Day 1: Arrive to Queenstown
Welcome to Queenstown! Upon arrival to the airport please proceed to collect you hired vehicle and drive yourself to your centrally located hotel, which is only short 10 minute drive. After checking in, the rest of your day is at your leisure.
Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a year-round alpine resort nestled in a magnificent setting amid steep mountain ranges and pockets of native bush with the jagged peaks of the Remarkables Range rising from the lake. The town is compact enough to travel around on foot and features a great range of restaurants, bars and boutique stores. The lake was created by glacial action thousands of years ago and a mysterious phenomenon causes the lake to vary several inches in depth every few minutes, giving credence to a Maori legend of an ancient Taniwha (demon) still breathing beneath the surface.
Day 2: Queenstown
Today is free to explore Queenstown at your leisure. Queenstown and its surrounds are a true outdoor playground with much to offer for adrenaline-seekers, the active, wine lovers, and families alike.
Known as the adventure capital of the world, thrill-seekers have an abundance of options to choose from. Queenstown is ground zero for commercial bungy jumping anywhere in the world. Choose between Kawarau Bridge, where it all started, or head to the Nevis Bungy site for the most daring and highest bungy jump in the world (134m high!) – or go for a combination of the two and supplement it with a canyon swing or catapult experience. Experience the excitement of a high speed jet boat ride: skim across the water, whizz round corners and shoot through narrow rocky gorges!
A busy soft-adventure playground is located on top of Bob’s Peak, high above town. It can be reached by the iconic Skyline Gondola and offers activities like lugeing (part go-kart, part toboggan), zip lining (flying fox), dining with a view and stargazing.
There is no better way to appreciate Queenstown's location amid the Southern Alps than from a bird's eye perspective. Take a scenic helicopter flight, paraglide flight or take to the skies with a tandem skydive.
If you feel more comfortable on the ground, activities are plentiful, too. Cycling tours and mountain biking trails in Queenstown are a great way to explore and discover remote parts of this beautiful region! Or take to one of the many walking and hiking trails along the lakeshore or up the many hills and mountains.
For heritage-lovers, a cruise on Lake Wakatipu on board the iconic vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw is a must as is a visit of the historic town of Arrowtown, a gold-rush village.
A little further afield lies scenic Glenorchy that can be reached by a 45-minute drive along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. The views are spectacular and Glenorchy itself offers a range of activities, including walks, scenic jetboating, horse-riding and film locations from Lord of the Rings and Narnia. These are best be visited by 4x4 tour.
Wine devotees should not miss a trip out to nearby Gibbston Valley, home to some of the world’s best Pinot Noir, to explore cellar doors and restaurants to find your favourite vintage. This can be done independently by car or bicycle or as part of a guided tour.
In winter, Queenstown transforms itself into a ski resort. Ski fields like The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Cardrona offer options for experienced skiers and snowboarders and novices alike. Or, if you would like to try something new, why not head out for a snow shoeing experience.
Day 3: Queenstown to Te Anau
Leave Queenstown and skirt Lake Wakatipu in the shadow of the rugged Remarkable Ranges until you arrive at the township of Five Rivers. Turnoff the main highway towards Mossburn, and into the tussock covered hills. Once the highest point is reached there are magnificent views of the mountains of Fiordland to the north, south and west. After a few miles the wide panorama of Lake Te Anau comes into view.
The name Te Anau is probably more correctly rendered in its original Maori form - Te Ana-au - which means 'Cave of the Swirling Water'. Te Anau is now a major resort area in the Fiordland/Southern Lakes district and is situated on the shore of the South lsland's largest lake of the same name.
Check in to your hotel, which will be your base for next 4 nights.
Day 4: Milford Track
This morning you will join a small group guided walk for full day Milford Track Giant Gate.
Depart from Te Anau and transfer to Milford Sound where you will meet your guide at the Milford Sound Wharf Complex, the walk begins with a short boat ride to Sandfly Point. An easy 11 kilometre round trip walk alongside the cascading Arthur River, then Lake Ada, on a well maintained track takes you to your destination, Giant Gate. This scenic waterfall is best viewed from the large swing bridge. At this point you return, walking under ancient temperate rainforest surrounded by an array of ferns, mosses and lichens in vibrant shades of green. Learn about the fascinating human heritage of the track. On completion of the walk an opportunity is made for photos at the sign marking the end the track, festooned with the boots of walkers that have made it to the end of the walk, not a single step further. Rejoin the boat for your transfer back to Milford.
On completion of the guided walk, join a scenic cruise on Milford Sound to the mouth of the fiord. Large windows, spacious decks and comfortable lounges offer uninterrupted views of towering peaks and surging waterfalls. Keep a look out for seals basking on the rocks, dolphins and penguins. Enjoy scenic highlights such as Mitre Peak, Pembroke Glacier and Bowen Falls. On conclusion of your cruise, board your coach and transfer back to Te Anau.
Day 5: Routeburn Track
After breakfast you will depart on your full day Key Summit Routeburn Track guided shared tour.
Begin the journey with a spectacular scenic drive along the Milford Road to the Divide Shelter which is the starting point for the guided walk to Key Summit. There are opportunities for short nature walks and photo stops along the way. Departing from the shelter, the walk ascends through lush, temperate rainforest on a well maintained track. The steady climb takes approximately 2 hours at a leisurely pace and this small group tour provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the natural and human heritage of Fiordland. Gaining an elevation of 400 metres, emerge from the forest into the alpine environment with panoramic views of high snowy peaks, alpine lakes and deep bush clad valleys. On a fine day, stop for lunch at the summit amidst the alpine tarns, and in unfavourable conditions in the shelter of a nearby tramping hut. After your lunch break, retrace your steps to the Divide Shelter before returning to Te Anau by coach.
Day 6: Kepler Track
Another exciting adventure awaits today. A guided day walk from Te Anau including a scenic helicopter flight to Mount Luxmore on the Kepler Track. Travel by helicopter from Te Anau over the hidden lakes, beech forest and alpine area to Luxmore Hut. From this Department of Conservation Hut explore the alpine tussock fields and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Fiordland mountains. After time in the alpine area, hike down the mountain on a well-formed track. The track descends through mountains and silver beech forest, and passes under towering limestone bluffs to the sandy beach of Brod Bay, the pick up point for the boat cruise back to Te Anau. This is a a down hill walk (8 kilometres) requiring a medium level of fitness. Enjoy plenty of stops for photographs, bird-watching and interpretation along the way.
Day 7: Te Anau to Queenstown
Depart beautiful Lake Te Anau, and take the scenic drive to Queenstown. Trout fishing rivers and high country scenery are features of this drive, and there are plenty of places to stop to soak it all in. The small towns of Mossburn and Lumsden can be explored for unique shopping opportunities—a farm tour is another possibility. Leave time to take a break in Kingston, the home of a remarkable vintage steam train. The route then skirts the shore between the lake and the sheer faces of the Remarkable Range with snow-capped alpine peaks ahead, to the resort town of Queenstown.
This morning, drive to Queenstown airport, drop off your rental car and check in for your departure flight