Off The Beaten Path : Group Guided Journey : Itinerary

Abel Tasman to the Southern Alps


2015 DEPARTURES

10/25-11/1, 11/8-11/15

Click on a date to reserve your space

Trip Length 8 days/7 nights
Group Size 6-16
Arrive/Depart Nelson, New Zealand
Price From $4,995 to $5,495
If you have questions about this journey or would like to receive a detailed trip brochure, call 800-445-2995 or click here.

Trip Motif Hiking Walking Iconic New Zealand Itinerary And Map : Itinerary & Map


Territory Map

Day 1 (Nelson to Abel Tasman National Park) Meet your guide this morning in Nelson and catch your water taxi into Abel Tasman National Park. Once in the park, settle into your accommodations for the next three nights, and enjoy some short hikes to wind out the day. Your dinner at the lodge integrates fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden.
Day 2 (Abel Tasman National Park) Today we get to explore these beautiful beaches, traveling by water taxi to Torrent Bay. This is the best sort of taxi ride—one that gives us a view on the carved granite cliffs and an opportunity to look out for colonies of seals that call the area home. Once at the bay our hike winds along the coast through lush vegetation as we happily take the day making our way to Bark Bay.
Day 3 (Abel Tasman National Park) This is another beautiful day of discovery in Abel Tasman. We walk or take a short water taxi depending on what the tides are doing, and explore the sandy beaches of Awaroa Bay. We’re able to see here how the forest and sea merge on this dramatic coast, and learn about the variety of plant life and unique ecology of the area. Timing our return to the low tide, we make our way back to the lodge for our final evening in the park.
Day 4 (Abel Tasman National Park to Arthur’s Pass) Today’s journey to Arthur’s Pass in the Southern Alps is filled with scenic stops, like the coastal region of Punakaiki, most famous for its limestone Pancake Rocks. When conditions are right, heavy ocean swells thunder into caverns beneath the rocks causing huge water spouts to blast skyward through blowholes for a truly spectacular sight. You might also walk through rainforest or along a coastal track, explore an unspoiled beach, or discover local artisans at work. The day comes to a lovely close at an exceptional wilderness lodge on a high country sheep station.
Day 5 (Arthur’s Pass) Depending on your energy level and interests, choose from one of several wonderful, guided excursions today. You might want to hike through shrub land, moss- and lichen-covered forest, string bogs, and wetlands, with stunning views of the Southern Alps looking for birds and wildlife. Or an easier walk explores four special plant communities, including the “inside-out” shrubs that evolved to resist browsing by giant Moa birds, now extinct. Along the way you get superb views of the Upper Waimakariri Valley. Or forget walking all together and enjoy a guided canoe trip out on a glacial lake to watch for black swans, New Zealand scaup, coots, and the rare New Zealand crested Grebe. You can also join help the Station Manager muster sheep with the border collies. After dinner join your guide for some fantastic star gazing in the beautifully dark Southern Hemisphere night.
Day 6 (Arthur’s Pass to Kaikoura) You’re in Christchurch today in time for lunch and a chance to explore the city square on your own. There is much to see, as a third of the city is set aside as gardens, parks, and nature reserves. Then the group heads up the eastern coast to Kaikoura where to enjoy the last few days of the journey. Savor an evening stroll down one of the bush walkways featuring trees and plants that are found nowhere else in the world.
Day 7 (Kaikoura) This morning’s whale-watching excursion offers some of the best cetacean sighting in the Southern Hemisphere! Giant sperm whales are year-round residents, and are the stars of the show. You may also see fur seals, dusky dolphins, the endangered wandering albatross, and orcas. This afternoon you have a chance to join in the Maori customs and learn their ways, weaving with the native harakeke (flax) plant, and learning a song written especially for you by one of your guides.
Day 8 (Nelson for departures home) After breakfast, wistfully wrap up your memories and head back to Nelson to catch afternoon departures home. Or stay longer on a custom extension!