Hiking Tour - South Island

11 Day Hiking Tour - Christchurch to Picton

The South Island of New Zealand is arguably one of the most scenic and landscape diverse areas of the world.  From the beauty of the Canterbury Plains, the rolling tussocky hills of the Mackenzie Country, the glittering Alpine lakes and the stark rugged mountains jutting straight up to the heavens, there is nothing quite like it. From the magical beauty of the Marlborough Sounds, to the fabulous adult playground of Queenstown – this is one trip you don’t want to miss.

Price:  $3499 per person based on 6 or more
Starts:  Christchurch, New Zealand
Finishes:  Picton, New Zealand
Moderate Level of Fitness Required
Single Room Supplement: $875
*Price is based on a minimum of 6 participants
NB - Max number of guests 12


Group bookings welcome

Fitness Requirements:

The average, walking time on most hikes will be around 2 hours on well-defined tracks. Maximum walking times will not exceed 3-5 hours. We remind you to expect a range of terrain from flat to undulating to hilly, so we recommend a moderate level of fitness. Hiking boots or shoes with ankle support are strongly recommended and hiking poles are optional, but not essential.

Full Tour Itinerary

Day One - Christchurch

In the early afternoon, meet your guide at the hotel and it’s time to get acquainted with the beautiful and resilient city of Christchurch.  Explore beautiful Hagley Park and the Botanical Gardens, take a trip through the Canterbury Museum which is housed in wonderful stone building first opened in 1870, walk along the Avon river and perhaps hire a paddle boat or take a punting trip (a very Canterbury thing to do!) or relax in one of the newly opened restaurants and bars along Oxford Tce.  A great way to settle in for the next extraordinary 11 days.

Accommodation: Quest Apartments http://www.questapartments.co.nz/properties/south-island/christchurch/quest-christchurch/overview
Driving: Approx. 12km from airport to city
Meals:  Welcome Dinner

Day Two - Lake Tekapo

We leave Christchurch early and drive south through the Canterbury Plains heading towards Lake Tekapo, where we will spend the evening. This afternoon is spent hiking up Mt John where the views from the summit of the surreal turquoise waters of the Lake are unapparelled. Lake Tekapo offers many fantastic optional activities you can book yourself into after dinner such as soaking in the hot pools or star gazing. Or those wishing to partake in a truly memorable trip, can book themselves onto a scenic flight of Mt Cook and the glaciers in the afternoon, or early the following morning. (Pre-bookings recommended – not included in tour cost.)

Preferred Accommodation:  Tekapo Village Motel https://www.laketekapo.com
Driving: approx. 228 km/ 3.25 hours
Hiking:  Mt John Summit Circuit Track, 8.2km, 3-4 hrs, Elevation gain 377m
Meals:  Breakfast

Day Three - Queenstown

Drive from Tekapo to Queenstown today, via the Aroki/Mt Cook Village for a hike through the magnificient Hooker Valley.  After lunch we travel to Cormwell and along the breathtaking Kawarau River before reaching Queenstown, your home for the next 2 nights.  Welcome to New Zealand’s adventure capital!

Accommodation:  Hurley’s of Queenstown http://www.hurleys.co.nz
Driving: 365 km, approx. 4.5-5 hours drive time
Hiking:  10km return, Elevation gain 199m 
Meals:  Breakfast

Day Four -Queenstown

Today is a day filled with optional activities such as a jet boat ride, bungy jump, visit to the kiwi house, gondola ride or a cruise on the historical Earnslaw steamboat. Weather permitting, try an excursion to Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound. Or experience the wonders of the Glow Worm Caves.  The options are literally endless!  We are happy to pre-book any of these optional activities for you - just let us know what you'd like to do. (Price for activities today not included in the cost of the tour - all extra.)

Accommodation:  Hurley’s of Queenstown http://www.hurleys.co.nz
Driving: no driving today, but will depend on your activities for the day
Meals:  No meals included today

Day Five - Wanaka

Leaving Queenstown, we head towards Arrowtown, the former gold-mining town which is rich in history. Then we drive past the legendary "Cardrona Pub" via the Crown Range, the highest mountain road in New Zealand, back down and reaching Wanaka, your destination for the night.  The afternoon presents the perfect opportunity to take a hike at Diamond Lake or Mt Iron for some incredible views.

