New Zealand's highest mountain, a thrilling jet boat ride and glistening turquoise lakes... don't miss these top experiences on your Alpine Lakes Journey.
Leaving from Mount Cook (Aoraki), New Zealand’s tallest mountain, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail takes cyclists on a 300km scenic journey past alpine lakes, rivers and leads to the Pacific Ocean. The easy-intermediate grade trail can be completed over four days or can be accessed from numerous points for day excursions or guided tours.
The majestic turquoise colour of Lake Tekapo creates a striking landscape when combined with the dramatic backdrop of the Southern Alps. The milky-turquoise colour of the lake comes from fine rock-flour suspended in the water. For the perfect sunset setting, secure your spot in at Tekapo Springs Hot Pools which overlook the lake and surrounding mountain range.
As one of the world’s largest, the Aoraki/Mackenzie International Dark Night Sky Reserve provides the perfect setting for stargazing. Finding a quiet spot is easy as the reserve has more than 4,300 square kilometres free of light pollution. A number of tours are available with Tekapo Star Gazing or at the Earth and Sky observatory where you can discover more about the southern night sky.
Zip through narrow river canyons at speeds of up to 85kmh on the Queenstown Shotover Jet. If that doesn't get your adrenaline pumping, head over to Nevis Bungy for a 8.5 second free-fall from New Zealand’s highest bungy. Known as the adventure capital, Queenstown offers one of the more unique skydiving views above the peaks of the Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu.
Explore the ancient landscapes of the Southern Alps along the Hooker Valley Track. Walk the 10km track in the shadow of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, following the natural course carved out by the Hooker River. If you’re lucky you will spot the Mount Cook buttercup. Native to New Zealand it's the largest buttercup species in the world.
A foodie haven, Wanaka is known for award-winning local produce. Visit Rippon and treat yourself to a delicious drop of Pinot Noir while taking in the dramatic landscape of Lake Wanaka. For a unique experience visit Cardrona Distillery and sample New Zealand's only single malt whisky produced from Cardrona alpine water.
Begin your exploration of Mt Aspiring National Park with the world's highest waterfall climb. The team at Wildwire Wanaka run regular guided climbs for all levels up the Twin Falls. While you’re there, take in endless views of Lake Wanaka over a picnic or go in search of hidden freshwater pools nearby.
Make sure your South Island tour includes Christchurch, a vibrant city with a thriving arts scene and excellent collection of quirky bars. Explore the city on a vintage bike or heritage tram. Or let someone else do the work with a punting experience on the Avon River. For an inner-city reprieve visit the award-winning Botanic Gardens or head to Port Hills to escape the city.