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South Island Adventure 

14 Days | South Island | From AU$9,299 | Multi-activity

Christchurch to Christchurch

We'll take you on an unforgettable journey exploring our mountains, coastlines and countryside, on foot, by bike and with a paddle in your hands. Experience our unique culture and wildlife along the way.

Our Signature Trip. Aged like a fine wine since 1996

This is our signature adventure and a great, outdoorsy way to see New Zealand. We’ve been fine-tuning this perennial favourite since 1996 and it’s simply an awesome trip. You’ll explore the most beautiful, famous and little-known places in the South Island - up close and personal - with legendary hospitality and our unsurpassed attention to detail. 

Be prepared to leave a piece of your heart in New Zealand.

Contact Tasmanian Walking Company on (03) 6392 2211 or email

Trip Notes  

Here's What's Included; We've Got You Covered.

✓  All guiding services
    Two experienced New Zealand guides per trip. Having two guides allows for much greater flexibility, meaning you're able to go at your own pace.

✓  All accommodations
    A range of hotels, lodges, chalets, inns, sheep stations and backcountry huts. The only tour company to overnight at the Milford Lodge in Milford Sound!

✓  All meals
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days, except where indicated on the itinerary (usually 1 day per trip is a free day, allowing you to choose your own dining location).

✓  All activities
    Hiking, kayaking, biking and more! On this trip we've refined the subtle art of adventure travel, allowing you to discover the South Island on foot, by pedal, or by paddle.

✓  All transport
    Airport transfers on the first & last days. When you're not travelling under your own steam, there will be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.

Kaikoura Peninsula 4


-Arrive, hike to a fur seal colony on the Kaikoura Peninsula

Our adventure begins in Christchurch on the South Island. We’ll start your trip by travelling up the coast to the seaside town of Kaikoura, where we’ll hike the scenic peninsula. Passing weathered limestone cliffs we’ll watch a colony of fur seals basking on the rocks and playing in the eddies, on a stretch of rugged coastline that was uplifted in the Kaikoura earthquake - it’s amazing to see this brand new land! Today is a relaxed introduction to New Zealand. Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll probably find jetlag is no big deal. It’s a 12 to 13 hour direct overnight flight from the West Coast of the USA to Auckland and there’s only a 3 hour time difference between New Zealand and US Pacific time. If you’re coming from further afield, you’ll appreciate the gentle start to your New Zealand adventure.

Kaikoura Lodgings, Kaikoura (Lunch, Dinner)

Hiking Distance: 6.5 kilometres (4 miles), 1-2 hours
Elevation Gain: 20 metres (65 feet)
Elevation Loss: 20 metres (65 feet)



Visit vineyard, start multi-day options

From Kaikoura, we’ll travel along spectacular coastline for a couple of hours to Blenheim, a town in the Marlborough wine region. We’ll visit Forrest Estate Winery to sample some of their fantastic wines and have a picnic lunch before we head off for our various activities.


DAYS 2, 3 AND 4

Multi-day hiking or sea kayaking options

Angelus Hut


Option A, Nelson Lakes Hiking: The Angelus Circuit

Day 2 (afternoon) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Saint Arnaud to Lakehead Hut

Our hike begins in the charming village of Saint Arnaud, on the edge of Nelson Lakes National Park. This is serious wilderness country, with incredible views and marvellous solitude. The park straddles the upper Southern Alps, an area composed of beech forests, big lakes and even bigger mountains. We’ll hike the relatively gentle trail through the forest alongside Lake Rotoiti to Lakehead Hut, a small mountain cabin at the head of the lake and our home for the night. Our guides are pretty tough and they’ll carry the lion’s share of the load. All you’ll be carrying is a backpack with your sleeping bag, a few spare clothes, and a share of our food. To protect this beautiful and fragile environment, we always keep our group sizes small and our exact route flexible.
Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals) 

Hiking Distance: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 3-4 hours
Elevation Gain: 20 metres (65 feet)
Elevation Loss: 20 metres (65 feet)

