Fine Tours New Zealand
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Call us FREE in New Zealand on 1855 277 3818

Similar itineraries

Natural North Island

13 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Wellington
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

16 Day Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour

16 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Motels

The Natural South Island

19 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

 

15 day South Island Natural Discovery self drive tour

Christchurch to Christchurch, 15 days 14 nights self drive tour, staying in Luxury Lodges & hotels

15 day South Island Natural Discovery self drive tour
15 day South Island Natural Discovery self drive tour
15 day South Island Natural Discovery self drive tour
15 day South Island Natural Discovery self drive tour

Tour map

Loop around the South Island with this 15 day Natural discovery tour. Begin your adventure with a guided walk through the alpine wonderland of Mt. Cook National Park, enjoy a full day of wildlife encounters on Dunedin's Otago Peninsula, and escape to the outstanding beauty of Fiordland National Park. No South Island adventure is complete without at trip to the alpine adventure resort of Queenstown, spend a few days exploring this exciting town, and then take a cross-country trip on the scenic TranzAlpine train. Your luxury accommodations will provide plenty of opportunity to relax and unwind after days of exciting activities!

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 1744 kms / 1082 miles, 20.9 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$252 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Welcome to Christchurch City

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Ko Tane Maori Experience, wildlife park entry and guided kiwi tour

Ko Tane Maori Experience, wildlife park entry and guided kiwi tour
Ko Tane Maori Experience, wildlife park entry and guided kiwi tour
Ko Tane Maori Experience, wildlife park entry and guided kiwi tour
Ko Tane Maori Experience, wildlife park entry and guided kiwi tour

Get a unique glimpse into the indigenous Maori culture when you visit the Ko Tane Living Maori Village and Willowbank Wildlife reserve. You'll be welcomed by the Karanga - a traditional welcome call - and experience the thrill of Wero, a challenge to visitors as you are brought into the sacred precinct of Tane, Maori God of the Forests.

Take part in a haka performed by the men or a poi dance performed by the women. Be entertained by the Kapa Haka group's songs and games, then enjoy a four course hangi dinner. Following the meal you'll be taken on a guided tour through the wildlife reserve to view the New Zealand native kiwi.

Your accommodation - The George Hotel, Christchurch

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
The George Hotel, Christchurch
The George Hotel, Christchurch
The George Hotel, Christchurch
The George Hotel, Christchurch
 

Day 2

Your rental car is delivered then travel south to Mt Cook National Park, A World Heritage Area

Driving distance and time: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday.  You can choose from an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles, from Europcar, Budget or Hertz.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you'll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo. Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat.  These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Your accommodation - Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
 

Day 3

Enjoy a guided exploration of Mt Cook National Park

Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk

Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk
Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk
Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk
Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk

The Mount Cook Encounter Walk is an 8km guided tour of the Hooker Valley, providing breath-taking views of some of New Zealand's highest and most enthralling peaks. Your knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide will talk about the unique flora and fauna of the region and the local history as you trek through this amazing landscape.  From The Hermitage Hotel, head to the White Horse Hill camping ground. The journey takes in the poignant Alpine Memorial and passes over the turbulent Hooker River twice by swing bridge to unsurpassed vistas of Aoraki Mount Cook's south face and the surrounding glaciers and mountains, then continue to the terminal lake of the Hooker Glacier.  A Packed lunch is included on this full day walk.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing

Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing
Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing
Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing
Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing

Take in the spectacular Southern Alps - including New Zealand's highest peak Aoraki Mount Cook - and the constantly changing glacial landscape. See the Hochstetter Icefall as you fly beneath the face of Mount Cook then along the length of the Tasman glacier before landing on the glacier itself. Experience the silence of the mountains, broken only by the rumbling of an avalanche and creaking of the snow and ice beneath your feet. You'll take off again for another incredible flight over peaks, ice falls, alpine lakes and climbing huts.

