The Wild Walking Tour - South Island 2020
1 - 9 April 2020
Double or twin share $3,970.00
Only one spot (in twin room) remaining! Get your tramping boots out – our South Island walking adventure is finally here.
We discover walks in Arthur's Pass, on the West Coast, an amazing boat cruise and walk on a secluded island on Lake Wanaka, and enjoy a taste of the world-famous Milford, Kepler and Routeburn tracks. There is even the extra added option of a night kiwi encounter in the heart of South Westland. This is a tour where we truly get off the road and into the bush.
Every day is an adventure, but a good level of fitness is required together with a flexible attitude, to take full advantage of the tramps, special features and natural attractions that take a ‘little time and effort’ to reach. Please carefully read the full itinerary for further details.
Wednesday 01 April - Travelling to Christchurch
A very early start today as we are transferred to Wellington Interislander Ferry Terminal to board our 9.00am sailing to Picton.Lunch today (at your own cost) will either be on the ferry or in
Picton. Our coach will depart Picton at 1.15pm heading south to our first stop - Kaikoura. Arriving at Kaikoura we break for a comfort stop and a short leg stretch, a chance to sample the Kaikoura Peninsula walk, where we can see the recovery of the foreshore after the devastating Kaikoura earthquake. We leave Kaikoura to head to our evening’s accommodation in Christchurch. With a late arrival at our hotel we have dinner awaiting us and we can then head off to polish our tramping boots for our eight days of walking and exploring some of the South Islands greatest walks.
Thursday 02 April - Arthur’s Pass Adventure
Our first day of tramping sees us making our way to the West coast via Arthur’s Pass.In the heart of the Southern Alps at Arthur’s Pass National Park, we are met by our guides from Canterbury Trails. The experienced guides have designed a few walking options for us as a group to choose from on the day. We can split into two groups to accommodate different fitness levels. Option one: the Dobson Valley Nature Track (30min return) is an easy hike through a rich variety of sub-alpine and alpine plants, including herbs, tussocks, shrubs and flowers and the Mt Cook buttercup Ranunculus lyallii. Option two follows a short section of the Arthur’s Pass walking track before branching off to cross Bealey Chasm (1hour return), a narrow channel where the river cascades over huge boulders. For stunning views of Mt Rolleston, we can continue on, climbing a hill to a snowgrass clearing. The track then re-enters the beech forest and ends when you reach the Bealey River. For the hard-core trampers option three: the Devils Punchbowl Walking Track (1.5hour return) gives us the chance to feel the full force and sound of fresh mountain water falling 131 metres down one of New Zealand’s most stunning waterfalls. The Department of Conservation describes it as one of our best short walks. This track is a known kea spotting place. They seem to love this walk as much as humans do! Whatever your level of walking fitness today there is something for everyone. We stay in Hokitika this evening, dining at our Beachfront hotel.
Friday 03 April - West Coast Walking
A leisurely start this morning sees us depart the hotel for the famous Hokitika Gorge.Here we can make the short walk down to view the spectacular turquoise waters of the gorge. After a Tranzit style morning tea we head back to town and enjoy a few hours off to explore the boutique shops or do a bit of beach combing. Be sure to grab your lunch (own cost) before we depart for Franz Josef Glacier. Here there are a range of walks, from the Glacier Valley Walk (1hour return) to the Douglas Walk (45min return) to Peters Pool (20min return), you can choose your own. We stay in Franz Josef Village tonight. After dinner out at the local’s favourite, The Monsoon,we have a few choices for some night-time adventure or you can just relax back at the hotel. Please note - These night adventure options need to be pre-booked.
Option One: A kiwi night walk adventure with Okarito Kiwi Night Adventure(at your own cost). We meet our experienced kiwi guide at the start of the Okarito track. As you know, kiwi only come out at night, so this adventure is for those of you with good fitness, great night eyes and a good level of patience. Due to the nature of this option we cannot guarantee a kiwi viewing or how long you could be out in the bush. Our guide does however boast a 95% success rate for kiwi spotting, and you can be sure that seeing a kiwi in the wild is something you will remember for ever.
Option two: For those of you who are ready to relax your walking legs, the Franz Josef hot pools are awaiting you (also at your own cost). For those pre-booked for the relaxing hot pools, we will arrange transport to and from the pools.
Once back at our hotel we all get some rest for our amazing walks scheduled for tomorrow.
Saturday 04 April - Haast Hiking
A scenic wonderland awaits us today with walks at Lake Matheson (1.5hour max return) Thunder Creek Falls (15min return), the Blue Pools (1hour return) and a beautiful vantage point of Fox Glacier to enjoy our picnic lunch.All our walks today are self-guided, with detailed maps provided, clear tracks at all our tramping spots and clear departure times. You know your level of fitness the best, so you can decide which walks will suit our departure schedules at each stop. Continuing south, our final destination today is the beautiful resort town of Wanaka. Tonight, we dine out in style with a set menu at Bistro Gentil, one of Wanaka’s finest. A well-earned night of great food and amazing local wines.
