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The Ultimate Milford and Routeburn Hiking Adventure

Queenstown to Queenstown, 18 days 17 nights self drive tour, staying in Hotel 4 star

The Ultimate Milford and Routeburn Hiking Adventure
The Ultimate Milford and Routeburn Hiking Adventure
The Ultimate Milford and Routeburn Hiking Adventure
The Ultimate Milford and Routeburn Hiking Adventure

Tour map

The Milford and Routeburn Tracks are included in many people's list of must-do hikes around the world, so what better way to cross them off then as part of an incredible New Zealand hiking vacation? From Queenstown, you will venture into Fiordland National Park to complete the Milford Track, then on to Mt. Aspiring National Park to undertake the Routeburn Track. These guided walks include all the luxuries of home including piping hot showers and delicious cuisine. After completing these amazing challenges, continue your adventure as you circumnavigate the lower South Island, with exciting adventures in three more national parks to look forward to.

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 1228 kms / 762 miles, 14.6 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$177 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Welcome to Queenstown, transfer to accommodation and rest of day at leisure

Arrive into Queenstown and private transfer to your accommodation

Arrive into Queenstown.  A private driver will meet your flight and transfer you to your Queenstown 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.

Your accommodation - The Rees Hotel

Style: Hotel 4 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 30 mins +
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
The Rees Hotel
The Rees Hotel
The Rees Hotel
The Rees Hotel
 

Day 2

Enjoy a day exploring Queenstown and its many activities, then this afternoon you'll attend the pre track briefing

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.

The Classic Guided Walk - pre track briefing

On the afternoon before your departure you are required to attend a Pre-Track Briefing. Please check in at the Ultimate Hikes Centre, Ground Floor, The Station Building, Queenstown at 4:45pm. Here you will receive a complete outline of what to expect, be provided with equipment, given an opportunity to purchase last minute required items, complete the required medical forms, ask answer any last minute questions that you may have and meet your fellow walkers. Please advise our reservations department if you are unable to attend the Pre-Track Briefing (strongly advised to attend).

Your accommodation - The Rees Hotel

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Day 3

The Classic Day 1 - Travel from Queenstown to Te Anau, then begin the Milford Track

The Classic - Milford and Routeburn Tracks 8 Day Guided Walk

The Classic - Milford and Routeburn Tracks 8 Day Guided Walk
The Classic - Milford and Routeburn Tracks 8 Day Guided Walk
The Classic - Milford and Routeburn Tracks 8 Day Guided Walk
The Classic - Milford and Routeburn Tracks 8 Day Guided Walk

The Milford Track has long been known for its splendour and beauty, and the Routeburn Track has become one of the world's most renowned walking tracks. Now you have the chance to experience the very best of both tracks with The Classic. Set in the stunning surroundings of two national parks and Te Wahipounamu, South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Enjoy close encounters with the native birdlife: the Robin; Kea; Weka; Fantail; Tui; Parakeet; Bellbird; even Kiwi have been spotted on the Milford Track. Experience Fiordland National Park at its most spectacular: deep lakes; silent fiords; luxuriant forest and sheer canyons carved out of imposing granite define this landscape. Then Mount Aspiring National Park with it's mountainous peaks, alpine basins, inquisitive native birdlife, emerald bush, turquoise rivers and million dollar views around every corner. The Classic is an 8 day / 7 night Queenstown to Queenstown all-inclusive guided walk through the heart of Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. The package includes transport, accommodation, meals, snacks, backpacks and rain jackets. Track accommodation is in our comfortable lodges and you will be led by our expert guides.

Day 1 - Queenstown to Te Anau to Glade House

The adventure begins at our Queenstown office where you board a coach to Te Anau, arriving in time for lunch and a group photo. From Te Anau Downs harbour, a launch takes up to the head of Lake Te Anau. From the wharf it's a short walk to the historic Glade House for afternoon tea. Afterwards the guides take you on a short nature walk to explore the area. After a hot shower and three-course meal it's time to get some rest in the snug beds either in the multi-share bunk rooms or private ensuite rooms. Today you'll walk 1.6km (1 mile) which takes approximately 20 minutes.

