Secret South Safari Hiking Tour – 11 Day

Join us on an 11 day journey to secret locations where rare wildlife play and exquisite scenery takes over. Your small group can enjoy the serenity of beautiful mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes and calm fiords while hiking, kayaking, cycling and camping through the south. Visit iconic New Zealand landmarks and classic kiwi locations knowing that your experience will be truly unique.


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Secret South Safari Hiking Tour – 11 Day

Join us on an 11 day journey to secret locations where rare wildlife play and exquisite scenery takes over. Your small group can enjoy the serenity of beautiful mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes and calm fiords while hiking, kayaking, cycling and camping through the south. Visit iconic New Zealand landmarks and classic kiwi locations – knowing that your experience will be truly unique.

 

About Secret South Safari Hiking Tour – 11 Day

Day 1. TOUR STARTS IN Queenstown

Meet up with your guide and the rest of the group in downtown Queenstown before leaving the bustle behind and driving south along the eastern shore of Lake Wakatipu. This morning we pass through typical New Zealand farm scenes, including deer farms, before stopping for lunch on the shore of lake Te Anau the largest body of fresh water in Australasia. Here we picnic on the shore and gain our first views of Fiordland National Park, New Zealand largest, and the fifth largest in the world. After lunch we drive into the park via the expansive Eglinton Valley, before pulling over to begin an easy walk up to Key Summit, the final section of the famous Routeburn Track. On the summit, take time to learn about the vegetation and geography of the area along an informative nature walk, and soak up the views of the Darran Mountains and Hollyford Valley to the west. We return to the van after about three hours and then drive to our accommodation for the night the famous and eccentric Gunns Camp.
Hiking: 6km/3 hours hiking
Meals: Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 2. Milford Sound

This morning we leave early and drive to one of New Zealanda most famous destinations Milford Sound. Here you have the option of being guided around the sound (even though its really a fiord!) in sea kayaks, the most tranquil and natural way possible to experience this World Heritage Site. Floating just above the surface, feel at one with nature as you marvel at the size and majesty of the surrounding peaks. Penguins, seals and dolphins are common in the fiord, and often play near groups as they paddle. In the afternoon, relax in the van as we drive back through Te Anau and south toward our campsite for the evening, stopping at the stunning Lake Manapouri for a swim and afternoon tea on the way.
Hiking: 8km/4 hours kayaking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 3. Fiordland National Park

We prepare for our first overnight hike at the campsite this morning, before taking the short drive up to Borland Saddle. Beech forest aligns the track before we ascend onto the gentle tussock peaks of the Hunter Range, where we gradually climb to Mt Burns. From here we navigate along the tops, enjoying striking views of the granite peaks of southern Fiordland across the dark colours of Green Lake. Tarns (small mountain lakes) are dotted along the route and wild deer are prominent in the area. Eventually we drop down into beech forest from the tops and link up with the southern shore of Green Lake, which leads us to a cosy mountain hut. Feel free to take a dip in the frigid waters of the lake before settling down in front of the hut fire for the night.
Hiking: 12km/7 hours hiking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 4. Catlins Coast

Take it easy this morning and enjoy this remote setting before we hike back to the road through beech forest and areas of alpine tussock. Sit back this afternoon and enjoy the rolling farm country of Southland from the comfort of your seat as we drive toward the southern coast. Along the way we pull into New Zealand southern most city, the Scottish settled Invercargill, before continuing on to the secluded coastal region known as the Catlins. Often overlooked by tourists visiting New Zealand, the Catlins region, with its unspoiled rivers, lush podocarp forest, rolling hills and sweeping golden-sand beaches is a hidden gem of the south. We spend the night at Curio Bay, a famous surf spot and home to a resident pod of the native Hectors dolphin in the summer. Once we arrive, feel free to try and spot them with a walk along the beach or simply relax with a beer in the evening sun.
Hiking: 7km/3 hours hiking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 5. Cannibal Bay

Take the early morning for yourself and wander the bay, have a leisurely breakfast or sleep a little longer. Curio Bay is home to one of the worlds best examples of a fossilized forest, which lies on a tidal platform at the north end of the bay and contains fossilised tree stumps and logs, destroyed in a volcanic eruption 180 million years ago. Feel free to wander up for a look this morning with your guide. We usually leave Curio Bay around mid morning and drive along the scenic coastal route, stopping to do short walks and to take in some of the sites along the way. In the afternoon your guide will drop the group off at the idyllic Surat Bay, where sea lions often bask in the sand. Walk along the bay and meet your guide at our exclusive campsite in Cannibal Bay, named after human bones where discovered in an old earth oven here over 100 years ago. Help your guide to prepare tonight dinner a hangi feast before taking a short drive to view native hoiho (yellow eyed penguins) as they make their way up the beach after a hard day at sea. We then return to the campsite, light a campfire, dig up dinner and get stuck in.
Hiking: 6km/2 hours hiking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 6. Central Otago Rest Day / Optional Cycling

