NEW ZEALAND TRAILS
New Zealand is a little country that packs a massive punch, with scenery off the scale! From the waterfront city of Auckland to the spectacular Southern Alps, New Zealand is blessed with an array of natural wonders.
- Explore the beautiful city of Auckland and picturesque Christchurch
- Tongairo Crossing and other exciting walks
- Lake Taupo and Rotorua Abel Tasman
- Fox Glacier and Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park
- Queenstown and Milford Sound
AT A GLANCE
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN AUCKLAND
Free Day to Explore Auckland
The day is free to relax and recover from the jet lag. Auckland is a beautiful city and worthy of some time to explore. The nearby Viaduct restaurants are an ideal means of overcoming the last of the jet lag and the day just slowly passes by. If you are feeling lucky visit the Sky City Casino tower for one of those lunches you just don’t forget. Return to Auckland City Hotel at 6:00 pm to meet the group and for a full briefing with your leader.
DAY 2: VISIT RANGITOTO ISLAND AND WALK THROUGH LAVA FIELDS AND FORESTS
Cruise the Gulf of Rangitoto Island
Auckland is the City of Sails, so what better way to start your holiday than to take a cruise across the Gulf to the beautiful Rangitoto Island; which at only 600 years old, is the youngest volcano in New Zealand. The island has undergone a significant restoration programme and is entirely pest-free which encourages the native flora and fauna to thrive.
|Tour: Cruise the Gulf of Rangitoto Island|
Hike: Rangitoto Island Hike
|Rangitoto Island Hike|
|Distance: 8.5 km/5 miles Total Ascent: 249m Total Descent: 245m Time: Approx. 2-3 hours|
We will walk through lava fields and forests to the summit of the island which stands 259m above sea level and has some stunning panoramic views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf.
DAY 3: VENTURE TO ROTORUA AND MEET WITH OUR MAORI HOSTS
Redwood Forest and Blue Lake
Leaving the city behind us we head south to Rotorua (approx. 3.5 hours drive) and our accommodation. On arrival, we stretch our legs with a hike around the redwood forest followed by an optional afternoon at leisure in town or a hike at Blue Lake.
Traditional Marae Visit
The evening highlight is the Marae (ceremonial ground) visit. Our Maori hosts welcome us in their traditional manner before entertaining us with a concert and hangi (traditional meal).
|Tour: Traditional Marae Visit|
Hike: Blue Lakes Circuit
Meals: B, D
|Blue Lakes Circuit|
|Distance: 6 km/3.7 miles Total Ascent: 125m Total Descent: 117m Time: Approx. 1.5 hours|
DAY 4: IN SEDAY 4: ARRIVE TO TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK, BOILING MUD POOLS, HOT STREAMS AND SILICA TERRACESARCH OF GORILLAS
Geothermal Valley and Impressive Huka Fall
We explore one of New Zealand’s most colourful thermal areas with boiling mud pools, hot streams and silica terraces. The natural wonders that first attracted the Maori in the 14th century, and later the European’s, still draw large numbers of tourists every year. Rotorua is a unique natural wonder and a must-see destination. Leaving Rotorua we drive south (approx. 3 hours) to Tongariro National Park. On the way we visit the steaming Wai-O-Tapu geothermal valley and impressive Huka Falls.
|Tour: Geothermal Valley and Impressive Huka Fall|
|Distance: 8.5 km/5 miles Total Ascent: 109m Total Descent: 152m Time: Approx. 3 hours|
DAY 5: EXPLORE TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING AND VOLCANIC LANDFORMS
Explore Tongariro National Park
From the many walking options that exist, you are free to take your choice as we explore this volcanic landform. Two half-day walks to beautiful waterfalls and bushlands (unguided) or the amazing optional 8 hour Tongariro Alpine Crossing are on offer. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing has been called one of the greatest one-day walks in New Zealand and provided the weather is kind the rugged volcanic desert, craters and glacial valleys combined with the incredible views make this a day to remember.
|Tour: Explore Tongariro National Park|
Hike: Tongariro Crossing
|Distance: 19.4 km/12 miles Total Ascent 765m Total Descent 1125m Time: Approx. 7-8 hours|
The crossing should not be underestimated and there are a number of steep sections where the loose surface can make it tough going, so come well-prepared. The crossing can take 7-8 hours depending on walking ability.
If you do not wish to do the optional Tongariro Crossing, below are two of the most popular and scenic walk options accessible by foot from the accommodation that you may wish to consider. Your leader will also be able to advise locally with further details/options.
