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- Hiking through some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery
- Exploring peaks, valleys, glaciers and lakes of the southern island
- Meeting locals & learning about life in New Zealand
- Travelling with expert Kiwi guides as well as Nicola Wilson (co-owner of Finisterra)
- Wandering through the charming streets of Christchurch and Queenstown
- Kayaking and mountain biking around amazing national parks
- Exploring the fjords of Milford Sound by boat
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Itinerary” tab_id=”1449208778879-fcec8e78-e9ba”][vc_column_text]Day 1: ARRIVAL CHRISTCHURCH
We’ll meet you bright and early in Christchurch to then travel into the Southern Alps to hike Devils Punchbowl in Arthur’s Pass. The walk will take you through native beech forest to an awesome 131 metre (430 feet) waterfall so make sure you have your camera handy! From there, we’ll head down the coast to Franz Josef where we’ll stay the night. Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country.
Overnight: Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef.
Day 2: HIKE SOUTHERN ALPS – FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER
As we travel down the rugged West Coast, you’ll get the chance to experience just why they call this area ‘Glacier Country’. Today we’ll get the chance to experience one of the biggest of the 140 glaciers cascading from the Southern Alps when we hike to see Franz Josef glacier. We’ll spend most of the day near Franz Josef Glacier hiking up through the forest to either Alex Knob or Roberts Point, both of which hike through native rainforest to give incredible views of the ice.
Alternatively you might opt to add on the ‘Heli-hike’ option today (extra USD $350 + tax per person), where you will be fitted with ice-axe and crampons by your special glacier guide, and then helicoptered onto the glacier itself to experience hiking on the ice! While less strenuous, this certainly is a remarkable memory.
Overnight: Makarora Chalets
Day 3: SCENIC FLIGHT + HIKE SIBERIA VALLEY
We’ll set off with a stunning scenic flight through Mount Aspiring National Park with a bird’s eye view of the lower Southern Alps, landing in the remote Siberia Valley. From here you’ll hike downstream along the Wilkin River, through beautiful silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii) forests to Kerin Forks, at the head of the Wilkin River, where we’ll be met by a jet boat for an exhilarating ride back to Makarora for dinner and perhaps a well-earned drink at the Makarora pub.
Overnight: Makarora Chalets
Day 4: MOUNTAIN BIKING + QUEENSTOWN
In the morning we’ll take a short walk to the aptly named ‘blue pools’ – stunningly beautiful glacial pools with iridescent blue colours due to the glacial melt. There will even be the opportunity of a refreshing dip for the brave!
We then head south and watch the landscape rapidly change from dense beech forests to semi-arid terrain. When we arrive at Lake Hawea, you’ll be fitted with a 21-speed front-suspension Avanti Black Thunder 7.1 mountain bike for a scenic ride along the Hawea River Trail. This gently undulating track follows the Hawea and Clutha Rivers through the rugged Central Otago landscape to the charming lakeside town of Wanaka. From Wanaka, it’s a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu
Overnight: Crowne Plaza, Queenstown.
Day 5: HIKE OR EXPLORE QUEENSTOWN
Today you’ll have the option of a challenging alpine hike, or a free day to yourself in Queenstown to chill, shop, bungee jump, sky dive or just soak up the scenery!
HIKE: For those who are keen we will head up a mountain behind Queenstown known as ‘Ben Lomond’, though to save our legs a little we’ll take a short gondola ride up to Bob’s Peak, which is 450 metres (1476 feet) above Queenstown. From there we’ll head out along the trail through alpine tussock-land towards the summit of Ben Lomond, a challenging 3000ft climb, to be rewarded with 360-degree views over the Wakatipu basin, Queenstown and Mt Aspiring National park.
Overnight: Crowne Plaza, Queenstown
Day 6: FIORDLAND
This morning, we set off for our largest and perhaps most spectacular national park, Fiordland. We’ll stop along the way for many amazing views and shorter walks to the Chasm, Mirror lakes and Marian Gantry before heading through the Homer Tunnel to emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shores of Milford Sound.
Tonight you’re in for an extra-special experience, as we’ll board the Milford Wanderer for an overnight cruise in the sheltered fiord. For those who’re keen, there’s time to explore a short section of the Milford Track – you’ll transfer on a smaller vessel to Sandfly Point and join a naturalist guide for approximately 1.5 hours, before rejoining the Wanderer in time for a sumptuous dinner!
Overnight: Milford Wanderer Overnight Boat
Day 7: MILFORD SOUND – KAYAK + HIKE
After experiencing the wonder of Milford Sound from the deck of ship, now it’s time to get up close and personal as we hit the water in Sea Kayaks to glide along the fiord with the seals and if you’re lucky, penguins and dolphins too! This trip is run by specialist kayak guides, and the paddling here is equally suitable for beginners and experts.
