New Zealand Adventure
Hikes, Bikes and Beaches
March 18 to 31, 2019
New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world! You’ll be amazed at the sheer volume of beauty and variety found on this remote South Pacific island. We’ll delight in hiking glaciers and trails, biking, kayaking, bungie jumping, canyoning, and rafting. We’ll enjoy scrumptious food and incredible New Zealand wine.
Walk one of NZ’s most famous trails along the shores of Abel Tasman National Park and explore trails into ancient rainforests among waterfalls and (if you’re up to it) the Franz Josef Glacier.
Take your bike out for a spin on a full-day exploration at the top of the South Island. Later, relax with a mellow river’s edge ride to a famous bungie bridge near Queenstown.
Check out an amazing cave system carved out by nature into astonishing shapes and marvel at the twinkling lights above you created by NZ glow worms as you Black-water Raft the river.
Chill out along the stunning shores of Abel Tasman National Park and either take the boat, kayak or hike between the beautiful lodges during our 3-day stay here.
Rappel down a fantastic, deep chasm then leap, slide and splash through water in the distinctly down-under sport known as canyoning.
Explore Queenstown’s beauty in any combination of ways you wish. Stroll around on foot, bike, whitewater raft, or even bungie!
Choose your own adventure from among fantastic options on this tour. Mountain bike, jet boat, paraglide and horseback ride. More options include special vineyard tours, Lord of the Rings tours and a light aircraft day-trip over the fantastic Milford Sound.
Reviews 3 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday TypeCycling, Discovery, Guided Tours, Trekking, Wildlife
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
New Zealand Adventure Tour
Queenstown, and specifically New Zealand’s South Island, is known as the adventure travel capital of the world – and for good reason. This tour’s activities in some of the world’s most incredible landscapes will make for some of your life’s most cherished memories.
New Zealand’s astonishing array of features form a collage of geographical scenes from around the world. Its waters resemble glistening lakes in Italy and its deep-cut fjords look like Norway’s. Alaska’s stunning glaciers and Switzerland’s snow-capped Alps also have analogues here. You’ll admire New Zealand’s natural wonders and understand why its locations have been so perfectly featured in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. You’ll also be shocked by how much room is still left for sheep. That’s New Zealand.
When you become a Wild Kiwi, you’ll enjoy new scenery and new activities every day. This tour includes canyoning through a natural waterpark of chutes, pools, waterfalls and slides. White and blackwater rafting expeditions are part of this tour, plus you can hike a glacier, kayak on the sea, bike along rivers and through vineyards, and even bungie jump. And if you prefer, you can also just relax and enjoy the sublime beauty and surprises that await you each day. Naturally, you do all this while savoring fantastic meals and some of New Zealand’s most wonderful inns and lodges.
- $1500 Single Supplement (if you’re traveling solo and would like to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
- $900 Single Supplement Most nights (single on all but the two nights we’re at Abel Tasman National Park – limited availability)
- $240 Canyoning
- $320 Helicopter to Glacier Hike
- $190 Whitewater Rafting
INCLUDED already in this tour are the glacier valley eco-hike, Abel Tasman hiking and kayaking, vineyards bike ride, cave-tubing or glow worm hike, as well as bungie jumping.
Options are available at checkout.
Deposit is available: $1000 – call 800-825-9766.
- All group ground transportation, starting in Nelson and finishing in Queenstown.
- Sightseeing visits to waterfalls, primordial forests, and vistas along our route around the island; and, of course, the famed bungy jump.
- A valley eco-hike to the glacier with guide.
- All hotels and accommodations in double occupancy.
- Kayaking or hiking and boating for 3 days at Abel Tasman National Park.
- Out West Adventures tour director accompanying the group from Nelson to Queenstown.
- 11 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 6 dinners.
- Coastal hikes; cave-tubing or cave hike to see glow worms.
- Biking near Queenstown and also near Nelson.
