Location of Adventure
South Island, New Zealand
Group Size Limit
Approximately 10 Travelers
A very important feature of our New Zealand ecotourism expedition is the limited group size, as nature travel is most meaningful when experienced in the company of fewer travelers.
Specialized 4x4 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers
Our Private Leaders
- Trip price includes: Accommodations, services of Nat Hab's professional Expedition Leader(s), local guides and lodge staff, all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on final day, some alcoholic beverages, most gratuities, airport transfers on Day 1 and final day, all activities and entrance fees, all taxes, permits and service fees.
- Internal air fee includes: Flights from Invercargill to Stewart Island and back to Invercargill. (Internal airfare is included in trip fee for the 2018/19 season and listed separately for the 2019/20 season.)
Travel to and from the start and end point of your trip, some alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees (if any), optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry and internet, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes (if any), required medical evacuation insurance, optional travel protection insurance.
This trip involves several walks of approximately 2 miles each in varying climates and environments and can include steep, uneven and slippery terrain. Many days involve long drives on winding roads over mountain passes at altitudes as high as 6,000 feet. We spend significant time on boats out on the open sea, where conditions may be rough. Guests prone to motion sickness may wish to take precautions. There are a variety of night walks offered throughout the itinerary. Guests are advised to bring head lamps, to illuminate the trail before them. A nighttime kiwi-spotting walk will involve a boat ride followed by an approximately 1-mile night hike over slippery, uneven terrain. Personal head lamps are not permitted on this activity to increase the chance of spotting the nocturnal creatures. The group will be led at times by a dim light carried by the guide. Depending on how much time it takes to locate these elusive birds, it is possible that we will be walking in the dark for several hours. Those travelers who would like to take longer or more strenuous hikes may have opportunities to do so at their leisure. While travelers are not required to participate in all activities, should you opt out of the day's scheduled activities, we cannot always guarantee that alternatives will be available.
Difficult (for New Zealand Special Active Walking Departures only)
This “walking” adventure involves a variety of different activities that require a higher level of physicality than most other Nat Hab departures. Travelers should be able to walk unassisted for at least 6+ miles over rough terrain and inclines, including the possibility of some river crossings at varying altitudes ranging from sea level to 9,000+ feet. A few walks may last three or more hours in a variety of environments such as alpine, rainforest or sandy beach. Much of the terrain may be at an incline, uneven and/or slippery. New Zealand’s climate can also be unpredictable; therefore, it is best to be prepared for unexpected heavy rains or cooler weather. Also, expect high sun exposure as the UV index is notably higher in the southern hemisphere, particularly during the summer months. Our days generally start quite early and are very full with activities, including a few long drives. We spend significant time on boats out on the open sea, where conditions may be rough. Guests prone to motion sickness may wish to take precautions. There are a few nighttime walks that will require walking comfortably in the dark, sometimes for several hours. While travelers are not required to participate in all activities, should you opt out of the day's scheduled activities, we cannot always guarantee that alternatives will be available.
Important Information About This Trip
The South Island of New Zealand is vast and varied, and we attempt to take in as much of this beautiful land as possible without rushing, from mountain passes to ocean fjords (some long drives are involved). Our Expedition Leader knows the land and its flora and fauna intimately as well as its less-visited sites.
New Zealand’s climate is quite complex and varied. Travelers should expect a cool, temperate climate on the South Island, with alpine conditions in the mountainous areas. Mountain chains extending the length of New Zealand provide a barrier for the prevailing westerly winds, dividing the country into dramatically different climate regions. The west coast of the South Island is the wettest area of New Zealand; thus, when traveling in this region, you should be prepared to encounter some rain. The areas just to the east of the mountains are the driest. Keep in mind you should be prepared for chilly wet weather.
Most of New Zealand experiences between 23 and 63 inches of rainfall spread throughout the year, with a drier period during the summer. Parts of the west coast can get 300 inches a year! The temperatures during your adventure will range from 45°F to 90°F.
There are varying benefits based on seasonality traveling to New Zealand from their spring to fall. During our trips the following seasonality can generally be can be expected:
October and November: spring transitioning to summer
December and January: summer
March: summer transitioning to fall
Sunshine hours are relatively high in areas that are sheltered from the west, and most of New Zealand experiences at least 2,000 hours annually. The midday summer solar radiation index (UVI) is often very high in most places and can be extreme in northern New Zealand and in mountainous areas. Autumn and spring UVI values can also be high in most areas.
Since the areas we travel to are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we strongly recommend that all guests have, at minimum, medical evacuation insurance for this program. While this is not required, we make this strong suggestion in the interest of our guests' safety. We recommend that your chosen independent insurance plan includes at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage.
To protect your investment and to provide peace of mind while you travel, we also strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance. Plans may cover everything from medical treatment to trip cancellations and delays and lost luggage. Please contact our office if you would like more information about the medical evacuation and comprehensive travel insurance policies we offer by calling 800-543-8917.
Getting There & Getting Home
Please note that this trip begins and ends in two different cities. Arrive in Dunedin in time for a 7 pm orientation at Larnach's Castle. For those travelers who wish to participate in the optional tour, with your Expedition Leader, of Larnach's Castle and a stop at Penguin Place, plan to arrive in Dunedin no later than 2 pm on Day 1. You may depart Christchurch any time on the final day. We can serve you best if Natural Habitat Adventures’ Travel Desk makes these reservations for you, as they are intimately familiar with the special requirements of this program and can arrange the most efficient and cost effective travel for you.