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Discover majestic peaks, lush valleys and fresh mountain rivers in this great hiking destination

Personalised journeys from start to finish

Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel

Every detail taken care of

What's Included

  • Full support from your travel designer and travel concierge before, during and after your trip
  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Expertly led hikes
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Breathe the fresh air as you make your way through some of New Zealand’s most beautiful valleys, and over impressive cliffs and stunning glaciers. This 13-day trip is the perfect way to explore the country’s diverse mountains and rivers and take in the scenery of what is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most stunning countries.

Begin your trip with a visit to the soulful and isolated west coast, then get a bird’s eye view of an active volcano as you take a helicopter trip over White Island. You will also get to venture into the other-worldly Tongariro National Park as you embark on one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’.

Another heli-hike from Mount Cook will give you the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of mountaineers as you trek on the slopes beneath Aoraki and Mount Tasman in the Southern Alps. Your next stop is Queenstown when a guided walk beginning in charming sheep pastures will take you across a swing bridge, into a forest and above the treeline near Rob Roy Glacier.

Then take to the air once more as you view the islands in Dusky Sound. You will also get to spend time at the Hidden Falls on the beautiful Hollyford River.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-3

Auckland

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel

Accommodation in Auckland

Two nights in Auckland Two nights in Auckland

New Zealand’s largest cosmopolitan centre is a lively mix of culture, cuisine, music and art with ample green spaces and easily accessible beaches. It is the modern melting pot of the Pacific with influences from Asia, the Pacific islands and Europe along with traditional Maori culture. A fresh and vibrant city, Auckland boasts some of the best restaurants in the country, and the harbour, which underwent a revamp before hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2011, is now a wonderful place to soak up the buzz of this exciting city.

karekare-beach
West coast hike West coast hike

Auckland's west coast is known for its natural beauty and isolation, and is very different from the east. Dense rainforest, crashing surf, black sand and often wild weather combine to make this a very soulful, brooding and beautiful place.

Private transfer to Taupo via the Waitomo glow worm caves Private transfer to Taupo via the Waitomo glow worm caves

Visit the world-famous glow worm caves, enjoying a boat ride along an underground stream to witness the dazzling glow worms.

Days 3-6

Rotorua and Taupo

Accommodation in Rotorua and Taupo

thermal-park-rotorua
Three nights around Rotorua and Lake Taupo Three nights around Rotorua and Lake Taupo

Steaming mud pools, erupting geysers and Maori traditions all make Rotorua and Taupo a special area to visit and one that is distinctively unique to the rest of New Zealand. Explore geothermal parks before heading into nearby native forests for hiking or mountain biking the numerous world-class trails. Lake Taupo is actually a volcano crater, the lake’s deep blue waters draw visitors with its idyllic swimming holes, reputable fishing and adventure sports. On a clear day the views stretch out over the glassy water to the snowcapped volcanoes of Tongariro National Park in the distance.

white-island-helicopter
Helicopter Experience: White Island Helicopter Experience: White Island

Fly to, and land, on New Zealand’s only permanently active volcano, White Island. Leaving Rotorua, you fly past the northern lakes district before crossing the coast. As you approach you will enjoy aerial views of the active crater before landing on the lunar-like surface. Here you will embark on a leisurely guided tour of the island's crater floor to view active steam vents, hot streams, vibrant sulphur formations and the steaming crater. The landscape is constantly changing as the activity forms new features and removes old ones. The Crater Lake changes in depth and temperature so that from one day to the next, the landscape is different.

Part of the tour includes a walk through crumbling mining ruins to view the weathered remains of what was a working factory abandoned in 1933. On the flight back enjoy wonderful aerial views of the wider Bay of Plenty.

tongariro-crossing-hike-new-zealand
Tongariro Alpine Crossing Tongariro Alpine Crossing

With your guide, you will trek across a volcanic alpine landscape of dramatic contrasts - steaming vents, glacial valleys, ancient lava flows, alpine vegetation and vivid crater lakes, all with stunning views.

Rated as one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks’, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular hiking tracks. The Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage site which has the distinction of dual status, as it has been acknowledged for both its natural and cultural significance

Flights & Transfers

Flight

Flight to Christchurch

Transfer

Rental car pick up for self driving on the South Island

Days 6-8

Glaciers and Mount Cook

Accommodation in Glaciers and Mount Cook

Hooker Valley Track,Mount Cook, New Zealand.
Two nights in Mount Cook National Park Two nights in Mount Cook National Park

New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook or Aroaki in Maori, is an arresting sight jarring out from the 700 square kilometre Aoraki National Park of tussock hills and ice fields. With 19 peaks over 3000m, the national park is home to most of New Zealand’s highest mountains, all formed of a unique grey rock that accumulates as gravel in the valley floors. The park offers great walks with spectacular alpine viewpoints but the weather is extremely temperamental and prone to turn to rain. At its heart is the mighty Mount Cook, looming at 3754m, its peak often piercing into the clouds.

