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New Zealand Hiking Tours - Small group guided tours including New Zealand's best walks, iconic activities and four star accommodation. …

New Zealand Hiking Tours - Small group guided tours including New Zealand's best walks, iconic activities and four star accommodation.
Guided walks on the Routeburn and Milford Tracks and in Arthurs Pass and Mount Cook National Park. Overnight stay in Martins Bay in the Hollyford Valley, Fiordland National Park.
Unforgettable activities included in your tour: Milford Sound helicopter flight, Fiordland backcountry jetboat, the TranzAlpine train and more.
Enjoy all the comforts of home, no tents or huts on this tour, all accommodation is to a four star standard, even in remote locations.
Expert guides and guaranteed small groups.
New Zealand Trails.

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  • 1. An active, easygoing, guided tour of New Zealand’s beautiful South Island featuring some of the country’s most spectacular walks & scenery. (11 or 13 Days) YOUR ADVENTURE STARTS HERE Kia Ora and welcome to New Zealand Trails. Do you have an enthusiasm for all things outdoors and natural? Do you enjoy the camaraderie of a small group of like-minded folk? Then do we have an adventure for you! Easygoing activity in the outdoors is a great way to enjoy the process of staying fit, while enjoying the beauty of nature with fun, friendly folks like you, who are looking for memorable active experiences in the best of the great New Zealand outdoors without sacrificing comfort. We’re not trying to set any speed records on our hikes or activities, we take time to breathe in the fresh air and soak up the scenery – after all there’s no hurry, you’re on holiday. Our small group guided tour is designed with YOU in mind; travel in confidence knowing that the people facilitating your adventures are veterans in the world of outdoor travel. HIGHLIGHTS Guided day hikes on some of New Zealand’s best hiking trails the Milford, Routeburn and Hollyford tracks and in Arthur’s Pass and Aoraki Mt Cook National Parks Guided glacier hiking on Fox Glacier Spectacular rail journey on the TranzAlpine Underworld adventure in one of the most spectacular glowworm caves in the world Eco kayaking on tranquil Okarito Lagoon Lake Wanaka cruise and island bird sanctuary guided hiking Gibbston Valley walk with wine tasting Spectacular helicopter flight from Milford Sound to Martins Bay Martins Bay seal colony and (if we’re lucky) penguins or dolphins Overnight stays in Fiordland National Park Martins Bay Lodge Milford Sound and remote Hollyford River and Lake McKerrow jetboat Overnight high country farmstay experience Tekapo night sky and guided observatory tour Tekapo night sky and guided observatory tour
  • 2. DAY 1 CASTLE HILL & ARTHUR’S PASS NATIONAL PARK After introductions and a brief orientation we depart Christchurch and watch the Canterbury plains disappear into the rear vision mirror as we head into the high-country. Exploring Castle Hill and the Great Alpine Highway In 2002 the Dalai Lama christened Castle Hill as the “Spiritual Centre of the Universe” and there is certainly something magical about these awe-inspiring limestone rock formations. The area is also of special cultural and spiritual significance to Maori who named it Kura Tawhiti (treasure from afar). Hidden amongst the limestone outcrops of Castle Hill are traces of 500-year old charcoal drawings left by first people to travel through this area. We know this area really well and can’t wait to show you some of our favourite spots on the road to Arthur’s Pass, you’ll love Lake Pearson, Cass and the Waimakariri Valley. Hiking in Arthur’s Pass National Park Fill your lungs with mountain air as we enter Arthur’s Pass National Park. The Majestic Southern Alps is the ‘back bone’ of the South Island, dividing it into two distinct regions, east and west, each with its own unique climate, landscape and life forms - and this park is her gateway. This afternoon we’ll show you our favorite places hidden in the National Park. Follow your guide up the stunning Bealey Valley, through ancient beech forest, alpine wetlands, along the crystal clear mountain stream to the edge of the alpine zone with views up to Mt Rolleston and her permanent glaciers – the perfect start to your New Zealand outdoor adventure. Today’s Activity: Not a long hike but over some uneven ground, 4km (3 miles), 3-4 hours including lunch and breaks. Tonight we stay in Arthur’s Pass. (Lunch, Dinner) DAY 2 TRANZALPINE TRAIN JOURNEY, LAKE BRUNNER AND PUNAKAIKI TranzAlpine Train Journey Described as one of the world’s great scenic rail journeys, the TranzAlpine traverses the dramatic contrasts from one side of the Southern Alps to the other. From the braided riverbed of the Waimakariri Valley, massive glacial valleys, pristine alpine lakes and tussock grassland of the Southern Alps high-country to the lush native rainforest and green pastures of the West Coast.
