I am planning a three week trip to the South Island from approx. 12th April - 2nd May for my first excursion into solo travel. After originally considering a 2 week tour, I have decided that hiring a car and incorporating a few shorter group trips will give me more flexibility. I would like to be quite active - hiking/ kayaking/ cycling or mountain biking/ canyoning. My plan is to find a few 3 or 4 day trips to give me the opportunity to meet some people - and as a woman on my own I am not so keen on walking solo. The problem is that I start to research the various options, I am getting a little overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, so was hoping that you could provide some information on favourite guides/ tour operators and my planned itinerary.
12th Fly into Christchurch - Arrive 7:30 am. Hire a car and drive to Kaikoura
13th Kaikoura - swimming with dolphins or seals. Drive to Blenheim (can do this the following day if tour finishes too late).
14th Stay Blenheim with family
15th Stay Blenheim with family
17th Abel Tasman NP
18th Abel Tasman NP
19th Abel Tasman NP
20th Drive to Punakaiki
21st Drive to Fox/ Franz Josef
22nd Glacier Hike (better to do Fox or FJ?)
23rd Drive to Wanaka (is this stretch going to be too long?)
24th Wanaka - possible tour?
28th Milford Sound Kayak - worth doing 2 day? Rosco's appears to be the company to go for.
29th Milford Sound Kayak
30th Routeburn hike
31st Routeburn hike
1st Routeburn hike
2nd Return to Queenstown. Fly to Christchurch and back to Perth.
- I was originally planning on Walking and Kayaking in Abel Tasman but I have just spotted the 2 day Canyoning/ Kayaking trip with Abel Tasman Canyoning that looks like pretty good fun, so leaning towards this. Thoughts?
- From what I have read, Ultimate Hikes is the only company offering guided walks of the Routeburn, but I emailed them and apparently group sizes are up to 40 people with the average age 40 - 60, which doesn't sound ideal! I am in my early 30s and would prefer to stick to smaller groups if possible. Their last trip also starts on 13th April so I would have to switch my trip around and start in Queenstown if I went with this option. Are there any other trails or companies I should be considering?
- Any recommendations for some offroad cycling in Wanaka?
- Just a comment - these tours are pretty expensive! I thought paying close on US$5000 for the 2
week tour was steep, but I don't think I've spotted a 3 day walk for under $1300.
Thanks for your help - much appreciated!