Hiking Adventure on the South Island

Queenstown, Fiordland National Park, and Abel Tasman Exploration

Trip Details

kayaking in the ocean in abel tasman national park

What’s Included? Everything you need, plus everything you want.

  • "Do" the South Island: You’ll hit just about every corner of the island – Abel Tasman, Nelson, and Kahurangi in the north, Fiordland and the Hollyford Track in the south, Christchurch, Kaikoura, and Marlborough in the east, and Queenstown and Minaret Station in the west.
  • Splendid lodges: Settle in to accommodations that put you in the right place – in the heart of Queenstown, the wilderness of Fiordland National Park, the backcountry and accessible only by helicopter, downtown Christchurch, overlooking Kaikoura, within biking distance of wineries in Marlborough, and the countryside outside of Nelson. Splendid!
  • Wilderness: This trip takes you to wild lands of the South Island – Fiordland, Abel Tasman, and Kahurangi National Parks, the Hollyford Track, Milford Sound, and Minaret Station. Awesome!
  • Cool Towns: Queenstown is the Adventure Capital of the World, Kaikoura is known for fabulous whale watching, Blenheim, the jumping off point for the Marlborough wine region, and Nelson, boasting the most sunny days in the country and the gateway to Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks.

Hiking Adventure on the South Island

Trip Type: Custom-Made Travel

Territory: Oceania

Region: New Zealand

Trip Price: $12,800

Duration: 17 days/16 nights

Trip Begins/Ends: Queenstown, New Zealand / Nelson, New Zealand

National Parklands: Mount Aspiring NP;Abel Tasman NP;Kahurangi NP;Fiordland NP

Select Terms & Conditions

All custom travel is tailored to the desires and interests of our traveling clients (see How Custom Travel Works tab). Trip pricing detailed is an estimate of the per person pricing for the sample itinerary detailed and includes all of the lodging, activities, and guided experiences described. Actual pricing for the trip designed expressly for you and others traveling with you will depend on the features and elements developed during the trip planning process. Travel with Off the Beaten Path requires agreement to our standard Terms & Conditions.

Energy Index

Energy Index Spectrum

No Sweat - 1-2 miles of walking or hiking per day, plus easy activities

Nice & Active – 3-6 miles of hiking or walking per day, plus physically active exploration

High Five! – 5-10 miles of hiking per day, plus possible peak bagging or other action-oriented fun

Hiking Adventure on the South Island

Hiking Adventure on the South Island - Energy Index

The Energy Index detailed above relates to the level of exertion associated with the sample trip detailed. This would be modified to fit the style and ability of your group as a part of the custom trip planning process

How custom-made travel works at Off the Beaten Path

We’ve been tailoring custom journeys for clients since our very inception in the mid-1980s! The process is all about connecting the interests of the travelers with the best that a given destination has to offer. To achieve this, we rely upon good ol’ fashioned conversation! Our geographically focused travel designer love to meet new people and learn about their interests for travel. Understanding your goals informs the process immensely and serves as the foundation for the development of a bespoke travel experience for you and yours.

The trip detailed on this web page is a sample of something we’ve done for other clients over the years. In order to start the process of designing your own custom travel experience, just call us at (800) 445-2995 and ask to speak with one of our Travel Advisors. After a bit of time on the phone, you will then have the opportunity to connect with one of our travel designers.

The entire planning process is very personalized and works in an iterative fashion until a final, perfect trip has been created. We then secure all of the lodging, activities, and guided experiences associated with your trip and send along abundant trip materials capturing these details – and much more about your travels!


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. 

Start Planning My Trip


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