Fall in love with the highlights of this 12 day South Island itinerary that takes you on a journey into deep glacial lakes, ancient rainforest, and wide-open grasslands. This premium trip is created for active travelers from their mid-thirties and upwards in mind. Together with amazing insights from your local guide, you will encounter scenery more beautiful in person than any film could portray.
You will see the main highlights of the South Island and visit the best and most scenic remote locations. This action-packed trip combining hiking, cycling, and kayaking while viewing rare indigenous animals in spectacular surroundings. This journey will be an unforgettable adventure through the South Island. TIAKI Promise
Small-Group Tour with max 12 people with a professional local tour guide
Private guided tour 11 nights
Category: Active, Nature
Location: South Island
Accommodation: 4* or 5* quality hotels
Next Departure: 14th of November and 12th of December 2021
BOOK NOW - PAY LATER
Price inclusive of GST:
NZ$5490 (around 4990AUS$) per person in double/twin share
NZ$6990 (around 6490AUS$) per person in a single room
Terms & Conditions
Our hand-selected hotels for this journey
Christchurch - Sudima City Center
Punakaiki - Punakaiki Resort
Franz Josef - Rainforest Retreat
Lake Hawea - Cross Hill Station (Glamping)
Te Anau - Lakefront Lodge
Dunedin - Fable Dunedin
Mt Cook - AorakiMt Cook
Inclusions and Highlights:
Day 1: Arrival Christchurch - Akaroa Peninsula - 1 night (dinner included)
Christchurch is the basecamp for South Island exploration, with the Banks Peninsula within reach and the stunning Southern Alps and famed Canterbury Plains. Located on the southeast side of the deep, sheltered Akaroa Harbour, the charming township of Akaroa has a special point of difference - it was the only French settlement in New Zealand. Explore the outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve by kayak and marvel at its spectacular towering cliffs, rock stacks, reefs, and deep-sea caves.
Day 2: Akaroa - Arthur's Pass – West Coast – Punakaiki - 1 night (dinner included)
Explore the spectacular limestone formations of Kura Tawhiti on this short walk. The highest pass over the Southern Alps, Arthur's Pass, was historically known to Maori hunting parties as routes between east and west. Take a short walk through the beautiful native forest to stand at the base of the spectacular 131m Devil's Punchbowl Fall. Gaze in wonder at the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes, where columns of water shoot skyward from rocks that resemble giant stacks of hotcakes.
Day 3: Punakaiki - Franz Josef Glacier - 2 nights (dinners included)
Experience one of New Zealand’s (if not the world’s!) best GlowWormCaves displays, deep in the Paparoa National Park, near Punakaiki, New Zealand. The West Coast region of South Island is a wild place of rivers and rainforests, glaciers, and geological treasures. Hokitika Gorge Tour takes you through the lush dairy farmlands of the Kokatahi / Kowhitirangi Valley with majestic views of the Southern Alps, native rainforest to view blue-green waters of rock sided Hokitika Gorge. The hospitable town of Franz Josef serves the glacier of the same name. Stay here while you explore this spectacular World Heritage Area. (for the more active one we can arrange a Tubing experience, extra charges)
Day 4: Franz Josef Glacier - Day trip to Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson
Tucked into the forested foothills of the Southern Alps, the cozy township of Fox Glacier is geared up for glacier walks, hikes and flights. With easy walking at your pace, information on glaciology, geology, geomorphology, flora, fauna, local legends, history, and Eco Tour with their fantastic guides, you will experience this glacier in style and the best hands with the only local company. Wander through ancient forest and gaze on mirror-like reflections of New Zealand's highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook, on this easy Lake Matheson hike. (for the more active one, we can arrange a Heli hike experience, extra charges)
Day 5: West Coast – Mt Aspiring National Park - Lake Hawea - 2 nights (dinners included)
Mount Aspiring National Park - Stretch your legs and feed your soul in this beautiful wilderness of native forests, towering mountains, and long river valleys. Join the only Wilderness Jet Boat tour to take you from the Ocean to the Alps within a UNESCO World Heritage Area. Glamping at its best. Walk the Blue Pools Trak. Nestled among mature beech and podocarp forest, these pools of deep, clear water flowing into the Makarora River offer a moment of tranquillity. We end our day at stunning Lake Hawea and a High Country Farm Station! Use your own private geo dome as a base from which to explore the region before sharing stories of your day with the host team and other travelers at Cross Hill Lodge.
