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Holiday Overview

Highlights

  • The Tongariro Alpine Crossing – New Zealand’s best 1 day walk
  • Marlborough Sound and the Nydia Track
  • Hike parts of the famous Abel Tasman and Routeburn Tracks
  • Milford Sound Cruise and Mount Cook Walks

Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand. To the Maori, New Zealand is Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud and the contrasting North and South Islands have become a patchwork of Maori, European, Asian and Pacific Island history. Geographically, New Zealand is an outdoor lover's paradise with volcanoes, mountains, beautiful coastline, forest, beaches and huge lakes to enjoy. With only 4 million inhabitants in a country the size of the UK, there is a lot of fresh air and open space! Over 3 weeks we have attempted to include the hiking highlights of this wonderful and welcoming country. Starting in the North Island, we arrive in Auckland from where we transfer to volcanic Rotarua and hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a traverse of an active volcano and ‘the best 1-day hike in New Zealand'. Then taking a ferry across the Cook Strait from Wellington to Picton on the South Island, we enter the famous Marlborough Sounds where we enjoy a trek to remote and lovely Nydia Bay and then hike part of the stunning Abel Tasman Coastal Track. Driving down the West Coast, we visit the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki and hike up to the Fox Glacier. Looping inland via Lake Wanaka, we reach the gateway to the amazing Fiordland at Te Anau. Here we make short and scenic hike on the Routeburn Track and take a cruise on Milford Sound. Making our way back north to Christchurch, we have included a final day hike to the Mueller Hut below Mount Cook and then an overnight hike to the Rex Simpson hut near Lake Tekapo, recently declared an International Dark Sky Reserve. Stargazing from the hut, we can reflect on our unforgettable visit to this amazing country, far away in the South Pacific.

Is this holiday for you?

Putting together this New Zealand North to South hiking holiday, we have picked out many of the highlights of this dramatic country. This necessitates some long journeys to cover the distances required, but we will use a comfortable bus throughout our tour and have designed the itinerary to take the opportunity to stop off and stretch our legs. Starting out on the North Island, we spend time at volcanic Rotorua and also tackle one of New Zealand's foremost one-day walks, the Tongariro Crossing, which is a tough walk taking up to 7 or 8 hours to complete. Crossing by ferry from Wellington to Picton, we make a counter-clockwise circuit of South Island, where we start with a 2-day walk on the Nydia Track in Marlborough Sounds. For the rest of our tour, we stop off to take advantage of unmissable day-hikes and shorter walks along the way, ranging from 2 to 7 hours duration. Most of these walks will follow good trails and tracks. There are a couple of days with a minimal amount of walking and on these days you have the option to take it easy.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Auckland. A single, timed transfer from Auckland Airport is provided.
  • Transfer to Rotorua. Afternoon hike of the picturesque Blue Lake, sacred to the Maori people.
  • Visit to Lady Knox Geyser. Walk on trails around Wai-O-Tapu thermal area. Visit Lake Taupo.
  • Walk the spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing, exploring the famed area of the Lord of the Rings!
  • Transfer to Wellington, afternoon to explore. Afternoon inter-island ferry crossing to Picton.
  • Walk along the Nydia Track deep into the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Cross the Kaiuma Saddle.
  • Walk across the Nydia Saddle and descend to Duncan Bay. Transfer to Motueka via Nelson.
  • Walk along the Abel Tasman Track from Marahau to Torrent Bay. Afternoon water taxi back to Motueka.
  • Transfer south to the pretty coastal town of Punakaiki. Afternoon choice of walk in the local area.
  • Transfer to the town of Fox Glacier, home to the magnificent Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
  • Morning walk around Lake Matheson. Afternoon transfer to the dramatic Mount Aspiring National Park.
  • Walk to the summit of Mt Roy (1578m) for awesome views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.
  • Walk around Diamond Lake and to the summit of Rocky Mountain (773m). Enter Fiordland National Park.
  • The spectacular Milford Sound by boat. Hike to the Key Summit viewpoint on the Routeburn Track.
  • Drive to Twizel, gateway to Mount Cook National Park, via Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
  • Day-walk beneath Mount Cook (3754m), the highest mountain in New Zealand to the Mueller Hut.
  • Drive to Lake Tekapo and hike to the Rex Simpson Hut, home to the best start gazing in the world!
  • Ascent of Erica’s Peak (2000m) for fantastic views of the Southern Alps. Drive to Lake Tekapo.
  • Departure Day. Transfer to Christchurch and explore the city on the way to the airport.
2016
Sun 13 Nov - Thu 01 Dec Code TNZ /03/16/ Adult$5,920 Status Limited Availability Book now
More information
  • New Zealand North to South
  • The departure reference for this tour is TNZ /03/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 13 Nov and departs on Thu 01 Dec
  • This departure has limited availability. Don't delay - secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $1,045 - Single supplement includes all nights other than 1 night at Nydia Bay and 1 night in the Rex Simpson Hut.
Sun 11 Dec - Thu 29 Dec Code TNZ /04/16/ Adult$5,920 Status Available Book now
More information
  • New Zealand North to South
  • The departure reference for this tour is TNZ /04/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 11 Dec and departs on Thu 29 Dec
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $1,045 - Single supplement includes all nights other than 1 night at Nydia Bay and 1 night in the Rex Simpson Hut.
2017
Mon 23 Jan - Fri 10 Feb Code TNZ /01/17/ Adult$5,920 Status Available Book now
More information
  • New Zealand North to South
  • The departure reference for this tour is TNZ /01/17/
  • This tour begins on Mon 23 Jan and departs on Fri 10 Feb
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $1,045 - Single supplement includes all nights other than 1 night at Nydia Bay and 1 night in the Rex Simpson Hut.
Sun 26 Feb - Thu 16 Mar Code TNZ /02/17/ Adult$5,920 Status Limited Availability Book now
More information
  • New Zealand North to South
  • The departure reference for this tour is TNZ /02/17/
  • This tour begins on Sun 26 Feb and departs on Thu 16 Mar
  • This departure has limited availability. Don't delay - secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $1,045 - Single supplement includes all nights other than 1 night at Nydia Bay and 1 night in the Rex Simpson Hut.
The dates shown are for the LAND ONLY itinerary, joining in Auckland. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Auckland airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel and Christchurch is the most convenient at the end of the trip. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers', and 'Flights' sections in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.


BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

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Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Auckland. A single, timed transfer from Auckland Airport is provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in Auckland. KE Land Only packages start in the early afternoon, with a single, timed transfer from the airport to our hotel in the city centre. In the afternoon there will be a short optional (as many people may feel tired and depending on arrival times) city tour of the points of interest in this 'City of Sails', which is famous for its many sailing yachts in the Hauraki Gulf. Auckland is an ethnically diverse city and home to more than a quarter of New Zealand's population. Most people will have an early dinner and be early to bed, to catch up on lost sleep.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Transfer to Rotorua. Afternoon hike of the picturesque Blue Lake, sacred to the Maori people.

    After an early breakfast we drive south to Rotorua (4 hours), the most active thermal area in the country. After checking in at our accommodation, there will be an afternoon guided walk at picturesque Blue Lake, a crater lake surrounded by native and exotic forest, including giant redwood trees which were planted in 1901. Our 2 to 3-hour walk through an area sacred to the Maori people will give us a better understanding of the volcanic history of this fascinating region. In the early evening we will attend a traditional 'hangi' and cultural experience at one of the popular Maori Villages. This will be a relaxed evening, including a series of song and dance performances followed by a meal prepared in the traditional 'earthfire' oven using hot stones. From the moment we arrive in Rotorua we know that this is a special place - there is the whiff of sulphur in the air and the sound of spouting geysers.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 250m

    • Distance 4km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 250m

    • Time 2 - 3 hrs walking

  • Visit to Lady Knox Geyser. Walk on trails around Wai-O-Tapu thermal area. Visit Lake Taupo.

    After breakfast, we visit the famous Lady Knox Geyser, which is induced to erupt at 10.15 every morning and can continue erupting for many minutes, reaching a height of 20 metres. We will also spend some time walking the trails at the Wai-O-Tapu thermal area, a colourful wonderland of craters, sulphur caves, hot springs and boiling mud pools. In the afternoon, we continue our drive southwards beside the stunning Lake Taupo, New Zealand's biggest lake, to Tokaanu (near Turangi). Here, we check in at our lodge accommodation for a 2-night stay.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 2 hrs walk

  • Walk the spectacular Tongariro Alpine Crossing, exploring the famed area of the Lord of the Rings!

