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10 Day Southern Slice Hiking Tour

Up to 75 km (about 28 hrs) hiking over 10 days

Days
10

Pricing From
$7990

South Island
Book Now

Overview

Nelson - Queenstown:

The Southern Slice Hiking Tour experience will take you through the adventure and activity hot-spots of New Zealand's South Island. From postcard perfect Abel Tasman National Park to Punakaiki’s luscious green rainforests and the majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook. Finish your time in this magical country under the immense peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park before arriving in Queenstown - the adventure capital.

We have chosen excellent quality hotels and lodges and all rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Every place we stay has something special to offer and your evenings will be just as enjoyable as your days spent outdoors. Wonderful meals are included giving you an opportunity to sample the local cuisine from the restaurants in the cities and towns we stay.

Tour Grading: B

  • Up to 4-5 hours of physical activity per day
  • At times carrying a backpack of 4-5kgs
  • Tracks generally in good condition
  • Altitude gains of up to 600m (2000ft) on harder days
  • No hiking experience necessary

Guides and Safety

An excellent guide can make the difference between a trip of a lifetime and just an ordinary trip. That is why we work hard to make sure we hire the best guides. Our handpicked professionals come from a range of backgrounds. Each has extensive outdoor and hiking experience and a passion for New Zealand's wild and beautiful backcountry. Our guides will ensure that your time with us is truly inspiring, a huge amount of fun and safe. All guides are trained in Mountain Safety First Aid. Please be gentle with your guide - good guides are hard to find!

Transport

You will travel in a 10 or 12 seat minibus towing a trailer with camp equipment and your luggage. All vehicles have a public address system, and a stereo with a variety of music. It is also equipped with a range of natural history reference books. The average driving time per day is around 2-3 hours and there will be a range of roads - sealed and unsealed. The guide will often stop the vehicle for you to take photos.

Food

Almost all of the meals are included on this tour, but when staying in the cities we let you do your own thing and try some of the excellent local restaurants. Breakfast is usually (but not always) continental-style in the lodges and hotels. There are plenty of opportunities to graze the local cafes if you would prefer to explore in the morning. The lunches we prepare ourselves are often ‘on the run’ in picnic areas or on trails. Our guides usually set out lunch food for you and you simply help yourself. We provide healthy and wholesome food and include a lot of fresh produce. It is part of our philosophy to get everyone involved so there is a pretty good chance you may find yourself wielding a sharp knife or pushing the tea trolley around at lunchtime. Our customised trailers have a fold down table and cooking area that is perfect for preparing picnics at all those secret places we will take you. Included dinners are frequently in lodge restaurants (either set menu or a la carte), or in a restaurant in the town but occasionally somewhere out of the ordinary!

Accommodation

The Southern Slice Hiking tour uses a range of hotels and quality lodges chosen for their good standards and wonderful locations. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Some lodges have units with two bedrooms per unit. Rooms are twin share or doubles. If you are travelling on your own you will be given a twin share room with a fellow traveller of the same gender. Single supplements are available on this tour.

Equipment

We have high quality hiking equipment that you can use on your trip at no extra cost. This includes fleece jackets, thermal top and bottom, raincoat and walking poles. Requests for equipment must be made at least 7 days before the departure date. 

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Arthurs Pass

Arthurs Pass

Mt Cook and Lake Pukaki

Mt Cook and Lake Pukaki

Hiking at Mt Cook

Hiking at Mt Cook

Hiking group at Sealy Tarns

Reflections in Sealy Tarn

Reflections in Sealy Tarn

Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake

Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Nelson2.5 km/1 hour hiking (D)

Your guide will meet you at the hotel before meeting the rest of the group at Nelson Airport. Enjoy the picturesque drive to Kaiteriteri and Abel Tasman National Park. Board a water taxi for a jaunt into the heart of the National Park. Step ashore at Anchorage and follow the famed Abel Tasman coastal track through native forests and along golden sand beaches. The lovely clear fresh waters of Cleopatra's Pool may tempt you to take a dip or for those more daring a slide down the naturally formed hydro-slide! After passing through Torrent Bay a well-formed trail leads us up and over a gentle ridge into Bark Bay where we will meet the water taxi for a return journey to Kaiteriteri. On our return to Nelson there is time to freshen up before strolling downtown for dinner, the town centre is well known for its vibrant and arty atmosphere. 

