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Hidden Gems & Iconic Landmarks of New Zealand

New Zealand Guided Walking Holiday

Vulcano Ngauruhoe - Tongariro NP
Duration: 19 nights
Type: Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade: 2
from £5,999pp £5,749pp without flights FLIGHTS AVAILABLE

Combining an exploration of the geo-thermal springs in Rotorua, a thrilling tramp on the ‘best one day walk in the world’ and a chance to immerse yourself in the mountains of the Southern Alps, along with a chance to tramp sections of two of the country’s Great Walks and an unforgettable cruise on Milford Sound, this exceptional walking holiday in New Zealand travels from north to south through the varied landscapes of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Along the way you’ll be introduced to Maori traditions, spend time in hip and vibrant cities and traditional towns, and be looked after with true Kiwi hospitality, returning with a treasure trove of tales to tell your friends.

Holiday Highlights

  • Marvel at the geothermal features of Wai-O-Tapu
  • Discover the thunderous Huka Falls at Lake Taupo
  • Tramp the iconic Tongariro Crossing
  • Contrast the cultural treasures of Auckland and Wellington with the adventure scene in Queenstown
  • Take a leisurely trek through the beautiful coast of the Abel Tasman National Park
  • Explore the valleys of Mt Cook National Park beneath steepling 3,00om mountains
  • Tramp sections of the Kepler and Routeburn Tracks, two of New Zealand’s legendary Great Walks
  • Drift though Milford Sound in search of marine wildlife
  • Indulge in a traditional hangi meal at a Maori village

What’s included

  • A full programme of guided walks and excursions led by Local Guides
  • A choice of walks dependant on ability on a number of days
  • 'With flight' holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers
  • Half Board with en-suite accommodation - 19 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 13 evening meals
  • All national park fees
  • Iceberg boat trip and fjiord cruise
  • All transport and internal flights during tour (tour ends in Queenstown)

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

On our Guided Walking holidays, our day-by-day descriptions will help you understand where you’ll be exploring and what you’ll be doing. The itineraries are put together carefully to give you the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons. In the wake of disruption caused by the Coronavirus outbreak to planning, this is particularly relevant to itineraries in 2021.

Depart UK on an overnight flight to Auckland, sometimes mistaken for New Zealand’s capital, although that mantle belongs to Wellington.


Arrive in Auckland and meet your local guide before you transfer to your hotel. After checking in and freshening up, you’ll have the chance to explore the “City of Sails”; discover the city’s two glistening harbours, climb to look back over the narrow isthmus dotted with inactive volcanic cones and get to grips with the neighbourhoods rich with top-notch restaurants, watering holes and art. Rejoin the group in the evening for a pre-trip meeting and evening meal.

Heritage Auckland, Auckland - New Zealand

We begin in Auckland at the modern Heritage Auckland Hotel. Centrally located on Hobson St, the hotel is a short walk from the harbour.


To start your trip, you’ll head south to Rotorua (approx. 3 hours) and the Wai-O-Tapu thermal reserve, stood on one of the most extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand. Enjoy a gentle walk through this thermal wonderland thousands of years in the making, looking out for vibrant and improbably colourful lakes, mud pools, sinter springs and hissing steam vents, as well as the magnificent Lady Knox Geyser. In the evening we’ll whisk you to a vibrant café in the city for dinner.

Distinction Hotel, Rotorua - New Zealand

We stay at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua. Located near the Whakarewarewa Forest, the hotel offers the perfect place to relax after a day exploring the local area.


Next, you’ll take a short drive before a trek on the southern shoreline of Lake Tarawera. Follow a well-made trail around this bush-fringed crater, pausing for a hot spring soak, Distance: 4½ miles (7km) with 950 feet (290m) of ascent on an undulating trail, approx. 3 hours. You’ll catch a scenic water taxi back. In the evening, we’ll take you to a Māori village for a traditional ‘Hāngi` meal, where food is cooked in an earth oven and shared.

Distinction Hotel, Rotorua - New Zealand

We stay at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua. Located near the Whakarewarewa Forest, the hotel offers the perfect place to relax after a day exploring the local area.


