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Trails of New Zealand

from $7,299.00

An active adventure exploring the Land of the Long White Cloud

  • Reviews 8 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate / Challenging
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 14
All about the Trails of New Zealand.

From the waterfront city of Auckland to the spectacular Southern Alps, New Zealand is blessed with an array of natural wonders that are best experienced and appreciated by foot and by boat. This active trip maximises the time spent in the outdoors. Whether it’s sailing through waterways, hiking between volcanic peaks or jetboating through Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand is a country that always exceeds expectations. Make the most of this striking country with this jam-packed itinerary that includes many of the highlights en route.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts and 2 dinners
* 17 nights in comfortable hotels and lodges, most with ensuite facilities, 1 night cruise boat with shared facilities
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout. Group normally 6 to 14 plus local leader. Min age 18 yrs
* Airport transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Auckland and Christchurch
  • One-day Tongariro Crossing and other exciting walks
  • Lake Taupo and Rotorua
  • Abel Tasma National Park
  • Fox Glacier and Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
  • Queenstown and Milford Sound
  1. Day 1 Arrive 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. Those not flying with the group should meet at the start point at the Auckland City Hotel at 6pm for a full briefing with your leader.*Auckland City Hotel or similar*

  2. Day 2 Visit 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. 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.*Auckland City Hotel or similar*

  3. Day 3 To Rotorua

    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. 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).*Jet Park Rotorua or similar*

  4. Day 4 To Tongariro N.P

    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.*Skotel Alpine Resort or similar*

  5. Day 5 Hike Tongariro Crossing

    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 bush lands (unguided) or the amazing 8hr 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. The crossing should not be under estimated 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. A magnificent scenic flight option also exists for those wanting to understand the volcanic origins of the area.*Skotel Alpine Resort or similar*

  6. Day 6 To Wellington

    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 New Zealand’s capital city.*The Bay Plaza Hotel or similar*

  7. Day 7 Ferry across Cook Strait to Marlborough; drive to Abel Tasman N.P

    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 can take time out to explore the city and a chance to stretch the legs with a short walk to the gographical centre of New Zealand (1 hour). 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.*Avalon Manor Motel or similar*

  8. Day 8 Half day coastal walk; boat to Motueka

    Out of Marahau, this morning 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.*Avalon Manor Motel or similar*

  9. Day 9 To Buller River; sunset walk at Punakaiki

    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.*Paparoa Park Motel or similar*

  10. Day 10 To Fox Glacier passing Okarito en route

    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 bird life 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.*The Westhaven or similar*

  11. Day 11 Walk to Fox Glacier; continue to Wanaka

    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.*Wanaka Heights Motel or similar*

  12. Day 12 Jet boat in Matukitiki

    In the morning we head into the Mount Aspiring National Park and experience an exciting jetboat ride along the braided rivers leading into the park. Jetboating 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.*Wanaka Heights Motel or similar*

  13. Day 13 Transfer to Milford Sound and board overnight boat

    From Wanaka we depart early heading for Te Anau and then into the Eglington Valley, enjoying a series of short walks in the spectacular 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 amidst dolphins and mighty peaks towering above the fjord.*Real Journeys- Wanderer boat*

  14. Day 14 Cruise Inner Sound; drive to Queenstown

    After an early morning breakfast we cruise the inner sound again searching for dolphins and seals before disembarking and retracing our tracks to The Divide and the start of the Routeburn Track. Here we take a 3-hour walk (approx. 9km) to Key Summit for some spectacular views. After this hike we drive via Te Anau (approx. 4 hours) onto Queenstown, where we stay for the next two nights.*Blue Peaks Lodge or similar*

  15. Day 15 Free day in Queenstown

    A free day to enjoy the scenic delights of this world famous destination, home of the famous bungy 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 bungy jumping! Then again, you may just prefer to simply spend the day shopping or relaxing.*Blue Peaks Lodge or similar*

  16. Day 16 Transfer to Mt Cook N.P.; 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.*Aoraki/Mt Cook Alpine Lodge or similar*

  17. Day 17 Drive to Christchurch via Canterbury Plains

    After breakfast we have the option to hike (approx. 2 hours) to the nearby red tarns on Mt Sebastapol or an optional visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre and the local Department of Conservation Centre. By late morning we depart for nearby Lake Tekapo and visit the observatory on the summit of Mt John, a short hike down to the township. From here we drive (approx. 3.5 hours) across the mosaic of the Canterbury Plains out to Christchurch and the end of our drive.*Pavilions Hotel or similar*

