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New Zealand Ultimate Hiking Adventure

Daniel Murphy, Malcolm O’Neill, Hiking New Zealand
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Optional Mt. Cook Heli-Hiking (+$450.00)

On Day 19, you can join a local operator for a guided heli-hike on the Tasman Glacier for an added fee. If you would like to join this heli-hike, let us know how many people in your group will be joining the tour.

1 Person
24 day
Daniel Murphy, Malcolm O’Neill, Hiking New Zealand
Reserve deposit (25%) $0
Second Payment Amount: $0
  • Camp under the stars and enjoy the raw beauty of New Zealand’s wilderness with expansive forests and countless lakes and rivers. Visit world-famous attractions such as Milford Sound with its pristine waters and Abel Tasman with its endless sand beaches. Discover Rotorua’s geothermal features and go on one of the best day hikes in the world in Tongariro. Get lost in Whirinaki’s lush rainforest and challenge yourself with hikes in Aoraki/Mount Cook, famous for glaciers and alpine landscapes. Switch it up and wander about Wellington and Queensland.

    • Your adventure starts at 7 am at the Sky Tower in downtown Auckland. Head south to Rotorua, an area with geothermal features such as steaming thermal vents, bubbling mud-pools and stunning lakes. The area is also rich when it comes to Maori and early European history. After a quick stop and picnic lunch by Lake Rotorua, you will veer off the beaten track, southeast into the Whirinaki to hike in a rainforest—a remnant of the vast forests believed to have covered the supercontinent of Gondwanaland more than 150 million years ago. The hike will take you to the Whirinaki River where you will stay for the night. Cook up a meal together and either stay in the hut or camp nearby.

      Accommodation: Whirinaki Hut
      Meals: Lunch and dinner
      Hiking: 9.5 km/ 6 miles, 3 hours

      View of the boldly-colored mineral lake waiotapu. Steam is rising from the lake’s surface and there is a forest in the distance.
    • Continue with the hike down the valley track. Since this hike is not part of the tourist trail, there is a chance that you will encounter rare blue ducks and robins and hear kaka (a large bush parrot) as you make your way through lush tropical vegetation. Later in the afternoon drive east into the rugged forest ranges of Te Urewera. This is the traditional home of the Maori people and one of the last places to have been reached by European settlers. After a two-hour hike through the rainforest, reach the remote lake Waikaremoana where the camping area is located.

      Accommodation: Fisherman’s Cabins by the lake Waikaremoana
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Hiking: 15 km/ 9.5 miles, 5 hours

      A stream surrounded by ferns and other lush tropical vegetation.
    • Go on a 20-minute drive to the trailhead at the south end of the lake and begin the climb up the Panekiri Range. You will ascend through beech and tawa forest 500 meters above the lake. After lunch, hike some more along the fascinating Onepoto Caves trail. Enjoy a second night at the cabins.

      Accommodation: Fisherman’s Cabins by the lake Waikaremoana
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Hiking: 14 km/ 9 miles, 7 hours

      A stream surrounded by ferns and other lush tropical vegetation.
    • Drive to the Volcanic Plateau and explore a thermal park where you can bathe in a natural hot river with views of the impressive Huka Falls. Feel the spray of the Waikato River as it plunges 11 meters into a pool the size of a stadium. Later you will arrive at the crater Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand formed by the most powerful volcanic explosion in recorded history. Spend some time at Taupo and later head to Whakapapa Village in the Tongariro National Park.

      Accommodation: Lodge near Whakapapa Village
      Meals: Breakfast and lunch
      Hiking: 4 km/ 2.5 miles, 2 hours

      Aerial view of a blue river in a powerful flow in a narrow rock corridor covered in trees.
    • During your 3-day stay in the Tongariro National Park—the oldest in New Zealand—you will explore the more remote and drier east side of this volcanic range, as well as the famed Tongariro Alpine Crossing. On Day 5, hike out of Whakapapa through tussock-grasslands between the volcanoes Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. Arrive at the simple but modern Waihohonu Hut among patches of beech forest beside a quiet stream.

      The next day either amble to the splendid Ohineopango Springs or walk the challenging off-trail route over ash-moraine ridges and skirt lava cliffs to reach a viewpoint high above a remote lake. Stop to enjoy fantastic views of the park’s three main peaks: Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe—you will maybe recognise the last one from the Lord of the Rings films. Spend the night at the Oturere “sardine tin” hut, a small, busy hut and your guides’ favorite!

