Wildsouth Discovery: Exclusive Privately Guided
9 & 10 Day 
South Island
Nature & Wilderness Expedition

Day 1... Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass 
“Greeting, views, plains & alps”
After being met by your guides and hosts, you will be driven through the “Garden City” and up onto the Port Hills, the flanks of one of the ancient extinct volcanoes that form Banks Peninsula. From the hills there are spectacular views of the city and the Kaikoura Range can be seen far to the north, while the Pacific Ocean sparkles to the east. To the south and west the vast Canterbury Plains stretch to the horizon and in the distance, the Southern Alps. This is an opportunity to talk about where you will be going and what you will see on the tour.
You will then escape the city and start your journey west across the Canterbury Plains. As the distant mountains become closer, you may wonder, just like the Maori and the early settlers before us how you will find a way through. Crossing Porter’s Pass, a dramatic landscape change occurs as you enter the high country, an inter-montaine plateau bounded by the Torlesse Mountains to the east and the Craigieburn Mountains to the west. Travelling through this glacial shaped region, you will pass glacial formed lakes and the stunning spiritual limestone formations of Castle Hill which dominate the landscape.
Further on, you will reach the wide expanse of the Waimakariri River and the Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass.
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass
Included meals: AT, D
Day 2… A day in the mountains
“Mountains, sheep, beech trees and keas”
This is a day to discover the real high country - a day in which you can explore and learn about the alpine landscape, plants and the animals in the spectacular Southern Alps. A tour of the high country sheep farm which is part of the lodge, will enable you to view and learn about the ways of sheep farming in the high country.
From the lodge you will head into the heart of the Southern Alps - Arthur’s Pass National Park which has an incredible diversity of flora and landscape.  In Arthur’s Pass National Park, you may take walks to see waterfalls, learn about the forests and alpine plants of this area and experience the alpine landscape. Explore the glacial landscape and learn about the features that the Ice Age left behind.  Seek out and hopefully find a unique South Island personality who is mischievous, inquisitive, comical and rowdy; the cheeky kea - the world’s only alpine parrot. You may have to defend your mini coach, as they have been known to try and remove aerials and door trims with their beaks!
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D
Day 3... Arthur’s Pass - Hokitika - Franz Josef
“Mountains, pioneers, greenstone and ice”
After breakfast you will travel through Arthur’s Pass National Park and depart Canterbury province for Westland – Te Wai Poutini or “The West Coast” as it is known. Originally used by the Maori to move greenstone from the west coast and later as a link to the gold rush fields, this route reveals great mountain valleys and the marvel of the road as it winds its way down the spectacular Otira Gorge - a geographer’s dream.
Follow rivers that flow to the West Coast and observe changes to the rainforest and the many varieties of ferns that define their character. Travel on a backcountry road, walk through old gold miners tunnels and wonder at the tenacity of the miners in their quest for gold. Visit Hokitika, once the capital of Westland and a roaring gold mining town and now the pounamu / jade / greenstone centre of New Zealand. A visit is also made to view the dramatic Hokitika Gorge before you journey south to Glacier Country. Along the way, you will pass through villages that were once bustling and one now has a population of 2 (three, including the dog!).
Heading on, see the West Coast rainforests and further evidence of the last Ice Age in the kettle lakes created by the melting ice sheets. Arrive at Franz Josef and view the Franz Josef Glacier pushing into rainforest - truly incredible! Overnight at Franz Josef.
Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat at Franz Josef
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D
Day 4... Franz Josef - Lake Moeraki
“Ice Age, podocarps, geology and lakes”
A day to explore the glaciated landscape of Glacier Country. Walks can be made to the terminal face of the Fox Glacier and to a glacier viewpoint to witness the Fox Glacier’s descent down the mountain into the rainforest. An option is a beautiful and tranquil walk which can be taken around the edge of Lake Matheson. It is here that incredible views (and sometimes reflections) of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman in the lake can often be seen. Alternatively, a drive through the lush rainforest to a remote beach on the Tasman Sea for views of the alps and where we can look for the rare Hectors Dolphins.  Optional guided hike on the Fox Glacier with an alpine guide or an exciting helicopter ride with a snow landing on the upper reaches of the glacier are available. From Fox Glacier, travel south to the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, set in the heart of Te Wahi Pounamu - the South West New Zealand World heritage area. This lodge is a Tourism Award Winner providing a first class wilderness experience.
Accommodation: Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D
Day 5... Lake Moeraki
“Rain forest, wilderness, pristine and remote”
Untouched lowland rain forests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snow-capped Southern Alps - this is Lake Moeraki.  Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting of Lake Moeraki in the heart of the 2.7 million hectare Te Wahi Pounamu - Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area. The landscape has been shaped by successive glaciations into fiords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes and waterfalls. Two-thirds of the area is covered with southern beech and podocarps, some of which are over 800 years old. This special place is also home to breeding colonies of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin (seasonal), the Hectors Dolphins (the world’s smallest dolphin) and numerous varieties of native birds.
Lake Moeraki is a nature lover's paradise. Visits can be made to wild and remote beaches and activities include guided walks to get close to the wildlife, learning about the forest and experiencing amazing scenery. If you prefer to have a restful day then you can take a canoe out on the tranquil lake or just relax in the lodge.
Accommodation: Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge
Included meals: B, D

