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13 Day New Zealand Uncut Hiking Tour

96kms (about 42 hrs) hiking over 12 days

Days
13

Pricing From
$8950

Difficulty

Book Now

Overview

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 hotels and quality lodges. Explore New Zealand from North to South, starting in Auckland and finishing in Queenstown.

In the North Island see the subterranean marvels of Waitomo Caves, discover the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, hike amongst the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. After crossing to the South Island of New Zealand, spend more time hiking in Abel Tasman National Park, the rainforests of Punakaiki on the West Coast, and magnificent peaks of Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, before walking amongst the superb peaks of Mt Aspiring National Park. 

Tour Grading: B*

  • Up to 4-5 hours of physical activity per day
  • At times carrying a backpack of 4-5kgs
  • Tracks generally in good condition
  • Altitude gains of up to 600m (2000ft) on harder days
  • No hiking experience necessary

* The full (optional) Tongariro Alpine Crossing on day 4 takes 6-7 hours and has an altitude gain of 750m.

Please read our General Information guide on Hiking Safaris.

New zealand Uncut Hiking Tour

Hiking in Tongariro National Park

Emerald Lake, Tongariro National Park

Emerald Lake, Tongariro National Park

Hiking in Abel Tasman National Park

Hiking in Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Arthurs Pass

Arthurs Pass

Hiking at Mt Cook

Hiking at Mt Cook

Sealy Tarn

Sealy Tarn

Tasman Glacier Lake

Tasman Glacier Lake

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Auckland - Rotorua1-2 km/2 hours hiking

We recommend staying one or more nights in Auckland or Queenstown accommodation at the beginning or end of your walk, so you can explore some of the many attractions of these places.

Meet your North Island guide and the rest of the group in the Heritage Hotel foyer at 7am before driving south through the classic patchwork green farming country alongside the Waikato River.

Arriving at the Waitomo Caves area descend into the vaulted galleries of the Ruakuri Cave with its limestone formations and crystals. Be captivated by the thousands of tiny glowworms that cling to the cave ceiling and mimic a starlit night sky. Later we emerge into the sunshine and wander on a loop trail through an outstanding limestone canyon.

We arrive in the volcanically active area of Rotorua late afternoon. Rotorua is also the centre of Maori cultural tourism in New Zealand and tonight we enjoy an evening meal and cultural performance. 

Stay at Distinction Hotel, Rotorua.  (Lunch and Dinner)

Day 2Rotorua - Lake Taupo8 kms/5 hours hiking

Hike alongside the beautifully clear Lake Tarawera, enjoying the shade that towering tree ferns and ignimbrite cliffs offer. Plop into the water to cool off at any one of the tiny pumice beaches as you wait for the others to catch up. There are astonishing views all along this trail, giving glimpses of how expansive this massive wilderness of forest, lakes and volcanoes really is. In the afternoon we explore some of the amazing thermal areas located a little south of Rotorua. Wander along boardwalks that connect pools of bubbling mud, mineral-tainted hot pools and plumes of rising steam as you wonder at this unique area.

Grab a cuppa before we drive toward the lakeside town of Taupo. At Huka Falls feel the power as the huge Waikato River gets pinched through a narrow rock corridor. Our accommodation is at Beechtree Motel, Lake Taupo. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 3Tongariro8 kms/2-4 hours hiking

We drive around Lake Taupo's shores to New Zealand's first national park - Tongariro. Take a leisurely morning walk through stunning forest around the slopes of Mt Pihanga and to the mystical Lake Rotopounamu (Lake of Greenstone).

The next two nights are spent in a hotel on the edge of the park, providing a great opportunity for you to explore the area at your leisure. Join the guide this afternoon for a great walk to Taranaki Falls, cascading 20 metres over a 15,000 year-old lava flow. 

Enjoy dinner with the group in the comfort of the Chateau Tongariro, Tongariro National Park (2 nights). (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 4Tongariro23 kms/6-8 hours hiking

Join the guide today for a full days walking on the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, regarded as one of the best day walks in the world. The track is extremely well built and even a novice hiker will enjoy the gradual ascent up to the top of Mt Tongariro.

