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Great Walks Discovery

Takahe

4.43 out of 5 (from 888 reviews)

  • 5 Days - From US$2999 + tax

Trip Introduction

Over five days you'll hike on three of New Zealand's nine 'Great Walks', all located in the Fiordland National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage area with mystical coves and dense temperate rainforest. This is a bucket list hiking trip where you need not forgo any creature comforts.

Activity level: The 'Takahe' is a hiking-focused trip, with options to suit a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience. Typically hikes on the 'Takahe' trip range between three and six hours to complete.

Highlights

Hike
Ben Lomond for views over Queenstown
Parts of the Routeburn, Milford and Kepler Tracks

Plus cruise
Milford Sound during the day
Overnight on Doubtful Sound

What's included in our NZ trips?

  • All guiding services
    - Two experienced guides per trip. In New Zealand you'll have a lead guide and a co guide. 
  • All accommodations
    - A range of hotels, lodges, chalets, inns, sheep stations and backcountry huts, depending on which trip you choose. 
  • All meals
    - Breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days, except where indicated on the itinerary (usually 1 day per trip is a free day, allowing you to choose your own dining location). 
  • All activities
    - Hiking, kayaking, biking, rafting, scenic flights, jet boating and more! 
  • All transport
    - Airport transfers.
    - When you're not travelling under your own steam, they'll be comfortable air-conditioned vans to stretch your legs.
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Interactive Trip Map

Itinerary

Day 1 — Overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound

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 quad share room aboard the Fiordland Navigator, though there is the option to upgrade to a private ensuite room, if you prefer.
Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound (All meals)

Day 2 — Cruise in Doubtful Sound, hike Routeburn Track

You’ll wake in the middle of Doubtful Sound and after breakfast we’ll retrace our journey back to Manapouri. From there we’ll drive to the Divide, where we’ll hike part of the Routeburn Track, the first of the Great Walks you’ll experience. We hike through beech forest, sub-alpine 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. We’ll take a short drive through the Homer Tunnel and emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shore of Milford Sound (actually it’s a fiord!) Rudyard Kipling rated Milford the eighth natural wonder of the world and it’s truly breath-taking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand metres to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water.
Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals)

Day 3 — Hike Milford Track, cruise Milford Sound

It’s worth getting up early to take a photo of Mitre Peak, quite possibly the most photographed mountain in New Zealand, but your challenge is to find a unique angle! After breakfast, 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, we’ll enjoy the track to ourselves, which is a luxury others seldom get. 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. We’ll then leave Milford Sound behind to hike some lesser-known tracks in eastern Fiordland before returning to Te Anau.
Matai Lodge, Te Anau (All meals)

Day 4 — Takahe Bird Park, hike Kepler Track

This morning we’re heading for a Department of Conservation birdlife park in Te Anau. The centre takes care of injured or ageing birds which 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! Afterwards we’ll tick off our third Great Walk in three days - 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.
Matai Lodge, Te Anau (All meals)

Day 5 — Gondola ride, hike Ben Lomond

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 tussock-land 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. For those keen to press on to the top, Ben Lomond’s summit reveals views of Mt Earnslaw and Mt Aspiring, two of New Zealand’s highest peaks, and even a glimpse of Aoraki Mt Cook on a clear day. 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! For a great way to see the North Island too, where you’ll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, combine this trip with our 11-day or 5-day ‘Kauri’.
(Breakfast, Lunch)