Descending almost to sea level from this epic alpine range are New Zealand’s two largest and most stunning glaciers, Fox and Franz Josef. These ancient valleys of ice that have crushed their way down through rainforest are truly spectacular to behold. Both Fox and Franz Josef are within easy walking distance and their temperate environment allows visitors the rare opportunity to experience dynamic glacial valleys in ease and comfort. But if you’re looking for a closer encounter, there are guided ice treks and heli-hikes where you can explore the crevasses of these ancient ice beds, which are sadly rapidly retreating year on year.

tasman-glacier-heli-hike
Tasman Glacier heli-hike Tasman Glacier heli-hike

Today you will explore the Tasman Glacier, the largest of several glaciers which flow south and east towards the Mackenzie Basin from the Southern Alps. At 27km in length, the Tasman Glacier is New Zealand's longest glacier, up to 4km (2.5 miles) wide and 600m thick. The glacier covers an area of 101 square kilometres and starts at a height of 3,000 metres above sea level.

Your helicopter will fly you from Mount Cook airport to around 1,200 metres above sea level where you will spend up to two hours in the mountains, where your guide will lead you into the most spectacular terrain that is usually seen only by experienced mountaineers. You will trek on easy undulating terrain, below Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mount Tasman, the highest peaks of the Southern Alps. The snow-covered mountains tower above vast ice-falls that bulldoze and grind down the mountain sides. Your helicopter will fly you close by the 1,000 metre high Hochstetter Icefall as your journey ends and you return to Mt Cook airport.

Days 8-10

Queenstown

Accommodation in Queenstown

Two nights in Queenstown Two nights in Queenstown

From the towering alpine ranges that envelop Queenstown, to its laidback lakeside sister Wanaka and the incredible Milford Sound, this is easily one of the most spectacular regions of the country. Seek out one of the endless thrills on offer here from skiing, white water rafting, canyon swinging, jet boating, mountain biking and bungy jumping, or slow down to the cosmopolitan pace of life in Queenstown and cool Wanaka and you’ll discover its flourishing arts scene, excellent vineyards, fine dining and quiet lakeside shores where you can take in the incredible scenery. And, of course, Milford Sound with its spectacular 1692m-high Mitre Peak (Rahotu in Maori) is unmissable.

Rob Roy Glacier in Mount Aspiring National Park Southern Alps New Zealand
Rob Roy glacier hike Rob Roy glacier hike

You will be met at your accommodation and travel by 4WD around Lake Wanaka to the beautiful Mt Aspiring National Park. Within the park is the Rob Roy Glacier. It is a huge glacier beginning high above on Rob Roy Peak, clinging to the ever-steepening mountainside as it descends into the Rob Roy Valley.

Your guided walk begins through farmland with sheep and cattle, before crossing a swing bridge into the alpine rainforest to emerge above the treeline into the alpine herb fields opposite four glacier faces. This is the perfect lunch spot and a base for further exploration of this magical valley. Following lunch the walk is all downhill back to the car park.

Days 10-13

Te Anau

Accommodation in Te Anau

Three nights in Te Anau Three nights in Te Anau

Nestled on the edge of Milford Sound, Te Anau is a picturesque town perfectly positioned for exploring the surrounding glacier-carved wilderness of Fiordland National Park. In addition to an underground waterfall and grotto of glowworms, the region features trails through beech forests, glacial valleys and mountains.

Helicopter Experience: Dusky and Doubtful Sound Helicopter Experience: Dusky and Doubtful Sound

Visit the southern part of the South Island’s wild West Coast and experience the many scattered islands and early history unique to New Zealand’s largest fiord, Dusky Sound. Your return journey will take you to the head of Doubtful Sound, through the hidden valley of Campbell’s Kingdom and back down the South Arm of Lake Te Anau.

Hollyford Track Hollyford Track

Travel along the world-famous Milford Road to the lesser-known Hollyford Valley. Follow the gin-clear Hollyford River for two and a half hours to the thundering Hidden Falls. Views of Fiordland’s highest mountains can be had from the swing bridge. After returning to the vehicle by the same route there is an optional stop at the quaint and quirky Hollyford Camp for a cup of tea before returning to your Lodge.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Drop off rental car in Queenstown

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13-Day Example Trip
 
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    We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.

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