Your accommodation - Milford Track Lodges

Style: Motels - economy

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Milford Track Lodges
Milford Track Lodges
Milford Track Lodges
Milford Track Lodges
 

Day 4

The Classic Day 2 - Cross the Clinton River, then walk up the valley

Day 2 – Glade House to Pompolona Lodge

Day 2 – Glade House to Pompolona Lodge
Day 2 – Glade House to Pompolona Lodge
Day 2 – Glade House to Pompolona Lodge
Day 2 – Glade House to Pompolona Lodge

After crossing the emerald green Clinton River you walk up the valley to the Hirere Falls lunch shelter. The beech forest gets more luxuriant the farther you go, until it releases you on to the Prairie. From this meadow you can capture the true nature of the ice-carved Clinton Canyon. It is a short climb to Pompolona Lodge from here. Today enjoy 16km (10 mile) 5-7 hours of walking.

Your accommodation - Milford Track Lodges

Style: Motels - economy

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 5

The Classic Day 3 - Today you tackle the Mackinnon Pass

Day 3 –Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge via Mackinnon Pass

Day 3 –Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge via Mackinnon Pass
Day 3 –Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge via Mackinnon Pass
Day 3 –Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge via Mackinnon Pass
Day 3 –Pompolona Lodge to Quintin Lodge via Mackinnon Pass

This is the most demanding day, especially in inclement weather. The track leads to Lake Mintaro at the head of the Clinton Valley, before climbing the Mackinnon Pass in a series of zig-zags. Take your time and enjoy the views. At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular panorama and lunch in Pass Hut. After the rocky decent into the Arthur Valley you will welcome a hot cup of tea at Quintin Lodge. This should be enough to refresh you for the optional 90 minute round trip to the Sutherland Falls, the world's fifth highest waterfall. Today's walk is 15km (9 mile), which should take 6-8 hours.

Your accommodation - Milford Track Lodges

Style: Motels - economy

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 6

The Classic Day 4 - Final day on the Milford Track, walk to your waiting boat for a cruise to Milford Sound

Day 4 – Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge via Sandfly Point

Day 4 – Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge via Sandfly Point
Day 4 – Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge via Sandfly Point
Day 4 – Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge via Sandfly Point
Day 4 – Quintin Lodge to Mitre Peak Lodge via Sandfly Point

You walk down the Arthur Valley to Boatshed; after a short break you will continue on past Mackay Falls and Bell Rock (which was carved out of the river during a particularly violent flood) and on to the lunch spot at Giant's Gate waterfall. The final stretch of track follows tranquil Lake Ada to Sandfly Point.   From here it is a short launch trip to the renowned Mitre Peak Lodge, the only accommodation at Milford Sound offering superb views of Mitre Peak, often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. Here you will enjoy a celebratory dinner while relaxing with the knowledge that the hard part is now behind you while the magnificence of Milford Sound is right in front of you. Today you will walk 21km (10 miles), which should take between 6-8 hours.

Your accommodation - Milford Track Lodges

Style: Motels - economy

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 7

The Classic Day 5 - Enjoy a rest day with a cruise on Milford Sound, then travel to Te Anau

Day 5 – Milford Sound to Te Anau

Day 5 – Milford Sound to Te Anau
Day 5 – Milford Sound to Te Anau
Day 5 – Milford Sound to Te Anau
Day 5 – Milford Sound to Te Anau

Wake to the tranquility of Fiordland and after breakfast experience a magical cruise on Milford Sound. Watch for the dolphins and fur seals and pray for rain, as you've only seen Fiordland at its most incredible when the waterfalls are in full flow.  Following the cruise it's time to head back to Te Anau. Spend the rest of the day exploring the town that is the gateway to Fiordland and stay overnight at a Te Anau hotel. (Please note that accommodation in Te Anau is included but not dinner or breakfast).