- Out West Adventures provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
- Airfare from home to Nelson and from Queenstown to home
- Airport transfers
- Souvenirs, snacks, admissions, alcohol
- Meals and beverages not listed here
- Optional activities, such as whitewater rafting, upgrade from the valley eco-hike to Heli-hike on the glacier, and canyoning
- Gratuities for tour director and local guides.
Welcome to Nelson
Our adventures begin in friendly Nelson, on the South Island’s northern tip. This cheery fishing center and crafts community gets more sunny days than anywhere else in New Zealand and its warm hospitality during our two-night stay sets a precedent you’ll enjoy on the rest of our trip.
Relax here and recover from any jet lag you might have by sipping coffee at a sidewalk cafe. Check out Nelson’s Tahunanui beach and stroll its long stretch of warm sand. If you’re more adventurous, you’ll love The Center of New Zealand Walk that begins right in town and affords fantastic views of the bay.
We have reserved tables at one of Nelson’s prime restaurants for our first evening. Get better acquainted your fellow travelers while enjoying a delicious meal and some of New Zealand’s famous wine.
And who are your fellow travelers? With Out West Adventures’ focus on the outdoors and active tours, your companions are naturally outgoing and energetic. They’re people who relish life and other people. Many on a given trip are solo travelers, but there are usually several couples rounding out the ranks. Overall, though the ages of your fellow travelers will vary, nearly everyone will share a similar enthusiasm for adventure and interaction with others.
Multiple adventures await you on this tour, yet you don’t need to be experienced or advanced in any of them before you arrive. Your knowledgeable guides will teach you the ropes, and you can decide which activities you’ll participate in. There are options for everyone, every day, even if you just choose to rest and relax at one of our great overnight lodges or explore an area on your own. If you’re fit enough to hike several hours a day at a relaxed pace, you’ll enjoy yourself the most as you take in New Zealand’s incredible sights.
Biking through Vineyards and Orchards of the Motueka Valley
Our first adventure of the tour takes us biking through one of New Zealand’s wine-producing regions outside of Nelson. You’ll enjoy the pastoral setting with its towering poplars, fruit trees, climbing hops, pastures of wildflowers, and verdant green forests – it’s an amazing interplay of texture and light. Our local guides will lead us to some of their favorite vineyards, organic farms, and perhaps even some artisans, as we relax into our first full day in New Zealand.
Our cycling trip is about 20 miles and the grade is slightly downhill most of the way, but there’s an option for hills if you’re feeling super enthusiastic at the end. You’ll love this ride even if you haven’t ridden a bike in 20 years. As a reward after your first day, relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the stunning views over Tasman Bay. When we return to Nelson this evening, everyone receives a medium duffel in which to pack gear for our 3-day / 2-night outing at Abel Tasman National Park that begins on day 3. All our main luggage and suitcases will be safely stored until we return to Nelson on the evening of Day 5.
Kayak or Hike along Opalescent Abel Tasman Bay
This morning begins with a lighter load of duffel bags as we embark on our three-day exploration of Abel Tasman National Park. We’ll sea-kayak, hike and boat the area, and the options are yours to choose from each day. At the park’s coastal regions, we have two nights booked at cozy seaside lodgings that overlook the beautiful bay and feature delicious, locally sourced and organic meals. And because this is vacation (don’t forget), each day’s breaks feature tasty snacks with morning and afternoon tea. Our luggage is forwarded to us each day and we only have to carry smaller items, including snacks and lunches on our backs if we hike, or in our kayaks. If you don’t feel like hiking or kayaking, feel welcome to opt for the regularly scheduled boat transfers from lodge to lodge.
Our views and experiences in this area are packed with wildlife and diverse scenery. Keep your eyes open for little blue penguins that zip ashore to nest as dolphins dart past your kayak paddle. If the wind conditions are right, we’ll also see playful New Zealand Fur seals and their pups in the Tonga Island Marine Reserve. You will never forget the natural flora and geographical features here. Shimmering blue water laps the golden beaches which are punctuated by enormous granite sea heads, and pristine forests are filled with fern grottos and streams.
