Trip Overview

Experience the breathtakingly beautiful South Island of New Zealand. Renowned for its rugged mountains, pristine lakes, and lush forests, South Island is home to some of New Zealand’s highest peaks, including the iconic Aoraki/Mount Cook; glaciers such as Franz Josef and Fox Glacier; and fjords like Milford Sound, renowned for its awe-inspiring beauty.

Meet your guide and the women who will be joining you for this unforgettable adventure, get to know one another, and discuss the exciting days ahead. We are committed to helping make your experience a fun and personally rewarding adventure and cheering you on as you reach beyond your comfort zone to take on new challenges in your unique way.

Welcome to New Zealand!

Milford Sound, formed by a process of glaciation over millions of years, has been called the eighth Wonder of the World. The mouth of the fiord is surrounded by sheer rock faces that rise 3,900 feet on either side. Board a helicopter for a spectacular and dramatic flight to Martins Bay before enjoying a delicious lunch in a safari-style tent. After lunch, walk through the dense coastal forest, rich with bird songs. Return via jet boat to Martins Bay for a hot shower, before enjoying a delicious three-course dinner.

Fiordland and Aspiring National Parks

The Hollyford Track, which runs in a south-north direction, is a largely flat walking track that follows the Hollyford River. Board a jet boat for a captivating scenic ride up Lake McKerrow to the Hollyford River. As you travel up the river the mountains rise dramatically until you reach the Pyke River confluence. Begin your 18km walk heading up the Hollyford Valley. Shadowing the Hollyford River and beneath the gaze of the peaks of the mighty Southern Alps, you will retrace footsteps of early Māori explorers. The track undulates gently through native beech forest and beside tumbling waterfalls.

In Aspiring National Park, you’ll hike up the majestic Matukituki Valley before turning towards the Rob Roy Glacier. This gorgeous trail meanders through virgin beech forest and then emerges into a splendid alpine basin below the fractured ice of the glacier.

Aoraki/Mount Cook

Take a short walk-through glacial moraine and board a custom-built boat for a unique spin around the lake. This dynamic environment is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Hike up to Sealy Tarns and enjoy the awe-inspiring views of Mt. Sefton, Mueller Glacier and the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/Mt Cook. If you’re feeling energetic, join the guide for an extended ascent beyond the tarns to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of this spectacular alpine landscape.

Bike, Hike and Paddle in Abel Tasman National Park

Bike through a patchwork of rural and coastal landscapes with spectacular views down to the coastline. A short ride on the ferry brings you to Rabbit Island where the trail continues. You will then cycle through to Seifried winery, where there is the opportunity to taste and buy some local wines. Then take part in the unique experience of paddling a waka (double-hulled outrigger canoe) off the beach at Kaiteriteri into the sparkling blue waters of the national park for sunrise. After a karakia (blessing) you will learn the etiquette (tikanga) associated with waka before becoming familiar with the boat and embarking on an unforgettable journey with our local host. After the waka experience and the Poroaki (finishing off ceremony), take a water taxi further into the park for a hike on the famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track from Bark Bay to the Falls River suspension bridge.

Your trip concludes in Nelson where, at your special farewell dinner, you will toast to new friendships and to the sensory journey that brought you deep into the heart of this mesmerizing, extraordinary land.

Main Attractions

  • Enjoy an unforgettable blend of natural splendor, hiking, cultural immersion, and adventure.
  • Hike up the majestic Matukituki Valley, meandering through virgin beech forest and emerging into a splendid alpine basin.
  • Stroll around the enchanting limestone outcrops of Castle Hill, an important meeting place for early Māori people.
  • Cycle part of the Great Taste Trail, stopping to sample some local wines.
  • Try paddling a waka off the beach at Kaiteriteri and learn traditional harakeke weaving skills with local women.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Trip Itinerary

The AdventureWomen itineraries are subject to change depending on the chosen departure date. To view a specific departure itinerary, simply click on the "Browse Detailed Itinerary" button above and select your date.

Day 1

Arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand

Arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN) today before 4pm. Please note: connecting flights from the U.S. can be over 24 hours, including layovers. Plan to depart the U.S. at least a day prior to the start of the trip.

Taxi cabs and Uber are readily available outside Queenstown Airport. The ride to the Heritage Hotel (91 Fernhill Road) is around 15 minutes and will cost approximately NZ$30-$40 ($18-$25).

After checking into the hotel and relaxing, meet your guide in the hotel lobby at 6:30 pm. Enjoy a lively welcome dinner and drink as you get to know your fellow travelers this evening. Share stories and learn about why each woman on your trip is excited to explore New Zealand!