Travel east to the Jurassic-like Whirinaki Rainforest in the Taupo area of central North Island, home to New Zealand’s largest lake. Here you’ll follow the Whirinaki River on a loop trail through some well-preserved podocarpus rainforest, full of ancient conifers. Distance: 6 miles (9½km) with little ascent, approx. 3-4 hours. Later, on the way south to Taupo, stop to discover the thunderous Huka Falls, where the powder blue waters of the Waikato River are forced through a narrow channel into a series of turbulent plunge pools.

Beechtree Motels, Taupo - New Zealand

Modern accommodation which offers style and comfort and is only a 5-minute walk from the lake.


Transfer to the extraordinary, volcanic Tongariro National Park, which boats dual World Heritage status. Here, in New Zealand’s oldest national park, you’ll be treated to the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, heralded as one of the Best One Day Walks in the World. When you tackle the route will depend on the conditions, and your local guides will advise on the best day to make the trek.

The Crossing is a unique, exhilarating chance to explore the alpine moorland and landscape scarred by volcanic activity as you trek between soda springs and craters, uncover impossibly turquoise emerald lakes created by minerals leaching out of the soil and considered sacred by local Maori, and marvel at the active volcanic peaks of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. Scale the Devil’s Staircase for unobstructed views of Mount Taranaki on the west coast of North Island, if the weather is kind and clear. Distance: 12 miles (19½km) with 2,950 feet (900m) of ascent and 3,700 feet (1,150m) of descent.

On the alternative day, you’ll take shorter walks to explore the area. Perhaps you’ll loop through open tussock and forest filled with native birds to Taranaki Falls, or press on to the Lower and Upper Tama Lakes. Maybe you’ll seek out Lake Rotopounamu, named after the greenstone found in the area, or alternatively climb alongside Mangatepo Stream on the fringe of an old lava flow to the cold water Soda Springs.

Skotel Alpine Resort - New Zealand

A cosy and welcoming alpine resort nestled in the heart of the national park amidst tussock and striking landscapes.

Chateau Tongariro, Tongariro - New Zealand

Chateau Tongariro occupies a prime spot in Tongariro National Park. It's full of old-world charm with stunning views.


Finish your exploration of the North Island by travelling to the harbour city of Wellington (approx. 4 hours). On a sunny, windless day this compact city is wonderful to explore independently on foot. Victorian timber architecture abuts bushy hillsides above the hook-shaped harbour, while the centre buzzes with museums, theatres, galleries and arts centres at odds with its small size. There’s a superb café and restaurant scene, and if you need to walk that off, easy access to surrounding hills and ranges; there’s a cable car that climbs above the city if that seems like too much effort though!

Copthorne Oriental Bay - New Zealand

Enjoy a one-night stay in the heart of humming Wellington.


Board a flight to Nelson in the South Island, which enjoys a winning combination of beautiful surroundings and sophisticated cultural scene. Meet your South island guides before a chance to immerse yourself in what is hailed as one of New Zealand’s most ‘liveable’ cities. Get to know the area on a gentle walk up Botanical Hill; although small, this peak is billed as the centre of New Zealand and provides great views over Nelson, Maitai Valley and Tasman Bay. Distance: 1½ miles (2½km) with 500 feet (150m) of ascent. In the evening let us show you one of the city’s hip restaurants.

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson - New Zealand

A stylish, centrally located hotel. We stay here for 2 nights on arrival on the South Island.


Next, you’ll drive to Kaiteriteri, a beach resort that acts as the gateway to the stunning Abel Tasman National Park, to walk a section of the Abel Tasman Track. This is probably New Zealand’s most relaxed Great Walk. After a water taxi ride up the coast, stroll sandy beaches and lush coastal forest trails between Bark Bay and Anchorage to get a real feel for this idyllic stretch of coast. At the end of the trail revive your feet with a paddle or dive into the Tasman sea to cool off. We’ll shuttle you back to Kaiteriteri by boat and then on to Nelson for another night out. Distance: 5-7 miles (8-11½km) with 1,000 feet (300m) of ascent. The distance on the day depends on whether we take a high or low tide route.

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson - New Zealand

A stylish, centrally located hotel. We stay here for 2 nights on arrival on the South Island.


From Nelson you’ll journey southwest over Hope Saddle to the West Coast, following the mighty Buller River as it travels along the southern boundary of Kahurangi National Park. Journey through the imposing Buller Gorge and reach the wild west coast. Stretch your legs on a well-graded trail at the uncompromisingly named Cape Foulwind to find a fur seal colony (Distance: 2 miles (3½km) with negligible ascent.), and then travel on to Punakaiki.

