Wildsouth Discovery Tour

Exclusive 9 Day Nature & Wilderness Expedition

Christchurch - West Coast – Queenstown
Milford Sound (WDT09)


Wildsouth Discovery offer their exclusively guided, small group private tours of South Island for the discerning traveller - the Wildsouth Discovery Tour. Brian and Paula, the owners of Wildsouth Discovery personally guide and host their tours and they are passionate about New Zealand.

Come along and allow them to show you the remarkable landscapes and picturesque locations, the soothing sounds and the tantalizing tastes of South island. This tour is fully escorted with guided walks, first class service, superb food and exquisite accommodations.

  • 9 days of scenic splendour
  • Spellbinding landscapes
  • Experience the diverse ecologies
  • A photographer's dream!

"Explore the wonder of New Zealand's magnificent South Island. Your local guides, Brian and Paula will show you the natural wonders and heritage of Te Wai Pounamu / South island. Walk through primeval forests, along deserted beaches and view glaciers pushing into rainforests, all on a Pacific Island! Your journey will include Arthur's Pass National Park and the "High Country", the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area with Glacier Country and Lake Moeraki, the rugged peaks of the Southern Alps and the awe of Piopiotahi / Milford Sound".

Day 1... Christchurch to Arthur's Pass

"Greeting, views, plains & alps"

After being met by your guide and host, Brian and Paula, you will be driven through the "Garden City" and up onto the Port Hills, the flanks of one of the ancient extinct volcanoes that form Banks Peninsula. From the hills there are spectacular views of the city and the Kaikoura Range can be seen far to the north, while the Pacific Ocean sparkles to the east. To the south and west the vast Canterbury Plains stretch to the horizon and in the distance, the Southern Alps. This is an opportunity to talk about where you will be going and what you will see on the tour.

You will then escape the city and start your journey west across the Canterbury Plains. As the distant mountains become closer, you may wonder, just like the Maori and the early settlers before us how you will find a way through. Crossing Porter's Pass, a dramatic landscape change occurs as you enter the high country, an inter-montaine plateau bounded by the Torlesse Mountains to the east and the Craigieburn Mountains to the west. Travelling through this glacial shaped region, you will pass glacial formed lakes and the stunning spiritual limestone formations of Castle Hill which dominate the landscape.

Further on, you will reach the wide expanse of the Waimakariri River and the Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass.

Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass or similar

Included meals: AT, D


Day 2... A day in the mountains

"Mountains, sheep, beech trees and keas"

This is a day to discover the real high country - a day in which you can explore and learn about the alpine landscape, plants and the animals in the spectacular Southern Alps. A tour of the high country sheep farm which is part of the lodge, will enable you to view and learn about the ways of sheep farming in the high country.

From the lodge you will head into the heart of the Southern Alps - Arthur's Pass National Park which has an incredible diversity of flora and landscape. They range from the eastern beech clad hills and tussock grass valleys to the luxuriant rain forest in the west.

In Arthur's Pass National Park, you may take walks to see waterfalls, learn about the forests and alpine plants of this area and experience the alpine landscape. Explore the glacial landscape and learn about the features that the Ice Age left behind.

Seek out and hopefully find a unique South Island personality who is mischievous, inquisitive, comical and rowdy; the cheeky kea - the world's only alpine parrot. You may have to defend your mini coach, as they have been known to try and remove aerials and door trims with their beaks!

Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass or similar

Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D

 

 

Day 3... Arthur's Pass - Hokitika - Fox Glacier

"Mountains, pioneers, greenstone and ice"

After breakfast you will travel through Arthur's Pass National Park and depart Canterbury province for Westland – Te Wai Poutini or "The West Coast" as it is known. Originally used by the Maori to move greenstone from the west coast and later as a link to the gold rush fields, this route reveals great mountain valleys and the marvel of the road as it winds its way down the spectacular Otira Gorge - a geographer's dream.

Follow rivers that flow to the West Coast and observe the changes to the rainforest and the many varieties of ferns that define their character.
Travel on a backcountry road, walk through old gold miners' tunnels and wonder at the tenacity of the miners in their quest for gold. Visit Hokitika, once the capital of Westland and a roaring gold mining town and also a place where the Maori sought their treasured greenstone (pounamu / jade). Greenstone is a feature in the town's bustling centre of art and craft shops.