Day 6... Lake Moeraki - Haast Pass - Wanaka - Queenstown
“Beaches, waterfalls, tussocks and gold”
Depart Moeraki and travel south to Ship Creek. Here, from a viewing tower on the beach there is a good chance of seeing the rare Hectors Dolphin playing beyond the surf. Walk through a primeval swamp forest to see ancient "dinosaur" trees, view a coastal lagoon and fossick for greenstone on the remote beach.
From here, you will head south again to Haast where the road turns east, following the Haast Highway. You can now observe how the landscape again changes dramatically as the road climbs over the Haast Pass from the dense rain forest of the West Coast to the drier tussock lands of the Otago province. On the way, there are short walks to see waterfalls and if there has been recent rainfall, the Haast River passing through the gorge known as the Gates of Haast can be truly spectacular.
From Haast Pass the road eventually skirts first along the banks of Lake Wanaka and then making a slight turn and rising over a ridge, Lake Wanaka is left behind and Lake Hawea is before you. The road follows the shoreline of this lake and then we reach the alpine village of Wanaka.
This is a quiet mountain resort on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka.
From Wanaka, pass the old gold mining village of Cardrona and head over the rugged and remote Crown Range, the site of gold diggings in the 1860's. From the top of the Crown Range there are dramatic views of the Queenstown district. You will then descend to the valley floor and reach the quaint and historic village of Arrowtown. It is then a short drive to your Queenstown accommodation, Millbrook Resort.
Accommodation: Millbrook Country Resort
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT
Day 7... Queenstown - Piopiotahi / Milford Sound excursion - Queenstown
“Fiords, glacial lakes, cruise and alps”
Today, your highlight will be a flight to Piopiotahi / Milford Sound. Once you arrive at Milford, you will be transferred to your 2 hour nature cruise. Your catamaran explores nooks and crannies along the edge of the fiord, nudging into sheer rock faces to examine flora and fauna in detail.
This ‘ecotour’ is perfect for close-up shots of seals, birds and other Fiordland wildlife, including the rarest penguin in the world, the Fiordland crested penguin (Spring & Autumn). Your smaller boat helps you appreciate the sheer size and grandeur of the fiord’s cliff faces rising hundreds of metres out of the water.
You’ll get within touching distance of impressive geological features and close enough to catch and drink pure glacial water, or feel the full force from the powerful 15,000-year-old Stirling Falls. Join the skipper on the bridge for a birds-eye view and see first-hand how the boat operates.
Accommodation: Millbrook Country Resort
Included meals: B, L
Day 8… Queenstown
“Adventure and relaxing in the mountains”
A “free” day for you to experience and enjoy some of the many activities, which Queenstown has to offer. Your guides will be available to transfer you to the venues and activities of your choice in the Queenstown area. You might like to enjoy a relaxing cruise on the old steamship Earnslaw, the lady of the lake. For those wanting more excitement, try an exhilarating jetboat trip through the Shotover Canyon.
Another New Zealand experience is bungy jumping at the Kawarau Bridge, the first bungy jumping site in the world or perhaps a Ziptrek ecotour through the trees. There are wineries to visit and also an art and craft trail around the district to visit some of the many artists and craft studios. Golf and horse trekking are other possibilities available in Queenstown.
For some this is an ideal opportunity to do some shopping and a ride up the gondola offers spectacular views across to the mountains known as the Remarkables. Your guides will be available to advise and assist with transfers as required.
Accommodation: Millbrook Country Resort
Included meals: B
Day 9... Queenstown - Aoraki / Mt Cook
“Rugged gorges, folded hills, turquoise lakes and peaks”
Depart Queenstown and head north through the rugged Kawarau Gorge (valley of many shrubs) and visit old Cromwell town, formerly an old gold mining centre. From there you will travel along the shores of the hydro lake, Lake Dunstan and then over the Lindis Pass into MacKenzie Country.
The Mackenzie District has New Zealand’s highest mountains, and its waters have become one of the country’s most important sources of energy. The wild rugged scenery is broken up by a number of turquoise coloured lakes and irrigation channels connect them to form a massive hydro scheme that provides over one third of New Zealand’s power. If time permits, a side trip can be made to view Paritea / Clay Cliffs, an example of “badlands”.
You will then follow Lake Pukaki to Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park and the Mount Cook village. Aoraki / Mount Cook is spectacular at 3754 metres and there are 20 other mountains in this alpine backbone which peak at over 3,050 metres.
Hundreds of others not far short of that all making up the famous Southern Alps. Walks can be made to experience the alpine vistas and to view the Tasman Glacier, the longest glacier in the world that exists in a temperate zone.
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki / Mt Cook
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT, D
Day 10... Aoraki / Mt Cook - Christchurch
“High country, endless skies, river valleys and plains”
Today, you will leave Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park and travel to Lake Tekapo where a drive can be made to the top of Mt John for spectacular views of the lake and mountains. You will then head over Burke’s Pass and enter rolling farm country.
A stop can be made at Geraldine for a cheese tasting and then it is on to the vast Rangitata River valley. It was here that part of The Lord of the Rings was filmed and if you wish, a walk can be made to the top of Mt Sunday - Edoras.
From here, your final leg of your journey will take you across the wide expanse of the Canterbury Plains and across a number of wide river beds and their braided channels which drain the Southern Alps.
You will then arrive in Christchurch and be dropped off at your city accommodation, and your guides will bid you farewell.
Included meals: B, MT, L, AT