Your accommodation - Ultimate Hikes Te Anau Hotel

Style:

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ultimate Hikes Te Anau Hotel
Ultimate Hikes Te Anau Hotel
Ultimate Hikes Te Anau Hotel
Ultimate Hikes Te Anau Hotel
 

Day 8

The Classic Day 6 - First day on the Routeburn Track takes you through to Lake Mackenzie

Day 6 –Te Anau/Divide to Lake Mackenzie

Day 6 –Te Anau/Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Day 6 –Te Anau/Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Day 6 –Te Anau/Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Day 6 –Te Anau/Divide to Lake Mackenzie

The second part of your adventure begins with a coach ride from Te Anau to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road. You will climb the wide and well formed track from the Divide to the optional ascent to Key Summit. Here you can sit among the alpine plants and gaze down three valleys from which water flows to three different coasts. You then descend to Lake Howden hut for a hot drink and picnic lunch, before gradually climbing through lush silver beech forest to the base of Earland Falls, quite a sight in wet weather! You will look over the Hollyford Valley to the ice capped Darran Mountains before descending to the splendid lodge at Lake Mackenzie where refreshments, a hot shower, three course meal and a comfortable bed are waiting.  Today's walk is 13km (8 miles) and will take between 5 to 6 hours.

Your accommodation - Routeburn Track Lodges

Style:

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Routeburn Track Lodges
Routeburn Track Lodges
Routeburn Track Lodges
Routeburn Track Lodges
 

Day 9

The Classic Day 7 - Fantastic mountain views today and tonight you stay at the Routeburn Falls Lodge

Day 7 –Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls

Day 7 –Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls
Day 7 –Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls
Day 7 –Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls
Day 7 –Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls

You leave the ancient forest draped in moss and lichen and enter the world of daisies, buttercups, gentians and edelweiss. Here you have a full vista of the Darran Mountains across the Hollyford Valley, which slices through Fiordland to the distant Tasman Sea at Martin's Bay. After lunch at the Harris Saddle, you can ascend Conical Hill for a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks. After walking around Lake Harris you descend into the upper basins of the Routeburn Valley, with the towering mountains above. Spend your final night of luxury at the beautifully located Routeburn Falls Lodge where you will be treated to a special celebratory dinner. Today's walk is 15km (9 miles) and should take between 5 to 7 hours.

Your accommodation - Routeburn Track Lodges

Style:

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 10

The Classic Day 8 - Descend to the forested lowlands, before you return by coach to Queenstown

Day 8 –Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road

Day 8 –Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road
Day 8 –Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road
Day 8 –Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road
Day 8 –Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road

The trail descends from Routeburn Falls to the alpine meadows of the Routeburn Flats. Pass crystal clear river pools and enter the forested gorge, opening to the lowlands. A coach will take you back to Queenstown, stopping at the small town of Glenorchy on the way. Today's walking is 10km (6.1 miles) and should take 3 to 4 hours.

Your accommodation - The Rees Hotel

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Day 11

Collect your rental car and then head to Mt. Cook National Park

Driving distance and time: 256 kms / 159 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.

 

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.

Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park

Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park

Leaving Queenstown you'll head through the Kawarau Gorge and over the historic Kawarau Bridge -  a popular bungy jumping location. Choose to participate in this daredevil sport or watch others instead. Continue through the Gibbston Valley and be sure to stop at one of its many vineyards for a tasting. As you leave the gorge you'll arrive in Cromwell, known for its many fruit orchards. If you're a foodie at heart, we recommend taking a side trip to Bannockburn for a complete food and wine experience at one its many award-winning wineries and restaurants.

