NZ Explorer

10 days Queenstown to Picton Nov-Apr $5,695

Embrace the South Island's awesome diversity with daily adventure & adrenalin in remote mountain ranges, wild canyons and on golden sand beaches.

The NZ Explorer trip is a bucket list tour packed with adventure and adrenalin that celebrates the huge diversity that the South Island boasts on an epic exploratory 10-day road trip.

This truly incredible itinerary embraces some of the finest South Island scenery and explores underground rivers, spectacular glowworm caves, brilliant Blue glaciers, wild canyons, golden beaches and incredible wildlife.

We begin in the adventure capital of the world Queenstown, head all the way up the breathtaking wild West Coast, through Glacier country and right up to the golden sand beaches and crystal clear waters of Abel Tasman National park.

This tour offers truly great adventure and takes in some of the very best locations that the South Island has to offer.

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Trip Details

Locations:

Queenstown, Glenorchy, Lake Wanaka, Franz Josef, Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park, Cape Foulwind, Murchison, Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson, Picton

Meals: Lunch

Day One

We start this great tour by journeying to the wild and stunningly beautiful Glenorchy region at the head of Lake Wakatipu.  This area is home to big mountains, glaciers, the Paradise Valley, Rees Valley, Dart Valley and UNESCO world heritage Mt Aspiring National Park.  

Here we'll spend a full day exploring the valleys and surrounds of this idyllic region made famous by the Lord Of The Rings trilogy in what is arguably some of some of the most incredible natural beauty offered in New Zealand.

Included is three hours of exhilarating and adventurous ziplining through stunning ancient Southern Beech forest! 
Once we're geared up and completed our safety training on the equipment we're good to go and ready to zip our way across 8 ziplines that take us across stunning chasms, through slot canyons and above blue lagoons and pristine streams.  The thrill and scenery compete for your attention during the regions best zip lining experience.

Night 1 in Self Contained Unit/Apartment in Queenstown
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Two

Today you have the whole day to get off the beaten track and to explore Queenstown by Mountain Bike on the Queenstown Trail.  We provide premium MTB equipment, snacks, refreshments and trail information and dedicated bike taxi shuttles so that you can really get the most enjoyment on the day, and are able to ride 2-3 trail sections.  

We have a fantastic network of trail rides to cater for all levels of mountain bikers with differing levels of fitness and experience.   There are some great non-technical trails that follow the lakeside and criss-cross rivers and bridges offering amazing views that you just can't get by road.  Favourite rides also take in historic Arrowtown and the Gibbston Valley wine region.

Night 2 in Self Contained Unit/Apartment in Queenstown
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Three

This morning we depart Queenstown for our next destination of Lake Wanaka, but not before a 1 hour Jet Boat thrill ride where we explore 47km of Lake Wakatipu and the mighty Kawarau River.  This is an iconic Queenstown activity and offers plenty of adventure with 360-degree jet boat spins amongst the mountains in the adventure capital of the world! 
We arrive into Wanaka for a lakeside lunch and have the afternoon available to relax by the waters edge with amazing mountain views, or perhaps see out some adrenalin with an optional 12,000ft Tandem Skydive over Lake Wanaka!

Night 3 in Self Contained Unit/Apartment in Lake Wanaka
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Four

Today we head towards the Matukituki Valley for great hiking options on the Diamond Lake trail.  We'll take a picnic lunch and hike to the Rocky Mountain summit for jaw-dropping views over Lake Wanaka, the Matukituki River and the big mountains surrounds.  Your afternoon is free to explore Wanaka or take a well-earned break.

Night 4 in Self Contained Unit/Apartment in Lake Wanaka
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Five

This morning we depart Wanaka and continue our journey to the West Coast of New Zealand taking in beautiful rainforests with crystal clear Blue pools, thundering waterfalls and impressive lookouts as we reach the coast and overlook the Tasman Sea.

Upon arriving at our destination Franz Josef, we'll have lunch and then undertake a spectacular Heli Hike adventure landing high up on the Franz Josef glacier. Here we undertake a two hour guided adventure hike amongst some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery available, making your way through a wonderland of towering pinnacles and brilliantly blue ice.

Night 5 in Self Contained Unit/Apartment in Franz Josef
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Six

Today we drive up the coast to go Underworld Rafting, a blackwater tubing and glowworm adventure! Along the way we stop at Punakaiki where we will head along the coastal track to explore the famous Pancake rocks. These are columns of limestone resembling stacks of pancakes which at high tide and with a heavy swell running have seawater forced upwards through blowholes creating spectacular spraying geysers.

