South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour
Christchurch to Queenstown
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour

This 14 day tour explores the best of the South Island's walks and adventures. After crossing the Southern Alps on board the TranzAlpine Scenic Train your journey north to the remarkable Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki where you explore Paparoa National Park. From there you head south for two of the most scenic road trips in the world, the Milford Road and the West Coast Road. You'll also walk sections of the Milford Track and Routeburn Track. Be sure to have your camera ready for the spectacular wilderness you'll encounter.

Tour special blurb

**Please be advised that certain aspects of this tour may operate on specific days of the week during the winter months. We recommend contacting one of our travel specialists to identify a departure date that suits your schedule.

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Quick Itinerary Details

South Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$7,315 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Queenstown

14 days/13 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Rental car included

 Viewed 10 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

Day 1: Arrive into Christchurch, transfer to hotel and rest of day at leisure
Accommodation: Heritage Christchurch

Day 2: Cross the Southern Alps to the West Coast, then head north to Punakaiki and the Pancake Rocks
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Punakaiki
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 41 kms / 26 miles : 0.5 hours

Day 3: A day of adventure in Paparoa National Park
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Punakaiki

Day 4: Head south to the Glacier Region, then explore Okarito Lagoon by kayak
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 212 kms / 131 miles : 2.6 hours

Day 5: Explore the glaciers by air and on foot
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 6: Allow plenty of time for photo stops during your drive through the Haast Pass to Wanaka
Accommodation: Edgewater
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 283 kms / 176 miles : 3.3 hours

Day 7: This morning you'll cruise to Mou Waho Island for a special wilderness experience
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 60 kms / 38 miles : 0.9 hours

Day 8: Today is yours to explore the best of the Queenstown region
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 9: Today you will venture out to Gibbston Valley for a thrilling Oxbow Adventure
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 41 kms / 26 miles : 0.6 hours

Day 10: Head south to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland
Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 hours

Day 11: Enjoy your day in picturesque Te Anau, perhaps board a Sea Plane or take a hike!
Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 12: Journey along the magnificent Milford Road for a night in Milford Sound
Accommodation: Overnight Boat in Milford Sound
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 117 kms / 73 miles : 1.8 hours

Day 13: Return through Southland countryside to Queenstown
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 277 kms / 172 miles : 3.6 hours

Day 14: Depart Queenstown today

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 8 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 1
Private transfer Christchurch International Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Christchurch accommodation.

Welcome to Christchurch City

Christchurch New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. A great way to explore the city or easy way to see the sights or ride the historic trams across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral, that's right it is built of cardboard!

Christchurch

The largest metro area in the South Island, Christchurch is referred to as New Zealand's Garden City. Home to one of the biggest public parks in the country, Christchurch is also known as the gateway to the South Island. Boasting a plethora of activities both inside and outside the town centre, there is something here to suit every visitor.
One such attraction is the International Antarctic Centre, located at the International Airport. From here the bases in Antarctica are replenished and there are unique displays of what life is like in this chilly environment - including native little blue penguins.
You could also wish to visit Quake City for insight into the devastating Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, then take in the sights on a city tour. Drive an hour in any direction to ski, mountain bike, wine taste, whale-watch, bungy jump or play golf. Explore the French settlement of Akaroa, tucked inside Banks Peninsula. An eclectic mix of British and French architecture, this seaside town has a whimsical charm and is the perfect place to escape.

Your accommodation: Heritage Christchurch

The Heritage Christchurch Hotel offers contemporary accommodation in the lovingly and safely restored Old Government Building. It is sited in a great location on Cathedral Square.
South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 2
Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Train Station with Christchurch Touring

A private driver will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to the Christchurch train station in time for your train journey.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train Christchurch to Greymouth

Your early morning departure is rewarded with incredible scenery today onboard the TranzAlpine Scenic Train, considered one of the world's great train journeys. It travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through the lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth, a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the West Coast glaciers.

Collect your rental car

This tour can be priced with any of the rental cars available in our fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige saloons and SUVs.

