pure south hiking siberia valley

Pure South – Activity Level Guide

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

The Pure South is an activity level 2-4* trip and is designed for you to have maximum flexibility. 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 | Pure South

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 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

For those seeking a little more activity, you'll also have the option of hiking the beautiful Red Tarns track. Offering phenomenal views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and the surrounding mountains the Red Tarns Track is one of Aoraki/Mt Cook's hidden gems. On a calm day, you'll enjoy incredible mirror-like reflections of Aoraki/Mt Cook that will leave a lasting memory of this magical spot. 

Red 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

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