South Island National Parks Walking

6-13 September 2021

Double or twin share $7,425.00

No. of people

Single Accommodation $8,760.00

No. of people

Deposit to confirm booking $3,000.00

Balance payable by: 05 Jul 2021

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Visit the South Island during early spring to hike quiet trails under crisp blue skies.  You will be surrounded by stunning snow-clad mountains on this adventure.Hhear the rumble of avalanches in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, spot birdlife and immerse yourself in ancient beech and podocarp forest. This is a wonderful sample of hikes in Mount Cook, Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks as well as walks in the Mackenzie Basin, Wanaka and a taste of the stunning Kepler track on the shores of Lake Te Anau.

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Day 1

Sunday 05 September - We Fly to Christchurch

We are transferred to Wellington Airport this morning to begin our adventure. Flying to Christchurch we stay in the city tonight in preparation for an early start tomorrow.

Day 2

Monday 06 September - Travelling to Lake Ohau, Hiking Mt John

After breakfast we are on the road bright and early, headed for Lake Tekapo where we’ll stretch our legs with a visit to the Church of the Good Shepherd, easily one of the most scenic locations for a church you’ll ever come across! After lunch by the glacier-fed lake with its cobalt blue allure, we'll hike along the lakeshore before emerging above the treeline on Mt John for breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Then we’ll carry on to the remote and beautiful Lake Ohau Lodge. The lodge is tucked in beside an alpine lake, with stunning views stretching across to Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Southern Alps – the ideal spot to soak in a hot tub and star gaze! We will enjoy dining in this evening with the welcoming ambiance of a roaring fire.
Staying: Ohau Lodge, Lake Ohau (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 8 kilometres, 2-3 hours; Elevation Gain: 330 metres

Day 3

Tuesday 07 September - Hiking in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

The highest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook was first named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori. This region was Sir Edmund Hillary’s training ground as he prepared for his and Tenzing Norgay’s famous summit of Mt Everest in 1953. Feeling inspired, we’ll take an impressive hike up to a lake at the base of the Hooker Glacier, complete with icebergs! The track is surrounded by peaks, glaciers, native vegetation and mountain streams, and provides excellent views of Aoraki/Mt Cook on a fine day. If you’re keen for a challenge, another option is to take a day hike to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a tough hike and the weather would need to co-operate, but the views across the Southern Alps are worth it! Afterwards, we’ll return to Lake Ohau Lodge to enjoy dinner and watch the sunset on Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Staying: Ohau Lodge, Lake Ohau (All meals)
Hooker Valley Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres, 3-4 hours; Elevation Gain: 100 metres
Sealy Tarns Hiking Distance: 6 kilometres 2-4 hours; Elevation Gain: 650 metres

Day 4

Wednesday 08 September - Hiking Mt Aspiring National Park

Our hike today will take us into the Matukituki Valley in Mt Aspiring National Park, to catch a glimpse of Rob Roy Glacier. If it's a clear day, we'll be able to see Mt Aspiring from the track start at Raspberry Creek Flat. We will start our hike alongside the Matukituki River, though shortly crossing a bridge over the river to ascend up into the side hanging valley. Soon we'll be surrounded by thick native beech forest as we hike up, and will have the chance to see South Island bush robins, tomtits, fantails, and even kea if we're lucky! After a few kilometres of steady uphill through the forest, we'll come to an area where the bush opens out and we will be presented with stunning views of the Rob Roy Glacier and Rob Roy peak. We'll make ourselves comfortable to take in the views while enjoying our picnic lunch, before retracing our steps back to the valley floor.
Staying: Edgewater Resort, Wanaka (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 10 kilometres, 3-4 hours; Elevation Gain: 420 metres

