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15 Day New Zealand Uncut Hiking Tour

96kms (about 42 hrs) hiking over 12 days

Days
15

Pricing From
$11500

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 - Nelson2.5km/1 hour hiking

There is more time to enjoy this busy harbourside capital or relax before grabbing an early lunch and heading to the airport. Enjoy a scenic early-afternoon flight over Cook Strait as you hop from the North to the South Island. Your driver will meet you at Nelson Airport to transfer you to the Rutherford Hotel to later meet your guides and those joining for the Southern Slice tour at 4pm.

There will be opportunity for a guided hike up Botanical Hill, also known as the “Centre of New Zealand” to enjoy sweeping views of Tasman Bay and Nelson City, or an alternative option to independently explore this lively town suggested by your guides.

Later we celebrate the start of our South Island tour by dining together in one of Nelson’s fine restaurants. 

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson (Dinner)

Day 7Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park12km/4 hours hiking

After an early breakfast, we set off for Abel Tasman National Park. At the beach resort of Kaiteriteri, board a water taxi and cruise the coastline past golden sand beaches, rugged granite headlands and bush clad islands. Step ashore at Bark Bay and follow the famed Abel Tasman Coast Track through native forests and past cascading streams. A well-formed trail leads us up and over gentle ridges to 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 before heading back to Nelson in the late afternoon. There is opportunity to further explore this vibrant and arty little town this evening with the many great restaurant dining options.

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson. (Breakfast and lunch)

Day 8Nelson - Punakaikiup to 8km/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 through 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.

Our journey resumes alongside the mighty Buller River as it cuts its way through the massive wilderness of the upper South Island to the coast at Westport. We take the opportunity to explore a piece of spectacular West Coast coastline and learn something of its storied past, then head on south to catch the sunset at Punakaiki and visit a local pub for dinner.

Take an evening stroll around the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – we try to time our visit with high tide so we may leave the rocks until tomorrow if tide times are more favourable.

Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 9Punakaiki - Methvenup to 10km/3 hours hiking

Hike the Inland Pack Track from the Pororari to the Punakaiki River. This historic route once used by prospectors and miners to avoid immense coastal cliffs while travelling the West Coast now forms part of our newest Great Walk, the Paparoa Track. Pass through deep limestone canyons and towering rainforest with groves of tropical nikau palms. You may not be able to resist a speedy swim in one of the many deep clear pools you pass on the way!

After the hike, we join a remarkable highway which takes us from the lush green rainforests of the West Coast and over the glaciated Southern Alps to the parched soft yellow tussock grasslands of the eastern high country. This is one of the most cleverly engineered roads in New Zealand.

East of Arthur’s Pass, stretch your legs 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. Interestingly it was named “Spiritual Centre of the Universe” by the Dalai Lama when he visited in 2002. Today it is a haven for rock climbers who climb and boulder on the multitude of rock forms. We then leave the highway and follow the back roads around Lake Lyndon and on to Methven, a ski town by winter and laid-back rural town the rest of the year. The Southern Alps form a spectacular backdrop. Choose to dine in house or head into the village for a meal at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Ski Time, Methven. (breakfast and lunch)

Day 10Methven - Aoraki/Mount Cook5km/3 hours hiking

We continue south, at first following the edge of the extensive Canterbury Plains then up into the intermontane Mackenzie Basin to Lake Tekapo, famous for its stunning turquoise waters and the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, perched daintily by the lake. During a picnic lunch revel in broad views of the Patagonia-like landscape. The sweeping Mackenzie “Country” is a sparsely populated region in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps; tawny-brown drylands, braided riverbeds and startling glacial lakes extend to distant mountains.

On arrival at Mount Cook village we hike in Governors Bush and on up to Red Tarns for magnificent elevated views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and the surrounding alps. Relax here to enjoy the views before wandering back down to arrive at the door of our accommodation, where we stay for the next two nights.

Lodge within Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 11Mt Cookup to 10km/4 hours hiking

Hike up to Sealy Tarns and enjoy the awesome views of Mt Sefton, Mueller Glacier and up the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/Mt Cook. If you're feeling energetic, join the guide for an extended climb above the tarns to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of this spectacular alpine landscape. Those wanting an easier alternative to the Sealy Tarns climb can explore the valley floor independently, taking the walk up the Hooker Valley for views of the Mueller and Hooker Glacier terminal lakes and the towering south face of Aoraki/Mt Cook, or learn more about the wonders of the national park in the world-class visitor centre.

Lodge within Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 12Mt Cook - Wanaka3km/1 hour hiking

Travel up the Tasman Valley towards the Tasman Glacier, the longest glacier in New Zealand. Take a short walk through 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. This dynamic environment is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes from the collapsing terminal face of the glacier.

