Look up from anywhere in this region of the South Island, and you’ll see towering peaks. The constant geological movement of this region has created an incredibly beautiful jagged landscape, enabling us to walk deep in its forested valleys and high points and explore fiords and river canyons. Of course, your experience wouldn’t be complete without sampling the world renowned local wine, in particular, the Pinot Noir produced in the Queenstown and Wanaka area, where you’ll also have the chance to indulge in the finer things in life. If mountain views and walks are your indulgence of choice, then you’ll feel right at home in the “Beautiful South”.
– Fiordland National Park
– Milford Track
– Routeburn Track
– Mount Aspiring National Park
– World Heritage Areas
Day 1 - Queenstown & Central Otago Pinot Noir
Another world awaits you as you arrive into Queenstown, with the rugged peaks of the Remarkables Mountain range rising sharply out of the crystal clear waters of Lake Wakatipu on one side. Turn 180 degrees and it’s more of the same – simply stunning. There’s no other way to kick things off than by venturing down the Kawarau River Gorge to a local winery. The Central Otago region is New Zealand’s finest producer of Pinot Noir. We’ll taste, tour and immerse ourselves in the wine-making process before relaxing in Queenstown with views of the Remarkables and the surrounding peaks.
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza, Queenstown
Walking: After flying halfway around the world, just a short walk (1 hour) on one of the many beautiful trails.
Wines: Central Otago is New Zealand’s most spectacular vineyard region. The inland mountainous location provides a semi-continental climate with crisp winters, hot summers, cool night time temperatures and low rainfall. The unique climate combined with glacially derived soils produces spectacular Pinot Noir.
Dining: New Zealand is a melting pot in many ways, especially when it comes to food. Tonight we’ll make sure to introduce to you one of Queenstown’s prime eateries.
Other activities: Queenstown – the adventure capital of New Zealand. You name it, you can do it here. Just ask us!
Day 2 - Routeburn Track & Milford Sound in all their Glory
As we drive into Fiordland National Park, ‘glorious’ is just one word that will pop into your head. The granite peaks become steeper, higher and more imposing. The rainforest flanking them becomes more dense, and the rivers even more crystal clear. We’ll walk to a viewing point on the Routeburn Track, before dropping down into Milford Sound and finding out what the words “beautiful” and “dramatic” really mean. Here, you’ll see waterfalls like nowhere else in the world. This place receives over 21 feet of rain a year, so it’ll probably be raining – if it is, you’ll experience this place REALLY coming alive.
Accommodation: Milford Sound Chalets. The mountain view chalets here are a touch of classy comfort in an isolated and wild place. The roar of the river and sound of local birdlife will make your private chalet experience one to remember.
Walking: A 3 hour round trip walk to the Key Summit viewing point on the Routeburn Track. Later, a 10 minute walk to The Chasm, where you can look down into the throat of a tight canyon carved out by millions of years of rushing water.
Dining: We’ll have a sumptious lunch spread prepared in the Hollyford valley, dinner at Milford Lodge.
Day 3 - Walk the Milford Track & Afternoon Cruise on Milford Sound
Wake up relaxed on the deck of your chalet and hear only the roar of waterfalls immediately in front of you and in every cove of Milford Sound. Spy the native Kea (the world’s only alpine parrot) and prepare for a boat ride across to Sandfly Point. This is where our walk begins, through exquisite native forest on the world famous Milford Track. Later today, we’ll board another boat for a scenic cruise of Milford Sound, for a unique perspective of this glorious wilderness area. Today is a day to immerse yourself in an area unlike any other in the world.
Accommodation: Distinction Hotel, on the shores of Lake Te Anau.
Walking: A 2 hour walk on the Milford Track. This trail follows the Arthur River, which flows into Milford Sound.
Dining: The deep south has flavours of its own worth sharing and Te Anau is famous for showcasing its local cuisine.
Other activities: A cruise of Milford Sound.
Day 4 - Glenorchy & Jet Boat the Dart River
Start the day on the shores of one awe inspiring lake and mountain vista, and end it on another, with the beauty of Southland and a jet boat ride up one of New Zealand’s most incredible river valleys. We’ll make the journey back to Queenstown through rolling hills that eventually turn into the jagged peaks of the Wakatipu area. After a little time for lunch, we’ll replace the hustle of this adventure town and enter the quiet world of the Dart River valley via jet boat – a high speed journey on the crystal clear waters of this incredible wilderness area. End the day in quiet isolation at the furthest and most stunning end of Lake Wakatipu.
Accommodation: The Headwaters, Glenorchy.
Dining: Fine dining at the edge of the world best describes this dinner in Glenorchy.
Other activities: Stroll the shores of Lake Wakatipu just down from Glenorchy after our jet boat ride on the Dart River.
Day 5 - Walk Routeburn Track
Start the day with breakfast and views of the crystal clear lake out front, then we’ll delve back into Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. We’ll return to the world famous Routeburn Track with a walk along the banks of the Routeburn River. Deep greens of native beech forest, gin clear waters cascading beneath and inner valleys to wider open spaces make this a varied and unforgettable day’s walking. Of course, if you’d like things on the more laid back side today, there’s no better place to unwind.
Accommodation: The Headwaters, Glenorchy.
Walking: 3-4 hours of walking on the gently undulating trail alongside the Routeburn River.
