New Zealand - North to South
Day 1: Rendezvous at the group hotel in Auckland. KE Land Only packages start with a single-timed airport transfer from the airport to our hotel in the city centre. In the afternoon there will be a brief city tour followed by an early dinner to allow time to catch up on lost sleep.
Day 2: After an early breakfast we drive south to Rotorua (4 hours). In the afternoon we'll take a walk at the Blue Lakes, part of the volcanic history of the region. In the evening we join a Maori concert and hangi dinner.
Day 3: In the morning we visit the famous Lady Knox Geyser and the Wai-O-Tapu thermal area. In the afternoon we continue south to visit Taupo and then on to Tokaanu (near Turangi) where we will spend the next 2 nights to allow time for the Tongariro Crossing for interested members of the group.
Day 4: Today there is the option to walk the Tongariro Crossing, a spectacular walk beneath an active volcano. For those who don't wish to make the crossing, there is the option to explore local volcanic lakes and surrounding scenery. Overnight at our accommodations in Tokaanu.
Day 5: We drive south to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. With free time to explore there is lots to see, including Te Papa, the National Museum, or the harbour frontage. In the afternoon we board the inter-island ferry for the crossing to Picton via Marlborough Sound.
Day 6: Today we begin the lovely 2 day Nydia Track hike through the Pelorus Sound of Marlborough Sounds. After a short drive to Havelock, we take the 4 - 5 hour hike over 2 small saddles before we descend to the head of the sound and our hideaway ecolodge where we will spend the night.
Day 7: It's hard to leave this beautiful place, but we head off after breakfast to hike over the next saddle and into the neighbouring inlet. Today's walk is also 4 - 5 hours, and after meeting our vehicle, we drive via Nelson to Motueka to explore the Abel Tasman National Park.
Day 8: Today we sample the Abel Tasman track, walking through forest and beaches with golden sands to to Torrent Bay. After lunch we join our catamaran for the exciting sail back down the coast to rejoin our bus and travel back to Motueka.
Day 9: After journeying south-west, the famous Punakaiki or Pancake Rocks await us. It's a beautiful drive following the Buller River to the sea and the spectacular coastline. From our overnight lodge the Porari River is a great place for a short hike before dinner.
Day 10: As we drive further south, the magnificent mountains of the Southern Alps emerge. There are numerous short hikes to choose from en route including the 2 hour hike on the Hari Hari coastal walkway. The emerging Fox and Franz Joseph glaciers are our next stop, and after checking into our accommodation, we make the short hike to the terminal face.
Day 11: Nearby Lake Matheson is a photographer's dream, and the perfect reflection of sunrise on the Southern Alps is sought by many! The 90 minute walk sets us up for the day before we drive across the Alps via the Haast Pass into Otago and on to Lake Wanaka for the next 2 nights.
Day 12: A full day's hike today on a private station to Isthmus Peak for awesome views of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea and the Mt Aspiring National Park. After the hike, we return to our accommodation in Wanaka.
Day 13: Today we head for 'The Remarkables', driving over the Crown Range to Arrowtown and into the vast Wakatipu basin. Following the lakeside, we enter Southland and the vast tussock countryside before arriving in Te Anau where we are able to take a short (2 - 3 hour hike) on the famous Kepler Track route before returning to Te Anau for dinner and overnight.
Day 14: We drive for 2 hours through amazing scenery to reach Milford Sound, in time to enjoy an optional cruise on the sound for those interested to join. Returning to town we take a 2 - 3 hour hike to Key Summit to enjoy the fine panorama.
Day 15: Today is largely a driving town, although a very scenic one and we will stop off en route in Arrowtown and in Queenstown, a mecca for adventure activities. Heading over the Lindis Pass into the Southern Alps, we arrive in Twizel, gateway to the Mt Cook National Park.
Day 16: Mt Cook dominates the Alps from the eastern and western aspects and we now embark on a 6 - 7 hour hike to the Mueller Hut, enjoying views of the Hooker and Mueller glaciers on the way. There are options for those seeking a less active day, including the Hooker Valley or the Mt Sebastapol ridgeline. In the afternoon we drive back to Twizel.
Day 17: A short drive to Lake Tekapo. The head of the lake is the start of our 3 - 4 hour hike to the stunningly situated Rex Simpson Hut, with views across the huge interior plateau. The hut is an excellent place to chill out and enjoy the fabulous views as a prelude to the hike the next day.
Day 18: An early start to hike up to a beautiful ridge for an ascent of a small peak at approx 2000m for fantastic views of the Southern Alps. Returning to the hut, we descend to our vehicle and return to Tekapo for our final nights celebratory dinner.
Day 19: There will be a single-timed transfer to the airport in Christchurch where KE Land Only group package services end.