New Zealand: Grand Discovery



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Activity types:

  • Coastal
  • Culture
  • High Mountains


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Difficulty indicator

Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.

More about difficulty levels

From £5,495.00 - 21 to 23 nights


Prices are per person

Room 1:
Room 2:
Room 3:

Holiday overview

Download Trip Notes 2018

Explore the wonders of the breathtaking, varied North and South Islands. Stroll among the thermal springs of Rotorua, admire the raw beauty of Tongariro National Park, and marvel at the incredible peaks of the Southern Alps, including the stunning Mount Cook. Hike across a stretch of the dramatic Routeburn Track, and take a cruise across the truly spectacular Milford Sound.

Holiday highlights

  • Comprehensive tour of the best of New Zealand
  • Wonderful mix of great walking, scenery, sightseeing and culture
  • See Maori culture and amazing geology at Rotorua
  • Accommodation in excellent locations amidst stunning scenery
  • Enjoy one of the world's great train journeys across the Southern Alps
  • Walks on New Zealand’s renowned tracks: Routeburn, Hooker Valley and more
  • Options to take either the Milford Track or the Routeburn Track


In pictures...


This holiday encompasses a large area with a variety of different locations. From modern city hotels, to country lodges, the 3 and 4-star hotels are chosen for their high standards, good food, suitability for groups and excellent locations.


Exterior of the Grand Millenium Hotel in Auckland

Grand Millenium Hotel, Auckland - 2nts

We begin in Auckland at the modern, centrally located Grand Millenium Hotel (formerly known as the Rendezvous Grand hotel). Rooms are comfortable and you can use the pool and gym facilities if you still have energy after exploring.

 Exterior of the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua

Distinction Hotel, Rotorua - 2nts

Moving on to Rotorua we stay at the Distinction Hotel, again with swimming pool, spa and sauna. 

 Exterior of the Chateau at Tongariro

Chateau Tongariro, Tongariro - 2nts

The Chateau Tongariro, with its old-world charm and majestic mountain location, accommodates us at the foot of Mt Ruapehu.


Novotel, Wellington- 1 nt

Enjoy a one night stay at the Novotel in Wellington; our final night on North Island.

 Exterior of the Elms Hotel, Christchurch

Elms Hotel, Christchurch - 1nt

Cross to South Island an on to the Elms Hotel in Christchurch.


Beachfront Hotel - 1nt

Travelling west we stay at the Beachfront Hotel, where we're greeted by breathtaking ocean views. All rooms are modern, with en-suite bathrooms, tea/coffee-making facilities, TV and WIFI.

 Exterior of the Scenic Hotel at Franz Joseph

Scenic Hotel, Franz Joseph - 1nt

Our next stop is the Scenic Hotel at Franz Joseph, where we enjoy comfortable cosy rooms in this stunning setting. There is a swimming pool here for use too, if you'd like to relax after your day exploring.

 Exterior of Copthorne Hotel in Queenstown

Copthorne Hotel, Queenstown - 4nts

Set in a stunning location, the Copthorne Hotel provides us with the best of both worlds as it's only a short stroll from any activities, and from the town centre. All rooms have TV, tea and coffee making facilities, refrigerator and minibar, iron and ironing board, and hair dryer.

 Exterior of the Distinction Hotel at Te Anau

Distinction Hotel, Te Anau - 3nts

Another lake-front location again when we arrive at Te Anau, and the comfort of the Distinction Hotel. Only a 10 minute walk from the town centre, we're in the ideal place for our walks. The hotel also offers a heated swimming pool, spa and sauna for guest use.

 Exterior of MacKenzie Country Inn at Twizel

MacKenzie Country Inn, Twizel - 1nt

Our penultimate stay is in the MacKenzie Country Inn, peaceful accommodation set amidst the magnificent mountains of the Southern Alps. All rooms here have fabulous views from the patio or balcony. The welcome glow of the roaring fires in the lounge areas, makes an excellent place to relax after your walks too.

 Exterior of the Elms Hotel, Christchurch

Elms Hotel, Christchurch - 1nt

For our final night we return to the Elms Hotel in Christchurch. The rooms are all en-suite and have tea/coffee making facilities, fridge, telephone, sky TV, hair dryer, iron/ironing board etc. 


Lodge on the Milford Track


Milford Track & Routeburn Track extensions

For these extension options, you will be staying in comfortable Track Lodges. These provide good, basic accommodation and food, with laundry facilities, heated drying rooms, flush toilets and hot showers. Please note however that lodge rooms are multi-bedded and may be mixed sex.

On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance.


New Zealand Grand Discovery itinerary

Download Trip Notes 2018

A good balance between part and full day walks, travelling and sightseeing. Guided walks range from 3 to 6 miles (5-9.5km) with minimal ascent. On a few days there are also optional harder walks of up to 10 miles (16km) and 2,550 feet (780m) of ascent.