Your accommodation - Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Day 4

Travel to Twizel and visit the very rare Black Stilt visitor hide. Continue to Dunedin, the 'Edinburgh' of the South

Driving distance and time: 312 kms / 194 miles : 3.6 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Mt. Cook National Park to Twizel

Mt. Cook National Park to Twizel
Mt. Cook National Park to Twizel
Mt. Cook National Park to Twizel
Mt. Cook National Park to Twizel

A short drive south along the spectacular Mt Cook Highway to join the main road south and onto Twizel. Twizel occupies a central location in the Mt. Cook/ Mackenzie region, with the Southern Alps as a backdrop, the town is close to five picturesque lakes, including a world-standard rowing course and Formula One class boating area at Lake Ruataniwha. It’s a fishing mecca so if catching salmon, brown or rainbow trout is what you dream of then don’t go past any of Twizel's rivers, lakes or canals. For the adventurous Twizel's terrain is ideal for skydiving, rock and mountain climbing and close by is Ohau ski field and in Tekapo Round Hill ski field is ideal for families. Twizel has a rich but brief history linked to the development of the massive Waitaki Valley hydroelectric scheme. The town started life as a temporary place for the workers on the scheme and when completed the land and buildings were sold off in government lotteries. Now it’s a holiday home paradise.

Twizel to Dunedin

Twizel to Dunedin
Twizel to Dunedin
Twizel to Dunedin
Twizel to Dunedin

The next town south is Omarama and the wrinkly rams cafe makes an interesting coffee stop. Heading down the Waitaki valley, from Omarama, you follow the hydro power generating system towards the east coast. The town of Oamaru is most famous for its white stone buildings, constructed with the local 'Oamaru Stone'. From the harbour, you can see blue penguins come ashore at dusk as they return from their day at sea. Further south the Moeraki Boulders are a unique geological feature and worth the short detour to the beach to view. Arriving into Dunedin, you can appreciate the city's Edwardian and Scottish heritage through its fine buildings particularly around the Octagon.

Your accommodation - Camp Estate at Larnach Castle

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
Camp Estate at Larnach Castle
 

Day 5

Explore Dunedin Peninsula and visit one of the world's rarest birds, the Yellow Eyed Penguin

Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve

Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve
Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve
Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve
Monarch Wildlife Cruises Half day tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve

A half day tour of the Otago Peninsula and its unique wildlife including a cruise through Dunedin Harbour. A unique environment, this tour includes a visit to The Penguin Place to view the rare and unique yellow eyed penguin. The tour also includes a scenic bus tour and the wading bird wetlands.

Your accommodation - Camp Estate at Larnach Castle

Style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 6

Drive through Southland farmland scenery to Te Anau, Gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Driving distance and time: 387 kms / 240 miles : 4.7 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Dunedin to Te Anau

Dunedin to Te Anau
Dunedin to Te Anau
Dunedin to Te Anau
Dunedin to Te Anau

The drive to Te-Anau takes you through classic Southland farming scenery. Head off-the-beaten-track today and follow the coastline instead of the inland route. Go through The Catlins area and be sure to take a detour to Kaka Point to view its majestic cliffs and pounding surf.  Continue through Invercargill to Riverton and Colac Bay, and then head north to Manapouri. From here you can embark on a day or overnight cruise to the remote Doubtful Sound - renowned for its natural beauty. Just a short way further will bring you to your lakeside destination of Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.

Fiordland Lodge

Fiordland Lodge
Fiordland Lodge
Fiordland Lodge
Fiordland Lodge

Set on a superb site with commanding views out across Lake Te Anau this is a rural setting with rolling grass lands surrounding the Lodge, Lake Te Anau being a mere ten minute walk away. Across the lake to the west lie the mountains of Fiordland National Park, an area of over three million acres of untouched wilderness and part of the much larger South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.

Dining at Fiordland Lodge

The enjoyment of food and wine is integral to the experience on offer at Fiordland Lodge and the use of quality ingredients being seasonal and regional and largely organic are fundamental to their cuisine philosophy.  Food is a focal point at you'll be hard pressed to find something on the menu that isn't homemade or locally grown. Every item on the menu hails from the surrounding land, as an example within five minutes of the lodge there are at least 10 rivers that have fresh watercress sprouting and wild black berries. Items such as the breakfast jams will have been plucked from the onsite garden, venison and rabbit sourced from the local hunters themselves. Fresh organic vegetables, greens, herbs and eggs are harvested daily from the huge onsite vegetable garden so each season nature offers a new palette for the kitchen team to create dishes. Chef Loughnane is dedicated to sourcing the freshest of ingredients, creating relationships with local farmers and smaller producers and saturating the dishes he creates with local Fiordland and Southland ingredients.  A changing evening menu also means that guests get to experience as much of New Zealand’s wonderful food as possible.

