South Island Walk & Wonder
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20 Days Exploring New Zealand's Pristine Nature

The wondrous and varied landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island call for an array of adventures. After all, in just a few hours you can travel from the sandy beaches of Abel Tasman National Park to the frozen footpaths of the Fox Glacier. Get the most out of your New Zealand experience as you hike, kayak, bike, helicopter, and cave your way through the South Island on our Walk & Wonder tour! After discovering New Zealand’s natural wonders during the day, you’ll retreat to some of the country’s finest wilderness lodges to rest and recharge.

From $16,999 per person based on double occupancy. View inclusions and itinerary below. Contact us to book this journey or customize your perfect trip to New Zealand!

Meet your host

Adventure Highlights

Hike sections of the famed Milford and Kepler Tracks with expert naturalists

Cruise the verdant inlets of the Fiordlands and soar over the mountainous landscapes in a helicopter

Channel your inner hobbit on a Lord of the Rings Sightseeing Tour

Jet boat and funyak (inflatable kayak) the Dart River

Explore ice caves on a Heli-hiking tour of the Fox Glacier

Dive into the sparkling waters of Abel Tasman National Park on a three-day guided hiking and kayaking excursion

Discover New Zealand varietals on a luxurious private wine tour

Surround yourself with the glitter of glow worms on a tour of the natural Metro Cave

Day 1 – Queenstown – Te Anau

On arrival at Queenstown Airport, collect your rental vehicle and make your way to Te Anau for your three night stay at Fiordland Lodge. The drive is just a little over 100 miles.

Dinner – Overnight: Fiordland Lodge


Day 2 – Milford Sound Hiking

After breakfast, you’ll join a small group for a guided hike to Key summit. The walk ascends through lush, temperate rainforest on a well maintained trail that takes about 2 hours to traverse at a leisurely pace. After gaining about 400 meters of elevation, you’ll emerge from the forest into an alpine environment with a panoramic view of snowy peaks, alpine lakes, and deep bush clad valleys.

On a nice day you’ll enjoy lunch on the summit amidst the alpine tarns, and in unfavorable conditions you’ll head to the shelter of a nearby trekking hut. Along the way, you’ll learn about the the natural and human heritage of Fiordland. After lunch we’ll walk back down to the trail and return to Fiordland Lodge.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Overnight: Fiordland Lodge


Day 3 – Kepler Track Heli-Hike

Kepler Track, Fiordland, New Zealand South Island Walk and WonderHop in a helicopter directly from Fiordland Lodge and soar over the hidden lakes and beech forest of Mount Luxmore to arrive at Luxmore Hut. From here you’ll hike along the Kepler Track with a local, naturalist guide, learning about the fauna and flora in the surrounding alpine tussock fields. You’ll also enjoy amazing vistas of the Te Anau basin, scenic lakes, and surrounding Fiordland Mountains, and have the opportunity to walk to the summit of Mount Luxmore.

We’ll descend the trail past silver beech forests and towering limestone bluffs. As we approach Lake Te Anau the vegetation will once again transform to native New Zealand ferns and other sub-tropical species. Your guide will share local conservation efforts on the Kepler Track, and demonstrate a stoat trap, a tool used to control predators which can decimate native bird populations.

Finish your hike at the sandy beach of Brod Bay, the pick-up point for your scenic boat cruise back to Te Anau township.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Overnight: Fiordland Lodge


Day 4 – Milford Track Half-Day Guided Walk

After fueling up at breakfast, you’ll tackle a portion of the Milford Track, called one of the ‘finest walks in the world’. Departing from Milford Sound, this gentle 7 mile walk meanders alongside a cascading river to the spectacular waterfall, Giants Gate!

You’ll drive yourself to the Milford Sound to meet your guide and begin your day with a short boat ride across Milford Sound’s Deep Water Basin to Sandfly Point. This is the end point of the Milford Track, but the start of our Milford hike. Along the hike you’ll explore Lake Ada, Giants Gate, ancient trees, and vibrant ferns! After tackling the trail, you’ll head back into the boat for a transfer back to the Milford village where you’ll round off your day with a Milford Scenic Cruise.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Overnight: Fiordland Lodge


Day 5 – Return to Queenstown & Lord of the Rings Tour

After breakfast, make your way back to Queenstown to arrive by lunch time.