Our drive to Wanaka follows the Mackenzie Country south before climbing over the tussock lands of the Lindis Pass into the southern lakes district of Central Otago. We can sample the wine and learn something of the sustainable natural winemaking practised at an award winning vineyard in this burgeoning wine region, or simply enjoy a walk among the vines. Wanaka is a lovely lake-side holiday town.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Day 13Wanaka - Te Anau7km/3 hours hiking

A beautiful drive alongside Lake Wanaka leads us toward the peaks of Aspiring National Park. We hike in the lower Matukituki Valley on the Diamond Lake walk and on up Rocky Mountain, a distinctive glacially sculpted “roche moutonnee” (rock sheep) for spectacular views over the lake, and to the Southern Alps and Mount Aspiring/Tititea.

After the hike we drive over the Crown Range into the Wakatipu Basin and the scenic wine growing area of Gibbston Valley, pressed between schist mountains and the rocky Kawerau Gorge. Here you can sample some great wine, craft beer and locally sourced food over lunch before we journey on toward the Fiordland wilderness and lake Te Anau.

Distinction Te Anau. (breakfast, lunch and dinner.)

Day 14Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau7km/3 hours hiking

Our day excursion takes us through the stunning Fiordland mountains to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most iconic visitor destinations. We stop at The Divide to walk a section of the Routeburn Track to Key Summit for panoramic views of the Humboldt and Darran Mountains. Easier short walks, and the preferred option if cloud is likely to rob Key Summit of views, are located below in the Hollyford Valley.  

The topography will leave you spell bound as we continue on to Milford Sound and experience the true magnificence of the fiord, cruising between glaciated mountains under sheer cliffs which plummet hundreds of metres into deep dark waters. Enjoy wonderful views of mile-high Mitre Peak and Lady Bowen Falls as you keep an eye out for marine wildlife. You may spot dusky dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and if you’re lucky the rare Fiordland crested penguin. We return to Te Anau in the afternoon.

(breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 15Te Anau - Queenstown10km/3 hours hiking

This morning we hike part of the famed Kepler Track onto the shores of Lake Manapouri, described as the ‘loveliest of all lakes’ for its array of small islands, bush fringed beaches and coves, and mountain backdrop. From here, the southern extent of our journey we then backtrack northwards to the lively scene of Queenstown where your tour finishes in the late afternoon. 

Includes 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 - Nelson2.5km/1 hour hiking

There is more time to enjoy this busy harbourside capital or relax before grabbing an early lunch and heading to the airport. Enjoy a scenic early-afternoon flight over Cook Strait as you hop from the North to the South Island. Your driver will meet you at Nelson Airport to transfer you to the Rutherford Hotel to later meet your guides and those joining for the Southern Slice tour at 4pm.

There will be opportunity for a guided hike up Botanical Hill, also known as the “Centre of New Zealand” to enjoy sweeping views of Tasman Bay and Nelson City, or an alternative option to independently explore this lively town suggested by your guides.

Later we celebrate the start of our South Island tour by dining together in one of Nelson’s fine restaurants. 

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson (Dinner)

Day 7Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park12km/4 hours hiking

After an early breakfast, we set off for Abel Tasman National Park. At the beach resort of Kaiteriteri, board a water taxi and cruise the coastline past golden sand beaches, rugged granite headlands and bush clad islands. Step ashore at Bark Bay and follow the famed Abel Tasman Coast Track through native forests and past cascading streams. A well-formed trail leads us up and over gentle ridges to 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 before heading back to Nelson in the late afternoon. There is opportunity to further explore this vibrant and arty little town this evening with the many great restaurant dining options.

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson. (Breakfast and lunch)

Day 8Nelson - Punakaikiup to 8km/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 through 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.

Our journey resumes alongside the mighty Buller River as it cuts its way through the massive wilderness of the upper South Island to the coast at Westport. We take the opportunity to explore a piece of spectacular West Coast coastline and learn something of its storied past, then head on south to catch the sunset at Punakaiki and visit a local pub for dinner.

Take an evening stroll around the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – we try to time our visit with high tide so we may leave the rocks until tomorrow if tide times are more favourable.

Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 9Punakaiki - Methvenup to 10km/3 hours hiking

Hike the Inland Pack Track from the Pororari to the Punakaiki River. This historic route once used by prospectors and miners to avoid immense coastal cliffs while travelling the West Coast now forms part of our newest Great Walk, the Paparoa Track. Pass through deep limestone canyons and towering rainforest with groves of tropical nikau palms. You may not be able to resist a speedy swim in one of the many deep clear pools you pass on the way!