Dates

Trip Date Price Status  
Nov 18, 2018 – Nov 22, 2018 US$2999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 02, 2018 – Dec 06, 2018 US$3149 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Dec 16, 2018 – Dec 20, 2018 US$3149 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 30, 2018 – Jan 03, 2019 US$3149 + tax Full Check Availability
2019
Jan 13, 2019 – Jan 17, 2019 US$3149 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Jan 27, 2019 – Jan 31, 2019 US$3149 + tax Almost full Check Availability
Feb 10, 2019 – Feb 14, 2019 US$3149 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Feb 24, 2019 – Feb 28, 2019 US$3149 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 10, 2019 – Mar 14, 2019 US$2999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Mar 24, 2019 – Mar 28, 2019 US$2999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 17, 2019 – Nov 21, 2019 US$2999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Nov 30, 2019 – Dec 04, 2019 US$2999 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Dec 15, 2019 – Dec 19, 2019 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 29, 2019 – Jan 02, 2020 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
2020
Jan 12, 2020 – Jan 16, 2020 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 26, 2020 – Jan 30, 2020 US$3149 + tax Filling up Check Availability
Feb 02, 2020 – Feb 06, 2020 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 09, 2020 – Feb 13, 2020 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 23, 2020 – Feb 27, 2020 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 08, 2020 – Mar 12, 2020 US$2999 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 22, 2020 – Mar 26, 2020 US$2999 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 01, 2020 – Nov 05, 2020 US$2999 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 15, 2020 – Nov 19, 2020 US$2999 + tax Great Check Availability
Nov 29, 2020 – Dec 03, 2020 US$2999 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 13, 2020 – Dec 17, 2020 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 20, 2020 – Dec 24, 2020 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Dec 27, 2020 – Dec 31, 2020 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
2021
Jan 03, 2021 – Jan 07, 2021 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 10, 2021 – Jan 14, 2021 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 17, 2021 – Jan 21, 2021 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 24, 2021 – Jan 28, 2021 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Jan 31, 2021 – Feb 04, 2021 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 07, 2021 – Feb 11, 2021 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 14, 2021 – Feb 18, 2021 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 21, 2021 – Feb 25, 2021 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Feb 28, 2021 – Mar 04, 2021 US$3149 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 07, 2021 – Mar 11, 2021 US$2999 + tax Great Check Availability
Mar 21, 2021 – Mar 25, 2021 US$2999 + tax Great Check Availability

Useful Info

No Forced Single Supplement:

Most other travel companies charge all solo travellers a single supplement fee. We don't! When it comes to accommodation, our trip fares are based on a twin-share rate, which means we'll match you up with another person of the same gender to share a room with. If there's no one suitable to share with, there's no forced single supplement! Having said that, if you specifically request your own room, you can opt to pay the additional single supplement fee.

Trip Start:

On the first day of the trip, we will meet you at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Queenstown at 7:30am for breakfast and a trip briefing.

Trip End:

On the last day of the trip, we can drop you off at the Queenstown airport in time for the flights below, or anywhere in central Queenstown at about 5pm.

Recommended flights:

Arrival: We recommend arriving into Queenstown the night before the trip starts. If that isn't possible please contact us to arrange an alternative arrival time. 
Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Queenstown after 6pm. If you’re considering alternative flight times please check with us. International flights from Auckland airport (AKL) usually leave early evening, so if you’re heading back to North America, you’ll get home on the same day, even though you left that evening! Flights back to Europe, of course, take a little longer.

Accommodation:

The ‘Takahe’ is a wilderness hiking trip. 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.

Fitness:

The ‘Takahe’ is an active hiking trip, and has options to suit a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience. If you keep reasonably active and like to give things a go, you’re likely to enjoy the trip much more. Typically, hikes on the ‘Takahe’ trip range between three and six hours to complete.

Reviews

  • Manuka

    “Great hiking, enjoyed the walk on the glacier at Franz Josef, and the Milford Sound Trek was the highlight for my six weeks in New Zealand, on three Active Adventures.”
    George Wark – Ontario, CanadaJune 2018
  • The Best Trip with the Best Tour Guides - Claire & Holly

    “My husband and I went on our Honeymoon to New Zealand for 2 weeks and took half of the time to be with Active Adventures. That was the best decision we could have made. It was extremely well organized, just the right amount of activity, hit just about all the places we wanted to go on our bucket list, the accommodations were more than we expected, and we couldn't have had better tour guides than Claire & Holly. They were extremely friendly, welcoming, talkative, informative, cooked great meals, had great conversations, were very passionate about the outdoors and wildlife, and overall really great hosts. This was our first time doing a official tour when traveling, and it exceeded our expectations. We could go at our own pace on the hikes and enjoy the group for the social aspect, but also get off on our own to have some peace and quiet. We really don't have a bad word to say. Highly Recommend!”
    Laura Miller – Iowa, United StatesJune 2018
  • Manuka

    “Fabulous! Thank you for a wonderful adventure!”
    Alice Feller – California, United StatesMay 2018
  • Manuka

    “An absolutely wonderful adventure and the people who made it exceptional where our two guides, Claire and Holly.
    Both were very organized, fun and professional!”
    Jeanne Keith-Ferris – British Columbia, CanadaMay 2018
  • Manuka trip March 2018