In the afternoon you’ll join a half-day Lord of the Rings sightseeing tour. The tour first takes you from Queenstown out to Glenorchy, stopping at breathtaking viewpoints along the way. Beyond Glenorchy you’ll follow the Dart River to the spectacular filming location for Isengard, where you’ll marvel at Mt. Earnslaw. Heading on to Paradise, you’ll discover the site of the Forest of Lothlorien and as you return to Queenstown you will stop at 12 Mile Delta to explore the location of the Ithilien Camp. The tour also includes locations from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll appreciate the evocative landscapes!


Breakfast, Afternoon Tea, Dinner – Overnight: Matakauri Lodge


Day 6 – Private Wine Tour

Get picked up in an luxury vehicle for a private wine tour around Cromwell and Bannockburn. The tour includes visits and tastings at several vineyards in both the Gibbston Valley and Bannockburn regions, stunning scenery as you travel through the spectacular Kawarau Gorge, and informative and entertaining commentary about the region’s gold mining history. You’ll also have the chance to experience New Zealand’s largest barrel cave! Cheese tasting is also an option on this tour, as well as a visit to The Big Picture, an intriguing twist on a virtual wine tour.


Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Overnight: Matakauri Lodge


Day 7 – Jet Boat and “Funyak” the Dart River

Start your day with an exciting 1 1/4 hour trip up the Dart River by jet boat. Then slowly drift your way down river in an inflatable “Funyak” canoe. You’ll paddle and float for two hours downstream with a professional guide. Along the way, you’ll stop on the shore of an ancient beech forest to enjoy a wilderness buffet lunch and explore hidden side streams, rock pools, and dramatic chasms.

After disembarking from your Funyak, you’ll travel in a coach to Glenorchy for another look at the scenery that has inspired so many fantastical films.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Overnight: Matakauri Lodge


Day 8 – Queenstown to Lake Moeraki

After breakfast, you’ll drive the 150 miles across Haast Pass to Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki. Take the afternoon to immerse yourself in this pristine natural paradise of rainforests, beaches, lakes, and rivers in the heart of New Zealand’s South West World Heritage Area, Te Wahipounamu.

Breakfast, Dinner – Overnight: Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki


Day 9 – Naturalist Excursions from Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Join the Wilderness Lodge’s team of naturalist guides on a series of ecological excursions. Discover glowworms or orchids in a centuries-old rainforest or kayak the serene waters of Lake Moeraki on a complimentary tour. Or opt for a longer paid tour to see the world’s smallest marine dolphin or scramble over coastline to penguins and fur seals (not included).

Breakfast, Dinner – Overnight: Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki


Day 10 – Lake Moeraki – Fox Glacier – Franz Josef

After breakfast you’ll continue your way up the coast to Franz Josef, stopping at Fox Glacier for a heli-hike.

This fly-in, fly-out tour combines the excitement of walking on the Fox Glacier with the thrill of a helicopter flight. Board the helicopter for a flight over the pinnacles of the lower icefall, where the ice is in constant motion. Then circle the upper icefall and Victoria Falls before landing on a remote and remarkable part of the glacier.

After leaving the helicopter, you’ll don crampons to follow the ice steps cut by your guide and wander around amazing formations and ice caves. Following your icy explorations, you’ll head back to the helicopter and return to the village to complete your 70 mile journey to Franz Josef.


Breakfast, Dinner – Overnight: Te Waonui Forest Retreat


Day 11 – Franz Josef Glacier Excursion

Relax for a bit in the morning before joining a 3-hour excursion to the Franz Josef Glacier. Along the walk, you’ll learn about the important role the Franz Josef Glacier plays in shaping this incredible landscape.

Begin your hike through regenerating rainforest and continue along the glacier valley as your guide explains the unique features of the ice mass and its surroundings. After a brief ascent, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning look at the glacier’s rapidly changing terminal face.