Your guide will set a pace that lets you stop and admire the views of the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes and steaming vents that make this hike so iconic. It will all be worth it when you celebrate at dinner with a bottle of fine New Zealand wine.

Those who prefer a more restful day can find plenty to do at the village: Soda Springs walk, Taranaki Falls walk, or simply drink coffee and view the great exhibits at the Park Visitor Centre. Enjoy your second night in this alpine village.  (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 5Tongariro - Wellington

Rest your legs this morning as we drive south through rolling hill country to the capital city of Wellington. You usually arrive in Wellington in time to grab a late lunch; a great opportunity to sample the fare in this cafe capital.

The rest of the afternoon is yours, so take your time as you stroll along the fabulous waterfront and through the busy streets of this buzzing wee city. Absorb some of New Zealand's history in the national museum - Te Papa, explore the waterfront or simply get lost admiring the heritage houses along one of the many improbably steep streets. Nowhere is very far in Wellington. You are spoilt for choice for places to dine this evening, so take your pick.

Distinction Hotel Wellington (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 6Wellington - Abel Tasman - Nelson11.7 kms/4 hours hiking

Before boarding your plane grab a fast breakfast at one of the groovy airport cafes.

Enjoy your scenic flight over Cook Straight as you hop from the North to the South Island. Your southern guide will meet you at the Nelson airport before your picturesque drive to Kaiteriteri. This seaside village is the gateway to the popular Abel Tasman National Park, and a trendy vacation spot for kiwis.

Board a water taxi for a jaunt into the heart of the National Park. Step ashore at Bark Bay and follow the famed Abel Tasman coastal track through native forests and along golden sand beaches. A well-formed trail leads us up and over a gentle ridge into Torrent Bay, where the lovely clear fresh waters of Cleopatra's Pool may tempt you to take a dip or for those more daring a slide down the naturally formed hydro-slide! At Anchorage we will meet the water taxi for a return journey to Kaiteriteri.

On the way back to Nelson we stop at the sleepy little coastal settlement of Mapua for some fine local fare.

 Rutherford Hotel, Nelson (Lunch and Dinner)

Day 7Nelson - Punakaiki6 kms/3 hours hiking

On the way to the West Coast we stop for a remarkable hike to marvel at natural flames which have been burning since the 1920's. We access this phenomena with a local guide over a privately owned working deer farm. Unlike the Eternal Flames of the Chimera in Turkey these flames are surrounded by lush tree ferns and beech forest. A cup of 'billy tea' and hot cakes prepared over the flames gives this experience a distinctly kiwi flavour.

We continue our journey alongside the mighty Buller River as it cuts through the massive wilderness of the upper South Island, arriving on the coast at Westport. We take a short stroll at Cape Foulwind to view a colony of New Zealand fur seals playfully splashing around in the rock pools. We then head south to catch the sunset at Punakaiki and visit a local pub for dinner. Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki (2 nights) (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 8Punakaiki11 kms/4 hours hiking

Hike the Inland Pack Track from Punakaiki to Pororari. This historic route was once used by prospectors and miners to avoid the immense coastal cliffs while travelling the West Coast. Pass through deep limestone canyons, towering rainforests and groves of Nikau Palms. After lunch hike along the Truman track to reach stunning waterfalls, sea cliffs and wild beaches. And of course no visit to Punakaiki is complete without a trip to the Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We walk at high tide when the blowholes are most impressive, blasting sprays of salt water skyward. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 9Punakaiki - Christchurch4 kms/2 hours hiking

This remarkable highway takes us from the lush green rainforests of the West Coast and over the glaciated Southern Alps to the parched soft yellow savannahs of Canterbury. From Arthur’s Pass hike (unguided) four kilometres down to the village on a well-formed walking track. The trail has superb mountain views, thundering waterfalls and a diverse range of alpine plants. East of the pass, stretch your legs again and stroll around the enchanting limestone outcrops of Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill). This area was an important meeting place and food gathering area for early Maori people. Today it is a haven for rock climbers who climb and boulder on the multitude of rock forms. Arrive in Christchurch in the mid afternoon, time to explore the inner district and see some of the innovative and exciting methods used to rebuild the heart of the city post the devastating 2011 earthquake. Hotel Ibis. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 10Christchurch - Aoraki/Mount Cook2 kms/1 hour hiking

