Exclusive 6 Day Nature & Wilderness Expedition
An exclusive, tailor made 6 day nature and wilderness tour for 2 persons. This lovely couple wanted to explore West Coast, Haast Pass, and Queenstown and to see Milford Sound, before travelling on to Stewart Island. They wanted short walks and to experience the varied landscapes, the unique flora and fauna along the way. We managed to surprise and impress them with some lovely accommodation choices and some unforgettable wilderness walks and unique picnic afternoon wine and cheese stops.
Tour LocationSouth Island, NZ
Tour TypeNature, Scenic
Activity Level Easy
Group Size Small Group
Wildsouth Discovery offer their exclusively guided, private tour of South Island. Your experienced, friendly local tour guides Brian and Paula, or Kevin and Karen personally guide and host all tours and are passionate about New Zealand.
This tour is fully escorted with guided walks, first class service, superb food and exquisite accommodations.
- 6 days of scenic splendour
- Spell bounding landscapes
- Experience the diverse ecologies
- A photographer’s dream!
- Fully escorted exclusive “off the beaten track” tours
- Personal, experienced and knowledgeable local guides and hosts
- Travel by deluxe 4WD mini-coach
- 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, and Fiordland National Parks
- Full day excursion to Fiordland and Piopiotahi / Milford Sound with fiord cruise (with picnic lunch pack)
- Breakfasts on five mornings
- Delicious picnic morning and afternoon teas with NZ cookies (and Paula’s homemade chocolates!)
- Picnic lunches with NZ wine or cafe lunches on four days
- Dinner on one night
- Five night’s accommodation in hotels and first class lodges
- Meet and greet at Christchurch Airport and transfer in Queenstown
Optional helicopter trips, scenic flights and other suggested activities.
Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass and Kumara
“Greeting, views, plains & alps”
After being met by your guide and host, Brian and Paula, 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 then enter Arthur’s Pass National Park. 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. Short walks can be made to explore the alpine landscape before you cross the pass and enter Westland, and then descend the rugged Otira Gorge. Then you will travel down the Taramakau River valley to Kumara, once hoped to be the capital of New Zealand.
Accommodation: The Theatre Royal Hotel
Included meals: MT, L AT
Kumara - Hokitika - Fox Glacier
“Mountains, pioneers, greenstone and ice”
Depart Kumara and travel on a backcountry road, and a walk can be taken through old gold miners’ tunnels. Wonder at the tenacity of the miners in their quest for gold and then visit Hokitika, once the capital of Westland, a roaring gold mining town and also a place where the Maori sought their treasured greenstone (pounamu / jade). Greenstone is a feature in the town’s bustling centre of art and craft shops. As you journey south to Glacier Country, you will pass through villages that were once bustling and one now has a population of 2 (three, including the dog!).
Heading on, see the West Coast rainforests and further evidence of the last Ice Age in the kettle lakes created by the melting ice sheets.
Arrive at Franz Josef and view the Franz Josef Glacier pushing into rainforest – truly incredible! Overnight at Fox Glacier.
Accommodation: The Fox Heartland Glacier Hotel
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT
Fox Glacier – Bruce Bay
“Ice Age, podocarps, geology and lakes”
Today, walks can be made through the rainforest to glacier viewpoint to witness the Fox Glacier’s descent down the mountain into the rainforest. A drive can be made to view Mt’s Cook and Tasman, and the Southern Alps.
An optional trip available is an exciting helicopter ride into the alpine area. These flights include a snow landing on the upper reaches of the glacier, and close up views of Mt Cook, Mt Tasman and the Southern Alps.
From Fox Glacier, you will then travel south to the Bruce Bay, set in the heart of Te Wahi Pounamu – the South West New Zealand World heritage area.
Accommodation: Mahi Tahi Lodge
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D
Bruce Bay to Arrowtown
“Beaches, waterfalls, tussocks and gold”
Untouched lowland rain forests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snow-capped Southern Alps – this is South Westland. Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting 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.
Depart Bruce Bay and 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, Millbrook Resort.
Accommodation: Millbrook Country Resort
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT
Arrowtown - Piopiotahi / Milford Sound Excursion - Arrowtown
“Alpine drive, fiords, glacial lakes, and alps”
The road to Milford Sound through the Fiordland National Park is justifiably almost as famous as the sound itself. To Te Anau there is farmland, then there are lakes and tussock flats and then the breathtaking sheer U shaped glaciated valleys.
As the road proceeds, the landscape becomes more rugged and the sound of water becomes more prominent, especially after rain when there are waterfalls everywhere.
At Te Anau there is a bird sanctuary where you can catch a glimpse of the extremely rare Takahe, one of NZ’s flightless native birds.
On the journey to Milford Sound, you can see waterfalls, spectacular alpine views and lakes. The 1.2 km Homer Tunnel which was started in the Great Depression, is a tribute to the labourers who made this route possible. Excavated through the solid rock of the Darran Mountains down into the Cleddau Valley, it gives access to Milford Sound which was said to be the eighth wonder of the world.
You will then explore the magic of the fiord on a nature cruise before heading back to Queenstown. Optional return flights from Milford to Queenstown by plane, or helicopter with a snow landing are available.
Accommodation: Millbrook Country Resort or similar
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT
Queenstown & farewell
After breakfast, perhaps relax and indulge in the odd bit of pampering with some of the many health and beauty facilities that are available at Millbrook. A range of products designed to revitalise and relax weary bodies are available and we all need a little care and attention sometime! Perhaps spend some time for that last minute shopping or to experience that last piece of adventure, before it is time for Paula and Brian to bid you farewell. Paula and Brian will transfer you to the airport, car rental office or coach depot, as required.
Included meals: B
Victorian Elegance in the heart of historic Kumara. The Theatre Royal Hotel is the West Coast`s only fully restored gold miners’ hotel, and once world-renowned theatre. Our historic gold rush hotel features six themed ensuite rooms. Each room is unique, with its blend of Victorian decor, antique furnishings and modern amenities.
The Fox Heartland Glacier Hotel
Boutique lodge in Bruce Bay near Fox Glacier, South Westland. John and Jacqui welcome you to Mahitahi Lodge Bruce Bay is a small settlement of only 6 residents as well as several holiday houses.
Stay at our multi-award winning resort set just outside of Queenstown. Peaceful and tranquil setting, Millbrook Resort provides first class accommodation and is the ultimate in five-star luxury.