Day 3 - Hike Angelus Circuit: Lakehead Hut to Angelus Hut

Today is an unforgettable day - the scenery gets better with each step! We follow the Travers River through beech forest, before heading up the Hukere Stream towards the ridgeline. This is a challenging hike, with an elevation gain of 1000 metres (3280 feet), but it’s absolutely worth it. The Angelus Circuit has exceptional scenic diversity, so it provides a great reward for the efforts you put in. There’s no rush and we’ll be there to encourage you the whole way. It’s a tremendous feeling at the top when you reach Angelus Hut, nestled beside a gorgeous alpine lake. Many people tell us this hidden gem was the highlight of their New Zealand adventure, and a lot of Kiwis prefer the Angelus Circuit to better-known tracks.
Angelus Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals)

Hiking Distance: 10 kilometres (6.2 miles), 6-8 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,050 metres (3,445 feet)

Day 4 (morning) - Hike Angelus Circuit: Angelus Hut to Lake Rotoiti

Wake up on top of the world! After breakfast, we’ll hike out along the barren Robert Ridge with dramatic views of Tasman Bay and the mountainous Kahurangi National Park in the distance. We’ll descend below the treeline again into native beech forest completing our hike on the shores of Lake Rotoiti. Here, we’ll meet up with the kayakers and cyclists and share stories of our adventures, before carrying on to the West Coast.

Hiking Distance: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 4-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 70 metres (230 feet)
Elevation Loss: 840 metres (2,755 feet)

Roberts Ridge 2


Option B, Nelson Lakes Experience: The Rotoiti Circuit (extra fee applies)

Day 2 (afternoon) - Hike Rotoiti Circuit: Saint Arnaud to Lakehead Hut

Our hike begins in the charming village of Saint Arnaud, on the edge of Nelson Lakes National Park. This is serious wilderness country, with incredible views and marvellous solitude. The park straddles the upper Southern Alps, an area composed of beech forests, big lakes and even bigger mountains. We’ll hike the relatively gentle trail through the forest alongside Lake Rotoiti to Lakehead Hut, a small mountain cabin at the head of the lake and our home for the night. Our guides are pretty tough and they’ll carry the lion’s share of the load. All you’ll be carrying is a backpack with your sleeping bag, a few spare clothes, and a share of our food. To protect this beautiful and fragile environment, we always keep our group sizes small and our exact route flexible.
Lakehead Hut, Nelson Lakes National Park (All meals)

Hiking Distance: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 3-4 hours
Elevation Gain: 20 metres (65 feet)
Elevation Loss: 20 metres (65 feet)

Day 3 - Hike Rotoiti Circuit: Lakehead Hut to Saint Arnaud

If weather permits, we’ll start the morning with a refreshing stream crossing over the Travers River, or in times of high flow, we follow the Travers Valley through beech forest until we get to a swing-bridge, a quintessential New Zealand hiking experience. Once on the other side of the river, we’ll head back along the valley until we get to Coldwater Hut for a picnic lunch in this stunning setting. Here we re-join the lake, and follow the trail as it gently winds its way around Lake Rotoiti to Whiskey Creek, and the beautiful Whiskey Falls. Feel free to fill up your water bottles from Whiskey Creek, but it IS only water, honest! From Whiskey Falls we’ll board a water taxi to take us back to Kerr Bay, finishing up this afternoon back in St Arnaud.
St Arnaud lodgings, St Arnaud (All meals)

Hiking Distance: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), 3-4 hours
Elevation Gain: 20 metres (65 feet)
Elevation Loss: 20 metres (65 feet)

Day 4 (morning) - Hike Rotoiti Circuit: Hike Roberts Ridge

After breakfast we’ll clamber back into our hiking boots to set out for this morning's walk. We'll explore the beautiful peninsula track, stretching out into Lake Rotoiti, before making our way to the Pinchgut Track. This trail gives access to Mt Robert, and Robert's Ridge, where the rest of the group will be approaching from. We'll wind our way up the trail through the native beech trees and manuka scrub to meet the group. Once we’re back together we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch, before carrying on to the West Coast.