Itinerary is strictly subject to availability at time of booking.
This itinerary can be customized to fit your needs. Activities can be added, accommodations upgraded etc. 
Itinerary is subject to our
booking conditions. 
Please read our full  Booking Conditions
Wildsouth Discovery offers their private, exclusively guided tours of South Island for the discerning traveller - the Wildsouth Discovery Tour. Brian and Paula, the owners of Wildsouth Discovery personally guide and host their tours and they are passionate about New Zealand. Come along and allow them to show you the remarkable landscapes and picturesque locations, the soothing sounds and the tantalizing tastes of South island. This tour is fully escorted with guided walks, first class service, superb food and exquisite accommodations.

"Explore the wonder of New Zealand's magnificent South Island. Your local guides will show you the natural wonders and heritage of Te Wai Pounamu - South Island. Walk through primeval forests, along deserted beaches and view glaciers pushing into rainforests, all on a Pacific Island! Your journey will include Arthur's Pass National Park and the “High Country”, the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area with Glacier Country and Lake Moeraki, the rugged peaks of the Southern Alps, the awe of Piopiotahi/Milford Sound and dazzling Aoraki/Mount Cook”. 
Christchurch - Arthur’s Pass - The West Coast - Glacier Country
Lake Moeraki – Queenstown
(with Milford Sound Fly/Cruise/Fly day excursion),
Aoraki/Mt Cook - Edoras - Christchurch
*9 Days / 8 Nights From $7,855 per person (land only)
*10 Days / 9 Nights From $9,275 per person (land only)

10 Day / 9 Night Tour highlights and inclusions…

  • Exclusive, private touring
  • Fully escorted, “off the beaten” tours
  • Personal, experienced and knowledgeable local guides
  • Travel by deluxe minicoach
  • The incredible scenery of New Zealand’s South Island
  • Guided walks and excursions each day to experience the diverse and varied landscapes - mountains, glaciers, forests, rivers, lakes and beaches
  • Arthur’s Pass, Westland, Mt Aspiring, Fiordland and Mt Cook National Parks
  • Seasonal sightings of the Fiordland Crested Penguins
  • Fly/Cruise/Fly excursion to Piopiotahi / Milford Sound with Air Milford
  • Breakfasts on nine mornings
  • Delicious picnic morning teas and afternoon teas / NZ wine & cheese
  • Picnic lunches with NZ wine or cafe lunches on seven days
  • Dinners on six nights
  • Nine night’s accommodation in first class lodges and premium hotels
  • Courtesy city accommodation pickup and drop off
  • Depart Christchurch on Day 1 at 12.30 pm and finish in Christchurch on Day 10 at approximately 5.30 pm
Meal codes indicating meals which are included in your Wildsouth experience
B - Breakfast; MT - Picnic morning tea; L - Lunch;
AT - Picnic afternoon tea / NZ wine & cheese; D – Dinner

Note: this trip can be offered for families or couples or friends traveling together and accommodated in a range of larger vehicles.
9 or 10 Day Itinerary?
The nine day Exclusive 9 South Island Nature & Wilderness Expedition takes guests on a journey which presents a wide contrast of the many varied landscapes that South Island has to offer. However, for those with a little more time, the exclusive 10 South Island Nature & Wilderness Expedition includes the iconic Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park with over twenty peaks reaching above 3,000 metres, as well as the largest glacier that exists in a temperate zone – the Tasman Glacier. It also gives guests the experience of the stunning Mackenzie High Country as well the opportunity to visit Mt Sunday, the site of Edoras in the Lord of the Rings films. This trip gives a “circuit” of South Island finishing in Christchurch.