An all-encompassing South Island journey through picture perfect coastal areas at the top and bottom of the Island. Beautiful coves and inlets with turquoise waters and lush rainforest await in the Marlborough Sounds, while golden sand beaches with crystal clear water define the Abel Tasman area. We’ll stay in secluded, comfortable lodges here and on the Hollyford Track, which ends on the rugged west coast before taking a spectacular helicopter ride into Milford Sound. Queenstown provides the perfect antidote to the tranquility of these areas with its cosmopolitan hustle and excitement. If you’re looking for a broad and varied experience, want to relax as well as walk, and enjoy the unique aspects of our finest coastal areas, then look no further.
Day 1 - Visit winery & walk Keneperu Sound
Relax. You’re in New Zealand. Not only that, but you’re about to start your trip in the best way possible. From Blenheim, we’ll head to Forrest Estate Winery for your first taste of New Zealand, experiencing award winning wine and food in New Zealand’s premier Sauvignon Blanc region. We’ll change tact a little from here, and head to Keneperu Sound where we’ll walk a section of the immaculate Queen Charlotte Track. Get ready to be transported to a breathtakingly beautiful world – deep, lush forest and turquoise blue water meet in an environment that has to be seen to be believed.
Accommodation: The Portage Resort sits on the shores of Keneperu Sound. The only downside to this incredible spot – the views, comfort, surrounding native bush, birdlife and water mean you won’t want to leave!
Walking: 3 hours walking through forest and pasture land along the edge of Queen Charlotte Sound to Mistletoe Eco Village – simply stunning.
Wines: Forrest Estate Winery is the perfect introduction to some of New Zealand’s finest wines.
Dining: A delicious lunch at Forrest Estate Winery, followed by local fare from the Marlborough district – refreshing and quintessentially New Zealand.
Day 2 - Scenic boat journey, walk bays of Endeavour Inlet
Tranquil, serene and dramatic all rolled into one best describes today. We’ll begin the day by seeing the Sounds from the perspective of a boat on our journey to Punga Cove. Your definition of beautiful may well change as we venture deeper into the inlets of the Sounds. We’ll walk the forested coves and bays around to the end of Endeavour Inlet before taking our boat back to the sanctuary of Portage Resort.
Accommodation: Portage resort. There’s time for a dip in the pool or bay out the front, or simply sit back, relax and soak in the views with a glass of Marlborough’s finest drop.
Walking: 3 hours of flat walking along the shoreline of Endeavour Inlet. Amazing ferns, nikau palms and secret bays so beautiful, you’ll have to stop walking for a spell.
Dining: Lunch on an isolated beach where hardly anyone sets foot seems only appropriate. We’ll lay out a fine spread. Dinner at Portage Resort will of course be an event in itself.
Day 3 - Relax in Portage Bay, walk Pelorus waterfall trail, Abel Tasman National Park
No need to rush this morning. Soak in the final morning in the Marlborough Sounds in style. Late in the morning we’ll journey along the stunning Keneperu Sound Road out of the Sounds and inland to the head of the Rai Valley. We’ll stretch our legs on a forested trail around the Pelorus and Rai rivers before heading a short distance to a jewel in the South Island’s crown – Abel Tasman National Park.
Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge. In keeping with putting the world to one side, this lodge certainly fits the bill. The only way to get to this stunning lodge is by boat or along the Abel Tasman track. It’s a true escape to barefoot luxury.
Walking: 2 hours of flat walking in the combined podocarp and beech forest area of Pelorus. Waterfalls, moss, ferns and crystal clear waters are on offer in this stunningly lovely area.
Dining: The organic garden at Awaroa Lodge will provide fresh and local produce for us to enjoy.
Day 4 - Walk Anchorage to Bark Bay, relax Awaroa
Why hurry? You’re in one of the most beautiful locations on the planet, so it makes sense to slow down and take it all in. The morning birdsong here is the soundtrack to breakfast before we hit the trail again, passing a string of gorgeous beaches, not to mention incredible rainforest. A highlight for the day is a diversion to Cleopatra’s Pool – where the crystalline ‘Torrent’ stream flows over smooth granite into a dreamlike plunge pool. Take a dip – it’s refreshingly cold, but well worth it. We’ll take time later in the day to revel in the comfort of Awaroa Lodge.
Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge
Walking: 3 hours along flat estuary, a meander through lush coastal forest and a gentle, short incline to a viewing point overlooking Bark Bay and the coast to the south.
Dining: Try the mussels tonight if you’re keen – you won’t be disappointed.
Day 5 - Head to Queenstown, visit Winery
From golden sand and coastal rainforest to an alpine playground – we’ll hop on a flight to Queenstown. The rugged peaks of the Remarkables Mountain range rise sharply out of the crystal clear waters of Lake Wakatipu on one side. Turn 180 degrees and the spectacular views carry on as far as the eye can see – simply stunning. What better way to kick thing off here 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: A short walk (1 hour) of the town and lakefront to orientate yourself.