Activities available from Fiordland Lodge – enquire for current pricing

Guided Fly Fishing - Fiordland is world renowned for the quality of its fly fishing in New Zealand. The crystal clear unpolluted waters are managed as a wild fishery producing good stocks of large Brown and Rainbow trout. Fiordland Guides specialise in upstream sight fishing and all fishing is catch and release. Over 40 uncrowded rivers and streams are within 1.5 hours drive of the Lodge.

Guided Nature Walks -there are a wide choice of scheduled trips available from half day walks every day of the week to interesting local areas, some of which are rich in local history, to hikes of a number of days or more into the remoter regions of Fiordland.

Conservation Gold Sponsor - donations of $400 or more towards the Kepler Peninsula conservation project.  Beginning with the ‘box seat’ in an early morning helicopter ride, you will join a local volunteer for a day on the Kepler Peninsula checking the pest trap line. You will be required to assist as a scribe, noting any wildlife along the way.  This is a unique full day experience walking the 8km track through pristine native beech forest, checking traps along the way.  The walking is leisurely with frequent stops.

Your accommodation - Fiordland Lodge

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • Room service available
  • All rooms non smoking
Fiordland Lodge
Fiordland Lodge
Fiordland Lodge
Fiordland Lodge
 

Day 7

Today embark on a 24 hour adventure to Doubtful Sound. Explore the area and spend the night in this pristine wilderness

Driving distance and time: 18 kms / 11 miles : 0.2 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Te Anau to Manapouri

Te Anau to Manapouri
Te Anau to Manapouri
Te Anau to Manapouri
Te Anau to Manapouri

This short drive takes you along the lake edge of Te Anau and across lush southern farmlands to the small township of Lake Manapouri, gateway to Doubtful Sound.

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Take in the tranquility of remote Doubtful Sound on this unique overnight wilderness cruise. Beginning in Manapouri with a short boat ride across the lake, you'll be taken by coach over the Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound. Board the Fiordland Navigator, a purpose-built vessel designed like a traditional coastal trading scow. Be accommodated in a private cabin with an ensuite bathroom or a quad-share bunk room with shared bathroom facilities. The Navigator has a large spacious deck for viewing the scenery and wildlife as well as a dining saloon, bar and observation lounge. As you take in the stunning scenery of the Fiord, you'll be provided a running commentary of the area and its history, points of interest and wildlife. You'll have the opportunity to see dolphins, fur seals and - if you're lucky - rare Fiordland penguins. After anchoring in a sheltered cove, choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or stabicraft, or if you're really brave - take a dip in the water. In the evening enjoy a three course buffet dinner prepared on board and served in the dining saloon. Enjoy beer and fine wines from the licensed bar, and spend time star gazing on the upper deck. Following hearty cooked breakfast the next morning you will spend your remaining time exploring other parts of the fiord before returning to Deep Cove for the trip back to Manapouri.

Your accommodation - Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound

Style: Bed & breakfast (B&B)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • Bar on site
Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound
Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound
Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound
Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound
 

Day 8

You return to Manapouri at midday then head north to Queenstown

Driving distance and time: 166 kms / 103 miles : 2.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Manapouri to Queenstown

Manapouri to Queenstown
Manapouri to Queenstown
Manapouri to Queenstown
Manapouri to Queenstown

Your Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise returns to Manapouri at midday.

Crossing the rolling tussocklands, pass through Mossburn, the deer capital of New Zealand. Continue north through lush Southland countryside towards Lake Wakatipu. The road now hugs the lake edge and the Remarkable mountain range towers over your approach to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Your accommodation - Azur Lodge

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 30 mins +
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Azur Lodge
Azur Lodge
Azur Lodge
Azur Lodge
 

Day 9

Explore and enjoy Queenstown at leisure today

Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside

Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour

Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour
Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour
Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour
Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour

For those keen on the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films, come with us for an unexpectedly delightful journey. In safari-equipped 4WD vehicles, you will be taken on a true off-road adventure. Experienced guides will take you on a breathtaking excursion through diverse scenery around the Wakatipu Basin. See historic Arrowtown and go over the Arrow River, as well as experiencing the truly remarkable views of the lake and mountain surround from the Skippers Canyon Saddle.

