3
days

Walking the Kaikoura Wilderness Walkway

This is a two day/one night or three day/two night guided walk through the Puhi Peaks Nature Reserve, which is a protected significant natural area of international importance, famous as a haven for a diverse array of rare and endangered native species of flora and fauna. Added to this is the opportunity of viewing a variety of native bird species as well as resident wildlife including deer and chamois.

A New Zealand walk which will provoke a combination of emotion, pleasure and above all, a sense of personal achievement.

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Itinerary

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Kaikoura Wilderness Walks, located in New Zealand's South Island, offers a two day/one night or three day/two night guided walk through the Puhi Peaks Nature Reserve, which is a protected significant natural area of international importance, famous as a haven for a diverse array of rare and endangered native species of flora and fauna. Added to this is the opportunity of viewing a variety of native bird species as well as resident wildlife including deer and chamois.


 

Why is it so Special?
You will find many reasons why this walk is so deserving of the acclaim it receives, but the fact that a maximum of 12 visitors are sharing in the walk at one time is for most what makes them feel part of a "wilderness romance."

Landscaped
Constantly and rapidly changing from native forest, to alpine vegetation, to being amongst mountain tops.

The Lodge
Within this pristine location is Shearwater Lodge, 4 star accommodation specifically established to provide the ultimate in comfort with private double/shared twin rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

Food
Freshly prepared delicious kiwi cuisine reflecting local produce accompanied by New Zealand wines and beverages.

The Walk
Requires moderate fitness over terrain that varies from smooth well formed tracks to uneven irregular surfaces. All luggage is transported to the Lodge, you only require a day pack for jacket, camera, sunblock, water etc. Your guide will provide expert interpretation of the many unique features and wildlife along the way, as well as ensuring a walking pace suitable to the level of fitness of the group.

1
KAIKOURA - SHEARWATER LODGE

We will arrange to meet you at our muster point in Kaikoura at 9.30am and transport you via a very scenic route, firstly along the Kaikoura Coast, then up one of the most spectacular valleys in New Zealand, the Puhi Puhi Valley. The drive to the start of the Kaikoura Wilderness Walk track will take approximately 40 minutes. Your luggage will be transported for you to Shearwater Lodge – your overnight accommodation. It is important that you pack those items required for the duration of the walk and leave non essential items behind as this assists in the efficient management of the experience. Daypacks and wet weather gear are available for your use if required.

The first portion of the walk is a pleasant mix of bush and forest environments; kanuka/manuka, beech, and fern dominate; also there are specimens of rimu and totara. This portion of the track takes approx. 1.5 - 2 hours and climbs to the vantage point "Totara Saddle", where we have lunch.

After lunch the track begins with a downhill section from Totara Saddle to the stream below, then a steady walk up through beech forest for approximately an hour, then through ancient totara forest. Although the track gradually ascends for the next two hours, the magnificence of the forests that surround you simply distracts you from this fact until at the end of the forest, you come out (quite unexpectedly) onto alpine meadows covered in mountain daisies!

Traversing along these alpine meadows is fairly even going and then a short climb to another saddle, up over the top and ...!! There’s your first view of the Lodge – and what a fantastic view of it in its wider setting. You are now just over an hour from Shearwater Lodge and have to negotiate a downhill section with the final uphill part of the track to the Lodge taking about 15-minutes and.....success, you have arrived!!

Refreshing drinks from the chiller as you arrive, soon make you forget that last section of the walk to the Lodge, which may have been somewhat of a struggle after a full days walking, but as the ice chinks in your glass or the top comes off that cold bottle, you'll be feeling mighty good about now...!!

Relax for while, take a rest, settle into your room. After a soothing shower to freshen up, from your own private deck, or the large deck off the main room, simply take in the atmosphere and let the cares of the world become a distant memory. A complimentary glass of wine or beer is on hand to assist the winding down process before dinner is served.

2
SURVEYOR'S PEAK - DESCEND OUT

Day two is split into two sections:

Firstly, after a hearty breakfast, there is an optional morning loop walk above the Lodge into the dramatic alpine scenery. On this section the track traverses the gentle valley floor of Happy Valley and walkers enjoy the alpine vista of spectacularly rugged mountains which rise steeply from each side of the valley. A keen eye should be on the alert for red deer, Arapawa sheep and the elusive and nimble chamois.

Leaving the valley we climb up onto a high ridge eventually arriving at Surveyor's Peak some 5000ft above sea level. The panoramic views from here are simply breathtaking and if the skies are clear, you can see as far south as Banks Peninsula and as far north as the eastern coast of the North Island. Camera's click to capture the vistas and provide memories of an occasion and experience rarely obtainable. It's then back down to the Lodge returning some four hours after leaving.

The second section of day two happens after a leisurely lunch and then it is time for the final section, the walk out. We take a different path to that taken on the way in and much of this track is downhill. Once again there are plenty of opportunities to see the birdlife and wild animals as we make our way down to where it all began the day before. It's normally about 4.00pm when we meet the transport ( with your luggage already loaded) and it's all aboard for the final part of the journey back to Kaikoura.

3
THREE DAY OPTION

For those of you wanting to spend longer in this wonderful environment, the 3 day / 2 night option is ideal. This gives you an extra day and night to either relax or do some exploring, maybe climb to the top of one of the nearby peaks, or explore the streams and bushlands below the Lodge.