Christchurch to Queenstown Adventure 10D/9N
From the top of the South Island, our trip takes you to a huge range of natural wonders from glaciers and mountains to beautiful beaches and wild coastlines. There are plenty of wildlife encounters along the way as well as the odd adrenalin rush and if its hikes and bike rides, you are looking for, then you won’t be disappointed as we have a heap of superb options. We will also stay at some incredibly special camp spots that we have strategically placed so we can bring you much closer to nature than you would ever have expected.
- Visit the “real” Lord of the Rings country!
- Head through jaw dropping landscapes
- Hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain – Mount Cook
V Travel Adventures
Max group size:
- 8 x Breakfasts, 3 x Lunches, 4 x Dinners
- Bus/coach transport
- Shared tent accommodation - 2 people per tent
- Inflatable camping mattress
- Queenstown Skyline Gondola
- Use of sports equipment (bodyboards, cricket sets and more)
- 2 knowledgeable guides throughout tour
Departures:2021: 23rd January, 19th February, 18th March
Today we travel the scenic Pacific coast to Kaikoura where close encounters with seals and seabirds are common. This picturesque town sits right on the ocean at the foot of the mountains – a spectacular spot. Stretch your legs with a recommended evening peninsula walk and build up an appetite for a tasty feast of locally caught fresh seafood. Tonight we camp with the sound of the waves – perfect! The waters off this stretch of coast are home to a variety of marine and bird life – it’s the perfect spot to get ‘close to nature’. Kaikoura has an interesting Maori history and legend – Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself while he ‘fished-up’ the North Island from the sea. Kaikoura translates to ‘meal of crayfish’ (Kai – food, koura – crayfish) which is extremely appropriate with plenty to go around.
For those that are keen there is the chance to rise early for a wonderful sunrise and then enjoy one of our most highly rated optional activities – dolphin swimming. The resident dusky dolphins are amongst the most interactive and entertaining in the world and it’s not unusual to swim with pods of 50 or more in their natural habitat, the ocean! We then have the chance to explore this quaint seaside town before heading through Christchurch to collect and drop off those starting /ending here. Now regarded as the Shaky Isles, you’ll have time to explore Christchurch city area as well as buy your lunch from one of the many of the quirky container cafes at the ‘Restart Mall’. Since the earthquakes, Christchurch and the residents are doing lots of cool things as well as restoring its heritage which is making the city stand out as a place to explore! Enjoy the tasteful street art, artwork from the earthquake and local crafts to purchase in the city. Say farewell to your friends leaving and hello to new Flying Kiwis because at 2:30pm we head out towards the Southern Alps with fantastic views across the Canterbury plains – real Lord of the Rings country! Tonight’s unique camp is at the Shearer’s Headquarters (an actual operating farm) located at the foothills of the Southern Alps. The Rangitata River flows for over 120 kms from the Southern Alps to the Pacific ocean. This is the river where you can try white water raft tomorrow morning — highly recommended!
Wake up to mountain views and try white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River! If rafting isn’t for you soak it all in with a morning cycle or walk through Peel forest. We then head through more jaw dropping landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo. Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour brought down from the rivers flowing from glaciers high up in the mountains. Relax in the nearby hot pools or enjoy star gazing at the Mt John Observatory and make the most of staying in an International Dark Sky Reserve, plus there are plenty of hike and cycle options to choose from.
Today is a real chance to immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for. We will be exploring Aoraki National Park and hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain – Mount Cook. We then head back to the Pacific coast with a short stop in the historic town of Oamaru. From there it’s a short drive down the coast to the small village of Moeraki. Go for a walk to a view point and take in the views of the Pacific Ocean and try and spot a little blue penguin along the shore. If you have a bike it’s possible to visit a colony of extremely rare yellow-eyed penguins near to camp. Mount Cook (Maori name – Aoraki meaning ‘cloud piercer’) dominates the skyline at 3,724m and is New Zealand’s highest mountain. Nestled in between the other 18 peaks above 3000m within Aoraki/Mt Cook national, Mt Cook dominates the skyline and is the main feature in the backdrop of our hike to the bottom of the Hooker valley glacier.
Before heading south, we make a stop at the nearby Moeraki Boulders – a collection of perfectly round rocks each weighing up to 4 tonnes that sit down on the beach, and then it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin – the South Island’s second-largest city. Its name is the Scots Gaelic word for Edinburgh, a testament to the mostly Scottish settlers who came here. This southern city is also home to the world’s steepest residential street, which makes for a great challenge to see who can get to the top first! The Otago Coast stretches along the South Island’s eastern side and Dunedin marks the halfway point along this coast which has a few decent surf breaks. Our camp is a short walk from the beach and you walk the short distance to St.Clair to grab some food at one of the laid back water front restaurants.
Journey through scenic southern pastures to Te Anau, the hub and jumping-off point for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Our accommodation tonight is a unique and historic site hidden in the unspoilt Hollyford Valley – a true wilderness escape. There is even an onsite museum to learn more about the region and history. For cyclists there is the chance to cycle into camp and for the hikers this camp offers some great short treks (ask your guide about secret glow worm trails). The south west corner of New Zealand is home to Fiordland – home to wild, dramatic and rugged landscapes. The main town for access to the Fiordland National park region is Te Anau, the park is a World Heritage Area over 1.2 million hectares in size. In this area everything is oversized – gigantic waterfalls, towering mountains and forested valleys meet you around every corner.
This morning is all about exploring Fiordland National Park and we’re heading to Milford Sound, one of the most iconic places in New Zealand. Sometimes referred to as the 8th wonder of the world this Fiord is quite incredible with towering sea cliffs and dramatic waterfalls the Milford cruise is one of the highlights of any trip to New Zealand. After exploring Milford Sound we start making our way back to Te Anau and on route it is time to say goodbye to our brave Routeburn hikers who will be walking for the next 3 days and rejoinging us in Queenstown. From the drop off the road follows the edge of Lake Te Anau and back to the town where we will have a few hours that afternoon to explore and spend the night.
Today we journey to Queenstown along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. Once we arrive at the adventure capital of New Zealand you have a huge selection of activities to choose from. There is everything here, from adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing and skydiving to a relaxing horse trek or boat cruise – this place has it all. There are great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this alpine region. Camping isn’t feasible in this bustling alpine village, for the next two nights we stay in dorm-share accommodation in a centrally located hostel. Perfect for making the most of all Queenstown as to offer.
With so much to do we spend a full day in fantastic Queenstown with the opportunity to enjoy those once in a lifetime experiences (don’t forget to try the legendary and very tasty fergburger!). Routeburn Track walkers re-join the group here with time to try the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight you get the opportunity to dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries – a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost). Rightfully regarded as the adrenalin capital of New Zealand (if not, the World) Queenstown has something for every taste. It is also a spectacular location, nestled beside the deep blue of Lake Wakatipu by the foot of the Remarkables Range. Queenstown thrives year round with its superb alpine facilities and ski slopes – it was recently voted one of the top 25 cities in the World by a top travel magazine and we know why!
A last chance to indulge in the Queenstown action before finishing your tour with us here and saying farewell to your fellow Flying Kiwi travellers by 2:00pm.