Your accommodation - Azur Lodge

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 10

Queenstown to Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

Driving distance and time: 233 kms / 145 miles : 2.9 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Queenstown to Lake Moeraki

Queenstown to Lake Moeraki
Queenstown to Lake Moeraki
Queenstown to Lake Moeraki
Queenstown to Lake Moeraki

Crossing the Crown Range, the highest sealed road in the country, you arrive into the alpine town of Wanaka. The route follows the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea before you enter the township of Makarora, the gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Blue Pools here are a wonderful 30 minute walk through pristine native beech forest. Descending into Mt. Aspiring National Park and towards the Haast Pass, crashing rivers and waterfalls are around every corner. Crossing the Haast River you are now truly on the wild West Coast, a 600 kilometre stretch of bush, rainforest and podocarp forest. The tranquil bush surroundings of Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki are just a few extra kilometres.

Your accommodation - Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10:30 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
 

Day 11

Explore the flora and fauna of this unique West Coast Lodge

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

The Lodge is a paradise for nature lovers and for a relaxing retreat away from the pressures of the modern world. On arrival you are given maps and information on the walk network, forest and seacoast trails and canoeing.

Walks Network & Lake Canoeing

The Lodge walk's network covers 10km (6 miles) and enables you to explore the Lower Moeraki Valley and seacoast. Canoe the gentle lake waters or walk the network of Lodge and World Heritage rainforest and coastal tracks.

  • Lakeside Walk – an easy 20 minute return forest walk to the outlet of Lake Moeraki with great mountain views. Giant Rimu Walk winds down the Moeraki Valley above rapids to giant rimu trees and a lovely Lodge lookout and continues to the Moeraki lagoon.
  • Monro Beach Walk – an 80 minute return walk through ancient rainforest to the wild and beautiful Tasman sea where large penguins can be seen August to December.

Canoes (and lifejackets) are provided for guests – for use on the lake but not the river. Canoe right around scenic Lake Moeraki or fish for brown trout.

Daily Complimentary Guided Nature Trips

Every day, a naturalist guides offer two guided activities each about an hour long, included in the Lodge tariff. Learn about the rainforests, discover ferns, orchids, giant native pigeon, bellbird and tui. Take a night walk to see glowworms, the Southern Cross and freshwater crayfish. Walks include historical talks and you can learn easy canoeing … and if you fall out you can feed local giant tame eels! This programme changes every day.

Short trips include:

  • Ancient Rainforest Trees, Tree Ferns and Birds … a voyage of discovery.
  • Freshwater Life in the Wilderness Lodge Rainforests … and feeding time for our giant tame eels and trout
  • Easy Canoeing in the Sheltered Inlets of Lake Moeraki … in safe, stable minnow canoes
  • Living in the Wilderness … in harmony with the environment
  • Glowworms, Morepork Owls, Freshwater Crayfish and the Southern Cross … an after dinner night walk

Longer Optional Guided Adventure Trips

Guided wilderness adventure programmes are offered year-round. Join a small group and accompany skilled nature guides. On safe, well-planned adventures you will get close to wildlife, learn about the forest, experience amazing scenery and friendly company.

Wilderness Seacoast, Fiordland Crested Penguin and New Zealand Fur Seals Tramping Adventure – This is a dramatic and challenging wet footed walk. It involves wildlife viewing, scrambling over beach rocks and along beaches and, at the end, a 400 foot steep hill climb.

Wilderness Seacoast, Hector's Dolphin, Rainforest, Tree Fern and Goldminers Walk – There is a huge variety on this walk; a lovely seacoast rich in rock pools, greenstone, Hector's dolphins (the worlds smallest dolphin) and occasionally New Zealand Fur Seals. Magnificent rimu, beech and kahikatea rainforest and a historic goldminer's path that traverses fern filled river gorges.

