Trekking in New Zealand

Resort:Trekking in New Zealand
Operator: Exodus
Destination: Australia & The Pacific, New Zealand
Price From: £6399.00


Explore New Zealand’s incredible landscapes, predominantly on foot

New Zealand epitomises contrasting scenery and culture and is an ideal
country for adventure travel. Explore both islands as you weave your way
through New Zealand on this active trip, visiting all the main highlights and
many off-the-beaten-track attractions. Maximise your time in out of the way
places and yet still marvel at the iconic destinations. Enjoy true wilderness
campsites followed by comfortable lodges. Trek through Jurassic-like
rainforest, hike along a glacier, climb up volcanic peaks and enjoy fish and
chips on the beach. It is this mix which makes New Zealand extraordinary – it
is majestic but down to earth, otherworldly yet reassuringly familiar. A
range of activities and glacier walking (optional extra) complement the hikes
superbly and keep this tour as diverse and exciting as the landscapes


* Raw, primeval landscape of Rotorua shaped by volcanic activity
* Golden beaches of Abel Tasman
* Fox Glacier and the deep fjord complexes around Milford
* Optional activities in Queenstown
* Heli-hike in Mt Aspiring NP
* Trek surrounded by smoking volcanoes
* Climb amongst the soaring peaks of Aoraki Mt Cook National Park


Day 1-2
Depart London

Depart London

Day 3
Start Auckland

Start Auckland; afternoon free to relax at your central hotel or wander the
downtown to get your bearings in New Zealand’s largest city. Catch a ferry to
Devonport or clamber up the Mt Eden volcanic cone to get panoramic views of
the city and its bright blue harbours and gain a sense of the citys
complex volcanic past. There will be a briefing in the hotel foyer at 6pm
this evening.*

Day 4
Travel to Rotorua

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
with its stunning crater lakes and volcanoes. We savour a picnic lunch
sitting on the beach of Lake Tarawera – an ancient caldera crater amongst
forest and volcanoes. In the afternoon we enjoy a bush walk along a good
trail alongside this splendid lake – there are plenty of great swimming
spots. Sample good kiwi kai (food) with an evening meal at one of the many
cafes and restaurants in Rotorua.*

Day 5
Visit the Waiotapu Thermal Reserve; hike through the Jurassic-like rainforest
of Whirinaki Forest Park

En-route to the Whirinaki 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. From here it is a 2-hour drive to the
Jurassic-like rainforest of Whirinaki Forest Park. This park covers an area
of 60,000 hectares 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 150 million years ago. This is where the BBC Walking with
Dinosaurs series was filmed. Step back in time as you hike amongst weeping
ferns, forest giants and rare birdlife. On our way back to the vehicle we
keep an eye out for the rare Blue Duck that are sometimes seen in this river.
We drive on to Taupo, situated on the shores of the largest lake in New
Zealand. The lake was formed by a series of massive volcanic eruptions over
the last 2000 years. We’ll visit Huka Falls before arriving at our

Day 6
South to Tongariro; trek east to west through park

Seize the day with a morning dip in Lake Taupo before the short 1-hour drive
around the shores to Tongariro National Park. Established in 1887, it was New
Zealand’s first National Park, gifted to the people of New Zealand by a Maori
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 which recognises
the park’s important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its
outstanding volcanic features. We hike through waving tussock-grasslands
between the volcanoes to a hut set in an enclave of native beech forest. It
was here that the great battles from Lord of the Rings were filmed. We then
traverse up across stony deserts to an alpine hut perched on the toe of an
old lava flow. From this hut there are fantastic views of the three main
volcanic peaks in the park. The sunrises here are spectacular. We generally
stay in the huts but very occasionally camp nearby. Everyone in the group
carries a bit of the group food and cooking equipment for the overnight
hikes. Sometimes, usually for weather reasons, we may do this hike in

Please note that whilst the hut here is very basic (see accommodation notes),
there are usually hikers from all over the world that contributes to a real
community atmosphere to the place.

