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

South Island: Christchurch to Queenstown

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.

THIS ITINERARY: 9 days, 8 nights

ACCOMMODATIONS: Casual & Premiere Hotels*

FROM: $5,199 pp dbl occ
($650 for sgl occ)

New Zealand

Start Christchurch / End Queenstown

Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.

Highlights
  • Hike through the unmatched natural wonders and sacred sites of the South Island—it's a Kiwi tradition!
  • Explore the small towns of Franz Josef and Lake Wanaka, absolute gems of the South Island
  • Discover the adventurer's paradise of scenic Queenstown, where architectural interest meets breathtaking views
  • Experience a variety of landscapes, from alpine tundra to dramatic coastal rain forest trails to seaside
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Meet Our Leaders
Itinerary
Accommodations may vary based on departure date.
9 Days Casual & