TRIP SUMMARY
Discover the South Island and experience the real New Zealand through the eyes of an award-winning local nature photographer. All from the comforts of your own home whilst on the road! Photograph the mirror reflections at Lake Matheson, take a scenic flight and cruise to the incredible Milford Sound, experience the adventure town of Queenstown and visit the awe inspiring Aoraki/Mt Cook for some of the best hiking in New Zealand.
From: $2,399 AUD
From
Meghan
New Zealand is growing in popularity. Every year more and more travellers are discovering previously unheard of locations to visit and capture. Go now while there are still hidden gems to explore and enjoy these places while they're still relatively unknown, you might even have them all to yourself.

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1
Day 1: Christchurch to Hokitika
Pick up your motorhome and head straight for one of the best drives in New Zealand, the famous Arthurs Pass. Along the way you'll explore Castle Hill (filming location for The Chronicles of Narnia) and Devil's Punchbowl. You'll finish the day on the West Coast town of Hokitika.
Activities
INCLUDED
Pick up your MAD2
Pick up your Certified Self Contained campervan and start your road trip! Your vehicle is fully serviced, entirely AA Safety Certified and built to go the distance in New Zealand's rugged backcountry. It is fitted out with a fully functional kitchenette (fridge, sink, gas cooker, pots & pans and utensils), extendable hose tap, a huge double bed, a secondary battery, USB powerpoints, curtains and super security (the van comes with an alarm / immobiliser and a lockbox for your passport & valuables). We're proud to partner with the New Zealand owned and operated Mad Campers.
OPTIONAL
Premium motorhome
Prefer a bit more comfort and luxury? We have a range of premium 4 or 6 berth motorhomes available for you to choose from.
FREE OPTION
Castle Hill
You can find yourself lost for hours in Castle Hill, wandering among the limestone formations that cover a huge area and providing a wealth of rock climbing and photographic opportunities!
FREE OPTION
Devil's Punchbowl Falls
The walk to Devils Punchbowl Falls is an easy 1-hour walk right in the heart of Arthur’s Pass taking you through beautiful beech forest and a 131-metre waterfall.
Day 2
Day 2: Hokitika to West Coast Glaciers
Start your day by visiting a local carving studio where you will learn what traditional carving is all about and immerse yourself in the Maori culture. Then it's time to start your trip down the awesome West Coast to the glaciers.
Activities
Do
FREE OPTION
Lake Matheson - The best reflections you'll ever see
You'll never see a more perfect mountain reflection than those at Lake Matheson. This is Meghan's all-time favourite South Island view!
FREE OPTION
Hokitika Gorge
Half an hour inland from Hokitika lies Hokitika gorge, with water such a vivid turquoise colour you won't believe it's real. Meghan couldn't believe her eyes and even now when she looks back on her photos, she still can't!
INCLUDED
Carve your own Bonz n Stonz
Carving your own piece is more than creating a hand made piece. It is a 360° experience that would allow you to experience the NZ carving tradition. You will be able to understand what carving is all about and immerse yourself in the Maori culture. With the help of our master carvers, we will be able to reveal the practical skills you did not know you had.
Day 3
Day 3: West Coast Glaciers
On your second day in the West Coast Glaciers, you'll experience the Original Franz Josef Kayak Adventure! This guided kayak tour takes about 3 hours and leads you right into the heart of the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary. A truly magical experience.
Activities
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INCLUDED
Franz Josef Kayak Adventure
Paddle effortlessly across Lake Mapourika's mirror-like water, taking in the spectacular views of the Southern Alps and glaciers. Once on the far side, your guide will take you to a small bush clad beach where you will get the chance to explore some of Westland's oldest untouched rainforest! Our magical Rainforest Trail is designed to take you on a walk through another time. Jurassic Rainforest, abundant bird life and home to the rarest kiwi's on the planet - simply unforgettable.
Day 4
Day 4: West Coast Glaciers to Wanaka
Start the day by visiting the mind-blowing Blue Pools. Then make your way to Lake Wanaka to meet the famous Wanaka tree, it can get very busy at times so plan carefully! Meghan's tip is to get at least one sunrise here - it is an undeniably picturesque setting despite the crowds. Lake Wanaka is one of the loveliest backdrops for photography with the mounts of Mt Aspiring National Park towering behind the lake.
Activities
Do
FREE OPTION
Thunder Creek Falls
Thunder Creek Falls is a beautiful specimen of a waterfall set right next to the road, and it's not the only one you'll spot along this road. Keep an eye out for Roaring Billy Falls, Fantail Falls and the Gates of Haast all within a short drive of each other through the Pass and all worth stopping to capture. Thunder Creek Falls is Meghan's pick of the bunch because of the way the Haast river flows right by providing a lovely foreground to the shot.
FREE OPTION
Blue Pools
Set in New Zealand's beautiful beach forest, the half-hour walk to Blue Pools ends in a setting with water so blue you won't believe your eyes. It's a true New Zealand gem.