Additional Options For Day 5
Silica Rapids (Unguided)
Distance: 7 km loop/4.3 miles
Total Ascent: 190m
Total Descent 190m
Time: Approx. 2.5 hours
Taranaki Falls (Unguided)
Distance: 6 km loop/3.7 miles
Total Ascent: 115m
Total Descent: 115m
Time: Approx. 2.5 hours
DAY 6: ENJOY THE EXCITING CAPITAL CITY OF WELLINGTON
Botanic Gardens and Cable Cars
Relax following yesterday’s efforts as we drive (approx. 5 hours) south to Wellington. Continue across the Rangitikei and Manawatu Plains and down the Kapiti Coast to Wellington. Across from our hotel is Te Papa, the NZ National Museum which we can explore in the afternoon along with the beautiful Botanic Gardens and cable car and enjoy the exciting nightlife of our capital city.
|Tour: Botanic Gardens and Cable Cars|
DAY 7: FERRY ACROSS COOK STRAIT TO MARLBOROUGH; DRIVE TO ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK
After an early breakfast, we board the ferry and leave the North Island behind as we cross the Cook Strait, passing the Marlborough Sounds with 1500kms of beautiful coastline. From Picton, we have a 90 min drive to Nelson where we take the time out exploring the city – or an optional visit to the amazing Wearable Arts Museum. After this visit, we drive to Motueka (approx 60 min) on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park, with its idyllic golden sand beaches and forests.
|Activity: Game Drives|
Accommodation: Asilia Sayari Camp – Luxury Tented Suite
Meals: B, L, D
|Geographical centre of New Zealand|
|Distance: 1.6 km/1 mile Total Ascent: 86m Total Descent: 90m Time: Approx. 1 hour|
DAY 8: BEAUTIFUL COASTAL WALK TO ANCHORAGE BAY– BOAT TO MOTUEKA
Beautiful Beaches and Ancient Forests
Out of Marahau, this morning’s coastal walk takes us through the beautiful beaches and ancient forests as the track weaves through the park, providing a kaleidoscope of impressions. The path is well maintained and the walk will take approx 3-4 hours.
We meet our sailing boat at the Anchorage Bay, providing the return to Marahau and some time to relax dining out at the small town of Motueka.
|Transportation: Sail Boat to Motueka|
Hike: Marahau to Anchorage
Meals: B, L
|Marahau to Anchorage|
|Distance- 12.7 km/8 miles Total Ascent: 217m Total Descent: 214m Time: Approx. 3-4 hours|
DAY 9: BULLER RIVER – SUNSET WALK AT PUNAKAIKI
Seals and Pancake Rocks
Our departure from the Abel Tasman National Park is followed by a scenic drive down the mighty Buller River. After a short stop at Cape Foulwind to see the local seal colony, we then stop at Punakaiki, home of the famous Pancake Rocks, to watch the setting sun (total driving time approx. 5 hours). If the tide is up the ground can physically shake and water spurts from the blow-holes and fissures that dot the coastline.
Located in the Great Rift Valley that stretches across East Africa, Olduvai Gorge is an important archaeological site of early human occupation. Excavation and research programs here have helped to further understanding of the history of mankind.
|Tour: Seals and Pancake Rocks|
Hike: Cape Foulwind
|Distance: 3.5 km/2 miles Total Ascent: 76m Total Descent: 98m Time: Approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes|
DAY 10: COASTAL DRIVE TO OKARITO SEEKING ABUNDANT BIRDLIFE AND THE LAGOON
Explore Bush-Clad Waterways by Kayak
Passing through areas of lush forests, we continue south down the beautiful west coast. We drive onto the small village of Okarito nestled on the lagoon, home of the rare Kotuku (white heron). On offer here is optional kayaking where we float in on the incoming tide and explore the bush-clad waterways seeking out the abundant birdlife the lagoon is famous for.
Those looking to stretch their legs can hike to the nearby Trig station (approx. 1.5 hours) for the spectacular views over the Southern Alps. Later we continue the short drive through to Fox township.
|Tour: Explore Bush-Clad Waterways by Kayak|
Hike: Okarito Trig Walk
|Distance: 4.2 km/2.6 miles Total Ascent: 171m Total Descent: 170m Time: Approx. 1.5- 2 hours|
DAY 11: LAKE MATHESON AND FOX GLACIER, A PHOTOGRAPHER’S DREAM
After breakfast we stroll around the reflective Lake Matheson, a photographer’s dream. As an optional extra (weather permitting), you can take a helicopter ride over the glaciers that lace the Southern Alps. As we head out of town, we take a drive up the valley and hike to a viewpoint of the spectacular Fox Glacier.