Greymouth to Punakaiki

The short drive north to Punakaiki takes you along the wonderful west coast with ample opportunity to view the surf and the steep bush clad mountains. Punakaiki is most famous for the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Visitors are often less aware of the great many other experiences available. Located in the heart of the Paparoa National Park, the area offers guided beach, forest and mountain walks, canoeing, wildlife, horse trekking, surfing, gemstone hunting, caving and climbing, heritage sites. There are taverns, cafes and restaurants, and a great range of accommodation. The area also boasts a vibrant arts and crafts community and a cooperative gallery.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Punakaiki

Scenic Hotel Punakaiki is a modern, award-winning hotel complex, architecturally designed to harmonious with the local environment. Nestled in the foothills of Papaproa National Park the resort has spectacular views of the Wild West Coast beaches while all rooms have rainforest and/or ocean views.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 41 kms / 26 miles : 0.5 hours

South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 3
Pancake Rocks

The Pancake Rocks are a very popular tourist destination at Dolomite Point south of the main village. The Pancake Rocks are a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts through several vertical blowholes during high tides. Together with the 'pancake'-layering of the limestone (created by immense pressure on alternating hard and soft layers of marine creatures and plant sediments), these form the main attraction of the area.
The Pancake Rocks are presently explorable by several walkways winding through the rock formations, some are pathways, and others are carved into stairways up and down the rock faces.  State Highway 6, the only through road on the West Coast, passes through the town.

Underworld Rafting and Glowworm Experience with Underworld Adventures

A superb four hour Black Water Rafting adventure in the Paparoa National Park. You meander through a paradise of stalactites and stalagmites in the upper dry levels of the cave. You then enter a slow moving underground river on which you float in your tube using only the natural light of an awe inspiring display of glow worms for navigation. Emerge from the cave into a remote and untouched world before leaving its tranquility for the rushing bubbling waters of the low grade Nile River Rapids.

It is important you understand the risks associated with this activity. For more information please see here.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Punakaiki

Scenic Hotel Punakaiki is a modern, award-winning hotel complex, architecturally designed to harmonious with the local environment. Nestled in the foothills of Papaproa National Park the resort has spectacular views of the Wild West Coast beaches while all rooms have rainforest and/or ocean views.
Meals included: Breakfast
South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 4
Punakaiki to Franz Josef Glacier

The drive South on State Highway 6 takes you through many West Coast towns. The first is Greymouth, the commercial centre for the West Coast. Just south of the town is Shantytown a replica gold rush town with lots of great displays from yesteryear.
The next town is Hokitika and this is a great place to explore the craft and gift stores. The Jade or Greenstone on offer in Hokitika is probably some of the best you will see in the country. The Hokitika Gorge, off the beaten track and inland a little is a spectacular detour. Turquoise waters flowing through a narrow gorge. A great short walk will deliver you to this piece of paradise.
Ross is the site of an old gold mining town and some of the old buildings and workings remain. In fact Ross is still home to one of the few working gold mines left in New Zealand and the local information centre offers you the chance to pan for gold.
Continuing south Hari Hari is the township that Guy Menzies decided to land in (or rather crash land) as he became the first person to fly solo across the Tasman.
Whataroa, a small township on the main road is where you would head off to see one of the worlds rarest birds. The entire population (somewhere between 150 and 200 birds) of the New Zealand white heron or kotuku nest at the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve and guided tours from October to March will take you there.
Arriving in to the Glacier region you catch your first glimpse of Franz Josef Glacier from a few kilometres out as it flows from the Southern Alps. Franz Josef township is a lively place with a great atmosphere, plenty of choice to dine out and some wonderful activities to enjoy.