      Spend your last day in Tongariro by hiking through moon-like valley of lava flows and ash fields before reaching the remarkable Emerald Lakes. From here, join the spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The next few hours take you through lava valleys, steaming craters, and brooding volcanoes before descending through bonsai-like alpine foliage and mineral-infused streams. An evening drive takes you back to your lodge near Whakapapa Village in the heart of the national park, where you’ll enjoy million-dollar volcanic views before dining in the alpine village.

      Accommodation: Waihohonu Hut — Oturere Hut — Lodge near Whakapapa Village
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner on Days 5 and 6 / Breakfast and lunch on Day 7
      Hiking: 8-15 km/ 5-9.5 miles, 3-8 hours per day

      Two people sitting with a turquoise lake and a hill in front of them.
    • Drive south through the beautiful river valleys of the Rangitike to the nation’s
      capital, Wellington. Arrive in the city mid-afternoon and explore the city’s restaurant and street food scene or spend some time bar hopping. Wellington is much more than the capital city! It’s the nation’s stylish hub for arts, culture, cafes, and politics.

      Day 9 is a rest day in Wellington—take in its vibrant culture by visiting one of its many museums, going on a cable car ride or simply walking its streets and admiring the architecture. New Zealand’s capital is a compact city enclosed by the harbor and hills which makes it perfect for walking. Here are our top picks: National Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa), Beehive (Parliament House), Weta workshops (book in advance), Maritime Museum, Zealandia…

      Accommodation: Bay Plaza, Oriental Parade
      Meals: Breakfast
      Hiking: 1 km/ 0.6 miles, 1-2 hours

      City vedute from the trees and sea in the foreground, skyscrapers in the middle and residential area in the hills in the background.
    • After a flight across Cook Strait, meet your South Island guide at Nelson Airport. Head out of town around picturesque Tasman Bay to Kaiteriteri, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. Pack light and smart and take a boat ride to the beautiful Tonga Quarry. Enjoy a snack on the idyllic beach before starting the hike, following the Abel Tasman Coast Track south to Bark Bay—the camping location for the night.

      Next day, depart from Bark Bay through the luxuriant mixed forest and across a high suspension bridge above the Falls River. Descend to the sand beaches of Torrent Bay, with attractions such as Falls River cascades and Cleopatra’s Pool, both perfect places for a refreshing swim. You will camp at the bright blue inlet of Anchorage.

      On your last day in Abel Tasman, explore its magical coastline by waka (Maori canoe). After a traditional karakia (blessing) from your waka guide, learn about the waka team etiquette. Climb abord and paddle your way through several coves on the mainland and the wildlife refuge of Adele Island to observe a breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals! Paddle into Kaiteriteri beach, reunite with your guide for lunch, and drive south to a private campsite near Murchison, overlooking the confluence of the Buller and Maruia rivers.

      Accommodation: Bark Bay Camp — Camp in Anchorage Bay — Campsite near Murchison
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (except for breakfast on Day 10)
      Hiking: 7-12 km/ 4.3-7.5 miles, 3-5 hours on Days 10 and 11
      Paddling: 15 km/ 9.5 miles, 3 hours on Day 12

      Aerial view of a long crescent-shaped sand beach with a tree-covered hill following the shore line.
    • Experience the wild West Coast and its dramatic headlands, wild waves and secluded bays. Afterward, you will hike to a limestone river canyon in Paparoa National Park whose attractions include mountains, canyons, caves, rivers, wilderness areas and coastlines. Learn how to cross rivers with the help of your guide as some boulders can be slippery! Your campsite for the night will be under a massive fluviatile cave—Ballroom Overhang.

      Accommodation: Campsite under the Ballroom Overhang
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Hiking: 8 km/ 5 miles, 4 hours

      River bank and tree-covered hills in the background.
    • Hike through the canyon in the morning and head to Punakaiki to check out the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes afterwards. Continue down the coast to Hokitaka—once thriving goldrush town where you can now buy pounamu (greenstone), a material used by the early Maori people for tools, jewelry and weapons. You can eat out in the town and later relax on the beach.