Stay 2 nights Trailways Hotel, Nelson 

Includes Dinner

Day 2Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park12 km/4 hours hiking (B,L,)

After an early breakfast, we set off for Abel Tasman National Park. At the beach resort of Kaiteriteri, board a water taxi and cruise the coastline past golden sand beaches, rugged granite headlands and bush clad islands.

Step ashore at Bark Bay and follow the famed Abel Tasman Coast Track through native forests and past cascading streams. A well-formed trail leads us up and over gentle ridges to Torrent Bay, where the lovely clear fresh waters of Cleopatra’s Pool may tempt you to take a dip or for those more daring - a slide down the naturally formed hydro-slide!

At Anchorage, we will meet the water taxi for a return journey to Kaiteriteri before heading back to Nelson in the late afternoon.

There is an opportunity to further explore this vibrant and arty little town this evening with the many great restaurant dining options.

Includes breakfast and lunch.

Day 3Punakaikiup to 8 km/3 hours hiking (B,L,D)

On the way to the West Coast we stop for a remarkable hike to marvel at natural flames which have been burning since the 1920's. We access this phenomena with a local guide over a privately owned working deer farm. Unlike the Eternal Flames of the Chimera in Turkey these flames are surrounded by lush tree ferns and beech forest. A cup of 'billy tea' and hot cakes prepared over the flames gives this experience a distinctly kiwi flavour.

We continue our journey alongside the mighty Buller River as it cuts through the massive wilderness of the upper South Island, arriving on the coast at Westport. We take a short stroll at Cape Foulwind to view a colony of New Zealand fur seals playfully splashing around in the rock pools. We then head south to catch the sunset at Punakaiki and visit a local pub for dinner. 

Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki (2 nights) 

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 4Punakaiki - Methvenup to 10 km/3 hours hiking (B,L)

Hike the Inland Pack Track from Punakaiki to Pororari. This historic route was once used by prospectors and miners to avoid the immense coastal cliffs while travelling the West Coast. Pass through deep limestone canyons, towering rainforests and groves of Nikau Palms. 

After the hike, we join a remarkable highway which takes us from the lush green rainforests of the West Coast and over the glaciated Southern Alps to the parched soft yellow savannahs of Canterbury. From Arthur’s Pass hike (unguided) four kilometres down to the village on a well-formed walking track. The trail has superb mountain views, thundering waterfalls and a diverse range of alpine plants.

East of Arthur’s Pass, stretch your legs and stroll around the enchanting limestone outcrops of Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill). This area was an important meeting place and food gathering area for early Maori people. Interestingly it was named “Spiritual Centre of the Universe” by the Dalai Lama when he visited in 2002. Today it is a haven for rock climbers who climb and boulder on the multitude of rock forms.

We then leave the highway and follow the back roads around Lake Lyndon and on to Methven, a ski town by winter and laid-back rural town the rest of the year. The Southern Alps form a spectacular backdrop. Choose to dine in house or head into the village for a meal at a local restaurant. 

Accommodation: Ski Time, Methven. 

Breakfast and Lunch

Day 5Methven - Aoraki/Mount Cookup to 5 km/3 hours hiking (B,L,D)

We continue south, at first following the edge of the extensive Canterbury Plains, then up into the intermontane Mackenzie Basin to Lake Tekapo, famous for its stunning turquoise waters and the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, perched daintily by the lake. Hike up through wilding conifers and tussock grasslands to the summit of Mt John. Revel in the 360-degree views of the Patagonia-like landscape. Arrive at Aoraki/Mount Cook in the late afternoon. Relax and enjoy breathtaking views of New Zealand's highest mountain (3,724 metres). 

Lodge within Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park (2 nights).

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6Aoraki/Mt CookUp to 10 km/4 hours hiking (B,L,D)

Hike up to Sealey Tarns and enjoy the awesome views of Mt Sefton, Mueller Glacier and across the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/Mount Cook. If you’re feeling energetic, join the guide for a further climb from the tarns up to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of this magnificent alpine landscape. Those not wanting to climb to Sealey or Mueller can take the flatter option and walk up the Hooker Valley (unguided), enjoying close up views of the Mueller and Hooker Glaciers on the way.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 7Aoraki/Mt Cook - Wanaka3 km/1 hour hiking (B,L,D)

Travel up the Tasman Valley towards the longest glacier in New Zealand, the Tasman Glacier. Take a short walk through the glacial moraine and board a custom-built boat for a unique spin around the terminal lake. Like most glaciers in the world the Tasman Glacier is retreating and the terminal lake increases in size every year. The lake is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes from the collapsing terminal wall of the glacier. Our drive to Wanaka follows the Mackenzie country south before climbing over Lindis Pass into the southern lakes district. Wanaka is a lovely holiday town on the lake-side. 

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka. 

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 8Wanaka - Te Anau7 km/3 hours hiking (B,L,D)

A beautiful drive alongside Lake Wanaka leads us to Aspiring National Park. We hike up the Matukituki Valley beneath some fine peaks before turning up the Rob Roy side stream and climbing abruptly to the bushline. This gorgeous trail through virgin beech forest emerges into a splendid alpine basin below the bulking mass of the Rob Roy Glacier. Watch water tumble off the glacier’s snout as you relax and enjoy lunch. Keep an eye out for cheeky kea (alpine parrot). After the hike we drive over the Crown Range and into the Awakatipu Basin and the scenic wine growing region of Gibbston Valley, pressed between schist mountains and the rocky Kawarau Gorge. Here you can sample some great wine, craft beer and locally sourced food over lunch before we journey on towards Fiordland National Park and Lake te Anau.

2 Nights Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel.

Includes Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 9Te Anau - Milford Sound7 km/3 hours hiking (B,L,D)

Our day excursion takes us through the stunning Fiordland mountains to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most iconic visitor destinations. We stop at The Divide to walk a section of the Routeburn Track to Key Summit for panoramic views of the Humboldt and Darran Mountains. Easier short walks, and the preferred option if cloud is likely to rob Key Summit of views, are located below in the Hollyford Valley.

The topography will leave you spell bound as we continue on to Milford Sound and experience the true magnificence of the fiord, cruising between glaciated mountains under sheer cliffs which plummet hundreds of metres into deep dark waters. Enjoy wonderful views of mile-high Mitre Peak and Lady Bowen Falls as you keep an eye out for marine wildlife. You may spot dusky dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and if you’re lucky the rare Fiordland crested penguin. We return to Te Anau in the afternoon.

Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 10Te Anau - Queenstown10 km/3 hours hiking

This morning we hike part of the famed Kepler Track onto the shores of Lake Manapouri, described as the ‘loveliest of all lakes’ for its array of small islands, bush fringed beaches and coves, and mountain backdrop.

From here, the southern extent of our journey we then backtrack northwards to the lively scene of Queenstown where your tour finishes in the late afternoon.

Cost per person twin share

November 2022 - March 2023:

  • Twin Share: NZ$7,700
  • Single supplement: NZ$1,600

November 2023 - March 2024:

  • Twin Share: NZ$7,990
  • Single Supplement: NZ$1,750

Payment

  • Bookings more than 4 months in advance: 25% Deposit, with balance 95 days before travel
  • Bookings less than 4 months in advance: Full payment on booking

Refunds/Cancellation Fees:

  • 95 days or more prior to departure - 80% refund of the deposit
  • 21 to 94 days prior to departure - 80% refund of full ticket price.
  • 11 to 20 days prior to departure - 50% refund of full ticket price.
  • 10 days or less prior to departure - NO REFUND.