Franz Josef

Franz Josef is the name of the local village and the nearby glacier, the Maori name being Ko Roimata o Hine Hukatere which translates to The Tears of the Ice Maiden,
The main attraction is the rare glacier which is one of three in the world that transcends from alpine into temperate rainforest and almost sea level, New Zealand is home to two, the Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, these are also some of the most accessible in the world which is why they are so popular. The best way to see the glacier is either a scenic flight or for the more adventurous a Heli Hike, you are able to view the glacier by a short 5-minute drive south out of the village and a short easy walk to a viewing platform
As amazing as the glacier is, Franz Josef has plenty more to offer visitors, including adventure activities, an abundance of forest and alpine walking tracks

Okarito Lagoon Guided Kayak Trip

Kayaking is by far the best way to enjoy the flora, fauna and scenic grandeur of New Zealand's largest unmodified coastal wetland. Previous experience is not necessary. Okarito Lagoon covers more than 3240 hectares of shallow open water and is well known for its outstanding bird life, including white heron and royal spoonbill. Exploring the open water and river channels that lead you deep into the heart of the rainforest is like stepping back in time to pre-European conditions and on a clear day you enjoy fantastic views of Mt. Cook and the Southern Alps. Your guide will take you to their favourite spots where you'll discover the flora, fauna and history of the lagoon.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Only a breath away from the Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel is located in the heart of Franz Josef Village. Here you will find all of the amenities you would expect, as well as being close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer in the beautiful Westland region.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 212 kms / 131 miles : 2.6 hours

South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 5
Explore Franz Josef

Franz Josef is a small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice from a viewpoint you can walk along the valley floor to the viewpoint below the terminal face. However, to go on the glacier itself you must take a licensed helicopter tour.

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - One Hour Private Tub with Waiho Hot Tubs

Relax and unwind in the soothing comfort of fresh, warm water and aromatic wood smoke. Enjoy your own private tubs, nestled in a lush rainforest setti...

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Relax and unwind in the soothing comfort of fresh, warm water and aromatic wood smoke. Enjoy your own private tubs, nestled in a lush rainforest setting on New Zealand’s West Coast. These wood-fired hot tubs combine the soothing comfort of warm water with the unique atmosphere of wood smoke to give you an unforgettable experience.

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Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Only a breath away from the Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel is located in the heart of Franz Josef Village. Here you will find all of the amenities you would expect, as well as being close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer in the beautiful Westland region.
Meals included: Breakfast
South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 6
Franz Josef to Wanaka

Heading south you will climb over the Fox hills before arriving at the small town of Fox Glacier. If it's a nice day enjoy spectacular reflections of snowcapped mountains in Lake Matheson, located just 5 minutes west of Fox. Heading south from fox enjoy the amazing scenery of the Southern Alps, and sneak peeks of the rugged beaches while winding through ancient temperate rainforests. Paringa Salmon Farm is worth a stop to stretch your legs, feed the fish, and stop for lunch and refreshments. At Knights Point Lookout, elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the Haast River you’ll turn inland and through the mountainous valley littered with waterfalls. A great suggested stop along this route is the Blue Pools. Continue on past lakes Hawea and Wanaka into the alpine township of Wanaka.

Wanaka

The alpine village of Wanaka sits on the shores of the third largest lake in the Queenstown Lakes District and is surrounded by the southern alps. Wanaka draws those seeking adventure, spectacular scenery and a relaxed atmosphere.
During winter the town's population more than triples as snow sports enthusiasts flock to the local ski fields of Treble Cone and Cardrona. Known as the gateway to the Mt Aspiring National Park, Wanaka is a walker's paradise of remote wilderness, high mountains and beautiful river valleys. For those seeking an adrenaline rush try skydiving, rock-climbing, jet boating or choose a scenic flight over Wanaka in a historic Tiger Moth aeroplane.