Day 5
Day 5: Wanaka
Rise and shine on your second day in Lake Wanaka. Today you are in for a treat! Enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Wanaka followed by a unique nature walk on the remote and magical Mou Waho Island (a predator-free nature reserve that's home to the rare flightless Buff Weka bird).
Activities
Do
INCLUDED
Lake Wanaka Cruise & Island Nature Walk
This half-day lake cruise takes you a really unique spot, Mou Waho Island, known as 'the island in the lake on an island in a lake'. With epic views to write home about and awesome native New Zealand wildlife (weka, wetas and more), this will be a day out to remember!
Day 6
Day 6: Wanaka to Queenstown
Take the gondola up for the best view over Queenstown. You’ll be carried 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob's Peak, where you’ll enjoy a spectacular 220 degree panorama with breath-taking views. Then jump aboard the luge for a few thrilling rides down the mountain.
Activities
Do
INCLUDED
Queenstown Gondola and Luge Rides
Jump on board the Skyline Queentown's eight-seater Gondola cabins and experience spectacular views of Lake Rotorua, the city and steaming geothermal vistas. Once up top, join the fun on the Luge tracks. Hop into a Luge cart (part go-cart, part toboggan) and hit the intermediate and advanced tracks.
Day 7
Day 7: Queenstown
The choice is yours. Queenstown is New Zealand's adventure heart land. Take your pick from a range of thrill seeking adventures, or if you can spend the day visiting some incredible hikes where you'll capture some amazing photos. You can even have the option to have a 2 day photography masterclass with Meghan Maloney.
Activities
Do
OPTIONAL
Moments with Meghan: A Photography Masterclass
Learn how to capture the beautiful images you've seen in this trip guide by spending 2 days with Meghan on a personalised photography masterclass. We'll cover techniques such as using filters for long exposure photography, trying out astrophotography (if the time of the year and weather permits), and capturing beautiful images around golden hour and sunrise/sunset in awesome locations around Queenstown. Meghan will take you to locations not on the tourist map and you'll create beautiful images you never even knew you were capable of! To attend this masterclass you'll need: 1. a DSLR/mirrorless camera with 2 lenses, one that can go as wide as 10-18mm and a zoom up to 200-300mm 2. A tripod 3. Ideally a laptop with Lightroom to try out editing techniques (though not essential) The masterclass needs to be booked at least 3 months in advance and is subject to Meghan's availability. Alternative location: Mt Cook
OPTIONAL
AJ Hackett Bungy Jump or Swing!
When in Queensland, you take a leap of faith with AJ Hackett Bungy, the first commercial bungy operator in the world. Choose out of a bungy jump (Kawarau Bridge, Ledge or Nevis) or a Swing (Ledge or Nevis) to get your heart racing!
OPTIONAL
Wilderness Jetboat Ride and Funyak Adventure
This unmissable experience combines the exhilaration of a wilderness jet boat ride with a leisurely downstream float on our easy to use Funyaks. With a sumptuous lunch included, this trip is ideal for the whole family. If you only do one tour in Queenstown, this is it! The diversity and value of what's on offer in this full day of adventure is second to none.
Day 8
Day 8: Milford Sound
Time to visit the mighty Milford Sounds. You'll depart early via a coach and head out along one of the most stunning roads you'll find anywhere in the world. We're not exaggerating! You'll be blown away by cruising through Milford Sounds, before catching the coach back to Queenstown. Option is to take a scenic flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound!
Activities
Do
INCLUDED
Milford Sound Cruise
Departing Queenstown via coach you will enjoy one of New Zealand's most incredible roads out to Milford Sound. This all-day tour takes around 12.5 hours. Once you reach Milford Sound you'll join a leisurely cruise of this spectacular fiord. From thundering waterfalls to sky-high mountains to lush rainforests, Milford has it all. Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces. Informative, participative, and relaxed, this is the perfect way to experience Milford Sound to the fullest.
Day 9
Day 9: Queenstown to The Catlins
The Catlins is a highly underrated and untouched area of New Zealand filled with amazing waterfalls and extensive coastal views. Capture the flow of Purakaunui Falls and Matai Falls and be amazed by the coastal Cathedral Caves.
Activities
Do
FREE OPTION
Purakaunui Falls
Purukaunui Falls is one of the loveliest waterfalls to photograph in New Zealand, with a photogenic three tier flow in a mossy forest setting. If you visit when it's raining like I did, the flow will be even more impressive to capture! It's only a short 15 minute walk from the road to the viewing point.
FREE OPTION
Matai Falls
The Catlins is known for its waterfalls and you're certainly spoilt for choice with so many to choose from! Matai Falls is a short walk through native forest and can be done on the same day as visiting Purakaunui Falls.
Day 10
Day 10: The Catlins to Moeraki Boulders (Via Dunedin)
The Moeraki boulders are a real feature of the Otago coastline in an otherworldly, prehistoric kind of way. They're worth visiting at both sunset and sunrise to get the best lighting conditions and to capture long exposures of the waves rushing around the rocks. Make sure to check the tide times as well - mid tide is best!
