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Exclusive New Zealand South Island Wonders

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10 Days
Availability : October 15-24, 2021
Nelson, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
Min Age : 12+

Post COVID-19, New Zealand will be the place to travel!!  This is an exclusive-to-Greenloons, fully guided, limited engagement small group tour available for a friend and family group.  

Taking in the stunning scenery of New Zealand South Island beaches, mountains, glaciers, and fjords, this trip will carve lasting memories in your mind.  With active, cultural, culinary, scenic, and wildlife aspects, you’ll immerse yourself in the rich ecosystems of New Zealand’s landscapes, while learning about the wildlife, conservation, and Māori myths and legends from the locals.  New Zealand is a beautiful place for those who seek adventure and respite, plus the locals are some of the most friendly you will ever come across.

Highlights of New Zealand South Island Wonders Tour:

  • Hike in Abel Tasman, Westland, Arthurs Pass, and Mt. Aspiring National Parks
  • Bike through Marlborough wine country, famous for its Sauvignon Blanc
  • Whale watch in Kaikoura
  • Take the Trans-Alpine train through the stunning scenery of Arthurs Pass
  • Hike to Franz Josef Glacier
  • Take a jet boat to see the stunning “Blue Pools”
  • Hike to view of Rob Roy Glacier

Available Travel Dates:

  • October 15 – October 24, 2021
  • October 13 – October 22, 2022
Photos

Our partner directly engages with conservation and community organizations in order to develop sustainable tourism in New Zealand.  Naturally, each activity and boutique hotelier is highly conscious of the effect of tourism on our environment.  Combining the personal experience of walking through nature with the benefits of a professional guide allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the areas you visit as you’ll hear the stories behind the places you walk in and you’ll also feel safe each step of the way.

Itinerary

Day 1Arrive in Nelson, Abel Tasman National Park (L,D)

This adventure starts in the sunny port of Nelson – the town in New Zealand that gets the most sunshine hours! Your guides will meet you at the airport and you’ll jump straight into adventure, heading to Abel Tasman.  This National Park is known for its stunning white sandy beaches, crystal clear blue waters, and lush green forests.  You’ll be staying at an eco-resort on the idyllic Kaiteriteri Beach with amazing views from your balcony out to the crystal clear blue water.  Tonight, you’ll have the chance for a stroll along the white sandy beach before a welcome dinner.

Day 2Hike Abel Tasman National Park (B,L,D)

After breakfast, you’ll sample the first of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” – Abel Tasman.  A handful of walks across the country are given this status for their amazing wide trails and epic views.  You’ll walk a section of track from Bark Bay to Anchorage Bay – this walk hugs the coastline of golden sandy beaches.  Be sure to bring your water shoes as the crystal waters will be very tempting!  The exact finish will depend on the tides as you’ll get a boat back to Kaiteriteri tonight for a rewarding glass of wine while you watch the sunset. 

Hike: 8.4 km (5.2 miles): 3-4 hours

Day 3Bike the Wineries of Marlborough (B,L,D)

You’ll wave goodbye to Abel Tasman today as you take a boat back out and head toward the East Coast.  Along the way, you’ll stop in the Marlborough wine district near Blenheim to bike some of the local vineyards.  You’ll gently bike along the trails in this scenic region, stopping off at local vineyards and finishing with some wine tasting and lunch.  The diverse soils and meso-climates put Marlborough and New Zealand on the international wine stage with its exquisite Sauvignon Blanc in the 1980s.  Over 20,000 hectares of vines (around 2/3 of the national total) are under the care of local wine producers, making it the country’s largest wine region.  After the ride, you’ll head down the coast to the town of Kaikoura, famous for its marine life and exquisite seafood.  Overnight at a boutique hotel.

Biking: flexible 20-30 km, 2-4 hours, E-bikes are available

Day 4 Hike to a Seal Colony or Whale Watch (B,L,D)

Today will be a true highlight of your trip – get up close with some of New Zealand’s marine life! You’ll head out on the Kaikoura peninsula to hike alongside limestone cliffs with stunning scenic views to a seal colony.  These wild fur seals are endemic to New Zealand and are entertaining to watch as they bask in the sun, play in the water, and flight for the best rock position.

Hiking: 6.5km (4 miles), 1-2 hours

Alternatively, if you are keen for an even closer view of Kaikoura’s abundant marine life, then the ultimate way is to hop aboard a uniquely designed catamaran and explore the krill-rich waters off the coast.  With a 95% success rate of seeing whales year-round, this is one of New Zealand’s most iconic wildlife viewing opportunities.  Sperm whales and other species including humpback, blue, minke, southern right, and beaked whales are common here.  You may also get the chance to observe albatross, penguins, New Zealand fur seals, and inquisitive local dolphins.

Optional: Whale Watching (add $180)

Afterward, you’ll travel south to spend the night in Christchurch at a manor home.