Dinner

Overnight: Heritage Hotel

Day 2

Queenstown to Milford

Depart at 7:30 am for a 4-hour drive to Milford where you’ll meet your guide for the Hollyford Track and board a helicopter for a spectacular and dramatic flight from Milford Sound to Martins Bay.

Enjoy a delicious lunch in a safari-style tent, and then set off on a walk into a dense coastal forest, rich with bird song. Along the way, your guide will bring to life the unique ecosystems and stories of early Māori and later Europeans that settled in this environment. Thunderous surf is a prelude to a bay of boulders where the rare Fiordland crested penguin is a seasonal visitor. A little further on, Long Reef plays host to a rookery of native New Zealand fur seals.

You will return via jet boat to Martins Bay for a hot shower before enjoying a delicious three-course dinner. Then, sit back and relax with a drink while reflecting on a great first day.

Today’s Hike: 4 miles, 2-3 hours

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Martins Bay Lodge 

Day 3

Fiorland National Park and the Hollyford Valley

Wake up to the most beautiful and raucous birds dawn chorus you have ever heard, then enjoy a hearty breakfast before you board your jet boat for a captivating scenic ride up Lake McKerrow to the Hollyford River. As you travel up the river, the mountains rise dramatically until you reach the Pyke River confluence.

Begin your 18-km walk heading up the Hollyford Valley. You will be required to carry your main pack for the duration of the day. Once over Little Homer Saddle, you will make a brief stop at Hidden Falls before arriving at your lunch spot. Shadowing the Hollyford River and beneath the gaze of the peaks of the mighty Southern Alps, you will retrace the footsteps of early Māori explorers. The track undulates gently through native beech forest and beside tumbling waterfalls. Enjoy a captivating interpretation of the forest and bird life on the way to the Hollyford Road end.

Today’s Hike: 11 miles, 6-8 hours, elevation 143 m/470 feet

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Distinction Te Anau Hotels and Villas

Day 4

Hiking in Aspiring National Park

Depart Te Anau this morning and drive three hours through to Wanaka. Indulge in a delightful picnic lunch by the shores of Lake Wanaka. Then drive a further hour to the start of the afternoon hike.

Hike up the majestic Matukituki Valley before turning towards the Rob Roy Glacier. This gorgeous trail meanders through virgin beech forest and then emerges into a splendid alpine basin below the fractured ice of the glacier. Watch water tumble off the vertical rock walls as you relax. Retrace your steps back to the vehicle.

Enjoy dinner on your own tonight.

Today’s Hike: 6 miles, 4-5 hours, elevation 398 m/1,305 feet

Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight: Oakridge Resort Wanaka 

Day 5

Aoraki/Mount Cook and Boat Ride

Drive through the Lindis Valley and arrive at the breathtaking region of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Travel up the Tasman Valley towards the Tasman Glacier, the longest glacier in New Zealand.

Take a short walk through glacial moraine and board a custom-built boat for a unique spin around the terminal lake. Like most glaciers in the world, the Tasman Glacier is retreating, and the terminal lake increases in size every year. This dynamic environment is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes from the collapsing terminal face of the glacier. The Glacier Explorer experience offers a rare opportunity to witness the raw power and delicate beauty of a glacier up close.

Today’s Hike: 1-2 miles, 1 hour

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hermitage Hotel

Day 6

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Hike up to Sealy Tarns and enjoy the awe-inspiring views of Mt. Sefton, Mueller Glacier, and the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/Mt Cook. If you’re feeling energetic, join the guide for an extended ascent beyond the tarns to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of this spectacular alpine landscape. For those seeking a more relaxed option, spend the day exploring the charming alpine village and expand your knowledge of the national park’s wonders by visiting the world-class visitor center.

Today’s Hike: 3-5 miles, 4-6 hours, elevation Sealy Tarns: 516 m/1,692 feet, Mueller Ridge: 946 m/3,100 feet, walking poles recommended

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hermitage Hotel

Day 7

Aoraki/Mount Cook to Methven

Enjoy views of the Mueller and Hooker Glacier terminal lakes and the towering south face of Aoraki/Mt Cook in the morning before departing Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

Drive through the sweeping McKenzie Basin to Lake Tekapo and her shimmering blue waters. Enjoy lunch by the lake then take an optional 3-hour hike to the summit of Mt John for 360-degree views of a Patagonia-like landscape before returning via the lakeshore.

Transfer to Methven, a ski town by winter and a laid-back rural town the rest of the year, for dinner and a comfortable night’s sleep.

Today’s Hike: 3-9 miles, 4-6 hours, elevation 115 m/370 ft

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Ski Time Resort

Day 8

Methven to Punakaiki

After a 1.5-hour drive, head over to the West Coast with a chance to stretch your legs and stroll around the enchanting limestone outcrops at Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill). This area was an important meeting place and food gathering area for early Maori people. It was named the “Spiritual Centre of the Universe” by the Dalai Lama when he visited in 2002.

