Trip details

In case you would like to ensure a room to yourself, and not share it with anybody, there is a possibility of a single supplement for an additional fee of $1,100.

  • With its wide variety of natural phenomena and hiking trails, it might be too overwhelming to organize your days by yourself. You don’t have to worry about that on this trip—your expert guides will give you the best possible hiking adventure of the South Island in New Zealand. Embarking from Nelson City, set out on a 10-day hiking tour through the island’s finest natural attractions. Every day in your itinerary brings something new and unique, be it cruising on glacial lakes or traversing rainforest canyons. Accompanied with great food to fuel you for adventures and ensuite rooms in quality hotels and lodges to recharge your batteries, this hiking tour will provide you with the greatest scenic views of the island.
    • Meet your expert guide and your fellow hikers in the Rutherford Hotel foyer at 4 pm. You can either do a guided hike up Botanical Hill, also known as the “Center of New Zealand” to enjoy sweeping views of Tasman Bay and Nelson City, or you can independently explore this lively town—you’ll get the best recommendations for go-to places from your guides. Celebrate the start of the South Island tour by dining together in one of Nelson’s best restaurants.
      Accommodation: Rutherford Hotel, Nelson
      Meals: Dinner
      Hiking: 1 hour, 1.5 miles/ 2.5 km

      Aerial view of Nelson City and Tasman Bay from the Botanical Hill.
    • Spend your day exploring the Abel Tasman National Park. At the beach resort of Kaiteriteri, board a water taxi and cruise the coastline past golden sand beaches, rugged granite headlands and bush clad islands. Step ashore at Bay Bark and hike the famed Abel Tasman Coast Track, tread native forests and walk along cascading streams. Following the well-formed path, you’ll reach Torrent Bay, where you can jump into the crystal clear waters of Cleopatra’s Pool. Journey back to Kaiteriteri before heading back to Nelson. Here’s your chance to further explore this vibrant and artsy little town.
      Accommodation: Rutherford Hotel, Nelson
      Meals: Breakfast and lunch
      Hiking: 4 hours, 7.5 miles/ 12 km

      People boarding a boat on a beach in Abel Tasman National Park.
    • As you make your way to the West Coast, you’ll stop for a hike at century-long burning natural flames. Access this unique phenomena with a local guide through a deer farm and relish a cup of billy tea and pancakes prepared over the flames. Continue your journey alongside the mighty Buller River as it cuts its way through the massive wilderness. You’ll arrive at Punakaiki, where you’ll catch the sunset and visit a local pub for dinner. Take an evening stroll around the famous Pancake Rocks, a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts through several vertical blowholes. You’ll return to this area the following day if your expert guide sees that there’s a bigger chance for high tide.
      Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
      Hiking: 3 hours, 5 miles/ 8 km

      Pancake Rocks in New Zealand.
    • Built in 1867, hike the Inland Pack Track which was once used by prospectors and miners to avoid coastal cliffs. The track today forms part of the Paparoa Track, which leads you through deep limestone canyons and towering rainforest of tropical nikau palms. There are plenty of lakes along the way, so feel free to jump in and cool off! After that, you’ll travel on a highway which offers views of lush green rainforests, glaciated Southern Alps and tussock grasslands. East of Arthur’s Pass, stop for a stroll around the limestone outcrops of Kura Tawhiti, a once important meeting place for Maori people which was named the “Spiritual Center of the Universe” by the Dalai Lama. To end your day, you’ll follow the back roads around Lake Lyndon and reach Methven, a ski town by winter with a spectacular backdrop of the Southern Alps.
      Accommodation: Ski Time, Methven
      Meals: Breakfast and lunch
      Hiking: 3 hours, 6 miles/ 10 km

      Kura Tawhiti, named the Spiritual Center of the World.
    • Continuing south, pass along the extensive Canterbury Plains and go into the intermontane Mackenzie Basin to Lake Tekapo, famous for its vibrant turquoise waters and a small church perched by the lake. Have a picnic lunch with the broad views of the Mackenzie Region in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps—braided riverbeds, glacial lakes and golden grasslands extend to distant mountains. On arrival at Mount Cook village, hike in Governors Bush and on up to Red Tarns for elevated views of Aoraki/ Mt Cook. Take in the panoramas before wandering back down to your accommodation.
      Accommodation: Lodge within Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
      Hiking: 3 hours, 3 miles/ 5 km