  • 3. Lake Brunner, the West Coast and Punakaiki One of the things we pride ourselves on is doing things a little bit differently and today is an example of just that. We leave the TranzAlpine at the penultimate stop en route to the West Coast, the tiny township of Moana on Lake Brunner, the perfect spot for a lunch break before continuing on our Journey. The West Coast of the South Island is a very diverse stretch of countryside and the sub tropical look to the rainforest here is not what a lot of people are expecting – dominating the landscape is New Zealand’s only native palm tree and white sandy beaches, the first of many surprises in store for you. Our accommodation tonight is right on the ocean in Punakaiki, one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets and the perfect spot for a sunset campfire on the beach. Tonight we stay in Punakaiki (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) 3 DAY PAPAROA NATIONAL PARK, NILE RIVER GLOWWORM CAVES Today we will spend the day discovering one of the most untouched and undiscovered parts of New Zealand: Welcome to Paparoa National Park Limestone underlying Paparoa is responsible for the park’s impressive landforms. Running water over many thousands of years has formed an environment known as karst, featuring deep river canyons, sculptured mountain ridges, a large network of caves, sinkholes - add to this a thick lush cover of Gondwanaland Rainforest. Primeval River Rainforest Your guides will lead you on a walk through the rain forest close to the enormous Nile River Caves – untouched by man and in its natural state. Underworld Glowworm Walk Discovered relatively recently, our cave is one of the few in the world you can easily walk through and experience it in its natural state, the way it was discovered. The large dry upper levels of the cave are simply stunning and very special place complete with spectacular Stalactite & Stalagmite creations & galaxies of Glowworms that are unequalled. There are two options here – get kitted up in wetsuits to float on a small inflatable raft through the most amazing glowworm caves on the planet or stay dry and walk into the heart of the caves with your guide. Talk to us to find out which option will suit you. Today’s Activity: Hiking on the forest trail to the cave entrance usually takes 30 – 40 minutes, with a short climb at the very end. Walking in the cave is at a slow pace on mostly flat ground with some walking on rocks, it’s all about taking in our stunning surroundings. Total time is usually 2 to 2.5 hours. Tonight we stay in Punakaiki again. (Breakfast, Lunch)
  • 4. 4 DAY THE WEST COAST AND OKARITO LAGOON Wild West Coast Scenic Drive First time visitors to New Zealand are always amazed by how stunning the roads are and today you will see this for yourself. Sit back in your seat and enjoy the views - the snowy peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps, virgin West Coast rainforest and the rugged Tasman Sea coastline - Wow! Gliding Eco Tour on Okarito Lagoon A quiet kayak is the best way to enjoy the flora, fauna and scenic grandeur of New Zealand's largest unmodified coastal wetland. Okarito Lagoon is well known for its outstanding avifauna (over 70 species of birds have been recorded here). The lagoon is a common feeding ground for kotuku (white heron) and royal spoonbill, both of which breed in the nearby Waitangiroto Nature Reserve. The lagoon also has diverse and fascinating flora both in the salt marsh and other wetland communities, as well as in the adjacent shrublands, forest and sand dunes. All this with the backdrop of New Zealand’s highest peaks – you will be pinching yourself in disbelief at the sheer beauty. Today’s Activity: We spend up to 2 hours on the water in double kayaks, the paddling is at your own pace and there’s plenty of time to rest if you need to. Our local guides know all the local conditions and we plan our trip with these in mind. We even have a support boat on call if we need it. Tonight we stay at Fox Glacier. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) DAY 5 THE RIVER OF ICE AND MOUNT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK At 13 kilometers in length, Fox Glacier is the largest and most accessible of the West Coast glaciers. In the company of an experienced local glacier guide, you will be lead through an alpine valley and onto the glacier where we will spend at least one hour walking on the ice viewing nature's delicate artistry revealed in the form of extraordinary ice formations of caves, crevasses and monolithic pillars. You will need some special gear for this, but don’t worry, we’ve got it all organized and it’s easy. The Haast Pass, Mount Aspiring National Park and the Wanaka Lakes As we continue our trail the scenery is impressive all the way, once over the Haast Pass the views change dramatically as we head into the mountains and bid farewell to the coastline. We follow the Haast River into Mount Aspiring National Park and the Wanaka Lakes district, this pass was used by Maori on Pounamu (jade) and food gathering expeditions as one of the earliest routes linking the West Coast and central Otago. Today’s Activity: A 30-45 minute hike on an excellent trail to the start of the glacier, a gentle climb in and downhill on the way back. We walk on cut steps on the glacier and have crampons and walking poles to help. We spend around 60 minutes exploring the glacier at a gentle walking pace. Tonight we stay in Wanaka. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
  • 5. 6 DAY LAKE WANAKA AND MOU WAHO ISLAND NATURE RESERVE Lying close to the centre of Lake Wanaka is Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve which is only accessible from Lake Wanaka by a 35 minute boat ride. We are walking with a long time local guide and eco warrior today he’ll lead us on the well-formed track on our gentle climb through the native bush to near the top of Tyrwhitt Peak. Just before the top we see Arethusa Pool, a small lake on the island with small islands in it - very intriguing! From the top we have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka, the surrounding mountains and valleys, and below Arethusa Pool. On a hot day you may not be able to resist a dip in the cool crystal clear waters. The Cadrona Valley and Queenstown Our afternoon drive takes us through the Cadrona Valley, over the Crown Range into the amazing Wakatipu basin. You’ve probably seen pictures of this area and the Range is by far the most stunning way into Queenstown. Today’s Activity: The walk into the view point on Mou Waho is a short climb in and downhill on the way back. There’s a lot to see and learn so we take plenty of breaks. The return distance is around 5km (3 miles). We are on the island for around 2.5 hours. Tonight we stay in Queenstown. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) DAY 7 DESTINATION PARADISE AND THE ROUTEBURN TRACK Today we are heading close to Paradise, not the other unofficial Paradises we have been to already, but the official Paradise. We’ve got serious business today, we know you’ll love what we think is New Zealand’s best one day hike, the Routeburn Track. On the trail your guides will lead you through the Beech Forest (looks like Lord of the Rings was shot here), alongside the crystal clear river (swimming welcome but the water is cold) onto Routeburn Flats and for those looking for a real challenge, Routeburn Falls. As with all our hikes, there’s lots of flexibility, if you want to push yourself a little or just enjoy a comfortable hike on the flat trail, it ’s all here. Either way, the scenery’s magnificent and your guides are there to take care of you all the way. Today’s Activity: You choose how far you want to walk today, most people make the hike to Routeburn Flats, a return walk of 16km (10 miles) over 6-7 hours. The trail is excellent all the way, a gradual climb on the way in and downhill on the way back. We have all day to enjoy ourselves so there’s no hurry. For an extra challenge the climb to Routeburn Falls will reward you with stunning views, the return distance adds another 3km (2 miles) to your hike and it’s quite a good climb too, 300 vertical meters (1000 feet)! We stay in Queenstown again tonight. (Breakfast, Lunch)