Day 1-2: Outward Flight 

Fly from London to Auckland.

View across Auckland harbour to the city skyscrapersDays 3-4: Auckland

Morning arrival in Auckland and transfer to the hotel for 2 nights. The afternoon is free to unwind and stroll in the attractive harbourside city.

The following day take a cruise through Waitemata Harbour to the islands of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, landing at Rangitoto Island for a walk with splendid ocean views.


Geyser erupting at RotoruaDays 5-6: Waitomo and Rotorua

Morning journey south, stopping to visit the Waitomo caves, with its enchanting glow-worm grotto. We then continue to Rotorua for 2 nights, the centre of Maori traditions and an area of thermal springs and volcanic activity. (220 miles)

We then enjoy a full day’s exploration of the remarkable Waimangu Thermal Valley, with its amazing geological activity. See the bubbling pools of Waimangu Cauldron, Lake Rotomahana, the pink and white terraces and a cruise on Lake Tarawera to the buried village of Te Wairoa. Enjoy your evening with a traditional Maori hangi.

Walkers on the Togariro Alpine CrossingDays 7-8: Tongariro National Park

Morning visit to the Te Puia Maori Arts & Crafts, followed by a leisurely and scenic drive past Lake Taupo to the Tongariro National Park for 2 nights. (110 miles)

At Tongariro a selection of walks are on offer in this spectacular park dominated by three volcanic peaks. Possibilities include Taranaki Falls or, depending on the weather, the complete Tongariro Crossing, often described as the best one day walk in New Zealand.


Ferry crossing the Cook StraitDays 9-10: To Wellington & Christchurch

Drive to Wellington (1 nt) for sightseeing in the capital city, including a visit to Te Papa, New Zealand's National Museum.

The next day we cruise across the Cook Strait to Picton, and journey south to Christchurch (1 nt)



TransAlpine train crossing the Southern AlpsDay 11: Across the Southern Alps

Board the TranzAlpine rail service for a scenic rail journey into the heart of the mighty Southern Alps. Walks in Arthurs Pass National Park. Overnight in Hokitika or Punakaiki (1 nt)




The mighty Franz Josef glacierDay 12: Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers

Head along the west coast to see the spectacular Franz Josef and Fox glaciers and stay for 1 night. Take walks to view the glaciers, which descend from the ice caps surrounding Mount Cook. An optional helicopter flight over the ice cap is available. (118 miles)



Lakeside at Queenstown with TSS EarnslawDays 13-16: Queenstown

Morning journey past deserted beaches and tiny settlements, over the Haast Pass, in the afternoon short stops may be taken at Lake Paringa, Monroe Beach or Haast, enroute to vibrant Queenstown, with its spectacular location on Lake Wakatipu, for a 4 night stay. (218 miles)

There's time in the adventure capital of the world to enjoy different activities, or walks in the surrounding area. We include an evening meal in the Skyline restaurant high above the town.

Breathtaking view of Milford SoundDays 17:-19 Te Anau & Milford Sound

A short journey south to the Fiordland National Park and a boat trip across Lake Te Anau to Brod Bay for a walk on the Kepler Track, one of the most popular routes in New Zealand. Stay for 3 nights in Te Anau. (116 miles)

We take a leisurely walk to Rainbow Reach or around Lake Gunn, or a higher level walk on part of the Routeburn Track. The full day at the beautiful Milford Sound is one of the highlights of the tour. Take a launch trip on the deep fjord waters between sheer granite cliffs, Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls.

Mount Cook national parkDays 20-21: Twizel & Mount Cook

We head back north again, to the gold rush village of Arrowtown, before reaching Twizel, for 2 nights in the shadow of Mount Cook. (248 miles)

Walk a glorious route along the Hooker Valley, with views to Mount Wakefield, Footstool and the south face of Mount Cook and passing near the Hooker Glacier.



Green tram in ChristchurchDays 22-23: Christchurch

Drive over Burke’s Pass, pausing at the stone church of the Good Shepherd, on the shores of Lake Tekapo, before continuing through the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch for 2 nights. (170 miles)

Enjoy a walk along the Godley Head Walkway which provides stunning costal views.


Day 24-25: Return flight

Morning at leisure in Christchurch before transfer to the airport for the return flight via Singapore.

Please note: No flight holidays start on day 3 and finish on day 24. 

Milford Track option

You can choose to leave the main group on day 15 in order to traverse Fiordland National Park on the famous Milford Track. This is often described as the finest walk in the world and is a very accessible adventure. Stay in comfortable lodges en route and benefit from expert and friendly guiding on the walk as you pass through amazing untouched landscapes.

Walkers crossing the mountainous Mackinnon PassDay 15: To Te Anau - Early morning journey from Queenstown to Te Anau, and then take an afternoon cruise to Glade House, 1 night.

Day 16: To Pompolona Lodge - We cross the Clinton River and walk amidst beech forest to lunch at Hirere Falls. Continue onto the Prairie grassy plain, with spectacular views of Clinton Canyon, before the rocky climb to Marlene’s Creek and Pompolona Lodge.

Day 17: To McKinnon Pass and Quintin Hut - Today is a fairly challenging but extremely rewarding day’s walking, passing Mirror Breathtaking view of Milford SoundLake before the zig-zag climb up McKinnon Pass, around Mount Balloon - passing glaciers, native forests and creeks until arriving at Quintin Hut. Finally, we make a short visit to Sutherland Falls, the highest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Day 18: To Mitre Peak - The last day’s walk on the Milford Track, with a long descent with views to the Lovely Lady of the Snows mountain and on past Mackay Falls, Giants Gate Waterfall and Sandfly Point before reaching Mitre Peak Lodge and the end of walk celebrations.

Day 19: To Te Anau - Morning boat cruise on Milford Sound, before travelling back to Te Anau to re-join the rest of the group.

Additional charge applies. Price includes:

  • 4 nights' accommodation (in multi bedded rooms on the walk)
  • Guided escort and briefing for full duration of track walk
  • Accommodation in fully catered walk lodges, in comfortable bunk rooms with duvets, fresh towels, hot showers, soap and shampoo and more
  • Hearty New Zealand-style dinners, packed lunches and large breakfasts
  • Certificate of achievement and other extras

Routeburn Track Option 

The Routeburn guided walk is a superb Alpine adventure through Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks.

Stunning mountain scenery on the Routeburn TrackDay 15: Milford Cruise - Transfer to Te Anau and enjoy a cruise on Milford Sound. Stay the night in the Distinction Te Anau. Your evening meal has not been included tonight, to give you the flexibility to choose between the many restuarants nearby.

Day 16: To Lake Mackenzie (9 miles) - we begin our walk following the Routeburn from the Divide, walking to Key Summit for breathtaking Routeburn views. Descend to Lake Howden for lunch and then climb to Earland Falls, looking over to the glaciated Darran Mountains, before descending to our lodge in the serene setting of Lake Mackenzie for the night. All meals are included today.

Day 17: To Routeburn Valley (9½ miles) - Walk into the mountains for views across the Hollyford valley, which slices through Fiordland to the distant Tasman Sea. After lunch at Harris Saddle (1,277m / 4,200ft) you can ascend Conical Hill for outstanding high peak views. Descend to the upper basin of the Routeburn Valley and the Routeburn Falls lodge for a celebration dinner. All meals are included today.

Day 18: Routeburn Track & To Queenstown (6 miles)- Walk through the alpine pastures of the Routeburn Flats, following the river through the magnificent gorge and through columns of red beech trees to the road end. Transfer to Queenstown for the evening. You will re-join the group on Day 20, when you will be picked up by the coach in Queenstown. Breakfast and lunch are included today. Your evening meal hasn't been included as there are many options to choose from in Queenstown.

Day 19: Free day in Queenstown - explore the area. We have only included breakfast today so you are free to choose where and when you eat during the day.

Day 20: Queenstown - re join the group and follow the main holiday itinerary. You will be picked up at 11am.

Additional charge applies. Price includes:

  • 2 nights' accommodation (in multi bedded rooms on the walk)
  • Guided escort and briefing for full duration of track walk
  • Accommodation in fully catered walk lodges, in comfortable bunk rooms with duvets, fresh towels, hot showers, soap and shampoo and more
  • Hearty New Zealand-style dinners, packed lunches and large breakfasts
  • Certificate of achievement and other extras
  • Please note, your evening meal on Days 18 & 19 in Queenstown, have not been included in the price of our Routeburn extension. There are many restaurants to choose from so we have left your options open. 


General Information

A full passport is required and must be valid for at least three months from the date you are due to leave New Zealand.

Visas are not necessary for full British passport holders visiting for less than 6 months. Other passport holders are advised to check with their nearest New Zealand consulate or embassy.

Health advice

Before booking, you should check with your doctor to see if any health precautions are needed. The following websites provide a wealth of information on travelling and

Vaccines: Tetanus vaccine is recommended.

All our holidays are planned around the New Zealand spring, summer and early autumn when all routes are open and the days are long. The warmest weather is likely to be from November to February although October and March are also excellent times to travel with fewer tourists and superb mountain flora.

The local currency is New Zealand Dollars. Banks are open from 9am until 4.30pm on weekdays. Credit cards are widely accepted. There are no restrictions on taking currency in and out of the country. For most people the easiest method will be to use cash machine cards – but please consult with your bank concerning suitable machines and their availability. Traveller’s cheques are not advised.