Hiking Distance: Up to 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) 
Elevation Gain: Up to 400 metres (1312 feet) 

Rimu Kayaking Marlborough Sounds 5


Option C, Sea Kayaking, Marlborough Sounds (extra fee applies)

Day 2 (afternoon) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

After lunch, you’ll head to Ngakuta Bay in the Marlborough Sounds to begin three days of paddling in style. The waters are sheltered, meaning they are generally calm. The surrounding lush forest and rocky coastline are truly stunning. You’ll be kitted out comfortably in your sea kayak with all the necessary safety equipment for paddling. After a thorough safety briefing, you’ll head out with your specialist kayak guide for a gentle first day’s paddle to Tanglewood Lodge, with sparkling views of the surrounding Sounds. This multi-day option is quite flexible, so you don’t need any previous paddling experience, but if you are an experienced sea kayaker, we’ll certainly keep you challenged.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Kayaking Time: 2-3 hours

Day 3 - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

Today we’ll kayak around the secluded bays of the Kenepuru Sound. You can paddle at your own pace and we’ll make sure you get as much or as little ‘paddle time’ as you like! We’ll check out the beaches, birdlife and native forest that characterise the area and enjoy being out on the water. With a bit of luck, we’ll be visited by local dolphins, fur seals and little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor). You’ll also have plenty of time to stop for short beach and forest walks along the way.
Tanglewood Lodge, Queen Charlotte Sound (All meals)

Kayaking Time: 5-6 hours

Day 4 (morning) - Sea kayak Marlborough Sounds

This morning we’ll have another chance to spot wildlife as we paddle along the northern coastline from Anakiwa, in the Queen Charlotte Sound. We’ll then cross over the Sound and finish back in Ngakuta Bay, which will complete the round trip of the Grove Arm. This is where our sea kayaking ends, so after lunch in Picton we’ll meet up with the rest of the group in Saint Arnaud before carrying on to the West Coast.

Kayaking Time: 1-2 hours


Finish multi-day backpacking or sea kayaking

After regrouping in Saint Arnaud, we’ll head across the Southern Alps to the West Coast - a dramatic and rugged coastline stretching 600 kilometres (372 miles), with a population of only 40,000 people. We’ll mingle with the ‘coasters’ tonight in the seaside village of Punakaiki, exchanging tales of our adventures over fish and chips at the local pub!
West Coast lodgings, Punakaiki (All meals)

Punakaiki 0657


Hike Punakaiki Rainforest, explore Hokitika

We’ll spend the morning hiking the Inland Pack Track through temperate rainforest and limestone canyons, following in the footsteps of gold miners who established this trail over a century ago. While we’re in Punakaiki, we’ll also check out the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes - aptly named limestone formations that have been sculpted through the relentless pounding of the Tasman Sea. Travelling along the scenic coastline, we’ll stretch our legs in Hokitika and check out local art galleries and pounamu-carving workshops (pounamu is Maori for jade), before carrying on to the township of Franz Josef where we’ll stay for the next couple of nights. Nestled in the rainforest-clad foothills of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the heart of New Zealand glacier country.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Hiking Distance: 6 kilometres (4 miles), 2-3 hours 
Elevation Gain: 130 metres (425 feet)
Elevation Loss: 130 metres (425 feet)


Okarito Kayaking


Kayak Okarito Lagoon, hike coastal forest and beach

This morning we’ll take a short journey over to Okarito, a little-known beach community on the coast. We’ll take to the water in sea kayaks and glide along a picturesque lagoon, set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Okarito is home to the only native white heron colony in New Zealand, as well as a host of other interesting birds. Later we’ll head back to Franz Josef where you’ll have the option to take another walk or relax in the hot tub, before enjoying a traditional Kiwi roast dinner.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)

Hiking Distance: 4.2 kilometres (2.6 miles), 1-2 hours
Elevation Gain: 120 metres (394 feet)
Elevation Loss: 120 metres (394 feet)

Kayaking Time: 2-4 hours

Franz Josef Heli Hike


Hike near Franz Josef Glacier

With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country. Few sights equal the spectacle of two of these giant frozen rivers (Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers) imperceptibly grinding their way down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level. We’ll spend most of the day near Franz Josef Glacier hiking up through the forest to either Alex Knob or Roberts Point, both of which give incredible views of the ice. These hikes can be inaccessible in wet weather, so we may opt to hike close to the terminal face of the glaciers, around Lake Matheson and to the Blue Pools near Haast Pass instead.

