Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Hiking the Mt cooj-New zealand-p

New Zealand Winter Adventure

Active Adventures New Zealand
4.9 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
14 days
From: $ 4,599 $ 329 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Hike the fabulous Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park
  • Copland Valley, Westland National Park
  • West Coast beaches and rainforest
  • Fox Glacier
  • Mt Aspiring National Park
  • Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park or ski/snowboard Ohau Ski Area
  • Cycle Wanaka

Short Description

May to September is one of the best times to explore New Zealand. Our maritime climate ensures we have relatively mild winters, we’ll almost always have the tracks to ourselves and the snow-capped mountains make an even more dramatic backdrop than in summer – and usually you can get a great deal on flights! Years ago, we adapted our signature Rimu trip to suit the cooler conditions by adding skiing and snowboarding, along with some of the South Island’s best hikes. This adventure is the perfect excuse to escape the heat!

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Auckland
End City Christchurch

Trip Includes

  • All guiding services: Two experienced guides per trip. In New Zealand you'll have a lead guide and a co guide.
  • All accommodations: A range of hotels, lodges, chalets, inns, sheep stations and backcountry huts, depending on which trip you choose.
  • 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, rafting, scenic flights, jet boating and more!
  • All transport: Airport transfers.
  • When you're not travelling under your own steam, they'll be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive, hike Mt John

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Lake Ohau Lodge, Lake Ohau

Most people leave the Northern Hemisphere on a Saturday evening, arriving in Auckland early Monday morning. You’ll lose a day crossing the dateline – but you get it back on the way home! It’s a short flight to Christchurch, in the South Island, where we’ll meet you. We then head to Lake Tekapo for a hike along the lakeshore and through fragrant wilding pine, before emerging above the treeline on Mt. John for breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Then we’ll carry on to the remote and beautiful Lake Ohau Lodge. Here we’re staying beside a beautiful alpine lake, with stunning views stretching across to Mt. Cook and the Southern Alps – an ideal spot to soak in the hot tub and enjoy the stars! Today is a relaxed introduction to New Zealand. Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll probably find jetlag is no big deal. For instance, it’s a 12 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.

Day 2: Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park or ski/snowboard Ohau Ski Area

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Lake Ohau Lodge, Lake Ohau

After a late breakfast on the balcony overlooking Lake Ohau, we’ll take an impressive hike at the head of Lake Pukaki, up the Hooker Valley to a glacial lake complete with icebergs! This is a great spot for lunch and on a clear day the views of Aoraki Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, are stunning. Then we’ll return to Lake Ohau where we’ll enjoy a sumptuous dinner. An option today is to spend the day skiing at the small and friendly Ohau Ski Area, one of the South Island’s more remote backcountry ski fields (for approx. US$125 including gear rental).

Lake Ohau Lodge, Lake Ohau (All meals)

Day 3: Hike Mt Aspiring National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today we start the first of two memorable multi-day hikes. We’ll venture up the Matukituki Valley and hike into Mt Aspiring National Park to reach our home for the evening – a spacious mountain hut nestled in a valley in the middle of nowhere. This hike is well suited to winter conditions and the track meanders past majestic snow capped peaks, fresh mountain streams and natural beech forest. You’ll be carrying a sleeping bag, a few spare clothes and some food, so your pack won’t weigh much more than a regular day pack. The scenery is off the charts with Mt Aspiring rising 3033 metres (9951 feet) into the blue! It’s amazing how far you’ll feel from civilisation after this relatively short walk! Tonight your guide will whip up dinner in the backcountry kitchen while you relax by the fire. If you prefer, you can stay at the Lake Wanaka Lodge and do day hikes into the surrounding hills, or just relax and enjoy Wanaka’s laid-back, small town atmosphere! The choice is yours.

Mt Aspiring Hut, Mt. Aspiring National Park or Lake Wanaka Lodge, Wanaka (All meals)

Day 4: Hike Mt Aspiring National Park and bike Wanaka

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

After enjoying a delicious healthy breakfast and admiring the views, we'll hike back to the trailhead. We'll head to Wanaka for a bike ride along the lakeshore, and then it's 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

Day 5: Free day in Queenstown

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Hotel, 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, stylish lounge bars, day spas, and boutiques. You’ll also find incredible optional activities here, including horse trekking, a gondola, fishing, winery tours, a historic steamship, bungy jumping, jet boating, skydiving, as well as some great hiking opportunities. Or you can just soak up the atmosphere by the fire at one of the local cafés or pubs. Your guides will happily share their favourite haunts and point you in the right direction for your free day today. Alternatively, you can go skiing or snowboarding for the day at one of four nearby ski areas (approximate cost US$150 for ski or snowboard hire, transport and lift pass – available as snow conditions suit, generally from June to September).