Activities
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FREE OPTION
Nugget Point Lighthouse
The sunrise at Nugget Point lighthouse is one of Meghan's favourite sunrise experiences ever especially as it was in such an epic coastal location - the entire sky caught fire! Visit at the right time of year and you'll also have the opportunity to capture the Milky Way rising above the lighthouse and if you're even luckier a chance to see the Southern Lights as well (Aurora Australis).
FREE OPTION
Dunedin - Tunnel Beach
Meghan was totally wowed by the unique landscapes of Tunnel Beach with cliffs rising dramatically above the sea and a secret tunnel you can take down to the beach. There are so many cool and different compositions to create at Tunnel Beach, especially on a moody, dramatic day. You'll easily find yourself losing an hour or two here!
FREE OPTION
Moeraki Boulders
Sunrise or sunset at the 5.5 Million years old Moeraki Boulders. One of the most unique features of the Otago coastline. Local Māori legends explain the boulders as the remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumara washed ashore from the wreck of Arai-te-uru (sailing canoe).
Day 11
Day 11: Moeraki Boulders to Aoraki/Mt Cook
Starting your day on the East coast of NZ you'll have time to explore the coast and hopefully catch sight of the little Blue penguins who call this coast home. Then make your way to Aoraki/MtCook and explore the national park surrounding NZ's tallest peaks is a photographer's dream and must be on your NZ itinerary. The sheer number of day walks and short walks could keep you occupied for days, and it's also one of the best places in NZ to experience the incredible night skies with no light pollution.
Activities
Do
FREE OPTION
Hooker Valley Hike
Undoubtedly New Zealand's best day walk (according to Meghan!), this 5km hike has it all — towering mountain peaks, glacial rivers, valley views and the impressive Hooker Glacier lake with an uninhibited view of Mt Cook the reward for your efforts. The hike takes about 1.5 hours each way (not allowing for all the photo stops you'll want to make along the way). Experience the sunset here on a calm day and be wowed by the alpenglow as the last light of the day leaves the tip of Mount Cook.
Day 12
Day 12: Aoraki/Mt Cook
Exploring the national park surrounding NZ's tallest peaks is a photographer's dream and has to be on your NZ itinerary. The sheer number of day walks and short walks could keep you occupied for days, and it's also one of the best places in NZ to experience the incredible night skies with no light pollution. Included in the trip is the ultimate scenic flight experience.
Activities
Do
FREE OPTION
Sunrise at Tasman Lake
Experiencing a sunrise at Tasman Lake amongst the icebergs and watching the first light of the day kiss the top of Aoraki is both humbling and extraordinary - being here for sunrise can be absolutely freezing, below zero and with ice on the ground. You'll never feel more alive! It's only a short 20 minute walk from the carpark to the river outlet where you can get the best angle for a shot taking in both the lake and the tallest peak in NZ.
INCLUDED
Mt Cook Ski and Heli Scenic Flight
Fly in a ski plane and a helicopter on the same day for an unforgettable experience of Aoraki/Mount Cook. Enjoy a scenic adventure that includes a glacier snow landing on the Tasman Glacier. From takeoff to landing, you will enjoy spectacular views! Fly up the Tasman Valley over the breathtaking blue glacier lake. See the Hochstetter Icefall and the cloud-piercing Aoraki/Mount Cook before landing on the upper snowfields of the Tasman Glacier. Take time to enjoy this unique alpine environment before swapping aircraft and returning to Mount Cook Airport.
Day 13
Day 13: Aoraki/Mt Cook to Lake Tekapo
Although famed for its view of the Church of the Good Shepherd with the mountain backdrop behind, there's far more to see here. Take a dip at the Hot Springs under the stars, or spend an evening at the Mt John observatory learning all about the night sky - this area is one of only a few International Dark Sky Reserves in the world - there's no better place to experience it!
Activities
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INCLUDED
Silver River Stargazing
Silver River™ Stargazing is Tekapo’s leading small group 360° stargazing tour. Are you ready to have your mind blown? Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Come and discover the wonders of the night sky on their 1.5-hour experience; including 60 mins under the stars with one of their epic guides. They use telescopes and special astro-lasers for easy naked-eye viewing.
INCLUDED
Lake Tekapo Hot Springs
Soak in the stunning lake or mountain views from one of 3 hot pools or chill out in the Aqua Play Area with cooler pools. Temperatures range from 28° C to 38.5° C. It's the perfect way to unwind at the end of this trip.
Day 14
Day 14: Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Head back to Christchurch to allow yourself time to explore the vibrant restoration of the city after the 2011 earthquake and the vibrant coastal townships of Akaroa and views from the high up on the Port Hills.
Activities
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Drop off your campervan
Sadly it's time to drop off your campervan.
STORYTELLER

