• Hiking on Backroads New Zealand walking and hiking tour
  • New Zealand Hiking Tours
  • New Zealand Hiking Tours
  • New Zealand Hiking Tours
  • Backroads New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tours

New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour

South Island from Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

  • Hike through the unmatchable natural wonders and sacred sites of the South Island—it's a Kiwi tradition!
  • Explore two gorgeous and fascinating glaciers, including Franz Josef, which slopes into a rain forest
  • Discover the adventurer's paradise of scenic Queenstown, where architectural interest meets breathtaking views
  • Experience a variety of landscapes, from alpine tundra in the morning to oceanside trails in the afternoon

After this trip, the bar will be forever raised. Other coasts will seem less striking. Even mountains will pale in comparison. So many spectacular views. And incredible moments. From Kura Tawhiti's limestone monoliths to shimmering Lake Wanaka. After these nine days in New Zealand, your next vacation will have big shoes to fill.

New Zealand Map

Itinerary

Days 1-2 Tramp through the spectacularly beautiful South Island | Hike to a Maori sacred site, Kura Tawhiti, a gorgeous set of limestone outcroppings | Behold beech forests and alpine lakes as you ascend to a sheep station hut | Bird-lovers rejoice: look for tiny rifleman and gregarious alpine parrots called kea.

Days 3-5 Soak up superb views during a hike to the summit of Arthur's Pass | Dig into a classic New Zealand barbecue served overlooking the coastline | Tour the historic gold-rush town of Hokitika | Hike Franz Josef Glacier, one of the few glaciers in the world that descends into a temperate rain forest | Swap rain forest for pounding surf at Munro Beach and search for pounamu, the native jade | Explore the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area—choose hiking, swimming or canoeing with a naturalist on Lake Moeraki.

Days 6-9 Stroll the shore of Lake Wanaka and visit the bustling town of Wanaka | Experience jaw-dropping Milford Sound, New Zealand's most famous fjord, on an optional excursion | Take a swing bridge across the West Matukituki River and climb to a spectacular viewpoint below the Rob Roy hanging glacier | Hike the Central Otago wine region and enjoy a tasting | Discover picturesque Queenstown, surrounded by breathtaking views of the Remarkables mountain range.

My husband and I went on this trip for our honeymoon and it was such a great way to see the South Island! The leaders were super knowledgeable about the region, the hikes were a perfect mix of strenuous and leisurely with everything in between. The hotels were perfectly located, and you could tell that Backroads had established a long-lasting relationship with their owners, who welcomed us with open arms. The food and wine were also great!What really stood out on this trip, however, was the awe-inspiring scenery. We saw everything from sandy beaches with fur seals hanging out on the rocks, to glacier-capped peaks. We floated through dramatic fjords, looked down upon braided river valleys full of lupines, and swam in a glacier-fed lake. There's no way we could have done something like this on our own. A big thank you to Backroads for an unforgettable trip of a lifetime!!
Katie - Oakland, CA

We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception. Read the Straight Talk

Straight Talk
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.

Two Leaders

We ordinarily staff our trips with three leaders: two leaders out on the trail offering support—allowing everyone to have the experience they want, whether it's an easygoing interpretative walk or a rigorous hike—while the third leader moves the van from trailhead to trail end. This trip is a little different in that our routes are a combination of loop hikes and out-and-back trails that begin and end in the same location. This means that you'll still have the same two leaders providing excellent trail support without the need for a third leader to move the van.
$4,698 - $5,448
pp dbl. occ.
(+$880 to $980 for sgl. occ.)

Reviews

9 days, 8 nights
Activity Level

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Open 7 Days a Week
6 am - 6 pm Pacific time

Start / End
Christchurch, New Zealand/Queenstown, New Zealand

Meals
All breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners included


C Classic Dates

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Casual Hotels*

Accommodations may vary based on departure date. Any difference from what is listed below can be found by clicking on your desired date on the Dates & Prices tab.

800-462-2848 Open daily, 6 am - 6 pm Pacific time

Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass

Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass

Arthur's Pass (2 nights)

A welcoming mountain retreat and high-country sheep station surrounded by a beech forest and frosted peaks.

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

* Premiere Hotel
Franz Josef (1 night)

A luxurious hotel that provides for every comfort—even offering a pillow menu. (spa)

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Lake Moeraki (2 nights)

This riverside lodge offers cozy guest rooms and excellent cuisine in a remote rain forest setting.