Optional Heli-hike (extra fee applies)

An outrageously scenic alternative to today’s hike is to heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier itself. After being fitted with crampons, you’ll board a turbine helicopter and fly towards the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, landing on the glacier at 1300 metres (4265 feet) above sea level. Led by specialist glacier guides, you’ll hike through the grand ice formations of the glacier, checking out its crevasses, seracs and tunnels - no previous experience is required! The constant movement of the glacier means every day is different, so your guides will cut steps in the ice to make the most of the conditions. At the end of your hike on the ice, you’ll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains and back to civilisation.

The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company. At the time of booking, or up until one month before your trip, we can reserve a space for you, or you can leave your decision until the start of your trip and your guides will get you a spot if it’s available

From Franz Josef, we’ll travel down the coast through lush forest and then inland to Makarora, a small village bordering Mt Aspiring National Park, with incredible views of the snow-capped mountains.
Makarora Lodgings, Makarora (All meals)

Alex Knob Hiking Distance: 8 kilometres (5 miles), 5-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 1,100 metres (3,610 feet)
Elevation Loss: 1,100 metres (3,610 feet)

Robert's Point Hiking Distance: 12 kilometres (7.5 miles), 4-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 400 metres (1,312 feet)
Elevation Loss: 400 metres (1,312 feet)

Rocky Mountain Hike


Hike Rocky Mountain

The landscape this morning changes rapidly from dense beech forest to semi-arid mountainous terrain. We’ll hike the Rocky Mountain track today, a spectacular circuit through an area carved out by iceage glaciers, with stands of native forest and shrub land. We’ll enjoy lunch after our hike in Wanaka before a short but dramatic journey over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, our base for the next couple of days. You’ll sleep sweetly tonight at a lakefront hotel located in the heart of Queenstown.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (Breakfast, Lunch)

Hiking Distance: 7 kilometres (4.5 miles), 2-3 hours
Elevation Gain: 375 metres (1,230 feet)
Elevation Loss: 375 metres (1,230 feet)

Queenstown Beach


Free day in Queenstown

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand (if not the world!) and all the comforts of civilisation are packed into this tiny resort town: restaurants galore, sidewalk cafés, stylish lounge bars, day spas and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here including horse trekking, a gondola, kayaking, fishing, winery tours, hang gliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, jet boating and skydiving, as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere or lounge about reading a book. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Queenstown (No meals included)

Routeburn Track

DAY 10

Hike Routeburn Track

This morning, we set off for our largest and perhaps most spectacular national park, Fiordland. We’ll hike part of the Routeburn Track for unsurpassed views of the Hollyford Valley, as well as Lake Marian and Mt Christina. We’ll take a short drive through the Homer Tunnel and emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shores of Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling rated this fiord as the eighth natural wonder of the world and it is truly breathtaking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand metres to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water. Tonight we’ll stay at Milford Lodge, to make the most of a wonderfully remote location.
Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals)

Hiking Distance: 3.4 kilometres (2 miles), 3-4 hours
Elevation Gain: 380 metres (1,246 feet)
Elevation Loss: 380 metres (1,246 feet)

Milford Sound Kayaking

DAY 11

Sea kayak Milford Sound, hike Kepler Track

Most people see Milford Sound from the deck of a ship, but we’ve got a more active way - gliding along in sea kayaks, causing very little disruption for the best chance of getting up close and personal with the friendly fur seals and dolphins that are sometimes in the area. It’s an early start this morning, but the calm waters and peaceful solitude that you’ll enjoy out on the fiord, are well worth it. Fully kitted out in double sea kayaks and lead by a specialist kayak guide, the padding is equally suitable for beginners and experts alike. After kayaking, we’ll enjoy a tasty lunch before heading out to explore more of Fiordland’s wilderness on foot. This afternoon we’ll take a hike on the famous Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks - we follow the track through mountain beech forest and along the Waiau River. It’s an awesome hike with spectacular views! Tonight we’ll stay on the edge of Lake Manapouri, enjoying the scenery and the delicious local fare.
Lake Manapouri Inn, Manapouri (All meals)

Kayaking Time: 2-3 hours

Hiking Distance: 9.5 kilometres (6 miles), 2-3 hours
Elevation Gain: 50 metres (165 feet)
Elevation Loss: 50 metres (165 feet)