Day 7
Trek through moonscape of scarlet lava flows and alongside surreal turquoise

We hike gently up through a moon-like valley of contorted lava flows and ash
fields before climbing up the last steep section to the Emerald Lakes – our
usual lunch stop. All around this scarlet moonscape are turquoise and
blue-green crater lakes, adding their surreal colours to the landscape. We
cross this volcanic range before descending on the western side. In good
conditions there is an option to climb one of the lower volcanic peaks. This
is a tough walk and will challenge even the fittest of walkers. The last 3-4
hours of this day are spent trekking the best section of the famous Tongariro
Alpine Crossing. Expect to see lots of other walkers on this section; it is
easy to see why when we see how spectacular the views are!
An evening drive takes us to a lodge beside the park with great views of the
volcanoes. Soak in a hot tub with a cold beer as you gaze out across the

Day 8
To Wellington; free time

This morning we drive to Wellington, arriving in the early afternoon.
Wellington is New Zealands wonderful harbour capital. The giant
fault-created harbour almost encircled by steep suburbs gives it a giant
coliseum feel. You have free time to enjoy walking around the central city
and absorb the lively atmosphere. Wellington is well known for its vibrant
caf, art and culture scenes. There is no shortage of places to have a
coffee or 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).

Day 9
Short and scenic flight to Nelson; to Abel Tasman; water taxi into Park

We transfer to Wellington airport for the short flight across the Cook Strait
to the South Island. Here we meet our South Island-based guide. A pleasant
drive through the orchards and vineyards of Nelson Bay takes us to
Kaiteriteri, a popular holiday spot for kiwis and a gateway into Abel Tasman
National Park. Abel Tasmans wilderness flows unhindered to a coast of
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 start our hike on the famed coastal track
and hike through to our tranquil campsite at Bark Bay. A great spot to gaze
at the stars before falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean.

Day 10
Walk Abel Tasman NP coastal track; to Murchison

Today we wander through lush coastal forests, cross Falls River via a 47
metre 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 taking a dip! We finish our hike on the
golden 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 north eastern limit of the vast
wilderness ranges and rivers that dominate much of the South Island.*

Day 11
To Paparoa N.P.; hike up Fox River to the Ballroom Overhang

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

Day 12
Hike out of canyon; drive to Punakaiki, Pancake Rocks, Hokitika and Fox

After a leisurely breakfast we hike back down the Fox River before driving
south along the coast to Punakaiki and the Pancake Rocks. These
30-million-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 hard stone is treasured by the
Maori 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 will see
glaciers descending into the level of the rainforest.*

Day 13
Fox Glacier trek; to Makarora

Today you have the opportunity to join the guide for a challenging but
stunning hike to Roberts Point. The Roberts Point track crosses several
suspension bridges, passes through luxuriant west coast rainforest, and
weaves its way across ice smoothed rock outcrops before emerging at a high
viewpoint looking out over the glacier of Franz Josef. Situated in the South
Westland World Heritage Area this dynamic glacier falls 2400m over 12kms as
it makes its journey from high in the Southern Alps to temperate rainforest
just 250m above sea level.

After we return from the hike we drive on to Makarora crossing back over the
Southern Alps en route at Haast Pass. Tonight we stay in cabins right on the
doorstep to Mt Aspiring National Park. There is an option of a restaurant or
self catering for dinner.

Day 14
Heli-flight into Mt Aspiring NP; land in remote Siberia Valley; hike up
valley to a glacial lake

We start the day by boarding a helicopter for an exciting 10 minute flight to
the remote Siberia Valley. Part of the South Westland World Heritage area,
the park is characterised by glaciers, ice carved peaks and large areas of
wilderness. Just upstream from our landing site is Siberia Hut, which will be
our home for the night. We leave any surplus gear here (sleeping bags etc)
and head off for a hike up to Lake Crucible. This challenging hike takes us
even further into the awe-inspiring mountains of Mt Aspiring National Park
and right up to the shores of an old glacial lake at the foot of Mt Alba. Set
at 1172m this lake often stays frozen well into the summer, so you may prefer
to save your swim for the river! In late spring this valley is dotted with
the large white and yellow flowers of the Mt Cook lily. After lunch we make
our way back down the valley to the Siberia Hut. Together we prepare a tasty
meal, before relaxing on the verandah gazing at the southern stars with the
freedom from light pollution. Enjoy the wonderful peace and quiet that goes
with spending a night in the wilderness.*