Our mid-morning departure allows time to discover some city cafes or see one of the parks in the ‘Garden City’. Our drive west takes us to Lake Tekapo, famous for its stunning turquoise waters and the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, perched daintily by the lake. Hike up through wilding conifers and tussock grasslands to the summit of Mt John. Revel in the 360-degree views of the Patagonia-like landscape. Arrive at Aoraki/Mount Cook in the late afternoon. Relax and enjoy breathtaking views of New Zealand's highest mountain (3,724 metres). Aoraki / Mount Cook Alpine Lodge (2 nights). (Lunch and Dinner)

Day 11Mt Cook5-8 kms/4 hours hiking

Hike up to Sealey Tarns and enjoy the awesome views of Mt Sefton, Mueller Glacier and across the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/Mount Cook. If you’re feeling energetic, join the guide for a further climb from the tarns up to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of this magnificent alpine landscape. Those not wanting to climb to Sealey or Mueller can take the flatter option and walk up the Hooker Valley (unguided), enjoying close up views of the Mueller and Hooker Glaciers on the way. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 12Mt Cook - Wanaka2 kms/1 hours hiking

Travel up the Tasman Valley towards the longest glacier in New Zealand, the Tasman Glacier. Take a short walk through the glacial moraine and board a custom-built boat for a unique spin around the terminal lake. Like most glaciers in the world the Tasman Glacier is retreating and the terminal lake increases in size every year. The lake is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes from the collapsing terminal wall of the glacier. Our drive to Wanaka follows the Mackenzie country south before climbing over Lindis Pass into the southern lakes district. Wanaka is a lovely holiday town on the lake-side. Edgewater Resort, Wanaka. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 13Wanaka - Queenstown10 kms/4 hours hiking

A beautiful drive alongside Lake Wanaka leads us to Aspiring National Park. We hike up the Matukituki Valley beneath some fine peaks before turning up the Rob Roy side stream and climbing abruptly to the bushline. This gorgeous trail through virgin beech forest emerges into a splendid alpine basin below the bulking mass of the Rob Roy Glacier. Watch water tumble off the glacier’s snout as you relax and enjoy lunch. Keep an eye out for cheeky kea (alpine parrot). After the hike grab a drink and unwind on the lawn of the famous old drover’s hotel at Cardrona, before we drive over the Crown Range and into the lively scene of Queenstown. Your tour finishes here, in the late afternoon. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Bookings more than 4 months in advance: 25% Deposit, with balance 65 days before travel

Bookings less than 4 months in advance: Full payment on booking

Cancellation Fees:

More than 20 days prior to departure - 80% refund of full ticket price.
20 to 10 days prior to departure - 50% refund of full ticket price. Less than 10 days prior to departure - NO REFUND.

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Auckland - Rotorua1-2 km/2 hours hiking

We recommend staying one or more nights in Auckland or Queenstown accommodation at the beginning or end of your walk, so you can explore some of the many attractions of these places.

Meet your North Island guide and the rest of the group in the Heritage Hotel foyer at 7am before driving south through the classic patchwork green farming country alongside the Waikato River.

Arriving at the Waitomo Caves area descend into the vaulted galleries of the Ruakuri Cave with its limestone formations and crystals. Be captivated by the thousands of tiny glowworms that cling to the cave ceiling and mimic a starlit night sky. Later we emerge into the sunshine and wander on a loop trail through an outstanding limestone canyon.

We arrive in the volcanically active area of Rotorua late afternoon. Rotorua is also the centre of Maori cultural tourism in New Zealand and tonight we enjoy an evening meal and cultural performance. 

