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Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel: Premium New Zealand South Island

Taking you from Christchurch to Queenstown via glaciers, wineries, lakes, and an overnight cruise on Milford Sound, this 10-day tour showcases the natural beauty and thriving food and wine scene in the South Island of New Zealand. Forage for fresh ingredients with a local chef in Otago, set your pulse racing during a jetboat ride in Queenstown and come face to face with endangered species at a wildlife centre on the West Coast, including New Zealand’s rarest kiwi. With a friendly leader to guide the way, you’ll experience a landscape that has been shaped by the elements over thousands of years.

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Tour summary and feature

Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Small Group Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$8,435 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Queenstown

10 days/9 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 116 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes
Criffel Station Foraging & Lunch Experience with Local Chef
Gibbston Valley Cheese & Wine Pairing
Guided Walk to the Blue Pools with a Local Ornithologist
Milford Sound Overnight Boat Cruise
Monteiths Brewing Co. Tasting
Punakaiki Rocks
Shotover River Jetboat Experince
West Coast Treetops Walkway
West Coast Wildlife Centre Visit with Ranger
9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Christchurch Tramway

Welcome to New Zealand! When you arrive in Christchurch, you’ll be met at the airport by a local representative and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure officially begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight, followed by a welcome dinner at a tiny restaurant and natural wine bar featuring produce from the Canterbury region. Enjoy a three-course dinner celebrating local producers at a restaurant that champions sustainability.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Activities:

  • Christchurch - Welcome Dinner
  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer

Staying in:

  • The Fable Christchurch or similar (1 night)

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Punters on the Avon River Christchurch

Take a morning stroll with your leader around some of the landmarks of Christchurch. Then, set off for Punakaiki, driving through Arthur’s Pass and Castle Hill – the spectacular mountain scenery may look familiar, as parts of The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings movies were filmed here. After lunch in Moana, enjoy a short stop at Lake Brunner – the largest lake in the South Island. Spend the afternoon in Greymouth, stopping into a boutique studio to learn about the prized west coast jade known locally as Pounamu (Greenstone). Then, continue to Monteith's Brewery, considered the original home of New Zealand craft brewing for a tour and tasting. Arrive at Punakaiki Resort by late afternoon – in Paparoa National Park, this resort lies next to Punakaiki Beach and the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes.

Your travel time today will be approximately 5 hours.

Activities:

  • Greymouth - Monteith's Brewery Tour & Tasting
  • Greymouth - Pounamu (Greenstone) Studio Visit
  • Christchurch - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Lake Brunner - Nature Walk

Staying in:

  • Scenic Hotel Punakaiki (previously called Ocean View Retreat) or similar (1 night)

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Punakaiki Rocks

After breakfast, explore the Punakaiki Rocks and Blowholes before the drive to Franz Josef. Along the way, stretch your legs at the charming west coast town of Hokitika and enjoy an exhilarating treetop adventure on a walk through the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. In the afternoon, take a private ranger-guided tour of the West Coast Wildlife Centre – home of the official breeding programme for the world's rarest kiwi, the Rowi. Also keep an eye out for tuatara (a reptile endemic to New Zealand). Arrive in Franz Josef in the late afternoon, where you’ll have a free evening.

Your travel time today will be approximately 4 hours.

Activities:

  • Hokitika - West Coast Treetops Walk
  • Franz Josef - West Coast Wildlife Centre Visit with Ranger
  • Punakaiki - Rocks & Blowhole Visit

Staying in:

  • Rainforest Retreat Deluxe Tree Hut or similar (1 night)

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Franz Josef Glacier

Begin your day with a self-guided walk to see the icy wonderland created by the Franz Josef Glacier – one of the steepest glaciers in New Zealand. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you may like to join an optional heli-hiking tour and get even closer to the glacier. Other optional activities include kayaking, a scenic cruise on Lake Mapourika or a soak in the hot tubs at Franz Josef.

Currently, some walking paths around the Franz Josef Glacier are currently closed due to recent heavy rains. Check in with your Trip Leader or Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre in Franz Joseph for the most up to date information.

