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7 Day Best of Southern Alps Trek

Days
7

Pricing From
$3795

Difficulty

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Overview

The trip starts with a beautiful drive to the highland region of Lake Tekapo. We will spend the first 2 nights on the trail at a private backcountry hut with exceptional alpine and lakeside vistas.

Next, we trek east along a ridgeline to a 2000m peak before we transfer to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Here we spend a day exploring a ridge that overlooks the Hooker Glacier and directly across from the breathtaking Mt Sefton with its rumbling avalanches of ice and rock.

We will have a chance to visit the secluded Lake Ohau and enjoy some short hikes before we head on to Wanaka, where we hike above its picturesque lake situated at the base of the Southern Alps.

This amazing trek ends in style as we hike up the famous Ben Lomond. We will trek through open tussock flats surrounded by amazing mountain and lakeland vistas before finishing our journey with a gondola ride into Queenstown.

Trip Highlights

  • Hike to some of the most secluded ridges in the Southern Alps
  • 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 from a high vantage point
  • Hike to Rocky Mountain to enjoy unspoiled views of Lake Wanaka from above
  • Take a spectacular gondola ride into Queenstown overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Ranges

Best of Southern Alps Trek

Best of Southern Alps Trek

Best of Southern Alps Trek

Best of Southern Alps Trek

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to Rex Simpson HutUp to 3-4 hours hiking (L,D)

This morning we drive south through the Canterbury Plains 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.

Day 2Snake Ridge and Beuzenberg Peak (Rex Simpson Hut) 6-8hrs walking (B,L,D)

After breakfast, we head out from the hut and 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. We return back to the hut for another hearty meal and spectacular sunset should the weather play ball (up to 6-8 hours walking).

Day 3Rex Simpson Hut to Aoraki/Mount Cook Village4-5 hours walking (B,L,D)

Today starts with a walk back down to the road end from Rex Simpson hut. There's time to look around Tekapo and pick up a coffee and packed lunch before heading to Aoraki/Mt Cook Village.

This afternoon we'll choose from a number of short walks in the area 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. 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. (Up to 4-5 hours walking).

Tonight’s accommodation is within Aoraki/Mt Cook Village itself with outstanding views of the sun setting on the peaks.

Day 4Aoraki/Mt Cook Village(B,L,D)

The entire day awaits to explore Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and immerse ourselves in the awe inspiring landscapes and mighty peaks that surround.

Today we climb up to the Sealy Tarns gaining 450m in the first hour. From here there are awesome views around the neighbouring valleys, the Mt Cook Range and Mt Sefton. Then the path becomes less defined, a little rocky in places, and as it gets higher and starts to leave the alpine scrub and tussock, it enters boulder fields. The final ascent to the ridge line is up a steep-ish scree slope. At around 1600m, the view opens up to an amazing vista of Mt Sefton and the Mueller Glacier far below. Mueller Hut is then about a kilometre away, at an altitude just short of 1800m. The route to the hut is marked by poles, across boulder fields, and requires some rock-hopping, but later on crosses a couple of small basins before reaching the hut. The hut is located at a unique vantage point with 360-degree views of uninterrupted alpine beauty. It makes a wonderful location for lunch before returning the same way.

second night in the village provides another opportunity to view these peaks at sundown and the incredible starry night sky that follows.

Day 5Aoraki/Mt Cook Village to Wanaka(B,L)

This morning there is another opportunity for a short walk in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, again largely dictated by what we've achieved the previous two days, it could be a Hooker Valley walk or visit to the Tasman Glacier View point. Leaving the Mackenzie basin we cross ‘water-sheds’ and drive over the Lindis Pass through to Wanaka with a lunch stop along the way. Take the time this afternoon to relax and explore Wanaka's lakeside township after a big few days of walking, or we can drop you to a nearby short walk to spend the rest of the afternoon.

Day 6Wanaka - Rob Roy Glacier3-4 hours walking (B,L,D)

After breakfast, we drive for an hour to the trail head of the Rob Roy Glacier Track. The trail leads into Mount Aspiring National Park following Rob Roy Stream through beech forest with waterfalls and a luxuriant understorey of ferns and mosses. At the tree line, the forest gives way to alpine vegetation and spectacular views of the hanging glaciers beneath Mount Rob Roy. The walk to the viewing point is mostly uphill, but the incline gradual. The cheeky kleptomaniac Kea (mountain parrots) are fond of anything edible or not that you may leave unattended on a rock – just saying!