    Today there is the option for everyone to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Mount Tongariro reaches 1978m above sea level and has at least 12 separate ash cones, several of which have shown signs of recent activity. Peter Jackson chose this area as one of the locations where the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot. Established in 1887, Tongariro was the first national park in New Zealand and the fourth in the world. It is also a World Heritage area, a status which recognises the park’s important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features. An early start is needed for this 18 kilometre (11 mile) walk, which starts out from the Mangatepopo Valley and finishes at the Ketetahi road. The Tongariro Crossing passes over varied and spectacular volcanic terrain. Cold mountain springs, lava flows, an active crater, steam vents, emerald-coloured lakes and magnificent views combine to make this an enjoyable and memorable trip. The Tongariro Crossing is a full day hike into a mountain environment and traverses steep and often difficult terrain. Most people will take 7 hours or more to complete this walk. For those who don't wish to make the crossing, there is the option to explore the surrounding scenery or relax at the lodge in Tokaanu. We spend a second night at the Tokaanu lodge tonight.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 1600m

    • Distance 20km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 2000m

    • Time 7 hrs walking

  • Transfer to Wellington, afternoon to explore. Afternoon inter-island ferry crossing to Picton.

    We drive south to Wellington, the 'Windy City' and New Zealand's capital. Our scenic route takes us on State Highway 1, the first section of which is called the 'desert road'. We see some of the North Island's upland sheep farming areas and also its rich agricultural plains. Arriving in Wellington in the late morning (the drive should take around 4 hours), we should have time to explore some of its standout sights, including the incredible Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand as well as the colourful harbour area. In the afternoon we board the inter-island ferry for the crossing to Picton, which takes us across the Cook Strait (named after Captain Cook, the first European to sail through it) and into the picturesque waterway of Marlborough Sound. This is a 3-hour ferry ride. Overnight in simple holiday park lodge accommodation in Picton.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Meals bld

  • Walk along the Nydia Track deep into the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Cross the Kaiuma Saddle.

    Today we begin the lovely Nydia Track, a 2-day walk in the heart of the beautiful Marlborough Sounds on a trail maintained by the Department of Conservation. We make the short transfer via Havelock to the start of the walk in Kaiuma Bay. This excellent route follows old bridle paths and passes through lush coastal forest, with native rimu, nikau and beech trees. Today, we walk for 4 to 5 hours, crossing the Kaiuma Saddle, with superb views that extend southwards to Tapuae-o-Ueneku (2885m), the biggest peak of the distant Kaikoura Mountains. Descending easily to the sheltered shoreline of historic Nydia Bay, we check in at On the Track lodge, our charming and comfortable eco-lodge accommodation which is only accessible on foot or by boat.

    • Accommodation Ecolodge

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 - 5 hrs walking

  • Walk across the Nydia Saddle and descend to Duncan Bay. Transfer to Motueka via Nelson.

    It's hard to leave this beautiful place, but we head off after breakfast to hike around the margin of the bay to the campsite at its northern end. From here, we climb 350 metres to the Nydia Saddle, for great views of Tennyson Inlet, then drop down northwards to the sea once again, rounding a blunt promontory to reach the rendezvous with our transport in Duncan Bay. Today's walk takes 4 to 5 hours, after which we drive via Nelson to Motueka, following the coast road around Tasman Bay. The drive should take around 2 hours. Overnight in a motel in Motueka, the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 - 5 hrs walking

  • Walk along the Abel Tasman Track from Marahau to Torrent Bay. Afternoon water taxi back to Motueka.

    Today, we will walk a 3 to 4-hour section of the Abel Tasman Track, from Marahau (just north of Motueka) to Torrent Bay. The track is a total of 54.4kms in total and one of the Department of Conservations “Great Walks”. The short section we will walk shows off the best features of this coastline, with its golden beaches, forested headlands, offshore islands and hidden coves. Arriving at Torrent Bay, we will have lunch and then take a water taxi (our own catamaran!) back to Motueka, where we will spend a second night.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 1000m

    • Distance 14km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1000m

    • Time 3 - 4 hrs walking

  • Transfer south to the pretty coastal town of Punakaiki. Afternoon choice of walk in the local area.

    After breakfast, we set off on the scenic drive southwards to the West Coast and the coastal township of Punakaiki. This takes us inland, through a pleasant landscape of farmland and forest, then we descend beside the Buller River to the sea. Following the rugged coastline, we reach Punakaiki at lunchtime and check in at our motel accommodation. In the afternoon, we will be keen to see the famous 'pancake rocks' and if the tides are in our favour we may also get to see the blowholes erupting seawater high into the air as the water surges deep into the cliffs. Also easily accessed from our accommodation is an excellent walk beside the Pororari River, through sub-tropical forest with many Nikau palm trees and limestone cliffs. A good place for a short (2-hour) hike before dinner. Drive time today will be around 4 hours.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 650m

    • Distance 9km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 650m

    • Time 2 hrs walk

  • Transfer to the town of Fox Glacier, home to the magnificent Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.

