• The Southern Explorer

The Southern Explorer

This itinerary really is something out of this world. It takes you from golden sand beaches in Nelson to Glaciers, Valleys, Fiords and finally Stewart Island.  The ultimate New Zealand walking & hiking tour – enjoy popular half and full day walks with various scenic flights for you to take in this incredible scenery!

Highlights: Abel Tasman Day Trip, Franz Josef Heli Hike with Hot Pools, Siberia Wilderness Adventure, Milford Fly-Walk-Cruise-Fly Trip, Routeburn Track Guided Walk and Ulva Island Half Day Walk.    

Day By Day


Arrive into Nelson

Kia Ora and welcome to Nelson.  From the airport, collect your rental car and make your way to your accommodation.

The Christ Church Cathedral looks over the city streets where you will find boutique shops, art galleries and alfresco dining. Along Wakefield Quay, Nelson’s picturesque waterfront, you will find several restaurants with views across the harbour to the mountains.

Grand Mercure Monaco Hotel, Studio Apartment with Full Breakfast

Surrounded by picturesque cottage gardens with handcrafted buildings overlooking a grassy village green, this is a resort with heart! Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco is built from handmade bricks and timber salvaged from the Nelson Wharf which was built in 1842.   Within the Monaco Resort you’ll  find a solar heated swimming pool and gymnasium.


Abel Tasman National Park Day Trip

Today’s Drive Time & Distance: 1 hour, 61 km’s (38 miles) each way.

Today you will travel to Kaiteriteri, an entry point to the Abel Tasman National Park to experience the Swing Bridge, Bush & Beach Tour.

Cruise into the heart of the park with full commentary introducing you to beautiful coastline. Disembark at the idyllic Medlands Beach – Bark Bay. And walk to the long golden-sand beach of Anchorage, via Torrent Bay. The track weaves through sunny groves of Manuka and fern between breath taking views of the granite coast and lush gullies of mature forest. Cross the spectacular swing bridge at Falls River. Allow extra time (20 minutes return walk plus time to relax beside the pool) to take a short side track beside a crystal forest stream to visit tranquil Cleopatra’s Pool.

Grand Mercure Monaco Hotel, Studio Apartment with Full Breakfast



Today is at leisure, we suggest visiting the quaint coastal village of Mapua which is a delightful place to while away a day. With a collection of waterfront restaurants, galleries, boutique shops, a brewery and an icecream parlour you will be well catered for.   Watch the local children jumping off the wharf into the ocean, try your hand at fishing or take the ferry across to Rabbit Island.

You can also hire bikes from here to go for a ride on the Great Taste Trail – take in the sea views and visit wineries and art galleries along the way. The Ruby Coast road takes you through Tasman and Kina where you can discover more beaches, a golf course, picturesque picnic spots, cafes, galleries and wineries.

Grand Mercure Monaco Hotel, Studio Apartment with Full Breakfast


Nelson to Punakaiki, Franz Josef

Today’s Drive Time & Distance –6 hours, 463km’s (288 miles)

Today, drive south to Franz Josef via Punakaiki.   A visit to Punakaiki isn’t complete without witnessing the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, take the short walk to view these 30 million year old limestone formations.

From Punakaiki, it’s only an hour to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast.     Continue south to Franz Josef.

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef, Graham Wing Room with Full Breakfast

The Hotel sits at the edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, and is just moments from one of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural attractions, the Franz Josef Glacier, making the most of its alpine location and offers quality accommodation.


Franz Josef

Board your helicopter for a thrilling flight high above the rugged terrain, before landing on the Franz Josef glacier for your three-hour guided hike. Your guide will lead you through some of the most spectacular ice formations and a land of towering peaks and glistening blue ice. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and learn more about this magnificent glacier. Your hike also includes admission to the Franz Josef Hot Pools.

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef, Graham Wing Room with Full Breakfast


Franz Josef to Wanaka

Today’s Drive Time & Distance –4 hours, 288km’s (179 miles)

Travel south along the coast to Haast before heading inland to Makarora.

This morning, enjoy a four hour wilderness adventure in the Mount Aspiring World Heritage National Park.  Take an unforgettable scenic flight capturing the rugged beauty of New Zealand’s World Heritage National Park. See glaciers, ice snow, mountain lakes, hanging valleys, vast rain forests and dramatic unspoilt beauty.   Land in the Siberia Valley to begin a three hour independent (unguided) bush & valley walk through native beech forest and river valleys on a well marked track linking the remote Siberia Valley with the wilderness of the Wilkin Valley.    At the Wilkin River, board your scenic jetboat back to Makarora.

