South Island Hiker’s Paradise New Zealand
- Explore nature’s colors in the magnificent South Island.
- South Island Hiker’s Paradise New Zealand is home to the phenomenal southern alps, a mountain range that runs down the entire island with some seriously spectacular peaks, stunning beaches, rain forests, glaciers, and New Zealand’s largest national park.
- Check out Franz Josef or Fox (or both) glaciers, which are remarkably close to the ocean.
- Experience Fiordland national park, the largest of New Zealand’s fourteen national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage Area.
- Jaw dropping Milford Sound, a water inlet carved out by the movement of glaciers a few thousand years ago. The peaks that this glacial activity left behind are stunning. It truly has to be seen to be believed, and you’ll need to take one of the Milford Sound cruises to make that happen.
- Explore the sun-kissed shores of Abel Tasman either on foot or in a kayak
- Our signature off-the-beaten path experiences and an in-depth spirited journey.
Day 1 South Island Hiker’s Paradise New Zealand
Welcome to Queenstown. Our on location representative will meet you at the airport and provide you with all the relevant tour documentation and support. You can choose a self-drive option and proceed to the car rental area to pick up your vehicle and drive to your hotel. Or, try our our fully escorted tours. For private tours we provide a transfer from Queenstown Airport to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure after your long flight.
4 star Novotel
5 star Spire or Queenstown Hotel
Luxury plus Sofitel or Azure Lodge
Day 2 South Island Hiker’s Paradise New Zealand
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Although celebrated as New Zealand’s ‘adventure capital, Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders. We have a range of activities to choose from including a wine tasting adventure.
Choose from one or more of the following excursions all can be self-guided or we can offer guide and drivers.
Follow a trail of vines through Gibbston Valley and sample the region’s best wine. We recommend stopping at the Chard Farm cellar and the architecturally award-winning Peregrine vineyard or taking a cellar cave tour at Gibbston Valley Winery. Cruise to Walter Peak station for dinner on board a 100 year old steamship – the TSS Earnslaw. While you’re there, we suggest a farm tour is a must do for those not familiar with rural living.
Visit the historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown – an abandoned gold mining settlement built in the 1800’s.Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views.
Ben Lomed Hike – Our personal fave!
The Ben Lomed hike while demanding, is also one of the most rewarding day for trampers. The panoramic views from the summit are stunning beyond words. The track takes about 7 hours and can be shortened to 5 hours by taking the gondola part way up. From April to November, be prepared for snow and ice above the bush line.
Routeburn Track Encounter Guided Day Walk – suggested activity
The Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountain country between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Since the 1880’s the Routeburn Track has proved to be one of the most accessible and popular journeys into New Zealand’s forests and mountains.
The Routeburn Encounter is a fully catered, guided one-day walk up the spectacular Routeburn Valley departing from and returning to Queenstown. It is an ideal trip for people who have limited time or are uncertain of their ability to do a longer hike. The 300m (1000 feet) climb to Routeburn Falls is somewhat tougher, but well within the abilities of the majority of our walkers. The return distance to Routeburn Flats is 13km (8 miles), adding the optional but recommended climb to Routeburn Falls makes a total return distance of 19km (11 miles).
Day 3 Milford Sound
Head down to the incomparable Milford Sound for and overnight cruise. The cruise style is relaxed. It’s about exploring the fabulous vistas, rain forest, waterfalls, and wildlife. As the sun sets, the on-board chef offers a delightful buffet in the dining saloon. Weather permitting, you will enjoy some of the best star gazing the world has to offer. Check in on the Mariner is 16:30.
Day 4 Te Anau
9:15 A.M.: Disembark after an amazing overnight cruise. Transfer to Te Anau *40mins
10:00 Approx. Begin with a guided hike on the Routeburn Track including a picnic lunch*8hrs.
Your spectacular South Island Hiker’s Paradise includes one of New Zealand’s most famous alpine walks, stunning vistas of sweeping valleys and majestic peaks. Hike from Te Anau to Key Summit on the renowned Routeburn Track, a New Zealand Great Walk. You will ascent through lush forest and into a unique alpine herb field offering panoramic views of mountains, alpine lakes and bush clad valleys far below. Enjoy a picnic lunch at today while taking in the splendour of the surrounding mountains before heading out. The Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountain country between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. *Please dress warmly and wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring sunglasses, sunhat and sunscreen.
Suggested Accommodations: Fiordland Lodge
Day 5 Aoraki Mount Cook
Continue on to Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat. Approximate driving time 4hrs 30mins
Welcome to paradise. Take in New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mt. Cook and the Southern Alps. The night sky is spectacular and our preferred luxury lodge is located within the gold level Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.
Afternoon at leisure or choose from one of the many short hikes that are readily available.
Suggested Accommodations: Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
Day 6 Mount Cook
Choose from the following activities:
- Tasman Glacier Heli-Hike in Mt Cook National Park: Mt Cook Heli Hike takes you on an exploration of the Tasman Glacier, the largest of several glaciers which flow south and east towards the Mackenzie Basin from the Southern Alps. At 27km in length, Tasman Glacier is New Zealand’s longest glacier. It is as much as 4 kilometers wide and 600 meters thick and lies within the borders of Mt Cook/Aoraki National Park. Your guide will take you on a journey to explore the white ice with an interpretative trek. Your crampons bite into the glacier ice as you trek on easy undulating terrain, below Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mount Tasman the highest peaks of the Southern Alps. The snow covered mountains tower above vast ice-falls that bulldoze and grind down the mountain sides.
- Scenic Helicopter Flight over Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park: Take a flight to the awesome south face of Aoraki/Mount Cook. Your helicopter will fly you to the heart of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park via the Ben Ohau Mountain Range, viewing spectacular hanging glaciers and rivers of moving ice. On your way home enjoy a snow landing, marvel at the mountains soaring around you and take that special snapshot. Then descend beside the beautiful turquoise hues of the glacially fed Lake Pukaki to complete a flight we promise you will never forget.
- The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre: A tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary, humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world’s greatest explorers, the centre showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region, its people and its place in the universe. Visit the museum showcasing the history of the Mount Cook region through transport, climbing, The Hermitage Hotel and pioneer extraordinaire, Sir Edmund Hillary himself, stargaze at the Planetarium or enjoy an amazing 3D experience of the movie Mt Cook Magic. *Please pay direct.
- Stargazing at Mount Cook Lakeside Retreat: Mount Cook is far from the city lights and therefore has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand – perfect for viewing the night sky! In June 2012 the Aoraki Mackenzie region, encompassing Mount Cook Village, was approved as one of only a few International Dark Sky Reserves worldwide, meaning the darkness of our night skies is almost unbeatable! Begin with an introduction and orientation in a Digital Dome Planetarium highlighting the unique features of New Zealand southern night sky. Your informative astronomy guides will take you on a short drive to an outdoor stargazing site. Use telescopes, astronomy binoculars and the naked eye to put your newly acquired knowledge into practice, identifying and exploring different elements of the spectacular southern sky.
Overnight same hotel as day 5
Complete your South Island Hikers Paradise New Zealand with a self drive or let us arrange a private vehicle transfer to Christchurch, capital of New Zealand. This is a good point to continue on to the North Island or add a few nights in Christchurch itself.
Pricing based on hotels, length of stay, activities, and choice of transportation. All pricing subject to availability at the time of booking.