Hiking Tour - New Zealand Uncut - 20 Day
Auckland - Christchurch:
The complete experience! Both islands explored as you weave your way through the country on this New Zealand Hiking Tour that has been carefully designed to maximise your time in the wilderness yet still take in iconic destinations. A well balanced mix of accommodation from wilderness campsites to eco lodges. A range of activities including white water rafting, sea kayaking, glacier walking and mountain biking complement the hikes superbly and keep this tour as diverse and exciting as the landscapes we explore!
NZ Uncut Highlights
- This New Zealand adventure travel tour caters for people who want to see "the real New Zealand".
- This is adventure travel into some of New Zealand's most spectacular wilderness areas.
- At the end of the day, you stay in a quality Bed & Breakfast style accommodation.
- Minimum 3, maximum 11 people
Tour Grading: C
- Average 4-5 hours physical activity per day, up to 8-9 hours on longer days.
- Pack weights of mainly 5-6kgs; some overnight hikes involve alpine hiking, uneven terrain and carrying a backpack of 10-12kgs. (Overnight hikes: Whirinaki, Tongariro and Mt Aspiring)
- Altitude gains of up to 800m.
- Some uneven track surfaces and river crossings.
- No hiking experience necessary.
- Agility and fitness required.
- You need to be reasonably fit and enthusiastic.
- Terrain mostly tracks. Some may be slippery or rough; some off-track hiking and river crossings.
Guides and Safety
An excellent guide can make the difference between a trip of a lifetime and just an ordinary trip. That is why we work hard to make sure we hire the best guides. Our handpicked professionals come from a range of backgrounds. Each has extensive outdoor and hiking experience and a passion for New Zealand's wild and beautiful backcountry. Our guides will ensure that your time with us is truly inspiring, a huge amount of fun and safe. All guides are trained in Mountain Safety First Aid. Please be gentle with your guide - good guides are hard to find!
You will travel in a 10 or 12 seat minibus towing a trailer with camp equipment and your luggage. All vehicles have a public address system, and a stereo with a variety of music. It is also equipped with a range of natural history reference books. The average driving timeper day is around 2-3 hours and there will be a range of roads - sealed and unsealed. The guide will often stop the vehicle for you to take photos.
A lot of the meals are included on this tour, but when staying in the larger towns we let you do your own thing and try some of the excellent local restaurants. The meals we cook and prepare ourselves will be healthy and wholesome and include a lot of fresh produce. You may be asked to help the guide with preparation or washing up, don't let this put you off though, it is part of our philosophy to get everyone involved. We believe this makes the whole experience more fun and rewarding. The trailers we tow are customised with a fold down table and cooking area, great for preparing picnics at all those secret places we will take you. Breakfast is usually continental style but don't be surprised if you wake up to the smell of fresh pancakes! When you go on an overnight hike the group will carry a portable stove.
The New Zealand Uncut tour uses a range of accommodation: on the overnight hikes we either stay in huts or tents. The rest of the time we stay in comfortable and clean lodges and cabins. Generally rooms are twin share, if you are travelling on your own there may be occasions where you are in a triple share room with fellow travellers of the same gender.
We have high quality hiking equipment which you can hire for our Hiking Safaris. Please arrange hire gear when you book. Requests for hire equipment must be made at least 5 days before the departure date. Cancellation of gear hire must also occur at least 5 days in advance or no refund will be given.
20 day trip (NZ$)
Backpack (60 litre)
Thermal top & longjohns
Full set (all of above)
|(L) Limited availability(C) Closed|
|Start: Auckland 7am (Monday)Finish: Christchurch approx 5-7pm (Friday )|
|Cost per person|
|1 Nov 12 - 30 Apr 13||NZ$5,200|
|1 Nov 13 - 30 Apr 14||To be advised|
NZ Uncut Hiking Tour Itinerary
We recommend staying one or more nights in Auckland or Christchurch accommodation at the beginning or end of your walk, so you can explore some of the many attractions of these places.
