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New Zealand: 3 Nights
Until this year Lake Rotoroa Lodge was a secret known only to the most discerning international fly-fishermen who consider the brown trout fishing in the area the very best in the world. A new owner has broadened the scope and made this lodge a base for a new and unique activity - heli-hiking. You will take to the skies with an expert guide to view and photograph chamois, red deer, wild boar and birdlife in the remote mountains that surround the lodge, only accessible by helicopter. Chamois are native to the Alps in Europe where they are endangered and were introduced to New Zealand South Island in 1907. They thrive in the mountains and the chances of a sighting are high. You need to be reasonably fit and surefooted to hike the mountain ridges and the thrilling scenic helicopter flight into the heart of these wilderness mountains makes this an unforgettable experience.
Day 1- Murchison
Self drive to Lake Rotoroa Lodge located in the northern tip of New Zealand's spectacular Southern Alps, near to the town of Murchison. The drive from Nelson takes approximately two hours. Arrive at Lake Rotoroa Lodge, which will be your base for the next three nights and enjoy a delicious gourmet dinner. Built in the 1920s, Lake Rotorua Lodge has been sympathetically renovated to a luxurious standard with ten rooms, spacious sitting rooms, a beautiful panelled dining room and an outstanding wine cellar. One of the chefs spends the northern hemisphere summers on a luxury barge in the South of France and returns each year with new and delicious menus.
Day 2 - Heli-hiking Safari
After a leisurely breakfast your guide will drive you the short distance to your helicopter for your scenic flight and the start of your hike. As well as a satellite telephone and a picnic lunch, the guide carries a high powered telescope on a tripod so you can view the wildlife in sharp focus. The helicopter will remain with you so you can return to the lodge when you wish or should the weather change.
Day 3 - Murchison
Today is free but you can choose from an extensive list of activities including an introduction to fly-fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, bush walking, a lake cruise, horse riding, golf, visits to nearby wineries or to the many craft and antique shops in the area. Lake Rotoroa Lodge sits right on the edge of the Nelson Lakes National Park where the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project is working to create a pest free environment for the re-introduction of many native species. The lodge also has a variety of self drive itineraries so that you can explore at your own pace this wonderful part of New Zealand.
Day 4 - Murchison
Following breakfast at the lodge, continue with your onward arrangements perhaps driving to Franz Josef on the west coast or to Christchurch on the east coast.
Please note this itinerary is only available from October to April.
Best time to be there
Summer on the north island (December to February) is ideal for outdoor pursuits with mild temperatures and hours of sunshine. Venture to the numerous ski slopes and warm up close to a crackling fire during the winter months in June to August.
Auckland (Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, daily)
26 hours, one stop
GMT +12 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area
This is the second trip we have done with A&K. (The first was in 1999.) We were very impressed with A&K on the first trip. We were even more impressed with A&K on the second trip. Consequently, we are already considering a third trip with A&K – to Egypt in March 2014.
- JK, Kenya