Night 6 in Self Contained Unit/Apartment in Cape Foulwind
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Seven

Departing the Cape we head inland to Murchison for a half day of White Water Rafting on the Buller river where we run the Buller Gorge section which has Ariki Falls on it, a great grade 4 drop.
After Lunch, we head north to our final destination, New Zealand's incredible Abel Tasman National Park.

Night 7 Self Contained Unit/Apartment in Motueka
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Eight

A full day Sea kayaking in the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park, paddling by pristine golden beaches, through crystal clear waters, and to a marine reserve Seal colony. This is New Zealand's smallest National Park and a destination well known for its wildlife, kayaking and hiking, as much as for its stunning natural beauty.

Night 8 Self Contained Unit/Apartment in Motueka.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Nine

Another full day in the Abel Tasman National Park, however today we spend it hiking on the Abel Tasman track and canyoning in the amazing Torrent River.  This is a really popular canyoning trip, simply because it has everything that you could ask for.....jumps, slides, floats, abseils, you name it!  All this exciting stuff takes place in a gorgeous granite canyon filled with some of the purest water you can find and wrapped in mind-blowing, unspoiled rain forest.

Night 9 Self Contained Unit/Apartment in Motueka.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Ten

A free half day to explore more of the Abel Tasman National Park or to relax on the beach before driving to our final destination Picton. This is the port town where we conclude our trip and arrange for you to catch the inter-islander ferry to Wellington for your on-going travels or international flights. Alternatively, you can be shuttled to Nelson Airport for your domestic/transfer flights.

Accommodation not included.
Fitness Requirements

A good standard of fitness is required to fully participate and enjoy this NZ Explorer trip. The Canyoning and Sea kayaking activities are the most strenuous parts of this particular adventure tour.

You must be able to swim to participate in this adventure tour.

Paradise Ziplines

The Paradise Ziplines experience offers 1000 meters of exhilarating ziplining through stunning native Red Beech forest, where you experience 8 lines zip over a pristine alpine stream and brilliant blue lagoons and chasms.

This is a perfect activity for those wanting to see some of the regions stunning scenery, get amongst the native forest and see a slot canyon otherwise inaccessible to the public. The thrill and scenery compete for your attention during the regions best ziplining experience.

 

Paradise Ziplines
Duration: 3 Hours.
Conditions: Reasonable fitness required. Minimum age 10 years old.
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Queenstown Trail MTB

Explore Queenstown by bike! 
The fantastic Queenstown Trail offers a network of dedicated bike and walking trails that connect the greater Queenstown area taking you along the spectacular shores of two iconic lakes and the banks of three famous South Island rivers.  Discover iconic Queenstown, historic Arrowtown, the vineyards of Gibbston, Lake Hayes and the beautiful Lake Wakatipu.

We'll take your biking experience and fitness into consideration and plan 2-3 sections of the Queenstown trail for you to cycle in an afternoon.  Our support service provides you with quality mountain bikes and equipment, refreshments and bike taxi shuttles to take you from one section to the next so that you have the freedom to pedal at your own pace and experience all the trail highlights.

Queenstown Trail MTB
Duration: 3 - 4 Hours
Conditions: Confident riding on non-technical hard pack dirt and gravel trails.
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Thunder Jet

This one hour trip is the ultimate jet boating adventure.  Thunder Jet delivers an exhilarating Queenstown experience of on-water thrills skimming the water at exciting speeds of up to 95kmph and loaded with 360º spins!

These amazing jet boats are powered with 2 V8 engines delivering 820 horsepower and are skippered by skilled, experienced and professional drivers who'll jet you through 47km of stunning New Zealand landscapes complemented by storytelling and commentary.

 

Thunder Jet
Duration: 1 Hour.
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Routeburn Canyoning

A full day of incredible canyoning starting with a scenic (45 min) drive to Glenorchy at the head of Lake Wakatipu, this brings you to the Routeburn Valley.

In this hidden spot you'll find yourself in harmony with a spectacular environment and enjoy some serious adventure. This is Mount Aspiring National Park - real "Lord of the Rings" country. In fact this World Heritage area is not far from several locations used in the films, and it's only a 20-minute walk through the primeval rain forest.

This is epic canyon country, the real deal, which involves you and your guide navigating through a wild canyon and includes rock jumps, natural slides over waterfalls, zip lines and abseiling - it is adrenalin pumping!

