Milford Sound: Fly – Walk – Fly
The Milford Sound and Fiordland is a “Must do” for every tourist to New Zealand and locals alike. There are several options available to visit the Sound, dependant on budget and time restraints, which we have talked about in a previous blog. A great new option that has become available to Luxury Adventures is a Fly-Walk-Fly option. This option is ideal for travellers who would like to hike a part of the Milford track which is normally a 54km hike and walked over 4 days. Not everyone has the time available to them, therefore this option is ideal. You’ll fly from Queenstown airport over the Wakatipu Basin and the Shotover River heading towards Glenorchy and the head of Lake Wakatipu. Flying past the famous Earnslaw Burn Glacier and over Lake McKerrow with stunning views of the Southern Alps, flying deep into the heart of Fiordland National Park. You will get to see Fiordland’s tallest glacier mountain, Mt Tutuko, and orbit the length of Milford Sound where you can take in unparalleled views of world famous Mitre Peak and Milford Sound. Upon landing Milford Sound airport you’ll be met by a guide and transported to Sandfly Point to begin your guided hike. The walk takes you along Arthur River and then Lake Ada, to the spectacular Giant Gate waterfall, which is best viewed from the large swing bridge spanning the river. At the end of the hike, you’ll be transferred back to the Milford boat terminal and return to Queenstown by flight.
Dog Sled – Queenstown
How cool would it be to drive your own team of Huskies! Well you can in Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. These tours are a great winter adventure, and operate July through to late September from the Snow Farm between Queenstown and Wanaka. You’ll be able to interact with the dogs and after instruction drive your own team through the beautiful trails provided by the Snow Farm. Nothing but the silence of the mountains and the sound of the dogs feet, their breath and your runners gliding through the snow. If your not game enough to try driving your own team there are also an option to ride in a basket guided by one of our experienced musher through some stunning NZ high country scenery. There are also overnight tours available, a chance to totally immerse yourself and experience the world of sled dogs, with overnight accommodation in a backcountry hut in the Pisa Range. All of these tours must be pre-booked, and the Luxury Adventures team can assist with this.
Electric 4WD Discovery, Queenstown
A brand new concept in Eco-Adventures is located on the beautiful Dart River delta near Glenorchy. Take charge of these amazing electric 4WD vehicles and let the on-board computer guide you along the wilderness trail in comfort, safety and silence! Each vehicle is loaded with interactive multi-lingual GPS guidance system, so you can find out more about the area as you travel. Explore this pristine wilderness at your own pace. Discover the area’s surprising wildlife, history and geology, while enjoying the breathtaking scenery used in some of New Zealand’s most iconic movies like LOTR and the Hobbits Trilogy. Tours operate twice a day and pre-booking is recommended.
Whirinaki Forest Guided Hike
Whirinaki Forest is one of the world’s premier rainforests – one of the world’s biodiversity hot-spots, barely changed since dinosaurs lived in the undergrowth. Tall trees, rare birds such as the Kereru, a New Zealand Wood pigeon, the Kaka a large forest parrot, Fantails, Bellbirds and Tui’s among some of the birds you may be lucky enough to spot, as well as stunning scenery! The park is about 100 km southeast of Rotorua, located between the central volcanic plateau and mountain axis of the North Island. Luxury Adventures can arrange a full day guided hike with a knowledgeable local guide who has many years’ experience in conservation education. This tour takes in a full day of the world famous Whirinaki Forest. Think stunning scenery, waterfalls, rare birdlife and giant 1000-year old trees. Whirinaki is regarded as NZ’s most complete canopy and ranks as one of the world’s great rainforests. This walk is regarded by hikers as one of New Zealand’s best one-day walks.
Shark Cage Diving, Stewart Island
Always wanted to go shark cage diving and see the great white shark up-close? The waters around Stewart Island, located at the very bottom of New Zealand’s South Island are home to over 100 great white sharks. The waters are also home to other marine life such as whales, seals, penguins, albatross and more. If cage diving is a little to adventurous for you you can also chose to take a sightseeing day trip. Shark dive or sightseeing trips operate 1st December through to 30th June, they are full day trips which depart from Bluff, 30 minutes drive from Invercargill or pick up is available from Stewart Island. You will need to spend the night before and likely the night after the shark experience in the region, talk to the Luxury Adventures team about accommodation options. No dive experience is necessary, there is a dive instructor on board the boat and you can take an equipment lesson on the way to the site.
Walter Peak Electric Trail Bikes
Another new activity to Queenstown is the Walter Peak Farm Electric Bike tour, combining the iconic TSS Earnslaw steamship and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm. The Electric bikes are a real unique, fun and low impact way to view the stunning surrounds. The experience is guided, and you will view rolling farmlands, with a beautiful backdrop of Lake Wakatipu, all in silence! Follow undulating well formed tracks to Beach Point reserve where you will be offered refreshments and listen to the guide regale stories of the history of Walter Peak and high country farming. The ride back to the farm takes in amazing alpine forest scenery. Cruise back to Queenstown on the TSS Earnslaw.
West Coast Glacier scenic helicopter, with Mt Cook
There are lots of amazing helicopter flights available, many of our clients have a wish list to visit the West Coast, Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers and also Mt Cook. As the glaciers are constantly moving the only way to currently get up close to them is by helicopter, there are several options which include helicopter hikes, or fly overs, departing from Fox or Franz on the West Coast of the South Island. Another great alternative which could be classed as an “ultimate glacier experience” takes in both Fox Glacier, Franz Josef, and also circles the top of magnificent Aoraki/Mount Cook. Departing from Fox Glacier you’ll experience Glacial icefalls, crevasses and neves, views from ocean to Alps – you get to see both glaciers and NZ’s highest peak. Topped off with a spectacular snow landing, this is the best helicopter experience on the West Coast!
Kay Campbell is a luxury travel consultant for Luxury Adventures. Talk to us about planning your next visit to New Zealand, Australia or the South Pacific Islands.