Come with us while we take you on some awesome New Zealand activities on our West Coast Hike & Kayak tour from Christchurch to Queenstown exploring the wonders of the West Coast of the South Island. This is the 1st half of two interconnecting itineraries that provide a slightly slower pace and some more activities.
Small groups travelling in modern, comfortable 16 seater buses for maximum enjoyment. Over the 7 days we will take you on activites such as: sea kayaking, hiking, sailing and cave rafting. Stay the night at quality accommodation in great locations and private facilities. Our friendly, supportive and qualified guides will make this an experience never to forget.
To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude, the number of pass crossings and the length of the trip. The West Coast Hike & Kayak Adventure is graded introductory. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) twice a week for the three months leading up to your trip. The tour is fully supported and a number of the activities are optional.
Important: The night before your tour is to depart your guide will call your pre tour accommodation to advise what time they will collect you the following morning. (Please make sure you have given us information as to where you are staying). If you are not around when your guide calls they will leave a message at reception – its really important that you check with reception if you have not heard from your guide directly. If for any reason you have not heard from your guide by the morning of the tour please call us in the NZ office on 0800 00 11 66 (from within NZ).
Around 8.30am your guide will collect you from your accommodation and following a briefing, we drive northward to the coastal township of Kaikoura, famous for its whale watching and prolific bird life. The coastal peninsula walk provides a spectacular viewing point, while some may wish to take the optional pelagic boat trip for a chance to view the birdlife that exists in the area. After this interlude we head north again, bound for Marlborough – famous for its Savignon Blanc wines. If time allows in the late afternoon we have an option to experience one of the regions premier winetastings before finishing into Picton with views of the beautiful Sounds for the night.
Today we paddle our sea kayaks on the sheltered waters of Queen Charlotte Sound stopping for lunch at a picturesque bush rimmed bay. The double kayaks are very stable, easy to paddle, and a delightful way to travel. Towards the end of our two-hour kayak journey we paddle close to a small colony of shags perched high in the overhanging trees. Mid afternoon we drive through the hills and forest, and sunshine city of Nelson located in an area well known for its horticulture and craftwork and close to the world-renowned Abel Tasman National Park. Following the beautiful coastline we arrive at Motueka where we will stay for the next two nights.
In the morning we are whisked through to the edge of the park and the start of our hike through to Torrent Bay. The walk is an easy grade and there exists the chance to explore some of the beautiful bays along the way. The hike takes around 4 hours which allows us time to explore around the Anchorage / Torrent bay area. Then it’s onboard our boat for a sail out of the heads and then along the Mad Mile with the gentle winds in our sail. The yacht takes us back to Kaiteriteri and then onto Motueka.
Our adventure today is cave rafting. We travel along the Buller River, which we follow inland via its bush-clad gorges. We stop in Charleston, a once busy gold mining town in the late 1800’s, although little evidence now remains from these heady times. Here we join our cave rafting tour, which takes us up the Nile River in a small train. We change into wetsuits, grab our inner tubes and head underground. We exit the caves by floating downstream on tubes – a novel and exciting way to view this amazing underworld experience. Late afternoon we watch the sun set into the Tasman Sea as we follow the spectacular coastline to Punakaiki. Before dinner we take a walk around the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes.
After breakfast, we continue southwards, the road is bounded on one side by the rugged coast, where land meets, the often wild, Tasman Sea and on the other, by dense, temperate rainforest which covers the distant wall of mountains: the Southern Alps. The coast is steeped in history: from the indigenous Maori collecting pounamu or greenstone, to the wild gold rush days of the late 1800’s and the long years of coal mining and timber milling. We continue through extensive areas of luxuriant forest to Hokitika and then to glacier country. This afternoon we'll explore some local hiking tracks or take an optional helicopter ride that lifts you out of the valley to a wondrous world of our highest, ice covered mountains. In the evening take a leisurely stroll around Lake Matheson, a photographer’s paradise.
We follow the scenic highway south along the coast to Pleasant Flat where we join the awesome Waiototo jet-boat experience. We are treated to an eco-commentary by our skilled, professional driver as we travel up the wilderness river, which takes us deep into Mt Aspiring National Park. Marvel at the impossibly shallow water that your boat skims over at speed, all made possible by its unique drive system invented in the 1950’s by New Zealand farmer, Bill Hamilton. A walk option provides the chance to enjoy the solitude of your surroundings before returning to our craft for the return journey to the coast. The spectacular scenery continues as we cross the Haast Pass, then skirt Lake Hawea and onto Lake Wanaka, to our overnight stay.
Wanaka is an undiscovered gem and nearby at Diamond Lake the beautiful walkway provides some spectacular views. The short drive takes us via Glendu Bay and then to the track. For those seeking a good hike, the full three hour round trip takes in a summit view up valley and over the lake. The shorter hike to the lake look out is a great viewpoint and a warm up for lunch as a picnic beside the lake. The next drive takes us down the side of Lake Dunstan, a hydro lake created in the 70’s. At the mouth of the we stop off at a local vineyard to learn about the wine making process and sample some of the delights. Then the last hour takes us through the rugged gorge and finally out to the mighty Lake Wakatipu and your accommodation for the night. Here we say our goodbyes for as each head in our own directions and the tour ends.
Per Person, Twin Share