We then continue south along bush-clad roads and past the dramatic coastline with its wild windswept beaches to the settlement of Haast. Turning inland we climb over Haast Pass, the southernmost crossing of the Southern Alps that forms the boundary between Westland and Otago. From here the tussock lands of the eastern slopes merge with the beech forests. We travel through to Wanaka, home for the next two nights.
|Hike: Lake Matheson Loop|
Hike: Fox Glacier Valley Walkway
|Lake Matheson Loop|
|Distance: 2.6 km/1.6 miles Total Ascent: 42m Total Descent: 42m Time: Approx. 1.5 hours|
|Fox Glacier Valley Walkway|
|Distance- 2.6 km/1.6 miles Total Ascent: 68m Total Descent 69m Time: Approx. 1 hour|
DAY 12: EXPLORE MOUNT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK
Take a Jet boat in Matukitiki
In the morning we head into the Mount Aspiring National Park and experience an exciting jet boat ride along the braided rivers leading into the park. Jet boating was invented in NZ as a means to negotiate the shallow braided rivers which we use to access a track leading to a hike into the cirque surrounded by huge mountain walls. Back at our coach we eat our picnic lunch before driving onto our 3 hr hike at the beautiful Diamond Lake that provides stunning views of the river delta and the landscape.
|Tour: Take a Jet boat in Matukitiki|
Hike: Matukituki Valley (walk during Jet boat)
Hike: Diamond Lake & Rocky Mountain Circuit
|Matukituki Valley (walk during Jet boat)|
Accommodation: Nungwi Dreams Hotel – Beachfront Room
Meals: B, L, D
|Diamond Lake & Rocky Mountain Circuit|
|Distance: Up to 7.1 km/4.4 miles Total Ascent: 437m Total Descent: 432m TIme: Approx. 2-3 hours|
DAY 13: SPECTACULAR MILFORD REGION AND STAY AMIDST DOLPHINS AND MIGHTY PEAKS
Float Along Milford Sound
From Wanaka we depart early heading for Te Anau and then into the Eglington Valley through to the start of the Routeburn Track. At the saddle we take a 2-hour walk to Key Summit from for some spectacular views. We continue further into the spectacular mountains of the Milford region and then into Milford Sound itself where we join our floating accommodation for the night. The newly refurbished boat has private two bed cabins with shared facilities. We set sail amidst dolphins and mighty peaks towering above the fjord.
|Tour: Float Along Milford Sound|
Hike: Short Walk Options on Milford Road
Meals: B, D
|Short Walk Options on Milford Road|
|Distance: Up to 2 kms Time: Up to 1 hour Depending on group fitness, weather, and time permitting.|
DAY 14: CRUISE INNER SOUND – DRIVE TO QUEENSTOWN
Dolphins, seals, and a Stunning Rainforest
After an early morning breakfast we cruise the inner sound again searching for dolphins and seals before disembarking and retracing our tracks to Te Anau and then a stunning lakeside hike (approx. 5km) through the rainforest. After this hike we drive (approx. 3 hours) onto Queenstown and our next two nights are spent here.
|Tour: Dolphins, seals, and a Stunning Rainforest|
Hike: Routeburn Track
|Distance: 6.8 km/4.2 miles Total Ascent: 430m Total Descent: 413m Time: Approx. 3 hours|
DAY 15: FREE DAY IN QUEENSTOWN
A free day to enjoy the scenic delights of this world-famous destination, home of the famous bungee jump! Optional activities include a 4×4 drive into the remote Skippers Canyon; a visit to the historic gold mining centre of Arrowtown; a cruise aboard the historic steamship to Walter Peak sheep station; paragliding or bungee jumping! Then again, you may just prefer to simply spend the day shopping or relaxing.
DAY 16: MT. COOK NATIONAL PARK – TREK IN HOOKER VALLEY
Travel through the barren Kawarau Gorge where large amounts of gold were dredged at the turn of the century. Drive over Lindis Pass to the tussock-covered plains of the Mackenzie basin and into the Mt Cook National Park (total approx. 4 hours). Beneath NZ’s highest peak we walk into the Hooker Valley with its crashing glaciers and glacial lakes. By early evening we reach our motel and watch the spectacular view from the warmth of the restaurant.
|Hike: Hooker Valley|
|Distance: 10.5 km/6.5 miles Total Ascent: 209m Total Descent: 218m Time: Approx. 3 hours|
DAY 17: DRIVE TO CHRISTCHURCH VIA CANTERBURY PLAINS
Free Day to Explore Christchurch
After breakfast, we drive to Christchurch via the Canterbury Plains. After the devastating earthquakes of 2010/11, Christchurch is undergoing a major rebuild, unrivaled in the world. The afternoon is free for you to explore this city as well as the beautiful gardens and Hagley park before we have a final group dinner.
DAY 18: END IN CHRISTCHURCH
You can depart anytime today, as the tour ends today in Christchurch.
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