      Accommodation: Lodge accommodation in Hokitika
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch
      Hiking: 6 km/ 3.8 miles, 3 hours

      Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, West Coast, New Zealand
    • Grab coffee at a local coffee shop and get ready to cycle the stunning West Coast Wilderness! Pedal your way through majestic native forest, cross crystal-clear rivers, and pass old reservoirs and water races which date back to the gold rush days. What comes after is the drive into the Southern Alps and Arthur’s Pass—a national park famous for its rugged peaks, wild rivers and adventurous hiking trails.

      Accommodation: Kennedy Lodge
      Meals: Lunch and dinner
      Biking: 39 km/ 24 miles, 4-5 hours

      Mountain-ringed alpine valley with many purple flowers. Mountains in the distance are covered in snow.
    • On Day 16, you will head on a challenging overnight hike which will take you up the Edwards River to the Edwards Hut located on top of a beautiful alpine valley. It’s a challenging hike on a real “kiwi-style” track—there are several river crossings and parts where you will need to use your hands for extra grip as the trail is rugged with steep slippery sections. At nightfall listen out for the distinct call of the national bird, the kiwi.

      The next day explore further up towards the Falling Mountain, where the views of the surrounding peaks open up even more. Later, you will head east and witness the dramatic changes in scenery on the way to Mt Somers. Enjoy the views of wide braided rivers, tussock grassland, and the surreal limestone formations of Castle Hill. Leave the main highway following an inland route past lake Lyndon, through Rakaia Gorge and on to the village of Methven.

      Accommodation: Edwards Hut — Village of Methven
      Meals: Breakfast and lunch (+dinner on Day 16)
      Hiking: 7-9 km/ 4.3-5.5 miles, 5-6 hours per day

      A hiker on a trail to Castle Hill, South Island, New Zealand
    • Drive along the western margin of the Canterbury Plains and into the stunning Mackenzie Country, famous for huge glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains. Arrive at Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park and hike up to Sealy Tarns and possibly Mueller Hut. Enjoy views across two valley glaciers on Mount Sefton and Aoraki/Mt Cook—the highest peak in New Zealand. Your accommodation for the night is in the heart of the Southern Alps. In the evening, watch the summit of Aoraki/Mt Cook turn from white to pink.

      On Day 19 you can either join a local operator for a guided heli-hike on the Tasman Glacier or join your guide for a hike up the steep slopes of Sebastopol to the Red Tarns. You can also take a rest day and relax in the hut or visit the information center to learn more about the park’s natural history and the history of mountaineering in the area. By mid-afternoon, you will continue the journey south through to the Central Otago region and the glacial lake Hawea ringed by mountains

      Accommodation: Wyn Irwin Lodge — Campsite near the shores of Lake Hawea
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch (+dinner on Day 19)
      Hiking: 4-10 km/ 2.5-6 miles, 2-6 hours

      Four hikers walk in Mt Cook/Aoraki with snow-covered mountains in the background and a pool of water reflecting the scene in the foreground,
    • Drive to Wanaka—a vibrant lakeside resort town where you can grab some coffee before heading on up the Matukituki Valley. Take in gorgeous alpine views as you hike across grassed flats to Aspiring Hut—your accommodation for the night. Catch glimpses of Mt Aspiring between high peaks. Climb through beech forest to the bush line on the Cascade Saddle Track in the afternoon. Enjoy the uninterrupted view across the upper Matukituki to Mt Aspiring and the Southern Alps and encounter cheeky keas—alpine parrots found in the area.

      Accommodation: Aspiring Hut
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
      Hiking: 14 km/ 8.6 miles, 6 hours

      River valley surrounded by steep tree-covered mountains and one particularly high snow-covered mountain in the background.
    • Day 21 starts with the return hike to Wanaka along the floor of this wide glacially formed valley. Once you are back in Wanaka the group can regain the energy with a lakeside picnic and laidback swims in the lake. After the picnic, a remarkable drive over the Crown Range, offering breathtaking summit views of the Wakitipu Basin and Lakes. By late afternoon, you’re past Te Anau and well on your way to Milford Sound. Camp for the next 2 nights at the beautiful Eglinton Valley campsite, relaxing and making the most out of the welcome hot showers.