    We continue our drive down the West Coast, a wild and dramatic shoreline that is engaged in a continual battle against the rolling waves of the Tasman Sea. On our left hand side the peaks of Westland and the Southern Alps become increasingly dominant. We stop off to make a 1.5 hour walk to the scenic Okarito Trig viewpoint. A former mining track (the area was once scene of a Klondike-style goldrush) leads up to the viewpoint from where there are 360 degree panoramic views of the Southern Alps and down to the Okarito lagoon below. The lagoon is one of NZ's largest natural wetlands, and is home to over 70 bird species including the White Heron (Kotuku) and the Royal Spoonbill. The world's rarest and most endangered Kiwi (the Rowi) lives in the surrounding podocarp forest. Situated at the heart of the Southern Lakes, ringed by golden hills, snow-clad peaks, ancient forests, crystal-clear lakes and rivers, the town of Fox Glacier is a magnet for New Zealanders and international visitors alike. We have time to look around its shops and cafes and to walk up to the face of the glacier, before checking in at our holiday park lodge accommodation. Fox Glacier and its near neighbour, Franz Josef Glacier, tumble down from the highest peaks to an elevation of just 300 metres in the midst of luxuriant tropical forest - a unique phenomenon. Drive time today will be approximately 3 hours.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Meals bld

  • Morning walk around Lake Matheson. Afternoon transfer to the dramatic Mount Aspiring National Park.

    We start the day with the 90-minute walk around the jewel-like Lake Matheson. It is the perfect spot from which to watch the early morning sun illuminating the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps, reflected in the waters of the lake. This short walk sets us up nicely for the day, before we head south again, along the coast to the town of Haast. Here, the road heads inland and into the dramatic Mount Aspiring National Park. We take several opportunities to stop off at the best coastal and lakeside viewpoints. Crossing the Haast Pass (562m) which has only been covered in tarmac since 1995, we enter the region of Otago, we reach the town of Wanaka, our home for 2 nights. Drive time will be approximately 4 hours.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 2 - 3 hrs walk

  • Walk to the summit of Mt Roy (1578m) for awesome views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.

    A short drive out of Wanaka takes us the startpoint for the hike to the summit of Mt Roy (1578m). The path zigzags up through open farmland initially, and then rises steeply up steeper and wilder terrain to the ridgeline before a final climb to the summit trig point. The views from the summit provide awesome views over Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring and the Matukituki Valley. After the hike (approx 6 hours), we return to spend a second night at our accommodation in Wanaka. Anyone not wanting to join the walk today can spend their time in the town or exploring the surrounding area.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 6 hrs walk

  • Walk around Diamond Lake and to the summit of Rocky Mountain (773m). Enter Fiordland National Park.

    Driving out of Wanaka past lovely Glendhu Bay, we take the 3-hour round trip walk to Diamond Lake and on to the summit of Rocky Mountain (773m). The track rises steeply through the native forest before we leave the vegetation behind and the trail contours the summit viewpoint. Views from the summit range from Mt Aspiring in the west to the Minaret Mountains in the north and Lake Wanaka and the river delta to the east. Driving south-west from Wanaka, we cross the Crown Range to reach Arrowtown, Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the spectacular range of peaks known as the Remarkables. Our route follows the edge of the lake into the region of Southland, well known for its untamed and 'tussocky' landscapes. Journey's end today is the town of Te Anau, the point of entry into the Fiordland National Park, stunningly situated beside a lake and surrounded by mountains. We should arrive in Te Anau in the late afternoon.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 900m

    • Distance 10km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 900m

    • Time 3 - 4 hrs walk

  • The spectacular Milford Sound by boat. Hike to the Key Summit viewpoint on the Routeburn Track.