Our crafts are two-person kayaks designed for stability and companionship, and most of us will paddle about 4.5 hours today. Our Out West Adventures guide coaches us on kayaking basics and safety before and after we hit the water. The Tasman Bay’s waters are gentle and we’ll soon be gracefully paddling from cove to cove. Beginning at from Kaiteriteri or Marahau, we’ll pass Split-Apple Rock, then Apple Tree Cove, Watering Cove, and slide by the bird-song-filled Adele Island. We’ll make several stops today, for lunch, snacks and even swimming before we arrive at our lodgings in Torrent Bay. We’ll be greeted there by our friendly Kiwi hosts plus enjoy delicious appetizers and hot showers.
If you’d rather hike than kayak today, opt for a guided walk from Marahau across beaches and around headlands on New Zealand’s famed Abel Tasman Track. On this walk, we’ll rendezvous with our fellow kayaking crew at one of the many beaches for lunch. After lunch, our walk takes us down into Anchorage Bay and our nearby lodge. If you grow tired of the walking and would rather just relax, feel welcome to chill out at one of the pristine beaches and simply catch a later boat into the lodge.
Island-hopping in a Kayak
Take your coffee or tea outside this morning to our lodge’s beach and watch the sun rise across Tasman Bay. You may be distracted by the sight of rays scooting along the shallow water. The lodge then serves up a delicious, full breakfast to get us ready for kayaking again today, which most of us will do. This is a day to glide past wind-sculpted islands then explore a pearlescent lagoon’s golden beach while swimming or looking for starfish. You may not be able to resist exploring the deeply carved granite of the Tonga Arches. Our Out West Adventure guides will point out particular sea birds and tell us stories about the Maori as well as early European settlers’ impact on the region, but don’t be surprised if these stories are upstaged by seals playing in the surf as you kayak through the gentle waves this afternoon.
Today’s adventure includes about four hours of kayaking and 1.5 hours of hiking. Our kayak adventure finishes this afternoon at Onetahuti Beach, where we’ll reunite with our hikers to walk together across Tonga Saddle to our beautiful lodgings at Awaroa Inlet. Called Meadowbank, this lodge is a replica of an original large farmhouse built here by settlers. Its 360 degree views afford sights across the estuary and sea.
If you hike instead of kayak for the majority of the day, you’ll love walking among the area’s tea trees and native beech forests that emerge onto rocky overlooks, stunning waterfalls and one of New Zealand’s famous suspension bridges.
Across Awaroa Estuary and into Totaranui
We eat a hearty breakfast this morning then pack our lunches with us. Our hike today for several hours takes us across a grand estuary (tides permitting), tree-fern grottos and several scenic beaches. When we arrive at Totaranui, we relax and explore the area, then catch our boat back to our hotel in Nelson. This is a boat ride that that gives us a relaxed, visual recap our fun as we cruise past the many coves and beaches we kayaked and hiked for the past two days.
Rainforests, Cave-rafting, and Pancake Rocks on the Wild West Coast
We leave Nelson behind this morning and embark for the Wild West Coast where we’ll adventure for the next four days. We follow the majestic Buller River that carves its way through the mountains before emptying into the Tasman Sea.
Today’s journey gives us opportunity for an adventure that’s uniquely subterranean: Blackwater rafting the Nile River Cave System. We get fitted up with designer gear and wetsuits, then we innertube the mellow current through this ancient wonderland. The water has sculpted this fantasy-scape out of limestone over the millenia, and glow worms in the rock overhead add a starry luminescence to our journey.
Those with us who’d rather not be troglodytes in the water today can instead opt for a guided walking eco-tour through this cave system’s fantastic calcite formations in this prehistoric valley.
Tonight’s stay is at a small, craftsman inn with views over the Tasman Sea, and our dinner tonight is also at a delicious restaurant on the coast.