Day 1 Auckland - Coromandel 2 hours hiking / 4 hours kayaking
Drive south to Thames at the base of the Coromandel Peninsular. Here we stock up with food and supplies before driving north along this idyllic pohutukawa (NZ Christmas tree) coast. We explore a kauri forest grove before crossing over the ranges to the east coast. Picnic lunch at Hot Water Beach before an afternoon sea kayak ($89) or hike along the beautiful Cathedral Cove coast. Late afternoon we drive south to our accommodation. Evening stroll along an open ocean beach. L, D
Day 2 Coromandel - Rotorua 1 hour rafting / 1 hour hiking
Driving south we stop to clamber down to one of the beautiful Pacific coast beaches for a swim before heading inland to Rotorua. Picnic lunch and a walk beside the thundering Kaituna River (optional 1 hour raft trip NZ$99 for the wild at heart). An afternoon explore through one of the incredible thermal areas near Rotorua. Stay at lodge accommodation nearby. BLD
Day 3 Rotorua - Whirinaki 5 hours hiking
We drive east through the huge Kaingaroa forests to the Whirinaki Forest. Pack up kit for the 2-day hike through this Jurassic-like rainforest. Splash through streams and soak up pure wilderness. We overnight at a hut/camp. Sit around a campfire and later fall asleep to the sounds of the river. B, L, D
Day 4 Whirinaki - Tongariro 5 hours hiking
Second day of the hike. Follow alongside the beautiful Whirinaki River. Great bird life, including the rare blue duck. We are met at the road end on the far side of the park. On our drive towards Taupo there's time to have a dip in a natural hot river, look at Huka Falls before relaxing in the lodge near Tongariro National Park. B, L, D
Day 5 Tongariro 5 hours hiking
After being dropped off we hike through waving tussock-grasslands between the volcanoes to a hut set in an enclave of native beech forest. After lunch we traverse across stony deserts to an alpine hut at 1400m perched on the edge of an old lava flow. From this hut we get fantastic views of the three main peaks in the park. It's an extraordinary landscape of active volcanoes and lava valleys. B, L, D
Day 6 Tongariro 6-8 hours hiking
We hike up through a moon-like valley of contorted lava flows and ash fields before climbing up a steep section to the emerald lakes, our usual lunch stop. We cross the volcanic plateau, which boasts lava valleys and steaming explosion craters, before descending on the western side. In good conditions, there is an option to climb one of the volcanic peaks. An evening drive takes us to a lodge beside the park with great views of the volcanoes. Enjoy a beer and meal out in the alpine village. B, L
Day 7 Tongariro - Wellington
Morning drive to Wellington, arrive early afternoon, free time to enjoy walking around this stylish and fascinating harbour capital. B, L
Day 8 Wellington - Abel Tasman
Depending on final arrangements, group are met by our South Island based guide at either the Picton Ferry terminal or the nearby airport at Koromiko. Travel from here through to Nelson and on to Kaiteriteri. This picturesque beachside village is the gateway into Abel Tasman National Park. Board a water taxi here for a 30 minute ride into one of the most beautiful campsites in the park, Onetahuti. On arrival tents are set up and there is time for a wander along the beach, or a swim before enjoying dinner prepared by your guide. L, D
Day 9 Abel Tasman - Nelson Lakes 1.5 hours hiking, 3 hours kayaking
Start the day with a 1.5hr walk along the Abel Tasman coastal track to Bark Bay; sea kayaks and a local guide meet us there for a paddle exploring the bays and coast back to Anchorage. From Anchorage board the water taxi once more for the return journey to Kaiteriteri. Kayaking is optional, should you prefer to hike instead. Drive to St Arnaud village, situated on the shores of Lake Rotoiti with a dramatic backdrop of mountains and Nelson Lakes National Park. B, L, D
Day 10 Nelson Lakes - Hanmer Springs 5 hours hiking
We start the day with an optional pre-breakfast walk around the Rotoiti Mainland Island reserve. Intensive pest eradication schemes are in place in this area of beech forest in an effort to restore native bird populations to a pre-European state. After breakfast we take a short drive up on to the Robert Range to start our hike. From the car park the track climbs steadily on to the crest of the Robert Range. Wide expansive views of mountains and lakes are the reward for the climb. We have lunch at Bushline Hut, which is perched on a grassy ledge high above Lake Rotoiti. Return to the vehicle via a different track and then drive over the Southern Alps at Lewis Pass to Hanmer Springs thermal resort. After an active day, a soak in the renowned hot pools here will be the perfect end to the day. B, L
Day 11 Hanmer Springs - Flock Hill 5 hours hiking or biking
Today there is the option of hiring a mountain bike (NZ$49) and exploring the trails that wind their way through the park-like setting of exotic forest species. Alternatively take a hike up Mt Isobel, the nearby mountain, which dominates the skyline behind the village. Relaxing in one of the local cafes and taking another dip in the hot pools are also options today. At midday we depart and drive south, an organic brewery and café is the lunch stop. Try some excellent locally brewed beers with lunch before continuing across the Canterbury Plains and foothills to Flock Hill Station, a large sheep and cattle farm set in the Canterbury high country. After dinner there is the option of joining the guide for a short drive to nearby Lake Pearson, excellent photo opportunities to capture the pristine reflections of the Southern Alps in the lake. Return to the station accommodation. B, D
