South Island Kea (Small Group Tour)
8 nights from £2,199 per person - available 2018 & 2019
- In resort assistance & 24 hour contact centre
- Internal travel
- Sights and excursions
- Tour guide throughout
- 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
The South Island features some of New Zealand’s best loved locations, from Milford Sound to Queenstown. Including cruises on Milford Sound, scenic flights over the Southern Alps, kayaking on Okarito Lagoon, walks through the beech forests of the Haast Pass and sightseeing in Punakaiki, this tour packs a lot of exciting experiences in to its nine days. Enjoy your small group tour with an intimate group of 10 to 18 people, making your trip personalised and special to you. (MOA)
Prices are quoted per person on a twin-share basis and do not include international flights.
- Take a wildlife cruise on Milford Sound
- Spend some free time exploring Queenstown
- Visit the gold mining village of Arrowtown
- Stroll through the beech forests in Mt Aspiring National Park
- Explore Franz Josef and Okarito Lagoon
- Visit the quirky Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki
From 1st October 2016 itinerary may be adjusted slightly, please call us for more details and prices.
You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in the heart of Queenstown. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish – why not take a stroll through the nearby shopping district or take an optional cruise on the historic TSS Earnslaw steam ship on Lake Wakatipu.
Overnight: Scenic Suites
Today you will travel alongside Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau and Milford Sound, located in Fiordland National Park. Take the Milford Road which is studded with waterfalls, mirrored lakes and glaciers. Once you’ve arrived at Milford you’ll take a boat tour to explore this area properly with a nature guide. At the point where the sound reaches the Tasman Sea, you’ll be treated to sightings of a playful seal colony as they lounge on the rocks and pods of dolphins. Return to Queenstown by way of a scenic flight over the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu.
Overnight: Scenic Suites (Breakfast included)
Queenstown is the highlight on any New Zealand itinerary – it’s packed with things to do, has a welcoming ambience and is picturesque as well. Spend the day at leisure today, making the most of the many activities available. If you’re not sure how best to spend your time, your tour guide can suggest ways to fill the day, from extreme sports to stress-free city tours. You could visit some of the locations from the Lord of the Rings films, take a wine tour or go white water rafting, plus many more options.
Overnight: Scenic Suites (Breakfast included)
Your first destination today is the leafy village of Arrowtown which has a lively gold mining history. The road then climbs over the Crown Range, offering amazing views of the Gibbston Valley. There will be time to stop off at the Cardrona Hotel which also has a gold mining history, before continuing to a Wanaka homestead for your private lunch with time to stroll along the lake edge right outside your door. There will be free time after lunch to explore the town before returning to your hotel for the night. Why not hire a bike and ride along the waterfront trail or get on the lake in a kayak or even head next door to the Rippon Vineyard for wine tasting with a view!
Overnight: Edgewater Resort (Breakfast and lunch included)
Driving along Lakes Hawea and Wanaka and into the pristine mountain scenery, you’ll begin today’s journey venturing along the Haast Pass in Mt Aspiring National Park. You can follow the tracks through the native beech forests to crystal-clear pools where trout thrive and magical cascading waterfalls following the Haast River out to sea. Once we hit the coast let’s head north through the lush, prehistoric Gondwanaland forest of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. Stop at Ship Creek to take stroll on the beach and watch out for the dolphins feeding in the shallows! More stops along the way as we hit glacier country, get your cameras ready for Lake Matheson’s famous reflections and our first glimpse of Fox Glacier descending from Aoraki/Mt Cook. Our home for the night is Franz Josef.
Overnight: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Breakfast included)
Today you have the whole day to enjoy this beautifully remote corner of the country, a place many Kiwis don't even get to visit. This is the beast part of New Zealand to get to the glaciers, that's why we're here. Your choice of a stunning walk to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier, or get right out on the ice on a heli hike or glacier landing. Or you may choose to visit Okarito, a tiny settlement nestled between the Tasman Sea and Okarito Lagoon, your options here are guided kayaking or a wildlife cruise on the shallow waters of the lagoon, a feeding ground of the extremely rare white heron (kotoku).
This afternoon we’re discover more of the ‘wild’ west coast of the South Island, we head north through countryside dotted with little lakes and boulder strewn rivers, all under the watchful eye of the mighty Southern Alps in the distance. Coffee time in Hokitika, once a real centre of commerce and the setting for the colonial epic ’The Luminaries’. Hokitika people are crafty folk and of course, it’s the Pounamu (greenstone) capital of the country and you’ll have the chance to visit the carvers as well as glass blowing, wood and copper artisans.
We arrive at our home for two nights in Punakaiki, right on the beach in the perfect spot to enjoy your last few sunsets in New Zealand!
Overnight: Punakaiki Resort (Breakfast included)
Punakaiki & Paparoa National Park
The surrounding Paparoa National Park is very different to any other area on the trip, towering limestone cliffs and karst rock formations with beautiful river valleys draped in sub tropical looking forest, if it looks like the Lost World there’s a good reason for that, you are!
You’ll have plenty of time to discover the Pancake Rocks and you can even hike a section of what is soon to be our newest “Great Walk”, the Pike 29 Memorial Track. There are also some great optional activities here, our favourite is the Glowworm Caves at Charleston, but you’ve also got horse riding or kayaking too if that’s your thing.
Overnight: Punakaiki Resort (Breakfast and dinner included)
Retracing the route along the Otira Gorge, you’ll wind up on a spectacular cantilevered road to Arthur’s Pass National Park. At the summit there will be time to stop and admire the views, watching the flying keas weave between the mountains. Take a stroll in the beech forests before reaching Castle Hill. From here, descend Porter’s Pass to the Canterbury Plains before reaching Christchurch in the late afternoon.
Overnight: Distinction Hotel (Breakfast included)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way to the airport for your departing flight.
- Hotels (8 nights)
- Internal travel in an air-conditioned coach
- All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
- Sights and excursions as listed: 2.5 hour nature and wildlife cruise on Milford Sound; Scenic flight over the Southern Alps; Cruise or kayaking on Okarito Lagoon
- Walk in the Fiordland, Mt Aspiring, Tai Poutini Westland and Arthur's Pass National Parks, explore the gold mining history of Arrowtown, Visit the Great southern Laks of Wakatipu, Wanaka and Hawea, venture through the Haast Pass mountain beech forests, experience the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier, stroll through the native rainforests and see the powerful blow holes at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, Drive on the Otira Gorge Highway to Arthurs Pass, spectating mountain terrain and kea birds
- Friendly Kiwi guide throughout
Please note - International flights and domestic flights throughout New Zealand are not included in the price shown.
Also note - it is advisable to pre-book your optional tours prior to arrival
2018 Local Departure Dates: Oct 24, Nov 7, Nov 14, Nov 21, Nov 28, Dec 5, Dec 12, Dec 26
2019 Local Departure Dates: Jan 2, Jan 9, Jan 19, Jan 23, Jan 26, Feb 2, Feb 6, Feb 9, Feb 13, Feb 16, Feb 20, Feb 23, Feb 27, Mar 2, Mar 6, Mar 9, Mar 16, Mar 20, Mar 27, Apr 3, Apr 10, Apr 17, Apr 24