    It is a 2-hour drive through amazing scenery to reach Milford Sound, where we can expect to see some of the world's most spectacular scenery. A boat cruise on the fiord is a not-to-be-missed experience and is included for everyone. This area has the highest rainfall in New Zealand and there are many spectacular waterfalls that cascade into the sound. After the cruise we will make the 3-hour hiking excursion up to the dramatic viewpoint of Key Summit on the Routeburn Track. From the top, there are superb views down onto the Hollyford, Greenstone and Eglington valleys. We will then drive back to our lodge in Te Anau, stopping off at one or two rest areas beside the road to try to spot the cheeky 'keas' (mountain parrots) whose party piece is stripping out the rubber seals from around car windscreens.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 700m

    • Distance 8km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 700m

    • Time 3 hrs walk

  • Drive to Twizel, gateway to Mount Cook National Park, via Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

    This is largely a driving day, but we will find time to stop off for a brief walking tour of the exhilarating, year-round resort of Queenstown. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown has become a mecca for adventure activities including bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse riding and river rafting. Then, heading north, we cross the Lindis Pass to reach the east side of the Southern Alps, the ‘Misty Mountains’ of Peter Weir’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and continue our journey as far as the town of Twizel, beside the lake of the same name. This is the gateway to the Mount Cook National Park. Drive time today will be 4 to 5 hours and we will spend the night in holiday park accommodation in Twizel.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Meals bld

    • Time 1 - 2 hrs walk

  • Day-walk beneath Mount Cook (3754m), the highest mountain in New Zealand to the Mueller Hut.

    After breakfast at our lodge, we drive to the northern end of Lake Pukaki and set off on a full day return hike to the Mueller Hut. This is the classic Mount Cook 1-day trek and provides us with great views of the Hooker and Mueller glaciers, as well as of Mount Cook itself. Mount Cook (or Aoraki to the Maori) is the highest mountain in New Zealand at 3754m. The route to the hut is quite steep and climbs rapidly from the valley floor, past a couple of tarns, and then up to the top of the ridge. The Mueller Hut is situated at the very top of the ridge at an altitude of 1830m and the views across the whole area are excellent. There are easier options for those seeking a less active day, including the Hooker Valley or the Mount Sebastapol ridgeline. In the afternoon we drive back to our accommodation in Twizel.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 1800m

    • Distance 13km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1800m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs walk

  • Drive to Lake Tekapo and hike to the Rex Simpson Hut, home to the best start gazing in the world!

    It is just a short drive to Lake Tekapo from where we begin our 3 to 4-hour walk-in to the Rex Simpson Hut. The trail crosses open grassland to the northern end of the lake. Arriving in the early afternoon, we have plenty of time to enjoy the expansive views across the huge interior plateau, with the peaks of the Southern Alps beyond. This remote hut is a great place to chill out and enjoy the fabulous views of the lake and surroundings mountains. In 2012, Lake Tekapo and the Mackenzie Basin were declared an International Dark Sky Reserve on account of the virtually light-pollution-free skies and the high number of clear nights throughout the year. The Magellanic Clouds – satellite galaxies to the Milky Way – that are only visible in the southern hemisphere can be seen from here year round.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1200m

    • Distance 11km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 800m

    • Time 3 - 4 hrs walk

  • Ascent of Erica’s Peak (2000m) for fantastic views of the Southern Alps. Drive to Lake Tekapo.

    We have an early start to make the most of this last day of walking to ascend Erica’s Peak. Above the hut, we soon gain a beautiful, sinuous ridge, nicknamed 'Snake Ridge' and follow this, gaining height gradually across tussocky terrain, to the top of Erica’s Peak (2000m). This is a fantastic viewpoint for the peaks of the Southern Alps, including the east face of Mount Cook. Returning to the hut, we descend to our vehicle and drive to Lake Tekapo Township where we enjoy a final, celebratory dinner and reflect on our experiences of this amazingly varied and friendly country.

    • Accommodation Lodge

    • Ascent 800m

    • Distance 13km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1200m

    • Time 6 hrs walk

  • Departure Day. Transfer to Christchurch and explore the city on the way to the airport.

    This morning we drive to Christchurch (3 hours) and will have a chance to view reconstruction of the city following the devastating earthquake which struck in February 2011 on our way to the airport. KE Land Only package services end at Christchurch Airport.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Professional experienced local leader
  • A single timed transfer from airport to hotel in Auckland on day 1 of the itinerary
  • A single timed transfer to the airport in Christchurch on day 19 of the itinerary
  • All land and sea transport involved in the itinerary including the inter-island ferry from Wellington to Picton
  • Milford Sound Cruise
  • 17 nights hotel and lodge accommodation
  • 1 night in a mountain hut
  • All National Park Fees
  • All meals as described in the meal plan
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips for staff
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses - bar bills souvenirs etc

Breakfasts are cereals, toast, fruit, juice and tea or coffee, provided at our overnight accommodation. Lunches are picnic style, with group members preparing their own sandwiches etc at breakfast time, from ingredients sourced and provided by the guide. Dinners are either fixed menu at nearby restaurants or are cooked by the guide.

