6 Day Nature & Wilderness Expedition

This fully escorted, 6-day nature and wilderness tour of the South Island was custom made for two people. This trip utilised the lovely Wilderness Lodges at Arthur’s Pass and Lake Moeraki and focused on walking and activities in the vicinity of both lodges. Ideally a night at Franz Josef en route would have allowed for further exploration of the beautiful West Coast along the way, but this tour fitted in with the guests’ time frame.

  • Tour Location
    South Island, NZ
  • Tour Type
    Nature, Scenic
  • Tour Activities
  • Activity Level Easy
    3/10
  • Group Size Small Group
    2
6 Day Nature & Wilderness Expedition Overview

Wildsouth Discovery offers this private, exclusively guided 6 Day Nature & Wilderness tour of South Island for the discerning traveller. Our local guides personally lead their tours and they are absolutely passionate about New Zealand.

Come along and allow them to show you the remarkable landscapes and picturesque locations, the soothing sounds and the tantalizing tastes of South Island. This completely customized New Zealand tour is fully escorted with guided walks, first class service, superb food and exquisite accommodations.

  • 6 days of scenic splendour
  • Spectacular landscapes
  • Experience the diverse ecologies
  • A photographer’s dream!
The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of the tour.
  • Exclusive, private touring
  • Fully escorted “off the beaten track” tours
  • Personal, experienced and knowledgeable local guides and hosts
  • Travel by deluxe minicoach
  • The incredible scenery of New Zealand’s South Island
  • Guided walks and excursions each day to experience the diverse and varied landscapes – mountains, glaciers, forests, rivers, lakes and beaches
  • Arthur’s Pass, Westland &, Mt Aspiring National Parks
  • Seasonal sightings of the Fiordland Crested Penguins
  • Delicious picnic morning teas and afternoon teas with NZ cookies / NZ wine and cheese
  • Cafe lunches on four days
  • Courtesy city accommodation pickup and drop off
  • Depart Christchurch on Day 1 at 9.00 am and finish in Queenstown on Day 6 at approximately 5.30 pm

Meal codes indicating meals which are included in your Wildsouth experience:

B – Breakfast; MT – Picnic morning tea; L – Lunch; AT – Picnic afternoon tea / NZ wine & cheese; D – Dinner

What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of the tour.

Optional helicopter trips and other suggested activities.

  1. Day One Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass

    After being met by your guide and host, you will be driven through the “Garden City” and up onto the Port Hills, the flanks of one of the ancient extinct volcanoes that form 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. This is an opportunity to talk about where you will be going and what you will see on the tour.

    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 high country, an inter-montaine plateau bounded by the Torlesse Mountains to the east and the Craigieburn Mountains to the west. Travelling through this glacial shaped region, you will pass glacial formed lakes and the stunning spiritual limestone formations of Castle Hill which dominates the landscape.

    Further on, you will reach the wide expanse of the Waimakariri River and the Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass.

    Accommodation:         Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass

    Included meals:        MT, L, AT

  2. Day Two A day in the mountains

    This is a day to discover the real high country – a day in which you can explore and learn about the alpine landscape, plants and the animals in the spectacular Southern Alps. A tour of the high country sheep farm which is part of the lodge, will enable you to view and learn about the ways of sheep farming in the high country. From the lodge you will head into the heart of the Southern Alps – Arthur’s Pass National Park which has an incredible diversity of flora and landscape.

    They range from the eastern beech clad hills and tussock grass valleys to the luxuriant rain forest in the west.

    In Arthur’s Pass National Park, you may take walks to see waterfalls, learn about the forests and alpine plants of this area and experience the alpine landscape. Explore the glacial landscape and learn about the features that the Ice Age left behind.

    Seek out and hopefully find a unique South Island personality who is mischievous, inquisitive, comical and rowdy; the cheeky kea – the world’s only alpine parrot. You may have to defend your mini coach, as they have been known to try and remove aerials and door trims with their beaks!

    Accommodation:      Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass

    Included meals:        MT, L, AT

  3. Day Three Arthur’s Pass - Franz Josef - Fox Glacier - Lake Moeraki

    After breakfast you will travel through Arthur’s Pass National Park and depart Canterbury province for Westland – Te Wai Poutini or “The West Coast” as it is known.

    Originally used by the Maori to move greenstone from the west coast and later as a link to the gold rush fields, this route reveals great mountain valleys and the marvel of the road as it winds its way down the spectacular Otira Gorge – a geographer’s dream.

