New Zealand South Island Adventure

Best time to visit
January, February, March, April, October, November, December

New Zealand essentially consists of a series of islands in the Pacific, each distinct and celebrating its difference. Two large islands dominate this definition. The volcanic North Island, full of rolling green pastures and kaleidoscopic color. And the mountainous South Island, home to glaciers, fjords, and dramatic geological features.

This experience celebrates the best of the South Island. It’s a real adventure, a journey into the wild, a series of extraordinary moments in untouched places. As with all Kated experiences, this is just an idea of what is possible and a final itinerary will be tailored to your interests and preferences.

Day 1 - Queenstown

Tandem paragliding from the top of the mountain above Queenstown, New Zealand. Uniterupted view of mountains, Gorge Road and stunning scenery. Taken on a clear winters day.

Paragliding Off Bob’s Peak in Queenstown

New Zealand

For an alternative view of Queenland’s peaks and landscapes, try a bird’s eye view from the safely suspended front seat of a paraglide. With a certified and skilled pilot directing and driving your glide over the lakes, rivers and mountaintops below, you have a perfect Queenstown vista. Just focus on the fantastically thrilling feeling of floating weightlessly at the mercy of the wind speed. Stay calm and don’t forget to smile for a photo, as you paraglide gently down to the town below.

Day 2 - Queenstown

One of the most Beautiful drives in the world from Queenstown to Glenorchy

Glenorchy Lord of the Rings Movie Locations 4WD Tour

New Zealand

Follow in Frodo’s oversized footsteps and step into the magical realm of one of the world’s most popular fantasy films. Relive your favorite Lord of the Rings scenes and explore the wilderness in a privately-driven four-wheel drive. Crossing the very same fells, hills and streams that were the breathtaking backdrop to this ring-related story, you’ll feel that you are there with those brave elves, wizards and hobbits on their perilous quest. Along the way there is Isengard, Lothlorien Forest, the Misty Mountains, Amon Hen and Ithilien. And you can put on a cape and flash a sword should you wish as well.

Days 3 & 4 - Doubtful Sound

Helicopter Flight, Milford Sound

Helicopter to Milford Sound

New Zealand

Milford Sound is a world-famous fiord that boasts breathtaking nature, waterfalls and rainforests. The only way to truly discover the ever-evolving ecosystem is by helicopter. Mist and spray cascades off sharp rocks. Countless lakes, glaciers and cliffs will be brought to your window, as your masterful pilot maneuvers your sightseeing machine through low-lying clouds. You’ll be laid down and disembark on the valley floor, to marvel at a massive overhanging glacier peering down from the peak above. Then you’ll gain an alternative perspective with a small-boat Milford Sound cruise.

Doubtful Sound on the South Island on New Zealand

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

New Zealand

A cruise on a quaint wooden boat, to a secluded and stunning setting, slaloming between fiords and fells. It’s as emotive and evocative as it sounds. And you can do it in the calm silent still of the night.Any alternative minds amongst you will likely lean towards the lesser-known Doubtful Sound, rather than the bigger, more famous Milford Sound equivalent. Feeling like you’ve been let in on a well-kept secret, your vessel will sail out before sunset and return the following day.Sliding stealthily between towering green mounds as they fade into shadowy darkness, you’ll be served a delicious meal and drinks by the helpful crew. Waking up the next morning is the prime highlight, just you and the fjord as it emerges from mist.

Lodge Setting, Fiordland Lodge

Stay at Fiordland Lodge in Te Anau

New Zealand

Roll up and spend a few reflective days in one of New Zealand’s most diverse and beautiful national parks at the log-built Fjordland Lodge. Ideally situated in the epicentre of the park, with easy access to Milford Sound and Doubtless Sound, this will serve as a perfect platform from which to discover Fjordland National Park.You’ll wake up flanked by tall standing trees to one side and the gorgeous fjords and mountains to the other. Inspiring landscapes will be all the impetus you need to get out there and engage with nature. And when back at the lodge, embrace the warmth and comfort of a stay in nature.

Days 5 & 6 - Franz Josef Glacier

Rob Roy Glacier Hiking Trail Panorama Landscape, Wanaka, South Island New Zealand

Hike to Rob Roy Glacier from Wanaka

New Zealand

This is a chance to see and experience every type of terrain imaginable. From incredible fern-filled forests to snowy alpine peaks, take a hike towards an active, pulsating glacier.You will need a private and highly-qualified guide for this tricky trek into the wilderness, as the route is unclear and it’s pure untamed wilderness. The picturesque setting will serves as an ever-moving picture frame, as you meander through this mountainous land from Wanaka. On approach to the Rob Roy Glacier, you will see great white silhouettes of this mammoth mountain of solid ice. And then you can hike upon the glacier itself.

New Zealand, South Island-: Franz Josef Glacier is a 12 km long glacier located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island.

Heli-Hike on Franz Josef Glacier

New Zealand

Hike in the cracks and crevices of a mobile mountain of icy glass. So pack your bag and grab your pickaxe. After being briefed on the hike, you’ll receive your gear and be flown into the glacier by helicopter. You will touch down on the surface of the glacier, which will be your slippery home for the next couple of hours. Take in the vistas - this is a glacier that tumbles through the rainforest to the ocean. A trip that is never truly the same twice, the icescape all around you will be ever-evolving. You’ll be expected to climb carefully and, at times, burrow through its newly created cracks. Observe closely as your skilled guides show how to cut steps on the solid ice, so you’re not slipping and sliding down the glacier’s side.

Day 7 - To Christchurch

Tranzalpine train in New Zealand mountains

First-Class TranzAlpine South Island Rail Journey

New Zealand

Sit back and treat yourself to a whole host of tantalizing terrain types, on a magnificent ride across the South Island.Originating in Christchurch, the route winds its way through alternative forms of fantastical scenery New Zealand has on offer. Passing by snow-topped peaks, mist-covered mountains, masses of tree-covered greenery and beautiful water, you might forget to check the train’s interior. The diverse and constantly changing landscapes may make you wonder whether you’ve left Earth and entered another world.

Day 8 - Christchurch

Hot Air Baloon Flight, Canterbury Plains

Hot Air Balloon Over the Canterbury Plains

New Zealand

A laid-back activity at altitude for all four seasons, floating high into the sky by balloon offers a more organic way to survey the Canterbury surroundings. You’ll set off from Christchurch and climb higher as you reach the gorgeous Canterbury Plains. The variety of views that can be enjoyed will depend largely on the season in which you choose to fly. Either snowy white settings with frosty clear skies in winter, or orange and pink blended sunrises. The added luxury of being outdoors means you can be closer to the landscapes, feel the stiff breeze on your skin, and smell the freshness of the cloud-filled air as you float on by. You’ll be rewarded with a glass of Champagne when you touch back down to the ground.

Earthquake Monument, Christchurch

Christchurch Street Art and History Tour

New Zealand

Dig down to the roots of this vibrant and versatile city by taking a guided walk around its most poignant and prominent streets. Your guide will reveal how art is taking over Christchurch’s neighborhoods. Owing a lot to the crisis of the 2011 earthquake, artistic creation and public expression which adorns the city’s walls are a sign of hope and togetherness. A city stroll to see these stylishly contributed symbols while sipping on a smoothie can serve as the perfect way to spend an afternoon. With an enthusiastic local ready and willing to guide you around, you’ll discover how art is recreating Christchurch’s history.

Day 9 - Kaikoura

Humpback Whale, Kaikoura

Kaikoura Whale Watching

New Zealand

Like everything else in New Zealand, a whale watching tour places a strong emphasis on environmental conservation and the happiness of its inhabitants. In Kaikoura get up close and personal with the world’s largest living mammals without intruding and making them feel threatened.Kaikoura Canyon is something of a hot spot for sperm whales, due to the huge depths of  a narrow channel near the coast. Whales come from near and far to splash up their tails flamboyantly before submerging and diving deep down into these giant dipping pools. It’s almost like they know that they can depend on a captive audience who will duly respond with an appreciative ‘oooohh’ or ‘aaaahh’.

Treehouses, Hapuku Lodge

Hapuku Lodge, Kaikoura

New Zealand

An absolute must for the young at heart, the gravity-defying Hapuku Lodge tree houses create an intimate connection with South Pacific nature. Raised up on stilts above the ocean, descending down from the mountaintop covering clouds, in a region of heavenly beauty, these lodges are simply beyond compare. Relive your childhood dreams of wanting to spend the night in a treehouse but, instead of a view of your own house, drink in the delightful panorama of the Kaikoura Mountains from your bedroom window. This is an eco-friendly accommodation with no compromise with convention, a unique place to stay symbolic of New Zealand’s style.

Days 10 & 11 - Marlborough

Marlborough Wine Crop

Marlborough Wine Tasting

New Zealand

Flexibility is at the forefront of this travel moment, a Marlborough wine tasting tour tailored to your specific needs and tastes.It’s possible to save all of your attention for the delicious foods and wines and be chauffeured around in a private car. This way to explore the vast maze of varied vineyards makes the decision to have a second sip a little easier. Or offset an afternoon indulgently supping down reds and whites o a bicycle, a healthier mode of movement between tasty pit stops. Either way, come and enjoy the rewards of Marlborough’s wine region. You will taste with a rapidly emerging New Zealand winemaker and take a vineyard tour with a celebrated cellarmaster.

Wither Hills in Marlborough region in New Zealand with vineyard at sunset

Marlborough Vineyards Cycling Tour for Couples

New Zealand

The ultimate in honeymoon happiness, with wonderful wines and scenery as you cycle to world-renowned wineries. Marlborough is a marvelously magical and romantic region for couples whose idea of intimacy is a couple of days spent discovering new drinks and food. Supping celebrated wines, sampling mouthwatering meats and flavoursome local fruits, you’ll fall into a hazy, heartwarming alcohol-induced dream. Treat yourself to tastes and aromas, created by winemakers who have carved out their own unique corner in the winemaking world. Marlborough creates dreamy Sauvignon Blanc, now the most famous of white wines in the southern hemisphere.

Day 12 - Departure

This experience was created by
Stephen John
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