9 DAY ALPINE EXPLORER (South First) - OVERVIEW
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Our famous 9-day Alpine Explorer runs in two different directions. Either heading South first toward the ritz and glamour of Queenstown or heading West and down the rugged and pristine West Coast of the South Island. Both trips do virtually the same thing and it really depends on when is the best time for you to travel.
So much more than just a ski tour… our Alpine Explorer 9 day trip not only gives you the opportunity to ski 4 different mountains but also takes you to the base of Mt Cook; NZ’s highest peak, over the Southern Alps on one of world’s most famous train journeys, through 3 alpine passes and close to two different ice glaciers.... wow what more can you ask for within an action packed 9 days of showcasing NZ’s best winter wonderland.
Our departure time from Christchurch is designed to work in with International flights coming from Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, Australia. There are also regular flights departing from Queenstown to Australia daily so if you're coming from Australia it will only mean a few days off work to enjoy the best of our NZ ski fields!
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ALPINE EXPLORER TRAVEL DAYS (heading South first)
Day 1: Christchurch - Methven
Our first day of tour kicks off at 4:30pm where we pickup from inner city Christchurch or the airport before getting underway on the short journey to our exclusive accommodation in the heart of Methven Mt Hutt Village.
Today is all about getting there, settling in, getting to know one another and enjoying a few laughs and a good sleep in our classic kiwi country villa in preparation for the day ahead when we hit the slopes of New Zealand’s best Ski Resort, Mt Hutt!
Day 2: Methven - Lake Tekapo
Rise and shine! Today’s the day to dust off your ski gear and hit the slopes. First enjoy a good hearty cooked breakfast then grab your ski bag and prepare to spend the day on the ski field. Even if you aren’t skiing this field offers breath-taking views along the Southern Alps and across the Canterbury Plains to the Pacific Ocean.
Leaving the mountain at 3pm we make our way to the scenic lakeside township of Lake Tekapo. Next door to our perfectly located accommodation is the winter wonderland of Tekapo Springs where their Hot Pools are the perfect way to end our day. Relax, enjoy and take in the stunning night sky this magical part of the country offers. In fact, this area is so excellent for star gazing that it was named the world’s largest International Dark Sky Reserve, meaning the skies are almost completely free from any light pollution, making it one of the best places in the world for stargazing!
Day 3: Lake Tekapo - Mt Cook
If the weather has played the game you may have already spotted Aoraki/Mt Cook in the distance but today, we take you up close and personal to New Zealand’s highest peak.
On arrival into Mt Cook village our first port of call is the world-class Information Centre where you can learn about the mountain and its brave mountaineers while exploring the artwork collection and interactive exhibits.
Now it’s time to get amongst it, we have some great walks to choose from with our personal favorite being the Hooker Valley Track. With plenty of photo opportunities this popular walk leads up the Hooker Valley towards Mount Cook.
Our lodge accommodation tonight offers stunning mountain views while we relax in front of a cosy fire, perfect for reflecting on the day or perhaps a chance to become the supreme board game champion for those that are up to it!
Day 4: Mt Cook - Ohau
Ski Day!! And not skiing on just any old ski field, this is where the US Ski team train, in fact we consider this field so good we’ve included an entire ski package into your day.
Starting nice and early we travel the short distance to Ohau in time for the 9:15am, 20minute shuttle transfer up the mountain. With stunning views to Aoraki Mount Cook and overlooking Lake Ohau this family run ski field is suitable for all abilities.
At the end of a great day in the mountains we’re only 20 minutes away from our lodge accommodation, complete with an open fire, a hot meal and stunning lake views.
Day 5: Ohau - Queenstown
Today we travel the first of our alpine passes, the dramatic Lindis Pass which links the MacKenzie Basin with Central Otago. Prepare to be wowed as we travel through this alpine area of tall tussock covered mountains and roadside snow.
Arriving into the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’, Queenstown by midday there’s time for a half day ski on The Remarkeables or Coronet Peak ski fields. We spend two nights in Queenstown at our exclusive group accommodation only a few minutes walking distance to the centre of town, perfect for exploring. Queenstown has a great vibe with so much to see and do, take your time to soak it all up.
Day 6: Queenstown
One more day to soak up the scenery, jump off a bridge or create tracks down the mountain. There is just too much to do in Queenstown to leave any earlier.
If spending the day on the slopes is high on your list of 'must do's' then you're in for a treat with 3 great mountains to choose from; Coronet Peak, The Remarkeables or Cardrona. Get amongst it and enjoy!
Day 7: Queenstown - Franz Josef
Just when you think the scenery can’t get any better…it does!
Prepare yourself for the remote and rugged scenic beauty of the stunning West Coast. The journey takes us over our second alpine pass, the Haast Pass. With jaw dropping views and some great short walks along the way, although this is one of the longer travel days, you won’t notice as you relax and enjoy this great scenic drive with panoramic views of the Southern Alps. The wild West Coast is home to the majestic rainforest, thundering waterfalls and tranquil pools.
Tonight, we stay in glacier country at the picturesque village of Franz Josef. Our accommodation is nestled in lush rainforest and situated beside the Glacier Hot Pools a haven of natural tranquility and the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day.
Day 8: Franz Josef
Today is your chance to explore one of NZ’s most unique and spectacular natural wonders – Franz Josef.
This staggering beautiful work of nature is 12 kilometres and descends from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres above sea level. If you want to walk on the glacier you can do a Guided Heli Hike or Guided Heli Ice Climb. There is the option to walk to the base of the glacier at no charge or alternatively do the Guided Valley Walk and learn as you go. All Guided options come with a free entry in the Glacier Hot Pools afterwards.
If Glacier’s aren’t your thing, then there’s some great short walk options or you can always view the township from above with a skydive or experience nature at its best with a kayak trip along a narrow estuary amidst the lush ancient rainforest of the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary.
We spend another night in this great location and end the day with a group dinner out.
Day 9: Franz Josef - Christchurch
If weather permits we travel the short distance to Okarito and start the day with an early morning walk which follows the Okarito wetland then climbs to a great viewpoint overlooking the Westland National Park.
We then continue up this spectacular coastal stretch to Hokitika – home to the Greenstone factories where you can see these skilled craftsmen at work and a great place for a traditional souvenir of your visit.
Early afternoon it’s time to travel our final alpine pass as we climb aboard one of the world’s most famous train journeys, the Tranz Alpine traversing the mighty Southern Alps. This train journey offers spectacular views of the chiseled alpine landscape which will take your breath away at every turn. Arriving into Christchurch at 6:30pm where we say our final farewells.
ALPINE EXPLORER - WHAT'S INCLUDED
- TWO professional Flying Kiwi guides
- 8 breakfasts
- 1 lunch
- 6 dinners
- Unique accommodation in carefully selected hostels and lodges. Shared rooms ranging from 2 - 6 people.
- Private room options are available on request for an additional cost (subject to availability)
- Mt Hutt return bus transfers
- Ohau ski field return bus transfers, full day ski pass and ski/snowboard rental
- Tekapo Springs Hot Pools
- The opportunity to ski up to 4 ski fields
- See and experience Mt Cook, learn it's history and those of it's brave mountaineers
- Travel 3 alpine passes - Lindis Pass, Haast Pass, Arthurs Pass
- Travel on the TranzAlpine train journey across the Southern Alps – one of the world’s most famous train journeys
- See 2 glaciers - the Tasman Glacier and the Franz Josef Glacier
- Bikes on board free for you to use
- Great walk options