Ancient Rainforest Guided Walk and Canoe Safari to the Lower Moeraki River and the Tasman Seacoast:

  1. Option A: Easy - Canoe the Moeraki Lagoon – Nature guides take you on a 30 minute walk down the valley through giant rainforest trees, past some historic cottages and across freshwater springs and wetland moss forest. Canoes and life jackets are waiting at the Moeraki lagoon our. We paddle down river beneath the forest and out into the Moeraki lagoon.
  2. Option B: Moderate - Hard - Canoe the Moeraki Rapids– This trip is only suitable for people who are fit/experienced canoeists/good swimmers. Although the rapids are easy, trees in the river create some hazards. Nature guides instruct you in down river canoeing in front of the wilderness Lodge. You practice navigation and procedures for descent. Reach the Tasman beaches and walk to the Tasman seacoast where you enjoy refreshments and fossick for gemstones, shells and driftwood and look for Hector's dolphin, the world's smallest.

The Moeraki Mountains, Historic South Westland Pack Track, Moeraki Rapids and Blue Hut

The Moeraki valley was the last valley in South Westland to be accessed by road in 1965. Prior to this the only way south to Haast by land followed a historic pack track at the foot of the mountains. Drive 8 km up the valley to the start of this walk. The track crosses a series of small steams as the noise of the Moeraki rapids grows louder. When you reach these spectacular rapids, you cross on a high swing bridge then walk for 15 minutes to Blue Hut. Enjoy lunch either at the hut with a roaring fire and billy tea or beside a huge pool in the Moeraki River.

Trout Fishing

The lake and rivers have good numbers of Brown Trout and in March & April Quinnat Salmon. The lodge has basic rods with lures but NO fly-fishing equipment. Local guides can be arranged with notice but please check with us if fishing is to be the focus of your stay at the lodge. You cannot fish in front of the Lodge where we have giant tame brown trout.

Your accommodation - Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day 12

Lake Moeraki to the West Coast Glaciers

Driving distance and time: 111 kms / 69 miles : 1.4 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier

Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier
Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier
Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier
Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier

Continuing along the wild west coast you pass through ancient podocarp forests. At Knights Point Lookout an interesting display tells of shipwrecks in the region and at the right time of year you can see elephant seals basking on the far beaches. First Fox Glacier welcomes you to the glacier region and Lake Matheson, the famous reflection lake, is a five minute drive west of Fox Township. Historic Gillespie's Beach, a wilderness of crashing surf and distant snow capped mountains, known for its seal colony and colourful gold mining history, is 25 minutes west by car. Access to Fox Glacier is well signposted from the highway and a short walk will reward you with some great views of the largest of the West Coast glaciers. Franz Josef township is just a further 45 minutes and a great way to experience the glaciers is with The Helicopter Line or Mt. Cook ski planes.

Glacier Hot Pools

Glacier Hot Pools
Glacier Hot Pools
Glacier Hot Pools
Glacier Hot Pools

Nestled within the lush rainforest surrounds, the Glacier Hot Pools is a haven of tranquility. Unwind in one of the three main pools. Temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees and the water comes directly from a glacial stream. Wash off the day and rejuvenate in this unique forest paradise.

Your accommodation - Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: valet free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Te Waonui Forest Retreat
 

Day 13

Explore Franz Josef and the glaciers with an exciting Ice Explorer tour

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike

After a thrilling scenic flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier, ready to undertake a three hour guided glacier hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacial scenery in the world. Your guide will choose your route carefully as you go and, with an eye for the most spectacular ice formations, you’ll soon be making your way through an extraordinary landscape of towering peaks and glistening blue ice.Following on from your Heli Hike enjoy access to Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, the perfect end to an unforgettable day.

Your accommodation - Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day 14

Head north to Greymouth before catching the world famous Tranz Alpine Scenic Train across the Southern Alps to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.  

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island from the west to the east coast through Arthur's Pass National Park. From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation

Your private transfer driver will meet you on arrival into Christchurch train station and take you to your accommodation.

Your accommodation - The George Hotel, Christchurch

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 15

Depart Christchurch today

Private transfer to Christchurch airport

You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

 
 
price from
NZ$ 8,230.00 pp (small car, low season - details)

This tour includes