14 Day Adventure Tour
- Price from:
- 3999 NZD /person
- 00644 233 8642
- 00644 233 2468
- Payment Types:
- Credit Card
- Travellers cheque
- Wire Transfer
- 14 days
- Location Start:
- Location Finish:
- Start time:
- 09.00 am
- End time:
- 05.00 pm
- We Speak:
Last updated: 07/20/2007
The Rimu is a multi-activity trip, with plenty of options to suit your fancy! We do a snorkeling trip to a seal colony, an incredible 3-day guided backpacking, biking, or sea kayaking trip.
Monday - Arrive and snorkeling with seals in Kaikoura
Most people leave the Northern hemisphere on a Saturday evening and arrive in Auckland early on Monday morning. You'll lose a day to the dateline - but you get it back on the way home! You'll immediately take the short flight to Christchurch in the South Island where we'll meet you. You'll need to arrive in Christchurch by 10 am or so, then we'll meet you and drive up the coast to the seaside town of Kaikoura, where we will spend the afternoon and evening. We'll take you out to the Kaikoura Peninsula for a snorkeling trip at the seal colony. You'll be supplied with a wetsuit, a mask and a snorkel, and you can swim within a couple of feet of the native New Zealand Fur Seals as they cavort in the water. This makes for a cruisy introduction to New Zealand and gives you the chance to spend most of the day relaxing and recovering from your flight. Depending on where you're coming from, you'll probably find jetlag is no big deal. For instance, it's a 12-hour direct overnight flight from the West Coast of the USA to Auckland and there's only a 3 hour time difference between New Zealand and US Pacific time. If you're coming from further afield, you'll appreciate the gentle start to your New Zealand adventure.
ACCOMMODATION: A lovely local Bed & Breakfast, Kaikoura. (L,D)
Tuesday - Visit vineyard & Hiking Angelus Circuit
We'll drive north for a couple of hours to Blenheim, in the heart of the Marlborough wine region. We'll visit Forrest Estate Winery, where you can sample some of their fantastic wines while we picnic on the vineyard lawn.If you prefer hiking, we've got just the thing! Our hike starts at the charming village of Saint Arnaud, on the edge of Nelson Lakes National Park. To keep our hiking group sizes down in this beautiful but fragile environment, we keep our exact route and group composition flexible. We'll spend the afternoon hiking the relatively gentle trail alongside Lake Rotoiti. We'll stay at Lakehead Hut overnight, a small mountain cabin in a gorgeous setting at the head of Lake Rotoiti, with a river running by and mountains everywhere you look. Nelson Lakes National Park straddles the northern part of the Southern Alps, an area composed of beech forests, big lakes and even bigger mountains. It's a special place and in our opinion, vastly superior to its more famous neighbor, Abel Tasman National Park. This is serious wilderness country - no roads, no shops, no TVs - just incredible views and marvellous solitude. You don't have to carry a very heavy pack - our guides are pretty tough and they'll carry the lion's share of the load. You'll be carrying a sleeping bag, a few spare clothes, and some food - no need for any more than that, although we'll provide tents and so on if you'd prefer to camp out under the stars.
ACCOMMODATION: Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (B,L,D)
Wednesday - Hiking Angelus Circuit
Today is an unforgettable day - the scenery gets even better with each step! We walk alongside the Travers River, through native beech forest, before heading up the Hukere Stream to spend the rest of the day hiking up to the ridgeline of the mountains. This is a steep hike, with an elevation gain of 3000 feet (1000m), but it's absolutely worth it. There is a gorgeous alpine lake at the top and the remote but comfortable Angelus Hut is ideally situated right on the edge of the lake. We have plenty of experience in getting people to the top, whatever your physical fitness level and age. If you're still keen for more, from Angelus Hut we'll scramble up a nearby peak to enjoy stunning views in every direction. If you prefer to hang out at Angelus hut with a cuppa, that's fine too! Many of our clients who have chosen the hiking option tell us that the Angelus Circuit - still unspoilt and non-commercial - was the highlight of their New Zealand adventure, and many kiwis prefer this trip to the better-known Routeburn and Milford Tracks.
