pure south hiking siberia valley

Pure South 7 Days – Activity Level Guide

How fit do you need to be for the Pure South trip?

Most of the people that join our small group guided tours have questions about how fit they need to be and the answer is that as long as you enjoy being active in the outdoors you will enjoy yourself on this trip.

With our small groups of no more than 14 people and two New Zealand guides, we offer you plenty of options and flexibility every day. To make sure everybody gets what they want, we always have easier or more challenging options available so that you can choose how much or little activity you enjoy each day.

Day 1: Hike the Kepler Track

After meeting your guides and fellow travellers in Queenstown, we’ll get for Fiordland and our first hike of the trip, the Kepler Track. This is one of our ten Great Walks and winds through beautiful beech forest to Rainbow Reach. Keep an eye out for the cheeky South Island Robin on the way.

Kepler track

Day 2 – Cruise Milford Sound and Hike the Routeburn Track

This morning we start of adventure into Milford Sound. The day will start with a cruise on the fiord, get up close to the stunning waterfalls and experience the grandeur of Milford Sound. After stepping back onto dry land we'll lace up our hiking boots ready to hike a stunning portion of the famous Routeburn Track. People hiking the entire 3-day route usually finish the Routeburn Track here so you may meet others coming down the hill, but we're going up through the forest, past beautiful waterfalls and into the alpine region for the amazing views from Key Summit. We'll stop for a bit at the top before heading back down to the Divide. We'll be out for about 3 hours in total on this hike.

Key Summit

Day 3 – Your choice to cycle or walk the Arrow River Trail

As part of your introduction to New Zealand, we’ll travel to the historic Arrowtown, a quaint old gold-mining settlement just a short drive from Queenstown. Today you’ll have the choice of either biking or walking the Arrow River Trail. We'll ride or walk along a trail next to the Kawarau River towards the world’s first commercial bungy bridge, which is still in operation today, so you can watch a few people jump! If you are biking today your ride will be 12.8km to the Kawarau Suspension Bridge (8mi), if you are walking it's a stunning 5km (3.1mi) walk to the Southern Discoveries bridge where your guide will meet you.

Arrowtown to kawarau suspension bridge2

Day 4 – Fly, Hike and Jetboat Siberia Wilderness

Today we are heading out on an adventure you will remember forever into a remote backcountry spot with out-of-this-world scenery. The day begins with a scenic flight into the Siberia Valley to a stunning lunch spot before we start our wild country hike. We'll be walking on a clearly marked trail through open tussock land and ancient rainforest over undulating terrain. The walk is around 7kms long (4.3 miles) and will take up to 3 hours - we'll take our time to enjoy the scenery arriving at the rendezvous point in time to be picked up by our trusty jet boat driver for an exhilarating end to a wonderful day.

Siberia hut to jet boat pickup

Day 5 – Hike or Bike Wanaka

There are a few options this morning depending on your mood - you are welcome to explore the lakeside trails on your own that are easy to find from the doorstep of your accommodation, or we can organise bikes for you to head out on a self-guided trail. If you want to take on a more serious hike, your guide will take you on the 7km (4.3 mile) climb up past Diamond Lake to the Rocky Mountain lookout, a hike of around 3 hours to a beautiful viewpoint overlooking Lake Wanaka with views of the dramatic peak of Mount Aspiring.

Rocky mountain

Day 6 – Hike Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

There are a few hiking options today, the main one being the Hooker Valley hike that leads you on a well-marked trail up to the Hooker Glacier Lake complete with floating icebergs and incredible mountain views, including the imposing peak of Mount Cook. The trail is easy underfoot with three swing bridge crossings taking you over glacier fed rivers and boulders. It's a good 3-4 hour walk with not too much of a climb, stopping for photos and snacks along the way. 

Hooker valley track

The more physically challenging option is to take on the steep but spectacular hike up to Sealy Tarns or for a further challenge push those legs on up further to Mueller Hut via the Mueller Ridge for absolutely spectacular alpine views. The Sealy Tarns are reached via a steady and steep climb on a well-built track (think: Stairmaster) and the views are worth every drop of sweat, even by South Island standards.

White Horse carpark to Sealy Tarns

Day 7 – Hike Mt John

This morning we’ll make the steady climb up Mount John though forest and tussock to the observatory at the top. As we walk, we’ll look out over 360-degree views across the impressive Mackenzie Basin flats and surrounding mountains and lakes.

Mt john hike2

Day 8 – Akaroa dolphin swim

The final day of your trip is no less adventurous than the others, finishing with an incredible dolphin swimming experience. The Hectors (New Zealand) dolphins are the rarest and smallest ocean-going dolphins, so this is a truly unique-to-this-area experience. The swim is suitable for all levels of fitness as long as you can swim and have a sense of adventure. If you prefer not to swim you can opt to view the action from the boat - and there's plenty of other wildlife to see too.

Swimming with Dolphins, Akaroa, Canterbury

Swim with adorable wild Hectors dolphins.

This guide is intended to provide you with a summary of the activities and hikes on this tour, for the full description please refer back to the day-to-day itinerary