From Rainforests to Glaciers
Today’s first attraction on the West Coast of the South Island is Punakaiki. This area is famous for its fantastic sea cliffs known as pancake rocks, shaped over the eons by water and wind. With the right combination of wind and tide conditions, the Tasman Sea waves crash violently into the rock, forcing water up through the geology’s blowholes. These massive geysers hiss and the rocks are rough, but the surrounding foliage of Nikau Palms softens the scene of these headlands into a lush outdoor gallery. Your time is your own through late morning today as you explore the area.
Our group then takes the coastal road south towards the old mining settlement and port town of Hokitika. A town that has transformed over the years, Hokitika is a currently a center of jade (greenstone) carving but was settled first during the 1860s goldrush. Small gold nuggets are still often found in this area and they are worked into amazing handcrafted jewelry by local artisans.
The South Island’s major west-coast road wasn’t paved until 1995 and this area is still sparsely inhabited. On most bridges, cars can only travel one direction at a time yet there’s never a traffic jam.
We’ll be stopping for two nights at one of the area’s two main glaciers, the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. This area of the west coast is famous for its intense storms which water the rain forests growing up the sides of this tallest mountain range, the Southern Alps.
This is the tallest range in this part of the Pacific, and its large catchment area at the top forms a bowl where layer after layer of snow piles up, compacting into dense blue ice. Storms and wind from the Tasman Sea blow up the Alps, cool, and create massive snow fall and rain here. Ice overflowing the catchment area flows as a glacier down the steep valley where temperate rain forest grows to meet it at about 650 feet above sea level. Unlike anywhere else on earth, massive ice rivers are surrounded by tree ferns and green moss.
Hiking on Glaciers
This morning, most of us will enjoy hiking with our guide past sculpted cliffs and towering waterfalls up the glacial river valley to the glacier’s face. Where it terminates, water gushes in a steady rush from its sub-surface river.
On our break for morning tea, we’ll take in the views and hear how these ice rivers form plus about their carving forces on the landscape. They’re important to the Maori and larger ecosystem here, and our Out West Adventures guides will fill in these details for us.
Today you can opt to upgrade to a heli-hike if you like, in which a helicopter will whisk you right up onto the glacier for a two-hour walk down accompanied by a glacier guide.
These are some of the earth’s fastest moving glaciers, moving at 2 or 3 feet per day, and you’ll often hear creaks and crunches. New crevasses and features continually form and disappear in the ice, although from a distance, the ice looks two-dimensional and sheet-like. On a hike, the glacier is full of tunnels, rivers, yawning crevasses and fantastic ice structures. It’s worth it to see nature at work on a hike.
The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are unusual in the world and are among the few spots where glaciers flow into temperate rainforest. You’re encouraged to explore this green world if you wish with other short hikes, and perhaps you’ll even want to take the glow-worm hike in the forest this evening.
Wanaka – A Mountain Jewel
We eat a delicious breakfast at Lake Matheson, then say goodbye to the glaciers as we drive farther down the west coast. We’ll cross Haast Pass to the east side of the Southern Alps and head into Wanaka. Along our drive, we’ll make stops to check out other views of glacially formed lakes including Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, some ancient forests and swamps, plus spectacular waterfalls.
For the next three nights we’ll be in the charming mountain village of Wanaka. Mount Aspiring National Park soars behind it, and we’ll take advantage of the sports this region offers, including on land, lakes and rivers, plus in the air.
When we arrive in the afternoon there’s time for a short hike above our hotel to check out the view and the town’s layout. Then it’s a delicious dinner indoors. After dinner, you may enjoy strolling along the lakefront and through downtown for a late drink at one of the charming establishments there, perhaps at Kai Waka Pai or Cafe Paradiso.
An Alpine Jewel – Hiking to Rob Roy Glacier
Today we take you to an alpine jewel in the Matukituki River valley, one of our guide’s favorite alpine valleys in New Zealand. Less than half an hour from Wanaka, carved wide by ancient glaciers and framed by towering peaks deep in Mt. Aspiring National Park, the lower portions of the valley pasture sheep, cattle, and imported Red Stag Deer, while the higher ridges sparkle with ice caps, remnant snow-pack and small glaciers.