After kayaking, we’ll enjoy a tasty lunch before heading out to explore more of Fiordland’s wilderness on foot. This afternoon we’ll take a hike on the famous Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks – we follow the track through mountain beech forest and along the Waiau River to Lake Manapouri, our home for the night.
Overnight: Manapouri Lakeview Inn
Day 8: OTAGO + CROMWELL + MT COOK
As we head north out of Fiordland, you’ll see the scenery changing from lush mountains and lakes to dry, tussock hills. We’ll stop in central Otago along the way for some lunch and to explore the old gold-mining town of Cromwell and explore its historical relics.
Afterwards we’ll drive through the tussock-country of Lindis Pass to Lake Pukaki, a dramatic ice-blue coloured lake with New Zealand’s highest Mountain – Aoraki Mount Cook, sitting proudly at the head of the lake.
Overnight: Braemar station
Day 9: MOUNT COOK HIKE
Mt Cook is named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori and lives up to its name by standing tall over its neighbours. Directly opposite, we have a stunning day hike to the main ridge above the Mueller Glacier. It’s a challenging hike, but you’ll remember the view of the glacier and the surrounding peaks forever! The weather conditions are very important in this area, as it’s a true alpine climate notorious for sudden weather shifts.
If we aren’t able to do the Mueller Glacier hike, or you’d like to take it a little easier, there’s an impressive hike up to a glacial lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of the Hooker Glacier. Tonight, we’ll savour the spectacular views and celebrate an awesome trip with a farewell dinner in Mt Cook village.
Overnight: Braemar station
Day 10: DEPARTURE DAY
After breakfast we’ll head to north to Christchurch, stopping along the way at Lake Tekapo to take in some last photos of the beautiful lake scenery. We’ll arrive in Christchurch at the end of our trip in time for afternoon flights out after 4pm.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Tour Leader” tab_id=”1473439297798-296de31b-490f”][vc_column_text]NICOLA WILSON
Nicola’s adventures have led her to every corner of the globe. She’s been to over 65 countries and has stepped foot on all 7 continents. Her adventures have involved many incredible experiences, including cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa, skydiving over the sand dunes in Namibia, bungee jumping over Victoria Falls, conquering the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, and journeying the Trans-Siberian Railway from St. Petersburg to Beijing, through Russia and Mongolia. Nicola is constantly adding ideas to her ever-growing bucket list, which seems to get bigger the more she travels. Though Nicola doesn’t have a favourite country, she’s particularly fond of Sri Lanka, Colombia, Guatemala, Thailand, Laos, Bhutan, and Portugal.
Nicola loves hiking and cannot wait to travel to New Zealand with you!
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Inclusion & Exclusion” tab_id=”1449208780765-5fd2d40a-5e8d”][vc_column_text]TOUR INCLUSIONS:
9 nights accommodation based on double occupancy
All breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (except Day 5)
Services of professional Tour Guides
Services of a Tour Conductor (Nicola)
Sightseeing as per itinerary
Gratuities at group meals and for local guides
All applicable taxes
International flights (can be arranged through us [email protected])
Mandatory travel medical insurance and optional cancellation insurance (can be arranged through us [email protected])
Items of a personal nature
Entrances or activities not mentioned above
Meals, beverages not mentioned above
– Though we will do our best to follow this itinerary as closely as possible, it is subject to change due to factors beyond our control
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Accommodation” tab_id=”1449289426670-de1f94c1-4595″][vc_column_text]IMPORTANT: Please note that hotels and accommodation are subject to change.
Christchurch – Rainforest Retreat
Southern Alps – Makarora Chalets
Queenstown – Crowne Plaza
Milford Sound – Milford Wanderer Boat
Lake Manapouri – Manapouri Lakeview Inn
Mt Cook – Braemar station
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Important Info” tab_id=”1449289392103-be095264-cb20″][vc_column_text]PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change. Although we always do our best to stick to the itinerary, due to the ever changing nature of the weather in New Zealand, activities, restaurants, hotels, and sites are subject to change due to forces beyond our control.
Please do not book flights until this tour is confirmed via email.
PASSPORTS: Must be valid for at least 6 months after your return date to Canada. Proper documentation is the responsibility of each traveller.
TERMS & CONDITIONS: Please click HERE for our T & C
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Date: Mar 16-25th, 2020
$1425USD Single Supplement
Full payment is due 60 prior to departure and can be paid by cheque, credit card, or e-Transfer.
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