>    >  16-Day South Island Small Group New Zealand Trek

West Coast beaches & rainforests/Queenstown/
Mt. Aspiring National Park & Castle Hill/Paparoa National Park/
Franz Josef Glacier/Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park/
Doubtful Sound/Great Walks New Zealand/Milford Track

This is an active hiking trip at a relaxed pace designed for people who enjoy the off-the-beaten track… Kiwi style! There is a strong focus on New Zealand’s natural history, and the more relaxed pace means your guides have plenty of time to interpret the flora and fauna and explain the geological and social history of areas visited. You will be hiking on most days, from lush rainforest on the West Coast, to the snow-capped mountains of Mt. Aspiring and Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Parks. There’s also the chance to choose between doing a variety of hikes in Fiordland and visiting the Sounds or hiking the famous Milford Track.

Day 01+02: USA/Auckland
Depart the USA on your flight to New Zealand, Cross the International Date Line and lose a day.

Day 03: Auckland/Christchurch/Castle Hill/Punakaiki
Arrive in New Zealand and start with first light hike at Castle Hill in the Kuru Tawhiti Conservation Area.
Accommodations: West Coast Lodging – Punakaiki (L,D)

Day 04: Rainforest and Beach Hikes in Punakaiki
Enjoy a full day in Punakaiki hiking part of the Inland Pack Track from Bullock Creek to Porori River. Follow Truman Track to a small surf beach and stroll around the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes.
Accommodations: West Coast Lodging – Punakaiki (B,L,D)

Day 05: Coastal Hike – Arts and Crafts in Hokitika/Franz Josef
Spend time checking out local art galleries and pounamu (jade) carving workshops in Hokitika. Short night walk after dinner to see native glow worms.
Accommodations: Franz Josef Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 06: Hike to Franz Josef Glacier/Makarora
Hike on the Franz Josef Glacier – one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world. Option to take Heli-hike.
Accommodations: Makarora Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 07: Hike Mt. Aspiring National Park/Queenstown
Hike in the heart of Mt. Aspiring National Park in the Matukituki Valley – one of the best 1-day hikes on the South Island.
Accommodations: Queenstown Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 08: Free Day in Queenstown
Enjoy a free day or book massage, special restaurant, horseback ride, jet boat – whatever interests you!
Accommodations: Queenstown Lodging (B)

OPTION I: Active Great Walks Discovery
Experience the diversity and grandeur of Fiordland National Park with your guides. Start with a memorable hike up Ben Lomond, for incredible views of Queenstown. Explore Lake Marian and Humboldt Falls along the Hollyford Valley. Then visit Milford Sound and do day walks on the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler Tracks (all Great Walks within Fiordland National Park) before finishing with a stunning cruise on Doubtful Sound.

Day 09: Gondola Ride and Hike Ben Lomond/Te Anau
Take gondola to Bob’s Peak for alpine hike. Ben Lomond is one of Queenstown’s prominent peaks. Enjoy panoramic views of Queenstown Bay and Lake Wakatipu.
Accommodations: Te Anau Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 10: Hike to Lake Marian and Humboldt Falls/Milford
Hike in the Fiordland National Park to Lake Marian and onwards through rainforest to Humboldt Falls for a full day of hiking.
Accommodations: Milford Sound Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 11: Hike Milford and Routeburn Tracks/Te Anau
Hike the Milford Track from Sandfly Point to the Giant Gates. After lunch hike part of the Routeburn Track to Key Summit and enjoy panoramic views of Hollyford, Eglington and Greenstone.
Accommodations: Te Anau Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 12: Hike Kepler Track/Doubtful Sound
Hike the Kepler Track – the only purpose built track of the Great Walks! Afterwards board your overnight Doubtful Sound cruise.
Accommodations: Doubtful Sound boat (B,L,D)

Day 13: Doubtful Sound Cruise/Queenstown
Enjoy morning in the Doubtful Sound. Head back to Queenstown and enjoy remainder of day at leisure.
Accommodations: Queenstown Lodging (B,L,D)

OPTION II: Milford Track Guided Walk (additional cost)
The Milford Track is one of the longest established and best known walking tracks in New Zealand. It starts on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau and crosses McKinnon Pass to Milford Sound, taking in glacial peaks, a mountain pass, New Zealand’s highest waterfall and the dense rainforest of the West Coast. Enjoy four days of exercise, good food and great scenery as you walk 33 miles (53km) from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound.

Day 09: Boat Ride and Short Hike/Start Milford Track
Take a boat to the head of Lake Te Anau to the start of the Milford Track.
Accommodations: Te Anau Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 10: Hike in Beech Forest
Hike in beech forests to Hirere Falls.
Accommodations: Milford Track Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 11: Hike MacKinnon Pass
Climb a series of switchback to MacKinnon Pass. Option to hike to see Sutherland Falls (world’s 5th highest waterfall).
Accommodations: Milford Track Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 12: Hike to Milford Sound
Last day of hiking (13 miles) to Sandfly Point. Enjoy afternoon cruise to the jetty.
Accommodations: Milford Track Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 13: Milford Sound Cruise/Queenstown
Enjoy a morning boat cruise on the Milford Sound and then head back to Queenstown. Optional scenic helicopter flight to Queenstown available.
Accommodations: Queenstown Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 14: Hike Sam Summers Loop Track/Arrowtown/Mackenzie High Country
Hike the Sam Summers Track, continue to Arrowtown, visit winery for tasting and onwards to Mackenzie High Country.
Accommodations: Lake Ohau Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 15: Hike Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park
Head to Mt. Cook Village for a day hike up to Mueller Glacier.
Accommodations: Aoraki Lodging (B,L,D)

Day 16: Christchurch/USA
Drive back to Christchurch and connect with your onwards flights home.

2020 Land Arrangements: please inquire for rates.


Note: Program departs with a minimum of 5 people and up to 14 people max. Both options are available. This is a back-country wilderness trip and you will be staying in the highest level of accommodations available in the remote places. This is not a luxury tour and requires a reasonable level of fitness.

2020 Dates available upon request.

(B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner