Packraft New Zealand’s Fiordlands

Get off the beaten track for a paddling and hiking adventure in the famous Fiordlands. 4 days, 3 nights.

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REF: 08781

Packraft New Zealand’s Fiordlands

Get off the beaten track for a paddling and hiking adventure in the famous Fiordlands. 4 days, 3 nights.

  • New Zealand
  • Queenstown International Airport, Queenstown International (ZQN)

Explore some of New Zealand’s most remote and spectacular wilderness by land and water. You’ll paddle the lakes and rivers of Fiordlands in one-person packrafts, then collapse the boats to trek overland to the next body of water, gaining access to places seldom seen by tourists. Your hassle-free adventure includes:

  • 3 days of packrafting
  • 3 nights of accommodation in tents or huts
  • Professional, local packrafting guides
  • All packrafting equipment
  • Most meals
  • All backcountry fees
  • Airport transfers

Perfect for:
This is a unique and adventurous getaway for active travelers who want to experience one of the most beautiful wildernesses in New Zealand. A moderate level of fitness is required, as well as swimming ability and confidence around water.

What to Expect

Day 1: Arrival and briefing

Your host will pick you up from the airport in Queenstown and drive you to the southern lakeside town of Te Anau (2 hours).

Set up your tent at a campsite in town, then meet with your group to discuss—and get excited for—the adventure.

No meals included

Day 2: Waiau River and Manapouri Lake paddling

Grab coffee in town then head out to the start of the Waiau River where it leaves Lake Te Anau.

Spend the morning paddling the calm upper reaches of the river while getting used to your nimble packraft.

After lunch on the banks of the river you’ll finish paddling down the river to Lake Manapouri, negotiating some fun, easy rapids on the way.

You’ll camp on the shores of a secluded shallow bay. Explore the beach, hang out around the campfire, or take a swim before settling down for dinner and a night under the stars.

22km of river paddling, max 3km of hiking

Lunch and dinner provided

Day 3: Lake Manapouri paddling and Monument Track hike

Wake up in paradise then paddle across the reaches of Lake Manapouri through a landscape of open water, forested islands, and deserted beaches.

Several times along the way you’ll pack up your boat and hike overland to access the next bit of water.

In the afternoon you’ll tackle the Monument Track, a short but steep hike with excellent views from the top.

Finish the day with a paddle to Hope Arm where you’ll stay in either a tent or a hut.

10km of lake paddling, 3km of hiking

All meals included

Day 4: Manapouri hike and departure

Pack up your raft and hike overland towards the town of Manapouri on forested trails. Pull out your packrafts one last time to cross a river, then you’re done!

Transfer back to Queenstown to catch your flight home or extend your stay with a night in the adventure capital of the world.

Minimal paddling, 10 - 12km of hiking

Breakfast included

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, water levels, special events, etc.

Accommodation

On your first night you’ll stay at a campsite in Te Anau. The campsite has basic facilities and is located within walking distance of all of Te Anau’s restaurants for dinner and breakfast.

On the packrafting trip you’ll wildcamp in isolated, remote setting—truly a New Zealand wilderness experience. There’s a chance you might stay in a hut on Sunday night, in which case you’d sleep in shared dorms with bunk beds.

Dates & Prices

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

Sorry, no group trips are currently planned, get a quote.

Sorry, no private trips are currently available for this product. Try a group trip or ask for a quote.

Prices include

  • Accommodation
  • Airport Transfers
  • Equipment
  • Guide
  • Local Transport
  • Meals As Described

Trip Photos

Location

View map

The Fiordlands region of New Zealand contains some of the wildest and most scenic landscapes in the country. Glacially carved valleys cut through snow-capped mountain ranges, and wide, rushing rivers flow along the valley bottoms. Fiordlands is one of the wettest regions in the world (1200 - 8000mm of rain annually), so temperate forests of beech and ferns thrive in the valleys. The rugged landscape means there are few people and even fewer roads, making it perfect for packrafting.

The Waiau River is the largest river on the South Island, connecting lakes Te Anau and Manapouri with a 10km stretch of flat and white water, then continuing to the Tasman Sea. Green forest frames the glacier-blue water making for a particularly scenic bit of paddling.