Your accommodation: Edgewater

Edgewater is Wanaka's leading hotel located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka. A short stroll to the town centres shops, cafes and restaurants and close to many walking trails the resort is ideal to explore this wonderful Alpine setting.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 283 kms / 176 miles : 3.3 hours

South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 7
Cruise and Island Nature Walk with Eco Wanaka

Lying close to the centre of Lake Wanaka is Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve. A unique glacial remnant of the last ice age, the island is also the historic site of early shipbuilding and used to be a stopping place for the steamers and log rafts that once plied the lake. Accessible from Wanaka by a 35-minute boat cruise, the landing is on the eastern side of the island where the remnants of the early settlement remain; a stone wharf and a hut. A well-formed track leads from the landing and climbs steadily through native bush to near the top of Tyrwhitt Peak. Just before the top, we see Arethusa Pool, a small lake on the island with small islands in it - very intriguing! From the top, we have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka, its surrounding mountains and valleys, and below Arethusa Pool. The perfect spot to stop for tea or coffee. Going back down the track gives us more time to take in our surroundings, listening to and watching the lively bird-life, and just enjoying this unique wildlife reserve. You will feel well rewarded as you re-join the boat for the cruise back to Wanaka. Total cruise time is 1.5 hours. The trip runs subject to weather and lake conditions. Depending on the planting season, you can help The Reforestation of Mou Waho by planting a tree.

Wanaka to Queenstown

Leaving Wanaka, you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road, before dropping into Queenstown. This drive only takes about an hour, but you should allow more time to enjoy the magnificent scenery and explore the walks and many stops en route, including the Cardrona Distillery, wonderful views from Crown Range's highest point over Queenstown, the picturesque town of Arrowtown, and if time allows, even the wineries in Gibbston.

Queenstown

Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is home to many adrenaline-inducing activities. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, this alpine town is surrounded by towering mountains. Each of the seasons has its own special vibe, and most adrenaline-filled activities can be accessed year-round. Queenstown is home to jet boating, bungy jumping, rafting, skydiving, paragliding, and even indoor thrills. If you want that rush - head out on the Shotover Jet, dive off the Nevis Bungy, freefall on the Canyon Swing, or Zip line the Gondola. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway. If you’re looking for a slightly slower pace, there are plenty of recreational activities, including hiking and biking trails to explore, guided tours, boat cruises, scenic flights, or spa and wellness options to help you get away. Head to the lakefront, eat at one of the al fresco eateries, and soak up the local vibes; catch a ride on the iconic 100-year-old steamship the TSS Earnslaw; or take the Skyline Gondola and enjoy bird's-eye views of the Remarkables mountain ranges and Lake Wakatipu. Pack a picnic and go for a hike, only 20 minutes from Central Queenston, Coronet Peak opens for summer sightseeing. You can ride the Peak Gondola to the top for panoramic views and hike the trails, or go for a bike ride on many excellent biking trails. In winter, Queenstown becomes a world-class winter resort, with four ski areas and a range of activities, bars, restaurants, and ways to relax and unwind. A must-visit spot in Queenstown, Fergburger is famous for its mouthwatering gourmet burgers. Expect long queues, but the wait is definitely worth it for their delicious and generously sized burgers. Located on the waterfront, Botswana Butchery offers a sophisticated dining experience with a focus on premium meats and seafood. Enjoy stunning views of Lake Wakatipu while indulging in their expertly crafted dishes.If you're looking for something quick and tasty, stop by Fergbaker, an extension of Fergburger. Indulge in their delectable selection of pies, pastries, and sweet treats, perfect for a snack on the go. Mrs Ferg Gelateria is a great spot to sample some delicious homemade gelato. 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Gondola and Buffet Dinner with Skyline Queenstown

With breathtaking views across Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, the Skyline Complex is a must-do. Catch the fully enclosed gondola to the summit for a re...

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With breathtaking views across Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, the Skyline Complex is a must-do. Catch the fully enclosed gondola to the summit for a remarkable panorama of the city surrounds. Wander the outdoor viewing decks then enjoy a gourmet buffet meal in the Stratosphere Restaurant.

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Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 60 kms / 38 miles : 0.9 hours

South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 8
Explore Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast-paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston Valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.
Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. If you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.
Finally, if you're lucky enough to visit in winter (July-September) there are four ski resorts close by. You can head up to Coronet Peak and the Remarkables close to Queenstown, or head to Wanaka for Cardrona and Treble Cone.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Nomad Safaris Macetown 4WD Adventure Tour

A true four-wheel drive, off-road adventure exploring the abandoned gold mining settlement of Macetown. Follow the miners’ old wagon trail and e...

