I designed this itinerary with plenty of wow moments (helicopters, jetboats, Milford Sound) as well as the simple pleasure of hanging out together as a family away from distractions. Would suit families who walk together regularly or want an excuse to start.

Day 1: Arrive Queenstown 

You’ll be met by a private driver upon arrival in Queenstown and taken on a short tour of the area before being dropped you off at your accommodation downtown. The Sofitel is conveniently located on a quiet street just steps away from numerous shops, restaurants and cafes if you’d like to explore after getting settled. Or there are a couple of restaurants as well as the best day spa in town right in your hotel. Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa

Day 2: Queenstown Car & Driver Tour: Shotover Jetboat Ride/Arrowtown/Gibbston Valley

I’ll meet you at the lobby this morning at 9 am to personally show you some great spots around Queenstown with the flexibility to do as much or as little as you feel like on the day. We can start off with a blast on the very popular Shotover Jet before we head out to Arrowtown for a look around this charming historic goldmining town. We’ll warm up our legs with a 2-hour hike around Sawpit Gully and find a nice spot for a picnic lunch. This afternoon we can go visit a couple of wineries in Gibbston Valley and then swing by the Kawarau Bungy bridge to watch some brave souls swan dive into the river below before returning to Queenstown.

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa

Day 3: Moonlight and Roses 2-Day Hike

This morning I will meet you at the lobby of the Hilton Queenstown Hotel at 8:30 am for a 90-minute drive to the start of the track at Lake Hawea. We’ll walk up Timaru Creek with lots of river crossings (nothing over knee deep but you’ll have wet feet) and then go up and over Moonlight Creek. There’s about 4-1/2 hours of walking today to get to Moonlight and Roses Hut, a simple 4-bunk converted musterer’s hut, that sits just above the bush line. This is an intermediate level walk with reasonable fitness required, but you’ll only need to carry sleeping bags, extra change of clothes and possibly a small share of the food (have the hotel hold the remainder of your gear). I’ll cook up some dinner for us and we can trade a few stories around the cosy open fire tonight.

Accommodation: Backcountry Hut

Day 4: Moonlight and Roses 2-Day Hike (Continued)

The next day, after a hearty breakfast it’s a slog for the first hour to get up to the ridgeline but then you’ll be rewarded with stunning views over Lake Hawea. We’ll walk along the top among the tussocks before dropping back to the car about 4 hours later for the drive back to Queenstown.

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa

Earnslaw burn scenic flightDay 5: Milford Sound Cruise and Waterfalls Helicopter Tour

This morning a taxi will be waiting for your outside of the Hilton at 8am to take you to the airport where you’ll meet the pilot (your guide for the day) and board the helicopter for an unforgettable flight to Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling called Milford Sound the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ and its World Heritage status confirms its unique beauty. Your scenic flight will take you above rainforest-covered valleys, past spectacular alpine lakes and over several mountain ranges as you enjoy this world-famous area from a bird’s eye view. Descend to land at the bottom of a steep valley and from here it’s a 10-minute walk to the boat harbour where the Southern Discoveries boat awaits you. This 1 hour and 40-minute scenic Milford Sound cruise takes you right up close to the dramatic waterfalls that pour down the sheer granite cliffs (close enough to get wet if you’re standing on the deck!) and throughout the fiord in search of seals, dolphins and other native wildlife. After the cruise, you’ll make your way back to the helicopter to continue your aerial tour of Fiordland National Park, which is stunning even by South Island standards. Your next stop is a picnic lunch in the Earnslaw Burn, a memorable location used in the Hobbit movie. Descend past the blue ice of the hanging glacier and the waterfalls cascading down the huge rock faces to land gently on the valley floor for an impressive photo opportunity. This location is exclusive to Alpine Adventures and Heliworks and is simply breathtaking. The final leg of your trip will take you over the Richardson Mountain range, where you’ll hear about the rich history of mining in the area before landing back at Queenstown airport this afternoon.

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa

Day 6: Depart 

This morning you’ll have an airport transfer for your departure flight.

INCLUDES (for 2 adults plus 1 teenager):

  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • 4 nights Sofitel Queenstown Hotel
  • Queenstown Car and Driver Tour: door to door transportation, services of a private guide for the day, Shotover jetboat ride, snacks and picnic lunch. (Extra optional activities such as a bungy jump are additional.)
  • Moonlight and Roses 2-Day Hike: Door to door transportation, services of a private guide for two days, snacks, picnic lunches x2, dinner and breakfast. Sleeping bags and packs available.
  • Milford Sound Cruise and Waterfalls Heli tour: Roundtrip taxi transfers, picnic lunch at Earnslaw Burn, Milford Sound Cruise and return helicopter flights.
  • 15% NZ tax
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