pure south hiking siberia valley

Pure South 7 Days – Activity Level Guide

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

The Pure South trip is an activity level 2-4* and is designed for you to have maximum flexibility. With our small groups of no more than 14 people and two New Zealand guides, we offer you plenty of options every day. You can scale your activity level up to a 4, down to a 2, or anywhere in between every day so you can enjoy New Zealand at a pace that's right for you. Walk on well-formed tracks and enjoy a mixture of day walks and activities that showcase the best of New Zealand.

Activity Level 2*. These boots are made for walking...but not too far. You enjoy the outdoors and like to explore, but at a pace that's right for you. You like to take your time so you can enjoy your surroundings, learn from your guides and soak in the experience.

Activity Level 3*. You love staying active on your holiday and know that travel isn't a race, it's just as much about the journey as the destination! Fresh air, experiencing new activities with your guides and ending the day with a delicious meal and great conversation leave you feeling invigorated.

Activity Level 4*. You know sometimes the best views need to be earned and you love a wee bit of a challenge. You're comfortable spending a good portion of the day on your feet exploring on well-formed trails with your guides and moving towards your goal.

"You are working with a fabulous canvas on the South Island. I appreciated the mixture of mountain, forests, river etc. Your guides are first-class people....The schedule had nice little off ramps, or options to it. After the Siberia Valley, my wife was able to take a down day and enjoy Wanaka, while I hiked Mt Iron."

Bruce Farrand | Canada

You can view a day-by-day breakdown of the activities and hikes below, and if you have any questions at all get in touch, we love to chat!

Day 1: Hike the Kepler Track

After meeting your guides and fellow travellers in Queenstown, we’ll head to Fiordland National Park and our first hike of the trip, the Kepler Track. This is one of our ten Great Walks and winds through beautiful native be­ech forest. This mostly flat trail is the perfect introduction to hiking in New Zealand, we’ll walk from Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut on the shoreline of Lake Manapouri. Keep an eye out for the cheeky South Island Robin on the way.

Kepler Track Rainbow Reach to Motahura Hut2

Day 2 – Cruise and kayak Milford Sound and Hike the Routeburn Track

This morning, we’ll head to Milford Sound for our scenic boat and kayak trip. You’ll get up close to the stunning waterfalls and truly experience the grandeur of Milford Sound. The kayaking is suitable for beginners and experts alike, and we’ll be joined by specialist guides who’ll share their knowledge of the fiord and teach you all the paddling skills you need to enjoy this activity. If kayaking isn’t for you, that’s no problem at all you’ll be able to soak up the scenery of Harrisons Cove from the boat instead.

Back on dry land, we'll lace up our walking 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. We'll stop at the top before heading back down to the Divide. We'll be out for about 3 hours in total on this hike.

Routeburn Track Key Summit2

Day 3 – Walk the Arrow River Trail

Today we’ll travel to the historic Arrowtown, a quaint old gold-mining settlement just a short drive from Queenstown, where you’ll walk the Arrow River Trail along the Kawarau River towards the world’s first commercial bungy bridge, which is still in operation today and makes for some great entertainment! The stunning track is a 5km (3.1mi) walk to the Southern Discoveries bridge.

Arrow River Bridges Trail

Day 4 – Fly, Hike and Jetboat Siberia Wilderness

Today we are heading out on an adventure you will remember forever into a remote backcountry valley 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

Day 5 – Hike Wanaka

There are a few options this morning depending on your mood – if you’d like a relaxed start to the day you can enjoy exploring the lakeside town of Wanaka. If you’re keen to stretch your legs, your guides will take you on a hike near Mt Aspiring National Park. The trail heads to Diamond Lake and you’ll have the option to carry on to the Rocky Mountain lookout if you’d like, the full hike takes around 3 hours and finishes at a beautiful viewpoint overlooking Lake Wanaka with views of the dramatic peak of Mount Aspiring.

Rocky Mountain Track Diamond Lake2

Rocky Mountain Track

Day 6 – Hike Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Today we’ll explore one of our favourite National Parks, Aorak/Mt Cook. We have different options today, the first option is the Hooker Valley Track 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 Hike

If you’re up for more of a challenge you can take the steeper but incredibly spectacular hike up to Red Tarns. The Red Tarns are reached via a steady climb on a well-built track and the spectacular alpine views are worth the effort, even by South Island standards.

Red Tarns3

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 Hike3

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