The ultimate South Island multi-sport adventure—custom-designed for MTS!
New Zealand’s stunning beauty and diversity is legendary—and with its many glorious rivers, fjords, mountains, lakes, gorges, and glaciers, it’s an active traveler’s dream. Yet, many visitors aren’t aware that New Zealand is roughly the size of Colorado—far too large and varied to try to see all at once. The West Coast of the South Island is renowned for its wild, rugged, spectacularly scenic landscapes, and to drive through it too quickly is to miss out on its very special essence. Our one-of-a-kind itinerary is specifically designed to show you the best of the West Coast, and let you experience the plethora of adventures this region offers, but at a pace that allows you to fully enjoy your surroundings—breathe in the crystal air at the top of a glacier, meander through lush, virgin rainforest, gaze at the reflections of snowy peaks in a mirror-smooth lake, and taste world-class wines in Marlborough and Gibbston Valley.
This itinerary is unique from the very beginning—your journey starts in Blenheim, on the South Island, where you’ll enjoy a day in the Marlborough wine country. Then begin your hike through the virgin forest and skyline ridges of the Queen Charlotte Track. Spend the next day sea kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park. Next is an exhilarating white-water rafting excursion through the Buller Gorge, and a tour of the rugged coastline of Cape Foulwind. You’ll see the fantastic Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki, and have the chance to shop for “greenstone”—a type of jade unique to New Zealand—in the arty beachside town of Hokitika.
The South Island’s diversity of wildlife as well as landscapes is on display at your next stop, Okarito, where you’ll explore New Zealand’s largest unmodified coastal wetland by kayak. Then, it’s off to magnificent Fox Glacier, where you’ll take a half-day hike on its gleaming surface. Not exciting enough yet? Not to worry—up next is a spectacular helicopter flight deep into the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, followed by a thrilling jetboat ride. You’ll continue on to Mt. Aspiring National Park, where a scenic day hike through thick forest is rewarded with the awe-inspiring view of Rob Roy Glacier, hanging precariously from the cirque and surrounded by thundering waterfalls.
Where better to end your action-packed trip than Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world? We highly recommend spending a few days here enjoying the scenery and the range of activities. Better yet, continue your New Zealand adventure with the MTS Southern Beauty itinerary, which features regional highlights such as stunning Milford Sound and the Wakatipi Basin (made famous in the Lord of the Rings).
Moderate hiking, jet boat rides, scenic helicopter rides, whitewater rafting, lagoon kayaking, sea kayaking and glacier hiking
- Experience the singular beauty of the West Coast on a one-of-a-kind journey designed by our seasoned local guide
- Come face-to-face with shimmering walls of ice on a half-day hike at Fox Glacier and a day hike in Mt. Aspiring National Park
- Enjoy exhilarating adventures like a rafting trip through the Buller Gorge and kayaking on unspoiled Okarito Lagoon
- Hike for 2 days on the iconic Queen Charlotte Track, with a stay at legendary Furneaux Lodge in Queen Charlotte Sound
- Explore the remote and beautiful Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area by jetboat, wilderness hike, and scenic helicopter flight
- Sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park
Duration: 11 days Start Location: Blenheim End Location: QueenstownDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Welcome to Wine Country, Blenheim
Morning arrival in Blenheim, followed by a visit to a selection of boutique and iconic wineries in the Marlborough wine country. We will then return to the hotel before heading out for a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Day 2 : The Start of the Queen Charlotte Track
After breakfast we drive to the small fishing village of Picton then board a boat across Queen Charlotte Sound to Ships Cove, where we begin our hike on the Queen Charlotte Track. Spend the night at the remote Furneaux Lodge.
Day 3 : Queen Charlotte Track
This morning we hike to Punga Cove before taking a water taxi back to Picton. We then make our way to the town of Nelson, on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay.
Day 4 : Abel Tasman National Park
Spend the day exploring the spectacular Tonga Island Marine Reserve by sea kayak. Then return to Nelson in the evening.
Day 5 : Rafting on the Buller River
Leaving Nelson we head west to the town of Murchison, where we experience exhilarating whitewater rafting on the Buller River. Back in our vehicle we follow the river towards the West Coast. If time allows we'll spend the afternoon exploring the rugged coastline of Cape Foulwind.
Day 6 : Punakaiki- Pancake Rocks & Blowholes
Hike among the limestone canyons and lush rainforest of the Inland Pack Track in Paparoa National Park. You'll also check out Punakaiki's famous Pancake Rocks, whose blowholes put on a fascinating natural fountain display during high tide. Spend the afternoon strolling through the spectacular Hokitika River gorge.
Day 7 : Explore Okarito Lagoon by Kayak and Foot
We continue south to the seaside hamlet of Okarito and spend the morning exploring the Okarito Lagoon by kayak. In the afternoon take a beautiful walk through lush rainforest on a trail above the ocean.
