hiking-new-zealand-mt-cook

New Zealand Uncut Hiking Adventure

from £6767 excluding flights

  • 14 nights
  • Jan-Mar, Nov
Home Destinations Australasia New Zealand New Zealand Uncut Hiking Adventure

Highlights

hiking-new-zealand-milford-sound

Hike Milford Sound

hiking-new-zealand-tasman-glacier

Take a unique cruise at Tasman Glacier

hiking-new-zealand-aspiring-national-park

Explore Mount Aspiring National Park

Why this trip...

Rail track alongside Turnagain Arm how you travel white

How you travel

This holiday features transport that is an integral part of the overall experience

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Expertly guided

In-depth knowledge and expertise will enrich your experience on this trip

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Like-minded travellers

Share your travel experiences with fellow travellers

Overview

Explore the diverse landscapes of New Zealand on this 15 day ultimate hiking adventureStart in the North Island, exploring the Waitomo glow worm caves, Rotorua’s geothermal wonders, and Tongariro National Park’s volcanoes. In the South Island, hike the Abel Tasman coast, marvel at Aoraki/Mt Cook and experience Mt Aspiring National Park. End your journey in Fiordland’s lakes and fiords before reaching the adventure hub of Queenstown. The day hikes and short walks have been specially selected to get you into the most diverse wilderness areas of New Zealand. From strenuous alpine hikes to strolls along the beach, choose the walks to suit you and enjoy New Zealand’s natural beauty. 

Itinerary

Start your day early by meeting your North Island guide and group, then drive south through lush green farmland along the Waikato River. At Waitomo Caves, descend into Ruakuri Cave to marvel at limestone formations and sparkling crystals. Thousands of glow worms light up the cave ceiling like a starry night. After emerging, enjoy a loop trail through a stunning limestone canyon. Arrive in Rotorua by late afternoon, where you’ll experience the region’s geothermal activity and Maori cultural heritage, including an evening meal and cultural performance.

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Hike along the clear waters of Lake Tarawera, shaded by towering tree ferns and ignimbrite cliffs. Cool off with a swim at one of the tiny beaches while admiring the expansive views of the forest, lakes, and volcanoes. In the afternoon, explore Rotorua’s thermal areas, wandering boardwalks past bubbling mud, mineral hot pools, and rising steam. Afterward, drive to the pretty lakeside town of Taupo. Stop along the way and feel the power of the incredible Huka Falls.

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Drive around Lake Taupo to New Zealand’s first national park, Tongariro. Enjoy a leisurely morning walk through the forest on Mt Pihanga’s slopes to the mystical Lake Rotopounamu (Lake of Greenstone). Spend the next two nights at a hotel on the park’s edge, allowing you to explore at your own pace. In the afternoon, hike to Taranaki Falls, which cascades 20 meters over a 15,000-year-old lava flow.

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Join your guide for a full day on the renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the world’s best day hikes. The well-built trail ascends, steeply at times, to the craters of Mt Tongariro. Admire stunning views of the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes, and steaming vents. After this challenging hike, celebrate with a bottle of fine New Zealand wine at dinner. If you prefer a restful day, enjoy activities in the village such as the Soda Springs walk, Taranaki Falls walk, or relaxing with coffee and exploring the Park Visitor Centre.

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Rest your legs this morning as you travel through rolling green hills to Wellington, the capital city. Stroll along the waterfront, visit the national museum Te Papa, or explore the charming heritage houses on the steep streets. Enjoy the vibrant café and restaurant scene in this compact city.

Spend the morning enjoying Wellington or relaxing before an early lunch. Then, catch a scenic flight over Cook Strait to the South Island. Upon arrival at Nelson Airport, you’ll be transferred to your hotel to meet your guides and new travellers. Opt for a guided hike up Botanical Hill, known as the “Centre of New Zealand,” for stunning views of Tasman Bay and Nelson City, or explore the lively town at your leisure. Later, kick off the South Island tour with dinner at one of Nelson’s fine restaurants.

After an early breakfast, head to Abel Tasman National Park. At the beach resort of Kaiteriteri, take a water taxi along the coast, passing golden beaches, granite headlands, and bush-clad islands. Step ashore at Bark Bay and follow the famed Abel Tasman Coast Track through native forests and cascading streams. The trail leads to Torrent Bay, where you can swim in Cleopatra’s Pool or slide down its natural water slide. At Anchorage, catch the water taxi back to Kaiteriteri, then return to Nelson in the late afternoon. Explore this vibrant town and its many excellent restaurants this evening.

On the way to the West Coast, stop for an amazing hike. A local guide will lead you through a privately-owned deer farm to the natural flames, which have been burning since the 1920s. This natural phenomenon is surrounded by lush tree ferns and beech forest. A cup of ‘billy tea’ and hot cakes prepared over the flames is a uniquely Kiwi experience. Continue alongside the Buller River through the wilderness to Westport, to explore the dramatic coastline and learn about its history. Heading south, catch the sunset at Punakaiki and have dinner at a local pub. Take an evening stroll around the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes – guides try to time your visit with high tide so you may not visit the rocks until tomorrow if tide times are more favourable.

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Hike the Inland Pack Track from Pororari to the Punakaiki River, a historic route once used by prospectors and miners. This trail is now part of the Paparoa Track, New Zealand’s newest Great Walk. Traverse a deep limestone canyon and towering rainforest with tropical nikau palms. Don’t miss the chance for a refreshing swim in one of the clear pools along the way! 

