If you’re looking for a spectacular winter adventure without all the crowds then you’ve found your trip! During the winter, New Zealand’s South Island transforms into a white wonderland of snow, ice, blue sky days and mountain views that will simply take your breath away. From cosy lodges, roaring fires, hearty meals and of course snow, this South Island Winter Adventure has been designed to showcase the very best of NZ's winter activities. Starting from Queenstown, we take you on an incredible journey to an exclusive cross-country resort, the uncrowded slopes of Ohau Snow Fields and to the base of the mighty Aoraki/Mt Cook. We cycle the lakeside trails of the Alps 2 Ocean, recently listed in the Lonely Planet’s 'Epic Bike Rides of World'. Climb to the top of a snowy peak for panoramic views of the Southern Alps and snow shoe along the Two Thumb range. Spend the night in secluded lodges and the remote Rex Simpson Hut, soak in thermal hot pools and an get your heart racing on an exhilarating jet boat ride down the Rakaia Gorge. Like any Adventure South tour, we include everything you need to make this trip stress free so you can relax, unwind and enjoy this amazing winter experience.
To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the terrain, the altitude and the length of the trip. Cross country skiing, alpine skiing/snowboarding and snow shoeing all require some physical exertion. However, these are all conducted at your own comfortable pace and ability level. The Alps to Ocean cycle trail is graded moderate. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and we suggest 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trip. Our cycle rides are all on tarmac or purpose built hard packed trails. You’ll need appropriate outdoor winter clothing and footwear. We supply hybrid mountain bikes and helmets for the cycling sections.
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).
Your guide will collect you from your Queenstown accommodation around 8:00am before heading up to the Snow Farm, New Zealand's only dedicated cross country skiing resort. We traverse the gentle rolling hills and peaceful valleys of the Pisa range on skis followed by a BBQ lunch at a back country alpine hut.
We bring today's adventures to an end with a visit to the Cardrona distillery for chance to enjoy some hand crafted spirits before heading to our accommodation at the historic Cardrona Hotel for dinner and drinks and warm atmosphere.
After a hearty breakfast at Cardrona Hotel, we start our morning with a short drive to the stunning lakeside town of Wanaka. We stop for a coffee break with an opportunity to take photos of the lake and surrounding mountain ranges before setting off across the Lindis Pass to the small village town of Twizel. After lunch we get fitted on to our bikes for the 2 hour cycle ride along Lake Ohau's shoreline, following the world renowned Alps 2 Ocean Cycle trail. Our two night stay at Lake Ohau Lodge is a trip highlight, offering the friendly feel of a 'ski lodge' mixed with the glamour and comfort of a hotel. An optional soak in the lodge hot tubs awaits us before we sit down to enjoy a decadent 3 course meal.
We spend today skiing at the Mackenzie Countries' Ohau Snow Field. A favourite amongst New Zealander's, the 125 hectare snow field offers uncrowded slopes, breathtaking views and terrain to suit everyone from absolute beginner to seasoned expert. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been skiing or snowboarding before. The Ohau team will fit you out with your skis or snowboard and after a lesson with their friendly instructors you’ll be up and away in no time. For the more experienced skiers or riders, take a hike to the summit ridge for views across the southern alps and untracked powder on the way down. Then it's back to Lake Ohau Lodge for another soak in the hot tubs, dinner and a well earned good nights sleep.
After breakfast we say our farewells to the team at Lake Ohau Lodge and head out on our drive through the Mackenzie basin, taking in the surrounding tussock landscapes and towering Southern Alps.Today we hop back on our bikes for our second ride following the world famous Alps to Ocean Cycle trail. Starting at the Alpine Salmon farm, we take a short ride down past the canals and along the foreshore of the serene Lake Pukaki. The backdrop of a snow covered Aoraki/Mt Cook against turquoise waters definitely makes this ride one to remember. After being picked up by our driver, we head to the World Heritage area, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Keen walkers can take an optional 1 hour walk on the Tasman Glacier track. That night our guides prepare dinner at our accommodation for the night.
Wake to a hearty breakfast prepared by your guides. You'll need to eat well as we've got a big day ahead. If the weather is good, a scenic flight and snow landing on Tasman Glacier is a optional extra for the morning.
It's now time for our one hour drive to Lake Tekapo village for an early lunch. Here, we get fitted for our snowshoes before taking a short scenic drive around the lake to Mt Gerald Station. A 3 hour hike takes us up to the remote Rex Simpson Hut (a cosy 12 bunk private hut on the station). As we near the top, there will be a chance to continue the hike on our snow shoes. The climb takes us up to 1300m where we are greeted by expansive views over Lake Tekapo and the rolling tussock landscape that surrounds. Relax with a hot drink beside the pot belly stove as your guide prepares a tasty dinner. Watch the sun set behind the alps and enjoy spectacularly clear displays of our Southern Hemisphere stars in the dark sky reserve.
You won't need to take all your luggage with you so we suggest packing a small overnight bag with clothing suitable for staying in an alpine environment. If necessary we can provide small overnight packs and walking poles.
After a cooked breakfast, we put our snow shoes back on and spend the morning exploring the Two Thumb Range. Ice-covered streams, curving ridges and snowy valleys turn the area into the perfect playground for any snow lover. Topped with views over Lake Tekapo and the major peaks of the Southern Alps, this is an experience not to be missed. Following lunch, we start the two hour descent down to our vehicle and it's back to Lake Tekapo Village for our last night together. Tekapo hot springs are an optional extra and well worth a relaxing soak before dinner.
We depart Lake Tekapo after a cafe breakfast and head towards our final destination, the Rakaia Gorge. Here we joina Discovery Jet excursion for an exhilarating jet boat ride on the Rakaia River. Towering limestone cliffs and the snow capped Southern Alps provide an unforgettable backdrop out on the water. Once our adrenaline has subsided, we hop back on the bus for the final one hour drive back to Christchurch City by mid afternoon.
Per Person, Twin Share