  • 6. 8 DAY GIBBSTON VALLEY AND FIORDLAND Surrounded by imposing rugged schist mountains, this rocky gorge is incised by the beautifully turquoise Kawarau River, a harsh environment in winter no doubt, but perfect growing conditions for Central Otago’s pinot, a wine that has gained worldwide recognition and an avalanche of international awards Other varieties grown in the valley include chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and sauvignon blanc.The vineyards are sandwiched precariously between the mountains and River - it is one of the most scenic wine growing areas you'll ever encounter. Early Māori travelers passed through this river valley for seasonal hunting and the gathering of Pounamu (Jade/Greenstone) that was, and still is, considered a taonga (treasure). For the European settlers it was the promise of gold which attracted so many to the Wakatipu. Today the well tended vines on the slopes of the valley produce their own treasure and the vineyards we visit are some of the region’s top boutique vineyards. As well as wine, the Valley is known for delicious cheese. Washed rind and sheep's milk cheeses can be added to our picnic basket, which might soon also acquire a few excellent bottles of pinot noir -– perfect for our riverside picnic lunch. After lunch we head off along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, then into the heart of Fiordland. After lunch we head off along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, then into the heart of Fiordland Carved by glaciers overthe night in Milford Sound. Afternoon is Park is a World Heritage Site where ancient National Park to spend 100,000 years ago Fiordland National often the best time to drive the Milford Road, rainforest clings to mountainside some excellent light forand granite peaks look take our did a as there are so without the morning crowds and and shimmering lakes photographs. We will as they time ten thousand years ago. But this place is really the place for won’t want to miss. tomorrow when you hike what is many amazing photo spots along the way you hiking as you find out arguably New Zealand’s most famous walk. Tonight we spend the night in our accommodation at Milford Sound (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Tonight we spend the night in our accommodation in Fiordland (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) DAY 9 AM MILFORD TRACK HIKE, SEA KAYAK OR CRUISE MILFORD SOUND Your choice of: Today will be one of the highlights of your entire New Zealand Trail. Moody and Dramatic, Milford Sound is simply stunning and offers what is surely the most spectacular fiord scenery in the southern hemisphere. Whatever the fiord’s mood, teeming with rain or with sun glistening on deep water, it will inspire you. Rudyard Kipling once described Milford as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” and we think he was right your time in Fiordland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this area... Milford Sound can be experienced in a number of ways - a short cruise across the Sound for a half day walk on the world famous Milford Track, a nature cruise taking you the entire length of the Sound out to the Tasman Sea or if you feel like a little more activity, roll your shoulders over in a Sea Kayak. Whichever you choose it will be a great way to experience the grandeur of Milford. Today’s Activity: Milford Track Hike - The trail from Sandfly Point to Giant’s Gate Falls is flat all the way and is in excellent condition, the return journey is 10km (6 miles) and usually takes 3-4 hours including breaks. Sea Kayak Today’s kayak is a little more challenging than Okarito due to the exposed nature of Milford Sound, but you will be fully supported by your pro kayak guide the whole time. We will be on the water in double kayaks for 2.5 - 3 hours.