Day 5

Thursday 09 September - Hiking Rocky Mountain

This morning we enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading off for our hike today on the Rocky Mountain track, a spectacular circuit through an area carved out by ice-age glaciers, surrounded by native forest and shrubland. Here we have several options - those who want a more relaxed pace can opt for a relaxed walk just around Diamond Lake, and those who want a bigger challenge can walk to the top of Rocky Mountain, for views over Lake Wanaka and back to the township. We’ll enjoy lunch after our hike in Wanaka, then it’s a short but dramatic drive over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our base for the next couple of nights. You will have time to explore and plan your free day tomorrow before dinner. You’ll sleep sweetly at this lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Staying: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 7 kilometres, 2-3 hours; Elevation Gain: 375 metres
Alternative Loop Hiking Distance: 2.5 kilometres, 1 hour

Day 6

Friday 10 September - Rest and Recreation in Queenstown

After breakfast the day is yours. Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand and the optional activities here are endless, including horse trekking, a gondola, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, jet boating or a more relaxing cruise on the TSS Earnslaw. There are also some great hiking or leisurely walking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere or lounge about reading a book. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today. We meet up for dinner at our hotel again this evening.
Staying: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 7

Saturday 11 September - Hiking Kepler Track

We take a scenic drive through to Te Anau today, our base for the next couple of nights and where we will tick off our one Great Walk for this adventure - the Kepler Track. Interestingly, the Kepler Track differs from the Routeburn and Milford Tracks in that it didn’t actually evolve from a Maori greenstone trail, but was custom-built for hiking. The section we’ll hike today passes over the control gates at the outlet of Lake Te Anau and meanders through ancient beech and podocarp forest. Afterwards, we’ll experience a mysterious underground world with a guided cave tour past the rushing water of an underground stream before drifting in silent darkness beneath the luminous shimmer of hundreds of glowworms. This underground world is astonishingly beautiful. By geological standards, the caves are very young (12,000 years) and are still being carved out by the force of the river that flows through them. The result is a twisting network of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools and a roaring underground waterfall. After exploring the caves we'll make our way to our accommodation for the next two nights and enjoy the scenery and the delicious local fare.
Staying: Matai Lodge, Te Anau (All meals)
Hiking Distance: 9.5 kilometres, 2-3 hours; Elevation Gain: 50 metres

Day 8

Sunday 12 September - Cruising Milford Sound, Exploring Eglinton Valley

This morning we take a drive into Milford Sound, through the Homer Tunnel to emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shore of Milford Sound (actually it’s a fiord!) Rudyard Kipling rated Milford the eighth natural wonder of the world and it is truly breath-taking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand metres to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water. When we arrive at Milford Sound we’ll relax on the deck of a ship, cruising the deep waters of the fiord in the hands of a knowledgeable captain and the nature guides on board. We’ll marvel at the majesty of Mitre Peak - so named for its likeness to a Bishop’s hat - and get up close and personal with several waterfalls! The landscape here looks superimposed because of the sheer scale of your surroundings. On our way back we'll have time to check out a few of our favourite viewpoints along the way and explore some of the highlights of this World Heritage Area, including the Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes and Marian Gantry. The waterfalls viewed from the gantry will take your breath away! Tonight we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner for the last night of our adventure.
Staying: Matai Lodge, Te Anau (All meals)
Cruise Time: 2 hours

Day 9

Monday 13 September - Travelling Home

After breakfast, we journey back to Queenstown in time to catch a flight home to Wellington. Farewelling our fellow travellers at Wellington Airport, we will be met by transfer vehicles to return us to our hometowns. This is the end of our adventure and you’ll have had an exhilarating week.

The cost of the tour includes

  • • Air New Zealand flights
  • • All coach travel
  • • Good quality hotel accommodation
  • • 2 course or buffet evening meals
  • • All breakfasts
  • • Lunches unless stated
  • • All guiding services - two guides per trip
  • • All guiding services - two guides per trip
  • • All activities as described above - hiking, boat cruise and caves.

Departure Detail

I bought our Tranzit tour to the West Coast as a birthday present for Mum. We loved travelling together and made so many memories. I have travelled this coast before and never seen the views I saw from the coach - just amazing! - Meg453, Trip Advisor