You’ll get a real ‘Middle Earth’ feel on your hike along Mt Somers’ volcanic range. With stunning rocky tors and a deep canyon, this mountain system sits distinctly above the Canterbury Plains.. Soak in all of the natural vistas of lakes Tekapo and Pukaki as you traverse through Mackenzie Country on your way to Aoraki (Mt Cook). Be sure to reserve a window seat for this drive!. Discover more of Aoraki (Mt Cook) National Park on separate hikes along the Hooker Valley and Sealy Tarns. You’ll have plenty of time to appreciate vistas of Hooker and Mueller glaciers, Mt Sefton and The Footstool.. Ride a section of the impressive Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, pedalling off from Twizel and admiring the pristine nature along the purpose-built cycle trail towards Lake Ohau.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you – the South Island is just that picturesque. Spend a week hiking, biking and soaking in some of New Zealand’s most rugged mountain ranges, most stunning turquoise lakes and most revered forest wilderness. From Christchurch, head high in the Canterbury Plains for a hike up Mt Somers, take a scenic ride on the famed Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, discover Aoraki (Mt Cook) with two nights nestled in the mountains and soak in Mt Aspiring National Park. With so many activities planned, plus a host of comfortable and central lodge-style accommodations, this is an active exploration of some of New Zealand’s most splendid landscapes.
Breakfast Included: 4 Lunches Included: 6 Dinner Included: 1
Welcome to Christchurch. Today is simply a joining day, so make your way to the starting point hotel to join a group welcome meeting at 6 pm. Here, you’ll meet your group leader joining you on this South Island adventure. If you happen to arrive early you might like to take a walk through the sprawling Hagley Park, or head into the CBD to discover the city. In 2011, Christchurch experienced a devastating earthquake and aftershocks, with many buildings still showing signs of ruin, especially in the city centre. Since then, however, Christchurch residents have rebuilt with some stunning architecture, including the Transitional Cathedral (made entirely of cardboard!), as well as street art dotted around the city.
Leave Christchurch with your group today as you drive across the Canterbury Plains to a hike at Mt Somers. The topography will begin to change at Mt Somers, as you’ll notice its stunning rocky tors and deep canyon standing out from the rest of the surrounding ranges. Climb through beech forests and tussock slopes – you’ll definitely get a ‘Middle Earth’ feel here. Stop for an included lunch at Woolshed Creek Hut, before returning to the Rhyolite Ridge Track, taking in the spectacular views of Mt Somers’ slopes. After your hike, head to tonight’s accommodation at the nearby town of Methven. A ski hub in winter and chilled out all year round, it’s a great stop on your way south. Your simple accommodation tonight has an on-site restaurant and bar, so you might like to get a group of you together and treat yourself.
Aoraki (Mt Cook)
Continue your adventure south along the edge of the Canterbury Plains before driving into Mackenzie Country, passing by the striking turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and checking out the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd perched on its banks. Today especially, be sure to have your camera ready to take some seriously stunning shots on the drive. Once you’ve arrived at Aoraki (Mt Cook), join your leader and group with a relatively flat hike up the Hooker Valley Trail where, on a clear day, you’ll get to marvel at views of glaciers looming above Mt Sefton and The Footstool, and see the south face of Aoraki imposing over Hooker Lake. Head back into town, where you’ll be staying for the next two nights. Your communal lodge has views of the mountains above, so just sit back and relax tonight.
Aoraki (Mt Cook)
Lace up your shoes for another day of hiking – this time up the renowned 2,200 steps to Sealy Tarns. You’ll have plenty of time to soak in the views of Hooker and Mueller glaciers, as well as the ice-carved summits of Aoraki, Mt Sefton and The Footstool. If conditions permit, continue the hike on to the Sealy Range towards Mueller Hut, giving you some stunning photo opportunities. Before you take the downwards route, rest and reap the rewards of the 360-degree views of glaciers, ice cliffs and vertical rock faces that greet you at every angle. Once back in town, the rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure.
This morning, head to nearby Twizel and get kitted up with cycling gear, as today you’re taking on a section of the impressive Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. Bike along the quiet canal roads before crossing the Lake Ohau weir and hugging the lake on a purpose-built track. Today, take your time to stop and admire the striking landscapes and glacial lakes. Complete today’s ride at Ohau Lodge, where you’re free to relax here for the afternoon or join your guide for a short afternoon hike – if you want to see more of nearby nature! All meals are covered today, including a group dinner with your fellow travellers at the lodge restaurant.
After breakfast, drive over Lindis Pass into the Central Otago region bound for Wanaka – a vibrant resort town set alongside its namesake lake. Wanaka is the gateway to the region’s vast wilderness areas of beech forests, glaciers, pristine rivers and clear lakes. Arrive in the late morning, with time to relax and check out the lakefront before heading off on an afternoon hike with your group. It’s a well-marked trail that climbs steeply onto the mountain range between Wanaka and Hawea lakes. From the summit point, the views below are simply hard to beat. Tonight’s accommodation is perfectly located overlooking the lake – an easy walking distance into town to perhaps have dinner at a local restaurant.
Last but not least – today’s hike up the Rob Roy Track is really special. Begin the day with a scenic drive up the Matukituki Valley, passing through large sheep, cattle and deer farms. With your group and leader, start your trek from Raspberry Flat, crossing a suspension bridge at the Matukituki River before climbing through beech forest beside the raging Rob Roy Stream. Eventually, you’ll reach above the tree line at an alpine meadow with a superb view of the Rob Roy Glacier. Enjoy lunch before hiking back to your group vehicle, driving over the Crown Range and down into Queenstown. The tour will finish on arrival in Queenstown, but that doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! With so much to do and see in and around this tourist hub, we recommend staying another day or two to really check it out. If you would like to spend more time in Queenstown, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).