  18. Day 18 Hike to summit walkway for spectacular views

    Above Christchurch is the summit walkway and in the morning we have a final hike (approx. 2-3 hours) enjoying the spectacular views into the Lyttleton harbour and across the Canterbury Plains. After the devastating earthquakes of 2010/11, the city is undergoing a major rebuild, unrivalled in the world. The afternoon is free to explore this city rebuild as well as the beautiful gardens and Hagley park.*Pavilions Hotel or similar*

  19. Day 19 End Christchurch.

    **

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Where you stay

Hotels & Cruise Boat

You will spend 17 nights in comfortable hotels most of which have en-suite facilities. There will also be one night spent aboard a cruise boat with shared facilities. Accommodation on this trip uses a mixture of character motels and friendly hotels, some of which offer spectacular views. Single rooms are available for a supplement (on request), this covers all nights apart from 1 evening when we are aboard the Wanderer boat.

Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you would like to request a single supplement.

Below is a list of the standard hotels used on the trip. However, please be advised these are subject to change and some departures may be accommodated in different a hotels of a similar standard:

Auckland:   Auckland City Hotel

Rotorua:   Jet Park Rotorua

Tongariro N.P:   Skotel Alpine Resort

Wellington:   The Bay Plaza Hotel

Motueka- Abel Tasman N.P:   Avalon Manor Motels

Punakaiki:   Paparoa Park Motels

Fox:   The Westhaven

Wanaka:   Wanaka Heights Motel

Milford Sound:   Real Journeys – Wanderer (boat)

Queenstown:   Blue Peaks Lodge

Mt. Cook N.P:   Aoraki/Mt Cook Alpine Lodge

Christchurch:   Pavilions Hotel

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 2 dinners are included.

Breakfasts will be either supplied by the accommodation or by the guides for you. We will always be able to purchase lunches on the run but can also facilitate creating sandwiches at your accommodation and have these stored in our on-board fridge. Morning tea / coffee stops are available at your own cost.

This trip is an Activity Level 4- Moderate/Challenging

This is a varied trip with 1 full day walks and 5 half-day walks. There are a number of other activities included in the itinerary which require a good level of fitness. The majority of walks are on good paths however those wishing to undertake the Tongariro Crossing should be prepared for some scrambling. If you wish to undertake the climb of Mt Ruapehu you should be aware that the trek can be difficult and will require a good level of fitness.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Highlights of New Zealand

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - hard work and a long day but worth it. The views round Lake Matheson. The waterfalls in Milford Sound. We clocked up a few first experiences: first time in a jet boat (great fun and something we would not have done otherwise), first helicopter flight, first time sailing a catamaran (yes, I took the helm), first time on the Luge ...
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Hayley and Josh were calm, efficient, funny, informed, caring and very committed. They were great. They prepared us well for each day's activities.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a daysac as well as your 40 litre rucksack, if you can. Pack layers - it can be very hot and very cold. Don't forget sunhat, suncream and insect repellant. Poles can be hired for the Tongariro crossing.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip doesn't cover Auckland and Northland up to Cape Reinga, the Coromandel peninsula, the deep south or Kaikoura so you might want to try to fit them in before and/or after the trip. After all, it is a long way to go back again!

