Queenstown - Walk on the Routeburn Track
This morning you will meet your local guide and fellow travellers in Queenstown before heading to Glenorchy at the head of Lake Wakatipu. This is one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand and you’ll be greeted by mountain peaks and endless impressive vistas before we reach the first of our Great Walks, the Routeburn Track.
Your guide will fill you in on the local history and special flora and fauna of the area as you walk through beautiful native beech forest alongside a crystal clear glacial river. Our destination today is the expansive open meadow at Routeburn Flats, where you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch alongside the Routeburn River.
If you are keen on a longer walk, we have you covered. Our trips are flexible and cater to everyone’s needs and abilities. You’ll have the choice to either carry on up to the picturesque Routeburn Falls for magnificent views over the valley and surrounding mountains or soak up more of the views at Routeburn Flats before returning to the trailhead.
Refreshed from today’s wilderness experience we’ll head back to Queenstown to enjoy a delicious dinner at one of our favourite local restaurants.
Accommodation: Queenstown - 1 Night
Helicopter Ride and Walk on Kepler Track
This morning we’ll travel south tracing the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the open plains and tussocks of the Southern high country to reach Fiordland National Park and our third Great Walk, the Kepler Track.
We’ll be met at the helipad by our local Fiordland guide before taking a spectacular flight over the hidden lakes and beech forest of Mt Luxmore and touching down in the alpine area of Luxmore Hut. Panoramic views of the Te Anau basin and the mountains of Fiordland will greet us and our local nature guide will teach you about the unique flora, fauna and history of this remote area.
This afternoon we’ll walk through beautiful beach forest and alongside towering limestone rock formations as we descend down to Brod Bay, the pick-up point for our cruise back to Te Anau, our resting place tonight.
If helicopters aren't really your thing, that's no worries at all, your New Zealand Trails guide will be able to take you on a day walk through the forest floor instead.
Accommodation: Te Anau - 2 Nights
Milford Track and Cruise Milford Sound
Today we’ll journey through some of the most spectacular and dramatic views in the country. We leave Te Anau and head through to Milford Sound, the Eighth Wonder of the World. There are many highlights along the drive including the glacier-carved Eglinton Valley, the Divide and Homer Tunnel, keep an eye out for the cheeky Kea, NZ’s alpine parrot.
When we arrive in Milford Sound we’ll board a small boat that will take us across the fiord to the world-famous Milford Track, your fourth Great Walk of the trip. We’ll walk through this unique World Heritage area underneath a canopy of towering emerald-green ferns to the tumbling falls of Giant’s Gate. Be sure to take a moment to take in the birdsong that echoes through the forest.
This afternoon we’ll take a nature cruise on Milford Sound. We’ll check out Bowen Falls, Sinbad Gully and the dramatic Mitre Peak as we make our way towards the Tasman Sea. This is your chance to learn more about the unique Fiordland environment from your Milford Sound guide on board while enjoying the sights and sounds of waterfalls tumbling down around you.
Flight to Stewart Island - Walk on the Rakiura Track
Today we’re venturing further off the beaten track to Stewart Island and Rakiura National Park. Tucked off the southern coast of the South Island, Stewart Island is the smallest of our main islands. A haven for brown kiwi birds, who outnumber the 400 humans on the island, and part of New Zealand’s Dark Sky Reserve, Stewart Island is a paradise of untouched rugged peaks and rainforest.
This morning we’ll take a scenic flight, or ferry if you'd prefer, across Foveaux Strait and touch down in Oban, the main settlement of Stewart Island. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring our second Great Walk, the Rakiura Track. We’ll walk from Lee Bay to Māori Beach, which in the early 1900s was a bustling settlement. Today the rainforest hides most of what remains of the early village but remnants of the boiler and steam engine used by the old sawmill can still be found, along with clumps of montbretia and bluebells - legacies from the sawmiller's cottages.
Tonight we’ll return to Oban where we’ll enjoy a delicious dinner at the local tavern, the best place in New Zealand to try our famous blue cod. Stewart Island is known as Rakiura which means ‘the land of glowing skies’ and tonight you’ll be able to experience some of the best stargazing straight from the balcony at your accommodation.
Accommodation: Stewart Island - 1 Night
Explore Ulva Island & finish in Queenstown
On the final morning of the trip, you’ll explore the untouched paradise of Ulva Island. This small predator-free island measuring just 3.5km is tucked just off the coast of Stewart Island. We'll take a short boat ride across to this beautiful island sanctuary that is home to flourishing populations of kiwi, saddleback and yellowhead birds. Ulva Island is a haven for bird lovers, nature enthusiasts and the perfect place to explore on our last day together.
We'll then return to the mainland. Our last journey together is a scenic trip through tussock country and small farming towns, before tracing the shoreline of the Lake Wakatipu back to Queenstown. Once there, it’s time to say goodbye to your guide and other travellers as we drop you at the airport or your accommodation.