After New Zealand, the bar will be forever raised. Other coastlines will seem less striking. Even mountains will pale in comparison. Glaciers...who sees glaciers at home? Start at the South Pacific, journey up to the Southern Alps, down to the Tasman Sea, then back up again. It's impossible to choose the most spectacular view. The most incredible moment. The blowholes at Punakaiki? Franz Josef Glacier, surrounded by rain forest? The view from the top of Rocky Mountain? Your ten days in New Zealand will be the benchmark. And your next vacation will have big shoes to fill.
Days 1-2 Tramp through the spectacularly beautiful South Island - it's a Kiwi tradition! Hike to a Maori sacred site, Kura Tawhiti - a gorgeous set of limestone outcroppings once used by Maoris to navigate across the island Behold beech forests and alpine lakes as you ascend to a sheep station hut where shepherds stayed during the days of high-country sheep farming.
Days 3-4 Alpine tundra in the a.m. and oceanside trails in the p.m. Traverse mountain wetlands into Otira Valley Watch water explode skyward through blowholes at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks by the Tasman Sea A jungle trek along (and across!) the Porari River reveals native tree ferns and nikau palms Check out the hand-carved greenstone jewelry in the gold-rush town of Hokitika.
Days 5-7 Explore two glaciers, Franz Josef and Fox Stunning views of Mounts Tasman and Cook during a hike around Lake Matheson Swap rain forest for pounding surf at Munro Beach and search for pounamu (the native jade) Canoe with a naturalist on Lake Moeraki, or go hiking or swimming.
Days 8-10 Climb to the top of Rocky Mountain for incredible views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding peaks Experience jaw-dropping Milford Sound, New Zealand's most famous fjord, on an optional excursion Breathtaking 360-degree vistas greet you atop Mount Iron, an impressive glacial rock formation.
- Tramp through the unmatchable South Island - it's a Kiwi tradition!
- Alpine tundra in the a.m. and oceanside trails in the p.m.
- Visit a working Merino sheep station
- Explore two glaciers, Franz Josef and Fox
- Opt to discover dramatic Milford Sound by scenic flight or cruise
Casual & Premiere Inns
Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass (2 nights): A cozy mountain retreat and high-country sheep station surrounded by beech forest and frosted peaks.
Punakaiki Resort (1 night): Simple but comfortable, this resort borders Paparoa National Park and has panoramic views of the Tasman Sea.
Westwood Lodge (2 nights): Warm wood interiors overlook rugged terrain at this inviting and secluded lodge.
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki (2 nights): This riverside lodge offers cozy guest rooms and excellent cuisine in a remote rain forest setting.
Edgewater Resort Hotel (2 nights): On the shores of Lake Wanaka with views of the magnificent Southern Alps. (spa, tennis)
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of
interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one
day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat
from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each
day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
|Hokitika urban hike (1 hour)|
|Optional morning scenic flight, guided ice walk or boat cruise|
|Kayaking on Lake Moeraki (3 hours)|
|Optional scenic flight/cruise, canoeing, paragliding or golf|
* Includes a shuttle
2013 Dates & Pricing*
- 12/21-30 Price: $5298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1170 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
2014 Dates & Pricing*
- 1/2-11 Price: $4898 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
- 1/14-23 Price: $4998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
- 1/26-2/4 Price: $4898 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
- 2/6-15 Price: $4998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
- 3/6-15 Price: $4998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
- 3/20-29 Price: $4998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
- 11/13-22 Price: $4898 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
- 12/4-13 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
- 12/19-28 Price: $4898 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
- 12/30-1/8 Price: $5098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1130 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities.
You can pick any open date in next year's lineup for your group of 8 or more except for trips departing during the last two weeks of December, where a 16 guest minimum is required - just book by December 31st of this year. Call us for date availability.
Pricing for Private Trips
- 8 - 9 guests $5,598 pp dbl. occ.
- 10 - 11 guests $5,298 pp dbl. occ.
- 12 or more guests $4,698 pp dbl. occ.
For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.
Guest Trip Reviews
While we have traveled around the world with other tour companies and Backroads, this by far was the most enjoyable trip. New Zealand provided not only an extraordinary background, and having two of our adult children and their spouses along make it uniquely enjoyable, the trip leaders were just the best. Attentive, friendly, sharing of their knowledge, generous with their time, consciously sharing their attention among all the travelers, and full of flexibility and suggestions (getting a fishing guide, arranging bungee jumping, juggling the schedule to get it all in) all of which made this a very special trip. Bravo!- Landrum, SC
My father and I had an outstanding time on our trip to New Zealand. The trip provided my father and me an opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime. We were given ample time to spend on our own and also given the opportunity to spend quality time with the other guests in a comfortable and fun-loving atomosphere. Everything was carefully planned and brilliantly executed by our leaders and I can't imagine a better trip.- Thousand Oaks, CA
This was an extraordinary trip! I can't say enough about the leaders, hikes, settings and locations of the accommodations, and the members of the group. People who choose Backroads are good people to travel with.- Sands Point, NY
One of the principal reasons we vacation with Backroads is that we could never come up with the quality of the accommodations, dining, or general experience if we tried to book the trip on our own - and it's kinda nice to have the Backroads leaders fussing over us.- Granger, IN
It is obvious we LOVE Backroads by the number of trips we've already taken! I can't get enough. And, there's certainly no reason to check out any other travel/active company.- Grand Rapids, MI
It truly is an experience I will never forget! I love the fact that I learned so much about other people, their country and culture, and -- surprise! surprise! -- about myself!- McHenry, IL
Words are inadequate to express the extraordinary adventure. Top Notch in every way. Thank you for the best vacation ever. The group dynamics were amazing and Wally and Darren are a dynamic duo! Their partnership, attentiveness to our needs and their positive encouragement made this a vacation of self discovery in the midst of a cathedral of nature. All my future vacations will be with Backroads.- Jacksonville, FL