11 days/10 nights ACTIVE SOUTHERN DISCOVERY ADVENTURE TOUR (ITIN 22)
- Tranz- Alpine Train Journey
- Paparoa Limestone National Park & Rainforest Walk
- Dragons cave rafting with Glow-Worms
- 4 Wheel-Drive Safari Adventure
- Shantytown Heritage Park
- Hot Rock White Water Rafting on the Wanganui River
- Rainforest Ecology Tour
- Half day Glacier Walk with Helicopter Landing
- Alpine Thermal Hot Pools
- Gondola Ride
- Maori Cultural Experience
- Cruise on Milford Sound
- Scenic tours around the South Island
Arrive Christchurch, our representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation in Christchurch and give you all your travel vouchers and tickets. Relax with your own free time for the rest of the day in New Zealand’s Garden City. We suggest a visit to the Antarctic Centre, the striking Art Gallery or a punting trip on the Avon in the heart of the City. These are at your own extra cost if you wish to do them.
Tranz-Alpine Train Journey to our Wild West Coast. Leaving from Christchurch, crossing the huge and fertile patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, the Tranz-Alpine winds its way over massive viaducts, through spectacular gorges and river valleys, before tracking across the country’s greatest mountain range, the Southern Alps. Following rivers and skirting lakes, it descends through lush rainforest to the Tasman Sea and the town of Greymouth. You will be met at the Greymouth Railway Station for an afternoon tour into the Paparoa Limestone National Park with its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Make sure you've had lunch on the train!
We travel from Greymouth north along the stunning Coast Road to Punakaiki, being the Maori word for “food basket” and the home of the fascinating Pancake Rocks. As near as possible to high tide take a stroll around the Pancake Rocks Walkway to see the unique rock structures layered here 30 million years ago. Watch also for the roaring Geysers that heave their way from the Ocean floor up out through the Rock Blowholes. Take time also to view the award winning audio visual show at the Visitors Centre and to browse around some of New Zealand’s finest craft displays.
Options you can do with your guide on the tour are:
(1) Take a short easy interpretative Rain Forest walk where you will learn about the ecology of NZ’s temperate flora and how the local Maori people gained their food and medicine from the forest.
(2) Beach combing for NZ Jade. This wild landscape is the home of NZ’s Pounamu-the Jade/Greenstone treasured by the Maori people.
Walk along a secluded beach beside the thundering Tasman Sea surf in a search for your own souvenir piece of this treasured gemstone.
(3) Myths and Legends Cavern Tour. Step into a forgotten world of caves misted with time and ancient Maori legends. You will be led through the mysterious regions between oral history and myth. Follow the footsteps of Maori warriors and the early European explorers as you learn about Maori underworld legends & explore this historic site.
(4) Self-guided Gentle Canoe Trip-small own extra cost. Paddle gently up the Pororari Limestone Gorge on a river of crystal clear water into one of this country's most scenic and awe-inspiring canyon landforms. Suitable for the beginner and more experienced alike.
Walk for a day through rainforest and limestone canyons. Cave visits with glow-worms. We visit the beautiful limestone canyon country of the Paparoa National Park. Enjoy an easy day walk into awe inspiring canyons amongst New Zealand’s untouched rainforest. You are heading for a massive cathedral like cavern where we will enjoy lunch. You will be able to explore this magnificent limestone area. Your guide will teach you about many fascinating aspects of life in this, the world’s finest wilderness. Learn (and taste) the foods and medicines found in the rainforest.
Today can be spent on a guided walk in the National Park or doing the Dragons Cave Rafting Adventure. You can choose a walk from one of the four we do and you do not need to decide which walk you do until the night before. We will explain each walk and you can choose one that suits your energy levels.
The Dragons Cave rafting is set in a beautiful rainforest canyon you’ll have be awed floating in a galaxy world of glow-worms. Starts with a short bush walk you’ll then have fun running the gentle rainforest river rapids, take a ride down the eye bulge rock hydro slide into the cave entrance and finish with a heart stopper cliff jump. Everything is optional, you decide what to do as you go, includes spa.
Do a Four-Wheel Drive Safari or visit historic goldmine sites. Pan for gold. Meet one of the Wild West’s local gold prospectors who will take you into the outback to some of his gold claims. He “claims” to have gold in your pan within one hour! Enjoy a short bush walk and negotiate the ancient Chinese gold-diggers maze. View incredible glow-worms at the Deviation Mine. Learn about the Native Beech Forest ecosystem found in abundance here. On the way, step back in time to make your “fortune” at the 1860’s Wild West Gold Mine. This historic underground mine was opened in 1866 and is worked from time to time by a local prospector. Experience the Wild West’s living heritage as you pan for the elusive gold flakes and red garnets. See how the old timers did it - for there’s gold in them thar hills!
