The Ultimate New Zealand Southern Alps Trek
Escorted by Mike Wood. 11 days 14 – 24 March 21.
AUD$7,395 twin share. Limited Single Sups available for AUD$1,295
(Combine this trip with our 5 day Abel Tasman Explorer 09-13 Mar 21 for a 2 week trekking extravaganza!)
Join Peregrine Travel Centre WA’s owner, Mike Wood, on this especially designed itinerary traversing New Zealand’s Southern Alps, from mountain peaks, remote lakes and valley systems has been put together especially by Mike Wood at Peregrine Travel in Perth.
During the day you will trek in stunning locations, amongst world class scenery including the splendour of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring from high vantage points, whilst returning to comfortable and well located 3 and 4 star hotels and lodges most nights.
The adventure begins with a drive across the Canterbury Plains for a trek up a local peak that affords a terrifically unexpected panorama of the Southern Alps. We continue to Aoraki/Mount Cook where we spend time hiking in the National Park, with options to reach high points on the ridges overlooking the Hooker Glacier, the spectacular Mt Sefton with its sheer walls of ice and rock.
From our hike in Wanaka we admire 360 degree views from Rocky Mountain into the Mount Aspiring National Park and across the vast lake. We then head to the exclusive Ben Lomond Station for 2 days trekking and relaxing in a stunning setting before travelling to Queenstown at the end of our adventure.
This trip has been designed to push you to meet your hiking potential, whilst enjoying amazing scenery and comfortable lodgings at the end of every long day.
|14 Mar 2021
||24 Mar 2021
DAY 1 Arrive Christchurch
We meet mid morning at the group hotel in Christchurch for a tour briefing. We then drive the short distance to the Port Hills to embark on our first walk following the crater rim of an extinct volcano. We will head out to Godley Head, home to the WWII coastal defence battery that sit atop sheer 120m cliffs. Our walk affords wonderful views into Lyttelton Harbour and out to the Pacific Ocean, continuing to Taylor’s Mistake and over to the beach suburb of Sumner where we meet our vehicle for the drive back to Christchurch. We settle into our comfortable accommodation and meet again for our first group dinner, where we have the chance to get to know each other and discuss the weeks hiking itinerary.
DAY 2 Christchurch to Methven
This morning we start with a drive over the vast Canterbury Plains towards Lake Coleridge. Our walk today takes us to the summit of Peak Hill (1244m) high above the lake. At the top we are rewarded with sweeping views of snowy alps and the impressive Rakaia and Wilberforce river valleys, providing a wonderful introduction to New Zealand’s high country landscapes.
In the late afternoon we can enjoy another walk through the Rakaia Gorge along glacial and river-carved terraces to a stunning lookout point. Here there is an option to take an invigorating jet boat ride through the Rakaia Gorge back to the start of the track (additional expense).
Once at the bus, we drive to nearby Methven and check into our lodge. Tonight we are free to explore the small town and make our own dinner arrangements.
DAY 3 Methven to Mount Cook Village.
After breakfast we drive from Methven over Burke’s Pass to Mackenzie Country. After visiting the famous Church of the Good Shepherd overlooking the vivid emerald
Lake Tekapo we drive to Mt Cook Village. The backdrop of a snow covered Aoraki/Mt Cook (NZ’s highest peak) against turquoise waters is a sight you’ll never forget. After lunch, we head to the World Heritage area, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park and enjoy one of a number of walks determined by the weather. Walks could include a hike up to the Red Tarns or along the amazing glacial Hooker valley to admire the alpine environment, other options include a walk to see Tasman Glacier and to traverse alongside the lateral moraine. We spend the next two nights in Mount Cook Village nestled under the highest peaks in the country.
DAY 4 Mt Cook Village – Mueller Hut
Today we can enjoy one of a number of walks in the Mount Cook Valley depending on fitness levels and how our legs are feeling from the previous day. Our first choice will be to walk up to the Mueller Hut for spectacular views of Aoraki/Mount Cook.