Edgewater Resort Hotel

Edgewater Resort Hotel

Lake Wanaka (2 nights)

On the shore of Lake Wanaka with views of the magnificent Southern Alps. (spa)

Hotel St. Moritz

Hotel St Moritz

* Premiere Hotel
Queenstown (1 night)

This boutique hotel is located in the center of Queenstown with magnificent views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range.

Guest Reviews

There's no better way to find out about Backroads than by hearing it from the people who have traveled with us. For more about the Backroads Experience, read our Guest Testimonials.

800-462-2848 Open daily, 6 am - 6 pm Pacific time

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour
 
5.0

(based on 9 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Reviewed by 9 customers

Displaying reviews 1-9

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5.0

My new home away from home

By 

from Oakland, CA

Verified Buyer

Comments about New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour:

My husband and I went on this trip for our honeymoon and it was such a great way to see the South Island! The leaders were super knowledgeable about the region, the hikes were a perfect mix of strenuous and leisurely with everything in between. The hotels were perfectly located, and you could tell that Backroads had established a long-lasting relationship with their owners, who welcomed us with open arms. The food and wine were also great!

What really stood out on this trip, however, was the awe-inspiring scenery. We saw everything from sandy beaches with fur seals hanging out on the rocks, to glacier-capped peaks. We floated through dramatic fjords, looked down upon braided river valleys full of lupines, and swam in a glacier-fed lake.

There's no way we could have done something like this on our own. A big thank you to Backroads for an unforgettable trip of a lifetime!!

 
5.0

New Zealand

By 

from St Louis MO

Verified Buyer

Comments about New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour:

Starting as a group of strangers we ended up as a group that became special to each other which in my mind is the ultimate compliment. Suz and Tal were very instramental in making this happen. Great trip leaders.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Amazing South Island Adventure

By 

from Arlington, Virginia

Verified Buyer

Comments about New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour:

Nick and Max made a great team. A great variety of hikes. A great trip. The South Island of New Zealand is amazing and the Walking Trip is a great way to experience its diverse geography. In addition you'll meet several local experts who are truly knowledgeable and take great pride in showing off this place. I had done the North Island trip many years ago and I am glad I came back to experience the South Island

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Adventure+culture+outdoors+friendship= Backroads

By 

from New York City

Comments about New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour:

This was my 3rd Backroads trip and once again they exceeded my every expectation! Backroads takes all of the worry and planning out of your vacation so you can just relax and enjoy. They offer options throughout the trip to ensure you have the best experience possible. I am a competitive triathlete and marathoner and worried that the New Zealand walking and hiking tour wouldn't be active enough for me... but after going, I think it is the BEST way to travel to those places cars and bikes can't get. Truly the best vacation I've ever had! ...and there's always a little time to sneak in a tub if you want. ;)

 
5.0

An incredibly great trip!

By 

from Medford, OR

Comments about New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour:

Great

 
5.0

Our trip was amazing! A trip of a lifetime.

By 

from Colorado Springs, Colorado

Comments about New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour:

Dana and Alina were amazing leaders. It was so well organized and the leaders were extremely enthusiastic and helpful.

 
5.0

Very high expectations that were totally satisfied.

By 

from Chicago, Illinois

Comments about New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour:

An outstanding experience from the country to the lodgings to the leaders. Perfect.

 
5.0

My First Tour with Backroads was Amazing!

By 

from Oregon

Verified Buyer

Comments about New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour:

This was my first trip with a tour company and Backroads made it the trip of a lifetime. The trip made me to fall in love with New Zealand and its people. We had 2 tour guides who were funny, knowledgable and ensured that everyone was enjoying the trip. The food was varied, scrumptuous and plentiful and the lodgings were so comfortable and really allowed us to enjoy the countryside. The hikes were arranged so that everyone could participate to the level where they were comfortable. Backroads really knows how to help you see a country. I'll definitely travel with them again.

 
5.0

New Zealand South Island hiking is the best!

By 

from Montana

Comments about New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour:

Our leaders included one Kiwi who knew everything, and one Canadian who knew everything else. Both were mature individuals with a number of years of Backroads experience as well as their own life experiences to bring to the job. Both were generous and thoughtful. I think their maturity made a big difference. This was the best of our 3 Backroads trips. The beauty of the hikes, and even of the van trips, Was remarkable. A spectacular landscape, wonderful hikes which challenged us but certainly were within our abilities, leaders who seemed to have a good feel for what we could do. Also, Backroads has built relationships with several of the lodges and lunch prividors along the way so that I really think we got royal treatment.

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Dates & Prices

The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind—you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due.

Please click on a date below for specific pricing and possible itinerary variations.