      Accommodation: Eglinton Valley campsite
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
      Hiking: 9 km/ 5.5 miles, 3 hours

      View of the stunningly blue Lake Wanaka from Roys Peak
    • Drive beneath imposing granite cliffs and hanging valleys into the heart of Fiordland National Park—a World Heritage Site and one of the largest national parks in the world featuring spectacular fjords and the huge glacial lakes of Te Anau and Manapouri. Cruise the pristine waters of Milford Sound and admire cascading waterfalls while encountering its amiable inhabitants: dolphins, Fiordland crested penguins, and New Zealand fur seals. Later hike up to Key Summit, the final section of the famous Routeburn Track and another one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Afterwards, return to the Eglinton Valley and enjoy your second night there.

      You can also choose a kayaking option today! In that case, you will be picked up at 6:30 am by the kayak company to travel to Milford Sound. Paddle for 3 hours in double kayaks to waterfalls, spotting rare wildlife.

      Accommodation: Eglinton Valley campsite
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
      Cruise: 2 hours
      Hiking: 7 km/ 4.5 miles, 3 hours

      A beautiful view of a lake in New Zealand
    • Take a short hike to check out a beautiful waterfall near the campsite before the final drive to Queenstown where you will arrive in the early afternoon. The lodge is within easy walking distance from town—spend the afternoon according to your interests. Set against the dramatic Southern Alps, Queenstown is known as New Zealand’s adventure capital. You can travel up the Skyline Gondola to enjoy some show-stopping views, or have a leisurely stroll through the Queenstown Gardens before heading for dinner somewhere downtown. In the evening, celebrate with the group all the hikes and adventures you have had over the last three weeks. The next day you will say goodbye to New Zealand or continue touring on your own!

      Accommodation: Pinewood Lodge, Queenstown on Day 23
      Meals: Breakfast and lunch on Day 23
      Hiking: 2km/ 1.2 miles, 45 minutes on Day 23

      Aerial view of Queenstown.
    • What you get on this adventure:

        • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
        • 24 days of hiking and other activities outlined in the itinerary
        • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
        • Accommodation in huts, lodges, cabins, hotels, and camps
        • Daily transportation during the adventure
        • Plane ticket from Wellington to Nelson
        • Therm-a-rest sleeping mat
        • Tents
        • Cooking equipment, plates/cutlery
        • First aid kit, safety equipment and maps

      Meals: The entire group prepares the meals with food provided by the guide. The guides will be in charge of coordinating the different group tasks among all the travelers. In case of special dietary needs, please contact us and we can make arrangements.

      What’s not included:

        • Transportation to and from New Zealand
        • Restaurant meals (the plan is to eat out during some evenings and during the stay in Wellington)
        • Optional activities
        • Travel insurance
        • Guide gratuities — optional
    • For this adventure, you need to be reasonably fit and have basic mountain biking skills. Prior hiking experience is generally required for this tour, but multi-day hiking experience is not necessary. Your average day will involve 4-5 hours of physical activity, with the number of hours decreasing on more laid-back days and increasing to up to 8-9 hours on more challenging days. Altitude gain won’t be greater than 800 meters (2600 ft) while the maximum distance covered on any day is 15 kilometers (9 miles). Hikes will involve managing uneven terrain and crossing rivers while carrying a pack weighing up to 12 kilograms (26 pounds) on some days. The group will take breaks on a regular basis to get some rest and eat lunch and snacks.

      For a more in-depth look into hiking on North Island, make sure to check out our guide made in collaboration with local guides.

    • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

        • Backpack (at least 60 liters capacity)
        • Backpack liner (plastic bag)
        • Small daypack
        • Sleeping bag (minimum 3 season, preferably
        • Hiking boots or good hiking shoes
        • Spare lightweight shoes or sandals
        • Raincoat (Gore-Tex or similar)
        • Warm fleece/wool jersey x2 (not cotton)
        • Shorts or lightweight trousers (preferably quick-dry)
        • Short-sleeved shirt x2 (quick-dry, polypropylene)
        • Thermal underwear (top and bottom, wool or polypropylene)
        • Comfortable clothes for non hiking days
        • Socks
        • Warm hat
        • Sunhat
        • Sunscreen and sunglasses
        • Water bottle (1L)
        • Flashlight/head lamp
        • Insect repellent (sandflies like foreign blood)
        • Casual clothing for travel and evening
        • Gloves/mittens
        • Swimsuit
        • Towel (lightweight towels are great)
        • Personal toiletries, medication and first aid
        • Camera—optional (but recommended)

      Your guide will supply:

        • Pack-liner to keep things dry inside your backpack
        • Kit bag to hold your spare gear when you are out hiking
        • Emergency first aid kit
        • Thermarests
        • Plates, cutlery, mugs, pots, etc.
        • Tents

      For the flight between Wellington and Nelson, the checked luggage allowance is 23 kg (50 lbs) per person, with a carry-on luggage allowance of 7 kg (15 lbs).