    “Wonderful trip, guides were great organisers and great company. They put huge effort into making it interesting and fun.”
    Brian Reilly – , United KingdomMay 2018
  • A Fabulous Taste of the Beauty of New Zealand’s South

    “This was a great taster of New Zealand’s South Island with lots of great physical activity balanced with opportunities to rest, enjoy the scenery and learn about New Zealand’s fascinating culture and heritage. Our guides Dani and Liana were knowledgeable, cheerful and personable throughout. They prepared excellent nutritious meals and kept us fully informed about the agenda at all times. They did an excellent job of balancing the very different expectations and fitness levels of the individuals in the group and helped create an environment where we could all enjoy ourselves convivially despite our varying needs.
    Accommodation was excellent and travel comfortable and easy.
    All in all the trip provided us with a great introduction to what needs to be done to appreciate the magnificent natural beauty of New Zealand “close up and personal”. We will be back for more.”
    Jan Orman – New South Wales, AustraliaMarch 2018
  • Alan's Manuka Feb. 2018

    “Excellent trip, expectations fully met and delivered upon, outstanding staff.”
    Alan Valentine – Texas, United StatesMarch 2018
  • Wonderful 5-Day Adventure

    “Overall, the Manuka trip with Koru and Holly was great. There's so much to do in Fiordland that it really made sense for us to dip into as much of it as possible in 5 days. And Koru and Holly were unfailingly professional, informative and engaging as guides. Being in a good group also really worked for us. When the scenery is so spectacular, you want to share it and 14 worked really well.”
    Mary Maybin – UK, United KingdomFebruary 2018
  • If I Knew Then What I Know Now.....I’d Do It All Again!

    “There are many hikes one can take just about anywhere in the world however no place has hikes or tramps or treks like New Zealand. Active Adventures put together a great run of easy-moderate day trips that were varied in terrain and they included a lot more of New Zealand than what required a daypack. The Doubtful Sound experience was not a hike at all yet it was definitely a highlight of this trip. Stunning. Beautiful (insert all possible descriptors of natural beauty here). Another aspect of this trip that was not anticipated was the two Active Tour Guides who led the way; Claire and Holly. And they WERE active, all the time, sunrise to sunset,....making sure everyone had what they needed and more. Warning!! - if you do this trip you will want more. New Zealand is addictive. Be prepared!”
    Fred Plant – New Brunswick, CanadaFebruary 2018
  • Wonderful Manuka Trip With Active Adventures, New Zealand

    “Hi, I'm back home in the USA after my Manuka adventure with Active Adventures, New Zealand. I would like to compliment everyone in your company that I came in contact with....from my initial contact with Fiona to my pre-trip emails with Lynette everything was handled with complete professionalism. This was my first adventure with your company but I'm pretty sure that it will not be my last.
    Everything during the trip went forward in a very efficient manner. I was amazed at the energy level and efficiency of our guides Amanda and Holly. The amount of work that they were able to accomplish during the course of a day, their energy levels and very positive attitudes made the trip enjoyable for all of us clients. Also, their knowledge of their country and their willingness to share made the trip even more enjoyable for me.
    Again, thank you to all and especially to Amanda and Holly....I really enjoyed my first visit to New Zealand.”
    Jerry Jobski – Arizona, United StatesApril 2017
  • Manuka with Claire and Jess

    “I loved this trip because it was conducted in a small group which made it easy to become acquainted. Not enough can be said for how Claire and Jess made this trip what it was. They were professional, informative, friendly and just great fun. We got lucky with the weather in that we had two days of light rain with most of the rest of the days near perfectly warm and sunny. The trip was well paced and the locations we visited were simply beautiful. The lodging and food was excellent. This was simply a great trip with a great group of people. The trip ended way too soon for me.”
    Jim Chambers – Massachusetts, United StatesApril 2017
  • Great Companionship

    “Our guides were the best and we had a wonderful group of people traveling with us that made the trip so enjoyable.”
    Jane Harding – Massachusetts, United StatesApril 2017
  • Every view a winner!