Day 12 Flock Hill - Hokitika 4-5 hours hiking
A morning hike up nearby Bealey Spur where we enjoy brunch at an old ‘Musterers Hut'. The hike offers excellent views looking up the wide braided river bed of the Waimakariri River to the Southern Alps. The vegetation ranges from mature beech forest, regenerating manuka (Tea Tree), and sub alpine clearings dotted with tarns (small alpine lakes). Back in the vehicle we pass through the small alpine village of Arthur's Pass before crossing back over the Southern Alps and descending through lush native forests to the coastal plains of the West Coast. The night is spent at Hokitika, a once thriving gold mining town in the 1860's, today the town is a little more relaxed but with plenty of charm. In true "kiwi style" tonight's dinner is a meal of fish and chips (optional), on the beach, watching the sun go down over the Tasman Sea. B, L
Day 13 Hokitika - Haast 4 hours glacier hiking
Drive down the coast this morning to Franz Josef Glacier, one of the few places in the world where you can see glaciers descending right down into rainforest. Here you have the option of taking a half-day guided hike (NZ$123) up on the glacier. Local guides fit you out with special crampons that fix to your boots giving you extra traction on the ice. After the hike enjoy the world class scenery as we drive south through South Westland World Heritage Area. Final destination for the day is the village of Haast with a stop at Ship Creek, a coastal walkway where Hector's Dolphins (world's smallest marine dolphin) are often spotted playing in the surf. B, L, D
Day 14 Haast - Aspiring Hut 3 hours hiking
Crossing the Southern Alps for a third and final time today at Haast Pass takes us into a markedly different landscape. Lush rainforests give way to high mountain peaks and vast glacially formed lakes and valleys. A stop in the resort town of Wanaka gives you time to wander around and enjoy the awe-inspiring vistas before we head off on an overnight hike into Mt Aspiring National Park, part of the South Westland World Heritage Area. Our afternoon hike follows the wide valley floor of the Matukituki River to Aspiring Hut. This large stone hut offers comfortable yet basic accommodation in incredible surroundings. For those that prefer camping there is a sheltered campsite nearby. B, L, D
Day 15 Aspiring Hut - Queenstown 5 hours hiking
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in this majestic mountain setting, before a hike up a side valley to view the Rob Roy Glacier. On return to the vehicle the drive takes us over the Crown Range, we stop off for a drink at the historic drover's hotel at Cardrona and arrive into Queenstown late afternoon. B, L
Day 16 Queenstown (optional Milford day trip)
Today is either a free day in Queenstown or you may want to use this day to visit Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Your guide can arrange coach and cruise or fly and cruise options. If staying in Queenstown there will be plenty of adventure activities to keep you entertained. Your guide is happy to advise and organise these on your behalf.
Day 17 Free day or Ben Lomond hike 6-8 hours hiking
A free day to take advantage of all the adventure activities available in Queenstown, or join the guide for a day hike to the summit of Ben Lomond, which overlooks Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.
Day 18 Queenstown - Aoraki/Mt Cook 4 hours hiking
Leave Queenstown and drive through the MacKenzie country and on to Aoraki/Mt Cook. Arriving at Mt Cook Village at midday gives us the whole afternoon to hike up to Sealy Tarns, and for the more energetic, on to the crest of Mueller Ridge. An alternative easier but no less spectacular walk is also available up the Hooker Valley to view the Hooker Glacier. Both hikes afford amazing views of New Zealand's tallest mountain, Aoraki at 3754 metres. B, L, D
Day 19 Mt Cook - Peel Forest 3 hours rafting
We continue north today through the MacKenzie Country and on to Peel Forest, a small farming settlement near the banks of the Rangitata River. The Rangitata is an iconic South Island river, fed by glaciers in the Southern Alps, it tumbles its way down on to the Canterbury Plains where it spreads itself out over an extremely wide and braided riverbed. It also happens to be one of New Zealand's premium white water rafting rivers, the whole trip takes about three hours and offers some thrilling sections of grade 5 white water (rafting option $150). If rafting is not your thing, horse trekking and bush walks are also available. Tonight we stay in a nearby eco-lodge, nestled in native bush, all electricity is provided by solar panels, and it can only be accessed on foot or 4WD. It is about a 5 minute walk to the lodge from where we leave the vehicle. Fresh salmon is part of tonight's dinner that we prepare together. B, L, D
Day 20 Peel Forest - Christchurch 5 hours hiking
Last day of the tour today, but still time for yet another spectacular hike. We drive to Mt Somers Reserve, an area of volcanic origins, characterised by deep canyons, honey dew forest and lofty mountain peaks. We follow an old miner's track into a trampers hut at Woolshed Creek, where we have lunch. Before returning via a slightly different track, there is the option of exploring some water caves, which may get you a little wet! Once back at the vehicle, we head back across the Canterbury Plains, with a stop at a local country pub. Opportunity to have a celebratory drink before arriving in Christchurch in the late afternoon. BL