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A true four-wheel drive, off-road adventure exploring the abandoned gold mining settlement of Macetown. Follow the miners’ old wagon trail and explore the historic gold mining town. Long since abandoned after the gold rush, Macetown has now been transformed into a Department of Conservation reserve. Experience the narrow, rugged road and learn about the tumultuous history of the region as you take in the town remnants and spectacular scenery.

It is important you read and understand the risks associated with this activity. For more information see here.

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SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ Lunch and a farm tour

Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience a delicious barbeque lunch and a farm tour in a stunning lakeside setting. First, take a scenic cruise from Que...

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Enjoy a quintessential Kiwi experience a delicious barbeque lunch and a farm tour in a stunning lakeside setting. First, take a scenic cruise from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, one of the last remaining fully functional coal-fired passenger ships in the southern hemisphere.
Disembark and take in the picturesque shores of the Station. Relax on the lakeside terrace at the Colonel's Homestead Restaurant and savour the aromas of the best local produce being cooked on the grill. The seasonal menu has plenty to choose from salads, vegetables and succulent meat. If you're vegetarian, you will be well catered for also. Finish your meal with a scrumptious dessert before joining an entertaining farm demonstration or exploring the beautiful lakeside gardens.

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SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Ride to Paradise - Glenorchy E-bike Guided Tour with Ride to the Sky

Embark on a leisurely e-bike self-guided journey to discover the hidden treasures of Glenorchy. The untamed beauty of the backcountry landscape beckon...

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Embark on a leisurely e-bike self-guided journey to discover the hidden treasures of Glenorchy. The untamed beauty of the backcountry landscape beckoned countless creative souls a century ago. The surreal vistas in every direction inspire you to paint, or capture them in photographs – anything to preserve this image in your memory. The enchanting wilderness in this corner of the Otago region exudes magic and mystery. It’s no surprise that many renowned films like Lord of the Rings and Mission Impossible selected this scenery for their breathtaking scenes.

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Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.
Meals included: Breakfast
South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 9
Queenstown to Gibbston

Following Lake Wakatipu had towards Frankton, crossing the iconic Shotover River. Pass Lake Hayes and follow the Kawarau River as it winds through the landscape to reach your destination, Gibbston. Also known as the 'Valley of the Vines' Gibbston is home to popular vineyards, cellar doors and restaurants.

Gibbston

To the east of Queenstown, tucked inside the Kawarau Gorge is the Gibbston. Stretching to Lake Hayes in Arrowtown, Gibbston is known for its wineries.
Bordering the road on both sides the land is extensively planted with grapes, and there are many opportunities to taste the pinot noir, a variety the region is famous for. Some of its notable wineries include Peregrine, Chard Farm, Gibbston Valley and Two Paddocks.
An ideal spot for lunch is Amisfield Winery and Bistro (a must for any foodie) located at Lake Hayes, just a 10 minute drive from central Queenstown, or, for a more family-friendly option there is the Fume restaurant at Gibbston Valley Wines.
The Gibbston isn't just about wine, opposite Chard Farm is the Kawarau Suspension Bridge built in 1880 to provide access to the goldfields in the region. 108 years later it became the location of the world’s first commercial bungy jumping operation and you can still take the 43 metre leap today.

Epic Duo - Clay Target & Jet Sprint Boat

With a mix of skill and speed, this combo is for you to have the chance to Shoot over to the Oxbow Gun Club and show off your skills in the Clay Target Shooting range before taking a ride on our custom-built Jet Sprint Boat, where you’ll clock 0 – 100 in just 2.5 seconds!