We will have an early breakfast and drive to the start of the track. We climb up a series of steps to the Sealy Tarns gaining 450m in the first hour. From here there are awesome views around the neighbouring valleys, the Mt Cook Range and Mt Sefton. Then the path becomes less defined, a little rocky in places, and as it gets higher and starts to leave the alpine scrub and tussock, it enters boulder fields. The final ascent to the ridge line is up a steep-ish scree slope. At around 1600m, the view opens up to an amazing vista of Mt Sefton and the Mueller Glacier far below. Mueller Hut is then about a kilometre away, at an altitude just short of 1800m. The route to the hut is marked by poles, across boulder fields, and requires some rock-hopping, but later on crosses a couple of small basins before reaching the hut. The hut is located at a unique vantage point with more 360 degree views of uninterrupted alpine beauty. It makes a wonderful location for lunch before returning the same way.
For those who prefer a more relaxed walk, options are to walk as far as the Sealy Tarns or Kea Point and to relax in the amazing alpine environment.
Mueller Hut – 6-8 hours / 10.5km or 6.5miles / 1045m ascent
DAY 5 Mt Cook to Lake Ohau
After breakfast we leave the Mt Cook valley after a short walk to the Tasman Glacier view point and drive to the remote Lake Ohau and Hopkins Valley. We have the option to enjoy a beech forest loop of Temple Stream or those who are looking for a more challenging route, could embark on the remote Dumb-Bell Lake hike. Those who choose this difficult option must be confident traversing loose stones, scree and boulders. From the tops we can admire amazing views and snowy peaks in all directions; in a moonscape with its colourful rocky landscape and vivid blue Lake Ohau way below. We can also relax at Lake Ohau Lodge with a glass of wine in the spa pool overlooking the lake and the impressive Ben Ohau Ranges. A hearty evening meal is prepared by our hosts.
DAY 6 Lake Ohau to Wanaka
Leaving the Mackenzie basin we cross ‘water-sheds’ and drive over the Lindis Pass through to to the lakeside town of Wanaka. After lunch we enjoy a walk to take in stunning panoramic views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. We start by climbing gently around the east side of Rocky Mountain to the summit offering a superb vista into the Mount Aspiring National Park. We descend via the beautiful Diamond Lake and then drive back to Wanaka and our accommodation for the next two nights. We are free to explore the town centre or enjoy a stroll on the lakefront before heading for our group dinner.
DAY 7 Wanaka Free Day
Today is a day at leisure in Wanaka. Here we are free to relax, enjoy a walk along the lake or up Mt Iron or Mt Roy to recharge our batteries. There are also shops and galleries to visit, numerous cafes and restaurants, if not partaking in a bungy jump, a sky dive, jet boating, kayaking or another adrenaline activity! Bikes can be hired to cycle out along the lakeside road to Glendhu Bay and up the Matukituki Valley, returning the same way, or follow the lake outlet track alongside the Clutha River to Albert Town.
DAY 8 Jet-boat ride Shotover Canyon, Hike to Ben Lomond Station Back Country Lodge.
Today we leave Wanaka and head out on Skippers Canyon Road carved out of a sheer cliff face by miners during the gold rush. We travel into an opening and join a thrilling jet boat ride along Shotover Canyon. At the conclusion of the ride, we begin hiking through the Ben Lomond High Country Station, following trails that were once 1860’s gold mining water races. The stunning diversity here on the trek is amazing, mountain peaks, beech forests and huge tussock fields abound. Reaching the back-country lodge, our hosts share the history of the station and merino wool sheep farming practices.
DAY 9 Ben Lomond Station hike
Today we will base ourselves at the station and you have the option to enjoy the stunning beauty of the surrounding countryside on a hike or to relax and explore the station and comfortable lodge. Our hike will be nearby on gently graded tracks through beech forest or along treeless ridge-lines with unobstructed views of the surrounding valleys. Whether hiking or relaxing, the solitude and beauty of this mountainous slice of New Zealand will not disappoint. Hiking options will depend on the group, weather and trail conditions.
DAY 10 Hike Ben Lomond Saddle, gondola to Queenstown
After a hearty breakfast, we pack up and hike to the Ben Lomond saddle (1316m). From here we can see our earlier route from Skippers and Shotover Canyons, the expanse of the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu. The Remarkables Mountain Range rises up to the south above Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown below. We descend until we reach a gondola, which provides a quick ride into town. This evening we dine together and celebrate our summit successes! All meals included
DAY 11 Depart Queenstown
This morning after breakfast we say a sad farewell to our guides and hiking companions. There will be one group drop off at the Queenstown Airport before
10:00am. For those who might be staying in Queenstown for longer, additional accommodation can be booked for you if required (own expense).