Trekking in New Zealand

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Our Price From 15,469 Per Person
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 Trip Length
19 Days
 Trip Starts
 Trip Finishes
19 Day Trekking in New Zealand Itinerary (Exodus)
Countries Explored: New Zealand
Trip Style
Walking & Trekking
Max. Group Size
Leisurely / Moderate
Guide Level
Fully Guided
Trip Code


Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Exodus 19 Day Trekking in New Zealand. New Zealand, one of the world’s great adventure travel destinations. Explore both islands on this active trip, visiting all the highlights and many lesser visited attractions, while staying at truly wild campsites followed by comfortable lodges. It’s this mix that makes NZ extraordinary: it’s majestic but down to earth, otherworldly yet reassuringly familiar. Along the way, we trek through Jurassic rainforest, hike a glacier, climb volcanic peaks, and enjoy fish and chips on the beach. A range of activities and more walking (optional extra) complement the hikes superbly and keep this tour as diverse and exciting as the landscapes travelled.

Aldo Kane Collection: A hand-selected range of adventures by our Brand Ambassador:

“New Zealand is a big contender on my list and this adventure covers a lot of the country’s highlights in a relatively short space of time. With treks towards Lake Rotorua and visits to the Waiotapu Thermal Reserve to see bubbling geysers, craters and epic sinter terraces, you’ll also head to Milford Sound and cruise into the fiord. It sounds like a trip of a lifetime.”


The adventure begins in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. If you're arriving into Auckland Airport today, you can arrange a free arrival (shared shuttle) transfer from the airport to the hotel – see the Joining Instructions for more information. The day is free to relax at the centrally located hotel or wander the downtown area to get your bearings. Other options include catching a ferry to Devonport or clambering up the volcanic cone of Mount Eden for panoramic views of the city and its bright-blue harbours. At 6pm, there is a briefing in the hotel foyer where you will meet your tour leader and fellow travellers.

Afterwards, those who wish, can gather for a group meal, which your leader will organise.

We depart Auckland and head south through the dairy-farming plains of the Thames Valley before passing over old ignimbrite flows to reach Lake Rotorua, home to crater lakes and volcanoes. We savour a picnic lunch sitting on the beach of Lake Tarawera – an ancient caldera crater among forest and volcanoes.

In the afternoon, we enjoy a bushwalk, taking a good trail alongside this splendid lake – there are plenty of great swimming spots. We use a water taxi to travel one way. Sample good kiwi kai (food) with an evening meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants in Rotorua (B/L).

It's a 1hr 30min drive to the Jurassic rainforest of Whirinaki Forest Park, where the Walking with Dinosaurs BBC series was filmed. It covers 150,000 acres (60,000ha) and is famous for its podocarp trees, an ancient off shoot of the conifer family that evolved before flowering plants. It is thought that forests like this once covered the super-continent of Gondwanaland more than 150m years ago so step back in time as you hike among weeping ferns, forest giants and rare birdlife.

On our way back to the vehicle, keep an eye out for the rare blue ducks that are sometimes seen in this river. En-route to Taupo, we visit Waiotapu Thermal Reserve, where you can walk at your own pace through this fascinating thermal wonderland of geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters and sinter terrace formations. We visit Huka Falls before arriving in Taupo, situated on the shores of the largest lake in New Zealand, which was formed by a series of massive volcanic eruptions over the last 2,000 years (B/L).

A one-hour drive gets us to Tongariro National Park. Established in 1887, it was the first national park in New Zealand, gifted to the people of New Zealand by Māori chief Tukino Te Hue Hue who saw this as a way of protecting the tapu (respect or sacredness) of the land – in particular the summits of the active volcanoes.

It is also a dual World Heritage area, a status that recognises the park's important Māori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features. En route to the park, we enjoy a one-hour hike through forest around the slopes of Mount 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 own pace.

In the afternoon, hike to Taranaki Falls, which cascades 65ft (20m) over a 15,000-year-old lava flow (L).

Today is a full day of hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, regarded as one of the best daywalks in the world. The well-built track climbs, steeply at times, to the craters of Mount Tongariro. Hike up through a moon-like valley of contorted lava flows and ash fields before climbing up the last steep section to Red Crater, and down to the Emerald Lakes – our usual lunch stop. Admire the volcanic views and steaming vents that make this hike so outstanding.

This is a tough walk so those who prefer a more restful day can find plenty to do at the village (unguided) : 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 village. Today and yesterday may be swapped around to take advantage of the best weather on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (B/L).

