Great Walks of New Zealand

  • 5 Days
  • Avg Group Size: 12
  • Activity Level 2
    • Activity Level 2

      Hikes on our Level 2 adventures are considered easy to moderate in difficulty.

    Read more about the Active Range

  • Trip Start: Queenstown
  • Trip End: Queenstown
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In just five days, explore the Kepler, Routeburn and Milford Tracks on our Great Walks of New Zealand hiking tour.

Bask in your creature comforts and experience best-in-the-world hikes on our 5-day Great Walks of New Zealand hiking tour exploring the highlights and hidden gems of Fiordland. There's no doubt you'll be amazed by the vast landscapes you'll experience in a short amount of time while still enjoying comfortable accommodations and incredible food each evening. Starting and finishing in Queenstown, you'll hike three of New Zealand's Great Walks (Kepler Track, Routeburn Track, and Milford Track), and stay the night on the Fiordland Navigator in Doubtful Sound, enjoying top-notch service every step of the way. If you're short on time but keen to see the best of the South Island, our Great Walks of New Zealand hiking tour is for you.

Download Our Handy Trip Itinerary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip.

DOWNLOAD ITINERARY PDF

Great Walks of New Zealand ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Queenstown Trip End: Queenstown

Download our Handy Trip itenary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip

  • Day 1Overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound

  • Day 2Cruise in Doubtful Sound, hike Kepler Track

  • Day 3Hike Milford Track, cruise Milford Sound

  • Day 4Hike Routeburn Track, Takahe Bird Park

  • Day 5Gondola ride, hike Ben Lomond Saddle

  • Day 1

    Overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound

    #6881

    For the first day of your trip, we’ll meet you in Queenstown and head to Lake Manapouri where our journey into Doubtful Sound begins. We’ll board a boat for the cruise across Lake Manapouri, before a drive over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove where we’ll board the Fiordland Navigator for our overnight cruise.

    Doubtful Sound is a large and remote wilderness area, where you’ll have the opportunity to take a kayak out on the water or hop aboard the tender craft for a guided exploration of the fiord, and in the right season, you may catch a glimpse of the rare Fiordland crested penguin. Tonight, you’ll sleep in a private room with ensuite aboard the Fiordland Navigator.
    Accommodation: Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Day 2

    Cruise in Doubtful Sound, hike Kepler Track

    #6882

    You’ll wake in the middle of Doubtful Sound and after breakfast we’ll retrace our journey back to Manapouri. From there we’ll tick off the Kepler Track. Interestingly, the Kepler Track differs from the Routeburn and Milford Tracks in that it didn’t actually evolve from a necessary Maori greenstone trail, but was custom-built for hiking. The section we’ll hike today passes over the control gates at the outlet of Lake Te Anau and meanders through ancient beech and podocarp forest.
    Accommodation: Distinction Hotel & Villas, Te Anau
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: 6 miles (9.5 kilometers), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 165 feet (50 meters) ascent, 165 feet (50 meters) descent

  • Day 3

    Hike Milford Track, cruise Milford Sound

    #6883

    After an early breakfast, we’ll drive to Milford Sound where you'll have breathtaking views of New Zealand's most photographed mountain, Mitre Peak.We’ll take a short boat ride across Milford Sound to hike from Sandfly Point to the Giant Gates waterfall, a spectacular section of the famed Milford Track. The forest here is lush and rich with mosses and ferns as we follow the Arthur River past Lake Ada. By hiking from the Milford Sound trailhead, you'll enjoy the majestic backdrop of the surrounding peaks.

    Once we return to the Milford wharf, we’ll board a boat for a two-hour nature cruise to the head of this spectacular fiord. Later we'll head back to Te Anau enjoying the stunning native forest and mountain views along the way.
    Accommodation: Distinction Hotel & Villas, Te Anau
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: 6 miles (10 kilometers), 3-4 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 985 feet (300 meters) ascent, 985 feet (300 meters) descent

    Cruise: 2 hours

  • Day 4

    Hike Routeburn Track, Takahe Bird Park

    #6884

    This morning we’ll drive to the Divide, where we’ll hike part of the Routeburn Track, the third of the Great Walks you’ll experience. We hike through beech forest, subalpine shrub land and picturesque alpine tarns, before reaching Key Summit. Here you’ll be standing at the head of three different valleys (the Hollyford, Eglinton, and Greenstone), with stunning views over the Great Divide, which separates west and east-flowing rivers.