Gibbston Valley to Queenstown

Leaving the Gibbston you will head towards Queenstown on State Highway 6, this will take you past the Kawarau Bridge Bungy centre, over the Shotover River and into Queenstown.  One optional detour worth considering is a visit to historic Arrowtown en-route, a great place to stop for a bite to eat.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Gibbston Valley Wine Cave Tour

Gibbston Valley Winery is home of New Zealand's largest wine cave. They offer daily wine cave and tasting tours to the region's oldest vineyard - thei...

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Gibbston Valley Winery is home of New Zealand's largest wine cave. They offer daily wine cave and tasting tours to the region's oldest vineyard - their very own Home Block. You will experience wine tasting in the wine cave and catch a glimpse of the winemakers in action. The tour includes a tasting of three varietals in the cave and a visit to the Home Block Vineyard, originally planted by the founder and wine pioneer Allan Brady in 1983.

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Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 41 kms / 26 miles : 0.6 hours

South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 10
Queenstown to Te Anau

Following the shores of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables mountain range towers over you as you approach the township of Kingston. You'll venture into Southland before crossing the rolling tussock lands of Mossburn (deer capital of New Zealand) and shortly arriving at Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Te Anau

It is the gateway to Fiordland National Park and a perfect base to visit Milford Sound. The Milford Road originates here, and this is arguably one of the most scenic stretches of highway in the country. Te Anau sits on the shores of spectacular Lake Te Anau, which reaches depths of 417 metres. Te Anau Township is the starting point for many walking tracks, including two of New Zealand's Great Walks, the Milford track and the Kepler track. Apart from hiking, you could go kayaking, lake cruising, fishing, or exploring Te Anau Glowworm Caves. You could go for a bike ride alongside the lake towards Lake Manapouri, on a popular Lake to Lake biking route. Along the way, you will pass a bird sanctuary specialising in Takahe, and other native birds. 

Ata Whenua - Shadowland Film at Fiordland Cinema

This breathtaking 'Fiordland On Film - Ata Whenua' will take you on an unforgettable journey through one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on earth. Shot by award-winning cinematographers with outstanding musical composition, this is the next best thing to a scenic flight over this spectacular wilderness.

Your accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

The perfect base for all your Fiordland travel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable accommodation right in the heart of Te Anau.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 hours

South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 11
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Doubtful Sound Sea Plane Flight

Running short of time? This is the perfect way to experience Doubtful Sound. Fly over Lake Manapouri and the South Fiord of Lake Te Anau to the remote...

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Running short of time? This is the perfect way to experience Doubtful Sound. Fly over Lake Manapouri and the South Fiord of Lake Te Anau to the remote wilderness of Doubtful Sound. See stunning waterfalls and unspoilt scenery which will leave you in awe of this dramatic region.
This flight takes you to a remote area of the South Islands' rugged West Coast. Sometimes called the Sound of Silence, there is a cloistered serenity within Doubtful Sound that is a contrast with its near neighbour, Milford Sound. At 421 metres deep Doubtful is the deepest of the fiords and is long and winding with three distinct arms. The distance from Deep Cove to the open sea is around 40.4 kilometres. It is also home to New Zealand's highest waterfall - the Browne Falls at 836m (2,742 ft).

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Pure Wilderness Jet Boat

Jet boat down the Waiau river, across Lake Manapouri, to the ancient forest of the Fiordland National Park. Enjoy the thrill of jet boating down the majestic trout-filled Waiau River, to the serene Lake Manapouri. Step foot into the Fiordland National Park and go for a short walk while learning about the ancient beech forest and ferns. Your jet boat ride includes a number of stops at the exact locations of the filming the "Fellowship of the Ring" on the Waiau or Anduin River, where the driver will tell you the inside story of the filming the Lord of the Rings on this river. The trip will also include some thrilling 360 degree turns and spins as well as interesting interpretation about the flora and fauna and the local European and Maori history.

