15
days

The Ultimate South Island Adventure Tour

Become immersed in a remarkable walking journey throughout New Zealand. Walk through the pristine golden beaches and along the gentle waters of Abel Tasman. Travel south into the lush rainforests to explore New Zealand’s West Coast canyons and its treasure of ice-age glaciers.

Kayaking, Biking, Three 2-Day Wilderness Hikes, Camping, West Coasts Canyons and Glacier Hiking, Abel Tasman Track, Milford Sound Cruise and Five of New Zealand's Top National Parks.

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Itinerary

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1
Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park 5km (3,2 Mi) /1.5 hours hiking

You start your first day at noon in Nelson and meet with your guide and fellow adventurers whom you will be spending the next 15 days with. Today is relaxing as you have free time in the morning to wander this charming town before embarking a picturesque drive to the gateway of Abel Tasman National Park – New Zealand’s smallest National Park.

After repacking for this 3 day 2 night adventure, our water taxi will transport us to our first destination of Awaroa. There is time for a relaxing swim (recommended) before following the renowned Abel Tasman Coastal Track south over Tonga Saddle to Onetahuti Beach. We hike 20 minutes to the campsite at Tonga Quarry where we set up camp and prepare a delicious meal together, spending the night getting to know one another in the group.

Included: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Camping - 2 nights

2
Bark Bay - Anchorage - 8,5-15km (5,5-9,6 Mi) /3-5 hours hiking

Wake up this morning in paradise, and swim at our secluded bay. Later this morning, we pack up and hike toward our second campsite at Bark Bay.

Today offers you the opportunity to sea kayak and discover the sheltered coastlines for yourself. One of the highlights of the paddle is the seal colony based at Tonga Island. They are quite friendly and are used to kayakers. Those who are hiking have a rewarding steady climb through the Manuka forest, offering views out over the ocean. This afternoon we set up camp, prepare dinner and relax beside the beach. 

Note: Please enquire at the time of booking for the sea kayaking option.

Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

3
Anchorage - Murchison 6km (3,1 Mi) /2,5 hours hiking

Leaving our campsite we travel inland, winding through the lush forest and cross the Falls River over an airy 47m suspension bridge. We walk down and back to Torrent Bay where your guide times the crossing of the estuary with the tides (at high tide we must detour inland). FIt is a short cruise back to Kaiteriteri Beach by water taxi, where we rejoin our vehicle to travel to our campsite near Murchison. Enjoy a meal at the local Murchison pub on the way.

Note: A sea kayaking option is available today too, if you would prefer to paddle than walk.

Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Murchison - 1 night

4
Murchison - Ballroom Overhang 8km (4.2 Mi) /3-4 hours hiking

After packing up our campsite, we drive down the Buller Gorge towards the West Coast, to our new destination. Stopping at Cape Foulwind there is an opportunity to view a breeding colony of native New Zealand fur seals, almost hunted to extinction back in the 1800s. After lunch we begin our hike up a spectacular river canyon made of limestone in Paparoa National Park. This National Park was established in 1987 covering over 30,000 hectares which includes mountains, limestone cliffs, rivers, caves and wilderness areas. We hike through several river crossings collecting firewood along the way to our camp, setting up under the massive Ballroom Overhang.

Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Camping - 1 night

5
Ballroom Overhang - Hokitika 8km (4,2 Mi) /3-4 hours hiking

Take the chance to splash up a beautiful side canyon towards a cave before hiking back. You guide will determine the weather conditions and may alter the route to include more time in the canyon away from the track. After our hike we stop in Punakaiki and view the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes before heading down the west coast to our accommodation in Hokitika. In the 1870’s Hokitika was a thriving gold rush town and was described back then as ‘the most rising place on earth’. This town is now better known for the ‘Wild Food Festival’ held every year in March. Whilst you’re here, there is a good opportunity to buy pounamu (greenstone), which was highly valued by early Maori for tools, jewellery and weapons.