    Afterwards, we’ll head back to Te Anau and head for the Department of Conservation birdlife park. The center takes care of injured or aging birds that would struggle to survive in the wild - it’s a great opportunity to see some of our rarest birds up close, so don’t forget your camera!
    Accommodation: Distinction Hotel & Villas, Te Anau
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: 4.2 miles (6.8 kilometers), 3-4 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 1540 feet (470 meters) ascent, 1540 feet (470 meters) descent

  • Day 5

    Gondola ride, hike Ben Lomond Saddle

    #6885

    Today we’ll drive back along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown, and take a ride on the gondola to the top of a tree-covered rocky crag, known as Bob’s Peak, to start our alpine hike. We pass through open alpine tussockland to the Ben Lomond saddle and will be rewarded with panoramic views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the often snow-covered Southern Alps.

    We’ll leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand! 
    Accommodation: Not applicable
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    Hiking: 4.3 miles (7 kilometers), 3-5 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,704 feet (530 meters) ascent, 1,704 feet (530 meters) descent

    If you're keen to extend your trip and see what the North Island has to offer (Maori culture, pristine beaches, and geothermal areas) check out our 11-day Ultimate North Island Adventure (5-day options also available).

Great Walks of New Zealand Departure Dates

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Included

  • Our own highly experienced guides, driver, and cook, with you from start to finish
  • Industry-leading Guest-to-Guide ratio (averaging 6:1)
  • Your own ‘Travel Wallet’, an online space with everything required for your adventure
  • Our knowledgeable Customer Service Team to answer your queries - just a phone call, email or chat away
  • Customer Service pre-trip phone calls to ensure you’re 'trip ready'
  • All accommodations for the duration of your trip
  • All meals except where indicated in the itinerary
  • Unlimited snacks to keep you fueled
  • All activities outlined in the itinerary
  • All necessary equipment (well-maintained and safe) for activities, including Hiking Poles
  • All park and other entry fees
  • Transportation in our air-conditioned vans - safe, clean, modern, and comfortable!



What Our Guests Say

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Take 10% off the trip price when you book a trip and pay in full

By paying in full we are able to pass on savings to our guests, but please note that by opting for this payment plan, your booking becomes non-refundable, non-cancellable, and non-changeable. This offer is only valid for reservations where the trip is no sooner than 180 days from the departure date at time of booking.

We highly recommend that you purchase Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance. We recommend Redpoint Insurance - you can find details here.

*Terms & conditions apply – read more here

 

Useful Info

Where does the trip start?

On the first morning of the trip we will meet you at the Heritage Hotel at 7:30am for breakfast and a trip briefing. You are welcome to book your pre-trip stay at this hotel directly or any other hotel in Queenstown, though you must make your own way to the pick-up point at the pre-designated time.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Queenstown Airport (ZQN) in time for flights below or anywhere in central Queenstown around 5pm

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: We recommend arriving in Queenstown at least the day before your trip starts. Many guests like to arrive a day or two early to accommodate potential flight delays and/or explore the city prior to your trip start.

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Queenstown after 6pm. Earlier flight times will require a separate transfer booked at your own expense.

How fit do I need to be?

As an Activity Level 2 trip, you’ll need a good level of fitness for the trip as it’s one of our more adventurous trips. Typically, hikes range between two and five hours to complete, more, or less hiking is available depending on your multi-day option.

Please head to our Fitness Guide for great tips on how to prepare along with a workout plan!

What accommodations do we stay at on this trip?

This trip is a wilderness hiking trip and while it’s not designed to be a scenic tour of the South Island’s luxury hotels, it features more creature comforts than some of our other trips and you’ll certainly feel like you’re hiking in style! You’ll stay in some wonderful places in the remote locations we take you.

Laundry facilities will be available at almost all accommodations (except the Doubtful Sound overnight boat). Please check with reception on check-in, or we can do that for you.

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

You are allowed one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage should not exceed 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and can be anything from a duffle bag to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase. You’ll also want a good quality backpack sized 25-30 liters (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days. 

Tell me about the Doubtful Sound overnight cruise?

