Beautiful South


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    Small group
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    Surrounded by gigantic lakes and breathtaking peaks, the destinations on this adventure are in fairly close proximity to one another, which allows us to slow the pace a little, and enjoy the finer things in life as we explore off-the-beaten-track New Zealand.

    Itinerary

    DAY 1 – Queenstown & Central Otago Pinot Noir
    Another world awaits you as you arrive into Queenstown. The rugged peaks of the Remarkables Mountains rise sharply out of the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wakatipu with Cecil Peak and Ben Lomond dominating the rest of the vista. There’s no better way to kick things off than by following the course of the Kawarau River to a local winery in Gibbston Valley. We’ll taste, tour and immerse ourselves in the wine-making process and take a walk on one of the many trails in Gibbston Valley. Today we’ll also visit the quaint, charming gold-mining community of Arrowtown, before returning to Queenstown to relax with views of the Remarkables and the surrounding peaks. A gentle introduction to New Zealand’s charm, wine, and walking. (L, D)

    DAY 2 – Kepler Track & Milford Sound in all their glory
    As we drive into Fiordland National Park, “glorious” is just one word that will pop into your head. The granite peaks become steeper, higher and more imposing. The rainforest flanking them becomes more dense, and the rivers even more crystal clear. We’ll walk a beautifully still and peaceful section of the Kepler Track amongst native beech forest, before driving down into Milford Sound and finding out what the words “beautiful” and “dramatic” really mean. Here, you’ll see waterfalls like nowhere else in the world. This place receives over 21 feet of rain a year, so it’ll probably be raining – if it is, you’ll experience this place REALLY coming alive. (B, L, D)

    DAY 3 – Walk the Milford Track & afternoon cruise Milford Sound
    Wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed, sit out on the deck of your chalet, listen to the roar of waterfalls, spy the native kea and prepare for a walk through exquisite native forest on the world famous Milford Track. Later today, we’ll board a boat for a scenic cruise of the Sound and a unique perspective on this glorious wilderness area. Today is a day to immerse yourself in an area unique to New Zealand and a balm for busy minds and bodies. (B, L, D)

    DAY 4 – Glenorchy & jet boat the Dart River
    Start the day on the shores of one awe inspiring lake and mountain vista, and end it on another, with the beauty of Fiordland and Otago, and a jet boat ride up one of New Zealand’s most incredible river valleys. We’ll make the journey back to Queenstown through rolling hills that eventually turn into the jagged peaks of the Wakatipu area. After a little time for lunch, we’ll leave the hustle of this adventure town for an adventure of our own – the Dart River valley via jet boat – a high speed journey on the crystal-clear waters of this incredible wilderness area. End the day in quiet isolation at the furthest and most stunning end of Lake Wakatipu. (B, L, D)

    DAY 5 – Walk Routeburn Track
    Start the day with breakfast and views of the crystal clear lake out front, then we’ll delve back into Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand’s World Heritage Area. We’ll walk on the world famous Routeburn Track along the banks of the Routeburn River. Deep greens of native beech forest, gin clear waters cascading beneath, and narrow valleys to wider open spaces make this a varied and unforgettable walk. Of course, if you’d like things on the more laid-back side today, there’s no better place to unwind. (B, L, D)

    DAY 6 – Walk Glenorchy & return to Queenstown
    We’ll take our time this morning, enjoy the quiet of the top of the lake with a stroll along on the Glenorchy Walkway. Afterwards we’ll head back along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown. En route we’ll stretch our legs in one of the handful of quiet coves on the lake. Then, it’s time to take in Queenstown, where you’ll have the afternoon and evening to explore this exciting town. (B, L, D)

    DAY 7 – Queenstown, free day
    Elegant, exciting, welcoming, compact and always beautiful, Queenstown is a place for everyone and everything. On the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by stunning peaks, you’ll find a quiet sanctuary indoors or outdoors here, or an activity that will assault your senses. Dine, indulge, drink, walk, fly, float, ride – just let your guide know how you’d like to spend your time here. Be sure to soak in the beauty and bustle of Queenstown and forget about the world outside this amazing place.

    DAY 8 – Cromwell Winery, walk Mount Iron
    Today we’re heading for Cromwell on the shores of Lake Dunstan. The lake here was formed by the damming of the Clutha River in 1992, and when some buildings were under threat of flooding, they were painstakingly removed, or reconstructed to form the quaint ‘old town’ which we’ll explore before lunch and wine tasting at the Wooing Tree Winery. Once sated, we’ll continue around to yet another dramatic lake and mountain setting, only this time, in a much more laid-back setting – Wanaka. Mount Iron offers a great leg stretch, with an impressive, glacier carved, rocky knoll that rises above the surrounding countryside. (B, L, D)

    DAY 9 – Lake cruise and nature walk
    Wanaka and its surroundings are blessed with spectacular, varied natural beauty. We’ll take a cruise on the lake to Mou Waho Island, a predator-free zone, where we’ll take a nature walk and hope to see the rare flightless Bluff weka, which has been extinct on mainland New Zealand since 1920. As part of our eco-walk experience we’ll plant a tree, an opportunity to give back to this beautiful landscape we’ve been exploring. Afterwards we’ll cruise back to the mainland and the township of Wanaka, we’ll grab a drink together and enjoy our final farewell dinner at your guides’ favourite restaurant, and look back at our favourite bits of the trip. (B, L, D)

    DAY 10 – Head back to Queenstown, depart
    One last scenic drive through the Cardrona Valley and over the Crown Range between Wanaka and Queenstown brings the trip to an end. This journey may well prove to be your favourite, as you’ll pass over the highest mountain road in New Zealand, offering sublime views in every direction. We’ll wave goodbye at Queenstown airport around 11am for departing flights, unless you can’t get enough of Queenstown and decide to stay – we’ll drop you off at your choice of accommodation. (B)

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    Images courtesy of Active Adventures NZ