Routeburn Canyoning
Duration: Full day.
Conditions: A good level of fitness is required.
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Diamond Lake Hike

This 3 hour return trip begins near Lake Wanaka and climbs steadily to Diamond lake and then to the summit of Rocky Hill. The views from here are superb and give the visitor an idea of how the glaciers of the Ice Ages carved and shaped the landscape. Awesome views.

Diamond Lake Hike
Duration: 3 hours.
Conditions: A reasonable level of fitness is required.
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Glacier Heli-hike

From its origins high in the Southern Alps, the Franz Josef Glacier descends deep into the lush rainforest of Westland's National Park, from a height of 2700m above sea level to only 240m in as little as 11 km, making it the worlds steepest and fastest flowing commercially guided glacier.

We'll take an exciting scenic flight and land at the remarkable Pinnacles area of the glacier where we'll undertake a guided hike for up to 3 hours amongst some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery available. Your guide chooses the route as you go and with an eye for the most spectacular ice formations you'll soon be making your way through a wonderland of towering pinnacles and brilliantly blue ice.

Glacier Heli-hike
Duration: Half day.
Conditions: A reasonable level of fitness is required.
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White Water Rafting - Buller Gorge

Exhilarating whitewater and rugged West Coast scenery make rafting the Buller Gorge an adventure not to be missed. A short drive from the base to the river gives you more time to experience a journey through spectacular granite canyons and deep gorges, for what is undoubtedly the Buller River’s best rafting trip.

This trip sees us raft down the Ariki section known for its big volume rapids and beautiful scenery. Four major rapids provide full-on excitement with the final rapid being Ariki Falls - "chief of the Buller", and up to a 5 metre drop at low flow!

Great cliff jumps are also available!

White Water Rafting - Buller Gorge
Duration: Half day.
Conditions: Must be able to swim.
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Blackwater Tubing

The Underworld rafting adventure in Paparoa National Park is a unique black water cave tubing adventure, where you'll float guided on an underground stream to explore the enormous Nile River's cave system's and its stalactites and stalagmites navigating only by the galaxies of glow worms!

Blackwater Tubing
Duration: Half day.
Conditions: Must be able to swim.
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Abel Tasman Sea Kayaking

See more of the Abel Tasman National Park from a kayak than any other day trip!

Explore coastline between Bark Bay and Kaiteriteri with a scenic water taxi ride in the morning taking you into the heart of the park to start your kayaking experience.

This is an awesome day where you get to check out some of New Zealand's finest and most secluded beaches whilst paddling in crystal clear waters. A truly amazing day!

Abel Tasman Sea Kayaking
Duration: Full day.
Conditions: A good level of fitness and stamina is required for this full day paddling.
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Central Otago Rail Trail

We take in the best of this awesome 3 day bike trail and enjoy incredible views and vistas of Central Otago. This first day of peddling is a great way to meet the group and get warmed up for some serious adventure and adrenalin included in this awesome tour.

Includes hardtail mountain bikes, helmets and all necessary equipment.

Central Otago Rail Trail
Duration: 4 to 5 hours of riding time.
Conditions: This trail is suitable for all levels.
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Abel Tasman Canyoning

The Torrent River is the most popular canyoning trip operated by Abel Tasman Canyons, simply because it has it all. Jumps, slides, floats, abseils, you name it……Torrent’s got it.
All this exciting stuff takes place in a gorgeous granite canyon filled with some of the purest water you can find and wrapped in mind-blowing, unspoiled rain forest.

From our base in Motueka we head to Marahau and join an exhilarating water taxi ride through the Astrolabe Roadstead into Anchorage. From here we leave the golden sand beaches of the coast for a stunning 1.5 hour walk up and further into the Abel Tasman National Park. Along the way the guides will keep you entertained with endless amounts of stories about the history, culture, flora and fauna of the park.  At the top of the canyon you’ll jump into your wetsuit, crank your harness tight and pop your helmet on. After a clear safety briefing by the guides you enter the truly remote environment of the canyon. You’ll be jumping, sliding, abseiling, scrambling, floating and ziplining through this canyon for about 3.5 hours.

Abel Tasman Canyoning
Conditions: Canyoning is a physically demanding activity. The trip involves walking on uneven and slippery surfaces. The trip involves full submersion in water. Clients will be exposed to heights of up to 15m Jumps and slides are always optional.
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