New Zealand's south island is full of wonderful wilderness, which is why this adventure takes you off grid. Journeying into the thicketed heart of the South Island, you'll encounter unforgettable experiences every single day. Walk on a glacier, kayak in the Marlborough Sounds, learn yoga at an eco-retreat and bungy jump in Queenstown - and that's a small sample of the adventures awaiting you. This is the South Island unplugged, and it's utterly unforgettable.
We'll get 9 of your meals, you get the rest. You can expect an included breakfast most mornings, as well as an authentic Kiwi BBQ and a breakfast buffet with floor to ceiling views of Mt Cook. We'll also give you plenty of opportunities to try the best gourmet eats in NZ, with killer tips to find the perfect flat white, hokey-pokey icecream or pulled lamb pie.
Wellington to Marlborough Sounds
After meeting and greeting in the compact cultural hub of Wellington this morning, we're catching the ferry to the wild and wonderful South Island.It's time for our first Special Stay - only accessible by water. Lochmara Lodge is more than just a place to stay, it's a natural haven, and a unique way to experience the magic of the Marlborough Sounds. There's no road access and no TVs - just gorgeous views, nature walks, art and wildlife and, at night, clear starswept skies. Facilities include free kayaks and paddleboards, hammocks, a beach, and world famous nature trails. There's also the Underwater Observatory, where we'll get a tour from a marine biologist who will tell us all about their work to replenish fish populations of the sounds. We'll also take the sculpture and art trail along 10 acres of a 'living gallery' with mixed media art by renowned global artists.
We've got a full day to explore the sounds. Go kayaking or stand up paddleboarding, hike to the Queen Charlotte Sound or take the Seafood Odyssey Cruise. Featuring Regal salmon, Cloudy Bay clams and Greenshell mussels with local Sauvignon Blanc for the perfect food and wine match, you'll also get to enjoy the beauty of the sounds as you cruise aboard a luxury launch. Bliss.
Marlborough Sounds to Christchurch
We're taking a quick break from nature today as we head onto Christchurch.Christchurch is still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquakes that destroyed its centre, but it remains a vibrant city steeped in its European heritage. We'll check out the local sights of this city in transition with an included tour before retiring and getting ready for our next venture into nature.
Christchurch to Mt Cook
Get ready for your next Special Stay in Mt Cook - but first, we have a unique stop on the agenda.We'll stop off to see the intense milky blue waters of glacially-fed Lake Tekapo, and here, we'll also get to enjoy an unforgettable Dark Sky experience. You'll be blown away by this interactive multimedia exhibition that mixes stargazing, science and traditional Māori astronomy, teaching us how the Māori people originally used to use stars to harvest food, and about the importance of limiting light pollution.Our next Special Stay is a lodge located in Mt Cook National Park, a majestic landscape of glaciers, terminal lakes, turbulent rivers and Australasia's tallest peak, the mighty Aoraki (Mt Cook) soaring above at 3,724 metres. There's endless adventures to choose from today - walk some of the famed hiking trails or take a scenic flight over the glacier followed by a snow landing and glacier walk. If heights aren't your thing, take a cruise up close to the glaciers, where you to touch and taste 300-500 year old glacial crystals. As the pitch black night draws in, opt for a unique stargazing experience.
Mt Cook to Glenorchy
Rise and shine! You won't want to miss our morning hike to Kea point, to watch a golden sunrise stretch over the mountains. Hungry? We've definitely earned a buffet breakfast, and we'll enjoy floor to ceiling views of Mt Cook as we dine in the Heritage Hotel.Whether or not you have any room left after breakfast, you'll be happy to know we have a quick stop off for lunch in Arrowtown, New Zealand's historic gold-mining town. A bit like a New Zealand version of the Wild West, Arrowtown is full of charming wooden-fronted shops, cafes and remnants of the goldrush era. Be sure to check out the replica miner's huts, buy some flakes of gold, wade in the river where people still go gold-panning, or buy some old-timey sweets from the Remarkable Sweet Shop on the main street.Arriving in Glenorchy we'll get a guided tour of our eco-retreat Special Stay. Nestled among some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery, this place celebrates nature through buildings designed with non-toxic construction materials, native plantings, and creative touches from New Zealand artists and craftspeople. State-of-the-art technology helps to reduce water and energy use. We'll enjoy an included Kiwi BBQ dinner before turning in for the night. We've got a big day of exploration tomorrow.
We've got a day to explore the great outdoors! Lucky us. Maybe start the day with some free yoga; after that the opportunities are limitless. Get the ultimate thrill with some tandem skydiving; take an e-bike tour of the Routeburn track; maybe take the safari kayak adventure and explore the islands of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the spectacular Southern Alps...New Zealand is the gift that keeps on giving, and we're not done yet.
Glenorchy to Queenstown
Glenorchy, it's been emotional, but we're headed to the adventure capital of the world.Framed by the aptly named Remarkable Mountains, the birthplace of bungee gets the pulse racing in more ways than one. We'll take an orientation tour, and then there's a menu of adventures to choose from. So, where to start? You might be the one trailing through wine country and doing a spot of horseback riding, or you may insist on cramming in a bungy jump, a skydive and a heliraft. It's your adventure - run wild as you see fit.
With our last day (sob) in adrenaline city ahead of us, this is the time to push yourself to the limits and hurl over any mental barriers you've put up around yourself. Maybe conquer those niggling fears once and for all. We recommend the exhilarating Shotover Jet experience, where you can throw those hands in the air as you fly through narrow Shotover canyons at speeds of up to 85 kph. For those who did their dash yesterday, a day staying mellow and enjoying the beautiful wineries, cute cafes and incredible mountains is fine too!
This morning our adventure comes to an end (sob) here in Queenstown, or you can take an optional transfer back to Christhurch. Hug it out with your New Zealand crew. We're sad to say goodbye, but memories of what we've experienced will put stupid grins on our faces for years to come.