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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience 

13 days from Queenstown to Queenstown

Starting and finishing in Queenstown this tour begins with the stunning beauty of the Routeburn Track. Your fully guided and supported 4 day hike is with Ultimate Hikes and you spend the evenings in the wonderfully equipped lodges before returning to Queenstown. From Queenstown you drive north-west to the pristine wilderness of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, where you immerse yourself in the natural wonders at Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge and the West Coast Glaciers. Continuing north, you board the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train to Christchurch.  From Christchurch you journey south to Mt Cook National Park, where Sir Edmund Hillary prepared to conquer Everest, and it's here we've saved the best for last.  You'll get a bird's eye view of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on the ultimate scenic flight, with a snow landing on the remote Tasman Glacier. 

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 This suggested tour costs from per person (twin share, low season) (get instant quote here)
 13 days/12 nights from Queenstown to Queenstown
 Accommodation suggested on this tour is: Boutique lodges & hotels (Can be customised? YES )
 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible
 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers
 Tour pack: Includes detailed driving instructions, maps, guide books and much more
 This tour can be customised to suit you precisely - just request here

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Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast, New Zealand
Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
 

Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - at a glance (See detailed itinerary)

Day 1: Arrive into Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Day 2: Explore Queenstown today & attend your RouteburnTrack briefing this afternoon
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Day 3: Travel from Queenstown to the start of the Routeburn Track, then hike to Lake Mackenzie
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

Day 4: Fantastic mountain views today and tonight you stay at the Routeburn Falls Lodge
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

Day 5: Descend to the forested lowlands, before you return by coach to Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Day 6: Your rental car is delivered and then drive to Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 233 kms / 145 miles : 2.9 hours

Day 7: Explore the pristine wilderness of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

Day 8: Free day to explore the West Coast Glaciers
Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 111 kms / 69 miles : 1.4 hours

Day 9: Drive north along the stunning West Coast Road and take the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

Day 10: Today you'll enjoy a scenic drive through Canterbury and the MacKenzie Country to Mt Cook National Park
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

Day 11: Explore Mt Cook National Park by air with the ultimate scenic flight to the Tasman Glacier
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Day 12: Scenic drive through the arid lands of the MacKenzie Country to Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

Day 13: Depart Queenstown today

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

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 1

Day 1 - Arrive into Queenstown

Transfer from Queenstown Airport to your accommodation

Welcome to the Adventure Capital of Queenstown.  You will be met at the airport and driven to your accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Welcome to Queenstown

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities 'Queenstown' is synonymous with adventure. Nestled below soaring vistas of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this small alpine town is parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway. Spend time on the Gibbston valley wine trail and end with a meal at Michelin star chef Josh Emett’s restaurant, Rata. Take a trip down memory lane on a 100 year old steamship the TSS Earnslaw. Soak in the scenery on your walk around the lake, or venture further afield into Fiordland National Park. Head over the hill to resort town Wanaka, or re-live scenes from Lord Of The Rings by four wheel drive. But - if you really do want that rush - head out on the Shotover Jet, dive off the Nevis Bungy, freefall on the Canyon swing or Zip line the Gondola. Just be sure it's done on an empty stomach  – don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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

Hop aboard the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw for an iconic Queenstown experience. Take in the local scenery as you cruise Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station, a working sheep farm. On your arrival at Walter Peak you'll stroll through its stunning lakeside gardens to the homestead for a gourmet barbeque dinner. Watch your chef prepare your meal from a delicious seasonal menu and choose from a tempting selection of New Zealand meat and local produce. Complete your meal with an indulgent dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee. Following dinner enjoy an entertaining demonstration of life on a high country farm. The return cruise offers a chance to enjoy a singalong with the ship’s pianist or simply breathe in the crisp night air on the moonlit decks as the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Your accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

The stunning five-star Sofitel Queenstown is located in the heart of New Zealand's premier four season lake and alpine resort. New Zealand's very first Sofitel, this luxury boutique hotel occupies one of the best locations to get the most from the vibrant town.
Sofitel Queenstown