Lindis Pass

DAY 12

Journey over Lindis Pass, Bike the Alps to Ocean trail

After an early breakfast, we’ll head back through Queenstown and head North, driving through the tussock-country of Lindis Pass to Twizel, where we’ll hop on bikes and ride a portion of the Alps to Ocean Trail, following the well-groomed trail across the Mackenzie country basin to Lake Pukaki. The trail continues around the alpine lake with views across to the magnificent Aoraki Mount Cook and the last section of the ride you’ll pass a range of native plants including Kowhai (with brilliant yellow flowers, popular with endemic Tui birds), flax and tussocks. Afterwards, we’ll continue onto Braemar Station, where we stay on Hamish and Julia McKenzie’s 5000 hectare high-country sheep farm (station is the New Zealand word for a big ranch). While we’re here, we’ll stay in a farm cottage that was built for the sheep shearers. It’s a rustic little place with views that will knock your socks off - the biggest mountains in New Zealand piercing the sky on the far side of a gorgeous cobalt-blue lake. With no lights for miles around, the stars on a clear night are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Many of our travellers have told us this was one of their favourite places on the whole trip - just the place for your last couple of nights in New Zealand!
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (All meals)

Biking Distance: 24 kilometres (15 miles), 2 hours

View To Hooker Lake

DAY 13

Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Mt Cook, named Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ by South Island Maori, is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Directly opposite the mountain, we have a stunning day hike to the main ridge above Mueller Glacier. It’s a challenging hike, but you’ll remember the view of the glacier and the surrounding peaks forever! The weather conditions are very important in this area, as it’s a true alpine climate notorious for sudden weather shifts. If we aren’t able to do the Mueller Glacier hike, or you’d like to take it a little easier, there’s an impressive hike up to a glacial lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of the Hooker Glacier. Then we head back to Braemar Station for the last night of our adventure. We’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner as we sit outside and watch the sun set on Aoraki/Mt Cook.
Shearers’ quarters, Braemar Station (All meals)

Mueller Ridge Hiking Distance: 7.2 kilometres (4.4 miles), 5-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 975 metres (3,200 feet)
Elevation Loss: 975 metres (3,200 feet)

Hooker Glacier Hiking Distance: 9 kilometres (5.6 miles), 3-4 hours
Elevation Gain: 100 metres (328 feet)
Elevation Loss: 100 metres (328 feet)

DAY 14

Depart for home

After breakfast we’ll head to Christchurch, arriving in time for afternoon flights. This is the end of your adventure. We’ll leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand! For a great way to see the North Island too, where you’ll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, you can combine this trip with our 11-day ‘North Island Adventure’ (5-day ‘North Island Adventure’ options available).

(Breakfast, Lunch)

Useful Information

Departure Dates

Trips depart regularly between November and April each year. 

Direct bookings only

Peace of Mind Booking Assurance

After the minimum number of bookings has been achieved, the trip is guaranteed to depart.  If for any reason, the trip cannot go ahead due to restrictions placed upon travel due to Covid-19,  guests will be permitted to reschedule their walk to a new date with no additional fee within 24 months. Cancellations for other reasons will incur our standard cancellation fees.

Single supplement

All accommodation is twin share. Single travellers may be required to share a twin room with another walker of the same gender if the departure fills to capacity. To guarantee a single room for the duration of the walk a supplementary fee will apply. Please request this at the time of booking.

Group Size

This trip has a maximum of 14 guests, plus two experienced naturalist guides.

Trip Start

On the first day of the trip we can either pick you up from the Rydges Latimer Square in Christchurch at 10.30am, or at Christchurch airport in front of the Travel and Information desk at 11am.

Trip End

On the last day of the trip we can drop you off at the Christchurch airport in time for the flights below, or anywhere in central Christchurch about 3pm.

Recommended flights

Arrival: If you’re flying in on the first day of the trip, we recommend arriving in Christchurch before 10am on Monday.

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Christchurch after 4pm on Sunday. If you are considering alternative flight times please check with us. International flights from Auckland usually leave early evening.


This adventure is one of our more adventurous trips, and has options to suit a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience. If you keep reasonably active and like to give things a go, you’re likely to enjoy the trip much more. If you’re used to pushing yourself, we’ll keep you challenged as well. Typically, hikes on the trip range between two and five hours to complete, more, or less hiking is available depending on your multi-day option. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the various options.


Need help deciding? Talk to an expert

We're here to help 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, otherwise, email us anytime and we'll be in touch.