After this trip, the bar will be forever raised. Other coasts will seem less striking. Even mountains will pale in comparison. So many spectacular views. And incredible moments. From Kura Tawhiti's limestone monoliths to shimmering Lake Wanaka. After these nine days in New Zealand, your next vacation will have big shoes to fill.
1-2 Tramp through the spectacularly beautiful South Island—it's a Kiwi tradition! Hike to a Maori sacred site, Kura Tawhiti—a gorgeous set of limestone outcroppings once used by Maoris to navigate across the island Behold beech forests and alpine lakes as you ascend to a sheep station hut where shepherds stayed during the days of high-country sheep farming This is an ideal outing for bird-lovers: look for New Zealand's smallest bird, the rifleman, as well as harrier hawks, grey warblers, bellbirds and gregarious alpine parrots called kea.
3-5 Soak up superb views during a hike to the summit of Arthur's Pass Dig into a classic New Zealand barbecue served overlooking the coastline Tour the historic gold-rush town of Hokitika Hike Franz Josef Glacier, one of the few glaciers in the world that descends into temperate rain forest in an unrivaled mingling of dramatically different ecosystems Swap rain forest for pounding surf at Munro Beach and search for pounamu, the native jade Explore the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area—hiking, swimming or canoeing with a naturalist on Lake Moeraki.
6-9 Stroll the shores of Lake Wanaka and visit the bustling town of Wanaka Experience jaw-dropping Milford Sound, New Zealand's most famous fjord, on an optional excursion Take a swing bridge across the West Matukituki River and climb to a spectacular viewpoint below the Rob Roy hanging glacier Hike the Central Otago wine region and enjoy a local wine tasting Discover picturesque Queenstown, located on Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by breathtaking views of the Remarkables mountain range.