As you journey south to Glacier Country, you will pass through villages that were once bustling and one now has a population of 2 (three, including the dog!).

Heading on, see the West Coast rainforests and further evidence of the last Ice Age in the kettle lakes created by the melting ice sheets.

Arrive at Franz Josef and view the Franz Josef Glacier pushing into rainforest - truly incredible! Overnight at Fox Glacier.

Accommodation: Te Weheka Lodge, Fox or similar

Included meals: B, MT, L, AT


Day 4... Fox Glacier - Lake Moeraki

"Ice Age, podocarps, geology and lakes"

A day to explore the glaciated landscape of the Fox Glacier region. Walks can be made to the terminal face of the Fox Glacier and to a glacier viewpoint to witness the Fox Glacier's descent down the mountain into the rainforest. An option is a beautiful and tranquil walk which can be taken around the edge of Lake Matheson.

It is here that incredible views (and sometimes reflections) of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman in the lake can often be seen. Alternatively, a drive through the lush rainforest to a remote beach on the Tasman Sea for views of the alps and where we can look for the rare Hectors Dolphins.

An optional guided hike on the Fox Glacier with an alpine guide or perhaps an exciting helicopter ride to view the Southern Alps with a snow landing on the upper reaches of the glacier are available.

From Fox Glacier, travel south to the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, set in the heart of Te Wahi Pounamu - the South West New Zealand World heritage area. This lodge is a Tourism Award Winner providing a first class wilderness experience.

(Please note that the optional glacial hike and helicopter trips are not included in the tour cost and are subject to the weather).

Accommodation: Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D

Day 5... Lake Moeraki

"Rain forest, wilderness, pristine and remote"

Untouched lowland rain forests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snow-capped Southern Alps - this is Lake Moeraki.

Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting of Lake Moeraki in the heart of the 2.7 million hectare Te Wahipounamu - Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. The landscape has been shaped by successive glaciations into fjords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes and waterfalls. Two-thirds of the area is covered with southern beech and podocarps, some of which are over 800 years old. This special place is also home to breeding colonies of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin (seasonal), the Hectors Dolphins (the world's smallest dolphin) and numerous varieties of native birds.

Lake Moeraki is a nature lover's paradise. Visits can be made to wild and remote beaches and activities include guided walks to get close to the wildlife, learning about the forest and experiencing amazing scenery. If you prefer to have a restful day then you can take a canoe out on the tranquil lake or just relax in the lodge.

Accommodation: Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D

Day 6... Lake Moeraki - Haast Pass - Wanaka - Queenstown

"Beaches, waterfalls, tussocks and gold"

Depart Moeraki and travel south to Ship Creek. Here, from a viewing tower on the beach there is a good chance of seeing the rare Hectors Dolphin playing beyond the surf. Walk through a primeval swamp forest to see ancient "dinosaur" trees, view a coastal lagoon and fossick for greenstone on the remote beach.

From here, you will head south again to Haast where the road turns east, following the Haast Highway. You can now observe how the landscape again changes dramatically as the road climbs over the Haast Pass from the dense rain forest of the West Coast to the drier tussock lands of the Otago province. On the way, there are short walks to see waterfalls and if there has been recent rainfall, the Haast River passing through the gorge known as the Gates of Haast can be truly spectacular.

From Haast Pass the road eventually skirts first along the banks of Lake Wanaka and then making a slight turn and rising over a ridge, Lake Wanaka is left behind and Lake Hawea is before you. The road follows the shoreline of this lake and then we reach the alpine village of Wanaka. This is a quiet mountain resort on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka.

From Wanaka, pass the old gold mining village of Cardrona and head over the rugged and remote Crown Range, the site of gold diggings in the 1860's. From the top of the Crown Range there are dramatic views of the Queenstown district. You will then descend to the valley floor and reach the quaint and historic village of Arrowtown. It is then a short drive to your Queenstown accommodation, Millbrook Resort.

