Download Itinerary

To immediately receive your Trip Notes (itinerary & details) by email, please enter your information below.

If you would prefer to receive a printed version, please call 800-255-8735.

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Re-Enter Email Address*
Yes, please send me the free JOURNEYS email newsletter.
Privacy Policy
Trip Notes Sent

Thank you for your interest in South Island Explorer. The requested Trip Notes have been emailed to you and should arrive in your inbox shortly.

Please consider adding to your email contacts/address book to prevent your email client from filtering this message into your junk/spam folder. Privacy Policy

You may also be interested in:

adventure travel trip to New Zealand
An abundance of wildlife awaits you in New Zealand
  • Oct 25-Nov 2, 2014
  • Nov 14-22, 2014
  • Dec 6-14, 2014
  • View all trip dates
  • Duration 9 days
    Group Size 4-6
    Land Cost $6,995
    Single Supplement $1,650
    Lodging 4 stars
    Grade I-II
    Best Time

    South Island Explorer

    Natural New Zealand featuring glaciers, fiords, and rain forests with hiking

    Day 1      Christchurch

    Upon arrival in Christchurch, you will be met by your guide and and driven through the “Garden City” and up onto the Port Hills, the flanks of one of the ancient extinct volcanoes that form the Banks Peninsula. From the hills there are spectacular views of the city and the Kaikoura Range can be seen far to the north, while the Pacific Ocean sparkles to the east. To the south and west the vast Canterbury Plains stretch to the horizon and in the distance, the Southern Alps beckon you to discover them.
    Having orientated yourselves in Christchurch, you will then escape the city and start your journey west across the Canterbury Plains. As the distant mountains become closer, you may wonder, just like the Maori and the early settlers before us how you will find a way through. Crossing Porter’s Pass, a dramatic landscape change occurs as you enter the highcountry, a high tussock grass basin bounded by the Torlesse Mountains to the east and the Craigieburn Mountains to the west.
    Travelling through this region you will pass glacial formed lakes and the limestone formations of Castle Hill which dominate the landscape. Farther on, you will reach the wide expanse of the Waimakariri River and the Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass.

    Meals: Afternoon Tea, Dinner
    Lodging: Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass

    Day 2      Arthur's Pass

    This is a day where you can explore and discover the alpine plants and animals of Arthur’s Pass, and take in the spectacular Southern Alps. Experience the workings of a high country sheep farm and help with the day-to-day activities such as feeding out, mustering, or working with the dogs. Walking, canoeing, and mountain bike riding are activities available at the lodge, or, if you prefer, just relax and enjoy the views of the Southern Alps.

    Meals: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner
    Lodging: Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass

    Day 3      Arthur's Pass/Hokitika/Fox Glacier

    After breakfast, cross the pass that was once used as a gold rush link and by the Maori in their search for greenstone, and travel through Arthur's Pass National Park, home of the kea, the world's only alpine parrot. Continue down the spectacular Otira Gorge, follow the rivers to the West Coast, and walk an old gold miner's trail. Visit Hokitika, once a very large gold mining town, and walk through an ancient coastal forest. At the Bushman's Centre, meet a "Coaster" and some of the locals. Heading further south, see the west coast bush and the kettle lakes that were created by the melting ice sheets at the end of the last Ice Age. Then, travel to Fox Glacier - a truly incredible sight! Stay overnight at Te Weheka Lodge.

    Meals: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea
    Lodging: Franz Josef or Fox Glacier or similar

    Day 4      Fox Glacier/Lake Moeraki

    Today you will explore the glaciated landscape of the Fox Glacier region, where you can take a hike up to the ice with an experienced alpine guide. For those who would like something a little more passive, enjoy a walk to a glacier viewpoint or take an optional helicopter ride to view the Southern Alps, with a special landing on the upper reaches of the glacier. After lunch, you can take a beautiful and tranquil walk to Lake Matheson, where incredible reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman can often be seen. From Fox Glacier, journey farther south to Lake Moeraki, an area of pristine rainforest and spectacular coastline. This is the breeding place of the rare Fjordland Crested penguin (seasonal) and also hosts a seal colony, Hectors dolphins, and numerous native birds. Stay overnight at the Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge, a Tourism Award Winner.