All meals are included in the trip price, from breakfast on day 2 to breakfast on day 19. Please note that no meals are included on day 1 in Auckland as group members tend to arrive at different times and can be very tired after the long flight to New Zealand.
A single transfer from Auckland Airport to the group's accommodation in the city of Auckland is included in the Land Only trip price. This transfer will normally be timed to meet the Emirates flight arriving at around 1.45pm on Day 1. A single transfer will be also be provided to Christchurch Airport on Day 19, timed to allow you to check in for the Emirates flight which departs late afternoon. Anyone may use these transfers but clients making their own flight arrangements must check the transfer timings immediately prior to departure. If your flights don't work with these transfers, taxis are available at all times. Alternatively, please contact the KE office if you require a private transfer on arrival into Auckland. Clients booking a Land Only Package MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.


Accommodation throughout this trip will be in a mix of motels, lodges and tourist park cabins, mostly providing twin-share rooms with en-suite facilities. In some circumstances, we may be obliged to use multi-share rooms with shared facilities (Nydia Bay and at the Rex Simpson Hut). Please note that the accommodation situation on this trip is very varied in terms of style and standard - from high end city hotels to more basic holiday park cabins. The accommodation at the private hut on Day 17 uses sleeping bags and sheet liners and these are provided. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Depending on availability, it may be possible to pre-book single rooms for some of the nights. For hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The group will be accompanied by an experienced, professional, local guide who will also drive the support vehicle.

A total of £300 should cover the cost of your miscellaneous expenses, including the 1 or 2 meals that you may need to purchase on Day 1 (see meal plan). You should take at least some of your travel money in the form of cash and exchange this on arrival in Auckland. It is not necessary to obtain New Zealand dollars prior to departure. It is possible to withdraw cash from ATM's at towns throughout the trip and credit and debit cards can be widely used. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (plastic cards can be useful in this respect). Also, if you expect to buy considerable quantities of soft drinks or beer, you should make an allowance for this.

Tipping is not expected in New Zealand, although if your guide has done a good job, you may feel it is appropriate to reward him or her with a tip or a gift. Also, for good service in restaurants it is not uncommon to leave a tip of around 10%.

This trip is fully vehicle supported and all accommodation is in hotels and lodges. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you keep the weight of your trek bag to around 15kgs.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

The altitudes attained on this holiday are not extreme and the maximum altitude attained is no more than the equivalent of a pressurised cabin on an international flight. You may ‘feel’ the altitude the first time you trek above 2000 metres but all that is required is a slower pace to compensate. You should pay particular attention to your hydration levels while trekking above 2000 metres.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots

  • Training shoes

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Waterproof overtrousers

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts (1 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve)

  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Warm fleece gloves or mittens

  • Warm hat

  • Sunhat

  • Sunglasses

  • Daypack 30 litres

  • Headtorch and batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 litre (x2)

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial hand wash

  • Small padlock to lock trek bag

The following items are optional:

  • Gaiters

  • Spare laces

  • Shorts

  • Thermal baselayer - leggings

  • Swimwear

  • Trekking poles

  • Insect repellant – (DEET)

  • Camera

  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

  • A basic medical kit will accompany each trek. We recommend that you bring your own personal first aid kit consisting of the following: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Immodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), antihistamine cream and tablets, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

 

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport for each country that you visit.

Visa New Zealand

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

If you are intending to arrange a stopover in Australia either before or after your visit to New Zealand, please be aware that you will need to arrange an e-visa http://www.border.gov.au/

Transit via USA

You will require an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any US-bound aircraft or ship, or entering on a land border. The fee is USD$14 and you should apply for it at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. With the ESTA complete, the majority of British Citizen passport holders can enter the US under the Visa Waiver Programme, VWP. As of 1st April 2016 you will be required to have a passport with an intergrated chip. Note that if you have travelled to Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan in the last 5yrs you will have to apply for a visa.

NOTE: This is required if you are transiting through the USA 

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or climbing trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Running, cycling and swimming are good for developing better stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

We run our New Zealand trekking trips during the Southern Hemisphere spring and summer period of November through to March. At this time of year, we can expect temperatures of between 20°C and 25°C during the day, falling to between 10°C and 15°C at night. Surrounded by warm oceans, New Zealand has a maritime climate and does experience rainfall throughout the year. In the South Island, the West Coast receives far more rain than the east of the island, which lies in the rain shadow of the mountains.

  • Lonely Planet. New Zealand.

  • Fodor’s Exploring. New Zealand.

  • The Rough Guide to New Zealand.

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