Cromwell itself sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge and the old historic town is well worth the visit. Completely submerged when the Clyde Dam was built and Lake Dunstan established in 1992, the remnants of the old Cromwell town provides a unique snapshot into this areas history. Head over through the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads, with the summit reaching 971 metres. It's tussock covered hills are a barren but beautiful sight as you descend into the Mackenzie Basin. You'll go through the towns of Omarama and Twizel - the last stops before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Mount. Cook Highway to arrive in the small 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.

Your accommodation - Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Style: Hotel 4 star

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
  • 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
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
 

Day 12

This morning take the Glacier Explorers tour, explore the parks trails this afternoon

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.

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village

There are many short scenic walks beginning in and around the Mt. Cook Village, suitable for all ages and abilities. Located within the Mount Cook Village is the Department of Conservation information centre, where updates on the track conditions and suitability is available as well as information on the history of the area and its wildlife.

Below is a snapshot of some of the walks available:

 - Bowen Bush Walk  - 10 minute return

 - Glencoe Walk - 10 minute return

 - Red Tarns Track - Two hour return

 - Kea Point Walk - Two hour return

 - Hooker Lake - Four hour return

Your accommodation - Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day 13

A scenic drive across Mackenzie country to Arthur's Pass National Park

Driving distance and time: 395 kms / 245 miles : 4.6 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 Arthur's Pass National Park

Mt. Cook National Park to Arthur's Pass National Park
Mt. Cook National Park to Arthur's Pass National Park
Mt. Cook National Park to Arthur's Pass National Park
Mt. Cook National Park to Arthur's Pass National Park

Your first stop today should be the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. As well as a great presentation detailing the formation of the region over thousands of years you are also often rewarded with uninterrupted views of over 50 kilometres to the peak of Mt. Cook. Lake Tekapo, the northern most of the large Southern Lakes also the reflective quality that Pukaki has making the waters a bright turquoise on certain days. This busy little township is home to some of the most photographed subjects in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just enjoy the magnificent views. From here you descend from the high country through Burkes Pass and into rich farmland. Beautiful Valley guides you to the town of Geraldine before you cross the vast Canterbury Plains. Taking the inland scenic route from Geraldine you pass through some quaint rural townships such as Mayfield, Cavendish, Staveley, Windwhistle and Glenroy. The Rakaia Gorge also offers some spectacular views from the bridge crossing. Arriving onto State Highway 73 more spectacular scenery awaits as you drive west into the Southern Alps. Castle Hill Scenic Reserve sits in limestone country and the area is dotted with remarkable rock outcrops. Today its a popular location for climbers to practice but in the past it was also an important place for Maori in past years as they provided shelter on their seasonal journeys between the coasts. There is a network of walking paths allowing you to explore. The high country lakes and mountain landscape is unique. Arthur's Pass National Park covers 114,500 ha right in the heart of the Southern Alps.  

Your accommodation - Wilderness Lodge

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site paid access
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking
Wilderness Lodge
Wilderness Lodge
Wilderness Lodge
Wilderness Lodge
 

Day 14

Enjoy the many activities on offer at the Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge, Arthur's Pass

Wilderness Lodge, Arthur's Pass
Wilderness Lodge, Arthur's Pass
Wilderness Lodge, Arthur's Pass
Wilderness Lodge, Arthur's Pass

Nestled in mountain beech forest, midway between Christchurch and the West Coast, Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass offers stylish accommodation, great food and warm hospitality in a spectacular mountain setting.

Set on a 4000 acre working sheep farm and nature reserve in the heart of the Southern Alps, a daily program of guided activities will be the highlight of your visit. Join naturalist and farmer guides to hike alpine trails, kayak wildlife refuge lakes and experience life on a working farm.