Accommodation: Wanaka Hotel https://wanakahotel.co.nz
Driving: 85km, approx. 1.5 hours drive time
Meals:  Breakfast
Hiking:  Diamond Lake, up to 7.1km return, approx 3 hours, Elevation gain 491m, or Mt Iron Trail, 4.7 km, Elevation gain 217m, approx 1.5 – 2 hours

Day Six - Fox Glacier

Today’s journey takes you alongside Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka. First through arid countryside followed by dense rainforest on the border of Mount Aspiring National Park to the township of Fox Glacier. We would recommend an optional scenic helicopter flight over the glaciers (weather permitting).  There are many short hikes along the way we can explore, depending on the groups enthusiasm!

Accommodation: Lake Matheson Motel https://www.lakematheson.co.nz
Driving: 265km, approx. 5 hours drive time
Meals:  Breakfast
Hiking: A number of short walks along the way such as Blue Pools & Roaring Billy Falls and Ships Creek.  Fox Glacier hike will depend on trail openings.

Day Seven - Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks)

At sunrise it is an unforgettable experience to walk to Mirror Lake and to admire the reflections of Aoraki (Mt Cook) and Mt Tasman in the bog water. Travelling north via Hokitika, you visit the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’ at Punakaiki in the Paparoa National Park.  With a good high tide, the blowholes are incredible.  

Accommodation: Punakaiki Tavern https://www.punakaikitavern.co.nz
Driving: 240.3 km, approx. 3.5 hrs driving time
Meals:  Breakfast
Hiking:  Mirror Lake  - 3.9km, Elevation gain 119

Day Eight - Kaikoura

Today you travel to Kaikoura,  famous for its abundance of marine life due to the deep Hikurangi trench. Arrive in time for a self-guided hike on the Kaikoura Peninsula to view the local seal colony .   

Accommodation: Bella Vista Kaikoura https://www.bellavista.co.nz/our-motels/kaikoura  
Driving: 365km approx. 5 hours drive time 
Meals:  Breakfast
Hiking:  Self-guided hike of Kaikoura Peninsula walkway - 3.5km, Elevation gain 80m, approx 1-1.5 hours

Day Nine - Picton

For early risers and subject to weather and wind conditions, there is the option to join a tour to swim with the dolphins or a whale watching tour (not included in tour cost). Then a late morning drive along the coast towards Marlborough and Picton, where there are many wineries waiting to be visited!

Accommodation: Beachcomber Hotel (near waterfront) https://pictonhotel.com
Driving: 156km, approx. 2.5 hours drive time
Meals:  Breakfast

Day Ten - Picton

A boat takes you through the picturesque Sounds to Ships Cove, the starting point of today's hike at the other end of the Queen Charlotte Walkway. In three to five hours you hike along the coast through dense rain forest with giant tree ferns to Furneaux Lodge and then you are taken by boat to Picton back to the marina to spend one more night in this beautiful place, the last night of the tour. 

Accommodation: Beachcomber Hotel (near waterfront) https://pictonhotel.com
Driving: no driving today – water taxis transfers only, but will depend on your activities for the day.
Meals:  Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Hiking:  Queen Charlotte – Ships Cove to Furneaux Lodge 15 kms, Elevation gain 300m, 5-5.5 hours or Resolution Bay to Furneaux Lodge 10 kms, 3-3.5 hours

Day Eleven - Departure Day

Today is departure day.  You can transfer back to Christchurch with our guide in the tour van for no extra charge, or you are welcome to make your own departure/travel arrangements.

Accommodation listed is our preferred accommodation.  Subject to change depending on availability.

Itinerary also subject to change depending on weather conditions/road closures etc.

$500 deposit required to secure your place on the tour, which is fully refundable if the departure date does not meet the minimum number of participants (6 people).

Tour inclusions/exclusions:

Tour includes:

  • x10 nights in 3 - 4 star accommodation (pre and post nights can be arranged on request)
  • x8 breakfasts, x2 dinners
  • Air-conditioned Mercedes Benz Sprinter Coach
  • Luggage transport during the entire journey
  • Driver/Tour Guide
  • Boat transport to Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton 
  • All Department of Conservation fees

Tour excludes:

  • Travel insurance
  • Optional Activities
  • Airport transfers (we can arrange for an extra $35 per person, please just enquire)
  • Meals/food unless stated in the itinerary
  • Drinks (except water), telephone & mini-bar costs
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, any internet charges etc
  • Drink bottles

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