8 Day West Coast Encounter
Wellington - Motueka - Punakaiki - Fox Glacier - Wanaka - Queenstown
Come with us while we take you on some awesome New Zealand South Island Adventure Holidays on our West Coast Encounter tour from Wellington to Queenstown exploring the wonders of the West Coast of the South Island.
This is the 2nd of a series of interconnecting 8 day itineraries that provide a slightly slower pace and some more activities. This tour is great to combine with the Northern Encounter and Southern Encounter!
Small groups travelling in modern, comfortable 16 seater buses for maximum enjoyment. Over the 8 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.
"Thanks you to Dave and Steve for working hard to accommodate all our various needs and interests. New Zealand is an amazing place - we will be back!"
Don't fret about not being able to do the activities; our multi-activity holidays are pitched at the beginner to intermediate.
If you want to give something a miss, then that's fine as well - some activities have alternative options.
|Start: Wellington (early morning)Finish: Queenstown (after breakfast)* NZ$50 Public Holiday Surcharge Applies(C) Tour closed|
|Cost per person|
|1 Nov 12 - 31 Mar 14||Twin: NZ$3,100Single supplement NZ$744|
Highlights and Inclusions
- Enjoy the peacefulness and beauty of the Malborough Sounds on the ferry from Wellington to Picton
- Kayak amidst fascinating native birds and outstanding marine life
- Experience the golden beaches hiking New Zealand's smallest, but beautiful National Park: Abel Tasman N.P.
- Experience an underground cave rafting trip at the rugged West Coast
- Climb a glacier of over several thousand years old and 13km long!
- Get the adrenaline pumping by going for a speedy jet boat ride on the remote Waiatoto River
- Cruise on Lake Wanaka before exploring the historic gold mining town of Cardrona
- Meals = As detailed (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
8 Day West Coast Encounter Itinerary
Day 1 Wellington to Motueka
In the early morning we board the Inter Island ferry and sail across Cook Strait then through the scenic Marlborough Sounds to Picton. 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. (L,D)
Day 2 Abel Tasman National Park
In the morning we are whisked through to the edge of Abel Tasman National 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 its about 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. (B, L)
Day 3 Motueka to Punakaiki
Our adventure today is cave rafting. We travel along the Buller River which we follow inland via its bush clad gorges. We stop in the upper gorge to experience New Zealand's longest Swing Bridge, and then drive along the coast to 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 (B, L)
Day 4 Punakaiki to Fox Glacier
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 heady 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. Following a briefing from our experienced glacier guide, we depart for a 4 -hour walk onto the Fox Glacier. Under their watchful eye, we attach instep crampons to our boots, grasp our walking pole firmly, and head onto the white ice: this is one of only three places in the world where you can experience walking on 200 metre thick ice next to dripping rainforest! An evening option is to take a leisurely stroll around Lake Matheson, a photographer's paradise or to take an optional helicopter ride that lifts you out of the valley to a wondrous world of our highest, ice covered mountains. (B, L)
Day 5 Fox Glacier to Wanaka
We follow the scenic highway south along the coast to Haast, in the Westland National Park (a World Heritage area). Here we leave the main road and head towards Makarora to join the awesome Wilkin jet-boat experience. We are driven by our skilled, professional driver up the Wilken 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 Lakes Hawea and onto Lake Wanaka, to our overnight stay. (B, L)
Day 6 Wanaka to Queenstown
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 Kawarau Gorge we pause to take in a unique wine tasting experience which combines educating our sense of smell with the thrill of a helicopter on screen and a visit to 6 local wineries for a tasting. Then the last hour takes us through the rugged gorge and finally out to the mighty Lake Wakatipu and our hotel over looking the lake, home for the last two nights. (B, L)
Day 7 Queenstown
There is so much to do here in Queenstown that the choice can be overwhelming. For the wine buff, a chance to explore the great award winning Pinot Noir's of the area. For the culture seekers, nearby Arrowtown is waiting to be explored and its art's purchased. For the Adventure Seeker - where do we start.....! However at 4pm we want to regather at the SS Earnslaw wharf for an afternoon cruise up the lake to Walter Peak as part of a final Historical Excursion. The on board historian will take you for a tour of what is the only working Steamship in the southern hemisphere as well as around the beautiful colonial homestead at Walter Peak. The wine tasting and antipasto appetiser sets you up for the return trip and the chance then to explore the local restaurants. (B)
Day 8 Depart Queenstown
The trip finishes after your breakfast and check out leaving you free to travel on to further destinations - or to join us with the start of today's Day 1 of the Southern Encounter. (B)
(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)