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10 Day South Island Adventure Itinerary

Escape Highlights

Adventure & Luxury combine to create 10 days of South Island memories.
Experience sea kayaking, dolphin encounters, heli biking & cruising...

Day 1 Arrive in Nelson + Abel Tasman

Driving time Nelson to Abel Tasman 1 hour or heli transfer 30 minutes 

Your exclusive New Zealand experience begins in Nelson, situated at the picturesque northern end of the South Island.

When you arrive into Nelson, venture north to Abel Tasman National Park, which offers secluded golden-sand beaches, lush native forests, and crystal-clear bays. This is the perfect way to unwind as you become acquainted with New Zealand.

Your stay here will take in the serenity and rejuvenation on offer at Split Apple Retreat, an exclusive, intimate luxury lodge, retreat, and wellness spa. The retreat is renowned for its gourmet Asian-Mediterranean fusion cuisine, where every ingredient has been selected for its positive contribution to health and wellness. Indulge in the spectacular setting, original art and antiques, and unparalleled service.

Stay 3 nights in Abel Tasman.

Accommodation: Split Apple Retreat

Split Apple Retreat Abel Tasman

Day 2 Abel Tasman Cruise & Sea Kayak

Explore the highlights of the remote Abel Tasman coastline today on a cruise that showcases the beautiful golden-sand beaches, rich marine life, tranquil lagoons and carved granite coastline of the national park. Your experience includes opportunities to hike sections of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, sea kayak the coastline, snorkel in the marine reserve, or swim off the sandy beaches. A delightful platter lunch and refreshments are supplied as part of your full-day excursion.

Abel Tasman National Park sea kayaking Experience

Abel Tasman National Park sea kayaking Experience

Day 3 Old Ghost Road Heli Bike

Today, enjoy an unforgettable heli biking adventure along the Old Ghost Road. This newly opened epic trail traverses spectacular alpine terrain. Begin with a helicopter flight over the remote and awe-inspiring peaks of Kahurangi National Park before landing at Ghost Lake Hut at the top of the Old Ghost Road. On the way, you will pass over the unique marbled landscape of Mt Owen, with deeply crevassed bluffs and lush native forest. After soaking in the views, your bike adventure begins past spectacular lookouts and along tranquil forest paths. This intermediate trip can be customised to suit novice riders.

Old Ghost Road heli bike Nelson West Coast

Day 4 Marlborough Sounds

Driving time Abel Tasman to Picton 2.5 hours or heli transfer 1 hour 

Your journey continues through the Marlborough region to reach The Sounds Retreat, located near Picton in the breathtaking Marlborough Sounds. Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine growing region, so you may wish to sample the award-winning vintages this afternoon.

The Sounds Retreat Luxury Lodge is a spectacular paradise showcasing nature and luxury living at its finest. With a focus on unparalleled service and exquisite creature comforts, this award-winning private lodge is an ideal base from which to discover the Marlborough Sounds. Indulge in dinner with matching wines in your own private cabana, as well as daily breakfast.

Stay 2 nights in the Marlborough Sounds.

Accommodation: The Sounds Retreat

The Sounds Retreat Luxury Lodge Marlborough Sounds

Day 5 Marlborough Sounds Dolphin Swim

Join a luxury private charter today for a chance to swim with dolphins. Your cruise takes you through the calm waters of the majestic Marlborough Sounds, which is home to five species of dolphins. Swimming with dolphins is a truly unforgettable experience, and the Marlborough Sounds are ideal, with shimmering, flat waters and an abundance of wildlife.

Dolphin Cruise Marlborough Sounds

Day 6 Queenstown

Driving time Picton to Blenheim 30 minutes or heli transfer 10 minutes 

Flight time Blenheim to Queenstown 1 hour 

Today your journey takes you to Queenstown, the ultimate luxury destination on New Zealand’s South Island. From world-class luxury lodges to indulgent spa experiences, superb cuisine and exclusive tours, Queenstown is a delight to experience.

Queenstown is also known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, and with this title comes a plethora of adrenaline activities from whitewater rafting and canyoning through to skydiving and bungy jumping.

Your accommodation in Queenstown is at Matakauri Lodge, spectacularly situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Matakauri’s take on luxury is understated and welcoming, with the stunning mountain landscape taking the place of honour. Voted one of the top five lodges in New Zealand and Australia, Matakauri is the ultimate sanctuary as well as a convenient base for exploring the wonders of southern New Zealand. Your stay includes pre-dinner drinks and canapés, a multi-course dinner, and daily breakfast.

Stay 2 nights in Queenstown.

Accommodation: Matakauri Lodge

Day 7 Queenstown

Choose from one of the range of unforgettable adventures on offer today. Jet-boat through the wilderness of Mt Aspiring National Park, skydive in one of the most scenic locations on earth, heli hike on a magnificent glacier, or fish in crystal clear waters.

Dart River Jet Safari Queenstown

Day 8 Milford Sound Overnight Cruise

Begin your day with an unforgettable scenic helicopter flight over Queenstown and the surrounds as you cross the Southern Alps to reach Milford Sound. The grandeur of Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park will fill you with awe as your private helicopter takes you past jagged peaks, cascading waterfalls, hanging glaciers, braided turquoise rivers, and lush rainforest.

Land aboard the Fiordland Jewel, a luxury vessel that will give you an exclusive taste of Milford Sound as you spend a night in the ‘eighth wonder of the world.’  You will be guided by the expert crew, who will share with you the incredible natural wilderness and wildlife, which can include seals, dolphins, and penguins.

Your stay includes an exquisite three-course evening meal as well as a full cooked breakfast. During your immersive Fiordland experience, you will have the chance to explore by kayak or tender boat, and the top-deck hot tub awaits you for a relaxing evening soak.

Stay 1 night in Milford Sound.

Accommodation: The Fiordland Jewel

Fiordland Discovery Milford cruise and heli

Day 9 Wanaka + Minaret Station

Today you will be transferred by helicopter from Milford Sound to Wanaka.

Your stay at Minaret Station, a secluded lodge accessible only by helicopter, will give you exclusive access to Mt Aspiring National Park and the multitude of adventures on offer in this alpine wonderland. Framed by the rugged beauty of the secluded mountain landscape, Minaret Lodge offers a level of comfort and style never before available in New Zealand’s wilderness.

Included in your stay are a full a la carte breakfast, lunch (picnic or seated), pre-dinner canapés and a gourmet three-course evening meal. Beverages are also part of the experience.

Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.

Accommodation: Minaret Station

Minaret Station Wanaka

Day 10 Minaret Station Heli Hike

Explore the stunning wilderness around Minaret Lodge today on a guided heli-hike. Helicopter transport ensures exclusive access to otherwise inaccessible locations. Choose to get up close to rushing waterfalls and craggy mountain ridges or simply meander through gently undulating valley floors, a landscape of remote tranquility. Pause to savour a delectable picnic lunch and soak in the breathtaking views.

Minaret Station Heli Hike Wanaka

Day 11 Depart Queenstown

Driving time Wanaka to Queenstown 1 hour or heli transfer 30 minutes 

As your unforgettable holiday draws to a close, soak in the views one last time before departing Queenstown at your leisure.

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