Stay at Distinction Hotel, Rotorua.  (Lunch and Dinner)

Day 2Rotorua - Lake Taupo8 kms/5 hours hiking

Hike alongside the beautifully clear Lake Tarawera, enjoying the shade that towering tree ferns and ignimbrite cliffs offer. Plop into the water to cool off at any one of the tiny pumice beaches as you wait for the others to catch up. There are astonishing views all along this trail, giving glimpses of how expansive this massive wilderness of forest, lakes and volcanoes really is. In the afternoon we explore some of the amazing thermal areas located a little south of Rotorua. Wander along boardwalks that connect pools of bubbling mud, mineral-tainted hot pools and plumes of rising steam as you wonder at this unique area.

Grab a cuppa before we drive toward the lakeside town of Taupo. At Huka Falls feel the power as the huge Waikato River gets pinched through a narrow rock corridor. Our accommodation is at Beechtree Motel, Lake Taupo. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 3Tongariro8 kms/2-4 hours hiking

We drive around Lake Taupo's shores to New Zealand's first national park - Tongariro. Take a leisurely morning walk through stunning forest around the slopes of Mt Pihanga and to the mystical Lake Rotopounamu (Lake of Greenstone).

The next two nights are spent in a hotel on the edge of the park, providing a great opportunity for you to explore the area at your leisure. Join the guide this afternoon for a great walk to Taranaki Falls, cascading 20 metres over a 15,000 year-old lava flow. 

Enjoy dinner with the group in the comfort of the Chateau Tongariro, Tongariro National Park (2 nights). (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 4Tongariro23 kms/6-8 hours hiking

Join the guide today for a full days walking on the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, regarded as one of the best day walks in the world. The track is extremely well built and even a novice hiker will enjoy the gradual ascent up to the top of Mt Tongariro.

Your guide will set a pace that lets you stop and admire the views of the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes and steaming vents that make this hike so iconic. It will all be worth it when you celebrate at dinner with a bottle of fine New Zealand wine.

Those who prefer a more restful day can find plenty to do at the village: Soda Springs walk, Taranaki Falls walk, or simply drink coffee and view the great exhibits at the Park Visitor Centre. Enjoy your second night in this alpine village.  (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 5Tongariro - Wellington

Rest your legs this morning as we drive south through rolling hill country to the capital city of Wellington. You usually arrive in Wellington in time to grab a late lunch; a great opportunity to sample the fare in this cafe capital.

The rest of the afternoon is yours, so take your time as you stroll along the fabulous waterfront and through the busy streets of this buzzing wee city. Absorb some of New Zealand's history in the national museum - Te Papa, explore the waterfront or simply get lost admiring the heritage houses along one of the many improbably steep streets. Nowhere is very far in Wellington. You are spoilt for choice for places to dine this evening, so take your pick.

Distinction Hotel Wellington (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 6Wellington - Abel Tasman - Nelson11.7 kms/4 hours hiking

Before boarding your plane grab a fast breakfast at one of the groovy airport cafes.

Enjoy your scenic flight over Cook Straight as you hop from the North to the South Island. Your southern guide will meet you at the Nelson airport before your picturesque drive to Kaiteriteri. This seaside village is the gateway to the popular Abel Tasman National Park, and a trendy vacation spot for kiwis.

Board a water taxi for a jaunt into the heart of the National Park. Step ashore at Bark Bay and follow the famed Abel Tasman coastal track through native forests and along golden sand beaches. A well-formed trail leads us up and over a gentle ridge into Torrent Bay, where the lovely clear fresh waters of Cleopatra's Pool may tempt you to take a dip or for those more daring a slide down the naturally formed hydro-slide! At Anchorage we will meet the water taxi for a return journey to Kaiteriteri.

On the way back to Nelson we stop at the sleepy little coastal settlement of Mapua for some fine local fare.

 Rutherford Hotel, Nelson (Lunch and Dinner)

Day 7Nelson - Punakaiki6 kms/3 hours hiking

On the way to the West Coast we stop for a remarkable hike to marvel at natural flames which have been burning since the 1920's. We access this phenomena with a local guide over a privately owned working deer farm. Unlike the Eternal Flames of the Chimera in Turkey these flames are surrounded by lush tree ferns and beech forest. A cup of 'billy tea' and hot cakes prepared over the flames gives this experience a distinctly kiwi flavour.