  • 7. 9 DAY PM HELICOPTER FLIGHT TO MARTINS BAY, COASTAL WILDLIFE & HERITAGE WALK Our scenic flight over the rugged Fiordland backcountry into Martins Bay is simply awe-inspiring. Firstly we fly out into Milford Sound, gaining a bird’s eye view of its pure majesty with massive vertical granite walls rising from the sea, waterfalls cascading either side... then over the mighty Darran Mountain Range across the Hollyford Valley and into remote Martins Bay. We explore the Martins Bay area on foot, learning about the historical sites of Maori occupation of the area where chief Tutoko and his people guarded entry into the Hollyford Valley, controlling access into and out of highly valued pounamu (greenstone / jade) gathering areas. Your guide will also highlight the plant and wildlife of this unique environment helping you to discover the diversity of this truly remote area. Our afternoon hike takes us to the Martins Bay seal colony where we can view the New Zealand fur seal at close quarters and in total seclusion, a totally natural wildlife experience. If we’re lucky we may even catch a glimpse of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin. Today’s Activity: The walk to seal colony usually takes around 2 hours and once we’re there we take our time as there’s so much to see. After a 30 minute walk back to the river our jetboat comes and picks us up for the return journey to the lodge. This evening we stay in Martins Bay on the Hollyford Track (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) DAY 10 THE HOLLYFORD VALLEY & NZ HIKE THE HOLLYFORD HIGH COUNTRY FARM EXPERIENCE TRACK The Hollyford Track Stepping into the Hollyford Valley is literally like entering a lost world, remote wilderness untouched for thousands of years. The Hollyford Track is the only major track in Fiordland that is consistently at a low altitude, (it’s flat) undulating gently through native forests, beside picturesque lakes and roaring waterfalls as we shadow the swift, clear waters of the Hollyford River. Naturally spectacular, this valley has an unparalleled diversity of vegetation and wildlife from 1000- year-old giant rimu trees to ancient podocarp forest, hundreds of intricate ferns, crimson southern rata and the emerald mosses and velvet lichens of the understory. Regarded by many as New Zealand's most beautiful wilderness valley, this is the perfect setting for our final incredible walking experience. Our adventure today starts with a jetboat across Lake McKerrow before your guides lead you on your day hike, a flat one day walk through the World Heritage wilderness of the Hollyford Track. Today’s Activity: Our hike today is just around 17km (10.5 miles) on an excellent flat trail all the way. It’s not a race to get to the end, we want to take our time in this magical place, we are walking for 5-6 hours with plenty of breaks. After our hike we travel by coach to one of New Zealand’s oldest and largest stations (farms) for the night where we’ll get a taste of high country life and meet some great people of the land who spend their lives here. Some of our new friends may be departing the tour tomorrow, so tonight we all enjoy a final celebration dinner together. This evening we stay in we stay at Nokomai Lunch, Dinner). celebration dinner together. This eveningFiordland. (Breakfast,Station. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
  • 8. DAY 11 LAKE TEKAPO AND STAR GAZING This morning we will take it easy after our adventures, there may be an opportunity to visit a South Island High Country farm, our hosts are more than happy to show you around. This is a working farm with 25000 sheep reared especially for the high quality fine wool which is exported all around the world and is probably used in some brands you own. Some people may be leaving the tour today so we depart after lunch and head first to Queenstown airport before continuing on the trail. Today our destination is Lake Tekapo in the Mount Cook region, a beautiful turquoise highland lake surrounded by vast fields of golden tussock, gazed upon by the spectacular Southern Alps. With a settlement population of less than 400 people and building restrictions enforced, Tekapo offers a tranquility seldom found, its uninterrupted natural views will stop you in your tracks – is there anybody out there? Recently earmarked by UNESCO as the world’s first recognized “starlight reserve” tonight Tekapo has an unforgettable night sky, the reason Tekapo hosts the southern most observatory on earth. Accompanied by a Mt. John’s observatory astronomer you will get a learned insight into our universe and beyond. Through both telescope and specialized binoculars view Milky Way Galaxy, the Southern Cross, Alpha-Centauri. You may also have the opportunity to see star clusters like the beautiful Jewel Box, awe inspiring planets, immense clouds of gas and dust, and distant galaxies which test the limits of human imagination. Tonight we stay in Tekapo. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) DAY 12 AORAKI/MOUNT COOK NATIONAL PARK We’re up early and on our way into Mount Cook National Park, taking plenty of time on the way to make sure you get your own photos of New Zealand’s highest peak and most famous of National Parks. You have a choice of hikes today - the Hooker Valley track, this gentle Annie takes you up to the Hooker glaciers terminal lake with Mount Cook towering above, living up to its Maori name Aoraki – “the Cloud Piercer”. For a slightly more challenging hike, follow your guide up the Sealy Tarns track a top of the world view of the village and surrounds, but most impressive of all is the commanding view of the Mueller Glacier. Today’s Activity: Hooker Valley: This is a very accessible trail and easy walking for all ages. The 8 km (5 mile) return journey usually takes around 4 hours including breaks. Pretty flat all the way with a few rocky sections of the track. Sealy Tarns: The more challenging of the options by far as we have a steep climb around 550 vertical metres (1800 feet) up for our reward of a stunning panorama of New Zealand’s highest peaks. Usually this walk takes around 4 -5 hours return. Stay back in Tekapo. (Breakfast, Lunch)
  • 9. DAY 13 THE LAST DAY - MACKENZIE COUNTRY AND CANTERBURY PLAINS All good things must come to an end, today is the final day of your New Zealand trail! We take our time through the Mackenzie country and Canterbury Plains before arriving in Christchurch for early afternoon dropoffs at the airport or city accommodation. Christchurch has been through a lot in the last few years with devastating earthquakes and was one of our bases for many years, any support you can offer the city will be much appreciated. Our trail ends today back in Christchurch. (Breakfast, Lunch) “We know you will love what we think is the best of New Zealand, we can’t wait to see you on the trail soon!” TOUR PRICE: Per person NZ$6895 (twin or double share). Single supplement NZ$995. You may also choose to leave the tour in Queenstown on Day 11. For this option the per person price is NZ$5995 (twin or double share). Single supplement NZ$895. Your all inclusive tour package includes: Meals: All transport by private coach, activities in the itinerary (including Milford – Martins Bay helicopter flight), meals as noted in the itinerary, national park entry fees, domestic taxes, moral support, TLC and jokes from your guides. Any exceptions will be clearly noted in your itinerary. Our 13 day tour price includes 12 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 9 dinners. The 11 day tour price includes 10 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 7 dinners. All accommodation (twin or double share) in 4 star lodgings, unless otherwise noted. Your Martins Bay accommodation is in double rooms in a fully serviced lodge with hot showers and a drying room. Predeparture advice and from our friendly team – we will be available to assist you at any time with questions you may have before your departure. We can also help with any pre or post tour travel requirements – just ask us and we’d be happy to help. Comfortable, charming accommodations: We select lodgings based on comfort, location and charm. Our accommodations are generally 4 star tourist class hotels, motels or lodges with private washrooms. The only accommodation on the itinerary with shared facilities is Martins Bay lodge which is in a remote location and the full lodge is available exclusively for our group. Separate men’s and women’s bathrooms with hot showers are available right next to your room. Group Size: Maximum group size on our land adventures is 12 guaranteed. All groups over 10 people will have 2 guides – guaranteed. 2013/2014 Tour Dates: 11th November 2013, 9th December 2013, 13th & 27th January 2014, 10th & 24th February 2014, 10th March 2014 However remote a spot we find ourselves we won’t have to compromise on cuisine. A lot of thought and effort has gone into ensuring the standard of food and wine matches that of the scenery. We work with local talent to bring the best of the region’s food and wine to your table. Your Guides: Your guides are highly trained passionate Kiwis with a wide array of life experiences. From spotting native wildlife to bringing the past alive with stories of the land, from adjusting gear on hikes to providing that little extra encouragement during the last mile, the connections you make with your guides will last a lot longer than the duration of this tour. Throughout your tour we also work with the best local guides in certain locations, these outdoor professionals have been showing visitors around their favourite spots in the great New Zealand outdoors for years and are happy to share their secrets and knowledge with you. Contact us for more information or to book your spot now: Online: www.newzealandtrails.com Email: info@newzealandtrails.com Skype: nztrails Phone: +64 9 972 3493 New Zealand Trails 69 Beach Road, Auckland, New Zealand