    Meals: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner
    Lodging: Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

    Day 5      Lake Moeraki

    Your day will be spent at Lake Moeraki, a nature lover's paradise. Here, you will experience spectacular beaches that are home to fur seals and crested penguins and see untouched lowland rainforests. These rainforests are interspersed among pristine lakes and rivers, which drain the snow-capped Southern Alps. Activities include guided walks to get close to the wildlife, to learn about the forest, and to experience the amazing scenery. If you prefer to have a restful day, then you can take a canoe out on the tranquil lake or just relax in the lodge.

    Meals: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner
    Lodging: Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

    Day 6      Wanaka/Arrowtown/Queenstown

    Depart for Wanaka crossing over the Haast Pass where you will notice the land changing dramatically as the road climbs from the dense rainforest of the West Coast to the drier tussock lands of Otago. Pass Lakes Hawea and Wanaka, ancient glacial lakes, before heading over the rugged and remote Crown Range, the sight of gold diggers in the 1860's then on to Arrowtown. Visit the old Chinese gold miners' settlement and view this quaint old miner's village. Afterwards, continue on to Queenstown where you overnight at the Millbrook Country Resort for the next three nights.

    Meals: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea
    Lodging: Millbrook Country Resort or similar

    Day 7      Queenstown

    You will have a free day to experience some of the many optional activities that Queenstown has to offer. Enjoy a relaxing cruise on the old steamship Earnslaw, the lady of the lake, or perhaps try an exhilarating jetboat trip through the Shotover Canyon. Shopping, staking in the spectacular views from the gondola, bush walks, or an arts and crafts trail are just of the few things you can do here. For those who wish to hike, a climb up Queenstown Hill offers spectacular views. Your guide will be available to assist with transfers as required.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Lodging: Millbrook Country Resort or similar

    Day 8      Milford Sound Excursion

    The road to Milford Sound through the Fjordland National Park is absolutely breathtaking with its sheer U-shaped glaciated valleys, waterfalls, and lush, temperate rainforests. The Homer Tunnel, entry to the Cleddau Valley and Milford Sound, is a tribute to the engineers' skills in the 1930s. Explore the fjord on a cruise through deeply carved glacial valleys, past ancient forests and incredible rock formations before heading back to Queenstown. Catch a glimpse of the extremely rare Takahe, a flightless bird, at a sanctuary in Te Anau, and take a short walk to see waterfalls, alpine views, and lakes. Optional alternatives include a helicopter trip which can include a snow landing or perhaps a return to Queenstown by scenic flight (not included in tour cost).

    Meals: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea
    Lodging: Millbrook Country Resort or similar

    Day 9      Queenstown/Onward

    After breakfast, you will have time for some last minute shopping or to experience that last piece of adventure before you bid farewell to New Zealand.

    Meals: Breakfast

    Home   |   About Us   |   New Trips   |   Family Trips   |   Reviews   |   Trip Sign-up   |   Contact JOURNEYS   |   Jobs
    Pre-Scheduled Group Trips   |   Custom Trip Planning   |   JOURNEYS Signature Trips   |   eNews Sign-up   |   Catalog Request

    Home Like JOURNEYS International on Facebook Follow JOURNEYS International on Twitter © 2014 JOURNEYS International, Inc.
    107 Aprill Drive, Suite 3, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 • 800-255-8735 •

    Looking for the Best Ecotravel Tour Company?
    JOURNEYS International has specialized in ecotourism since 1978. We offer you the best nature tours, safaris, treks, adventure travel, family and cultural trips on earth. Whether you call it an eco vacation, adventure travel, ecotravel, ecotour, sustainable travel or responsible travel, for more than 30 years we have been creating ecologically sensitive and culturally responsible travel to exotic destinations around the world. Specialty ecotrips include women's tours, Kilimanjaro climbs, exploration cruises, festival trips, student group trips and cross cultural and wildlife safaris. Read more about JOURNEYS International.