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 combines with glacially derived soils, to produce spectacular Pinot Noir.
Dining: New Zealand is a melting pot in many ways, especially when it comes to food. Queenstown is renowned for an incredible array of world class dining options and we’ll be sure to choose a restaurant that reflects that, as well as local New Zealand fare.
Other activities: Queenstown – the adventure capital of New Zealand. You name it and you can do it here. Just ask us!
Day 6 - Queenstown Free
Elegant, exciting, welcoming, compact and always beautiful, Queenstown is a place for anyone and anything. On the shores of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by stunning peaks, you’ll find a quiet sanctuary indoors or outdoors here, or an activity to get the adrenaline flowing. 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: * A foodie’s dream – ask us for local tips and recommendations, there will be something to please everyone’s tastes..
Other Activities: Queenstown – the adventure capital of New Zealand. You name it, you can do it here. Just ask us!
Day 7 - 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. As the granite peaks become steeper, higher and more imposing, the rainforest flanking them grows ever thicker and the rivers ever clearer. We’ll walk to a viewing point on the Routeburn Track, before dropping down into Milford Sound and discovering 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 might well be raining during your time here – and if it is, you’ll experience this place REALLY come alive! Later today, we’ll board a boat for a scenic cruise of Milford Sound for a unique perspective on this glorious wilderness area. If you’re feeling brave, an exhilarating swim in a hidden cove, before cruising back to land is a great idea. Today is a day to immerse yourself in an area unique to New Zealand and a balm for busy minds and bodies.
Accommodation: Milford Sound Chalets. The riverside chalets here bring comfort and class to 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 is our first walk. There’s a bit of elevation in this one, but don’t worry it’s a gentle walk to a view point that will knock your socks off. We’ll then walk 10 minutes to the Chasm on the way in to Milford Sound to look down into the throat of a tight canyon carved out by millions of years of rushing water.
Dining: Dinner at Milford Lodge. We’ll also have a sumptuous lunch spread prepared in the Hollyford Valley.
Other activities: Milford Sound cruise
Day 8 - Helicopter flight Milford Sound to Martins Bay, Walk Hollyford Track
Awaken your senses this morning – you’re in for the experience of a lifetime with a helicopter flight from Milford Sound, up the coast and into Martins Bay on the edge of the Hollyford Track. Mountainous, wild, isolated and breathtakingly beautiful – the view of this World Heritage area is pure magic. Land on Martins Bay, have lunch in style, and take in the wild coast as it meets the high granite peaks and rivers flowing on to the beach. Later, we’ll head to Martins Bay Lodge.
Accommodation: Martins Bay Lodge – taking escape, tranquility and comfort in beautiful isolation to the next level.
Walking: 2 hours along the wild west coast & ancient forest.
Dining: 3 courses of South Island cuisine awaits tonight.
Day 9 - Jetboat across Lake Mckerrow & walk Hollyford Track
Fiordland National Park outdoes itself today. A leisurely start with a delicious breakfast will make it hard to leave Martins Bay Lodge, but once we’re underway, this part of Fiordland shows itself off in fine form. A jet boat ride across Lake McKerrow, brings us to the confluence of the Hollyford River, where we’ll walk the undulating trail through stunning beech and podocarp forest and cross one of the longest swing bridges in New Zealand. Later, it’s back to “civilization” in Queenstown for a final evening in the elegant South.
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Queenstown
Walking: 3.5 hours on a gentle trail through the most incredible, pristine forest anywhere in the world.
Dining: Our final meal in Queenstown. We’ll dine in style to celebrate.
Other Activities: A jet boat ride in the depths of Fiordland & scenic drive back through Hollyford Valley & Southland to Queenstown.
Day 10 - Depart
All good things come to an end, unless you’re wanting to stay on for some more time in Queenstown of course – we’ll be happy to help you out with many options here. If you’re heading home, you’ll take with you the beauty of the South Island’s most stunning coastal, forest and mountain areas.
If you’d like to stay on in Queenstown, that’s not a bad idea at all. Elegant, exciting, welcoming, compact and always beautiful, Queenstown is a place for anyone and anything. On the shores of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by stunning peaks, you’ll find a quiet sanctuary indoors or outdoors here, or an activity to get the adrenaline flowing. 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.
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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 Blenheim 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.
- All guiding.
– 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!
- All accommodation.
– 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
– Two experienced guides per trip. In New Zealand you’ll have a lead guide and a co guide.
- Free day activities
– A range of hotels, lodges, chalets, inns, sheep stations and backcountry huts, depending on which trip you choose.