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 | Hike to a Maori sacred site, Kura Tawhiti, a gorgeous set of limestone outcroppings | Behold beech forests and alpine lakes as you ascend to a sheep station hut | Bird-lovers rejoice: look for tiny rifleman 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 a temperate rain forest | Swap rain forest for pounding surf at Munro Beach and search for pounamu, the native jade | Explore the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area—choose hiking, swimming or canoeing with a naturalist on Lake Moeraki.
6-9 Stroll the shore 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 tasting | Discover picturesque Queenstown, surrounded by breathtaking views of the Remarkables mountain range.