Meghan Maloney

About Meghan
STORYTELLER

About Meghan

A landscape and travel photographer from New Zealand’s North Island, Meghan Maloney gets adventure. Seeking out New Zealand’s most beautiful and underrated locations, Meghan is devoted to capturing its rich beauty through the trusted lens of her camera. Her feel for the community and sharing New Zealand with the rest of the world allows our travellers to experience the real New Zealand. With Meghan’s expert knowledge, a trip to New Zealand will take your breath away as you create lasting memories. She is also a waterfall enthusiast – need we say more?

FAQ's

The Airguides Way

Storytellers
Unique travel packages created by trusted storytellers.
Each trip is personalised for you.
Sit back and relax. We take care of all planning and bookings.
Independent
We balance well planned itineraries with the flexibility to explore destinations.
Travel at your own pace and create your own adventure.
Luxury meets adventure
We combine luxury accommodation with one of a kind experiences.
Discover destinations and natural environments all from within the comfort of your desired level of luxury.
224/7 support
Everything you need for a dream trip at your fingertips, thanks to our detailed and personalised trip notes.
We're only a moment away whenever you need assistance or advice!
Support local
Our trips have a focus on those destinations less travelled.
We work with local and First Nations' travel companies where possible.
Responsible tourism is at the core of everything we do.
Unique travel packages created by trusted storytellers.
Each trip is personalised for you.
Sit back and relax. We take care of all planning and bookings.
We balance well planned itineraries with the flexibility to explore destinations.
Travel at your own pace and create your own adventure.
We combine luxury accommodation with one of a kind experiences.
Discover destinations and natural environments all from within the comfort of your desired level of luxury.
Everything you need for a dream trip at your fingertips, thanks to our detailed and personalised trip notes.
We're only a moment away whenever you need assistance or advice!
Our trips have a focus on those destinations less travelled.
We work with local and First Nations' travel companies where possible.
Responsible tourism is at the core of everything we do.

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