Breakfast – Overnight: Te Waonui Forest Retreat


Day 12 – Franz Josef to Westport

Travel north to Hokitika, famous for its greenstone, or New Zealand jade. Then continue along the scenic coast to Greymouth, perhaps making a brief stop at the beach before traveling on to Westport for your stay at the Birds Ferry Lodge. The total drive is about 160 miles.


Breakfast – Overnight: Birds Ferry Lodge


Day 13 – Glowworm Cave Tour

Make your way to the departure point in Westport for an amazing Glowworm Cave Tour. Submerge into a wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites, illuminated by the glitter of glowworms. The Metro cave was discovered only recently, and is one of the few caves in the country where you can experience the underground in its natural, unspoiled state.

After your morning Glowworm Cave Tour, the rest of your day is free to explore at your leisure.

Breakfast – Overnight: Birds Ferry Lodge


Day 14 – Westport to Motueka

After breakfast, continue north on the 140 mile drive to Motueka. If you’re feeling lucky stop and pan for gold in Lyell Creek before heading through Moteuka Valley for scenic views.

Unwind in the afternoon in Edenhouse’s tranquil gardens or explore the artist and artisan studios in the area.

Breakfast – Overnight: Edenhouse


Day 15 – Abel Tasman National Park Guided Walk and Kayak

After breakfast, drive into Motueka to check in for your 3-day Abel Tasman Guided Walk and Kayak trip. Begin your trip with a cruise along the coastline of Abel Tasman National Park to Totaranui. When you arrive, you’ll enjoy a two hour walk through mature beech and rata forests and along secluded golden beaches to the tidal inlet at Awaroa. Depending on the status of the tides, from here you’ll either walk or take a boat ride across the stunning expanses of the largest inlet on the coast.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Overnight: Lodge at Awaroa


Day 16 – Abel Tasman National Park Guided Walk and Kayak

Start your day with a 3-mile walk (approximately 1.5 hours) over the Tonga Saddle to Onetahuti. From here you’ll embark on a four-hour guided sea kayaking journey from Onetahuti to Torrent Bay. In good weather, you’ll visit the New Zealand Fur Seal colony on Tonga Island. Try to spot some newborn pups in December and January! You’ll also glide past Tonga Quarry and the Tonga Arches where your guide will explain the history of the area and point out some of the features and quarry relics.

Stop for lunch at Bark Bay and take some time to explore, swim, or relax on the golden sand. After lunch, continue beach hopping along the coast to the beachfront lodge at Torrent Bay, taking in points of interest including Falls River and Frenchman’s Bay.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: Lodge at Torrent Bay


Day 17 – Abel Tasman National Park Guided Walk and Kayak

Kayaking on the New Zealand South Island Walk and WonderContinue paddling along the coast and discovering the pristine bays and beaches named by French Explorer, Dumont D’urville in 1827. The 4.5 hour kayak will bring you past the stunning bays of Te Pukatea and Appletree, and along the coast of Adel Island. If the wind is right, the guide will help you hoist a specially designed sail so you can ride the sea breeze. Stop for lunch at any one of the bays before continuing on to Kaiteriteri.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: Overnight – Split Apple Lodge


Day 18 – Fishing in Kaiteriteri

Grab a fly-rod to fish for trout in Kahurangi National Park’s Karamea River or sail into the ocean to angle for snapper, blue cod, and king fish. If you’re lucky enough to snag a few fish, bring your catch home for Chef Pen to cook for lunch!

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: Overnight – Split Apple Lodge


Day 19 – Bike Nelson-Tasman

Split Apple offers wide range of bespoke cycling experiences in the Nelson-Tasman area on a high quality trail bikes designed for comfort and performance. These tours can be self-guided, guided and/or vehicle supported.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: Overnight – Split Apple Lodge


Day 20 – Motueka to Nelson

After breakfast, it’s time to travel the 40 miles to Nelson to return your return vehicle. Depart New Zealand or extend your trip with time on the North Island!




