For this tour you will be based at Geordie Hill Station, which offers a unique insight into life on a working high country station. From here you will take day trips. There is one night away on Stewart Island, at the most southern end of the country. This means you unpack once, and each day take only what you need. It also allows tremendous flexibility for weather within the itinerary.
Your Geordie Hill home base is a private and fully appointed farm cottage with wonderful views and peaceful environment.
9am – You will be met by your personal host and instructor at Queenstown Airport. After your briefing, fly to Geordie Hill Station – Flyinn’s base. Here your hosts will have prepared morning coffee and hot scones to welcome you to Geordie Hill Station. You’ll get to meet our staff, familiarise yourself with your accommodation, as well as your aircraft and the local area. Weather permitting, it is possible to explore beyond the local region and to one of the destinations on your itinerary.
Evening: settle into your surroundings before joining your hosts at the Geordie Hill Homestead for the first of many shared evenings. Enjoy a pre-dinner drink, accompanied by excellent cuisine, selected wines, and great Kiwi company.
Fly to the world famous Milford Sound via Manapouri, the Wilmott Pass and the Milford Track. Here spectacular deep fiords and rainforest running up onto weathered peaks abound. Many high mountain tarns and lakes feed waterfalls, which fall vertically hundreds of feet into the fiords below. Land at Milford Sound. Take a walk and view the Bowen falls, and absorb the magnificent atmosphere. Fly to Big Bay, and land on the vast beach (depends on tide). Lunch at Milford or enjoy Elsie’s date loaf at Big Bay. Back to Geordie Hill via Aspiring National Park and lakes Wanaka and Hawea. Mt Aspiring is known as the “Matterhorn” of the South, and is flanked by pristine glaciers.
Fly to Stewart Island. Route via the Nevis or Kawarau River Valleys where Central Otago high country descends to lower and more fertile rolling hills and more intense farming systems. Land at the immaculately kept Mandeville Airfield and visit Croydon Aircraft Company. Here vintage aircraft are restored, and there is a hanger where a rare collection is kept. Enjoy morning coffee, or a light lunch at ‘The Moth’ café. There is the option to fly a Tiger Moth here. Fly further south over green Southland countryside, and across Foveaux Strait to land at Stewart Island. Settle into your accommodation and take a short bush walk or a walk through the township and along the beach. Perhaps visit the Department of Conservation museum. In the evening, enjoy fresh local seafood at the hotel restaurant. Relax and enjoy the quiet pace of island life.
Fishing Excursion: Morning boat trip with local island fisherman. Enjoy viewing marine life, including blue penguins, seals and molymawks ( of the albatross family). Learn some of the history of the area. Try your hand at fishing for Blue Cod – the local staple – a sweet, succulent, white flesh fish.Visit the nature reserve of Ulva Island to enjoy the native bush which is alive with native birdsong. In the afternoon, fly back to Geordie Hill via the very beautiful Catlins coastline. Here there are numerous deserted beaches and cliffs, plus farm and forest land. Be sure to deliver your catch of the day to your host when you get home, so a delicious appetiser can be prepared for dinner.
A day out in the city of Dunedin: Built around a natural harbour, and on the back of a gold-rush, Dunedin was one of the first cities to be established in New Zealand. It offers interesting architecture, a highly regarded historic museum, botanic gardens, excellent shopping, and also some marine life.Various tracks south east from Geordie Hill take you over mountain ranges and wide river valleys.View an open cast gold mine from above, and track up the Dunedin harbour and over the city. Or track over rock lands or follow lake Marhingarangi to approach from the south. Enjoy either being guided, or spend some free time exploring. Today is when you get your slice of real Kiwi city life.
Alternative options day: Join the Geordie Hill Station program and watch shepherds shifting stock with their dogs. Learn more about our farming systems and infrastructure. Join the staff for morning tea before heading out to explore your choice of local attractions. (Use of a station vehicle – car or 4wd is included)
Local attractions include: gliding at world renown Omarama. Visiting local boutique shops at Tarras. Visit some of the many local vineyards or visit the townships of Cromwell or Wanaka. Spend the day hiking around Wanaka, or to the Rob Roy Glacier in Mt Aspiring National Park. Another option can be to simply remain at Geordie Hill and enjoy a quiet day at the Station.
Evening Dinner: a delicious menu with selected wines prepared just for you, to enjoy at leisure in your cottage.
Explore the dramatic Glenorchy region and get ready for the Dart River Jet Boat excursion. This day can begin by flying to an interesting local airstrip or two. Perhaps visit St Bathans, an old gold mining town still much in its original state. At Glenorchy, there is time for a brief lunch before joining the Dart River Jet experience. This is a mighty river and mountain experience. The jet boat is a NZ invention, able to travel in very shallow or swift flowing water. The spectacular scenery in this region is popular with the film industry. Return to Geordie Hill via scenic Shotover or Motutapu River valleys. Or climb in a northerly direction to catch the magnificent views down river valleys as you descend eastwards over Wanaka. As you make your way back to Geordie Hill, you will now recognise the surrounding countryside, and feel like you are on your way home.
Mt Cook Region and Glaciers: Explore this most dramatic area with its razor sharp ridges and steep sided valleys, carved from years of glacial activity.View the ice fields that supply cascading glaciers, which in turn feed a variety of lakes and river systems. At over 12,000′ Mt Cook and surrounds are made all the more spectacular because only 20 nm to the West is the shoreline of the Tasman Sea.
Fly back via the long and winding Landsbourgh river valley. Visit Haast or Makarora village for a break. Land on some interesting backcountry strips: Minaret or the Dingleburn airstrips- both remote high country properties. And closer to home, land on some local Tarras strips. Today is filled with a wonderful variety of scenery.
The last day of your tour can be full of surprises …. so if at all possible keep this day free! Use the morning to see a little more of Geordie Hill and station life. Or perhaps do some extra strip flying and test your skills on one or two more challenging local strips. If during the week, weather has caused a postponement to any destination, today is our chance to go there. Also today we provide you with a detailed flight log and invoice. Once all plans have been accomplished, we say farewell to Geordie Hill and fly to Queenstown.
You will have the most flexibility with this day if you are able to stay the night in Queenstown. The next best option is to book your flight from Queenstown as late in the day as possible.