ACCOMMODATION: Angelus Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (B,L,D)
Thursday - Hiking Angelus Circuit
This morning we'll wake up on top of the world. After breakfast, it's a four to five hour hike out, first along the stark ridgeline with dramatic views down to Tasman Bay and the mountains of Kahurangi National Park beyond, then down through native beech forest. It's a challenging walk out, but it's worth every drop of sweat! We'll hook up with the kayakers and cyclists before carrying on to the coast. After regrouping in Saint Arnaud we'll head to the wonderful West Coast area - 500 miles of gorgeous coastline with a population of only 40,000 people on the whole coast! For dinner this evening, we'll stop at the tiny seaside settlement of Charleston to pick up the quintessential kiwi dinner - fish and chips! If it's a fine evening, we'll enjoy our fish and chips on the beach before heading south down the stunning coastline towards the coastal village of Punakaiki.
ACCOMMODATION: West Coast lodgings. Comfortable and quiet. (B,L,D)
Friday - Hiking in Punakaiki Rainforest
We'll spend most of the day in Punakaiki to hike amongst the limestone canyons and lush rainforest of the Inland Pack Track. The gold miners who first opened up the area over a century ago established this trail. We'll also check out Punakaiki's famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes. This is one of our favorite places in the world, and you'll see why. Finally, we'll leave in the afternoon to drive down the scenic coastal road and stop at Hokitika to check out the local art galleries and pounamu carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade). Then we'll carry on to Okarito Lagoon, a gem of the West Coast that is all but untouched due to it being 10 miles down a one-way road from an obscure highway turnoff. With a population of only 31 people, there are no shops, no restaurants and no traffic here - and watching the sun set over the Tasman Sea is definitely not to be missed!
ACCOMMODATION: Okarito Beach House, Okarito. Off-the-beaten-path, isolated and comfortable. (B,L,D).
Saturday - Kayaking in Okarito Lagoon, hiking & beach
You've got a lot of options at Okarito. You can spend a cruisy day in this sleepy but beautiful beach town to recharge your batteries, or do some awesome hiking and kayaking. The Okarito Lagoon is unique in that it hosts the only white heron colony in New Zealand. You can sea kayak on the lagoon with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains for a few hours, then spend the rest of the day exploring the deserted beach or hiking in the rainforest. This evening - after a traditional Kiwi roast dinner (with vegetarian options of course) - we can head out to listen for New Zealand's most famous bird, the rare and elusive kiwi. You'll almost never see a kiwi, as they are nocturnal and very shy, but they have a very distinctive call, so it's great fun to go out and listen for them. And the sunsets around here are definitely not to be missed.
ACCOMMODATION: Okarito Beach House, Okarito. (B,L,D)
Sunday - Hiking near Franz Josef Glacier
Just south of Okarito there are two formidable glaciers descending from the mountains to the sea. In terms of scenery, this place is just off the chart, and we'll spend most of the day hiking at Franz Josef Glacier. We'll hike up through the rainforest to either Roberts Point or Alex Knob, both of which give great views of the terminal face, lower reaches and lateral moraine of the Franz Josef Glacier. We only do these hikes in good weather, as the rocks get very slippery in the rain. If it's raining, we'll do a shorter walk to the terminal face of the Fox Glacier, hike around Lake Matheson and visit the Blue Pools near the Haast Pass.
Heli-hike option (add US$240 + tax)
A less strenuous, but outrageously scenic option today is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, ice axes and so on, you'll board a modern turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 4,000 feet above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you'll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels - no previous experience required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice, and make sure you make the most of the conditions. At the end of your hike on the ice, you'll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains, and back to civilization.