Complimentary Guided Activities

Twice daily complimentary guided trips provide a wonderful introduction to the wildlife, landscapes and history of the Southern Alps. Some of the trips include:

  • Sheep Farm Discovery: Join a guide to watch sheep dogs in action, handfeed lambs, see traditional blade shearing and learn about growing merino wool for the fashion industry. This trip happens every second afternoon and is a highlight for many guests
  • Birds and Special Plants of the Mountain Beech Forest: Explore with a naturalist guide and learn the secrets of these remarkable moss forests surrounding the lodge
  • McKay Moa Forest Hike: Visit a special nature reserve on the Wilderness Lodge farm. Take in spectacular mountain scenery, see bizarre ‘moa plants’ and learn their fascinating history.
  • Stars of the Southern Night Sky: A gentle stroll after dinner to see the starry night sky. Identify planets, satellites and constellations including the Southern Cross.

Longer Charged Guided Activities

  • Upper Otira Glacier Adventure: A superb challenging summer hike. Climb high into a glacial basin and enjoy mountain panoramas, alpine flowers, cascades culminating in a mountain picnic below Mt Rolleston.
  • Limestone Castles & Easy Kayaking:  A relaxed guided tour/walk to a landscape made famous by the Narnia film 'The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe'. Paddle a gentle mountain lake and enjoy lunch amongst natural limestone castles.
  • Southern Alps Mountain Hike: Traverse beech forest to open mountain tops high above the Waimakariri River. Learn about alpine plants and enjoy lunch at a historic hut which once sheltered shepherds when this area was part of the Wilderness Lodge farm, now Arthur's Pass National Park.
  • Wonderful Waterfalls of Arthur's Pass: A special trip for waterfall and photography enthusiasts. Visit waterfalls and cascades throughout Arthur's Pass National Park and explore 'bonsai' mountain beech forests. Picnic beside a mountain stream.

Self-Guided Activity Options

  • Explore a 30km network of forest, farm and mountain walking trails. You hosts can provide maps and suggestions and you may like to order a picnic lunch
  • Explore neighboring Arthur’s Pass National Park on your own.
  • Relax in peace and tranquillity and take in the spectacular mountain scenery

Short walks in Arthurs Pass National Park - suggested activity

Short walks in Arthurs Pass National Park - suggested activity
Short walks in Arthurs Pass National Park - suggested activity
Short walks in Arthurs Pass National Park - suggested activity
Short walks in Arthurs Pass National Park - suggested activity

Within the Arthur's Pass there are many short walks to suit all ages and abilities. Located in the Arthur's Pass Village is a Department of Conservation information centre where you can get updates on track conditions and track suitability as well as learning about the natural history of the area and its people. Listed below are a selection of short walks. 1. Millennium Walk - Time: 10 minutes return 2. Devils Punchbowl Waterfall Walk - Time: One hour return 3. Arthur's Pass Walking Track - Time: One hour 20 minutes (one way) 4. Dobson Nature Walk - Time: 30 minutes return 5. Old Coach Road Walk - Time: 30 minutes return 6. Cockayne Nature Walk - Time: 30 minutes return

Your accommodation - Wilderness Lodge

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Dinner

 

Day 15

Continue to the West Coast, then down to Franz Josef Glacier

Driving distance and time: 229 kms / 142 miles : 2.7 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.

 

Arthur's Pass to Franz Josef Glacier

Arthur's Pass to Franz Josef Glacier
Arthur's Pass to Franz Josef Glacier
Arthur's Pass to Franz Josef Glacier
Arthur's Pass to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel through the Otira Gorge towards the wild West Coast. The next town is Hokitika and this is a great place to explore the craft and gift stores. The Jade or Greenstone on offer in Hokitika is probably some of the best you will see in the country. The Hokitika Gorge, off the beaten track and inland a little is a spectacular detour. Turquoise waters flowing through a narrow gorge. A great short walk will deliver you to this piece of paradise. Ross is the site of an old gold mining town and some of the old buildings and workings remain. In fact Ross is still home to one of the few working gold mines left in New Zealand and the local information centre offers you the chance to pan for gold. Continuing south Hari Hari is the township that Guy Menzies decided to land in (or rather crash land) as he became the first person to fly solo across the Tasman. Whataroa, a small township on the main road is where you would head off to see one of the worlds rarest birds. The entire population (somewhere between 150 and 200 birds) of the New Zealand white heron or kotuku nest at the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve and guided tours from October to March will take you there. Arriving in to the Glacier region you catch your first glimpse of Franz Josef Glacier from a few kilometres out as it flows from the Southern Alps. Franz Josef township is a lively place with a great atmosphere, plenty of choice to dine out and some wonderful activities to enjoy.

