Anau
- Green Lake
- Fiordland National Park
- Milford Sound
Day 1 : Christchurch
Day 2 : Arthur's Pass - Franz Josef
Day 3 : Franz Josef
Day 4 : Franz Josef - Makarora Valley
Day 5 : Makarora Valley
Day 6 : Makarora Valley - Queenstown
Day 7 : Queenstown - Fiordland National Park
Day 8 : Fiordland National Park
Day 9 : Te Anau - Milford Sound
Day 10 : Milford Sound - Queenstown

Detailed Itinerary
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Day 1 : Christchurch - Arthur's Pass National Park
Arthur's Pass - Christchurch

After leaving Christchurch we journey into the Canterbury foothills. En route we stop at the surreal Castle Hill boulders, before entering the Craigieburn State Forest. Ambling for few hours over Lyndon Saddle takes us down to Broken River amongst the beech forests on well formed tracks, providing us an opportunity to stretch our legs. From here we go into Arthur's Pass National Park and on the crest of the Pass, we walk the hour up to our lodge ringed by the nearby mountains and alpine pastures. 4-6 hours walking on this day.
Read more about Christchurch
Day 2 : Arthur's Pass - Franz Josef
At dawn we climb into the upper basins known for their ancient snow tussocks, hebes, alpine daisies and gentians. The glacier forces, as well as alpine folding, are obvious in the formation of these peaks and valleys. In the quiet of the mountain cirques, with the many high mountain passes, the hustle of the modern world is left far behind. We rest at the highest hut in the Park and all too soon descend to our waiting vehicle. Dropping into the rainforests of the West Coast we travel on to Franz Josef and our next stop over. Up to 4 hours walking.

Day 3 : Franz Josef
The power of the past glacial age is well demonstrated as we climb above the forests that cling to the thin soils on the sides of the mountains. A steady 4-6 hour climb takes us to one of a series of stunning viewpoints, onto the upper ramparts of the Franz Josef Glacier, and the mountains that border its cirque. Spread below is the coastline, sweeping in both directions and carpeted with its unique rain forest to the shore. Alternative easier walks for those not yet at their peak fitness are available. 6-8 hours walking.

Day 4 : Franz Josef - Makarora Valley
Driving south we leave the coast and climb over the Haast Pass and drop into the Makarora Valley. Here we start our three day mountain excursion as we fly or jet boat into a real mountain hut dwarfed by the surrounding peaks. A short walk carrying our own clothing and sleeping bag takes us to our shelter for the next two nights. This spacious mountain hut is well fitted out with bunks, mattresses and a wood stove. Up to 3 hours walking.

Day 5 : Makarora Valley
This day is spent exploring the valley and rivers on formed paths below the bushline. For the adventurous, we can discover a secret mountain tarn, high in the mountains. We are high enough to enjoy the forces of nature that have created this landscape as we pass through the many bands of vegetation to reach the alpine pastures above. Walks of varying duration and ability are available. 4-8 hours walking.

Day 6 : Makarora Valley - QueenstownWilkin River - Queenstown
Reluctantly leaving this mountain refuge, we walk the three hours down to the nearby Wilkin River to meet our transportation back to Makarora. We fly downstream by jet boat, through the forests and back to 'civilization'. We drive on to Wanaka and then over the Crown Range and the spectacular tussock lands before dropping down to Arrowtown and another walk into this historic gold-mining centre. From here we drive to Queenstown and enjoy a meal, before exploring the town by night. 3-4 hours walking.
Read more about Queenstown
Day 7 : Queenstown - Fiordland National Park
Heading southwards we drive through the vast lands at the top of Southland and then on to Te Anau, nestled on the edge of Fiordland National Park. After a visit we enjoy a 4-5 hour walk on the bottom of the famous Kepler Track before driving the short distance onto Borland Lodge, our accomomdation for the next two nights. 4-5 hours walking.

Day 8 : Fiordland National Park
After exploring the complex, we drive up the private road onto Borland Saddle and into the Grebe Valley. Leaving our transportation we walk to Green Lake through alpine wetlands on ancient glaciated valley floors. For the energetic, the remainder of the day is spent walking the circle track which drops back to Lake Monowai and the lodge. For those seeking a more relaxed day, a walk back to the van and a drive to the lodge and some of the shorter loop tracks before we meet again for the evening. 4-8 hours walking.

Day 9 : Te Anau - Milford Sound
With an early start, we drive back to Te Anau and enter into the Fiordland National Park with its huge glaciated walls and rainforests. At the start of the Routeburn we walk the track to Key Summit before dropping into the lower Hollyford Valley by a seldom used track. Driving into the Darran Mountains we will understand some of the forces of nature as we view the devastation wrought by the huge avalanches that fall off the vertical walls. From Homer Tunnel we drop into Milford Sound and in the early evening sail out into the Sound and overnight on the magnificent Milford Wanderer. Enjoy an optional kayak in the evening for those feeling fit and energetic. 3-4 Hours walking.
Day 10 : Milford Sound - QueenstownHomer Tunnel
After breakfast we rejoin our van, driving back through the Homer Tunnel. From the valley floor we begin our walk into the Gertrude Valley and on to the spectacular Gertrude Saddle. Below us is the magnificent Milford Sound and our accommodation of the past night. Surrounding us are peaks towering above the valley floors. An optional walk to Lake Marion is also available dependant upon time and weather. We retrace our route to finally arrive at Queenstown and a final celebratory meal. 4-5 hours walking.
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