Sunday 05 April - Walking at Wanaka
A trip highlight today we enjoy a cruise on Lake Wanaka to experience a guided walk on the remote and magical Mou Waho Island.A predator-free island that is home to the rare flightless buff weka, giant weta and other native New Zealand wildlife. The island also holds a unique geological secret, a lake right at the top of the island! We have “high-tea” by the lake where we
can soak in the panorama of the Southern Alps spread before us. We once again reward our day’s tramping with a 5-star lunch at the beautiful Edgewater Resort. Those of us that are feeling refreshed after lunch might like to wander back to town along the Waterfall Creek Track; this gentle track takes you past the famous vista of the Wanaka tree. If you decide to hitch a ride on the coach, transfers are available back to our accommodation or into town, to enjoy an afternoon at your own leisure. Tonight, we meet for a casual dinner at The Bullock Bar and Grill where local brews and lakefront views help us unwind
Monday 06 April - Rest and Recovery
Our legs get a day off today as we enjoy a leisurely day of amazing views, wine tasting and exploring Arrowtown and Queenstown.We start our day with a photo opportunity at the famous Cardrona Hotel before we head up to the Cardrona Alpine Village to take a scenic ride up the Gondola to view the Alps from the best vantage point - the top! After a Tranzit style morning tea we carry on to the beautiful village of Arrowtown, known for its boutique, bespoke shops and historic buildings. We enjoy lunch here (at your own cost) before carrying on for an afternoon wine tasting at the award-winning Akarua Vineyard.
Once we have sniffed, swirled and tasted our way through their range of wines, we will head to Queenstown. A quick stop at this tourist mecca gives us the chance to show off our newly learned wine tasting skills, as we pay a visit to New Zealand’s biggest tasting room, with over 150 wines available for tastings!
We carry on to our night’s accommodation at Camp Glenorchy. Don’t be fooled by its name, our accommodation this evening is more than camp tents, Camp Glenorchy is one of New Zealand’s best eco-lodges. Built on the principles of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), which is recognised as the most stringent environmental building design certification in the world, and registered under the Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) Certification™, we experience true eco-luxury. This brings us to the start of tomorrow’s tramp on one of New Zealand’s world-famous Great Walks.
Tuesday 07 April - The Routeburn
We enjoy a glimpse of one of New Zealand’s Great Walks today, The Routeburn Track.Met by our guides from Glenorchy Journeys, we head to the Routeburn shelter start of the track and take off on a half day fully guided excursion that follows the main track for a distance. We enjoy beautiful red beech dominated forest, the blue-green waters of the Routeburn river and stunning examples of native plants and bird life all surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks. A truly awe-inspiring walk.Upon our return we head to the lake front Glenorchy settlement, where we grab some lunch (own cost) before we head deeper south again, following Lake Wakatipu we pass some of New Zealand’s most amazing mountain vistas. Arriving at our evening’s accommodation in Te Anau, we settle in for the final nights of our tour.
Wednesday 08 April - The Milford
Another one of our tour highlights, we walk a section of the world-famous Milford Track today.Departing from the Te Anau Downs jetty we journey across Lake Te Anau to Glade Wharf, the start of the track. From here we cross a suspension bridge and enter the beautiful beech forested landscapes of Fiordland. This is an exclusively guided experience again today, and with a packed picnic lunch we can tailor the day to take in as much of the track as the day and our fitness allows. Back at our accommodation, we can relax in the spa or sauna at the hotel before we unwind over our last dinner together overlooking the lake.
Thursday 09 April - The Kepler
Our final day on the tour but still full of adventure, we put our tramping boots on for a taste of another one of the Great Walks today - The Kepler.Meeting the water taxi, we are transferred across to Brod Bay, from where we make our way back along the lake shore to the control gates (1.5hours) , or for those keen, you can continue along the lake to the peaceful surrounds of the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary - Punanga Manu o Te Anau. After rejuvenating in nature, we head off on the final leg of our journey.
With one last stop in Kingston for lunch at the iconic Kingston Flyer Railway Station Café, we then head through to Queenstown where we start to say our goodbyes before departing for Wellington Airport and our transfers home.
The cost of the tour includes
- 2 course or buffet dinners, including fine dining at Bistro Gentil, Wanaka
- All Breakfasts
- Morning teas on most travelling days
- All coach travel
- Interislander Ferry transfers
- Air New Zealand flight Queenstown to Wellington
- Arthur’s Pass guided walk
- Lake Wanaka cruise and walk on Mou Waho Island
- Lunch at Edgewater Resort
- Cardrona Gondola ride
- Wine tasting at Akarua Winery
- Routeburn Track guided walk
- Milford Track Cruise and guided walk
- Kepler Track walk
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