Dining: A delicious picnic on the Routeburn Track and dinner in an equally impressive setting, in Glenorchy.
Day 6 - Walk Bobs Cove & Return to Queenstown
We’ll take our time this morning, enjoy the quiet of the top of the lake and then head back along the shores to Queenstown. En route, we’ll walk a short beech forest trail to Bob’s Cove – a stunning isolated lake beach with outstanding views out to the Dart River arm of the lake. Then, it’s time to take in Queenstown.
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza, Queenstown.
Walking: A 40 minute walk to Bob’s Cove through native beech forest. There’s plenty of birdlife here too – our guides will have their eyes and ears open for you.
Dining: We’ll head out and discover another great dining option here in Queenstown.
Other activities: Queenstown will amaze you with its multitude of options.
Day 7 - Free Day in Queenstown
Elegant, exciting, welcoming, compact and always beautiful, Queenstown is a place for anyone and anything. On the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by stunning peaks, you’ll find a quiet sanctuary indoors or outdoors here, or an activity that will assault your senses. Dine, indulge, drink, walk, fly, float, ride – just let your guide know how you’d like to spend your time here. Be sure to soak in the many moods of the lake and forget about the world outside this amazing place.
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Queenstown.
Dining:* Fill your boots. Don’t be afraid to ask us where we think is good – we have loads of recommendations.
Other Activities: We’re often asked about fly fishing and Queenstown, with its abundant lakes and tranquil rivers is a premier spot. We can help you arrange a day out exploring the local rivers, no problem (optional).
Day 8 - Gibbston Valley Winery, Walk Mount Iron
This morning we’ll head through the spectacular Kawarau Gorge, known as the ‘golden highway’ and another of New Zealand’s historic gold mining regions. Our destination for lunch and wine tasting today is Cromwell on the shores of Lake Dunstan. Once sated, we’ll continue around to yet another dramatic lake and mountain setting, only this time, in a much more laid back setting – Wanaka. Mount Iron offers a great leg stretch, with an impressive, glacier carved, rocky knoll that rises above the surrounding countryside.
Accommodation: Edgewater Resort, Wanaka
Walking: 1.5 hours (return) on a trail that weaves up to the summit of Mount Iron. From the summit, there are excellent 360-degree views of the Pisa Range, the Upper Clutha Basin, Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps.
Wine: There’s a little something for everyone at our favourite Cromwell winery.
Dining: With plenty of delicious local eateries to choose from, your guides will arrange a current local favourite for tonight.
Day 9 - Walk Diamond Lake
Wanaka and its surroundings are blessed with spectacular, varied natural beauty. We’ll walk above one of its tussock valleys and up to the secluded Diamond Lake. High peaks of the Southern Alps give way to sweeping wide grassland valleys. While surrounded by massive mountains, the valley is broad – this is immense open country and an assault to the senses indeed.
Accommodation: Edgewater Resort, Wanaka.
Walking: 2 hours 30 minutes of easy walking (round trip), on a gradual incline up the valley.
Dining: We’ll have our final dinner together this evening in Wanaka.
Day 10 - Head back to Queenstown, Depart
One last scenic drive through the Cardrona Valley and over the Crowne Range between Wanaka and Queenstown brings the ‘Beautiful South’ trip to an end. This journey may well prove to be your favourite, as you’ll pass over the highest mountain road in New Zealand, offering sublime views in every direction. We’ll wave goodbye at Queenstown airport for departing flights, unless you can’t get enough of Queenstown and decide to stay – we’ll drop you off at your choice of accommodation.
Request a Full Itinerary
Once you arrive, we want you to relax, escape the day to day, and indulge in the incredible sights, sounds, tastes and hospitality that make our trips world beating so we include almost everything in our trip fares.
Your trip fare includes:
– New Zealand is the home of fresh and decadent produce. It’s a big part of the New Zealand experience, so we’ve made sure most of your meals are included – breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are a couple of instances where dinner isn’t included, so you can head out and explore the options on your own. We’ve specified this with an asterisk * next to the dining description in the itinerary.
Transport on the ground.
– When you arrive, we’ll pick you up from Queenstown airport or your hotel, and we’ll take care of the rest, until we drop you off at Queenstown Airport. Our passenger vehicles are roomy and comfortable.
– A fantastic guide will take your trip from “great” to “I don’t know how life will be same”. Our incredible local guides are on-call 24/7 on your trip and will ensure that your New Zealand experience is seamless, relaxing and welcoming – you won’t want to say goodbye at the end of your trip!
– It’s as much about the where, as it is the what. So we’ve chosen beautiful places to sleep, rest, experience and escape to.
All activities in the itinerary.
– Walking in wild, scenic and beautiful places is what we do. Although we’ll also be taking a lake cruise & soaking in hot pools. There are some optional activities that aren’t included highlighted as “optional”.
– With dinner every night (where included), we’ll feature a couple of bottles of local wine. Whilst we wouldn’t describe ourselves as connoisseurs, we love our local wines and enjoy sharing them with our guests in beautiful surrounds.
Flights to New Zealand
– This trip starts and finishes in Queenstown. Chat to our team for advice on best times to travel and routes to get here.
Free day activities
– There is a free day in Queenstown on day 7, allowing you time to sample some of the many activities available in this bustling hub.