800-462-2848 Open daily, 6 am - 6 pm Pacific time

AVAILABLE TO BOOKi GOING FASTi CONTACT USi PRIVATE TRIP - RESERVEDi

Interested in a Private Trip? Check out the Make It Private tab for private dates available, or call us at 800-462-2848.

This Trip Is Rated Levels 1-4

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.

800-462-2848 Open daily, 6 am - 6 pm Pacific time

Daily Route Options
Day EASYGOING ACTIVE AVID
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
1 4* 800
2 4* 1000 8* 1800 10 2800
3 4 900
4 3 200 6 800 9 1000
Optional Franz Josef Glacier Scenic Flight
5 4 0
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki Guided Excursion (3 Hours)
6 3* 200 5 1400 8* 2200
3 800
Optional Milford Sound Flightseeing & Boat Cruise (4 Hours)
7 7* 2000
8 6 300
9 2 0
 

Note: The terrain on this trip includes a mix of mountain and meadow trails, coastal paths and glacier valley walks.

* Includes shuttle.

Learn more about how we determine our activity levels and fully support a range of abilities and interests.

Please note that our distance and elevation figures come from Ride with GPS. Other sources (such as Map My Ride and Garmin devices) may give differing elevation figures due to different GPS and mapping technologies. Readings from a Garmin or a smart phone are influenced by other factors such as air pressure.

Why Travel with Backroads in New Zealand

We Don't Just Skim the Surface

The sheer diversity of experiences awaiting travelers on the South Island – glaciers encircled by rainforest; snowcapped mountains above pristine beaches; roads that wind through vineyards and past sheep stations to reach alpine tundra – tempts some companies to offer Greatest Hits tours. That's not how Backroads does things. Led by a Trip Expert who's explored the island for over 25 years, we've crafted a remarkably varied itinerary that also manages to get you in deep.

The Best Leaders in New Zealand

Backroads has the best-qualified people to lead your trip in New Zealand, and our guests back that up, rating our Trip Leaders an average of 9.75 out of 10 for all-around quality of performance. Get the facts (and no fluff) on how we recruit and develop the very best people for your trip.

A Variety of Routes Each Day

In New Zealand you head off each morning after choosing among several expertly designed routes—all with detailed directions, mileage and shuttle options. Unlike trips with one fixed daily route (or worse, one guide that everyone's obliged to follow), you're free to enjoy the best of the region at your pace, stopping wherever you want to explore further.

We Live in the Neighborhood

Our Trip Leaders in New Zealand live in the area and are deeply engaged in their communities, giving them unique inside knowledge they're happy to share in making your experience that much richer. They'll introduce you to people, customs and parts of town you'd likely never encounter on your own—and teach you a few local phrases to help break the ice.

The Value of Casual Hotels

In addition to the ideal balance of comfort and hospitality in our choice of lodgings, this trip featuring Casual Hotels includes nearly all of your meals, plus everything from cocktail receptions to the best snacks along the road. So there's rarely a need to reach for your wallet – we've got you covered.

Everyone at Their Own Pace

We design and support our New Zealand trips to suit mixed abilities and varied interests—so you can set your own pace, then change things up as the day unfolds. And all guests are free to do the same, traveling together or apart, with no one cramping anyone else's style. Which sounds easy in theory, but it's hard to pull off. Here's more on how we do it.

We Stand Behind Our Trips

Most companies' trips in New Zealand are run by local operators. At Backroads we manage our own trips; we would never subcontract your precious vacation to a third party. So as you enjoy the support of your seasoned Trip Leaders, along with our expert local guides and drivers, you have the confidence of knowing we're with you every step of the way.

800-462-2848 Open daily, 6 am - 6 pm Pacific time

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 from the selection of dates below for your group of 8 or more. If your party has fewer than 8 guests, or your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you. Call or email us to reserve your date.

800-462-2848 Open daily, 6 am - 6 pm Pacific time

Pricing for Private Trips

2017

  • 10 or more guests: from $4,798 pp dbl occ
  • 8 - 9 guests: from $5,098 pp dbl occ

2018

  • 10 or more guests: from $4,698 pp dbl occ
  • 8 - 9 guests: from $5,098 pp dbl occ

Click on a date below for specific pricing and possible itinerary variations.

8 AVAILABLE TO BOOK FOR 8 OR MORE GUESTS 16 AVAILABLE TO BOOK FOR 16 OR MORE GUESTS RESERVED

Don't see your ideal travel date? Make a Date! i

For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip Pricing.

Other Trips in New Zealand

Easy to Book Private Trips

Invite your family and friends on an adventure that's entirely your own - for your group of 8 or more. Find out more