Hiking: 10km, 3-4 hours, Driving: 1 hr each way

Day 7Wanaka to Queenstown5-6 hours (B,L)

The last day of this trip will be a highlight for many as we head over the Crown Range from Wanaka to Queenstown to hike in the extraordinary sub-alpine environment of Ben Lomond (1748m). From here there are awe-inspiring panoramas of Lake Wakatipu, the distant Remarkable and Richardson Ranges, along with the mountains and valleys we have been exploring over the past 4 days. We descend until we reach the Skyline Gondola, which provides a quick ride down into Queenstown and then a short walk to town. Hiking 14km, 1000m ascent (5-6 hours).

Optional Ben Lomond Summit Climb 3km, additional 380m ascent.

Cost per person

October 2023 - March2024

  • Adult: NZ$3,795

Public Holiday supplement: NZ$100

Single supplement (excluding Day 1): NZ$495

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Christchurch to Rex Simpson HutUp to 3-4 hours hiking (L,D)

This morning we drive south through the Canterbury Plains 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.

Day 2Snake Ridge and Beuzenberg Peak (Rex Simpson Hut) 6-8hrs walking (B,L,D)

After breakfast, we head out from the hut and 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. We return back to the hut for another hearty meal and spectacular sunset should the weather play ball (up to 6-8 hours walking).

Day 3Rex Simpson Hut to Aoraki/Mount Cook Village4-5 hours walking (B,L,D)

Today starts with a walk back down to the road end from Rex Simpson hut. There's time to look around Tekapo and pick up a coffee and packed lunch before heading to Aoraki/Mt Cook Village.

This afternoon we'll choose from a number of short walks in the area 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. 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. (Up to 4-5 hours walking).

Tonight’s accommodation is within Aoraki/Mt Cook Village itself with outstanding views of the sun setting on the peaks.

Day 4Aoraki/Mt Cook Village(B,L,D)

The entire day awaits to explore Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and immerse ourselves in the awe inspiring landscapes and mighty peaks that surround.

Today we climb up to the Sealy Tarns gaining 450m in the first hour. From here there are awesome views around the neighbouring valleys, the Mt Cook Range and Mt Sefton. Then the path becomes less defined, a little rocky in places, and as it gets higher and starts to leave the alpine scrub and tussock, it enters boulder fields. The final ascent to the ridge line is up a steep-ish scree slope. At around 1600m, the view opens up to an amazing vista of Mt Sefton and the Mueller Glacier far below. Mueller Hut is then about a kilometre away, at an altitude just short of 1800m. The route to the hut is marked by poles, across boulder fields, and requires some rock-hopping, but later on crosses a couple of small basins before reaching the hut. The hut is located at a unique vantage point with 360-degree views of uninterrupted alpine beauty. It makes a wonderful location for lunch before returning the same way.

second night in the village provides another opportunity to view these peaks at sundown and the incredible starry night sky that follows.

Day 5Aoraki/Mt Cook Village to Wanaka(B,L)

This morning there is another opportunity for a short walk in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, again largely dictated by what we've achieved the previous two days, it could be a Hooker Valley walk or visit to the Tasman Glacier View point. Leaving the Mackenzie basin we cross ‘water-sheds’ and drive over the Lindis Pass through to Wanaka with a lunch stop along the way. Take the time this afternoon to relax and explore Wanaka's lakeside township after a big few days of walking, or we can drop you to a nearby short walk to spend the rest of the afternoon.

Day 6Wanaka - Rob Roy Glacier3-4 hours walking (B,L,D)

After breakfast, we drive for an hour to the trail head of the Rob Roy Glacier Track. The trail leads into Mount Aspiring National Park following Rob Roy Stream through beech forest with waterfalls and a luxuriant understorey of ferns and mosses. At the tree line, the forest gives way to alpine vegetation and spectacular views of the hanging glaciers beneath Mount Rob Roy. The walk to the viewing point is mostly uphill, but the incline gradual. The cheeky kleptomaniac Kea (mountain parrots) are fond of anything edible or not that you may leave unattended on a rock – just saying!

Hiking: 10km, 3-4 hours, Driving: 1 hr each way

Day 7Wanaka to Queenstown5-6 hours (B,L)

The last day of this trip will be a highlight for many as we head over the Crown Range from Wanaka to Queenstown to hike in the extraordinary sub-alpine environment of Ben Lomond (1748m). From here there are awe-inspiring panoramas of Lake Wakatipu, the distant Remarkable and Richardson Ranges, along with the mountains and valleys we have been exploring over the past 4 days. We descend until we reach the Skyline Gondola, which provides a quick ride down into Queenstown and then a short walk to town. Hiking 14km, 1000m ascent (5-6 hours).

Optional Ben Lomond Summit Climb 3km, additional 380m ascent.

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