Day 6: Hike Kepler Track

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Matai Lodge, Te Anau

After breakfast we'll travel to Lake Te Anau, to hike the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's 'Great Walks'. Unlike most of the other 'Great Walks', which evolved from Maori greenstone trails or pioneer exploration routes, the Kepler Track was custom-made - built for pleasure, rather than necessity. The track has been carefully crafted to show walkers all the very best features of Fiordland, from the prolific bird life and tussock high country, to the huge mountain ranges and vast glacier-carved valleys. We'll stay nearby in Te Anau which will be the base for our sea kayaking adventure on Milford Sound.

Day 7: Sea kayak Milford Sound, explore Fiordland National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Matai Lodge, Te Anau

Our day starts early this morning as we head towards Milford Sound. Most people see the fiord from the deck of a ship, though we've got a more active way – gliding along in sea kayaks, causing very little disruption. This also gives us a great chance of getting up close and personal with the friendly fur seals and dolphins that are sometimes in the area. Run by specialist kayak guides, the paddling here is suitable for beginners and experts alike. After kayaking, we'll spend more time exploring the Fiordland wilderness on foot and check out some of its endemic flora and fauna like the kea (Nestor notabilis), New Zealand's notoriously cheeky and intelligent alpine parrot and the kotukutuku (Fuchsia excorticate), the world's largest fuchsia.

Day 8: Relax or hike Queenstown

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Heartland World Heritage Hotel, Haast

This morning, we’ll journey past beautiful rolling farmland and around the edge of Lake Wakatipu back to Queenstown. You’ll have a couple of hours to spare here to catch up on some shopping, grab a coffee or head off on a local hike - your guides will have plenty of suggestions. Lunch today is an opportunity for you to explore more of the outstanding food scene in Queenstown by yourselves - ask your guides about their favourite places to eat! Afterwards we’ll head

through the stunning Southern Lakes district and over the Haast Pass to the West Coast – a long stretch of gorgeous, rugged coastline with a population of only 40,000 people. We’ll mingle with the ‘coasters’ tonight in the tiny township of Haast, exchanging tales of our adventures at the local pub in front of a roaring fire.

Day 9: Hike to Copland Valley hot pools, Westland National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today we'll walk into a stunningly beautiful mountain basin, set directly underneath the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, with an awesome highlight – natural hot pools! It's a challenging six to seven hour hike 17 kilometres (10 miles) up the Copland Valley with a gradual 300 metres (985 feet) elevation gain, but it's absolutely worth it. 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. Tonight, we stay in one of New Zealand's most spacious backcountry huts, a comfortable two-level building. One of the best things about hiking this track in winter is we may well have the hut all to ourselves! While you soak in the hot pools your guide will whip up a hearty dinner.

Welcome Flat Hut, Westland National Park

Day 10: Hike to Douglas Rock

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Today we'll hike further up the track towards Douglas Rock for even more amazing scenery and views of multiple glaciers clinging to the top of the mountain valley. If you prefer, you can have a relaxing day at the hut – soak in the hot pools, enjoy the stunning scenery, or even just hang out with a book. Either way, the hot pools are without a doubt the star attraction here, closely followed by the dramatic scenery.

Welcome Flat Hut, Westland National Park

Day 11: Hike Copland Valley

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

An early start sees us on the track, a great time to be hikng with the fresh morning air and stillness.  You’ll be feeling sprightly today after a relaxing evening in the rejuvinating hot pools and with the slightly downhill gradient, you’ll be in ‘cruise mode’ on the outward hike. Once back at the trailhead we’ll rest our bodies with a scenic journey up the coast 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

Day 12: Kayak Okarito Lagoon, hike near Franz Josef Glacier

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This morning we’ll make 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 the 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 hike through lush coastal forest to Three Mile Lagoon, and wander along the beautiful stony beach next to crashing waves. Once back in Franz Josef you’ll have the option to take another hike to the terminal face for exceptional glacier views or relax in the hot tub, before enjoying a traditional Kiwi roast dinner.

Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef

Day 13: Hike Punakaiki rainforest and beaches

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This morning, we'll travel along the coast to check out local art galleries and a pounamu carving workshop (pounamu is Maori for jade) in Hokitika. After lunch, we carry on to Punakaiki, where we'll hike the Inland Pack Track through temperate rainforest and limestone canyons in the footsteps of the 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 relentless pounding by the Tasman Sea. Tonight we'll enjoy a celebratory dinner for the last night of your trip.

West Coast lodging, Punakaiki

Day 14: Depart for home

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

We’ll leave after breakfast for the beautiful journey over Arthurs Pass to Christchurch. This is the last day of your 'Winter Rimu' trip, and 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’s winter landscape.