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Trails of New Zealand

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing under the 80m high Fairy Falls on the bow of the Milford Wanderer, water pummelling down on our heads, totally surprised, completely exhilarated and utterly happy. I have to add first seeing Red Crater on the Tongariro Crossing, jetboating, catamaran sailing on the Tasman Sea, walking through Tiritiri Matangi Island’s gorgeous native woodland ringing with exotic bird calls and cicadas, the joy of seeing the glorious colour of Huka Falls. The trouble is that every day had moments like these, so how do you choose!?
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Hayley and Josh are an extraordinary young couple, calm, cheerful, incredibly hard working and competent. If everyone drove like Josh, the roads would be safer places. Every suggestion regarding where to eat or shop or what to do in our free time turned out to be good. In his review, Martin mentioned the lady stranger who had a fall, but not that Hayley actually carried her most of the way down a steep mountain after giving first aid! There were, inevitably, some long drives, but Hayley and Josh arranged an enjoyable short walk or other activity at least every two hours. I think I’d trust these two in almost any situation.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t scratch your Blackfly bites! They really are the scourge of South Island, but DEET does deter them so use it. I kept leaving it too late. Bites I managed to resist scratching settled down quickly, those I took the tops off had scabs for weeks and have left scars. Be prepared for the jet lag - it took us a week to get over it after coming home. Take lots of notes as well as taking photos -see below!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It has been five weeks since the end of our holiday. It has taken this long to go through all my photos and notes, remembering more and more things that we did, to do research on the internet and to write a journal. Only now do I feel able to take an overall view and write this review. This holiday is a full-on three weeks of new experiences and it is almost impossible to take it all in at the time. For us and, I imagine most people, this was a holiday of a lifetime and I really do recommend making a photographic journal to fix those memories. It is a lot of work, but rather like having the holiday again!

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

The best of New Zealand

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I cannot pick a most inspirational moment, but Mount Aspiring National Park, Milford Sound and Mount Cook left quite an impression - I am in awe. The views! Simply stunning.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic leaders. I very much appreciated having two leaders, both very friendly, approachable, fun and entertaining and of course, knowledgeable about flora and fauna. Both were a treasure!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for mindblowing views.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    n/a

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

An Unexpected Journey.

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many as each area we visited gave totally different experiences. The Tongariro crossing was not to be missed- fortunate with the weather but there was snow in the craters at the plateau with high winds on the crater edges. Geothermal valleys. Walking up to the terminal face of Fox glacier (despite no polar bear!) Cruising the Milford Sound-seeing the penguins. Walking through the indigenous tropical forests. Walking in the snow at the foot of Mount Cook and crossing glacial torrents in full flood. Walking at night on a Glow Worm trail- like thousands of LED lights- quite enchanting. Sobering walk through the disembodied Christchurch- still recovering and has not regained its soul yet.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    All this could not be achieved without the excellent guidance, support and knowledgeable expertise of our two guides, Chris and Rich who both complemented each other- one being a Kiwi and the other a Devonian export. Nothing was too much trouble for them in trying to accommodate individual interests, adjusting the activities according to the prevalent weather conditions and providing a constant supply of snacks to sustain us upon our activities. They appeared to have a magical influence over the weather and visitors, providing a narrow window of opportunity that allowed us to visit volcanic landscapes and geothermal valleys without the crowds or rain that would normally be expected. Their energy and enthusiasm to share their knowledge of the islands and its peoples went without saying. They were quick to ascertain the abilities of each individual member and gave optional activities when needed. The entire trip was skilfully organised and despite the long distance driven by both of them, they were able to protect themselves from being on constant demand.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long travelling. Be prepared for Vivaldi weather (four seasons). If you are reasonably fit and used to mountain terrain, all walks should be within your grasp. Make the most of your time.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The accommodation was excellent and the resort spa was much appreciated.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Fabulous walking in New Zealand

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Tongariro Crossing and the visit to the Milford Sound, but so many wonderful days so very difficult to choose just one. I would therefore say, the entire trip!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Chris Cameron and second leader was Richard Mortiboys. Chris was an excellent experienced leader with a lovely friendly personality and huge knowledge of the country and all the plants. She had boundless energy and tremendous enthusiasm for the country which was very infectious. Her organization of every part of the day was very clear and well planned, ensuring the best possible experience and full confidence in her leadership. Richard was the second in command and he and Chris worked very well together, sharing the driving and general care of each and every one in the party. He was extremely kind and caring when some of us had left items at various places enroute and he spent a great deal of time and effort to ensure that these items were successfully forwarded. They were both excellent leaders and they certainly made the trip a resounding success.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't pack too many items. When you are moving on regularly, there isn't the time or the inclination to uncover more than the top few items of clothing!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I do not see how this trip could be improved! It just had everything to make it a wonderful comprehensive tour of North and South Islands.

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Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
December 14, 2019
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$7,599.00
N/A
January 25, 2020
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$7,299.00
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February 15, 2020
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$7,449.00
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$7,949.00
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December 12, 2020
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$7,999.00
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January 2, 2021
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January 23, 2021
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