Pass through the alpine village of Arthurs Pass, and if the weather behaves, you can hike to Punchbowl Falls or enjoy the Centennial Hike (1-hour hike approx.).

Once you arrive on the West Coast (after another 2-hour drive), hike the Inland Pack Track from Punakaiki River to Pororari passing through deep limestone canyons and Nikau Palms.

Today’s Hike: 7 miles, 3-4 hours, elevation 293 m/960 feet

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Scenic Hotel Punakaiki

Day 9

Punakaiki to Nelson

Indulge in a leisurely stroll through the world-renowned Pancake Rocks, marveling at their unique geological formations. As you traverse the pathways, witness nature’s artistry etched into the rock formations, creating a sight unlike any other.

Embark on a scenic drive through to Murchison where you join a local guide and hike through lush forests adorned with majestic tree ferns, creating a verdant canopy overhead to the mesmerizing natural flames which have been burning since the 1920s. You access this through a privately owned deer farm.

Drive 4 hours to Nelson and enjoy dinner on your own.

Today’s Hike: 2 miles, 3 hours

Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight: Tides Hotel

Day 10

Cycling Abel Tasman National Park

After breakfast, take a short 30-minute drive around the scenic Tasman Bay and into the hills of the historic village of Moutere, where your bike ride on the Great Taste Trail begins.

Ride through a patchwork of rural and coastal landscapes. You will pass by sheep and cattle farms, with spectacular views down to the coastline. On the ride, you’ll visit the town of Mapua. This is a great little village to have a snack and stroll around, visiting a cluster of boutiques, cafes, and galleries.

A short ride on the ferry brings you to Rabbit Island where the trail continues. You will then cycle through to Seifried winery, where there is the opportunity to taste and buy some local wines. Here you will be met by your guide and driven back to the hotel in Nelson.

Enjoy dinner as a group tonight.

Today’s Cycling: 16 miles, 4 hours

Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight: Tides Hotel

Day 11

Hiking and Paddling in Abel Tasman National Park

What better way to experience Abel Tasman National Park than paddling a waka (double-hulled outrigger canoe) off the beach at Kaiteriteri into the sparkling blue waters of the national park for sunrise. After a karakia (blessing), you will learn the etiquette (tikanga) associated with waka before becoming familiar with the boat and embarking on an unforgettable journey with our local host. You’ll stop along the way for some kai (breakfast) and to learn some traditional harakeke weaving skills with local wahine (women) in paradise.

After the waka experience and the Poroaki (finishing off ceremony), take a water taxi further into the park for a hike on the famous Abel Tasman Coastal Track from Bark Bay to the Falls River suspension bridge. There is time for a swim in the Bay before boarding the water taxi again and returning to Kaiteriteri and on to the accommodation in Nelson.

Enjoy a delicious farewell dinner and toast to your new AdventureWomen friends and prepare for flights home in the morning.

Today’s Hike: 5 miles, 2-3 hours, elevation 200 m/650 ft

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Tides Hotel

Day 12

Depart Nelson

Say goodbye to your new AdventureWomen friends as you transfer to the Nelson airport (NSN) after breakfast. There will be one group transfer to the airport early morning. You can book your return flight anytime after 12:00 PM.

Breakfast

Please note: AdventureWomen will attempt to adhere to the itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, and cultural) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. AdventureWomen reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participants.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Traveling to



Arrival and Departure Information

January 26, 2025 Departure:

Arrive: Arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN) before 4:00PM on January 26, 2025

Depart: Depart Nelson, New Zealand (NSN) after 12:00PM on February 6, 2025

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Preparation and Packing  

Please use the following guides as a reference when preparing for your adventure. We also encourage you to adapt the guides to your travel style as well as the destination’s forecasted weather.  

Gratuities  

Gratuities are a personal decision and are at your own discretion based on your level of satisfaction with the service provided. Gratuities are dependent upon the number of guests on your departure, and they vary greatly from trip to trip. As a general reference, AdventureWomen suggests you plan for $440-$450 (or more) worth of gratuities for this adventure. Specific tipping recommendations for your trip will be provided to you closer to your departure date and may fluctuate due to inflation, exchange rates, and the number of travelers on your trip. 

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates with at least two blank facing pages. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

US Passport holders will need a visa to visit Sri Lanka. We will provide detailed information before your departure on how to obtain your visa.