Day 5TransAlpine Train, Waterfall Hike & Kea Spotting (B,L,D)

From Christchurch, you’ll head over to the West Coast, traveling across the county through the Southern Alps.  You’ll embark on the TransAlpine train to start the journey, passing through first the rolling farmlands, to the alpine tussock covered hills, to the braided rivers and high snow-covered peaks, to bring you to the heard of the mountains at Arthurs Pass village.  Here, your guides will be waiting with a picnic lunch to enjoy with views of the forest, while they regale you with stories about the cheeky native alpine kea (parrot).  

Hopefully, you will see some Kea here and on the rest of the trip, and you’ll learn about the conservation efforts to help their populations and how you can help.  After lunch, you’ll stretch your legs on a hike through the forest to the devils punchbowl waterfalls, before continuing the journey by road over to the West Coast and your rainforest home for the night in Franz Josef.  Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country.

Hiking: 3 Km (2 miles), 1 hour

 

Day 6Kayak Okarito Lagoon & Hike to Lookout (B,L,D)

This morning, you’ll take a short journey over to Okarito, a little-known beach community on the coast.  You’ll take to the water in sea kayaks and glide along a picturesque lagoon, set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks.  Okarito is home to the only native white heron colony in New Zealand, as well as a host of other wading birds which we’ll keep an eye out for along the way.

After a picnic lunch by the beach, you’ll head out on a walk to a nearby lookout, amidst a stunningly lush forest. At the lookout, you’ll be treated with views back over to the Lagoon where you kayaked this morning, and of the snow-covered Southern Alps in all their glory.  Later, you’ll head back to Franz Josef where you’ll have the option to relax in the hot tub before enjoying a traditional Kiwi roast dinner.

Kayaking 2-4 hours & Hiking: 4.2 km (2.6 miles) 1-2 hours

 

Day 7Hike Franz Josef Glacier (B,L,D)

With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country.  Few sights equal the spectacle of two of these giant frozen rivers (Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers) imperceptibly grinding their way down through the temperate rainforest to just 250 meters (820 feet) above sea level.  Your hike will take you along the Waiho River bed up the valley right o the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier.  Afterward, you’ll travel south along the West Coast, stopping at interesting places along the way before heading inland to the tiny forest town of Makarona for a chalet stay.

Hiking 4.8 km (3 miles) 2-3 hours

Day 8Hike the Blue-Young Link Track to Blue Pools (B,L,D)

Today, you have a thrilling ride into the wilderness where you’ll jump on a jet boat to whizz you up the Makarora River to access the Blue-Young track.  You’ll gently hike along this trail alongside the glacial waters, through native forest and huge boulders, to arrive at the stunning blue pools for a picnic lunch.  These pools are fed with water from the glaciers melting from above, and consequently have a dazzling blue turquoise color due to the very fine dissolved rock powder that has been ground off from the glaciers.  You’ll take time out to enjoy a picnic lunch and the pools (and maybe if you are brave enough, jump in for a dip) before heading back to Makarora.  You’ll have some time before dinner to wander along the local nature walks to spot some native birds or chill out in your chalet.

Hiking: 4.5 km, 2-3 hours

Day 9Hike the Matukituki Valley to View of Rob Roy Glacier (B,L)

After leaving Makarora, you’ll head out into the Matukituki Valley in Mt. Aspiring National Park, to hike to views of Rob Roy Glacier. If it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to see Mt. Aspiring from the track start at raspberry creek flat.  You’ll start by hiking alongside the Matukituki River, but shortly cross a bridge over it to ascend up into the side hanging valley.  Soon, you’ll be surrounded by thick native beech forest as you hike up, and you’ll have the chance to see South Island bush robins, tomtits, fantails, and even kea if you are lucky.  

After a few kilometers of steady uphill through the forest, you’ll come into an area where the bush opens out and you’re presented with stunning views of the Rob Roy glacier and Rob Roy peak.  You’ll make yourselves comfortable to take in the views while enjoying a picnic lunch before retracing your steps back to the valley floor.  This evening, you’ll stay in the stunning lakeside town of Wanaka where you’ll head out to celebrate the last night together.

Hike: 10 km (3-4 hours)

Day 10Travel to Queenstown & Depart (B)

After breakfast together, today you’ll head over to the Crowne range to Queenstown, which is the adventure capital of New Zealand.  Here, you can elect to stay longer in Queenstown or be dropped off at the airport for your flight home.

Tour Details

This is a custom tour that can be adjusted per your preferences.  This trip has a minimum of 8 guests and a maximum of 15 guests plus two experienced guides.  The trip starts in Nelson with an airport pickup at 9 am and ends with a drop off at Queenstown airport in time for flights that depart after 11 am domestic and 12 pm international.

You will need a reasonable level of fitness for this itinerary as you will be experiencing hiking, biking, and kayaking with your experienced guides along the way.  Typically hikes on this trip range from 1-3 hours and sometimes more or less depending on the group’s preference.  

Price Includes

  • Accommodations
  • Described Activities & Two Guides
  • All Meals Indicated in Itinerary
  • All Domestic Transport

Price Excludes

  • International & Domestic Airfare
  • Travel Insurance (Mandatory)
  • Gratuities
  • Any Private Expenses Including Alcohol
  • Whale Watching is Optional & Needs to be Booked in Advance

Optional Activities

  • Whale Watching Tour