Punakaiki Resort, West Coast - New Zealand

Travelling west we arrive at the Paparoa National Park.

We stay at the Punakaiki Resort, which is situated at the top of the beach near the famous Pancake Rocks.


Today, spend time in Punakaiki discovering the strange Pancake Rocks that take their name from their unusual formation, where thin layers of limestone lie piled upon one another. Look out too for blowholes at certain tide times, where the sea bursts through eroded limestone in great fountains. Afterwards, you’ll cross over the Southern Alps, stopping to stride out on a section of the Arthur’s Pass walking track, giving you the chance to enjoy the alpine bush, wetlands, waterfalls and rich local history here. Later, you’ll also walk among the imposing limestone outcrops of Castle Hill. Distance: 3 miles (5km) with 1,000 feet (300m) of ascent for both walks. Finish the day by heading south through the Canterbury plains to Methven.

Ski Time, Methven - New Zealand

Enjoy stunning views from the hotel as you relax with a drink.


While driving south and inland, spend the day transitioning form rolling green pastoral landscapes to tawny brown steppes. Here you’ll find Lake Tekapo. We’ll drive to the summit of Mount John, home to a powerful astronomical telescope, to walk a loop with several unobstructed viewpoints of nearby lakes and glaciated summits. A further drive will bring you to Aoraki/Mount Cook, and the chance to explore Mount Cook National Park on foot while you marvel at some of New Zealand’s highest mountains and longest glaciers. Immerse yourself in this rugged land of rock and ice and watch for alpine tarns, herb field and spectacular glacier views. Encounters with kea, mountain parrots, are part of the adventure! Distance: 2½ miles (4km) with 1,100 feet (335m) of ascent.

Hermitage, Mount Cook - New Zealand

Following a drive through the parched high country, we arrive at our accommodation at the Hermitage. The hotel is located at the edge of the high alps of Mt Cook.


Drop into the Hooker Valley, within the heart of Mount Cook National Park. You’ll follow the milky blue Hooker River and look out for superb skyscraping views of the south face of Aoraki/Mount Cook, at 3,724m the highest mountain in New Zealand. At the end of the trail, you’ll arrive at Hooker Lake, where the retreating Hooker Glacier sometimes deposits icebergs in the chilly water. About 3 – 4 hours in total. Distance: 6 miles (10km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent.

Hermitage, Mount Cook - New Zealand

Following a drive through the parched high country, we arrive at our accommodation at the Hermitage. The hotel is located at the edge of the high alps of Mt Cook.


Today you’ll take a cruise on the Tasman Glacier Lake. Created by a retreating ice shelf, the glacially-rich waters are coloured a magnificent spectrum of blues and regularly dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes, making it incredibly photogenic. Superb views of the surrounding mountains can also be had. After this memorable encounter with New Zealand’s largest glacier, make your way to Wanaka, set on the shores of a lake that bears the same name, and relax at your waterfront accommodation.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka - New Zealand

Peaceful and directly on the shores of Lake Wanaka, this is a fine place to soak up the intermontane landscapes.


The highlights keep coming with a hike among the post-glacial features of Diamond Lake and the Rocky Mountains area. Follow a loop to numerous lookout points and soak up the 360-degree panorama from the high point across Glendhu Bay to Roys Peak and Lake Wanaka.

Distinction Hotel, Te Anau - New Zealand

Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas offers chic, elegant accommodation and FREE unlimited WiFi for the perfect Fiordland getaway. Surrounded by extensive, colourful gardens and overlooking spectacular Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland ranges, this 4 star hotel and villa accommodation sets the tone for your stay in one of the world’s most breathtaking regions.


Next up is a tramp on a section of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s designated `Great Walks`. This awe-inspiring track was designed to show off the best features of Fiordland, from the vast Te Anau Lake to muscular mountains, glacier-carved valleys and tall waterfalls. You can choose between an easier and harder route; the former explores the fragile wetlands along the shoreline to reach a shallow bay, while the harder option walks through moss-draped beech forests full of prolific bird life, crosses boggy country on boardwalks and climbs to take in the views from on top of the limestone bluffs above the bush line; you’ll descend and catch a water taxi back to Te Anau. Distance: 7½-13½ miles (12-22km) with 2,500 feet (760m) of ascent on the harder option.

