Here is an overview of our upcoming adventures in New Zealand.
We are flying from Charlottesville to Charlotte, then to LA. Then a direct flight to Auckland. One last leg will get us to Queenstown on the South Island. That's 24 hours of flying time (30 hours flying+layovers).
Less than 24 hours after landing we will begin the Milford Track, a 4-day, 3-night backpacking trip with hut camping.
Then we will spend three days in Queenstown while our fearless leader solo tramps through the bush. The tentative schedule is first a day of recovery, laundry, and walking around town. I will definitely be visiting the Kiwi Birdlife Park.
The second day in Queenstown will be our 'adventure day,' consisting of jet boating, bungy jumping, via ferrata, or canyoning, to name a few. I just have not decided what I will be doing yet, but Tom wants to go jet boating. The last day will be a quick drive to Arrowtown to explore an old gold mining town with an old Chinese settlement.
The next leg of our trip, after a 5.5 hour drive north will be two days of glacier trekking in Franz Joseph, the worlds steepest and fastest flowing commercially guided glacier. We will hike up to the face of the glacier and explore the ice with crampons.
Lake Matheson is also in the plans.
Then we will drive 4 hours north and then east to Arthur's Pass region and (the next day) out-and-back day-hike Avalanche Peak. This will be one of the most scenic hikes, and the steepest at 3600' up in 2 miles (that's a 34% grade!).
Then we will drive 3.5 hours east and then north to hike the Kaikoura Coast Track, a three-day backpacking trip through private farms. We will be staying at farm homes along the way and our stuff will be shuttled for us! So it's not really backpacking, but a series of day hiking adventures. Minimal elevation change compared to previous hikes.
This is just the first half! More info to come!