Tonight we stay in a lodge, showcasing a magnificent sunset view over the Tasman Sea. It’s your night off for cooking tonight, so treat yourself to a local favourite, fish and chips on the beach or eat out at the many cafes in this seaside town.

Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation Hokitika - 1 night

6
Hokitika - Fox Glacier 33km (20,9 Mi) /4 hours biking - optional

Today we aim to get to Fox Glacier by the end of the day, how we get there is up to you. Fed by four alpine glaciers and 13 kilometers (8 miles) in length, Fox Glacier is the largest on New Zealand’s West Coast. Its current length pales in comparison to the size it once was during the last ice age. Then, Fox Glacier reached almost to the sea, leaving behind its tell-tale moraine walls of evidence of past advances. Tumbling down from 2000m (6561 ft) above sea level in the Southern Alps, the glacier now ends amidst subtropical West Coast rainforest. One of the most easily accessed glaciers in the world, its terminal face can be reached with a short walk from Fox Glacier Village. Relax as we drive you down the coast to Fox Glacier, and your camp  for the night.

Note: Optional cycle hire, the track follows a series of old bush tram lines built in the 1860's to cart coal - 33km (20 miles) - 4 hours biking 

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Fox Glacier - 1 night

7
Fox Glacier - Haast 8-12km (4,2-7,8 Mi) /3-5 hours hiking

Start your day with a gentle morning walk around Lake Matheson, a photographers dream canvas surrounded by native rainforest and a lake reflecting New Zealand’s giants -Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. The reflections are truly spectacular, being one of the most photographed lakes in the country! Later this morning, you’ll have the option of hiking on Fox Glacier, one of the only glaciers in the world to descend into rainforest! Take a guided hike with a local guide and walk on the ice, exploring the crevasses and ice caves overlooking the valley below.

If you prefer not to walk on the ice, take the other option of a guided hike up the valley to a fantastic viewpoint of the glacier. For those more inclined for adventure, there is the option of ice climbing! Whichever option you choose, you will be awed by this incredible glacier. Once finished at the glacier, we drive into South Westland stopping at Haast Beach campsite for the night, sharing your stories of the day’s adventure with your fellow group.

Note: There are plenty of optional activities here such as heli-hiking, scenic flights and ice climbing

Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Haast - 1 night

8
Haast - Aspiring Hut 8km (4,2 Mi) /3 hours hiking

As we drive towards Central Otago, the scenery changes dramatically and we are no longer amongst the lush rainforests of the West Coast, but out into the spacious tussock high country of Central Otago. We drive the shores of the glacially formed lakes Hawea and Wanaka, both expansive and stunning lakes perfect for a swim on a hot summer day. Moving on from Wanaka we drive through Matukituki Valley towards the road end where we stop and start our day’s hike to Aspiring Hut.

Hiking gently into the valley, the scenery starts to unfold and you are rewarded with majestic mountain views, through the dips in the high peaks you will glimpse the Matterhorn-like Mt Aspiring  3033 m) (9950 ft) in the distance.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Camping - 1 night

9
Aspiring Hut - Mossburn 14km (8,1 Mi) /6 hours hiking

We take a steep side trip this morning and climb up to view Rob Roy Glacier. We stop of lunch with company of the cheeky kea (New Zealand alpine parrot), known for their mischief behaviour and stealing items! As we head back into the Aspiring Valley and back to the road end, we pop in and out of beech forest whilst enjoying the views from the track. We reach the vehicle and allow you to rest as we take a scenic drive over the Crown Range. Take in the views from the summit which may leave you breathless as you see far across the Wakatipu Valley and lakes below. We drive on to Mossburn and the idyllic campsite situated on 28 acres of park-like farmland.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Mossburn - 1 night

10
Mossburn - Milford - Queenstown (2 hour cruise, optional)

Fiordland National Park is the largest National Park in New Zealand, and has World Heritage Status. The massive glacial lakes of Te Anau and Manapouri border the inland coastline that is, Fiordland. Firodland is dominated by water, which is either in the form of lakes or as falling rain. The route to Milford Sound is breath-taking, towering mountains surround you either side, covered in lush rainforest and cascading waterfalls abound. 