A moderate hike of a few hours takes us just above tree line, where we will have spectacular views across to a hanging glacier clinging tightly to the steeps of Rob Roy Peak (8,550 feet). Rarely is such alpine scenery available without a multiday trek and we are sure that you’ll enjoy the dozens of waterfalls tumbling over the cliffs as it melts from the ice, including an 800-foot wonder, and occasionally tumbling small and large chunks of ice, calving off the glacier.
If you would prefer lighter activity today, you can sign up for one of many other activities offered. Biking, wine tours, or even a full day of paragliding lessons on Mt. Iron, overlooking the lake, at a site known for its steady winds. Or have a relaxing wander around town, perhaps a hike or bike ride on a nearby trail, then read a book on the shores of glacially-carved Lake Wanaka.
Wanaka Wonders or a Flight to Milford Sound
Today is a free day to allow you to choose your activity and enjoy more of this beautiful part of New Zealand. While biking, hiking, lake kayaking, and even rock climbing all on offer, many clients choose to have some down time today to enjoy our wonderful lodge, get a massage, and remind themselves that this is, after all, a vacation.
If you are up for more Kiwi adventure, we suggest considering a flight across the peaks to the mighty fjord on the southwest coast, Milford Sound. Or if you have a strong attraction to adrenaline and one of the best activities offered in New Zealand, you can’t miss a day of canyoning.
The small craft flight to Milford Sound is a 45-minute panorama of ice-fields, jagged peaks, and 800-foot waterfalls to what Rudyard Kipling described as the eighth wonder of the natural world. On arrival in the fjord, you board a medium-sized tourist boat and cruise near fur seals basking in the sun and under Mitre Peak rising a full mile above the water. You’ll then fly back to Wanaka, usually arriving back by early afternoon. The flight is weather-dependent and if weather doesn’t cooperate today, you can try for Milford again when we’re in Queenstown.
Alternatively, if you are reasonably fit and adventurous, then we strongly urge you to try a sport you may never have heard of: Canyoning (known in North America as canyoneering).
After a 40-minute hike up a fairly steep trail, you don a wetsuit, then step down to a crystal stream that over the millennia has carved its way deep into the bedrock. Now, you’ll simply follow this stream and carved canyon winding steeply down the mountainside in a series of slots, pools, and all types of waterfalls.
There are the three basic canyoning techniques: jump, slide, rappel. Soon you’ve got the hang of them — or so you think. But in the natural environment of the canyon, every situation offers its own peculiarities.
Nature has created a water wonderland that outshines the best man-made water parks. Along the way, you can rest behind the waterfalls and take in this other worldly grotto of moss, ferns, and falling water that explodes sunrays into magical rainbows.
Hike into primordial rainforests, past waterfalls, along the shores of Abel Tasman National Park, one of NZ’s Great Walks, up a glacially active valley to and perhaps onto the Franz Josef Glacier, and later hike into the alpine region to view spectacular Rob Roy Glacier.
A Long Rubber Band – Bungy Jumping into Queenstown
If you’re the early morning type, you’ll enjoy the sunrise over Mount Aspiring National Park’s mountains before today’s final breakfast in Wanaka. Today we drive past historic Cadrona to an epic view on the Crown Range Saddle, high above the Kawarau River Valley. The views overlooking Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, another glacially-carved lake, are sublime.
After our drive down from the Crown Range Saddle, Arrowtown awaits us. It’s another mining town and we’ll explore it a bit on our bikes plus bike along a trail following the Arrow River.
Here at the end of this ride is the most famous and exhilarating Wild Kiwi activity, although it’s also the shortest. A bungy jump lasts only about 30 seconds from the moment you leap until you’ve stopped bobbing up and down on your elastic cord. Guides in a raft below will retrieve you from your line and nonchalantly settle you in the raft ride back, but you will be adrenaline pumped for hours.
