9 Day - Kea South Island Tour

Papaora National Park - South Island

This South Island tour is jam-packed with magnificent landscapes and great sights. Enjoy the picturesque resort town of Queenstown, be amazed while cruising Milford Sound, experience old mining heritage, rare native birdlife and famous southern hospitality on this leisurely holiday trip.

Day 1 - Arrive in Queenstown

As you arrive in Queenstown, you will be met by your friendly driver/guide and transferred to where you are staying tonight.

Today is a day of leisure to explore the adventure capital of New Zealand. Your hotel is close to the central city shopping district. The cafes and restaurants are all within walking distance.

If you're looking to get straight into the activities, we recommend an optional excursion such as Queenstown's historic twin screw steamer: the TSS Earnslaw.

Three Nights accommodation at Queenstown Scenic Suites. The hotel is just five minutes walk to the bustling town centre, yet the its elevated position gives commanding views over Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps.

Day 2 - Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown (B)

You are picked up from your hotel to travel alongside Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau and Milford Sound deep in the heart of Fiordland National Park. The Milford Road is a panorama of high mountains and deep valleys studded with glaciers, waterfalls and mirror lakes. Cruise down Milford Sound, a majestic fiord dominated by iconic Mitre Peak, and out to the Tasman Sea. Return to Queenstown on a stunning scenic flight over the mountaintops.

Day 3 - At leisure in Queenstown (B)

The morning is free to further explore Queenstown. Perhaps cruise on the Tss Earnslaw (optional), take a jet boat ride (optional) on the remote and beautiful Dart River in The Lord of the Rings scenery or walk the lakeshore.

Day 4 - Queenstown - Cardrona Valley - Wanaka (B, L)

Our first destination is the stunning leafy village of Arrowtown where gold mining history comes alive beside the Arrow River. Heading into tussock country, the road climbs up the Crown Range with expansive views of the Gibbston Valley. We call into the Cardrona Hotel, its history also traced back to the gold mining era then continue on to your private lunch at a Wanaka homestead.

After lunch is a leisure, your hotel is lakeside in Wanaka beside a bike trail and walkway.

One Night Accommodation at Edgewater Resort.  Your four star plus spacious self contained one bedroom suite has stunning views of the lake and the Alps.

Day 5 - Wanaka - Haast Pass - Franz Josef (B)

We drive beside Lake Hawea and the top of Lake Wanaka before heading into pristine mountain and river scenery of the Haast Pass in Mt Aspiring National Park. Well-maintained tracks through native beech forests lead us to cascading waterfalls and clear blue pools where trout lurk. Leaving the mountains, the road winds along the edge of the river to Haast where the Department of Conservation Centre documents the region’s colourful history, flora and fauna. Continue north through the lush, primeval rainforest of Westland World Heritage Park, stopping at Ship Creek for a stroll on the beach to the dune lake and through swampland rainforest. Lake Matheson is famous for reflections of the Alps and at Franz Josef we view the advancing glacier descending through rainforest.

Two Nights Accommodation at Punga Grove, located in the heart of Franz Josef Glacier village in a beautiful rainforest setting feature.

Day 6 - Franz Josef - Okarito Lagoon - Franz Josef (B)

Today relax and enjoy the beauty of this remote World Heritage Park. We drive out to the coast to visit the tiny, isolated settlement of Okarito nestled between the Tasman Sea and Okarito Lagoon. You could kayak (optional) on the shallow waters of the lagoon, a feeding ground of the rare white heron (kotuku) which breeds nearby in the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve, a 1,000-year-old kahikatea rainforest. Indulge in the tranquility of this remote World Heritage Park, perhaps take a helihike on the glacier or a scenic flight over the Alps to Aoraki/Mount Cook later today.

At the end of the day there’s nothing better than to soak in Franz Josef’s hot pools (optional) fed by pure glacier water before dining in the village.

Day 7 - Franz Josef to Punakaiki (B, D)

Travel up the coast passing mirror lakes, boulder-laden rivers and catching glimpses of the Southern Alps. At Hokitika there’s time to visit a host of craft galleries – Pounamu (greenstone) carving, glass blowing, wood and copper artisans. A beautiful coastal road following part of the ancient Pounamu trails used by Maori leads to your hotel on the coast at Punakaiki. Unique coastal flora includes the southernmost nikau palms. A little further up the road is the leading local attraction - the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, sculpted limestone sea stacks and towering cliffs. If the tide is right, blowholes thunder spreading clouds of spray. We celebrate our travels this evening in the hotel’s Jacob's restaurant.

One Night Accommodation at Punakaiki Resort. Flanked by the Tasman Sea and the rainforests, your four star accommodation is almost on the wild Punakaiki Beach just 50m from the high tide mark and 300m south of the Pancake Rocks & Blowholes.

Day 8 - Punakaiki - Arthur's Pass - Christchurch (B)

Retracing our steps down the coast we drive up the Otira Gorge on a spectacular cantilevered road through towering mountains to Arthur’s Pass National Park stopping at the lookout to watch the mischievous antics of the keas. Stretch your legs in the beech forests at Arthur’s Pass village and at the massive limestone rocks rising out of bare pasture at Castle Hill before we descend Porter’s Pass to the Canterbury Plains reaching Christchurch in the late afternoon.

One Nights Accommodation at Chateau on the Park. This resort style hotel is nestled amongst 5 acres of beautifully maintained gardens and offers tranquility and seclusion that you would normally expect to find miles from a city.

Day 9 - Depart Christchurch (B)

Time to say farewell to your new friends.

This morning, enjoy a delicious breakfast before getting picked up from your hotel to go to the airport for your flight home. If you have time prior to the transfer, catch up on last minute shopping for New Zealand classics such as merino clothing in the boutique Duty Free Stores or visit the Re-Start Container shopping mall.

VIRTUAL TOUR & DOSSIER

Please take the time to view our “Virtual Tour” for the 6 Day Kea tour or download/print the detailed “Tour Dossier”. Both can be found on the right hand column of this page. Alternatively you can simply contact us. For a comprehensive list of all activities available in each location featured in this tour, please refer to the "Destination Guide" found at the top of this page.

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