Your accommodation - Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
 

Day 16

Explore the Franz Josef Glacier with a remarkable helicopter ride and glacier walk

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area

Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area
Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area
Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area
Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area

There are many walks and hikes in and around Franz Josef. The information below is provided by the Department of Conservation. Located in Franz Josef village is a Department of Conservation information center and you can get updates on track conditions and suitability plus you can learn about the area, its natural history and its people. Listed below are a selection of short walks but check with the Department of Conservation information center for weather conditions, track suitability and conditions  first.

Douglas Walk

The Douglas Walk is an easy one-hour forest walk that passes by the Peters Pool viewpoint and crosses several moraines before descending to the bridge across Dolly Creek on the way back to the road.

Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr return

Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere Walk

The 40-minute walk to the terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier follows a rocky path over riverbed. Only experienced and prepared visitors should attempt climbing on the glacier.

Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr 30 min return

Lake Wombat Track

The Lake Wombat Track leads you through a lush rimu forest to the idyllic Lake Wombat.

Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr 30 min

Okarito walking tracks

North of the Franz Josef Township sits the coastal settlement of Okarito and the Okarito Lagoon. The lagoon is home to more than 76 species of native birds including the kōtuku/white heron and royal spoonbills.

Category:  Walking track.

Peters Pool Walk

The spectacular view at Peters Pool includes Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere, and the Fritz Range, including Mt Moltke and Mt Roon.

Category:  Easy access walk. Completion Time:  25 min

Sentinel Rock Walk

Just a short distance south of the Franz Josef Township you will come to the Glacier and Sentinel Rock walks. The Sentinel Rock Lookout offers impressive views of the glacier, the valley and Waiho River.

Category:  Short walk. Completion Time:  20 min

Tatare Tunnels Walk

The 80-minute return Tatare Tunnels Walk follows an old 4WD road to a junction with the Callery/Waiho Walk. From there follow the track to the old water tunnels.

Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr 20 min return

Terrace Walk

Follow the Terrace Walk as it winds through forest and goes by remnants of past gold mining operations.

Category:  Short walk. Completion Time:  30 min

Your accommodation - Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 17

Cross the Haast Pass to Wanaka, allow plenty of time for the many short walks and photo stops

Driving distance and time: 283 kms / 176 miles : 3.3 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 Wanaka

Franz Josef to Wanaka
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Franz Josef to Wanaka

Heading south you pass through the small town of Fox Glacier. A short side trip to view the glacier is recommended before heading along the coast and through more classic West Coast bush scenery. At Knights Point Lookout, elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the Haast River you’ll turn inland and through the mountainous valley littered with waterfalls. Continue on past lakes Hawea and Wanaka into the alpine township of Wanaka.

Your accommodation - Edgewater

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 20-30 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Childrens playground
  • All rooms non smoking
Edgewater
Edgewater
Edgewater
Edgewater
 

Day 18

A short drive to Queenstown and depart

Driving distance and time: 68 kms / 42 miles : 1.1 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.

 

Wanaka to Queenstown

Wanaka  to Queenstown
Wanaka  to Queenstown
Wanaka  to Queenstown
Wanaka  to Queenstown

Leaving Wanaka you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks, and many stops en route.

Enjoy your final morning in Queenstown before driving to the airport for your onward flight

Take in the sights of Queenstown one more time before returning your car to the airport and catching your onward flight.

 
 
price from
NZ$ 11,033.00 pp (small car, low season - details)

This tour includes