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 2

Day 2 - Explore Queenstown today & attend your RouteburnTrack briefing this afternoon

Experience the wonders of Queenstown

Renowned as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital,’ Queenstown is not just an action destination. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the (truly remarkable) Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is a melting pot of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders. Follow the vines through Gibbston Valley as you sample the region’s best wine. Stop at the Chard Farm cellar door, visit the award-winning Peregrine vineyard or take a cellar cave tour at Gibbston Valley Winery. Cruise to Walter Peak station for dinner on board a 100 year old steamship - the TSS Earnslaw. While you're there, a farm tour is a must do for those not familiar with rural living.

Take some time to wander the waterfront, and grab lunch at one of the many amazing cafes and restaurants on offer. Try Vudu’s Pantry and larder or for a holiday treat go to Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown - a disused gold mining settlement built in the 1800’s.Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. After all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or White Water Rafting.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour

Nomad Safaris offers a complete 4WD tour into the historic Skippers Canyon. The Nomad Safaris Skippers Canyon adventure is a half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Travel the road that was hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley making this an exciting adventure the whole family will enjoy. As your guide navigates this awe-inspiring canyon you will visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge and the township of Skippers. Visit the restored school house where you will gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment. British Automobile Association voted Skippers Canyon Road as one of the 25 most scenic roads in the world.

Routeburn Track Guided Walk Briefing

Today there is a pre-walk briefing for Routeburn Track walkers at 3:45pm at the Ultimate Hikes Centre in Queenstown, it is compulsory to attend.  The briefing will cover everything you need to know to prepare for your hiking adventure.

Your accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

The stunning five-star Sofitel Queenstown is located in the heart of New Zealand's premier four season lake and alpine resort. New Zealand's very first Sofitel, this luxury boutique hotel occupies one of the best locations to get the most from the vibrant town.

Meals included: Breakfast

Sofitel Queenstown

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 3

Day 3 - Travel from Queenstown to the start of the Routeburn Track, then hike to Lake Mackenzie

Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk

The Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountain country between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Since the 1880's the Routeburn Track has proved to be one of the most accessible and popular journeys into New Zealand's forests and mountains. The Routeburn Track passes through two national parks, Fiordland and Mount Aspiring, and is part of Te Wahipounamu, South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.The area is a haven for native birdlife: the Robin; Fantail; Parakeet; Bellbird; Yellowhead and watch out for the resident Kea at Routeburn Falls! The variety of landscapes will astound you: mountainous peaks; sheer rock faces; alpine basins; pristine lakes; cascading waterfalls; luxuriant forest; turquoise rivers and million dollar views around every corner.

The Routeburn Track Guided Walk is a 3 day / 2 night Queenstown to Queenstown all-inclusive guided walk traversing New Zealand's Southern Alps. The package includes all transport, accommodation, meals, snacks, backpacks and rain jackets.Accommodation is inluxury lodges and you will be led by expert Ultimate Hikes guides.

Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie

14km (8.7miles) 5-6 hours walking

Your adventure begins with a coach ride from Queenstown to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road. Begin your hike up a well-graded trail until you get above bush line, then take a side trip up to Key Summit. Descend to Lake Howden for lunch, before continuing steadily upwards to the magnificent Earland Falls. Further along the trail, the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of the Darran Range come into view before you make your descent to Lake Mackenzie Lodge. (Includes lunch and dinner).

Your accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

The Routeburn Track lodges have been purposely designed and built and all lodges have drying rooms, flush toilets and hot showers complete with soap, shampoo and conditioner. The lodge kitchen treats you with a three course dinner and cooked breakfast. Accommodation is in bedrooms with bunk beds sleeping 4 to 6 people per room.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Routeburn Track Lodges

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 4

Day 4 - Fantastic mountain views today and tonight you stay at the Routeburn Falls Lodge

Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle

15km (9.4miles) 5-6 hours walking

You leave the emerald waters of Lake Mackenzie; climb the zigzag above the bush line and cross the Hollyford face with its dramatic alpine landscape. After crossing the Harris Saddle and skirting Lake Harris, you descend into an immense alpine basin, which is alive with summer flowers. Continue to Routeburn Falls Lodge. (Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Your accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

The Routeburn Track lodges have been purposely designed and built and all lodges have drying rooms, flush toilets and hot showers complete with soap, shampoo and conditioner. The lodge kitchen treats you with a three course dinner and cooked breakfast. Accommodation is in bedrooms with bunk beds sleeping 4 to 6 people per room.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Routeburn Track Lodges

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 5

Day 5 - Descend to the forested lowlands, before you return by coach to Queenstown

Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown

 10 km (6.1 miles) 3-4 hours walking

The trail descends from the Routeburn Falls to the alpine meadows of the Routeburn Flats. Pass crystal clear river pools and enter the forested gorge, opening to the lowlands. Coach back to Glenorchy for your group photo and then on to Queenstown, arriving at 4.00pm.

That evening you meet at a Queenstown restaurant for a celebration dinner at 6.30pm where you will be presented with your group photo and certificate of achievement. (Includes breakfast, lunch and celebration dinner)

Your accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

The stunning five-star Sofitel Queenstown is located in the heart of New Zealand's premier four season lake and alpine resort. New Zealand's very first Sofitel, this luxury boutique hotel occupies one of the best locations to get the most from the vibrant town.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Sofitel Queenstown

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 6

Day 6 - Your rental car is delivered and then drive to Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.  To help you on your way GPS is included with all rentals.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Queenstown to Lake Moeraki

Crossing the Crown Range, the highest sealed road in the country, you arrive into the alpine town of Wanaka. The route follows the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea before you enter the township of Makarora, the gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Blue Pools here are a wonderful 30 minute walk through pristine native beech forest. Descending into Mt. Aspiring National Park and towards the Haast Pass, crashing rivers and waterfalls are around every corner. Crossing the Haast River you are now truly on the wild West Coast, a 600 kilometre stretch of bush, rainforest and podocarp forest. The tranquil bush surroundings of Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki are just a few extra kilometres.

Your accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

Spectacular beaches that are home to fur seals and crested penguins, untouched lowland rainforests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snow capped Southern Alps. Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting of the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki in the heart of the 2.7 million hectares South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 233 kms / 145 miles : 2.9 hours

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 7

Day 7 - Explore the pristine wilderness of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Complimentary Guided Nature Activities:

Twice daily complimentary activities are led by expert naturalists and introduce guests to the area remarkable natural history (approx. 1-hour duration each). Some of the activities on offer include:

  • Discovery the Ancient Rainforest: Join an ecologist guide to learn about the remarkable diversity of life in the rainforest
  • Freshwater Ecology and Giant Eel Feeding: Discover what lies beneath the surface of the Moeraki River and handfeed the world’s largest freshwater eels.
  • Glow Worms and Stars of the Southern Night Sky: A relaxed stroll after dinner to see glow worms light up the forest and marvel at a sky completely free from light or atmospheric pollution.
  • Learn Easy Kayaking: Learn to use a safe and stable ‘minnow’ kayak and explore the calm waters of Lake Moeraki

Longer Charged Guided Activities:

Join a guide to explore further afield. These trips are generally 3 to 4 hours in length and are a great way to learn about wild New Zealand. Some of the activities on offer include:

  • Tawaki Penguin Discovery Hike: Join a guide and hike to a secluded wilderness beach. Watch Tawaki penguins emerge from the Tasman Sea and make their way to their rainforest nests.
  • Hard Seacoast, Tawaki Penguin and New Zealand Fur Seals Wilderness Adventure: This is a dramatic and challenging wet footed walk. It involves wildlife viewing, scrambling over beach rocks and along spectacularly wild beaches. A good level of fitness required.
  • Easy Seacoast, Hector's Dolphin and Beach Fossicking Adventure: Explore a dramatic expanse of wilderness seacoast. Watch dolphins ride the breakers, search for jade and other beach treasures and learn about marine life of the rock reefs and tidepools.
  • Lake Moeraki Kayak Safari to Glacier Beach and The Giant Matai Trees: Join a guide in our safe and stable kayaks to paddle Lake Moeraki. Enjoy refreshments on a sandy beach and walk beneath giant rainforest Matai trees.
  • Lower Moeraki Rainforest Hike and Kayak to the Tasman Sea. Marvel at the diversity of life in the rainforest. Hike and kayak through ancient rainforest to the mouth of the Moeraki River, search for jade and enjoy refreshments beside the wild Tasman Sea.

Self-Guided Activity Options:

  • Explore a 10km network of walking trails. Stroll beneath 1000-year-old rainforest trees, along rivers and lakeshores and visit a beach home to Tawaki penguins.
  • Borrow a complimentary guest kayak and discover the calm waters of Lake Moeraki. You may like to hire a fishing rod and try your luck catching a brown trout.
  • Relax in peace and tranquillity and soak up the rainforest and river views.

Your accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

Spectacular beaches that are home to fur seals and crested penguins, untouched lowland rainforests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snow capped Southern Alps. Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting of the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki in the heart of the 2.7 million hectares South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 8

Day 8 - Free day to explore the West Coast Glaciers

Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier

Continuing along the wild west coast you pass through ancient podocarp forests. At Knights Point Lookout an interesting display tells of shipwrecks in the region and at the right time of year you can see elephant seals basking on the far beaches.
First Fox Glacier welcomes you to the glacier region and Lake Matheson, the famous reflection lake, is a five minute drive west of Fox Township. Historic Gillespie's Beach, a wilderness of crashing surf and distant snow capped mountains, known for its seal colony and colourful gold mining history, is 25 minutes west by car. Access to Fox Glacier is well signposted from the highway and a short walk will reward you with some great views of the largest of the West Coast glaciers.
Franz Josef township is just a further 45 minutes and a great way to experience the glaciers is with The Helicopter Line or Mt. Cook ski planes.

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Located in In the heart of the West Coast, Franz Josef is small but lively town. Known for its 12 km long glacier and surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains, the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To get close to the ice, walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

The Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk will take you up alongside the mighty Waiho River bed, following the glacier’s path as it winds its way through the remarkable landscape. Here you will learn about the glacier’s history and learn the legend of Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere. After a brief climb you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the glacier’s rapidly changing terminal face. Accessing some exclusive trails and including great storytelling from your experienced and well-trained guide.
Following on from your scenic walk enjoy access to the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, the perfect end to an unforgettable day.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys. 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's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Your accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest at Franz Josef is a very special five-star retreat. Designed with utmost care of its precious environment, guests at Te Waonui Forest Retreat will find themselves encircled by rainforest and accommodated in natural and sustainable luxury.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 111 kms / 69 miles : 1.4 hours

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 9

Day 9 - Drive north along the stunning West Coast Road and take the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Your drive today takes you north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. This seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s and is known for its Greenstone (Pounamu). Take in the endless sea-views from the coast and pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops before moving on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour

From humble origins in 1868, the Monteith's family-owned Phoenix Brewery became the West Coast's most popular brewery for its strong tasting, full-bodied ale. The Phoenix Brewery later merged with a group of small breweries to form Westland Brewing Company, predecessor to today's Monteith's Brewing Company. In this informative brewery experience, you will learn about the heritage and traditions of the brewing business. Witness the making of a fine beer in open fermenters by coal-fired boilers, using only the finest ingredients. Watch the brewers carefully hand craft the beer in small batches to develop the full natural flavours. When each batch is ready, the brewers employ a brilliant time honoured tradition for quality control - they taste it.

On completion, you will receive a tasting a 3 beers of your choice from the tap at the Brewery bar, plus your very own personalised Monteith's 500ml bottle with your name on it - a personalised endorsement from the head brewer himself.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Crossing the south from Greymouth to Christchurch, the Tranz Alpine is considered one of the worlds greatest train journeys. You'll travel from east to the west of the south island through Arthur's Pass National Park.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation

On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. 2 superb award winning on site restaurants also feature.

Meals included: Breakfast

The George Hotel, Christchurch

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 10

Day 10 - Today you'll enjoy a scenic drive through Canterbury and the MacKenzie Country to Mt Cook National Park

Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.  To help you on your way GPS is included with all rentals.

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Drive through the heart of the South Island today, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Stop for a breather in Geraldine before continuing into Mackenzie Country. As you head over Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.

Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, renowned for its incredible turquoise hue. Skirt the lake edge to arrive at your final destination Mt Cook Village.

 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass

The Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre pays tribute to one of New Zealand's greatest characters - humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world's greatest explorers. Showcasing the Aoraki Mount Cook region and its people within a comprehensive museum as well as a 126-seat custom-designed theatre and Digital Dome Planetarium. this informative experience is one to remember.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Experience the best views in the park from the spacious top floor rooms of the magnificent Hermitage Hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 11

Day 11 - Explore Mt Cook National Park by air with the ultimate scenic flight to the Tasman Glacier

Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park

At 3754 metres Aoraki-Mt. Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain, located deep in the heart of the Southern Alps. From the Visitor Centre at the southern end of Lake Pukaki, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of this immense peak. As well as its impressive beauty, Mt. Cook National Park is also home to a huge range of awe-inspiring sights and activities. Take to the air with Mt. Cook Ski Planes for a scenic flight that includes a glacier landing. At around 27 kilometres long the Tasman Glacier is New Zealand's longest and a Glacier Explorers tour will give you the opportunity to see its unique features.

There are many short hikes in and around the park and these are well signposted. For a fascinating guided tour the Mt. Cook Encounter Guided Walk is a must-do and those with an interest in the night sky should take a stargazing tour of the Mt. John Observatory. The region is considered to have one of the clearest night skies in the world and is one of the few gold-rated dark sky reserves worldwide.

The Hermitage Hotel complex offers fine dining, multiple cafes and a bar. Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre for insight into this region's mountain climbing history. You'll also learn of Sir Ed's incredible achievements and his dedication to helping others around the world.

Mt. Cook Ultimate Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks

Immerse yourself in the incredible Aoraki Mount Cook Scenery when you take this awe-inspiring 55 minute flight. See hanging glaciers, calved icebergs, rainforests, rivers of ice  and the renowned Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. You’ll also have the unique experience of landing on the Glacier itself, a truly magical way to see New Zealand's tallest peak.

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village

There are many short scenic walks beginning in and around the Mt. Cook Village, suitable for all ages and abilities. Located within the Mount Cook Village is the Department of Conservation information centre, where updates on the track conditions and suitability is available as well as information on the history of the area and its wildlife.

Below is a snapshot of some of the walks available:

 - Bowen Bush Walk  - 10 minute return

 - Glencoe Walk - 10 minute return

 - Red Tarns Track - Two hour return

 - Kea Point Walk - Two hour return

 - Hooker Lake - Four hour return

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Experience the best views in the park from the spacious top floor rooms of the magnificent Hermitage Hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

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Routeburn & Southern Wilderness Experience - Day 12

Day 12 - Scenic drive through the arid lands of the MacKenzie Country to Queenstown

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Today you'll leave Mount Cook National park and travel to Queenstown. Go through the lakeside town of Twizel and then pass through the gliding capital of New Zealand - Omarama - before ascending the Lindis Pass. Follow the road to Cromwell, located at the at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Continue on towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump, or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Your accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

The stunning five-star Sofitel Queenstown is located in the heart of New Zealand's premier four season lake and alpine resort. New Zealand's very first Sofitel, this luxury boutique hotel occupies one of the best locations to get the most from the vibrant town.

Meals included: Breakfast

Sofitel Queenstown

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg is: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

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Day 13 - Depart Queenstown today

A final morning in the Adventure Capital before dropping your car at the 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 is: 8 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

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