Today you will make your journey inland and south to Lake Pukaki, which sits in front of New Zealand’s highest peak Aoraki Mount Cook. Along the way you will pass through the Canterbury Plains with views to the Southern Alps along the journey. First up, stop in at the glorious Washpen Falls and enjoy the stunning track through native forest, exotic forest, wide open grassland, and past waterfalls and stunning viewpoints over the Canterbury Plains. Why not stop in the quaint little town of Geraldine and sample some of their New Zealand-famous jam? From here you head west to Lake Tekapo. Perhaps soak in the thermal pools on the lakeside (optional – extra cost) and see the famous Church of the Good Shepherd up close. Following this, you will drive to the top of Mount John to take in some of the most stunning 360 degree views New Zealand has to offer! Take the short drive towards Lake Pukaki and reach the beautiful Braemar Station, accommodation at a working sheep station which overlooks the lake, where you will spend the night.
This morning you will begin the cycling part of your South Island experience! You’ll get going on a cycling track which travels South along the Eastern shore of Lake Pukaki and will pass by the Tekapo B power station. The views of the Southern Alps on the opposite side of the lake are exquisite along here! The cycle trail then passes over the Pukaki Dam and meets up with the main highway. Following this you will follow the track along Pukaki Flats – a very classic Mackenzie Country grassland type landscape. You’ll end up in Twizel where you can enjoy a delicious meal before calling it a night.
Another day of cycling through gorgeous alpine scenery! Today you’ll venture on some sections of back country road and gravel trail to end up alongside another beautiful glacial lake – Lake Ohau. From here you go off road towards the Ohau Weir and eventually meet up with the sealed road that goes into Ohau Village and along to the rustic, cosy and secluded Ohau Lodge, where you will spend the night. Enjoy a pub style meal tonight before resting up for your final leg of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail tomorrow!
Set off on your final day of the cycle trail! This morning the trail traverses the lower slopes of the Ohau Range, with stunning views back across the basin to the Ben Ohau Range. From here you will need to prepare for a bit of a climb – reaching 900m at the highest point, before rolling down to the historic woolshed at the top of Quailburn Road. Next you’ll take an off-road trail which leads over the Ahuriri river using the road bridge. A short off-road trail then takes you to Omarama, where you will finish up the 3 day section of the trail! Perhaps soak in the waters of Hot Tubs Omarama and soothe your achy muscles! Omarama is famous for it’s amazing gliding conditions and time dependent there will also be a chance to enjoy the experience of a lifetime in a glider (with an instructor), before calling it a day!
Now for the more relaxing part of the journey! You’ll head up and over the Lindis Pass and through merino wool country to the beautiful Lake Dunstan and town of Cromwell. Here you can take a tour of a local fruit orchard (including tasting some fresh fruit! – optional activity) and sample a few of the New Zealand famous manuka honey products, visit Highlands Motorsport Park to do some hot laps or perhaps have lunch or a wine tasting at a Bannockburn winery. From here you will head to Wanaka, a picturesque resort town on the shores of Lake Wanaka. In Wanaka you can hike up to a stunning lookout point on Mt Iron over the town and Lake Wanaka, enjoy a bit of shopping, or perhaps check out the Transport and Toy Museum or Warbirds classic planes museum!
This morning you can take a walk up one of our favourite look out spots featuring 360 degree views of Lake Wanaka, Aspiring National Park and the Clutha River. After further exploring Wanaka, your South Island tour takes you over The Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest highway to Arrowtown, an important location in the gold rush of Central Otago in the 1860s. Perhaps browse the preserved Chinese gold mining village or wander the boutique shops the town has on offer. Your next stop is Amisfield Winery where you will enjoy a 3 course ‘trust the chef’ lunch (wine pairing optional). This afternoon you will drive a further 2.5 hours to Te Anau. This evening in Te Anau you will take a tour by boat across Lake Te Anau to the glow worm caves to view the shimmering light of thousands of luminous glow-worms in a 12,000 year old grotto (included).
Be prepared for one of the jewels of the New Zealand landscape! The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is one of the most spectacular in the world and certainly a highlight on any New Zealand tour. En route you will see spectacular valleys, breath taking mountains and hopefully spot the cheeky Kea (New Zealand’s mountain parrot). This morning you will experience all that the fjords have to offer with a 1.5 hour boat cruise featuring pristine waterfalls and towering mountains plunging into the Tasman Sea (included activity). Keep a look out for dolphins, seals and the Fiordland crested Penguin. On your trip back to Te Anau there is the opportunity to take some short walks in the Fiordland National Park.
This morning you will head to Queenstown, ‘New Zealand’s adventure capital of the world’. Skirting your way around Lake Wakatipu makes for some stunning photography and you will be amazed by the Remarkables Mountain Range, one of the most famous back drops for Lord of the Rings. The afternoon is free to spend as you wish in Queenstown, and there is plenty to see and do! In the evening, take a trip to the top of the Skyline Gondola to view Queenstown from a 360 degree panoramic viewpoint.
Today is free to explore Queenstown at leisure and take part in some of the fantastic activities that this ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ has to offer. Options for the adventurous include: Skydiving, Bungy Jumping, Jet Boating, Canyon Swings, White Water Rafting, Flyboarding and Paragliding. If you feel like taking a more relaxed approach to the day, a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw 100 year old steam ship or a walk through Queenstown’s Botanic Gardens are not to be missed. Perhaps drive out to the head of Lake Wakatipu and experience the breath-taking scenery of the Glenorchy area. A popular option with our clients is a helicopter flight to the top of Coronet Peak, where passengers are able to get out on the snow 365 days a year! (Weather permitting). Your tour concludes this evening.