Lake Manapouri is one of the largest and deepest (444m) lakes in Fiordlands, and is home to 33 islands and countless beaches. According to Maori legend the lake was formed from the tears of two sisters. The name means “Sorrowful Heart.”

Start point?
You will be picked up at the Queenstown airport on Friday. Please schedule your flight to arrive by 13:30. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Finish point?
You will be dropped off at the Queenstown airport Monday evening. You’re free to book any flight that departs after 18:00. You also have the option of ending your trip in the Queenstown city centre if you want to extend your stay. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Getting there and away?
Queenstown Airport (ZQN) is served by frequent, inexpensive flights year round, including direct flights from Sydney on Virgin Australian and from Melbourne on JetStar. You can get any flights that suit you, but make sure they fit the times above so you can take advantage of the included transfers. We will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances such as erupting Icelandic volcanoes, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Flights to/from New Zealand
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance that covers river sports
  • Tips for your guide (optional)

This trip will run with a minimum of 3 people, and a maximum of 6. Please note, if there are not 3 people booked the trip may be rearranged or cancelled.

Sure can! A lot of people do, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

New Zealand cuisine is similar to British and Australian cuisine. Being an island nation, the food is generally seasonal, local and fresh. Common foods include fish and chips, roast lamb and mutton, scones and meat pies. Ice cream is a very popular and inexpensive treat.

The packrafting trip is truly a wilderness experience, so you’ll be dining on typical backpacking foods like freeze-dried meals.

Absolutely! Just let us know at booking.

Packrafting is a combination of paddling in light, inflatable, 1-person boats, then packing them up and hiking with them to access a new lake or stream. Originating from wilderness travel in Alaska, packrafting is a bit of a niche sport but is gaining popularity fast in areas with lots of adjacent waterways.

The entire paddling kit (raft, paddle, PFD and helmet) weighs under 5kg and packs down small so it’s easy to carry. Still, packrafts are very capable boats for river and lake sports. They are durable, stable and easy to paddle.

This adventure will involve paddling for up for 4 hours at a time, and hiking with a full pack (15 – 20kg) for up to 4 hours at a time. No matter how active you are, you’ll be sore at the end, but that’s part of the experience! You can prepare for the trip by walking with a pack for a few hours a day in the weeks leading up to your departure.

You also need to be confidant around water. The packrafts are stable and you’ll have a PFD (personal flotation device), but you still must be able to swim. Some paddling experience is recommended but not required. This trip is suitable for first-time packrafters.

The Fiordlands region of the South Island is known for its changeable and unpredictable weather. You can get sun, rain, snow—or even all three—in the space of a single day, but that’s just part of the adventure.

During summer months the daytime temperatures average 20 °C and cool off considerably at night. Winter, though cooler, is also more stable. The best way to deal with the climate is to bring lots of layers and a good attitude! No matter what the weather brings, you’re sure to have an amazing experience.

Tents are provided if you end up camping. All packrafting equipment is supplied by your host, including:

  • 2mm or 3mm wetsuit
  • Personal flotation device (PFD)
  • Helmet
  • Paddle
  • Alpacka packraft
  • Spray top
  • Dry bag
  • Waterproof backpack liner

Your host will send you a full packing list after you book. Here are the basics to get you started. Items marked with * are available to rent:

  • Sturdy, broken-in hiking shoes or boots
  • Comfortable, breathable shirts and trousers
  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses and sunblock)
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Warm jacket
  • Warm hat and light gloves
  • Water bottle
  • Swimsuit
  • 65 – 70L backpack*
  • Sleeping bag*
  • Sleeping pad*
  • Head torch

Start point?
You will be picked up at the Queenstown airport on Friday. Please schedule your flight to arrive by 13:30. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Finish point?
You will be dropped off at the Queenstown airport Monday evening. You’re free to book any flight that departs after 18:00. You also have the option of ending your trip in the Queenstown city centre if you want to extend your stay. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalise details.

Getting there and away?
Queenstown Airport (ZQN) is served by frequent, inexpensive flights year round, including direct flights from Sydney on Virgin Australian and from Melbourne on JetStar. You can get any flights that suit you, but make sure they fit the times above so you can take advantage of the included transfers. We will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances such as erupting Icelandic volcanoes, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.


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