Today we visit the Jade Boulder & other Galleries to watch the Greenstone artisans at work and learn about the geology of this precious stone before heading South to Shantytown Heritage Park, an 1860’s gold town with steam train, saloon, old hospital and many other enterprises from the 1860’s. From here we continue South visiting the Bushman’s Centre and onto Hot Rock Rafting on the Thermal River near Hari Hari (55 minutes drive north of Franz Josef Glacier).
This is an Alpine River Valley which starts in the heart of NZ’s spectacular Southern Alps. It winds its way through some of this country's most scenic Alpine areas skirting places such as the Garden of Eden and one of our World heritage areas with its vistas of massive peaks and glaciers. We then commence our river rafting adventure and ice! Below the snow fields and sparkling glaciers is to be found a hidden world of steamy spas and natural thermal springs.
The trip starts with a guided one hour walk up the Wanganui River Valley through some stunning rainforest and tussock river flats. The walk is easy but rough underfoot with two rocky areas to cross. When we get to the end of the walk we do some raft training before crossing the river to reach a riverside terrace set beside a small gorge carved through the rock by centuries of water. Luckily for us, this has revealed a group of natural alpine hot springs bubbling through the rock at the base of the terrace. After relaxing in the hot pools we take a fun white water rafting adventure back to the road.
This river is a grade three braided river which means that some rafts can take a gentler route while others can run the rapids. What we like about the trip is that it has natural hot pools at both ends of the rafting! It’s a great way to top off a rafting trip by soaking in the hot pools with lunch and a glass of wine. Picture yourself lying in the luxuriously warm water holding a glass of champagne while gazing up at the awesome snow covered peaks. People make friendships here that last a lifetime!
Our company has a range of boat sizes so that groups can choose their own “fun factor”. For adventurers, smaller boats on this grade 3 river give an exhilarating experience while for those people who are more tentative about their rafting, the larger rafts will give you more confidence while still having a fun adventure. If you want to increase the ‘fun factor’ and throw in some challenge as well then try a self guided raft! Full training is given and you are under the supervision of our expert raft guides at all times.
Accommodation: Franz Josef
This morning at Franz Josef you take a helicopter flight to start on your half day guided glacier walk. The famous West Coast Glacier is accessible to visitors, with a walkway to within a few hundred metres of the imposing ice face. With nailed boots and an alpenstock you will be guided onto the ice to view the amazing crevasses, ice cliffs and caves. Take in the spectacular view of the ice masses, as they crawl down the mountains towards the lush fringes of native forest. Visit one of the World’s most beautiful lakes, Lake Matheson which mirrors the stunning scenery surrounding it, reflecting the peaks of Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman in its tranquil waters. This afternoon is for your own free time. We suggest you enjoy the time at the hot pools, take a scenic bush walk or visit the Department of Conservation Building to view the many interpretation panels & videos on the local fauna, flora & geology.
Accommodation: Franz Josef
Travel on through the spectacular West Coast scenery. This is a land of contrasts with majestic mountains on one side of the road and a rugged untamed coast on the other. Penguins and seals are resident to this coast line (seasonal) View thundering waterfalls whilst travelling through the Haast Pass area. Arrive in Queenstown early evening on time to experience the great night life with many night clubs and local bars.
Have a free day in the Alpine resort town of Queenstown. The town is situated on Lake Wakatipu which provides stunning backdrops to a town with everything you could ever need from a holiday destination. Queenstown is a compact leisure paradise with all activities within easy reach of the town centre. It has a reputation as the adventure capital with a huge selection of breathtaking activities. Whether it’s jumping off bridges, flying from mountains, surfing the boiling rapids or powering through canyons by high-speed jet boat, there’s plenty on offer to use up that excess adrenaline. Beautiful long walks, interesting cultural history and back-country four-wheel drive treks. Activities done during the day are at your own extra expense.
For the evening, experience Maori Culture through songs & dance and enjoy a buffet dinner in the Skyline restaurant overlooking Queenstown (drinks are at your own cost)
Transfer to the dramatic beauty of the Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Today we take a cruise on Milford Sound amongst some of the World’s most awe inspiring scenery. Bring a raincoat because you will actually float under a waterfall! Grand, brooding, serene and wild, Milford Sound draws visitors from all over the globe to cruise its length - and wonder. Luxuriant rain forest clings to sheer rock walls washed with waterfalls. In the foreground Mitre Peak stands, a majestic presence dominating the skyline.
Today you will travel by coach on through the rugged and beautiful scenery of Otago with its great rock stacks, via Lake Tekapo with its stunning emerald blue lake and across the Canterbury plains back to Christchurch.
Tonight's accommodation is not included in this tour. If you wish to stay an extra few days in Christchurch, we can arrange accommodation for you at a small extra cost.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any enquiries.