After the hike, we join a remarkable highway which takes us from the lush green rainforests of the West Coast and over the glaciated Southern Alps to the parched soft yellow tussock grasslands of the eastern high country. This is one of the most cleverly engineered roads in New Zealand.

East of Arthur’s Pass, stretch your legs 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. Interestingly it was named “Spiritual Centre of the Universe” by the Dalai Lama when he visited in 2002. Today it is a haven for rock climbers who climb and boulder on the multitude of rock forms. We then leave the highway and follow the back roads around Lake Lyndon and on to Methven, a ski town by winter and laid-back rural town the rest of the year. The Southern Alps form a spectacular backdrop. Choose to dine in house or head into the village for a meal at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Ski Time, Methven. (breakfast and lunch)

Day 10Methven - Aoraki/Mount Cook5km/3 hours hiking

We continue south, at first following the edge of the extensive Canterbury Plains then up into the intermontane Mackenzie Basin to Lake Tekapo, famous for its stunning turquoise waters and the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, perched daintily by the lake. During a picnic lunch revel in broad views of the Patagonia-like landscape. The sweeping Mackenzie “Country” is a sparsely populated region in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps; tawny-brown drylands, braided riverbeds and startling glacial lakes extend to distant mountains.

On arrival at Mount Cook village we hike in Governors Bush and on up to Red Tarns for magnificent elevated views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and the surrounding alps. Relax here to enjoy the views before wandering back down to arrive at the door of our accommodation, where we stay for the next two nights.

Lodge within Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 11Mt Cookup to 10km/4 hours hiking

Hike up to Sealy Tarns and enjoy the awesome views of Mt Sefton, Mueller Glacier and up the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/Mt Cook. If you're feeling energetic, join the guide for an extended climb above the tarns to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of this spectacular alpine landscape. Those wanting an easier alternative to the Sealy Tarns climb can explore the valley floor independently, taking the walk up the Hooker Valley for views of the Mueller and Hooker Glacier terminal lakes and the towering south face of Aoraki/Mt Cook, or learn more about the wonders of the national park in the world-class visitor centre.

Lodge within Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 12Mt Cook - Wanaka3km/1 hour hiking

Travel up the Tasman Valley towards the Tasman Glacier, the longest glacier in New Zealand. Take a short walk through 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. This dynamic environment is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes from the collapsing terminal face of the glacier.

Our drive to Wanaka follows the Mackenzie Country south before climbing over the tussock lands of the Lindis Pass into the southern lakes district of Central Otago. We can sample the wine and learn something of the sustainable natural winemaking practised at an award winning vineyard in this burgeoning wine region, or simply enjoy a walk among the vines. Wanaka is a lovely lake-side holiday town.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka. (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Day 13Wanaka - Te Anau7km/3 hours hiking

A beautiful drive alongside Lake Wanaka leads us toward the peaks of Aspiring National Park. We hike in the lower Matukituki Valley on the Diamond Lake walk and on up Rocky Mountain, a distinctive glacially sculpted “roche moutonnee” (rock sheep) for spectacular views over the lake, and to the Southern Alps and Mount Aspiring/Tititea.

After the hike we drive over the Crown Range into the Wakatipu Basin and the scenic wine growing area of Gibbston Valley, pressed between schist mountains and the rocky Kawerau Gorge. Here you can sample some great wine, craft beer and locally sourced food over lunch before we journey on toward the Fiordland wilderness and lake Te Anau.

Distinction Te Anau. (breakfast, lunch and dinner.)

Day 14Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau7km/3 hours hiking

Our day excursion takes us through the stunning Fiordland mountains to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most iconic visitor destinations. We stop at The Divide to walk a section of the Routeburn Track to Key Summit for panoramic views of the Humboldt and Darran Mountains. Easier short walks, and the preferred option if cloud is likely to rob Key Summit of views, are located below in the Hollyford Valley.  

The topography will leave you spell bound as we continue on to Milford Sound and experience the true magnificence of the fiord, cruising between glaciated mountains under sheer cliffs which plummet hundreds of metres into deep dark waters. Enjoy wonderful views of mile-high Mitre Peak and Lady Bowen Falls as you keep an eye out for marine wildlife. You may spot dusky dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and if you’re lucky the rare Fiordland crested penguin. We return to Te Anau in the afternoon.

(breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Day 15Te Anau - Queenstown10km/3 hours hiking

This morning we hike part of the famed Kepler Track onto the shores of Lake Manapouri, described as the ‘loveliest of all lakes’ for its array of small islands, bush fringed beaches and coves, and mountain backdrop. From here, the southern extent of our journey we then backtrack northwards to the lively scene of Queenstown where your tour finishes in the late afternoon. 

Includes breakfast and lunch.

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