After your walk, continue through to Wanaka.

Edgewater Hotel, Hotel Room with Full Breakfast

Wanaka’s only lake edge accommodation, the Edgewater hotel is truly a home away from home. Enjoy spacious renovated rooms with views of the Lake and Southern Alps.


Wanaka to Queenstown

Today’s Drive Time & Distance –1 hour, 67km’s (42 miles)

Spend your day, exploring Wanaka before  your short drive through to Queenstown.

Garden Court Suites & Apartments, Studio Unit with Continental Breakfast

Garden Court Suites & Apartments are located just four minutes stroll from the heart of Queenstown, enjoy superb mountain and lake views from a range of studio and suites.


Milford Sound Day Trip

Fly from Queenstown by plane over the Wakatipu Basin, Glenorchy, Earnslaw Burn Glacier and Lake McKerrow. Take in the grandeur of the Southern Alps as you fly deep into Fiordland National Park, view Fiordland’s tallest mountain, Mt Tutuko and sweep the length of Milford Sound.

Once landed, meet your guide and enjoy a short boat ride to the start of the Milford Track for your 3.5 hour walk. Walk along a well formed track to the half way point, Giant Gate waterfall before returning for your Milford Sound cruise. Board Mitre Peak Cruises for your two hour informative cruise where your guide will point the Bowen Falls, snow-capped Mount Pembroke, and the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak itself, towering 1692 metres from the ocean floor.

Return to Queenstown by plane, flying over the Milford Track and the spectacular 548 metre Sutherland Falls.     You will also take in incredible views of the mountains, glaciers, lakes and forests of the Fiordland National Park.

Garden Court Suites & Apartments, Studio Unit with Continental Breakfast



Today is at leisure.

Optional Activities:
Whether its adrenaline pumping adventures you’re after, like Bungy Jumping, canyon swings or jetboat rides or a relaxing day sampling wines, enjoying an scenic four wheel drive tour or scenic cruise – just let us know, we would be happy to help.

Garden Court Suites & Apartments, Studio Unit with Continental Breakfast



Join your guide and journey to the head of Lake Wakatipu for the world-famous Routeburn walk.

Travel into the Mount Aspiring National Park with a gradual ascent, through 130 million year old magical world of ferns, mosses, lichens and beech forest. Explore forgotten paths of the Maori and travel along their old greenstone trails, finding enchantment around each corner.

Down the track the woodland parts to reveal the rich grassland of Routeburn Flats, overlooked by cloud-scraping mountains, some so high they have permafrost.  The Flats is a pristine site to stop for your delicious Kiwi style picnic lunch, before retracing your journey.

Garden Court Suites & Apartments, Studio Unit with Continental Breakfast


Queenstown to Bluff, Stewart Island

Today’s Drive Time & Distance: 3 hours, 214 km’s (133 miles)

Drive south to Bluff, one of the oldest European settlements and connect with your ferry across Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island.

Stewart Island Lodge, Lodge Room with Continental Breakfast

Nestled in native bush on a sunny hillside, Stewart Island Lodge offers a peaceful sanctuary. Located just 5 minutes walk from the village centre, Stewart Island Lodge is private and secluded with commanding views of Halfmoon Bay and the surrounding ocean.


Stewart Island

On your Ulva Island Guided Walk, it’s all about discovering – the unique, rare and endangered birds and plants at close quarters.

Enjoy a short water transfer across Paterson Inlet to Ulva Island where you will the next few hours walking the easy tracks through the primeval rainforest, discovering the predator-free eco-system that allows a huge variety of native birdlife to flourish.

The afternoon is yours to explore the Island.

Stewart Island Lodge, Lodge Room with Continental Breakfast


Stewart Island to Bluff, Catlins

Today’s Drive Time & Distance: 1.5 hours, 95 km’s (59 miles)

Retrace your journey back to Bluff today, rejoining your rental vehicle and taking the southern route to Curio Bay.   See the site of the petrified forest, some 180 million years old and take in the yellow eyed Penguins.