The heli-hike is extremely popular with the general travelling public, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, you can reserve a space on the heli-hike, and we'll make sure a spot is held for you. You can leave your decision until you're actually on your trip, and we'll get you a spot if it's available.
ACCOMMODATION: The Homestead, Makarora. Very comfortable and spacious. (B,L,D)
Monday - Mount Aspiring National Park to Queenstown
We'll head down the road to Lake Wanaka for a short hike over-looking the lake and the surrounding mountains. A short drive across the mountains at Cardrona Saddle and we drop into Queenstown in time for lunch. Queenstown is a great place to spend a couple of days. It's the adventure capital of New Zealand - you'll find all the comforts of civilization: massage therapists, restaurants, sidewalk cafes, window shopping, and adrenaline pumping activities! You'll find some incredible optional activities here, such as hang gliding, bungy jumping, jet boating, skydiving, horse trekking, fishing, and wine tours - it's all here! There are also incredible hikes and bike rides as well. Queenstown is not a big place - the population is about 5000 - but there's plenty to do! Or you can do nothing, if you prefer to just soak up the atmosphere. Many of our clients enjoy lounging about just reading a book after the hiking and paddling on the West Coast.
ACCOMMODATION: Queenstown apartments. (B,L)
Tuesday - Free day in Queenstown
It's all up to you today - enjoy!
ACCOMMODATION: Queenstown apartments. (B)
Wednesday - Hike Routeburn Track, cycle Hollyford Valley
This morning we head down to Te Anau for lunch, before continuing on to The Divide, where we'll hike part of the famous Routeburn Track. The Routeburn is one of the best-known hiking tracks in New Zealand and we do the best part of the track, which overlooks the Hollyford Valley, Lake Marian and Mt. Christina. After hiking back to the trailhead, you'll be fitted with a 21-speed front-suspension Specialized mountain bike for a spectacular ride through the Hollyford Valley. This remote and gently-rolling backcountry road is lined with unspoilt beech forest and surrounded by towering peaks - take your time or go as hard as you want - either way, this is a ride you'll never forget! If cycling isn't your thing, you can skip it and just enjoy the scenery - like all our activities, the cycling is completely optional. We'll all end up at Hollyford Camp, an isolated and rustic establishment, originally set up in the 1930s for the workers who built the nearby Homer Tunnel and Milford Road. This is a beautiful, tranquil place, with a dozen cabins scattered around a museum and historic general store, still operating to this day. Hollyford Camp is right next to the Hollyford River and is surrounded by the mountains of Fiordland National Park. It's definitely not a 5-star hotel, but it's a great little place, and a wonderful location to hang out at the end of such an adventurous day!! Gunn's Camp , in the Hollyford Valley. Gunn's Camp is an isolated and rustic establishment, originally set up in the 1930s for the workers who built the Homer Tunnel and the Milford Road. They didn't live in luxury, but they lived in a beautiful, tranquil place, with about a dozen cabins scattered about a central building. Gunn's Camp is right next to the Hollyford River and is surrounded by the towering peaks of Fiordland National Park. It's definitely not a 5-star hotel, but it's a great little place, and a wonderful place to hang out at the end of such an adventurous day!
Gunn's Camp is a famous kiwi icon, but the facilities are pretty rugged compared to all the other awesome places we stay on our trips. Many of our clients love it, but some have told us they feel it needs a lick of paint, better bathroom facilities, and so on. We have asked the owner to upgrade the facilities in time for the 05/06 NZ summer season. We're pretty serious about hot showers and a comfortable bed :) If the 05/06 revamp is not done to our satisfaction, we'll be staying somewhere else.