Day 6: Lake Hawea - Lake Wanaka and Mou Waho Island.
Located in the spectacular Alps of the South Island, visitors worldwide are drawn to the Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka region by their outstanding beauty. Discover more of Mount Aspiring National Park. Mou Waho Island is perhaps one of the unique lake islands anywhere in New Zealand, often referred to as the island, in a lake, in an island, in an island in the ocean! Put, Mou Waho is the hidden lake, an Arethusa pool that sits atop the island. A visit to Mou Waho Island offers the perfect combination of a Lake cruise and nature walk, wildlife encounter & outstanding panoramic views.
Day 7: Lake Hawea – Clyde - Queenstown - Te Anau - 2 nights (dinners included)
This historic town is located at the foot of a river gorge and is surrounded by rounded hills of schist punctuated with large craggy standing rocks. Schist is gold-bearing rock, and substantial strikes in the rivers near Clyde sparked a gold rush in the late 1800s. Clyde is at the head of a well-known cycling route called the Otago Central Rail Trail, so there are plenty of mountain bikes for hire. A ride to the Clyde Lookout offers spectacular views of the town and beyond. We stop in Queenstown to explore the shore of Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges. It’s rumored that gold prospectors - captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers - gave this now cosmopolitan town its name.
Day 8: Te Anau – Day trip to Milford Sounds in the Fiordland National Park
One of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand; the Fiordland National Park never fails to enthrall travelers. Situated on the west coast of the South Island, Milford Sound is a fusion of natural features that are spectacular even in the rain. Pioneered by Rosco Kayaks back in 1991 and our most popular adventure in summer and winter, this trip takes you on a big loop of Milford Sound, meaning you get to take in all the highlights! With opportunities to spot wildlife and photograph waterfalls, this is an adventure not to be missed. So join us on a spectacular paddle, suitable for everyone. (for the more active one, we can arrange a guided day hike in Milford, extra charges)
Day 9: Te Anau – Dunedin – Otago Peninsula - 1 night (dinner included)
Dunedin is a region of unique landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Walk the Tunnel Beach Road through private farmland takes you to a magnificent sandstone sea arch and artificial tunnel to the secluded beach with fossil filled cliffs on all sides. Flanking the southern edge of Dunedin's extensive harbor, Otago Peninsula is high and rugged on the ocean side, warm and sheltered on the harbourside. Visit the world's only mainland albatross colony ... Watch Dunedin's famous Royals from our exclusive 'Royal Box' observatory. Taking in views along the high road, learn about Dunedin's pioneers and early European settlers who arrived in the 1840s. Our private tour offers you the chance to see the world's most endangered penguin - the Yellow-eyed Penguin, along with beautiful views of the Otago Peninsula.
Day 10: Dunedin - Moeraki Boulders - Oamaru - Mt Cook National Park - 2 nights (dinners included)
You can't drive along the North Otago coast without stopping to stare at the Moeraki Boulders - they're amazing! The boulders are mysteriously spherical stones scattered across a beach. Visit Oamaru for the country’s oldest public gardens, renowned Victorian architecture, a large whisky collection, and Steampunk HQ. The Omarama Clay Cliffs are a stark sight - tall pinnacles separated by narrow ravines. Dark, clear skies, unique celestial features, and otherworldly landscapes make stargazing in the New Zealand night sky a magical experience.
Day 11: Mt Cook National Park - Hooker Valley Track
Visit Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to glimpse Mt Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand. Walking one of the tracks is the best way to experience this ancient landscape. The track leads up the Hooker Valley and along the Hooker River, ending at the glacier lake, where there are amazing views of Aoraki/Mount Cook on a clear day. Along the way, you will cross three swingbridges and encounter picturesque icebergs, glaciers, and majestic mountains that will have you reaching for your camera at every turn. (for the more active one, we can arrange a guided snowshoes experience onto the Tasman Glacier, extra charges)
Day 12: Mt Cook - Tekapo - Christchurch departure
Stop at Lake Tekapo faces north across the remarkable turquoise-colored lake to the mountainous drama of the Southern Alps. Lake Tekapo gets its intense milky-turquoise color from the fine rock flour (ground by glaciers) suspended in the water. Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand. It is one of the world's most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration with heritage, culture, and exhilarating activity. Waka on Avon is an exciting new way to experience Christchurch's 180-year history. Journey down the Avon River and discover the legacy of Māori and early Settler interaction.
Today you leave our country, or let us know if you like us to book an additional night stay?