On your Active Great Walks Discovery option we spend one night onboard the Navigator ship on the remote Doubtful Sound. It’s a stunning environment and you’ll probably be one of just a small group of people exploring this part of the country.

Rooming on the Navigator is in twin-share cabins, with ensuites bathrooms.

Please refer to the second page of your packing list for more information about how to pack for the overnight cruise, and come prepared with your overnight gear separate on day one.

What is not included?

Flights to and from trip start/end points
15% NZ Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Pre/Post Accommodation
Optional extra activities
Travel insurance
Gratuities for your guides
Trekking packs and sleeping bags (if applicable)

Is tipping expected in New Zealand?

Tipping is neither required nor routinely expected in New Zealand, but it is appropriate for very good service. In New Zealand you don't usually tip in restaurants, or if you take a taxi, or get a haircut. Many of our guests do choose to tip our guides and we recommend USD$20 per day, per guest, per guide. You are welcome to tip an equivalent amount in the local currency. There are plenty of ATM’s and banks in the larger towns of New Zealand.

What additional activities are on offer in New Zealand?

You’ll be participating in loads of amazing activities during your tour, however, you may be wondering what other cool stuff you can do before or after your trip to make the most of your time in New Zealand.  

We’ve teamed up with the good folk at Everything Travel and you’re welcome to book any pre or post-trip ‘things to do’ directly with them.  

For trips starting and/or ending in the South Island, check out things to do before and/or after your trip here.

For trips starting and/or ending in North Island, check out things to do before and/or after your trip here.

Make sure any activities you book are before or after your trip only as your tour itself is already filled to the brim with the adventures we offer!

How do rooming arrangements work?

Trip prices are based on shared arrangements (typically two guests per room), unless otherwise stated. For solo travelers, we’ll pair you with another person of the same gender to share rooms and if there’s no one suitable to share with, there’s no forced single supplement. However, if you specifically request your own rooms, you can opt to pay the single supplement. Solo travelers who book within 90 days of departure, where there are no other solo travelers willing to share, will be required to pay the single supplement. 

For Family Vacation bookings, families consisting of four guests traveling with children aged 17 and under will be automatically assigned one shared room. However, the following alternative rooming allocations are available:

  • Families consisting of four guests with all children aged 13 and above are welcome to opt for additional rooms as per advertised double occupancy adult rates.
  • Families consisting of four guests with at least one child aged 12 and under are automatically assigned a shared room. However, families can opt to pay the adult rates for all guests in their family to have an additional room.
  • The same principles apply for families consisting of more than four guests.

Rooming preferences are subject to availability and must be communicated in writing at time of booking. Automatic assignments as per this policy will be applied in the absence of any specification provided by guests. Any request for additional rooms during trips will be at guests’ own expense and subject to rates made available by the accommodation provider at the time. All minors (guests aged 17 and under) must be accompanied by at least one adult.

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Our Local Guides

Want to see more? Add on the North Island too!

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Ultimate North Island Adventure

4.76

  • Duration 11 days
  • Activity Level Level 3 
    • Activity Level 3

      Those who take on our Level 3 tours are looking for more challenging hikes that will raise their heart rate.

    Read more about the Active Range

Discover your favorite part of the North Island as you hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, bike through redwood forests in Rotorua, snorkel or kayak the Poor Knights Islands, and walk through the otherworldly Waitomo Caves.

Trip Start: Auckland Trip End: Auckland

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Northland Adventure

5.50

  • Duration 5 days
  • Activity Level Level 2 
    • Activity Level 2

      Hikes on our Level 2 adventures are considered easy to moderate in difficulty.

    Read more about the Active Range

Take five days to discover the charms of the North Island. Explore colossal kauri forests, dive or snorkel the Poor Knights Islands, and learn about the Maori culture as you make your way along some of the best coastline of New Zealand.

Trip Start: Auckland Trip End: Auckland

New Zealand

North Island Volcanic Adventure

4.00

  • Duration 5 days
  • Activity Level Level 3 
    • Activity Level 3

      Those who take on our Level 3 tours are looking for more challenging hikes that will raise their heart rate.

    Read more about the Active Range

Explore volcanic landscapes as you hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Soak in hot pools, hike by geysers and boiling mud pools, and explore caves in search of mystical glowworms on this short, action-packed North Island adventure.

Trip Start: Auckland Trip End: Auckland

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