ACCOMMODATION: Gunn's Camp, Hollyford Valley. Rustic but idyllic. (B,L,D)
Thursday - Sea kayaking in Milford Sound
It's an early start today. First we'll have a short drive through the Homer Tunnel, which comes out at the top of a spectacular alpine road that winds its way downhill to Milford Sound. The lush rainforest carpeting the lower slopes of the mountains gives way to the massively steep glacier-carved slopes and waterfalls of the Darren Range. Milford Sound, rated the 8th Natural Wonder of the World by Rudyard Kipling, is breathtaking. Sheer rock walls plunge thousands of feet to the sea, surrounded by snow-capped mountains! Most people see Milford Sound from the deck of a cruise ship, but we've got a better way - gliding along in a sea kayak, causing minimum disruption to the seals and dolphins, which are very friendly and often eager to visit. This is an awesome trip, run by specialist kayak outfitters, and it's equally suitable for beginners or experts. When you get back from your morning's paddle, we'll head to Lake Manapouri, where we'll stay at the Lake Manapouri Inn, beautifully located on the lake's edge. You'll love the great views out over Lake Manapouri and the surrounding mountains of Fiordland National Park. We'll arrive by mid-afternoon so you can relax and enjoy the surroundings or take the bikes out to explore the countryside.
ACCOMMODATION: Lake Manapouri Inn, Lake Manapouri. (B,L,D)
Friday - Exploring high country sheep farm
Today we have a mid-morning start, to head back up the road to Queenstown, where we stop for a couple of hours. This gives you the chance to get some lunch, do any last minute shopping or send postcards to friends and family, or whatever you might need to do before heading back into the wilderness for the remainder of your trip. We'll drive up to Lake Pukaki, near Mt. Cook, where we stay on a 60,000-acre working, high-country sheep farm, called Braemar Station. ("Station" is the New Zealand word for a big ranch.) While we're here, we stay in the shearers' quarters. Again, it's not a 5-star hotel, but many of our previous clients have told us this was one of their favorite places on the whole trip! The view out the kitchen window in the morning will knock your socks off - one huge mountain, rearing towards the sky on the other side of a gorgeous cobalt-blue lake. And with no lights for miles around, the stars on a clear night are like nothing you've ever seen - just the place for your last couple of nights in New Zealand!
ACCOMMODATION: Shearers' Quarters, Braemar Station. A little rustic but the views are breathtaking! (B,D)
Saturday - Hiking near Mt. Cook
This morning it's an hour or so to Mt. Cook village, at the head of Lake Pukaki. Mt. Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, and we have a stunning and little-known day hike (weather permitting) to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It's a tough slog up, but you'll remember the view of the Mueller Glacier and the surrounding peaks of the Main Divide forever! There are other hiking options if you'd like to take it a little easier. The weather conditions are very important in this area, as it is a true alpine climate notorious for sudden weather shifts. If we aren't able to do the Mueller hike, we'll take an impressive hike up the Hooker Valley to a glacial lake at the base of Hooker Glacier, complete with icebergs! Then we head back to the shearers' quarters for the last night of the Rimu . We'll enjoy a traditional Kiwi BBQ and a cold drink as we sit outside and watch the sun set over Mt. Cook.
ACCOMMODATION: Shearers' quarters, Braemar Station. (B,L)
Sunday - Depart for home
This is the last day of your two-week trip around the South Island. See the itinerary for the Kauri trip if you want to take a few more days to see the North Island as well maybe. We'll leave after breakfast for the three-hour drive to Christchurch, and arrive in the afternoon in time for the flights back to Auckland. Any flight after 4pm is ideal but we can make 3pm flights if we have a little notice. International flights from Auckland usually leave early evening, so if you're heading back to North America, you'll get home some time on Sunday, even though you left on Sunday evening! Flights back to Europe, of course, take a little longer. You'll be refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you'll have had with us in New Zealand! (B,L)
- Extras -
- Tour Includes:
Multi-Day Backpacking, Sea Kayaking, or Biking, Beaches and Rainforest of the West Coast, Sea Kayaking in Okarito & Milford Sound, Hiking Routeburn Track, Paparoa National Park, Franz Josef Glacier & Mt Cook, Cycling to Milford Sound.
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Email the tour operator - 14 Day Adventure Tour
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