Te Anau Glowworm Caves with RealNZ

Begin your Te Anau Glowworm experience with a scenic cruise across Lake Te Anau on board the luxury catamaran, Luminosa, to the western side of the lake. On arrival, you'll enter the caves through Cavern House, where informative displays detail the history of this 12,000 year old underground network.
You'll then explore by limestone pathway while your guide points out hidden whirlpools, sculpted rock formations and a rushing underground waterfall. See a magical display of thousands of glowworms as you glide through the darkness in a small boat.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Routeburn Track Guided Day Walk

Enjoy a guided day excursion from Te Anau to Key Summit on the renowned Routeburn Track. Begin the journey with a spectacular scenic drive along the M...

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Enjoy a guided day excursion from Te Anau to Key Summit on the renowned Routeburn Track. 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. A maximum of 12 walkers with a Trips and Tramps guide provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the natural and human heritage of Fiordland. Gaining an elevation of 400 metres, you'll 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 you'll enjoy lunch on the summit amidst the alpine tarns, and in unfavourable conditions in the shelter of a nearby tramping hut. After lunch steps are retraced to the Divide Shelter before returning to Te Anau by coach. Hot drinks and energy snacks are included and will be carried by the guide. A reasonable level of fitness is required to enjoy this walk.

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Your accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

The perfect base for all your Fiordland travel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable accommodation right in the heart of Te Anau.
Meals included: Breakfast
South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 12
Te Anau to Milford Sound

The road to Milford Sound has countless photo opportunities and short walks. The Mirror Lakes create perfectly clear reflections of the surrounding mountains and glacier formed meadows. Further along the road The Chasm Walk includes two walking bridges over the dramatic Cleddau River, while the surrounding ancient native beech forest creates a fascinating landscape. You'll pass through the Homer Tunnel, an incredible feat of engineering at 1219 metres long. Milford Sound is the only sound accessible by road, making it very popular to visit. Coming into the village you'll be greeted with an amazing view of Mitre Peak which rises spectacularly from the waters up to the sky. Real Journey cruises can take you out into the sound where you'll receive a wealth of information on how this magnificent area has been formed and experience first-hand the multitude of waterfalls that line the fiord.
Note: Please make sure to allow 2.5hrs to Milford Sound, this takes into account the current road works on the Milford Road."

Milford Mariner Overnight Cruise

The Milford Mariner offers you a very special dinner, bed and breakfast experience on Milford Sound. Onboard the Milford Mariner you will cruise the full length of this spectacular fiord to the Tasman Sea before anchoring for the night in sheltered Harrison Cove. Accompanied by a nature guide you can go exploring in the tender craft and kayaks or simply relax on deck. After the day's activities, you enjoy a delicious evening buffet in the spacious saloon before retiring to your private cabin.
The vessel itself was designed along the lines of a traditional New Zealand coastal trading scow to reflect Fiordland's heritage. Departing from the Milford Wharf, the Milford Mariner cruises the length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea leisurely exploring on the way many points of interest, there is plenty of time to view the waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife and the experienced nature guide on board will be able to answer any questions you may have. After reaching the open sea, subject to weather and favourable conditions the sails are hoisted for a period. The vessel returns to the calm and shelter of Harrison Cove for your overnight stay.

Your accommodation: Overnight Boat in Milford Sound

Onboard the Milford Mariner you will cruise the full length of this spectacular fiord to the Tasman Sea before anchoring for the night in sheltered Harrison Cove. After the day's activities, you'll enjoy a delicious evening buffet in the spacious saloon before retiring to your private cabin.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 117 kms / 73 miles : 1.8 hours

South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 13
Milford Sound to Queenstown

Enjoy the wonderful drive along the Milford Road as you head back towards Te Anau. Crossing the rolling tussock lands you pass through Mossburn, the deer capital of New Zealand. Following the lake north the Remarkable mountain range towers over you as you approach the adventure capital of Queenstown.
Note: Please make sure to allow 5.5hrs to Queenstown, this takes into account the current road works on the Milford Road.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 277 kms / 172 miles : 3.6 hours

South Island Wilderness Encounters Tour - Day 14
Return your vehicle to Queenstown Airport

Explore more of Queenstown before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 8 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

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