Photo credits to Dean McKenzie, David Wall/Tourism Eastlund, and Rob Suisted

Fiordland Lodge

Located on forty acres of land, Fiordland Lodge is set on a superb site with commanding views out across Lake Te Anau. With only 12 luxurious rooms, there’s plenty of space to relax in the rolling grass lands of the Lodge’s placid rural setting. To the west lie the mountains of Fiordland National Park, an area of over three million acres of untouched wilderness and part of the much larger South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. When you’re done exploring for the day, a daily menu of locally-sourced ingredients awaits in the dining room.

Matakauri Lodge

Matakauri LodgeMatakauri Lodge is an alpine lakeside retreat nestled in one of the world’s most serene landscapes. Spectacularly situated on Lake Wakatipu and only seven minutes from Queenstown. The Main Lodge offers accommodation in twelve luxurious guest rooms and suites, with eight outlying cottages and four suites within the lodge. Each suite offers a private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in wardrobes and a bathroom. This is far from a hobbit’s hovel, although the surrounding native forests, Wakatipu waters, and craggy mountains are out-of-this-world beautiful.

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Run by an amiable husband and wife team, Wilderness Lodge Lake Moreaki displays an unpretentious style that lets its natural environs do the talking. Set off with a staff ecologist in search of penguins or river eels, or linger over a meal of Blue Cod and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Either way you’ll get a taste of New Zealand’s pristine environments.

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Te Waonui Forest RetreatA haven from the city rush, Te Waonui Forest Restreat is truly a place to relax and refresh. With natural, earthy ambiance and attentive service, there is no better place to take a deep breath and simply unwind. Every aspect of Te Waonui Forest Retreat has been crafted to an impeccable standard. From deluxe soundproofing technology between rooms to the five-course degustation menu featuring local cuisine, every aspect of Te Waonui Forest Retreat has been crafted to an impeccable standard.

Birds Ferry Lodge

Birds Ferry Lodge is seamlessly set upon a hilltop surrounded by acres of wild bush clad countryside. Purposely-built on the edge of a glacial terrace, the Lodge is the centerpiece of a 33-acre property. Enjoy the spacious guest lounge with comfy leather upholstery and a roaring log fire and gaze through the large windows for local wildlife. The native Weka are known to frequent the garden and the call of the Kiwi can sometimes be heard. Wild deer have been also spotted from the deck and spa guests are kept company by the coos of the local Common Owl at night!


EdenhouseThe award-winning Edenhouse is situated within 48-acres of private grounds and internationally-acclaimed gardens at the top of the South Island. Its enviable location, between Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park, puts you right at the heart of sandy coastline and a burgeoning art scene.

Split Apple Lodge

Split Apple Lodge is a quiet Abel Tasman National Park luxury retreat and wellness hideaway built high above Tasman Bay. The Lodge’s gourmet menu is individually tailored to take into account guests’ dislikes and favorites, as well as dietary requirements, and designed to deliver optimal health benefits in the form of fresh and delicious dishes. There’s plenty of opportunities to relax and pamper yourself with a saltwater pool on the deck, spa and sauna, private beach access, massage, acupuncture, guided mediation, and other stress reduction therapies.

Jake Haupert

Jake Haupert, Escape ArtistAt Evergreen Escapes, we are dedicated to handcrafting personalized and immersive New Zealand adventures, while practicing our ethos of low-impact, responsible travel!

I have spent the past 12 years planning life-enriching travel to Australia and New Zealand, and visit regularly to find new exceptional and undiscovered experiences in the country. All of my custom-crafted journeys blend natural wonders, exotic wildlife, cultural connections, and culinary indulgences, for the full Kiwi experience!

Our goal is to collaborate with clients who appreciate that travel is more than merely taking a vacation. We are proud to have earned a National Geographic Traveler ’Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime’ in 2015, and have recently been featured in Forbes, Vogue, and the Huffington Post. I look forward to putting the same level of care into curating your next adventure!

I look forward to answering your questions about this tour or helping you customize a dream trip to New Zealand. Contact us by phone or email, and if you are in Seattle, please come by our Adventure Hub & Winery for a consultation!