    Follow rivers that flow to the West Coast and observe changes to the rainforest and the many varieties of ferns that define their character. Travel on a backcountry road, walk through old gold miners’ tunnels and wonder at the tenacity of the miners in their quest for gold. Visit Hokitika, once the capital of Westland and a roaring gold mining town and now the pounamu / jade / greenstone centre of New Zealand.

    Along the way, you will pass through villages that were once bustling and one now has a population of 2 (three, including the dog!).

    See the West Coast rainforests and further evidence of the last Ice Age in the kettle lakes created by the melting ice sheets.

    Heading on, you will reach “Glacier Country” and the villages of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. Both of these glaciers are unique in that they descend into regenerating temperate rainforest, and this is happening on a South Pacific island!

    At Franz Josef, there is the opportunity to take a “twin glacier” helicopter flight from Franz to Fox and this would include a landing on one of these two glaciers’ neves, as well as spectacular views of the Southern Alps.

    (Please note – optional helicopter flights are not included in the tour cost)

    At Fox Glacier, a drive can be made to a viewpoint from where (subject to weather conditions), a view can be seen of the Fox Glacier and Mt Tasman and Aoraki/Mt Cook.

    From Fox Glacier, travel south to the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, set in the heart of Te Wahi Pounamu – the South West New Zealand World heritage area. This lodge is a Tourism Award Winner providing a first class wilderness experience.

    Accommodation:         Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

    Included meals:          MT, L, AT

  4. Days Four & Five Lake Moeraki

    Untouched lowland rain forests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snow-capped Southern Alps – this is Lake Moeraki.

    Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting of Lake Moeraki in the heart of the 2.7 million hectare Te Wahi Pounamu – Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. The landscape has been shaped by successive glaciations into fjords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes and waterfalls. Two-thirds of the area is covered with southern beech and podocarps, some of which are over 800 years old. This special place is also home to breeding colonies of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin (seasonal), the Hectors Dolphins (the world’s smallest dolphin) and numerous varieties of native birds.

    Lake Moeraki is a nature lover’s paradise. Visits can be made to wild and remote beaches and activities include guided walks to get close to the wildlife, learning about the forest and experiencing 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.

    Accommodation:      Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

  5. Day Six Lake Moeraki - Haast Pass - Wanaka - Queenstown

    Depart Moeraki and travel south to Ship Creek. Here, from a viewing tower on the beach there is a good chance of seeing the rare Hectors Dolphin playing beyond the surf. Walk through a primeval swamp forest to see ancient ”dinosaur” trees, view a coastal lagoon and fossick for greenstone on the remote beach.

    From here, you will head south again to Haast where the road turns east, following the Haast Highway. You can now observe how the landscape again changes dramatically as the road climbs over the Haast Pass from the dense rain forest of the West Coast to the drier tussock lands of the Otago province.

    On the way, there are short walks to see waterfalls and if there has been recent rainfall, the Haast River passing through the gorge known as the Gates of Haast can be truly spectacular.

    From Haast Pass the road eventually skirts first along the banks of Lake Wanaka and then making a slight turn and rising over a ridge, Lake Wanaka is left behind and Lake Hawea is before you. The road follows the shoreline of this lake and then we reach the alpine village of Wanaka.

    This is a quiet mountain resort on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka.

    From Wanaka, pass the old gold mining village of Cardrona and head over the rugged and remote Crown Range, the site of gold diggings in the 1860’s.

    From the top of the Crown Range there are dramatic views of the Queenstown district. You will then descend to the valley floor and reach the quaint and historic village of Arrowtown. It is then a short drive to your Queenstown accommodation, The Rees Hotel.

    Accommodation:         The Rees Hotel

    Included meals:        MT, L, AT

Accommodation Included in this Itinerary

Wilderness Lodge Arthurs Pass logo Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass

Midway between Christchurch & the South Island’s West Coast, Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass sits on a 4000 acre farm & nature reserve surrounded by spectacular Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki logo Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

Few places on earth can match the stunning natural setting of Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, surrounded by lakes, rivers, rainforest and seacoast in the heart of Te Wahipounamu, the southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. This is a paradise for nature lovers, active travelers and wilderness seekers.

The Reese Hotel logo The Rees Hotel

The Rees Hotel Queenstown is a sophisticated five-star hotel situated right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge