A Dream Journey in Nature’s Wonderland

Overview

From the mountains to the sea, New Zealand’s South Island feels like one enormous national park. Snorkel and swim with dolphins on the Kaikoura Coast, hike and kayak in Abel Tasman National Park, and savor world-famed Milford Sound on a breathtaking overnight cruise. Pinot noirs and crisp white wines, delightful picnics and barbecues, wonderful lodging, superb Trip Leaders who make things fun every step of the way—our journey starts out amazing and gets more spectacular every day!

Every aspect of this trip was perfect! I suspect it is hard to have anything but a positive experience in a country as beautiful as New Zealand, but your attention to every detail ensured that ours was the very best. Thank you!
— Anne H. Washington, DC

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Kaikoura Coast / Swim with Dolphins / Marlborough Sounds

Hike along the Kaikoura Peninsula, then swim and snorkel with its most famous local personalities—the playful dusky dolphins who frolic here in pods numbering in the hundreds. In Marlborough Sounds, renowned for its crisp white wines, you’ll enjoy wine tasting and a vineyard lunch.

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Days 4-7
Abel Tasman National Park / Paparoa

Our hikes in Abel Tasman National Park lead through mystical fern forests, past lagoons with crystalline waters, and up into headlands, all with fantastic coastal views. At Paparoa National Park, explore water-sculpted limestone blowholes and hike through a magical “lost world” of subtropical rainforest.

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Days 8-11
Fox Glacier / Mount Aspiring

A walk to the terminus of the Fox Glacier offers up-close views of a dynamic river of ice, and we search for the rare Fiordland crested penguins at Munro Beach. In Mount Aspiring National Park, our hike leads to a natural amphitheater surrounded by hundreds of waterfalls pouring from hanging sheets of ice.

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Days 12-13
Fiordland / Milford Sound

With sheer rock walls rising from the water’s edge, Milford Sound is a dramatic meeting of mountains and sea. Our overnight cruise takes us out to an anchorage in a sheltered cove beneath Mount Pembroke where we can explore the fjord by kayak or tender, or simply relax and enjoy the view. Depart Day 13 or join our Queenstown or Hollyford Track extensions.

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Highlights

Highlights

Hike in Abel Tasman and Mount Aspiring national parks
Swim with dolphins, walk to the terminus of the Fox Glacier
Wonderful cuisine and local wines
Milford Sound overnight cruise, with spectacular sunset kayaking
Queenstown and Hollyford Track extensions

Details

Length: 13 days
Cost From: $5895  
Arrive: Christchurch, New Zealand
Depart: Queenstown, New Zealand
Lodging: 11 nights hotels, historic inns, and beachside lodges, 1 night private cabins on boat
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

Moderate hiking, 3-4 hours a day on hiking days (4-7 hours a day on optional Hollyford Track extension), optional sea kayaking and Queenstown extension activities