You may have seen these epic leaps before, which might seem complicated, but bungy jumping is a streamlined and easy process. After you walk onto the Kawarau suspension bridge, you give your ticket to the taker and take a seat on the dive platform. The handsome and charming jumpmaster wraps a towel around both your ankles and ties a sling to it. He then clips you to the bottom of a bungy cord. The essence of the bungy cord is elastic: A long, intrinsically strong rubber band (no one really calls it that because ”bungy” has a less quotidian ring to it). You then stand up, walk to the platform edge, and decide how you will launch yourself.
You choose your own launch style. Some opt for the classic swan dive, but you’ll see a range of styles today among your fellow jumpers, including prayerful positions, fetal poses, full spider-monkey and others. A camera is positioned to capture your departure at just the right moment, and your photo can be a souvenir you’ll cherish forever.
If you’re a person whose mother warned you against jumping off things just because all your friends were doing it, we advise you to tell your mom about your super-fun jump after your trip instead of in advance.
Bungy jumping originated right where you are now- at the Kawarau Suspension Bridge. A.J. Hackett, the New Zealand entrepreneur who popularized the sport, no longer offers a free jump to anyone who will strip nude and take the plunge; too many people willingly accepted that great deal. But the 140-foot bungy jump is free for all participants in our tour, clothed or naked.
And here’s the answer to the most-asked question about our New Zealand tour: No, you don’t have to jump. It’s optional. But we encourage you to do it because it’s an experience you’ll never forget!
After today’s jumps, we drive to Queenstown, the famous adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere. Our home for the next couple of nights lies between rugged peaks and along the shores of a gorgeous lake. You’ll enjoy the charming mix of galleries, gardens and cafes here plus the mild to wild activities offered. Queensland is full of summer adventure activities and world-class skiing in the winter.
To wrap up this exciting day, some of us will undoubtably head out on the town tonight to enjoy Queensland’s many night spots.
Queensland is your oyster this morning to enjoy and explore. For starters, you might enjoy a gondola ride to the top of Bob’s Peak, 1400 feet above town. It gives a fantastic, introductory view of the area. Perhaps you’ll chill out with a drink in the restaurant and enjoy the view paragliders sailing above the lake, or of more bungy jumpers hurling themselves from The Ledge.
Queenstown has no dearth of imagination when it comes to extreme sports and new ones are invented regularly. We’ll skip some of these as a group offering on our tour, but you’re welcome to reserve these own. If you’re game, you can even roll down the mountain inside a giant inflatable ball called a Zorb.
Today you might want some excitement on one of the famous Shotover Jet boats. Powered by jet instead of propeller, these fantastic boats can shoot through water only four inches deep. Their pilots have great fun charging at full speed towards big boulders or outcroppings only to 180 degrees quickly within a single boat length. A mellower ride you might choose to take today is on the restored steamship TSS Earnslaw, which makes several trips across the lake each day.
If you love whitewater rafting, this afternoon gives you opportunity for Class-III and IV rapids. Depending on water levels and river conditions, some of us will head to either the Shotover River or the Kawarau. The Shotover has six rapids plus nearly 600 feet of darkness through its Oxenbridge Tunnel, built by goldminers. The Kawarau is the largest commercially rafted river in New Zealand and it passes under the Chard vineyards and through four sets of rapids, as well as beneath those bungy jumpers again under the Kawarau Bridge, and gives us a thrill at the end in the famous Dog Leg Rapids. In some places on the Kawarau there are opportunities for cliff jumping and even swimming through smaller rapids.
Tonight our whole group reconvenes and we celebrate with a final dinner out together as our two-week vacation comes to an end. We’ll toast and reminisce at one of Queenstown’s finest restaurants.
The most difficult thing about this New Zealand trip is saying farewell to a great new group of friends. As we depart Queenstown for home, you’ll know it’s true that active tours like this one attract special types of people who love adventure as much as you do. We leave, knowing many of us will keep in touch and see each other again.
