Thank you so much for leading the South Island trip we have just finished. Thanks to your excellent leadership and detailed organisation everything was so good. As the oldest in the group and the least able walker I did appreciate how you took care of me and made sure I still had a good time.
Please will you pass on my thanks to Steve also. He was very kind to me and took extra care with things like lifting my bag and walking with me at the end of the pack.
SPRING TOUR: 29 October 2021
AUTUMN TOUR: 29 April 2022
AVAILABILITY: Open for booking!
This is an 18 day South Island walking tour starting and finishing in Nelson and hugely popular with kiwi walkers. The trip will be a comfortable sized group tour with a maximum 12 tour members – travelling and exploring from the comfort of a luxury minivan.
In keeping with tradition, this nature/walking tour includes collections of easy to moderate forest, coastal, Lake and alpine trail walks on groomed and formed trails in a diverse range of settings. From pristine waterways, wild untamed beaches, forested lakes, estuaries, river trails, mountains, to gold fields and bird sanctuaries. These are complemented with visits to cultural and historical sites, interpretive centres, Gardens and Museums and many little-known off-the-beaten-track spots. The tour is interspaced with time to relax and leisurely explore some interesting townships and regions with many two night stays in the same place to take in the surroundings.
The tour is scheduled to coincide with the early Spring or late Autumn so walkers can enjoy settled weather and moderate temperatures at a quieter time of the year.
Arrive and overnight in Nelson. There is a selection of lovely strolls in and around the Nelson Region including the Maitai River, Queens Gardens, Centre of New Zealand. Heading out of the region we enjoy, Moturoa Island, Mapua and a scenic drive down the Motueka River Valley past apple, pear, kiwifruit and Hop orchards. Learn of the local Rail history in Tapawera before embarking on the beautiful Beech forests of Nelson Lakes where a selection of easy native walks await.
Highlights Include: A variety of river, beach and native forest walks with added bonus of formal gardens and estuary will offer something for everyone.
We leave St Arnaud, Nelson lakes for a picturesque and scenic drive down the Buller Gorge to the remote upper West Coast town of Karamea. Our time here is spent immersed in the beautiful rainforests of the West Coast. A selection of native trails, swing bridges, waterfalls and mind-blowing New Zealand beauty. The Coal and Gold mining history on the Coast is vast and rich and there is much to learn of our pioneering past. We travel South as far as Kumara and experience Lake Kaniere and her hidden gems of wetlands, gorges, coves and waterfalls.
Highlights Include: Rain forest, beech forest x 10! If you have not been south before this section will be an absolute highlight for you. We spend 4 days in this wonderful area and sometimes it’s even better in the rain!
Continuing the coastal drive south through Ross, Okarito, Franz Josef and Haast. With gold digging history, diverse and unique wetlands teeming with bird life, and many glacial and mountain trails to enjoy we wind our way through to central Otago.
Highlights Include: Excellent bygone Museum, coloured and mirrored lakes, an exceptional Eco-tour via boat and foot, mountain backdrops you can paint and stunning glacial trails.
In the heart of Central Otago we settle into the lovely and colourful Arrowtown for a two night stay in spacious motel units, located just a ten minutes stroll from the town centre.
We walk the beautiful river trails in the area and take a look back on the valley from a short drive up the Crown Range. The tour has a free morning here to explore or rest.
Highlights Include: Postcard colours, rural New Zealand at its best, leafy wanderings, historic buildings, great southern hospitality and free time.
Departing Arrowtown we enjoy the rugged scenery of the Maniototo Plains while visiting the-tiny towns of Central Otago nestled in vast landscapes and enjoying walks in sluicing ruins and high country stations. We wind out way to the forgotten city of Oamaru with its extensive Victorian history.
Highlights Include: Enjoy the back country of Cromwell, Clyde, St Bathens, Ranfurly through rolling sheep stations and quiet roads to Palmerston, Moraki and Oamaru.
Days 15- 16
Meandering north we take in the small towns in the back country of the mighty Canterbury Plains and its many braided rivers on our way to Kaikoura. A day and a half exploring the changing face of Kaikoura and all the back stories will be of great interest.
Highlights Include: Kaikoura has long been underrated and we get to scratch the surface of this rich little town. A fabulous coastal walk helps us understand and appreciate the geological changes reshaping Kaikoura. Whale migration and Seal colonies create further interest and local seafood will be a treat for those dining out.
Day 17 - 18
We board the Coastal Pacific and Rail through to Picton which will be a highlight for many. Passing Lake Grassemere Saltworks and witness the reaches of the Marlborough wine industry. Walks in and around Picton Marina and the Queen Charlotte Sound. Our time here will encompass aquaculture, native trail walks, Queen Charlotte Drive (an iconic scenic route) stunning rivers and picnic spots.
Highlights Include: The East Coast road is a picturesque and crucial transport link in the movement of goods and services. The wine is equally impressive! As is the gorgeous Queen Charlotte Sounds. Trail walking, scenic fiord’s, salmon farming and NZ’s famous Green lip mussel. The days will be packed with treats before we say goodbye back in Nelson.
What people say...
Andrea you were an excellent guide always patient and informative. Steve was an exceptional driver and luggage handler and everything in between. We had more than I expected The favorite parts were walking to amazing scenic spots, arches refection’s on lakes mountains stopping by rivers lakes beaches and bush to have lunch or snacks to enjoy the scenery.
Your extensive knowledge of the areas visited impressed particularly when situations arise requiring last minute adjustments to the program not to mention the thoughtful inclusion of interesting cultural visits. High marks all around.