After the hike, travel from the lush rainforests of the West Coast over the glaciated Southern Alps to the dry yellow tussock grasslands of the eastern high country. East of Arthur’s Pass, take a stroll around the captivating limestone formations of Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill), an important cultural site for early Maori. Named the “Spiritual Centre of the Universe” by the Dalai Lama in 2002, today it’s popular for rock climbing and bouldering. 

Continue past Lake Lyndon to Methven, a ski town in winter and a relaxed rural community year-round. The Southern Alps form a spectacular backdrop.

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Continuing south, at first following the edge of the extensive Canterbury Plains then up into the intermontane Mackenzie Basin to Lake Tekapo. This lake is renowned for its striking turquoise waters and the charming Church of the Good Shepherd, perched daintily by the lake. Enjoy a picnic lunch and stunning views of the Patagonia-like landscape. The sweeping Mackenzie “Country” is a sparsely populated region in the shadow of the Southern Alps; tawny-brown drylands, braided riverbeds and startling glacial lakes extend to distant mountains. On arrival at Mount Cook village, hike in Governors Bush and ascend to Red Tarns for breathtaking views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and the surrounding alps.

Hike up to Sealy Tarns for stunning views of Mt Sefton, Mueller Glacier, and up the Hooker Valley towards Aoraki/Mt Cook. For those seeking more adventure, join the guide for an extended climb above the tarns to Mueller Ridge, offering even broader vistas of the alpine landscape. Alternatively, opt for an easier experience by exploring the valley floor independently. Walk along the Hooker Valley track to enjoy views of Mueller and Hooker Glacier terminal lakes and the towering south face of Aoraki/Mt Cook. Visit the world-class visitor centre to learn more about the wonders of the national park.

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Travel up the Tasman Valley to visit the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest glacier. Take a short walk through glacial moraine and embark on a custom-built boat for a unique cruise around the terminal lake. Like many glaciers worldwide, the Tasman Glacier is retreating, causing the terminal lake to expand annually. Spot icebergs of various shapes and sizes floating in the lake, originating from the glacier’s melting face. On the way to charming Wanaka, pass the scenic Mackenzie Country before ascending over the tussock-covered Lindis Pass into Central Otago’s southern lakes district. Here, visit an award-winning vineyard to sample wine and learn about sustainable winemaking practices, or simply enjoy a stroll through the vineyards.  

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A beautiful drive alongside Lake Wanaka leads towards the peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park. In the lower Matukituki Valley, hike the Diamond Lake trail and ascend Rocky Mountain, a distinctively shaped glacial feature known as a “roche moutonnee” (rock sheep). Stunning views of the lake, Southern Alps, and Mount Aspiring/Tititea. There are various hike options here, from the gentle Diamond Lake circuit to the more challenging Rocky Mountain summit climb. 

After lunch, drive over the Crown Range and follow the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park. Relax in the afternoon or take a stroll along the scenic lakeshore, offering breathtaking views of the expansive Fiordland wilderness across the water.

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Embark on a breathtaking day excursion through the majestic Fiordland mountains to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most iconic destinations. At The Divide, hike a section of the Routeburn Track to Key Summit for panoramic views of the Humboldt and Darran Mountains. Easier short walks, and the preferred option if cloud is likely to rob Key Summit of views, are located below in the Hollyford Valley. Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Milford Sound as you cruise amidst glaciated peaks towering over deep waters. Marvel at mile-high Mitre Peak and Lady Bowen Falls, and keep watch for marine life such as dusky dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, and the rare Fiordland crested penguin.

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This morning, hike a section of the renowned Kepler Track to the shores of Lake Manapouri, described as the ‘loveliest of all lakes’ for its islands, bush-fringed beaches, and mountainous backdrop. From here, head northward towards Queenstown. On the outskirts of Queenstown, amidst wine country, celebrate your adventures with lunch at a local restaurant. Enjoy the region’s finest food and wine before concluding your tour in Queenstown in the late afternoon.

Accommodation

This holiday features a selection of standard hotels, which may vary depending on departure date. Rooms will be set up as twin beds.

copthorne oriental bay wellington deluxe harbourview room

Prices and Departures

Price from £6767 excluding flights

Airfares start from around £825 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price.
When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.
Note: Airfares tend to be cheaper the earlier you book.

What's Included

  • 13 nights hotel accommodation
  • Select meals
  • Activities as per itinerary
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

Prices

From prices per person, based on 2 sharing a room.

Departure Duration Twin price (pp)
21 Nov 2024 15 days £6,767
30 Jan 2025 15 days £6,767
13, 27 Feb 2025 15 days £6,767
13 Mar 2025 15 days £6,767

Solo travellers, we've got you covered! Choose a twin share (room with 2 single beds, shared with another traveller of the same gender) or request to stay in your own room for the entire trip. If you prefer your own space, private room supplements start from £1,275.

As Standard, Complete Piece of Mind

We’re listening. We always care what our fellow travellers think and love building strong customer relationships so we continuously focus on improving future experiences based on feedback. How incredible for the last three years we have received the Feefo Platinum Award.

The World's Great. Pass it On

To mark our 40th anniversary, we've launched our Education Bursary Fund to help disadvantaged school children experience the wonders of travel. A percentage of revenue from every holiday booked will go into the bursary fund to pay for at least 40 students to join one of our school trips abroad.