We continue our journey alongside the mighty Buller River as it cuts through the massive wilderness of the upper South Island, arriving on the coast at Westport. We take a short stroll at Cape Foulwind to view a colony of New Zealand fur seals playfully splashing around in the rock pools. We then head south to catch the sunset at Punakaiki and visit a local pub for dinner. Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki (2 nights) (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 8Punakaiki11 kms/4 hours hiking

Hike the Inland Pack Track from Punakaiki to Pororari. This historic route was once used by prospectors and miners to avoid the immense coastal cliffs while travelling the West Coast. Pass through deep limestone canyons, towering rainforests and groves of Nikau Palms. After lunch hike along the Truman track to reach stunning waterfalls, sea cliffs and wild beaches. And of course no visit to Punakaiki is complete without a trip to the Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We walk at high tide when the blowholes are most impressive, blasting sprays of salt water skyward. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 9Punakaiki - Christchurch4 kms/2 hours hiking

This remarkable highway takes us from the lush green rainforests of the West Coast and over the glaciated Southern Alps to the parched soft yellow savannahs of Canterbury. From Arthur’s Pass hike (unguided) four kilometres down to the village on a well-formed walking track. The trail has superb mountain views, thundering waterfalls and a diverse range of alpine plants. East of the pass, stretch your legs again and stroll around the enchanting limestone outcrops of Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill). This area was an important meeting place and food gathering area for early Maori people. Today it is a haven for rock climbers who climb and boulder on the multitude of rock forms. Arrive in Christchurch in the mid afternoon, time to explore the inner district and see some of the innovative and exciting methods used to rebuild the heart of the city post the devastating 2011 earthquake. Hotel Ibis. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 10Christchurch - Aoraki/Mount Cook2 kms/1 hour hiking

Our mid-morning departure allows time to discover some city cafes or see one of the parks in the ‘Garden City’. Our drive west takes us to Lake Tekapo, famous for its stunning turquoise waters and the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, perched daintily by the lake. Hike up through wilding conifers and tussock grasslands to the summit of Mt John. Revel in the 360-degree views of the Patagonia-like landscape. Arrive at Aoraki/Mount Cook in the late afternoon. Relax and enjoy breathtaking views of New Zealand's highest mountain (3,724 metres). Aoraki / Mount Cook Alpine Lodge (2 nights). (Lunch and Dinner)

Day 11Mt Cook5-8 kms/4 hours hiking

Hike up to Sealey Tarns and enjoy the awesome views of Mt Sefton, Mueller Glacier and across the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/Mount Cook. If you’re feeling energetic, join the guide for a further climb from the tarns up to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of this magnificent alpine landscape. Those not wanting to climb to Sealey or Mueller can take the flatter option and walk up the Hooker Valley (unguided), enjoying close up views of the Mueller and Hooker Glaciers on the way. (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)

Day 12Mt Cook - Wanaka2 kms/1 hours hiking

Travel up the Tasman Valley towards the longest glacier in New Zealand, the Tasman Glacier. Take a short walk through the glacial moraine and board a custom-built boat for a unique spin around the terminal lake. Like most glaciers in the world the Tasman Glacier is retreating and the terminal lake increases in size every year. The lake is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes from the collapsing terminal wall of the glacier. Our drive to Wanaka follows the Mackenzie country south before climbing over Lindis Pass into the southern lakes district. Wanaka is a lovely holiday town on the lake-side. Edgewater Resort, Wanaka. (Breakfast and Lunch)

Day 13Wanaka - Queenstown10 kms/4 hours hiking

A beautiful drive alongside Lake Wanaka leads us to Aspiring National Park. We hike up the Matukituki Valley beneath some fine peaks before turning up the Rob Roy side stream and climbing abruptly to the bushline. This gorgeous trail through virgin beech forest emerges into a splendid alpine basin below the bulking mass of the Rob Roy Glacier. Watch water tumble off the glacier’s snout as you relax and enjoy lunch. Keep an eye out for cheeky kea (alpine parrot). After the hike grab a drink and unwind on the lawn of the famous old drover’s hotel at Cardrona, before we drive over the Crown Range and into the lively scene of Queenstown. Your tour finishes here, in the late afternoon. (Breakfast and Lunch)

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