Day 15
Hike above the Siberia River; jetboat trip down Wilkin River; transfer to

Head down the valley – sidling above the Siberia River. We gain spectacular
views of the surrounding mountains and waterfalls of the lower Siberia
Valley. A jetboat picks us up at the confluence of the Siberia and Wilkin
valleys and carries us on a thrilling 45 minute journey downstream to
Makarora. After lunch we drive beside the milky turquoise Lake Wanaka and
over the golden tussocks of the Crown Range, stopping off at the historic
Cardrona Hotel for a drink before arriving in Queenstown in the late

Day 16
Free day in Queenstown

Labelled 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 some great day walks (some up to eight hours)
that leave from this bustling little town. Your guide will outline all the
options on how to make the most of your day.*

Day 17
To Te Anau; afternoon hike on the Kepler Track

We head into Fiordland National Park – World Heritage Area, the largest
National Park in New Zealand. The huge glacial lakes of Te Anau and Manapouri
are the border of Fiordlands dramatic inland coast. The area is dominated
by water, either in the form of lakes, ocean fiords or as falling rain
which has enabled the establishment of temperate rainforest.

We hike on the Kepler track, firstly around the lake shore before climbing
gently up through the forest and limestone outcrops to the bush-line. From
these broad tussock tops you are rewarded with the sweeping views of the
Fiordland wilderness including the Murchison and Kepler mountains and Lakes
Te Anau and Manapouri. Descend back to the lake and catch a water taxi across
Te Anau. We base ourselves in Te Anau for the next two nights. An ideal base
to explore and experience Fiordland National Park.

Day 18
Drive to Milford Sound; optional boat cruise into the fjord; to Te Anau

Optional 2 hour boat cruise
We rise early and drive through the Homer Tunnel and down to Milford Sound
itself. Here we have the option to take a cruise on the fjord with its
cascading waterfalls and views of Mitre Peak (1722m). 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.

Day 19
Drive through Mackenzie Country to Aoraki/Mt Cook

After several days of rigorous hiking give the legs a rest today on our drive
north to Aoraki/ Mt Cook National Park. A stop in Cromwell is a good
opportunity to sample some of the delicious fruit that is grown in this area
as well as taking a stroll through the quaint and lovingly restored
historical precinct of the town. Central Otagos high country landscape,
contains some of New Zealands largest high country sheep stations, many
measuring tens of thousands of hectares Patagonian like in size and
splendor. Crossing Lindis Pass we continue through the MacKenzie country to
the shores of Lake Pukaki and then west to Aoraki/Mt Cook (3724m). Arriving
late in the afternoon the remainder of the afternoon is yours to do as you
please, either hike (unguided) the nearby Red Tarns track or relax and enjoy
the stunning views of Aoraki.

Day 20
Hike up to Mueller Ridge via Sealy Tarns

Today we hike up the Mueller Ridge via Sealy Tarns, with awesome views of Mt
Cook and Mt 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 alternatively take a stroll around
the village and visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center.*

Day 21
Hike small lakes of Tasman Glacier; transfer across the Canterbury Plains to

Time for one final hike this morning, as we explore the nearby Tasman Valley,
a stunning area of alpine vistas, lakes and glacial morraines. Leaving Mt
Cook we continue north through the 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 in the mid afternoon, and here
the trip concludes after 3 weeks of hiking through volcanoes, thermal
wonderlands, rainforests, glaciers and remote mountain valleys.

Day 22
Free day in Christchurch; evening depart

Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this evening for
the flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out
from the hotel.

Day 23
Arrive London

Arrive London