Availability

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Price Per Day: $ 329 per day
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Jun-03-2019Jun-16-2019$ 4,599Limited Reserve
Jun-17-2019Jun-30-2019$ 4,599Limited Reserve
Jul-01-2019Jul-14-2019$ 4,599Limited Reserve
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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

16 Active Adventures New Zealand Travel Reviews & Ratings

100%
4.9 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 15
Great 1
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 0
Value
4.9
Guide
4.9
Activities
4.9
Lodging
4.9
Transportation
4.9
Meals
4.9

New Zealand Winter Adventure

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Company Reviews

Fantastic company and they create amazing trips

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fantastic company and they create amazing trips. I did the Rimu and the Kauri in New Zealand in January of 2010, and more recently the Annapurna Base Camp Trek in the Himalayas in November of 2015. They have only the BEST guides working for them. I can't recommend them highly enough! Take the leap--it's the experience of a lifetime. I think my next trip will be the Condor in South America, although I have to say that Nepal really got under my skin and I'm yearning to go back... The name Active Adventures truly says it all.
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Active Adventures made it a trip of a lifetime for me.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My Rimu trip of December, 2015 exceeded all of my expectations. New Zealand is truly a magical place to visit and seeing and experiencing it with Active Adventures made it a trip of a lifetime for me. Our guides (and driver and cook) Vanessa and Tess were part parent and part coach who saw to every detail, pushing me to accomplish every aspect of the trip in great humor. Coming from someone who loves and lives for the outdoors, I can't say enough great things about Active Adventures.
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Amazing experience!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
It is so, so easy to write a great review of these folks. My wife and I spent two weeks with them in December 2015, and a gang of walkers, kayakers, cyclists (well, we also included rock climbers, but didn't do that on this trip), and wine drinkers. THIS is the way to do the South Island. Vanessa and Tess drove us to gorgeous places without gangs of tourists, cooked real good food, and even played some of my music on the bus/van speakers as we zoomed around the country.

We swam with seals, walked with weird local birds, and intensely hiked up to high country huts. They drove. You don't wanna drive, at least not your first trip. You wanna look.

Steph and I are pretty active. Some of our group were a little less compulsive, so the group split into two for a few days, and half of us packed gear up the big hills, while others paddled. Do let your organizer know how fit you are.

As you know from reading their materials, lodgings are not 5-star, but they are clean and comfortable -- Remember, much of the S Island boonies' infrastructure is the USA in the 1950's. Food is good, sometimes real good. But, again, not 5-star, or you would be on a Nat Geo trip, at twice the price and half the activity, wouldn't you?

Ah yes.....Their coffee each morning was to die for. They bought from a local roaster from Queenstown or CC. And, of course, we never lacked for superb wine.

All those pictures posted on their website: Yep. Real. THAT will be your trip if you hire these folks.

Steph and I are happy to discuss our experiences with Active if you want to email or call us. Just ask the person you are emailing with at the company to give you my email, and we can connect. We live in DC. (They did that for us as we were deciding on how to see the country, and a couple of calls to DC locals who were still in Kiwi withdrawal did the trick for us.)

BTW, for your flight down, Air NZ runs one of the loveliest lounges in the airport world, at LAX. So, if you use your United miles to upgrade to Air NZ biz class lie flat seats, or spring for round trip paid biz class lie flat seat tickets, your vacation will seriously start when you hit that lounge. And, thanks to Qantas, AA and United, airfare prices will be dropping as all these folks compete with Air NZ for your business. In any event, do try to get a good sleep on the way over there, whether you fly direct from N America, or you substantially cut your costs by buying two loops, with Hawaii as your pivot point.
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Adventures created a unique experience

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The word "Amazing" does not do justice to the trip and experience we had with Active Adventures. We are a family that has traveled the world and never used a tour company. Active Adventures created a unique experience that you can't achieve on your own. Extremely knowledgeable guides along with a great travel plan allowed us to have a once in a lifetime experience in New Zealand. We look forward to our next Active Adventure trip.
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So many great experiences

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We spent our honeymoon in October 2008 traveling through New Zealand on an Active Adventures guided tour. It was an amazing trip! We had a small group and three awesome and experienced guides. The photos from the trip are beautiful! There were so many great experiences that my husband and I still talk about and joke about. For instance, our kayak experience was a hoot! It was calm as could be in the lagoon, and then coming across to get to land we hit a headwind and we paddled and paddled like mad and were getting nowhere together. It was so hilarious we could not stop laughing! We are an active couple, and a social couple and this tour was magnificent. The guides were beyond incredible. They made the trip even better with their fun personalities, positive spirit and wonderful knowledge! A shout out and big thank you to Ken, Tim and Zoe, from Nadine & Bob
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Great Experience

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Best way to see New Zealand! It was great to experience New Zealand through the eyes of our kiwi guides. They know how to make all the little details perfect, and were really knowledgeable about New Zealand nature and history. Take your next trip with Active Adventures!
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Additional Information:

Activity level: This is one of our more adventurous trips, but has options to suit a range of fitness levels and outdoor experience. Typically hikes on the ‘Winter Rimu’ range between three and six hours to complete, with a longer more challenging hike on the Copland Track.

Trip ID#:

NewWinAct

Meals Included:

11 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches and 11 Dinners

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