16 Days SOUTHERN DISCOVERY ADVENTURE PLUS (ITIN 16)
- Tranz- Alpine Train Journey
- Paparoa Limestone National Park & Rainforest Walk
- Cavern Overnight Campout
- Rainforest Ecology Tour
- Dragons cave rafting with Glow-Worms
- Gold Mine & Panning
- White Water Rafting
- Half day Glacier Walk with Helicopter Landing
- Alpine Thermal Hot Pools Overnight Camp
- Cruise on Milford Sound
- Routeburn Track 3 days/2 night Walk
- Penguin Nature Watch
- Albatros Colony
- Antartic Centre
Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand’s garden city. Set on a massive alluvial plain with a mountain back drop this very English city is entwined with beautiful gardens, oak lined parks and some remnants of old English stone architecture. There are plenty of interesting things to do and see around the city with performing arts, craft markets, the Botanical Gardens or the very modern art gallery. A punt on the River Avon is a must. Relax with your own free time for the rest of the day. Activities undertaken today are at your own cost.
Your journey to our Wild West Coast starts with the Tranz-Alpine Train. 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 a tour into the Paparoa Limestone National Park with its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Enjoy an all inclusive nature scenic tour which visits the fascinating limestone formations of the Paparoa National Park. Follow the dramatic coastline north of Greymouth. Watch out for dolphins, seals and at dusk, little blue penguins. Included is the opportunity to visit the rainforest by horse or take a paddle by canoe up the tranquil Pororari Gorge between spectacular limestone cliffs.
Walk through rainforest and limestone canyons. Optional Overnight campout, cave visits with glow-worms.
Stay overnight in the hauntingly beautiful limestone canyon country of the Paparoa National Park. Enjoy an easy two hour walk into awe inspiring canyons amongst New Zealand’s untouched rainforest. You are heading for a massive cathedral like cavern where we camp the night. Your meals will be cooked over an open fire under the stars. You will be able to explore this magnificent limestone area at your own leisure. 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.
Accommodation: Campout in Paparoa National Park
In the morning you will be coming back to Greymouth and will be dropped off at your accommodation. Have a nice lunch before you get ready for your afternoon adventure. You're off on a Dragons Cave Rafting Tour with Glow-worms!
The Dragons Cave Rafting starts with a 15 minute walk with your tube through the rainforest to the start of the river tubing. This is a beautiful and fun section of river with some gentle rapids. You'll be joined together with other tubers to provide a stable "snake" of tubes but you can increase the challenge level by tubing the rapids on your own... (dependent on river levels)
Your river tubing takes us to the cave entrance where we will get some protection against the Maori Legendary Taniwhas, these are underground Dragons that keep you if you venture into their World!!!
This starts your float up into the cave moving into the dark to the light of a galaxy of glow-worms shining from above . At the end of the float section, we will spend some time with the glow-worms while having a hot drink and chocolate bar to keep us going before floating back out finishing with a cliff jump (optional).
Four-wheel Drive Safari or visit historic goldmine. 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 eco-system thriving 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!
In the morning we suggest you could do a Jade Boulder Gallery Tour, Bushman’s Centre Tour or visit Shantytown, an 1860’s gold town with steam train, sawmill and much more. In the afternoon we organise a Thermal Bush Camp and 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 countries' 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. In doing so, it crosses the Alpine Fault Line revealing a country of fire and ice! Below the snow fields and sparkling glaciers is to be found a hidden world of steamy spas and natural thermal springs.
After leaving your four wheel transport, you will enjoy an hour easy escorted walk up the Thermal River Valley through tussock river flats and ancient fern covered forest. We are heading for The Thermal Bush Camp. A short ferry trip across the river by raft will see us 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. This hidden site will be your home for the night. Imagine relaxing with a glass of wine in one hand and some of NZ’s excellent food in the other as you soak up the heat bubbling from the ground while gazing at the hauntingly beautiful scenery. This is the place where friends are made for a lifetime!
Your camp site consists of a large communal dining and lounge tent surrounded by a series of smaller sleeping tents set amongst the ferns and tussock of the river terrace. Sleeping tents range in size from two to four persons and come equipped with camp beds and mattresses, sleeping bags and lighting. Tents are also set up to suit couples with double bedding and sleeping bags whilst being set back in their own private slice of heaven. Meals are cooked over the open fire and enjoyed under the stars or in the hot pools. It’s not uncommon here to find yourself relaxed out at two o’clock in the morning asking someone through the steam to push over the float board so you can help yourself to another glass of wine from the cask that is resting invitingly upon it. But finally to bed for tomorrow finds us amongst the fun and excitement of Southern white-water!
Accommodation: Campout at the hot pools
This morning, take a Grade 3 white-water rafting trip back to the road to continue your travels to the Glacier. Arrive at Franz Josef Glacier and hop on a helicopter to start 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. 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 surrounding scenery, reflecting the peaks of Mt.Cook and Mt.Tasman in its tranquil waters.
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. View thundering waterfalls in the Haast Pass area. Arrive in Queenstown late afternoon to catch some of the great night life with many night clubs & local bars.
Have a free day in this beautiful Alpine resort. Queenstown is situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu providing stunning backdrops to a town with everything you could ever need from a holiday destination. Queenstown is a compact leisure paradise with all activities in easy reach of the town centre. It has a reputation as the adventure capital of New Zealand 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 today are at your own expense.
Transfer to the start of the Routeburn Track, a 3 day/2 night walk. The Routeburn is one of the most magnificent walking areas in the world. Dense rain forest with excellent tracks, sparkling lakes, mighty peaks and remote passes supply a sense of challenge and achievement.
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Hut
Continue exploring the Routeburn Track at your own pace. Accommodation: Routburn Track Hut
Finish the Routeburn Track with a half day to walk out (approximately 4 hours). Pick up and transfer to the dramatic beauty of the Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Take a cruise on Milford Sound amongst some of the World’s most awe inspiring scenery. Bring a raincoat because your boat 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. Visit the underwater viewing facility where you can see rare species of corals and marine life adapted to the unusual phenomenon of layers of sea and fresh water found only in the World’s fiords. Transfer back to Queenstown to re-acquaint yourself to civilisation!
Travel on through the rugged and beautiful scenery of Otago to Dunedin. The “Edinburgh of the South” as Dunedin is sometimes called, was settled by Scots who created their home away from home with grand buildings, museums, a university, parks and gardens.
Dunedin: This is a day for Nature Discovery Activities.
Visit Dunedin’s Albatross Colony, Penguin conservation programme and Marine Aquarium, see a seal colony & take a boat cruise.
Travel back to Christchurch up the East Coast and appreciate the diversity of New Zealand's South Island's landscape. Gone are the rainforests & waterfalls of the West Coast. Rugged, rocky promontaries, rolling hills & farmlands dominate the scenery today.
For your last day in Christchurch, on the way to the airport, we've arranged a visit of the Antarctic Centre with Penguin viewing and Hagglund ride. Experience the wonder of how life survives in this ultimate desert region of the World. Build a snowman, explore a snow cave, meet the resident penguins and experience the sub-zero temperatures of the Antarctic World.
Your tour finishes at the Antartic Centre, a stonethrow from Christchurch Airport.
If you are staying in Christchurch for one or more nights, we can arrange your accommodation for a small extra fee.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries. We want you to have the best possible holiday with us whilst in New Zealand!