Staying in:

  • Rainforest Retreat Deluxe Tree Hut or similar (1 night)

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Wanaka Tree in Lake Wanaka

Depart Franz Josef for the resort town of Wanaka – the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, located in the Otago region. Stop along the way at Makorora and visit the Aspiring Biodiversity Trust – an organisation that strives to protect and restore indigenous biodiversity. After lunch, take a guided flora and fauna walk with a local ornithologist and ecologist. Keep an eye out for endangered birds as you learn about how the Aspiring Biodiversity Trust is working to reduce predators and save some of New Zealand’s rarest species. Arrive in Wanaka by late afternoon and settle into your home for the next two nights – a homestead built on the site of a former sheep station. Located next to the resplendent Wanaka Station Park on the shores of Lake Wanaka, and a short stroll from Wanaka township, you'll be perfectly placed to enjoy all this popular town has to offer.

Your travel time today will be approximately 4.5 hours.

Activities:

  • Makaroa - Aspiring Biodiversity Trust Lunch
  • Makaroa - Guided Flora and Fauna Walk with Local Ornithologist

Staying in:

  • Edgewater Hotel or similar (1 night)

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Wanaka Lakefront

Enjoy a sleep in this morning or start your day with a hike up Mt Iron for a view over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding peaks. Central Otago is a region well known for food and wine, and today you’ll visit the spectacular Criffel Station for a chef-guided tasting and foraging tour, followed by a delicious lunch, washed down with some Central Otago wines.

Activities:

  • Wanaka - Criffel Station Foraging & Lunch Experience with Local Chef

Staying in:

  • Edgewater Hotel or similar (1 night)

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Sign to Te Anau

Depart Wanaka for the drive to Te Anau. Along the way, take in the scenic drive across the Crown Range by the shores of Lake Wakatipu. After lunch, continue to your embarkation point for your Feature Stay – an overnight cruise surrounded by the spectacular Milford Sound, also known by its Te Reo (Maori) name Piopiotahi. Aboard your purpose-built vessel, enjoy a full-length journey of the fjord out to the Tasman Sea, with the possibility to see wildlife such as seals, penguins and dolphins in the warmer months. You’ll also have access to a specialist guide with information on the fjord's history and natural environment. For those who are keen, kayaking and/or small boat tours allow a truly immersive experience of this special place. Finish your day with a delicious three-course dinner before settling down in your cosy cabin.

Your travel time today will be approximately 5 hours. If you have booked a single supplement please be advised that tonight's accommodation aboard the cruise ship is a single supplement exception and you will be accommodated in twin share cabins.

Activities:

  • Milford Sound - Overnight Boat Cruise

Staying in:

  • Milford Sound Overnight Cruise (Feature Stay) (1 night)

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Queenstown Lake view

After a leisurely onboard breakfast surrounded by some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery, you’ll disembark and travel to Queenstown with plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs along the way. After another stop in Te Anau for lunch, you’ll arrive with plenty of time to check into your boutique hotel in Queenstown and head out for dinner.

Your travel time today will be approximately 4.5 hours.

Staying in:

  • Ramada Queenstown Central or similar (1 night)

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Street in Arrowtown

This morning, take a jetboat ride on the Kimi Akau (Shotover River), deep into the Shotover Canyons. Speeding over water as shallow as 10 cm, this is an amazing white-water experience, operated by the Ngai Tahu Maori people, who have a centuries-old connection with this land. After, head on a leader-led walk through the heritage town of Arrowtown, then enjoy a wine tasting at Gibbston Valley. Maybe toast the end of your journey with a New Zealand-inspired gin and tonic or glass of Otago wine at a bar and restaurant with arguably the most spectacular views in all of Queenstown.

Your travel time today will be approximately 1.5 hours.

Activities:

  • Queenstown - Shotover River Jetboat Experience
  • Gibbston Valley - Wine Cave Tour
  • Arrowtown - Leader-led walk
  • Queenstown - Farewell Aperitivo

Staying in:

  • Ramada Queenstown Central or similar (1 night)

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View from the top of the Skyline in Queenstown

Your New Zealand adventure ends this morning after breakfast. As this trip spends very little time in Queenstown, it’s recommended that you spend an extra day or two if you want to experience all the town has to offer. Your booking agent will be happy to book additional accommodation for you, just get in touch ahead of time.

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