On this tour you are a time traveler, thanks to the International Date Line. Remember, our tour starts on a Monday, so if you depart the US on Saturday evening and, after crossing the International Date Line, arrive in New Zealand early Monday morning. This Monday start also allows you to participate in Sydney, Australia’s Mardi Gras celebration. You can then catch a flight Sunday or Monday to cross the Tasman Sea to join our tour, which starts on Monday evening. Our tour ends on a Sunday and if you depart that day, thanks to the International Date Line again, you’ll arrive back into the US on that same day.
You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate if you want. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself.
For selected trips we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
The activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day you’ll be traveling with friends.
The tour starts in Nelson (NSN) and ends in Queenstown (ZQN.) Both are located on the South Island of New Zealand.
Note: All flights across the Pacific will cross the International Date Line. You will lose a day when flying southwest across the ocean, and regain that day on the way home. North American travelers who want to arrive in Nelson on Monday will need to depart home on Saturday. Your departure from New Zealand to North America on a Sunday afternoon will usually have you arriving on the US or Canadian West Coast earlier that same Sunday, a few hours before you left Auckland.
European travelers have a variety of options on Air New Zealand, Qantas, Etihad, Emirates and other airlines.
New Zealand is the place for exciting adventure sports. Our action offers travelers the chance to experience unique settings while trying new adventures. Hiking, canyoning, water sports, and more are available on this trip. If you are in good physical shape and like a challenge, this trip is for you.
But no worries if some of the activities don’t appeal to you. Nearly everyone is likely to join us for shorter hikes, biking, and kayaking. You have the option to hike or ride in a scheduled boat instead of kayak. On other days, we may break into two groups, depending on individual preferences, doing different activities. Or you may choose to have a quieter day, exploring on your own or perhaps enjoying a massage at the lodge. If you’re still wondering, contact us and we’re happy to discuss how we may be able to accommodate your needs.
And as for the bungy jump: Whether you do it or not, predicting who will take the plunge makes for some fun dinner conversations. And in the past, we’ve all guessed wrong about one or two members of the group. You won’t be the only one not jumping. And you’ll enjoy watching others take the leap.
February and March are late summer and early fall in New Zealand, where the seasons are reversed from the northern hemisphere. Most days in February and March will continue to be in the 60s and low 70s, and you’ll often be comfortable in shorts and t-shirt, but you’ll also need a light jacket occasionally. There may be times when you are glad you brought a sweatshirt and jeans in the mountains, especially if it rains. In Queenstown and Wanaka, days are likely to be warm and clear, but temperatures may drop in the evening. You’ll want a sweater when you go out for dinner.
On the west coast, we may have beautiful blue skies or we may encounter the rains that create those amazing glaciers and rain forests, but it just depends on the fronts that year. Because it’s an island with irregular terrain, New Zealand has what’s known as a maritime climate, where the weather can change rapidly. Be prepared for sun to turn to rain — and vice versa — during the course of a day.
Canyoning is a popular outdoor sport in Australia, New Zealand, France, and a few other countries, and only more recently in the southwestern United States. It is usually called canyoneering in North America.
Canyoning is generally the act of traveling in canyons. It can use a variety of techniques such as climbing, jumping, rappelling, swimming and hiking. Ideal canyons are beautiful areas with spectacular sights.
Those who try this activity generally say it’s the most exciting day of the trip.
In New Zealand, and all our tours, we have sought out a variety of accommodations that are nice and comfortable and give us a sense of the place. They are often small inns and lodges when available.
On some tours, we may have a few nights in 2 and 3 bedroom luxury apartments or condos when this arrangement offers more space. If we’re in apartments every unit has a living room. If you request a single room you’ll have your own bedroom in a shared condo at these lodgings. Please note that if we are in luxury condos there may be cases where two rooms share a bathroom.