      Camp with views of Mt Cook, Mackenzie Basin.
    • Hike up the Sealy Tarns Track and enjoy the views of Mt Sefton, Mueller Glacier and up the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/ Mt Cook. If you’re feeling energetic, join your guide for a climb above the tarns to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of the alpine landscape. If you prefer to take it easy, you can explore the valley floor independently, take the walk up the Hooker Valley for views of the Mueller and Hooker Glacier terminal lakes or learn more about the national park in the visitor center.
      Accommodation: Lodge within Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
      Hiking: 4 hours, 6 miles/ 10 km

      Mueller Glacier and Hooker Valley.
    • Travel up the Tasman Valley towards the country’s longest glacier, the Tasman Glacier. Take a walk through glacial moraine and board a boat for a unique spin around the terminal lake, which is increasing in size every year due to the glacier’s retreat. This dynamic environment is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Continue your day with climbing over the tussock lands of the Lindis Pass into the southern lakes district of Central Otago. You can sample the wine and learn about the sustainable winemaking practiced at an award winning vineyard, or enjoy a walk among the vines. Final stop of the day is Wanaka, a lovely lake-side holiday town.
      Accommodation: Edgewater Resort, Wanaka
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
      Hiking: 1 hour, 2 miles/ 3 km

      Highway at Lindis Pass to Central Otago.
    • Drive alongside Lake Wanaka and reach the peaks of Aspiring National Park. Hike in the Matukituki Valley on the Diamond Lake walk and on up Rocky Mountain, a distinctive glacially sculpted rock sheep for spectacular views over the lake, and to the Southern Alps and Mt Aspiring/ Tititea. After the hike, drive over the Crown Range into the Wakatipu Basin and the scenic wine growing area of Gibbston Valley, pressed between schist mountains and the rocky Kawerau Gorge. Sample fine wine, craft beer and locally sourced food over lunch before you journey on toward the Fiordland wilderness and lake Te Anau.
      Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
      Hiking: 3 hours, 4 miles/ 7 km

      Diamond Lake and Lake Wanaka.
    • Described by Rudyard Kipling as one of the wonders of the world, the fjord of Milford Sound and the Fiordland mountains offer views and tranquility like no other place. You’ll stop at The Divide to walk a section of the Routeburn Track to Key Summit for panoramic views of the Humboldt and Darran Mountains. Easier short walks, and the preferred option if clouds rob Key Summit of views, are located below in the Hollyford Valley. Continue on to Milford Sound and cruise between glaciated mountains under sheer cliffs which plummet hundreds of meters into deep dark waters. Enjoy views of mile-high Mitre Peak and Lady Bowen Falls as you keep an eye out for marine wildlife. You may spot dusky dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, and, if you’re lucky, the rare Fiordland crested penguin. Return to Te Anau in the afternoon.
      Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau
      Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
      Hiking: 3 hours, 4 miles/ 7 km

      View from the boat sailing in the Milford Sound.
    • On your last day, hike part of the famed Kepler Track onto the shores of Lake Manapouri, where you’ll find an abundance of small islands, bush fringed beaches, and mountain backdrop. Travel back up northwards where your South Island hiking tour ends in the lively scene of Queenstown. Queenstown is a town with many adventure activities to pick from—a jet boat ride, highest bungee jumping in New Zealand or a paddle down a river on a funyak. If you’re planning on prolonging your stay, you can also do one of New Zealand’s famous Great Walks. Go on a guided hike to Hollyford Track in the heart of Fiordland NP or journey back to Milford Sound which can be explored by boat. Whatever your preference, your expert guides can help you with any post-trip activities that you might like to add on to your New Zealand adventure!
      Hiking: 3 hours, 6 miles/ 10 km

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

        • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
        • 10 or 15 days of hiking and exploration
        • All activities outlined in the itinerary
        • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
        • 10-day Southern Slice tour includes the following:
          • Accommodation in hotels and lodges
          • Abel Tasman boat cruise
          • Natural Flames
          • Glacier boat trip 
          • Cruise in the Milford Sound
        • 15-day Ultimate South tour includes the following:
          • Accommodation in lodges, cabins, camping, and backcountry huts
          • Abel Tasman Waka experience (Maori canoe)
          • Cycling tour of the West Coast Wilderness trail
          • Cruise in the Milford Sound
          • A free final day in Queenstown
          • Minibus transportation for the duration of the tour