Distinction Hotel, Te Anau - New Zealand

Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas offers chic, elegant accommodation and FREE unlimited WiFi for the perfect Fiordland getaway. Surrounded by extensive, colourful gardens and overlooking spectacular Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland ranges, this 4 star hotel and villa accommodation sets the tone for your stay in one of the world’s most breathtaking regions.


Travel to Milford Sound, stopping along the way at The Divide to walk a section of the Routeburn Track, another of New Zealand’s Fiordland Great Walks. Discover stunning alpine scenery and soak up ever-changing views of snow-capped peaks, tussocky moorland and pretty lakes on the climb to and from Key Summit (Distance: 4½ miles (7km) with 1,000 feet (300m) of ascent) or, if the cloud is low, venture into the Hollyford Valley (Distance: 1½ miles (2½km) with 525 feet (160m) of ascent). At Milford Sound board a boat and set sail on the deep, ink-dark waters of this glacially-gouged fjord, with its dramatic forest-clad cliffs hundreds of metres high. Cruise past the distinctive outline of Mitre Peak, past impressive waterfalls, u-shaped valleys and coves to the entrance of the fjord and the Tasman Sea, all the while looking out for dusky dolphins, fur seals and, if you’re lucky, the rare Fiordland crested penguin.

Heritage Queenstown, Queenstown - New Zealand

In Queenstown we stay at the Heritage Hotel, situated on the edge of Lake Wakatipu. Rooms benefit from a range of views over the surrounding mountains, forests and lake.

Facilities include swimming pool, gym and free Wi-Fi.


Wrap up your exploration of New Zealand with a transfer to Queenstown via the Gibbston Valley. Known as the ‘Valley of the Vines’ there are a dozen vineyards here, including some of the oldest in New Zealand. The rugged schist mountains and impressive Kawarau Gorge make this a dramatic place, and you’ll pause at a local vineyard for launch before continuing to Queenstown with its contrasting adventure scene and cosmopolitan dining and arts quarters, all set against one of the beautiful and dramatic natural scenes in New Zealand.

Heritage Queenstown, Queenstown - New Zealand

In Queenstown we stay at the Heritage Hotel, situated on the edge of Lake Wakatipu. Rooms benefit from a range of views over the surrounding mountains, forests and lake.

Facilities include swimming pool, gym and free Wi-Fi.


After breakfast, transfer to Queenstown airport and start the return journey to the UK.


New Zealand Itinerary Map

Heritage Auckland, Auckland - New Zealand

We begin in Auckland at the modern Heritage Auckland Hotel. Centrally located on Hobson St, the hotel is a short walk from the harbour.

Distinction Hotel, Rotorua - New Zealand

We stay at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua. Located near the Whakarewarewa Forest, the hotel offers the perfect place to relax after a day exploring the local area.

Beechtree Motels, Taupo - New Zealand

Modern accommodation which offers style and comfort and is only a 5-minute walk from the lake.

Chateau Tongariro, Tongariro - New Zealand

Chateau Tongariro occupies a prime spot in Tongariro National Park. It's full of old-world charm with stunning views.

Skotel Alpine Resort - New Zealand

A cosy and welcoming alpine resort nestled in the heart of the national park amidst tussock and striking landscapes.

Copthorne Oriental Bay - New Zealand

Enjoy a one-night stay in the heart of humming Wellington.

Rutherford Hotel, Nelson - New Zealand

A stylish, centrally located hotel. We stay here for 2 nights on arrival on the South Island.

Punakaiki Resort, West Coast - New Zealand

Travelling west we arrive at the Paparoa National Park. We stay at the Punakaiki Resort, which is situated at the top of the beach near the famous Pancake Rocks.

Ski Time, Methven - New Zealand

Enjoy stunning views from the hotel as you relax with a drink.

Hermitage, Mount Cook - New Zealand

Following a drive through the parched high country, we arrive at our accommodation at the Hermitage. The hotel is located at the edge of the high alps of Mt Cook.

Edgewater Resort, Wanaka - New Zealand

Peaceful and directly on the shores of Lake Wanaka, this is a fine place to soak up the intermontane landscapes.