      It’s recommend that you bring two bags on your trip, a hiking backpack with an internal frame (at least 60 litres in capacity) for the overnight hikes, and a smaller day pack for the day hikes. Your guides supply kit bags for the storage of your gear in the trailer when you are away on a multi day hike.

      There will be only limited opportunities to do laundry during a tour, so quick-drying clothing is an advantage. Weather can change rapidly so layers of clothing is ideal.

    • Yes, you can rent backpacks (60 L), sleeping bags and liners, and walking poles from your guide for an added fee. If you wish to hire any gear, let us know during checkout or two weeks before the trip at the latest.

    • Meal times are a great time to rest, refuel and get to know your fellow travellers better while enjoying the amazing surroundings and great food! Everybody on this tour will have a turn with the preparation and cooking of meals: barbecues, salads, pancakes, curries, pasta, stir-fries…

      There will always be plenty of hiking food – chocolate, nuts, raisins, biscuits.

      Vegetarian meals are available upon request. Meals that are not included in the trip price are detailed at
      the bottom of each day’s itinerary.

      The vehicles carry a full range of cooking equipment including gas burners, woks, frying pans and billies (cooking pot). When you go on an overnight hike the group will carry a portable stove.

    • Wild nights will be spent in the wilderness, in backcountry huts or camping in locations that may be several hours walk from the nearest road or populated area. On nights in civilization, you may stay in cabins, lodges or camp by the vehicle at Department of Conservation campsites. Some of these locations may still be relatively remote and in the wilderness but they can be reached by the vehicle. You’ll get to a shower generally every 1-2 days, otherwise there are rivers to swim in and freshwater to wash with.

      You will camp in a range of campsites. On the “wild nights” you may camp under natural rock shelters, on remote beaches or even sleep out under the stars! There will be long drop (pit) toilets. There will be rivers or lakes nearby for a swim, and sometimes even natural hot pools! This trip is set up so after a couple of nights of “roughing it” in the wilderness, you will stay somewhere where you can enjoy a shower and a few home comforts (including laundry facilities) before the next foray into the wild! If the weather is not great for camping, eg very wet, stormy or very cold conditions, your guide will seek out alternative accommodation.

      New Zealand has an excellent network of backcountry huts and you will stay in huts on several nights. They are equipped with mattresses, running water and an outside toilet. Cooking is done on a portable stove. Huts are only accessible on foot and shared with other hikers. On some of the nights, you will stay in lodges, often conveniently located near the start or end of a hike. They usually have multi-share and sometimes twin/double rooms. Finally, some nights may be spent in private cribs (summer house) or cabins at a campground. Staying in the cribs is a real authentic New Zealand experience and you may even start to feel like a kiwi!

      *Accommodation is subject to availability, and an equivalent style of property could be used if the advertised property is no longer available

    • The average driving time per day varies, some times you are in the wilderness and won’t see the vehicle for 2 or 3 days! On other days you might be in the vehicle for 2-3 hours. The driving time is a chance to rest and enjoy the fantastic scenery. The guide will often stop the vehicle if there is a great photo opportunity or primo ice cream shop!

      You will travel in a 12 seat minibus towing a custom-built trailer with camp equipment and your luggage. They are also equipped with a range of natural history reference books.

    • Group sizes and prices:

        • For this adventure, the usual client to guide ratio is 11:1.
        • The cost per person doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
        • It takes a minimum of 4 participants for this tour to run.

      Min. age requirements:

        • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
        • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

      If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

    • Your adventure starts in Auckland and finishes in Queensland. To get to Auckland, most people fly into Auckland International Airport (AKL). From there, you can take a shuttle service to get to the meeting location in the city—outside the SkyCity hotel, 20m from Sky Tower base.

    • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

      We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in New Zealand please refer to the official New Zealand Travel Website.

      Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

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