From $16,999 per person based on double occupancy.


  • Full-size sedan rental throughout the itinerary
  • 4-night deluxe room stay at Fiordland Lodge. Includes breakfast and dinner daily and a picnic lunch on day four.
  • Guided small-group Milford Sound hiking tour
  • Kepler Track Heli-Hike
  • Half-Day Milford Track Guided Hike
  • 3-night lodge room stay at Matakauri Lodge. Includes pre-dinner drinks with canapés, breakfast and dinner daily, minibar domestic beers (excludes liquor and wine) and use of lodge facilities (excluding spa)
  • Half-Day Lord of the Rings Tour
  • Private Wine Trail Tour
  • Jet Boat and Funyak Safari on the Dart River
  • 2-night rainforest room stay at Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki. Includes breakfast and dinner daily and select guided nature and wilderness activities daily
  • Fox Glacier Helicopter Flightseeing and Glacier Walk
  • 2-night rainforest room stay at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. Includes breakfast daily and dinner on the first night
  • Guided hiking excursion to the Franz Josef Glacier
  • 2-night grand view room stay at Birds Ferry Lodge, including breakfast
  • Glowworm Cave Tour
  • 1-night lodge suite stay at Edenhouse, including breakfast
  • 3-day Abel Tasman National Park Guided Walk and Kayak Tour
  • 3-night stay at Split Apple Lodge. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, beer and New Zealand wines will be included with dinner and pre-dinner canapés will be available
  • All other meals included in the itinerary


  • International flights and airport taxes (can be arranged by Evergreen Escapes)
  • Internal flights not specified in the itinerary (can be arranged by Evergreen Escapes)
  • Meals and drinks other than specified
  • Activities/excursions not specified (can be arranged by Evergreen Escapes)
  • Visa Fees
  • Travel Insurance (can be arranged by Evergreen Escapes)
  • Gratuities

Terms & Conditions

ACCEPTANCE: Deposit or Payment on your booking constitutes your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions, which are subject to change without notice.

DEPOSIT & PAYMENT: A minimum 25% deposit is required at time of booking – deposit amount will vary based on the itinerary, destination, and partner operators. Some tours, accommodations, or events require earlier payment or deposits and you will be advised if this is the case. Late or nonpayment may cause automatic cancellation of your booking. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure. If cancellation is received 60 days or more prior to departure, the full deposit can be used towards a future booking. Cancellation must be received in writing. If cancellation is received 14 to 59 days prior to departure, 75% of the trip cost is non-refundable. If cancellation is received within 2 weeks of departure, 100% of the trip cost is non-refundable. Additional change and cancellation fees may apply based on the discretion of the service providers used in said itinerary.

*Please note: Change and cancellation fees do not include penalties incurred by third parties that are out of our control. Other cancellation fees or refunds for customer cancellation are at the discretion of the hotels, tour operators, caterers, rental car agencies, and other service providers with which Evergreen Escapes has reserved on the customer’s behalf for travel and tour related services. Insurance purchases are always non-refundable.

AIR CANCELLATION/CHANGE PENALTIES: In addition to the above mentioned Evergreen Escapes’ cancellation penalties, airline tickets, once issued, are 100% non-refundable. Changes may be made depending on the fare purchased and fees will apply. These fees will be advised when the changes are requested and can vary by airline. Please note it is the passengers responsibility to provide Evergreen Escapes with the correct full name for your airline ticket, if a ticket needs to be re-issued because Evergreen Escapes was not given the correct information a ticket re-issue fee will apply.

INSURANCE: Travel insurance is not included but can be purchased to cover penalty costs in the event you need to cancel or change your travel plans (subject to approval of claim by the insurer). It also can provide medical and emergency assistance protection as well as some loss and delay coverage. Travel insurance can be purchased through Evergreen Escapes.

VALIDITY/CHANGES: Your itinerary contains information believed to be accurate at the time of publication. Evergreen Escapes reserves the right to modify an itinerary or substitute tour components and inclusions without prior notice. Once a deposit has been received, a minimum $50 per booking change fee will apply. Other change fees are at the discretion of the hotels, tour operators, airlines, rental car agencies, and other service providers.