The official starting time is 6:00 pm on our official “start date”. At that time we’ll have our orientation, followed by dinner. It ends after breakfast on the last day. You can arrive earlier or depart later, but please note that (as of this writing) check-in time is 4:00 pm, and check-out time is 10:00 am, which is standard in New Zealand.
For North American travelers, the most direct route is to fly from home to Auckland, on the North Island of New Zealand, then connect to a flight to Nelson (NSN) on the South Island. You’ll then fly home from Queenstown (ZQN) at the end of the trip. Several airlines have service into NZ, including Air New Zealand (United miles), United, American, and a few others if you travel through Australia or Tahiti (Qantas, Air Tahiti Nui). Air New Zealand, with flights from Houston, LA, and SFO, seems to have the best service in coach and premium economy.
As of this writing, Air New Zealand (NZ) has many daily flights from Auckland into our starting town of Nelson. And Air New Zealand and Qantas-owned Jetstar (JQ) fly many times daily from Queenstown to Auckland. If flying from or via Australia, there are also direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown on Air New Zealand, Qantas and Jetstar.
Many travelers find that booking through our in-house flight specialist is very convenient. We have special rates with Air New Zealand that can save quite a bit on international airfare, especially for travelers who want to experience the exquisite Business Class service for which Air New Zealand is famous! (For couples, Air New Zealand also has an innovative section in coach where a couple can purchase the seat between them and raise the foot rests to make a platform!) Please call 305-294-8174 if you would like us to assist your flight arrangements.
No! From the time you arrive at the hotel where we start, until you leave on the last day, group transportation is included. It’s very unlikely you’d want to rent a car at any point unless you are spending time on your own in the region before or after the tour.
If you have the time, NZ is a beautiful country to see from a train, bus or ferry. Nelson is not on a train line nor near a ferry port, with the nearest option being the ferry from Wellington, which lets you off in Picton, about 100 miles away. You would need to bus or rent a car from there into Nelson. And Queenstown is accessible only by coach, air, or car. However, there is good bus service both locally and long distance. The following websites give details about various ground travel options in New Zealand.
The vast majority of your expenses are covered, including all transportation during the trip, accommodation, and many activities. All but two breakfasts and several lunches and dinners are also included. So apart from gifts and souvenirs, which vary greatly from one individual to another, your only expenses are likely to be as follows:
- Activities of your choice. Our philosophy is that if most people will enjoy a particular activity, we include it in the price. So on many days, you’re covered. The overview of this trip, here on the web, tells what’s included.
But if an activity is unlikely to appeal to everyone, we prefer to offer it as an option, so that you’re not indirectly paying for something you don’t do. You may want to head off on your own some days. If you take advantage of the options we offer, we’d suggest a budget of $200 to $400 for such activities. The spectacular but optional half-day flight to/from Milford on Day 11 will be about $400 if you choose to go (and weather allows).
As for that bungy jump: It’s free, too. You don’t have to do it — but we don’t want you claiming you’re going to skip it just to save money!
- Meals. Many meals are included. When they’re not, you can have a good dinner for as little as $15-$20, or pay up to $40 for a gourmet dinner with wine. You can eat quite well and keep total meal costs to $150 to $250 with a little effort, or budget a bit more and indulge yourself.
- Activity guide gratuities. We use local guides for some activities. Some companies add a compulsory surcharge to their list price for “gratuities”, which we think defeats the purpose. We’ve consistently had great guides on this tour and we have been happy to tip them for making our vacation special. Tips are at your discretion, but we expect you’ll feel the same way, and should budget around $100 for tips for activity guides.
- Out West Adventures tour director. As on all of our tours, a professional tour director will be with you throughout the trip to make sure everything goes smoothly, and a gratuity will be appreciated.
We encourage you to do so. Outside Magazine says that talking to people who have taken a trip previously is one of the best ways to evaluate whether it will be right for you, and we agree.
Please call for the names and phone numbers of references in your area, 305-294-8174.
For answers to your additional questions, please email email@example.com or call 305-294-8174