Day 8 : Hike on Fox Glacier
In the morning we have a relaxed cafe breakfast before taking a 3-hour glacier hike on Fox Glacier. After your glacier hike you are free to relax around town in the cafes, take a soak in the hot pools, or join your guide for a local walk from town.
Day 9 : Wilderness adventure into New Zealand World Heritage Area and Mount Aspiring National Park
Spend the day exploring Mount Aspiring National Park by helicopter, jet boat, and on foot. End the end in the idyllic town of Wanaka, nestled on the shores of the Lake Wanaka.
Day 10 : Rob Roy Glacier, Mount Aspiring National Park
The Rob Roy Glacier trail will lead us into Mount Aspiring National Park, an amazing world of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes.
Day 11 : Depart Queenstown
It's time to say goodbye to the group and guides.
DATES: Best time to go: January - February, December Departures: Dec 3 - 13, 2014 Feb 4 - 14, 2015 Dec 2 - 12, 2015 Jan 6 - 16, 2016 Feb 3 - 13, 2016
$5,695 (10-16 members)
$1,100 single supplement
$5,895 (10-16 members)
$1,200 single supplement
Marlborough Vintners HotelBlenheim
Surrounded by vineyards in the heart of Sauvignon Blanc country, Marlborough Vintners Hotel in Blenheim is your cuisine and wine destination when travelling to Marlborough. This boutique vineyard accommodation and restaurant is set in 6 acres of grounds showcasing the tranquility of the vines.
Each suite is complete with all the amenities and facilities you would expect such as King size beds, Towelling Robes, a spacious bathroom with handmade natural amenities from a local supplier, DVD player, TV, a great range of complimentary DVD’s for loan, private patio and a small kitchenette with tea and coffee making facilities. High speed wireless broadband access is also available.
Furneaux LodgeQueen Charlotte Sound
Nestled at the foot of Mount Furneaux in the outer reaches of the Queen Charlotte Sound, and surrounded by 2000 acres of virgin forest, Furneaux Lodge, built in the early 1900's, is set on 3 acres of the flattest and most picturesque scenery in the Marlborough Sounds region.
The Hikers Cabins are secluded private bunk rooms hidden in among the trees. The Hikers Cabins have shared bathrooms.
Mercure Monaco ResortNelson
The Hotel has 20 boutique rooms and all rooms offer distinctive interior decor, queen size beds, en suite bathroom, tea and coffee facilities, Sky TV, telephone, writing desk and high-speed internet. Each room varies in style and size. The spacious lounge lobby is just the place to relax at the end of the day with a fine wine or local lager.
Hotel rooms each feature elegant furnishings and a superior standard of comfort with views of colourful cottage gardens and Nelson's mountain range or the Waimea Inlet.
Westhaven MotelFox Glacier
The Westhaven, a new and modern property that is centrally located in the Fox Glacier township. Epitomising luxurious, stylish, contemporary accommodation, we provide high levels of service. All rooms at The Westhaven are fitted out to a very high standard and are ideal for the discerning traveler, flowing with touches that will both delight you and ensure your stay is a comfortable one.
Situated on New Zealand's wild West Coast, 30 minutes north of Greymouth and 300m south of the famous Pancakes Rocks and Blowholes, the Resort is surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and is only a stone's throw from the beach. Spacious, modern studio units all with ensuite bathrooms and either an ocean or garden view.
Grand Mercure Oakridge Resort Lake Wanaka is a 4 star hotel set in a stunning mountain landscape offering majestic views overlooking the Southern Alps. The resort features heated rock pools, seven hot tubs, gymnasium, sauna, the Sanctuary Day Spa and Restaurant to provide guests with a unique and relaxing experience.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Adrian grew up in New Zealand, where he began guiding river trips in 1986 while still in high school. Becoming a river guide was a natural progression for a kid who spent most of his spare time training for national and international competitions in whitewater slalom and downriver racing. His career guiding rafts and safety kayaking has taken him all around New Zealand, as well as to the US, Nepal, Canada, Chile and Ecuador, on trips ranging from the most challenging class V rivers to remote expedition-style trips. He first guided for MTS in 1997 on the Bio Bio River in Chile. In addition to river guiding, Adrian has worked as a heli-ski guide, a hiking guide, a glacier guide and a ski patroller. Adrian operated his own heli-rafting business, Rivers Wild, from 2000 to 2008. The company specialized in taking guests into New Zealand’s most remote and wild rivers. Adrian feels very fortunate to have shared so many amazing experiences with the people he has guided in wild and beautiful places. His favorite part of his job is seeing the look on guests’ faces when they’re having a wonderful experience, especially in the stunning settings of his native country. He is patiently waiting for his two young sons to grow up so they too can join him on fun adventures. Over the years Adrian has called many places home -- right now they are Queenstown, New Zealand and Truckee, California. He holds an undergraduate degree in Geography and a MBA in Sustainable Business Management.