Hiking Adventure on the South Island

Queenstown, Fiordland National Park, and Abel Tasman Exploration

Trip Details


Days 1-3: Queenstown

Welcome to New Zealand and the South Island! Arrive into Auckland, then fly to Queenstown. Settle in to a boutique hotel in the heart of the city, and delight in two days of exploring this vibrant, active mountain town and its environs. We offer up all sorts of recommendations for things to see and do during your free time, and a half-day wine tour in the Gibbston Valley is on the docket too.Relax and take in the beauty of Central Otago and the Southern Alps from this fun “Adventure Capital of the World”! 

Days 4-5: Hollyford Track

Rise and shine! Travel south to Fiordland and the Hollyford Track. Trek for three days, through ancient forests and the quiet solitude found in pristine Fiordland National Park. Spend each night in lodges lying alongside the track, with delicious food, comfortable accommodations, and good company. 

Day 6: Queenstown

The trek ends today, with a fabulous flight to Milford Sound, a strikingly beautiful fiord. A return to Queenstown brings one more evening in town and a toast to celebrate all the goodness found in nature. 

Days 7-8: Minaret Station

A helicopter flight takes you to from Queenstown to Minaret Station and Alpine Lodge, situated in the backcountry on 50,000 acres of wild lands between Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring National Park. This base offers an array of wilderness activities, many accessed by helicopter. Each day, gear up for scenic flights, a farm tour, jet boating, hiking, guided fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more. Accommodations are luxe, cuisine is delish, and common areas are inviting. Settle in and indulge all-around. 

Day 9: Christchurch

Next up – Christchurch! Helicopter out of the Minaret Station, fly from Queenstown to Christchurch, arriving in time for dinner. With historic accommodations in the heart of the city, walk to your restaurant of choice. 

Days 10-11: Kaikoura

Wake early, get your coffee “to-go,” then board the train for Kaikoura, a scenic trip along the coast. Arrive mid-morning, and acquaint yourself with this picturesque town where the mountains meet the sea. Accommodations are perched atop limestone cliffs overlooking the town of Kaikoura and the vast South Pacific. Kaikoura’s location on the edge of the Hikurangi Trench makes it a wonderful area for observing whales, fur seals, and other sea dwellers, and tomorrow morning a whale watching tour is in store. 

Days 12-13: Blenheim

Continue north by rail, this time to New Zealand’s Marlborough wine region around Blenheim. Views out the train car window will be of rolling hills and vineyards. Stay in a beautiful 1901 historic lodge standing on ten acres of farmland, vineyards, olive groves, and gardens. You may never want to leave this beautiful base, but we highly recommend that you grab and map and head out to visit the nearby vineyards and wineries by bicycle. Cheers! 

Days 14-16: Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks

This morning, a private driver whisks you off, and heads for Nelson, stopping at wineries for tasting along the way. In the afternoon, arrive at a fabulous eco-nature lodge outside of Nelson, the perfect base for exploring two spectacular national parks, Abel Tasman and Kahurangi. Tomorrow, a full day of kayaking in the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman is in store, taking you past a marine reserve seal colony, to the beaches of Bark Bay. On the following day, head for the hills for a fabulous day of hiking in Kahurangi National Park – to the top of Mount Arthur perhaps? 

Day 17: Return home

Time to return to your home hemisphere. Fly home from Nelson and Auckland. 

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