Catlins Farmstay B&B – Rhodo Suite with Full Breakfast

Catlins Farmstay is a 1000acre working farm with sheep, beef and deer. Situated midway between Curio bay and Cathedral Caves, this area is well known for its nature and wildlife being home to the endangered species of hectors Dolphins, yellow eyed Penguins and the hooker sea lions. Dinner is available 5 min drive away at the Niagara Falls Cafe and Restaurant.


Catlins to Dunedin

Today’s Drive Time & Distance: 2.5 hours, 168 km’s (104 miles)

Enjoy various short walks, waterfalls, beaches and wildlife along this short stretch today. We would suggest visiting McLean Falls, Matai Falls, Purakanui Falls Walk, Cannibal Bay – Sea Lion Colony, Roaring Bay – Yellow Penguin Habitat (dusk) And Nugget Point Lighthouse at Sunset.

Continue to Dunedin.   A city of classical architecture and Scottish Charm, Dunedin prides itself on being New Zealand’s centre for learning, heritage, arts and culture and gateway to the diverse wildlife of the Otago Peninsula. The vibrant city centre is compact with restaurants, cafes and accommodation within easy walking distance.

Kingsgate Hotel, Superior Room with Full Breakfast

 Located right in the heart of the city with the Otago Museum a 15 minute walk away, the beach ten minutes drive and restaurants and bars right on your doorstep. This welcoming Dunedin hotel has 55 sunny north facing guest rooms, each with a balcony. Room facilities include contemporary style ensuite bathrooms, broadband, Sky TV, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities.


Depart Dunedin

Farewell Dunedin today!  Return your rental vehicle and connect with your onwards flight (flight not included).

Your New Zealand Walking Tour Itinerary concludes today.


Mount Cook

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Contact Details

Phone Us
+64 3 3555 990
+64 21 461 971

Our Physical Address
21 Verona Place, Ohoka
Christchurch 7692
New Zealand

Our Postal Address
PO Box 36437, Merivale
Christchurch 8146
New Zealand


Tour Inclusions

New Zealand Walking Tour:

Terms & Conditions

Booking Terms & Conditions:


All pricing is in New Zealand Dollars and includes 15% GST (Goods & Services Tax).


Pricing is subject to availability and confirmation of the stated itinerary at time of booking.  If we are unable to confirm the stated hotels and services, we will endeavour to confirm substitutes at similar rates, however additional costs may apply.

Rental Car Terms & Conditions:

Inclusions: unlimited kilometres, airport/ferry collection fee, full insurance (subject to reduced excess), front windscreen cover, personal accident insurance, guaranteed replacement vehicle in case of accident.

Exclusions: insurance excess reduction of $345.00 including GST (note, standard insurance excess is $3,450.00 including GST), bond, petrol costs, one way fee ($57.50), optional extras, (all additional expenses to be paid direct)

Payment Policy

We do require a non-refundable deposit of NZD$250.00 per person before we go ahead with securing any reservations.

In addition, some of our suppliers may require further deposits to cover their strict cancellation policies, in this case we would advise you at the time of quoting and confirming your itinerary.

The balance of your booking would be required 45 days prior to your travel date.   If you book inside 45 days, full payment would be required at time of booking.

Payment can be made by electronic wire transfer and should include the additional NZD $25.00 bank fee.   We also accept Visa and Mastercard at an additional fee of 3.1%.

Bank Account Details

Bank Name & Address: Westpac Bank, Mid City Queen Street, Auckland, New Zealand

Account Name: Inspired New Zealand Travel

BSB Number: 03-0296

Account Number: 0011146-000

Swift/Routing Code: WPACNZ2W 


We are happy to amend your itinerary and dates, however please keep in mind that some of the original services may not be available for your new dates, which may incur additional costs for substituted services.   Amendment fees may apply with multiple changes.

Cancellation Fees

Once Confirmed               Non-refundable Deposit of NZD $250.00 per person

Inside 45 – 21 Days          A Cancellation fee of 30% of your total booking value will apply, along with any cancellation fees applied by our accommodation, sightseeing and other providers.

Inside 20 – 8 days             A Cancellation fee of 50% of your total booking value will apply, along with any cancellation fees applied by our accommodation, sightseeing and other providers.

Inside 7 Days                      Full Cancellations, 100% charge

We will however do our very best to recover and minimise these cancellation fees but recommend that you purchase Travel Insurance to cover yourself.


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