      What’s not included:

        • Transportation to South Island, New Zealand
        • Transportation from the endpoint of the tour to Auckland
        • Accommodations in New Zealand before and after the tour

      Optional activities:

        • 15-day Ultimate South tour:
          • Optional Milford Sound kayaking tour ($110 USD per person)
          • Optional Mt. Cook heli-hiking tour ($400 USD pp)
    • Both the 10-day and the 15-day tour don’t require any hiking experience, but you still need to be reasonably fit, agile, and enthusiastic. You’ll be walking for an average of 4-5 hours a day, up to 8-9 hours on longer days, while carrying packs weighing up to 10-12 kgs (22-26 lbs). The most you’ll hike is around 6 miles (10 km).

      During the 15-day tour, you’ll also overcome altitude gains of up to 800 m (2,620 ft), covering some uneven terrain and river crossings. Finally, some tracks can be slippery or rough and there will be some off-track hiking and river crossings. There are options along both trips when you can choose more energetic or more restful days.

      If you’d like to witness both the North and the South Island, check out this guided hiking adventure in New Zealand or New Zealand uncut adventure. For those more interested in the North Island, this is a hiking tour of New Zealand’s North Island.  

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

        • Backpack
          • 25-30L capacity for the 10-day tour
          • 60L capacity for the 15-day tour
        • Dry bag for clothes
        • A small day pack for the 15-day tour
        • Sleeping bag (3 season, lightweight) and liner for the 15-day tour
        • Water bottle or camel pack (1L capacity)
        • Thermal underwear (top and bottom)
        • At least 3 pairs of socks
        • Shorts or lightweight hiking trousers (preferably quick-dry)
        • Short-sleeved shirts (quick-dry, polypropylene, or wool) and long-sleeved shirts
        • Warm fleece or wool jersey
        • Waterproof raincoat (Goretex or similar)
        • Casual clothing for travel and evenings
        • Spare clothes for layering
        • Swimming costume
        • Hiking boots or good hiking shoes
        • Spare lightweight shoes or sandals
        • Gaiters — optional
        • Sunhat
        • Warm hat or balaclava
        • Gloves (wool or fleece)
        • Lightweight travel towel
        • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
        • Personal medication and first aid
        • Headlamp or flashlight
        • Sunglasses
        • Hiking poles — optional
        • Camera — optional but recommended

      For the 15-day option, your guide offers hiking gear rentals. If you need a hiking backpack, sleeping bag or liner, fleece, thermal clothes, raincoats, or walking poles, contact us and we’ll help set you up.

      Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

    • Group sizes and prices:

        • For the 10-day adventure, the usual client to guide ratio is 13:1.
        • For the 15-day adventure, the usual client to guide ratio is 11:1.
        • It takes a minimum of 4 participants for these tours to run.
        • In case you would like to ensure a room to yourself, and not share it with anybody, there is a possibility of a single supplement for an additional $1100.
        • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

      Hiking in New Zealand’s South Island can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

      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.

    • A 25% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 95 days prior to departure. For bookings within four (4) months of the departure, full payment is required.

      Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. 

        • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to ninety-five (95) days before the departure, Client gets an 80% refund of the deposit back.
        • If Client cancels the Booking ninety-four (94)to twenty-one (21) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of eighty percent (80%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
        • For cancellations twenty (20) to eleven (11) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
        • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.
    • The beginning of both tours is in Nelson. To get there, most people fly into Christchurch International Airport or Auckland Airport, located on the South Island. From there, you can either drive or fly into Nelson. There’s also a possibility of flying from Christchurch to Nelson. 

      For the 10-day Southern Slice tour, you’ll meet your guide and the rest of the group in the Rutherford Hotel, Nelson at 4 pm on Day 1 of your tour.

      For the 15-day Ultimate South tour, you will meet your guide at a predetermined location in Nelson, which will usually be at the airport or the i-Site Visitor Information Centre.

    • 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 travelling 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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