Today we drive out of the Catlins and up to the picturesque town of Alexandra in Central Otago. Once we arrive, the remainder of the day is yours to do what you wish. You may want to join a cycle tour along the popular Otago Rail Trail, an easy cycle path constructed along the old rail route built through the mountains during the New Zealand gold rush. The trail offers great views of the local landscape, crosses old viaducts and passes by newly renovated pubs. Otherwise feel free to wander the shops of Alexandra or indulge in the delicacies on offer in the local cafes and vineyards. There are some great restaurants in Alexandra, so go exploring tonight and find one that tickles your fancy.
Hiking: Rest day/optional cycling
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Day 7. Ohau Range

After a leisurely breakfast we drive north through the high country, passing over the dramatic Lindis Pass. This is sheep rearing country, and is home to some of the countries largest sheep stations, often farming the rugged merino breed. Turning off the main road, we drive to secluded Lake Ohau, stopping to have lunch and a swim if the sun is shining. This is also where we ditch the van and head into the hills once more for an overnight adventure. It normally takes a couple of hours to hike up through beech forest beside the mountain stream of Freehold Creek, to a quiet campsite just below the tree line. Pitch a tent and take a seat around the campfire as you listen to the creeks waters rush past.
Hiking: 7km/3 hours hiking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 8. Ohau Range

Leaving most of our gear at the campsite, we ascend above the treeline this morning into a brilliant alpine basin, home to a variety of native alpine plants including the Mt. Cook Lily (Ranunculus lyalli), the world largest buttercup. If you feeling energetic, join the guide for a dash up to the ridgeline above the basin and onto the Ohau range (1915 Metres), where you get a superb vista of the surrounding Southern Alps, Mt. Cook and the Mackenzie Basin. In the afternoon we wander back down the valley and drive the short distance to Buscott Station, a high country homestead converted into a backpackers and run by the owner of the sheep station. If you are eager for more views, climb up one of the hills behind the station for the sunset. Having a wine on the lawn is nice too.
Hiking: 14km/7 hours hiking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 9. Mt Cook National Park

After a short drive we set off with day-packs to hike up to Sealy Tarns and Mueller Hut in Mount Cook National Park. Spectacular views of the Hooker and Mueller glaciers, Mount Sefton icefall and New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook – 3754 metres (the Maori name translates to ‘Cloud Piercer’). On our walk we learn about glaciers, mountain building and the New Zealand climate. We descend back down to our vehicle and drive to the southern end of Lake Pukaki – artificially raised 30 metres for hydroelectric power generation. This lake is a beautiful turquoise colour caused by the fine glacial silt suspended in the water. We camp on its shores, with beautiful views across to New Zealand’s highest peaks.
Hiking: 8km/5 hours hiking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 10. Mt Somers

Continuing through the Mackenzie Basin, an area named after a legendary sheep rustler, we pass Lake Tekapo before reaching our destination, Mt Somers. We hike up a river canyon and climb out to a Trig Point with great views into the Rakaia Basin. There are several altitudinal plant sequences during our hike, along with regenerating beech forest. We frequently see the New Zealand falcon flying in this area. Tonight we stay in a grand backcountry hut.
Hiking: 5km/4 hours hiking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 11. Tour ends in Christchurch

We spend our final day together exploring water caves (you get a bit wet!), Tri-falls Stream and swims in Emerald Pool or under a pounding waterfall known as the ‘Spa’. Hike back along the canyon rim to an abandoned coal mine to explore some relics. It’s then a short drop back to the car park. Before leaving this beautiful park we’ll have lunch. After cleaning up the vehicle and sorting our gear we drive across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. We arrive in the early evening.
Hiking: 5km/4 hours hiking
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Tour Information

Day 1 starts in Queenstown 8am
Day 11 finishes Christchurch 6pm
Optional activities: See Prices & Dates for cost of optional activities. Optional activities are paid for during the trip.

 

TOUR GRADE

This tour is graded 3/4 Moderate.