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Nelson2.5 km/1 hour hiking (D)

Your guide will meet you at the hotel before meeting the rest of the group at Nelson Airport. Enjoy the picturesque drive to Kaiteriteri and Abel Tasman National Park. Board a water taxi for a jaunt into the heart of the National Park. Step ashore at Anchorage and follow the famed Abel Tasman coastal track through native forests and along golden sand beaches. The lovely clear fresh waters of Cleopatra's Pool may tempt you to take a dip or for those more daring a slide down the naturally formed hydro-slide! After passing through Torrent Bay a well-formed trail leads us up and over a gentle ridge into Bark Bay where we will meet the water taxi for a return journey to Kaiteriteri. On our return to Nelson there is time to freshen up before strolling downtown for dinner, the town centre is well known for its vibrant and arty atmosphere. 

Stay 2 nights Trailways Hotel, Nelson 

Includes Dinner

Day 2Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park12 km/4 hours hiking (B,L,)

After an early breakfast, we set off for Abel Tasman National Park. At the beach resort of Kaiteriteri, board a water taxi and cruise the coastline past golden sand beaches, rugged granite headlands and bush clad islands.

Step ashore at Bark Bay and follow the famed Abel Tasman Coast Track through native forests and past cascading streams. A well-formed trail leads us up and over gentle ridges to Torrent Bay, where the lovely clear fresh waters of Cleopatra’s Pool may tempt you to take a dip or for those more daring - a slide down the naturally formed hydro-slide!

At Anchorage, we will meet the water taxi for a return journey to Kaiteriteri before heading back to Nelson in the late afternoon.

There is an opportunity to further explore this vibrant and arty little town this evening with the many great restaurant dining options.

Includes breakfast and lunch.

Day 3Punakaikiup to 8 km/3 hours hiking (B,L,D)

On the way to the West Coast we stop for a remarkable hike to marvel at natural flames which have been burning since the 1920's. We access this phenomena with a local guide over a privately owned working deer farm. Unlike the Eternal Flames of the Chimera in Turkey these flames are surrounded by lush tree ferns and beech forest. A cup of 'billy tea' and hot cakes prepared over the flames gives this experience a distinctly kiwi flavour.

We continue our journey alongside the mighty Buller River as it cuts through the massive wilderness of the upper South Island, arriving on the coast at Westport. We take a short stroll at Cape Foulwind to view a colony of New Zealand fur seals playfully splashing around in the rock pools. We then head south to catch the sunset at Punakaiki and visit a local pub for dinner. 

Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki (2 nights) 

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 4Punakaiki - Methvenup to 10 km/3 hours hiking (B,L)

Hike the Inland Pack Track from Punakaiki to Pororari. This historic route was once used by prospectors and miners to avoid the immense coastal cliffs while travelling the West Coast. Pass through deep limestone canyons, towering rainforests and groves of Nikau Palms. 

After the hike, we join a remarkable highway which takes us from the lush green rainforests of the West Coast and over the glaciated Southern Alps to the parched soft yellow savannahs of Canterbury. From Arthur’s Pass hike (unguided) four kilometres down to the village on a well-formed walking track. The trail has superb mountain views, thundering waterfalls and a diverse range of alpine plants.

East of Arthur’s Pass, stretch your legs and stroll around the enchanting limestone outcrops of Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill). This area was an important meeting place and food gathering area for early Maori people. Interestingly it was named “Spiritual Centre of the Universe” by the Dalai Lama when he visited in 2002. Today it is a haven for rock climbers who climb and boulder on the multitude of rock forms.

We then leave the highway and follow the back roads around Lake Lyndon and on to Methven, a ski town by winter and laid-back rural town the rest of the year. The Southern Alps form a spectacular backdrop. Choose to dine in house or head into the village for a meal at a local restaurant. 