By mid morning we have reached the Sound, where you will be able to join a cruise which takes you all the way out to Anita Bay, and the entrance of Milford Sound from the Tasman Ocean. Enjoy the views of cascading waterfalls and famous Mitre Peak - 1722 metres (5649 ft) straight from the sea). Keep your eye out for the local wildlife too, with Crested Penguins, Dolphins and New Zealand fur seals which often play near the boat. This afternoon we drive back through Te Anau and reach Queenstown.

Includes: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation Queenstown - 2 nights

11
Queenstown at Leisure

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and ringed by towering mountains, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s ultimate holiday destinations. It may be the adventure capital of the world, but it’s also home to an excellent food and wine scene as well as great shopping, hiking and endless opportunities to relax. It’s just as easy to go fishing, golfing, gold panning or wine tasting as it is to bungy jump or sky dive.

Recommended Excursions in Queenstown:

Routeburn Track Guided Day Walk Explore Historic Arrowtown Highest Bungy Jump
Wine Tasting Tour Central Otago Biking Skippers Canyon Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise Dart River Jetboat Safari Gibbston Valley Wine Trail
 

Includes: Breakfast

12
Queenstown - Ahuriri Valley/Canyon Creek 6km (3,1 Mi) /3 hours hiking

First thing today we drive up through Central Otago and cross Lindis Pass into Mackenzie Country, home to some of the countries largest sheep stations, measuring tens of thousands of acres! The area is renowned for its high quality fine wool production, thanks to its merino sheep. We turn off the main road and drive up the Ahuriri Valley and Conservation Park. We organise our overnight packs when we reach the end of the rugged road, and step out to follow the track by foot up Canyon Stream. The waterfalls and canyon is impressive here!

As we emerge out of the expansive Beech forest, we are greeted with great views of the alpine valley and soaring Mt Barth at the head of the valley. We camp for the night in this remote location.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Camping - 1 night

13
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park 8km (4,2 Mi) /4 hours hiking

Explore the valley further today, if weather permits we climb higher for expansive views over the Southern Alps ‘the spine of the South Island’. We descend back to our vehicle for a late lunch before driving up through the Mackenzie Country and onwards to Aoraki/Mt Cook. Tonight’s campsite is at the foot of this exceptional mountain. New Zealand’s tallest mountain at 3,754 metres (12.316 ft).

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Camping - 1 night

14
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park 8km (4,2 Mi) /5 hours hiking

Today we start grab our day packs and hike up to Sealy Tarns and Mueller Hut. Take in the impressive views over Hooker and Mueller glaciers to Mount Sefton icefall and Aoraki/Mount Cook. This walk will allow you to see and learn further about the forces of nature a work – the large moraine walls which have deposited over thousands of years du to glaciers, the tumbling rocks and avalanches left on the distant mountain faces.

Later there is time in the afternoon to relax as we return to the campsite. There is the option to visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, a great way to become inspired by the courageous stories of mountaineers and an insight into the Park’s natural world. Tonight is our last night together, with a fantastic place to end the tour – in the heart of the Southern Alps. If you’e lucky you will see the summit of Aoraki turn from white to pink as the sun sets for the day.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Camping - 1 night

15
Aoraki/Mt Cook to Christchurch 8km (4,2 Mi) /3-4 hours hiking

We take one final hike this morning to make the most of this serene place. We can either go up the terminal lake of Hooker Glacier scattered with icebergs, or we can make a short drive to the Tasman Valley to explore the glacial moraines and tarns. Our final drive is through the centre of Canterbury Plains, towards Christchurch where our tour ends.

Includes: Breakfast and Lunch