Activity Level

We rate this trip as High Energy. Our High Energy adventures are designed for women who enjoy a physical challenge and crave being on the go! You should be prepared for itineraries that include (but are not limited to): a full day of biking on rolling terrain, hiking 5-8 miles on moderate to steep trails, being active at high altitudes, whitewater rafting, or skiing. Please note that this is a general description of what you might encounter; for specific details about your trip, please consult the itinerary.

We recommend training before your trip (with your doctor’s permission) to make the most of your adventure. With this itinerary in mind, we have a partnership with Trailblazer Wellness, a woman-owned, women-run company that will design an individualized fitness plan just for you! Best of all, AdventureWomen guests get a 10% discount with the code AVW. Learn more on the Trailblazer Wellness website.

Health Considerations

Make an appointment with a travel clinic, as they may have recommendations for vaccines and medications based on the destination as well as your age, health, and past vaccination history.

For more health information, go to www.cdc.gov/travel and navigate to the page about Sri Lanka.

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking “Sign Up for this Trip” on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Forms and Final Payment

The deposit for this trip is $800, and is nonrefundable and nontransferable. Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (Photo Page)
  • Supplement Health and Safety Form

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer). A maximum of $1,500 per person can be put on a credit card, which includes your deposit.

January 26, 2025 Departure Final Payment Due Date: October 28, 2024 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What's Included

Included

  • Accommodations as per itinerary based on double occupancy
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation
  • Airport transfer on scheduled departure day
  • Guided sightseeing and activities as indicated in the itinerary
  • Tea, coffee, juice, and soda water at breakfast and lunch
  • Entrance fees for sites listed in the itinerary
  • Drinking water available in large jugs to refill personal bottles
  • Snacks in vehicles
  • Gratuities for hotel staff, luggage porters, and waitstaff

Not Included

  • International airfare to and from New Zealand
  • Airport transfer on arrival day
  • Optional activities
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Soft drinks, tea, and coffee at dinner
  • Alcoholic beverages (unless otherwise specified)
  • Fees for passport, visas, immunizations, or travel insurance
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities for guides

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Accommodations

Heritage Hotel

The Heritage Hotel in Queenstown is a ski lodge style building on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. The main lodge building holds leisure facilities, a bar, and a restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Amenities: air conditioning, TVs, free Wi-Fi, swimming pools, refrigerators, gym, safes, and irons.

Martins Bay Lodge

Located on the lowland flats near the mouth of the Hollyford River, this unique wilderness lodge is well-appointed with dining and lounge areas, open fires, and drying rooms. The lodge runs on a battery bank-powered electricity system and conserves energy by turning off some electrical facilities overnight. However, lighting is available throughout the night, and 24-hour power is available in the lounge area.

Amenities: lodge bedrooms that are all ensuite with bedding, towels, hot water bottles, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and hair dryers. There is no cell phone service at this lodge and limited access to the internet.

Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas 

Surrounded by extensive, colorful gardens and overlooking spectacular Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland ranges, this Hotel and Villa accommodation sets the tone for your stay in one of the world’s most breathtaking regions.

Amenities: free Wi-Fi, seasonal swimming pool, and TVs.

Oakridge Resort Wanaka 

Situated just 3 kilometers (approx. 1.8 miles) from New Zealand’s 4th largest lake, this relaxing hotel is surrounded by beautiful nature and is a great starting point for outdoor activities. With Lake Wanaka only a short drive away, Oakridge Resort Wanaka enjoys a convenient location for outdoor activities, including bushwalking, mountain climbing, and golf. In winter, the snow-covered slopes of Treble Cone and Cardrona await you. Among the fine facilities of Oakridge Resort Wanaka are heated pools with a poolside bar and a day spa. The hotel also comes with an excellent restaurant serving creative New Zealand cuisine prepared with the best local ingredients.

Amenities: free Wi-Fi, cable/satellite TV, and tea/coffee makers.

Hermitage Hotel 

Since the late 1800’s, the Hermitage has been an iconic hotel located in a world-class destination. Offering the facilities and services of a global chain while being local, the Hermitage provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and impeccable service.

Amenities: air conditioning, TVs, free Wi-Fi, safes, irons, and hair dryers.

Ski Time Resort 

A comfortable lodge featuring a lounge, terrace, and garden.

Amenities: free Wi-Fi and toiletries.

Scenic Hotel Punakaiki 

A breath-taking oceanfront sanctuary featuring modern and comfortable rooms, ocean views, and sounds of the Tasman Sea.

Amenities: free Wi-Fi, TVs, hair dryers and coffee makers.

Tides Hotel 

Located just a few minutes' walk from Nelson’s main shopping area, Tides Hotel is a stylish and contemporary hotel.

Amenities: free Wi-Fi, seasonal pool, lounge, irons, TVs, and coffee makers.

 

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686