    “It was truly a dream come true. From the incredible views to the tireless efforts of our guides, Claire and Jess, an incomparable experience. There were so many experiences packed into two weeks, I'd already forgotten some until I began to review my photos. I am fortunate to have been able to experience the Manuka trip.”
    Beverly Beran – Texas, United StatesMarch 2017
  • Manuka trip Dec 12 2016

    “Although summer came a month late, which meant that our trip was more wet than sunny, we lucked out with the company (our fellow travelers) and especially with Greg and Jess, our very thoughtful guides. I have only high praise and no complaint.”
    Peter Chang – New Mexico, United StatesJanuary 2017
  • We got a great taste of the South Island of New Zealand

    “This trip was a continuation of our first visit to New Zealand that started a week earlier in the North Island. The South Island welcomed us with the earthquake on the first night. Thankfully it did not interrupt our trip that turned out to be a wonderful experience. We could not wish for a more relaxing vacation. It's nice to have locals to show you around and tell you the myths and stories of the land.”
    Warren Hunt – Texas, United StatesDecember 2016
  • Lovely holiday

    “New Zealand is the place to visit. People like our guide, Nick, were so helpful and flexible and "no problem" about everything. Things were so flexible on this Active Adventure trip. When we wanted to do something special, it happened. We were able to have a 5 day trip that covered hiking, cruises, sightseeing. Nick answered questions and came up with all sorts of things to do, including bringing his Frisbees. He gave us information about what to do and places to go after the Active Adventures trip.”
    Becky Engel – Georgia, United StatesNovember 2016
  • Our guides made our trip so enjoyable!

    “Kate and Clara were professional, prepared, and fun as well as being great chefs and hosts. The hikes were varied, interesting and beautiful. The wine tasting and whitebait stops were true New Zealand. Thanks for a great trip.”
    Deane Collinson – Ontario, CanadaFebruary 2016
  • Awesome guides!

    “Kate and Clara were wonderful - informative, fun, intuitive of the group's needs, great cooks, kind, helpful and anticipated our needs! We loved them”
    Judy Collinson – Ontario, CanadaFebruary 2016
  • Manuka November 2015

    “This was my first time travelling with a hiking group trip. I was a little concerned prior to the trip - would I be able to keep up, will the group members be compatible, will the guides be responsive and care. Happy to say all of my concerns were for naught. Even though I was slowest member of the group, everyone was wonderful. The group members were great and the guides were very supportive. Needless to say, I will do this again. Active adventures were great to work with.”
    Liz Rogers – Oregon, United StatesDecember 2015
  • “Great trip! The landscapes are exceptional and varied. Milford Sound and Milford Track were absolute highlights. Thanks so much for letting us travel with you!”
    Joyce Barbour – Ontario, CanadaDecember 2015
  • A Truly Great Experience

    “I enjoyed my trip with Active Adventures/New Zealand. The guides were suburb,and the accommodations were very good,often excellent.The food served was quite good also.Nick and Elysse prepared some delicious meals.
    Both of the guides seemed genuinely concerned about our well-being.
    Nick was an excellent driver and explained things well as we went along.
    The hikes were quite enjoyable and you were given choices to do as much or as little as you chose.
    I would highly recommend Active Adventures to other hikers. ”
    Phoebe Rollins – South Carolina, United StatesDecember 2015
  • Bucket list trip

    “The trip was truly an adventure. Loved the landscape, especially the West coastal area. Our Guides (GT & Alex) were great & really know their home land. This trip was a great way to see New Zealand in a short time frame.”
    Robert Mann – Ohio, United StatesMarch 2015
  • An awesome trip in an awesome country!

    “This was definitely a trip of a lifetime - one that was on my bucket list for a while! The tracks that we hiked were all great, from the rainforest to Mt. Cook. Our guides, GT and Alex, were great and worked really hard to ensure that our trip was seamless. If you are looking for a way to experience New Zealand by hiking and sightseeing, this is the way to go - a very professional outfitter that takes care of all the details! It was worth the wait!”
    Norma Watterman – Ohio, United StatesMarch 2015
  • Manuka December 15-28, 2014

    “This was a really enjoyable trip that provided exposure to a broad range of habitats and some of the iconic scenery of the South Island. We were really lucky with the weather -- only a couple of days of rain and even then not heavy -- and traveling at the holidays was fun, even if it made things a bit more crowded in some places. I would tweak a few details but liked the itinerary overall. ”
    Rob Franklin – California, United StatesJanuary 2015

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Legendary Kiwi Hospitality

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

Expert LOCAL Guides & Trip Leaders

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

Everything is Included

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

A Sense of Achievement

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

Small Groups

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

Diverse Experiences

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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