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Trails of New Zealand

Trek in varied national parks
Includes return economy airfares

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Escorted Journey
From the waterfront city of Auckland to the spectacular Southern Alps, New Zealand is blessed with an array of natural wonders.

Highlights

Some of the highlights included are:

  • Experience New Zealand with an active element
  • Trek in varied national parks
  • Admire majestic glaciers and fjords
  • Sail through waterways, hike between volcanic peaks or jetboat in Mt Aspiring National Park

Holiday Type

Active
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • N
Wildlife & Nature
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • N

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What's included
  • All breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation: Hotels & Cruise Boat
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Need to know
  • Minimum age 18
  • The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size.
  • Citizens of the United Kingdom, most EU countries, USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa do not currently require a visa to travel to New Zealand.
  • For the meals not included, you should allow approximately GBP450.
Your route
Exodus: Trails of New Zealand Map Southern Alps Milford Sound Mount Aspiring National Park

Itinerary

Day 1
Start Auckland

Start 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 without an organised itinerary. 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.

Day 2
Visit Tiri Tiri Matangi Reserve

Visit Tiri Tiri Matangi Reserve

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 island of Tiri Tiri Matangi, a stunning island recovery centre operated by the Dept of Conservation and home to a major native bird recovery program. This day allows us the luxury of a private guide to inform us of the program and be introduced to some of our rarest birds, plus the chance to relax, and swim from the local beach.

Day 3
To Rotorua

To Rotorua

Leaving the city behind us we head south to Rotorua and our accommodation. On arrival we stretch our legs with a hike around the Green lake followed by a visit to the Maori Bathhouse and museum which helps understand the rich history of the region. 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).

Day 4
To Tongariro N.P.

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. Despite the number of people visiting, Rotorua is a unique natural wonder and a must see destination. Leaving Rotorua we drive south to Mt Ruapehu. On the way we visit the steaming Wai-O-Tapu geothermal valley and impressive Huka Falls.

Day 5
Hike Tongariro Crossing

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 or the amazing 8hr Tongariro Crossing are on offer. The Tongariro 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.

Day 6
To Wellington

To Wellington

Relax following yesterday's efforts as we drive south to Wellington. Continue across the Rangitaki 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 our capital city.

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

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 1500 kms of beautiful coastline. From Picton we have a 90 min drive to Nelson where we take the time out explore the city or enjoy an optional visit to the amazing Wearable Arts Museum. After this visit we drive to Motueka on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park, with its beautiful golden sand beaches and forests.

Day 8
Half day coastal walk; boat to Motueka

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 today's 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.

Day 9
To Buller River; sunset walk at Punakaiki

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. Further down the coast we stop at Punakaiki, home of the famous Pancake Rocks for a beautiful river walk as we watch the setting sun. If the tide is up the ground can physically shake and water spurts from the blow-holes and fissures that dot the coastline.

Day 10
To Fox Glacier passing Okaroto en route

To Fox Glacier passing Okaroto 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 an optional kayak 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 for the spectacular views over the Southern Alps. Later we continue the short drive through to Fox township.

Day 11
Walk on Fox Glacier; continue to Wanaka

Walk on Fox Glacier; continue to Wanaka

After breakfast we walk across the moraine to the spectacular Fox Glacier that descends to within 200 metres (660ft) above sea level, and then hike up beside the glaciers terminal face. In the morning we stroll around the reflective Lake Matheson, a photographers dream. As an optional extra (weather permitting), you can take a helicopter ride over the glaciers that lace the Southern Alps. In the afternoon we 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 Wanaka, our home for the next two nights.

Day 12
Jet boat in Matukitiki

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.

Day 13
Transfer to Milford Sound and board overnight boat

Transfer to Milford Sound and board overnight boat

From Wanaka we depart early heading for Te Anau and then into the Eglington Valley through to the start of the Routeburn Track. At the saddle we take a 2-hour walk to Key Summit from where the spectacular views put the effort of the next two days into context. We continue further into the spectacular mountains of the 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 fiord.

Day 14
Cruise Inner Sound; drive to Queenstown

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 Te Anau and then a stunning lakeside hike through rainforest to Lake Manapouri. After this hike we drive onto Queenstown and our next two nights are spent here.

Day 15
Free day in Queenstown

Free day in Queenstown

A free day to enjoy the scenic delights of this world famous destination, home of the famous bungee jump! Optional activities available include: a 4x4 drive into the remote Skippers Canyon; a visit to the historic gold mining centre of Arrowtown and a local winery; a cruise aboard the historic steamship to Walter Peak sheep station; paragliding or bungee jumping! Then again, you may just prefer to simply spend the day shopping or relaxing.

Day 16
Transfer to Mt Cook N.P.; trek in Hooker Valley

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. 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.

Day 17
Drive to Christchurch via Canterbury Plains

Drive to Christchurch via Canterbury Plains

After breakfast we have the option to hike to the nearby Blue tarns on Mt Sebastapol or an optional visit to the Hillary Museum and the local Department of Conservation centre. By late morning we depart for nearby Lake Tekapo and a visit to the observatory on the summit of Mt John and a short hike down to the township. From here we drive across the mosaic of the Canterbury Plains out to Christchurch and the end of our drive.

Days 18-19
Hike to summit walkway for spectacular views

Hike to summit walkway for spectacular views

Above Christchurch is the summit walkway and in the morning we have a final hike enjoying the spectacular views into the Lyttleton harbour and across the Canterbury Plains. After the devastating earthquakes of 2009/10, 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. Our tour ends in Christchurch.

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