Distinction Hotel, Te Anau - New Zealand

Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas offers chic, elegant accommodation and FREE unlimited WiFi for the perfect Fiordland getaway. Surrounded by extensive, colourful gardens and overlooking spectacular Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland ranges, this 4 star hotel and villa accommodation sets the tone for your stay in one of the world’s most breathtaking regions.

Heritage Queenstown, Queenstown - New Zealand

In Queenstown we stay at the Heritage Hotel, situated on the edge of Lake Wakatipu. Rooms benefit from a range of views over the surrounding mountains, forests and lake. Facilities include swimming pool, gym and free Wi-Fi.

Essential Information

As you’ll be carrying your own luggage at airports and between your transport and hotels we recommend you try to keep your luggage to a minimum.

These items are a general suggestion of what to pack for an active outdoor and walking holiday; depending on your destination, you may need more of some things and less – or none! – of others. You’ll know best what you prefer to wear when out walking or while taking part in other outdoor activities.

  • Walking boots (worn in), with good ankle support and spare bootlaces Boots must be clean of all soil/mud before entering New Zealand. We recommend you pack them at the top, so they are easy to access, as biosecurity always inspect them.
  • Walking socks
  • Walking sandals and/or trainers
  • Lightweight fleece, thermal top and bottoms
  • Waterproof trousers and jacket (e.g. Goretex or similar)
  • Shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts
  • Long trousers and long-sleeved lightcoloured shirts with collars to protect from the sun.

We recommend wearing walking boots on all our walks, as these provide the best ankle support and grip. Modern ‘approach shoes’ offer appropriate levels of grip and may be worn on some low-level walks, but users should be aware that they offer less ankle support. Lightweight trainers are not recommended for any walks.

Your clothing should ideally be pre-treated with insect repellent and in-built sun protection (available from specialist clothing stores such as Rohan, Cotswold Outdoor).

  • Warm fleece, scarf/buff, hat and gloves
  • Torch or headlamp
  • Comfortable casual clothes and shoes for evenings and sightseeing
  • Sun protection – sun hat, sunglasses, high factor sunscreen and lip protection
  • Water bottle – at least 1-litre capacity but you may prefer 2-litre
  • Lightweight survival bag
  • Small/medium rucksack (20-30 litre) and a liner/dry bags or cover to keep contents dry
  • Insect repellent
  • Personal first aid kit including: personal medication, tissues, plasters, blister kit, painkillers, antiseptic wipes, Imodium, rehydration sachets

Essential:

  • Passport (and copies)
  • Booking confirmation
  • Insurance cover note
  • HF Holidays’ registration form

Please ensure you have access to emergency funds should you need them; carrying a credit card is probably the most convenient method.

Optional:

  • trekking poles
  • camera
  • umbrella
  • binoculars
  • swim towel

Please note that your HF Holidays’ leader reserves the right to refuse to take any guest on a walk should they consider that a lack of suitable clothing/footwear may affect safety

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

These departure dates can be booked with flights or as land only holiday options. All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised flight prices are based on UK flights departing from London. Regional departures and/or connections to London, if available, can be requested. Cabin upgrades may also be available on request.

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2022
20 Oct - 10 Nov 2022
19 Itinerary £6,999 £6,749 Save £250 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
17 Nov - 08 Dec 2022
19 Itinerary £6,999 Available Trip Notes Book Now
2023
07 Jan - 28 Jan 2023
19 Itinerary £7,299 £7,049 Save £250 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
11 Feb - 04 Mar 2023
19 Itinerary £7,299 £7,049 Save £250 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
11 Mar - 01 Apr 2023
19 Itinerary £7,299 £7,049 Save £250 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2022
22 Oct - 10 Nov 2022
19 Itinerary £5,999 £5,749 Save £250 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
19 Nov - 08 Dec 2022
19 Itinerary £5,999 Available Trip Notes Book Now
2023
09 Jan - 28 Jan 2023
19 Itinerary £6,299 £6,049 Save £250 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
13 Feb - 04 Mar 2023
19 Itinerary £6,299 £6,049 Save £250 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
13 Mar - 01 Apr 2023
19 Itinerary £6,299 £6,049 Save £250 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now

Important Information

  • Single and double rooms for sole occupancy may be available - please enquire at time of booking
  • Non-member fee £30pp

 

Duration:
19 nights
Type:
Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade:
2

19 nights from £5,999pp £5,749pp
without flights

Worldwide: Save up to £250 pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

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