Accommodation: Millbrook Country Resort or similar

Included meals: B, MT, L, AT

Day 7... Queenstown

"Adventure and relaxing in the mountains"

A "free" day for you to experience and enjoy some of the many activities which Queenstown has to offer. Your guides will be available to transfer you to the venues and activities of your choice in the Queenstown area.

You might like to enjoy a relaxing cruise on the old steamship Earnslaw, the lady of the lake. For those wanting more excitement, try an exhilarating jetboat trip through the Shotover Canyon. Another New Zealand experience is bungy jumping at the Kawarau Bridge, the first bungy jumping site in the world or perhaps a Ziptrek ecotour through the trees. There are wineries to visit and also an art and craft trail around the district to visit some of the many artists and craft studios. Golf and horse trekking are other possibilities available in Queenstown.
For some this is an ideal opportunity to do some shopping and a ride up the gondola offers spectacular views across to the mountains known as the Remarkables. Your guides will be available to advise and assist with transfers as required.

(Please note that optional activities are not included in the tour cost).

Accommodation: Millbrook Country Resort or similar

Included meals: B

 

Day 8... Queenstown – Piopiotahi / Milford Sound Excursion - Queenstown

"Alpine drive, fiords, glacial lakes, and alps"

The road to Milford Sound through the Fiordland National Park is justifiably almost as famous as the sound itself. To Te Anau there is farmland, then there are lakes and tussock flats and then the breathtaking sheer U shaped glaciated valleys.

As the road proceeds, the landscape becomes more rugged and the sound of water becomes more prominent, especially after rain when it roars and there are waterfalls everywhere. At Te Anau there is a bird sanctuary where you can catch a glimpse of the extremely rare Takahe, one of NZ's flightless native birds,

On the journey to Milford Sound, you can see waterfalls, spectacular alpine views and lakes. The 1.2 km Homer Tunnel which was started in the Great Depression, is a tribute to the labourers who made this route possible. Excavated through the solid rock of the Darran Mountains down into the Cleddau Valley, it gives us access to Milford Sound which was said to be the eighth wonder of the world. You will then explore the magic of the fiord on a nature cruise before heading back to Queenstown.

Please note that the optional extras for the day are a return flight from Milford to Queenstown by plane or perhaps a private helicopter charter with a snow landing which are not included in the tour cost.

Accommodation: Millbrook Country Resort or similar

Included meals: B, MT, L, AT


Day 9... Queenstown & farewell


After breakfast, perhaps relax and indulge in the odd bit of pampering with some of the many health and beauty facilities that are available at Millbrook. A range of products designed to revitalise and relax weary bodies are available and we all need a little care and attention sometime! Perhaps spend some time for that last minute shopping or to experience that last piece of adventure, before it is time for Paula and Brian to bid you farewell. Paula and Brian will transfer you to the airport, car rental office or coach depot, as required.

Included meals: B


Tour Inclusions

  • Fully escorted exclusive "off the beaten track" tours
  • Personal, experienced and knowledgeable local guides and hosts
  • Travel by deluxe 4WD mini-coach
  • The incredible scenery of New Zealand's South Island
  • Guided walks and excursions each day to experience the diverse and varied landscapes - mountains, glaciers, forests, rivers, lakes and beaches
  • Arthur's Pass, Westland, and Fiordland National Parks
  • Seasonal sightings of the Fiordland Crested Penguins
  • Full day excursion to Fiordland and Piopiotahi / Milford Sound with fiord cruise
  • Picnic morning and afternoon teas with NZ biscuits (and Paula's homemade chocolates!)
  • Breakfasts on eight mornings
  • Picnic lunches with NZ wine or cafe lunches on six days
  • Dinners on four nights
  • Eight night's accommodation in first class lodges and premium hotels
  • Courtesy city accommodation pickup and dropoff
  • Depart Christchurch on Day 1 at 12.30 pm and finish in Queenstown on Day 9 at approximately 2.30 pm

Meal codes indicating meals which are included in your Wildsouth experience...

B - Breakfast; MT - Picnic morning tea; L - Lunch;
AT - Picnic afternoon tea; D - Dinner

Not included

  • Optional helicopter trips, scenic flights and other suggested activities are not included in the tour cost

Download the Wildsouth Discovery Tour 9 Day Nature & Wilderness Expedition brochure.