QUOTES: Unless guaranteed in writing with a specific expiration date, quotes from our office are subject to change until full payment is made.

CHILDREN: Child discounts are sometimes available depending on the travel products selected. Please note some travel products do not allow children below a certain age. If traveling with children please always check for specials and restrictions. All children under the age of 18 MUST have a parent or guardian with them at all times.

PASSPORTS/VISAS: A passport valid for six months beyond the date of return travel is required for entry into all destination countries. Customers/travelers with a passport from a country other than the US or Canada should request information regarding any necessary documents from the destination countries’ consulates or their travel agents. All travelers are required to carry valid identification at all times. Additional Travel Documents, such as Visas, may be required depending upon the countries to be visited and the citizenship of the traveler. It is the sole responsibility of each traveler to ensure that he or she meets the Travel and Immigration requirements of their country of citizenship and those of the countries to be visited. Evergreen Escapes will not be held liable or responsible in any way for any traveler’s failure to obtain Travel Documentation necessary for their trip.

PRICES: Evergreen Escapes quotes prices in US currency based on the exchange rates for the respective foreign currency as of the date of the quote. Customer’s exchange rate is only fixed when full payment is made, unless otherwise noted on Customer’s itinerary. Any price that Evergreen Escapes quotes is subject to change without notice until full payment is made. All prices are ‘from’ and seasonal surcharges and currency fluctuations apply.

RELATIONSHIP OF THE PARTIES: Evergreen Escapes shall be deemed to be an independent contractor for all purposes under these Terms & Conditions. Evergreen Escapes is acting solely to facilitate the reservation and purchase of Travel Related Services and is not acting in any other capacity with either the Customers or the Service Providers, including, but not limited to, any partnership, joint venture, co-ownership, or agency relationship of any kind with any Customer or Service Provider. Evergreen Escapes does not have any control over the quality, timing, safety, or legality of any Travel Related Service actually reserved or purchased by or for a Customer. Evergreen Escapes does not and can not control whether a Service Provider represents its products accurately or fulfills any agreement or obligation with any Customer.

ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE: Our clients always maintain a respectful distance while watching or photographing wildlife. Move slowly and quietly around wildlife when hiking. Avoid brightly colored clothes; wear drab greens and browns instead. Do not pick plants or wildflowers or trample over their habitats. Stay on the trail. Shore side, refill all holes and return large rocks to their original positions. Observe limits on the collection of edible species, and forgo the collection of others for souvenirs. Handle tide pool creatures gently and briefly, and return them to their original places. Educate others about ethical wildlife observation – spread the word.

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: Evergreen Escapes shall not be liable for any claims, losses, damages, costs, expenses, delays, sickness, injury, or loss of enjoyment, of any nature or kind whatsoever, resulting from events beyond Evergreen Escapes’ or a service provider’s reasonable control. In no event will Evergreen Escapes’ liability exceed the total amounts Customer paid Evergreen Escapes for Customer’s travel. Evergreen Escapes assumes no responsibility for lost tickets, documents, passes, or coupons.

DISPUTES & INDEMNITY: As Evergreen Escapes is not involved in providing the Travel Related Services for the Customer, any and all disputes between a Customer and Service Provider are solely between that Customer and that Service Provider, and the Customer and Service Provider should handle all such disputes directly with that Customer or Service Provider. If Service Provider or Customer contacts Evergreen Escapes relating to any dispute between the Customer or Service Provider, Evergreen Escapes may, in its sole discretion, facilitate dispute resolution and reserves the right to take any action that Evergreen Escapes deems appropriate under the circumstances. Customer agrees to release Evergreen Escapes and its agents and employees from claims, demands and damages (actual and consequential) of every kind and nature, known and unknown, suspected and unsuspected, disclosed and undisclosed, arising out of or in any way connected with such disputes. Furthermore, Customer agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Evergreen Escapes from any liability, loss, claim, and expense, including reasonable attorney’s fees, arising out of or in any way connected with such disputes.