Accommodation: Ski Time, Methven. 

Breakfast and Lunch

Day 5Methven - Aoraki/Mount Cookup to 5 km/3 hours hiking (B,L,D)

We continue south, at first following the edge of the extensive Canterbury Plains, then up into the intermontane Mackenzie Basin to Lake Tekapo, famous for its stunning turquoise waters and the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, perched daintily by the lake. Hike up through wilding conifers and tussock grasslands to the summit of Mt John. Revel in the 360-degree views of the Patagonia-like landscape. Arrive at Aoraki/Mount Cook in the late afternoon. Relax and enjoy breathtaking views of New Zealand's highest mountain (3,724 metres). 

Lodge within Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park (2 nights).

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6Aoraki/Mt CookUp to 10 km/4 hours hiking (B,L,D)

Hike up to Sealey Tarns and enjoy the awesome views of Mt Sefton, Mueller Glacier and across the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/Mount Cook. If you’re feeling energetic, join the guide for a further climb from the tarns up to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of this magnificent alpine landscape. Those not wanting to climb to Sealey or Mueller can take the flatter option and walk up the Hooker Valley (unguided), enjoying close up views of the Mueller and Hooker Glaciers on the way.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 7Aoraki/Mt Cook - Wanaka3 km/1 hour hiking (B,L,D)

Travel up the Tasman Valley towards the longest glacier in New Zealand, the Tasman Glacier. Take a short walk through the glacial moraine and board a custom-built boat for a unique spin around the terminal lake. Like most glaciers in the world the Tasman Glacier is retreating and the terminal lake increases in size every year. The lake is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes from the collapsing terminal wall of the glacier. Our drive to Wanaka follows the Mackenzie country south before climbing over Lindis Pass into the southern lakes district. Wanaka is a lovely holiday town on the lake-side. 

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka. 

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 8Wanaka - Te Anau7 km/3 hours hiking (B,L,D)

A beautiful drive alongside Lake Wanaka leads us to Aspiring National Park. We hike up the Matukituki Valley beneath some fine peaks before turning up the Rob Roy side stream and climbing abruptly to the bushline. This gorgeous trail through virgin beech forest emerges into a splendid alpine basin below the bulking mass of the Rob Roy Glacier. Watch water tumble off the glacier’s snout as you relax and enjoy lunch. Keep an eye out for cheeky kea (alpine parrot). After the hike we drive over the Crown Range and into the Awakatipu Basin and the scenic wine growing region of Gibbston Valley, pressed between schist mountains and the rocky Kawarau Gorge. Here you can sample some great wine, craft beer and locally sourced food over lunch before we journey on towards Fiordland National Park and Lake te Anau.

2 Nights Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel.

Includes Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 9Te Anau - Milford Sound7 km/3 hours hiking (B,L,D)

Our day excursion takes us through the stunning Fiordland mountains to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most iconic visitor destinations. We stop at The Divide to walk a section of the Routeburn Track to Key Summit for panoramic views of the Humboldt and Darran Mountains. Easier short walks, and the preferred option if cloud is likely to rob Key Summit of views, are located below in the Hollyford Valley.

The topography will leave you spell bound as we continue on to Milford Sound and experience the true magnificence of the fiord, cruising between glaciated mountains under sheer cliffs which plummet hundreds of metres into deep dark waters. Enjoy wonderful views of mile-high Mitre Peak and Lady Bowen Falls as you keep an eye out for marine wildlife. You may spot dusky dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and if you’re lucky the rare Fiordland crested penguin. We return to Te Anau in the afternoon.

Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 10Te Anau - Queenstown10 km/3 hours hiking

This morning we hike part of the famed Kepler Track onto the shores of Lake Manapouri, described as the ‘loveliest of all lakes’ for its array of small islands, bush fringed beaches and coves, and mountain backdrop.

From here, the southern extent of our journey we then backtrack northwards to the lively scene of Queenstown where your tour finishes in the late afternoon.

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