Best of Southern Alps Trek

Best of Southern Alps Trek

Trip Highlights

  • Hike to some of the most secluded ridges in the Southern Alps
  • Experience an exciting helicopter flight to remote alpine tarns with incredible vistas of Mt Aspiring
  • Overnight in a backcountry hut with stunning views of the Mackenzie Basin
  • Enjoy panoramic views from Lake Ohau Lodge overlooking the glistening alpine lake
  • Admire the majesty of NZ's highest peak, Aoraki/Mt Cook
  • Hike alongside Lake Wanaka enjoying unspoiled views from above
  • Discover the remote and unspoiled Siberia Valley by plane, foot and by jet boat

Trip Summary

This is the best trek to not feature in any NZ guide book. Packed full of highlights, this stunning tour includes mountain peaks, remote lake and valley systems and the splendour of Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring from high vantage points. The trip begins with a drive to the highland region of Lake Tekapo with the first night on the trail spent at a private backcountry hut with superb alpine and lakeside vistas. Trek east along a ridgeline to around 2000m before transfering to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park where we spend a day hiking on the ridge overlooking the Hooker Glacier and directly across from the spectacular Mt Sefton with its rumbling avalanches of ice and rock. Visit secluded Lake Ohau and enjoy some shorter hikes before continuing to Wanaka to hike above its picturesque lake nestled at the base of the Southern Alps. This amazing trek ends in sensational style with a breathtaking flight to the remote Siberia Valley, where we walk through open tussock flats surrounded by incredible mountain vistas before completing our journey with an exhilarating jet boat ride on the Wilkin River.

Trip Grading

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.

While part of this itinerary does utilise formed tracks, some days the hikes involve untracked scree and tussock. Some of the walking involves gradual climbing without a formed track to follow. The sense of isolation and wilderness is a strong feature of this trip. For you to be able to really enjoy this trip we recommend that you are confident walking across uneven terrain and are able to walk comfortably for up 4-6 hours at a time (with breaks included) and enjoy walking uphill, with some steep sections.


We will collect you from a central city location in Christchurch around 08:00am before we drive south to Fairlie and inland to Lake Tekapo for lunch. We drive along Tekapo's lakeside to Mt Gerald station and then hike 3-4 hours into the Rex Simpson Hut, (a 12 bunk private hut on the station). To greet us are stunning vistas across the lake and into the rolling tussock landscape that surrounds the area. (Up to 3-4 hours walking). As day turns to night we savour the sun setting behind mountain silhouettes and a star-studded sky - one of the clearest and darkest skies in the southern hemisphere and enjoy a hearty meal prepared by your guides. The hut consists of three rooms, sleeping 12 participants and 2 guides in total. There are no showers and the toilet is a traditional longdrop loo with a view! The hut is fully equipped with pot belly stove, firewood, gas, and solar lighting. Sleeping bags, pillows and mattresses are at the hut; liners and pillow cases are provided each trip. It provides a comfortable and unique place to call home for the night. Note: Please remember we will be staying in an alpine hut on this first evening, you will not need to take all your luggage with you and 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.

Meals:  L,D

From the hut we climb onto a broad easy spur which gradually gains height showcasing breathtaking views back down the lake and across to the Southern Alps with the prominent east faces of Mt Cook and Tasman. For the strong trekker, the summit of Beuzenberg Peak at 2070m is a just reward. Back at the hut we pack up and return to our vehicle for the short drive back to Lake Tekapo and our motel accommodation. (Up to 6-8 hours walking).

Meals:  B,L,D

Mt Cook beckons as we drive 90 mins to the heart of the National Park. From here a number of hikes are available dependant upon weather conditions and fitness levels from the previous day. Mt Sebastopol and the mountain tarns are a favourite as is the Hooker Valley with its profuse vegetation. (Up to 4-5 hours walking). Nearby Red Tarns with stunning views directly onto Mt Sefton involves the treadmill of the staircase that climbs quickly to this stunning view point. From here we get views directly up the Hooker valley and back down the Tasman Valley. Tonight’s accommodation is within the Mt Cook Village itself with outstanding views of the sun setting on the peaks.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning we have a further walk in the area, usually dictated by what we achieved yesterday. For some the Hooker Valley hike will be a delight, while for others the nearby Sealy Tarns awaits. After a late lunch we drive south and onto Lake Ohau Lodge for the overnight before a short bush walk to explore the beech forest remnants in the area.

Meals:  B,L,D

Leaving the Mackenzie basin we cross ‘water-sheds’ and drive over the Lindis Pass through to Wanaka. This afternoon we will enjoy a walk to stretch our legs, while enjoying stunning views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. Our trail winds its way around the east side of Rocky Mountain to the summit offering a superb vista into the Mount Aspiring National Park. We decend via Diamond Lake and then drive to Wanaka for the night.

Meals:  B,L,D

From an early start we drive to the nearby village of Makarora and our final hike of the trip. We first fly into the Siberia Valley deep in the heart of the Mount Aspiring National Park. From our landing point we begin our hike through remote Tussock lands, and marvel at the vistas, being surrounded by the snow capped Southern Alps. Arriving at the banks of the crystal blue Wilkin River we then embark on the final chapter in our adventure, an exhilarating jet boat ride back to Makarora. On landing we drive to Queenstown and deliver you to your accommodation of choice.