We drive to Wellington this morning, the wonderful harbour capital of New Zealand, arriving in the early afternoon. The giant fault-created harbour almost encircled by steep suburbs gives it a giant coliseum feel. You have free time to walk around the city and absorb the lively atmosphere. Wellington is well known for having vibrant cafe, art and culture scenes. There is no shortage of places for a drink with more bars, cafes and restaurants per capita than New York. You may like to visit the Museum of New Zealand, called Te Papa, or the Beehive (Parliament House) (B).

We transfer to Wellington Airport for the short flight across the Cook Strait to the South Island, where we meet our South Island-based guide. A pleasant drive through the orchards and vineyards of Nelson Bay takes us to Kaiteriteri, gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. Abel Tasman's wilderness flows unhindered to golden beaches and granite headlands; there are no roads here – just boat and walking access. We hail a water taxi to reach the lovely Onetahuti Beach in the heart of the park. From here, we hike on the coastal track to our tranquil campsite at Bark Bay, a great spot to stargaze before falling asleep to the ocean sounds (B/L/D).

Today we wander through lush coastal forests, cross Falls River via a 155ft (47m) suspension bridge then (depending on the tides) we may cross an estuary or follow the all-tide track. Cleopatra's Pool is a worthwhile side trip; here, the river has carved a smooth slide down the rocks into deep clear pools – you may not be able to resist a dip!

We finish our hike on the gold-sand beaches of Anchorage, where a water taxi takes us back to Kaiteriteri and our vehicle. We spend the night in Murchison, a quiet rural town on the edge of the wilds. This is the northeastern limit of the vast wilderness ranges and rivers that dominate much of the South Island (B/L).

This morning, we drive beside the mighty Buller River to the rugged West Coast. At Cape Foulwind, we take a short walk to view a seal colony. We might see the young pups frolicking in rockpools sheltered from the heaving waves that pound this part of the coast (New Zealand fur seal pups are born in December and January). After lunch, we start an overnight hike in Paparoa National Park.

Among the largest remaining tract of coastal native forest in New Zealand are towering limestone cliffs, caves and rivers – an ideal area for hiking. Starting at the mouth of the Fox River, we take a historic packhorse route to Dilemma Creek, then follow the river upwards to the Ballroom Overhang where we spend the night. Your guide will show you river-crossing techniques and you will be thankful for your proper hiking boots, which are essential in this terrain. The Ballroom is a large limestone overhang, which shelters a serene campsite just above the Fox River. The evening is spent sitting around the campfire and enjoying a delicious meal (B/L/D).

After a leisurely breakfast, we hike back down the Fox River before driving south along the coast to Punakaiki and the Pancake Rocks. These 30m-year-old limestone rocks have formed immense features with thousands of layers. Continuing south, we stop at Hokitika. Originally known as the Capital of the Goldfields, Hokitika was once a thriving and prosperous port. Much of its old character remains and it is now a major centre for greenstone (pounamu) or jade.

This hardstone is treasured by the Māori who used it for decorative jewellery and for carving some of their lethal weapons – the war clubs known as meres. From Hokitika, we continue south to Fox Glacier, one of the few places in the world where you can see glaciers descending into the level of the rainforest (B/L).

We make the most of being in the South Westland World Heritage Area this morning and hike to a viewpoint of the Franz Josef glacier. This dynamic glacier falls 7,875ft (2,400m) over 7. 5mi (12km) as it journeys from high in the Southern Alps to temperate rainforest just 820ft (250m) above sea level.

After we return from the hike, we continue our drive through this remarkable World Heritage Area onto Makarora, crossing back over the Southern Alps at Haast Pass, stopping to explore remote beaches and coastal lagoons and forests on the way.

Tonight, we stay in the lakeside town of Wanaka (B/L).

After a relaxed breakfast enjoying stunning views over Lake Wanaka, we set off on today's hike to the Rob Roy Glacier. We start with a beautiful drive up the Matukituki Valley, journeying through large sheep, cattle and deer farms. Our hike starts from Raspberry Flat and crosses a suspension bridge across the Matukituki River before climbing through Beech Forest alongside the raging, boulder-strewn waters of Rob Roy. Eventually the track emerges above the treeline in a delightful alpine meadow with a superb vista of the Rob Roy Glacier. We lunch here before wandering back down the valley to the vehicle. We drive over the Crown Range into Queenstown, where we stay for the next two nights (B/L).

The adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown offers the chance to sample numerous optional activities. Alternatively, you may choose to sit back, relax and take in the amazing views from the shores of Lake Wakatipu on this free day. There are also great daywalks (some up to eight hours) that leave from this bustling little town. Your guide will outline all the options.

We head into Fiordland National Park, the largest national park in New Zealand. The area is dominated by water, in the form of lakes, ocean fiords or as falling rain, which has enabled the establishment of temperate rainforest, while the huge glacial lakes of Te Anau and Manapouri are the border of the dramatic inland coast. We hike on the Kepler Track, firstly around the lakeshore before climbing gently up through the forest and limestone outcrops to the bush line.

From these broad tussock tops, we are rewarded with sweeping views of the Fiordland wilderness including the Murchison and Kepler mountains and lakes Te Anau and Manapouri. Descend back to the lake and follow the lakeside trail back to the vehicle. We stay in Te Anau for the next two nights, an ideal base to explore Fiordland National Park (B/L).

We rise early and drive through the Homer Tunnel and down to Milford Sound itself. Here we have the option to take a two-hour cruise on the fiord with its cascading waterfalls and views of Mitre Peak (5,650ft/1,722m). Fiordland crested penguins and New Zealand fur seals often play near the boat. An afternoon hike takes us up to Key Summit (the tail end of the renowned Routeburn Track) for fantastic views across the gneiss and granite Darran Mountains. After the hike, return to Te Anau via the splendid Eglinton Valley, one of the only road-accessible valleys in Fiordland National Park (B/L).

After several days of rigorous hiking, give the legs a rest today on our drive north to Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park. A stop in Cromwell is a good opportunity to sample delicious locally grown fruit and take a stroll through the quaint and lovingly restored historical precinct of the town. The high-country landscape of Central Otago contains some of the largest high-country sheep stations in NZ, many measuring tens of thousands of hectares – Patagonian-like in size and splendour.

Crossing Lindis Pass, we continue through Mackenzie Country to the shores of Lake Pukaki and then west to Aoraki/Mount Cook (12,218ft/3,724m). Arriving late in the afternoon, we have the remainder of the afternoon free, either hike (unguided) the nearby Red Tarns Track or relax and enjoy the views of Aoraki (B/L).

Today we hike up the Mueller Ridge via Sealy Tarns, with awesome views of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman (the two highest peaks in New Zealand) and Mueller Glacier with its terminal meltwater lakes. There is time in the afternoon to take another hike up to the Hooker Valley or stroll around the village and visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center (B/L/D).

Time for one final hike this morning as we explore the nearby Tasman Valley, an area of alpine vistas, lakes and glacial moraines. Leaving Mount Cook, we continue north through Mackenzie Country, taking a break at Lake Tekapo – aqua-blue waters framed by the Southern Alps. Tekapo is filled by glacially fed rivers which deposit tons of glacial flour (finely ground rock) into the lake; this flour is so fine that it is suspended in the water and refracts the light giving the lake a stunning colour. After crossing the Canterbury Plains, we arrive in Christchurch midafternoon, and here the trip concludes after three weeks of hiking through volcanoes, thermal wonderlands, rainforests, glaciers and remote mountain valleys (B/L).

The tour ends in Christchurch and it's time to begin our return journeys home. A free shared shuttle departure transfer from the hotel to Christchurch Airport is included but it must be booked at least one month before departure if you wish to utilise this service. If you'd like a little more time to explore, speak to you sales representative about extending your stay.

Trip Inclusions

  • Discover the primeval landscape of Rotorua
  • Enjoy the golden beaches of Abel Tasman
  • Marvel at Fox Glacier and the deep fiord complexes around Milford
  • Trek in Mount Aspiring National Park
  • Hike while surrounded by smoking volcanoes
  • Climb among the soaring peaks of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

  • 16 nights in hotels, lodges and cabins and two nights in huts/camping
  • 14 days of walking, including two treks with overnight stays in huts and camps (carrying overnight gear)
  • Low altitude throughout
  • Travel by private minibus
  • Part of the Aldo Kane collection
  • 15 breakfasts, 15 lunches and three dinners
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • Price is for land, cruise and internal flights as specified. Flights not specified are not included
About Exodus Travels
About Exodus Travels

Hit the trails with Exodus - from challenging peaks to leisurely coastal and countryside walks. Read more

Exodus Trip Leaders
Exodus Trip Leaders

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Accommodation with Personality
Accommodation with Personality

Wherever possible, Exodus chooses properties that are locally owned and that reflect the area you are visiting. Read more


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