Tips are included on this holiday.


Walking boots must be clean of mud/soil before entering New Zealand immigration.

For flight information please see the Dates and Prices tab - however please note the following:

Currently the return flight connects through Sydney where there is a connection time of approx 6 hours. Should there be a scheduled flight change which means that time in Sydney exceeds 8 hours, you will need to apply for an Australian visa.  Canadian and US citizens require an ETA (electonic travel authorisation). These must be applied for in advance, and cost AUS $20. Please go to or consult your embassy for advice. British and EU passport holders need an eVisitor visa (subclass 651). To do this you need to create an Immiaccount via . There is no charge for an eVisitor visa.  Please see for further information.  Alternatively you can buy one on check in at Christchurch, which will cost approx $NZ 50. This visa allows you to leave the airport in Sydney.



Linda Dworowski

Linda has been an HF Leader for 10 years and has led a wide variety of Guided Walking and Leisure holidays in the UK and abroad. She has travelled widely in Europe plus the United States, Peru and New Zealand.  Whilst in New Zealand she spent time touring round both North and South Islands, walking up Fanthoms Peak on Mount Taranaki and completing the Tongariro Crossing on North Island.  In the South Island, she walked in the Mount Cook area and on the famous Kepler track, reaching Mount Luxmore.

She loves meeting people, walking in breathtaking surroundings and experiencing different cultures. She hopes to share her enthusiasm with you on this trip to the fantastic islands of New Zealand.

Linda is leading our 4 January 2018 departure.

John Lees

John has been leading HF holidays for more than 10 years and has led more than 150 holidays all over Europe and the UK.

His son and family live in a rural area South of Auckland and his daughter in law and grand-children are Kiwis. On visits he enjoys exploring the culture of the country, the Maori heritage and tramping in the bush and around the coast. In the last two years John has led the Grand Discovery and South Island holidays for HF and is looking forward to revisiting favourite places on both islands.

John has a particular interest in the geology of the areas he visits and in New Zealand is fascinated by the active processes still going on. He enjoys the unique flora and fauna of this isolated country. He is an enthusiastic mountain walker with his non-leading time spent exploring hilly regions of Norway, the Alps and Scotland (when not on remote Greek islands, Corsica or Sardinia!).

John is leading our 1 February 2018 departure.

Stuart Boulton

Stuart has been leading for HF Holidays since 2003, in the UK and overseas. 

Stuart was responsible for establishing our centre in the Spanish Pyrenees and is currently Field Advisor for Tavira, Portugal. He has previously led in Sri Lanka, Cuba, Jordan and Hawaii on our worldwide holidays. 

Stuart is leading our 1 March 2018 departure. 

Anne Richards

Anne has been a leader for HF Holiday since 2008, leading over 50 holidays both in the UK and Europe.  Anne has travelled widely including 4 months in South America in 2016 during which she completed the W trek in Patagonia, trekked in the Cordillera Blanca and visited the Galapagos Islands. She has trekked to Everest Base Camp with several blind trekkers, camped in the Atlas Mountains , Morocco on the way to climbing Mount Toubkhal and led a group of blind walkers on the West Highland Way.

When Anne is not leading for HF she enjoys cycling, swimming and walking in the Costa Blanca Mountains in Spain.

Anne has experienced the delights of both North and South Island New Zealand and is looking forward to revisiting the country and sharing the experiences of the unforgettable landscape.

Anne is leading our 15 November 2018 departure. 

Dates & Prices

Here at HF Holidays, we pride ourselves in offering a unique holiday full of experiences that you can’t find with anyone else. Find out what's included in this holiday.

Date Description Nights Brochure price Book
15 Nov 2018 NZWHW - New Zealand - Grand Discovery
(Travel included)

Flight - Outbound


  • Depart: 15 Nov 2018, 9:45 p.m.
  • Arrive: 17 Nov 2018, 1:05 p.m.
  • Depart from: London Heathrow
  • Arrive at: Auckland International

Flight - Return


  • Depart: 8 Dec 2018, 7 a.m.
  • Arrive: 9 Dec 2018, 4:55 a.m.
  • Depart from: Christchurch G. Adams
  • Arrive at: London Heathrow
23 £6,595.00 Book Now
17 Nov 2018 NZWHW - New Zealand - Grand Discovery 21 £5,495.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Prices include

  • 21 nights’ accommodation in en-suite rooms
  • Half Board from dinner on day 3 to breakfast on departure
  • A full programme of guided walks with an HF Holidays' leader 
  • All sightseeing, and entrance fees
  • Travel by air-conditioned coach
  • Tips

Other important information

  • Single room: £1,375 (2018)
  • Milford Track from £968 (2018)
  • Routeburn Track from £725 (2018)


  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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