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Itinerary

Wild West - 7 Days

Day 1: Queenstown - Lake Wanaka

Welcome to the first day of your tour where we’ll depart Queenstown at 2:30pm and travel past mountains and on towards stunning glacial lakes and calmer shores. On the final stretch to camp we’ll get views of Mt Aspiring National Park in the distance. Lake Wanaka is just over the next ridge and it’s on the edge of this glacial lake that we find our next wilderness camp. Enjoy great views of Lake Wanaka and the mountains beyond as we absorb the beauty of the area.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Multiple walking options
Bike rides: Hawea River Track (12 km)    
Activities (own cost): Too many to list - something for everyone (check out Flying Kiwi's website or ask them for details)

Day 2: Lake Wanaka - Glacier Country

We’ll enjoy a relaxed morning at our lakeside camp and then we’re continuing north through Mt Aspiring National Park. Just before we reach the West Coast, we’ll stop for a walk to the amazing Blue Pools, before heading through the dramatic Haast Pass, on roads woven over braided rivers and huge glacier carved valleys. There are two more great walk options along the way, one through lush and ancient forests and the other through swampy vegetation, ending on the beach where it’s possible to spot Hector dolphins. Tonight, we’ll stay beside the beautiful Lake Paringa, enjoying a true West Coast wilderness experience.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Walks: Blue Pools, Ship Creek
Bike rides: Knights Point lookout to Lake Paringa 25km

Day 3: Glacier Country - Okarito

Today is your chance to explore one of NZ’s most unique and spectacular natural wonders - the Franz Josef Glacier. This staggeringly beautiful work of nature descends from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres above sea level. To get on the ice you must go up by helicopter but it’s possible to view the glacier via a stunning walk through the main valley. We also recommend taking a walk to Peter’s Pool for another incredibly scenic view.

Before arriving at Franz Josef, we’ll take a highly recommended walk around Lake Matheson where crystal clear reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman make the perfect photo opportunity. Late afternoon, we have a short drive up the coast to our beautiful beachside campsite next to the Okarito lagoon - one of the very few places where there are still rare sightings of our native kiwi bird and the home to NZ’s only colony of the White Heron (kotuku). Enjoy a fire down on the beach taking in the rugged coast and epic mountain views.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Hike around Lake Matheson, Te Ara a Waiau walkway
Bike rides: Te Ara a Waiau cycleway, Okarito road ride 10km
Activities (own cost): Guided Heli-Hike, guided kayak or SUP tour, West Coast Wildlife Centre, skydiving

Day 4: Okarito - Punakaiki

Enjoy an early morning walk, with a view of the sunrise over the Southern Alps as a reward before we board the bus and continue up this spectacular coastal road to the quirky town of Hokitika, home of the Greenstone and a great place to pick up a traditional souvenir. Passing through Greymouth we’ll keep following the coast to Punakaiki where you’ll notice a change in the landscape as huge limestone cliffs appear and Nikau Palm trees become abundant. Our beach camp for tonight offers great sunsets, a beautiful river and incredible views of Paparoa National Park. The pancake rocks and blowholes are the main attraction in Punakaiki where limestone rocks are stacked on top of each other and ocean swells are forced through gaps in the rock creating a whale’s blowhole effect. This evening, explore a cavern with some glow worms hanging out in the dark and then enjoy a beverage at the local tavern.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Sunrise Okarito Trig Walk
Bike rides: West Coast Wilderness Trail (14 km), Bullock Creek trail (15 km)
Activities (own cost):: Punakaiki pancake rocks & blowholes (free)

Day 5: Punakaiki - Abel Tasman National Park

Before leaving Punakaiki we’ll take some time to explore part of the Paparoa National Park, walking along the Pororari river or cycling up Bullock creek road to visit a cave resurgence. Leaving mid-morning we’ll travel inland through the majestic Buller gorge and onto the famous Abel Tasman National Park. Situated in one of the sunniest areas of the country and home to heaps of beautiful secluded bays and stunning golden sand beaches. We look forward to spending 2 nights at our perfectly located camp, close to the park entrance which makes it the ideal place to explore all corners of the stunning Abel Tasman.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Truman track                 
Bike rides: Coastal ride to camp and Kaiteriteri bike park, Great Taste Trail
Activities (own cost): Skydiving

Day 6: Abel Tasman National Park

Take time today to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand - there are excellent options for everyone here. You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal-clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chances for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) and for those seeking a thrill, join the one in a lifetime canyoning experience!

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Abel Tasman National Park track     
Bike rides: Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park
Activities (own cost): Kayaking, canyoning, sailing, water taxi / walk

Day 7: Abel Tasman National Park - Picton

Today is the final day of your tour. First, we head to sunny Nelson, one of the sunniest areas of NZ and home to more than 350 working artists and craftspeople creating traditional, contemporary and Maori arts. Relax and enjoy the sunshine and café culture before we depart for wine country - Marlborough, home to some of the World’s best known grapes and where we’ll treat you to a free tasting in one of their best vineyards before your tour finishes in Picton.

Meals included: Breakfast

What’s Included

- Experienced tour guide
- All local transportation. If you have chosen the bike rental option, then it is also included.
- 6 night's accommodation
- Meals as specified in itinerary
Summary

What’s included?

Extra expenses at the destination
Please check the itinerary for optional paid activities.

Activities

Please see the different activities (either free/included or requiring an extra payment) in the itinerary.

Accommodation

You can choose between Shared Tent with two people, or a Single Tent. If you travel alone and want a shared tent, you will be paired with another traveller of the same gender.

Local transport

All local transport is included. If you have chosen the bike rental option, then it is also included.

Meals

Some meals are included (please see itinerary). Evening meals are prepared on a relaxed and informal rota system. Your great guides will lead things but every 4 or so nights, you will be with a team of other budding chefs preparing some great feasts for your fellow travellers - generally one person chops, another looks after veges, another cooks and someone needs to check the wine!!!

Additional info

What footwear do we need?
You’ll need to bring a decent pair of comfortable footwear, that you can walk in comfortably, trainers are ideal. Hiking boots are good but not essential. It is also good to bring a pair of flip-flops, sandals or thongs (depending on whether you speak NZ English, Oz English or just English) for the camp showers.

It's summer. Do I really need thermals and a fleece?
Yes! We can experience extreme weather even in the summer.

Do I need a backpack, or is a suitcase okay?
Suitcases are fine - you don’t need to walk great distances with them just between your tent and the bus. The majority of the time while you’re doing activities they will be stored away in the trailer or under the bus. Please try to limit the weight of your main bag to 20kg. A good day pack (small rucksack) or bag you can carry easily is recommended for water bottles, towels, cameras etc.

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