Meals:  B,L

What's Included

  • 5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners
  • 4 nights hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on a twin share basis
  • 1 night in a private mountain hut (shared facilities)
  • Professional qualified driver/guide
  • Private vehicle transport
  • Water and snacks while trekking
  • Packs and poles (on request if required) - please let our staff know in advance
  • Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation
  • Heli hike/ Jetboat on day 6 of tour (weather dependent)
  • New Zealand Goods and Services Tax (GST)

What's Not Included

  • International or domestic flights and taxes
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • All beverages, other than breakfast
  • Water bottle (help us save the environment and bring your own drink bottle or hydration system)
  • Optional activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses (eg. phone calls, internet, laundry, shopping etc)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Tips


It was fantastic- the hikes chosen were strenuous but absolutely rewarding. The views were incredible. The guides were first class. Ensure that you are physically fit and train for climbing.

Debra V, Australia, 18 Dec 2018

The Best of the Southern Alps trip was excellent in all aspects - information & communication beforehand, fun and well-paced itinerary, outstanding guides, great accommodation and food - altogether a great introduction to the spectacular South Island.

Clive A, Sydney, Australia, 12 Dec 2018

Wonderful, knowledgeable tour leaders for whom nothing was a trouble and a well thought out itinerary. Highlights were the climb on Day 2 to the top of the ridgeline over recent snowfalls to feel we were in line with the peaks of the Alps and to see Mt Cook. Also climb on Day 5 to views over Wanaka.

Michael N, Sydney, Australia, 29 Nov 2018

This is a well planned schedule which cover different landscape of south NZ. Our guide Angela and Nicki are awesome, they are so thoughtful to best use our time even in sudden change of weather. They also take good care of us and we can't accomplished this tracking without them. The first night in Rex Simpson Hut are unforgettable as the scenery is spectacular

Ben, Hong Kong, 22 Nov 2018

Overall a fantastic trip, plenty of great walking in mostly bluebird skies. Highlights were Beuzenberg Peak and Sealy Tarns (and above). No low lights, plenty of laughs, good food and good company. Small group size was perfect. Chris was ever mindful of her customers having the best experiences at all times. Thanks Adventure South!

Shaun E, Noah Head, Australia, 28 Apr 2018

The trip was great. A real highlight was our time at the Rex Simpson Hut and the walk up to Erica's peak. I also really enjoyed the challenge of climbing to the Sealy Tarns. The guide was fantastic, so positive always.

Liz, Auckland, New Zealand, 28 Apr 2018

Overall sensational. Pete and Ange rock! Great Aspects: Variety, comfy accommodation, picnic lunches, guides attentiveness and heli ride. Not so great: Couldn't fault a thing. Recommendations: Another trip with Pete and Ange! You'll have a sensational experience.

Linda H, Australia, 10 Feb 2018

Having little hiking experience, the guides Ange and Pete were supportive and informative. The food was great and always well prepared/organised. The places we were visited were fantastic and fun was had by all. Would be happy to have another experience with this group.

, Australia, 10 Feb 2018

Excellent journey across the Southern Alps. We had perfect weather and a fantastic group. Every day there were breath taking views and brilliant hikes. To top it off we had the most excellent guides Ange and Peter. Your company is incredibly lucky to have such experienced and brilliant guides. Sign up for this trip it is fantastic.

Leigh B, Brisbane, Australia, 10 Feb 2018

This was so much better than I was expecting. Such an amazing trip that really did cover the Best of the Southern Alps. So many amazing memories. Thank you so much. Will be recommending this to everyone. Guides Ange and Peter are an asset to the company. Very professional.

Christine H, Australia, 06 Nov 2017

Couldn’t have hoped for a better trip with fantastic guides!

Vanessa W, Australia, 06 Nov 2017

I was extremely happy with the trip overall; great views, great accommodation, excellent trek leader = a very enjoyable trip

I. Wilkinson, WA. Australia

Thank you to my guides Ang & Pete for the most amazing trip. The scenery was spectacular and was exactly as promised - like going to Nepal without actually going to Nepal. I felt in very safe hands and had such a great time - definitely left the trek feeling recharged and reset for everyday life. Do yourself a favour and go on this trip - it is just magic. Two of the girls I trekked with on this trip have since booked Everest Base Camp with me for next year. Great friendships made.

C. Hannah, Australian Capital Territory, 11 Dec 2017

Itinerary seemed original exciting and impossible. NZ, every day. Avoid the crowds. Heli-hike Buchanan range. Hooker valley, temple view and beech forest. Really appreciate they were able to swap heli-hike day due to weather conditions. Amazing experienced guides. Tailored trip closely to needs. Able to use such professional knowledge on walks and planning and safety. Best experience i've every had on a hiking tour. Ange and Peter are a valuable asset to your company.

Clare Farron, England

A fantastic overview of the best the Southern Alps of NZ has to offer which makes me want to come back again and again.

Phil Ingram, Australia

Overall an amazing trip, each day raised the bar in terms of experiences and mountain scenery. I felt privileged to have a glimpse of mountain life in this incredible place.

Louise Southerden, Australia

Upcoming Travel Dates



Duration:6 Days
Starting Point:Christchurch
Finishing Point:Queenstown
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SAT
Prices From:NZD$2695
Public Holiday Supplement:NZD$50 
Single Supplement (excluding Day 1):NZD$650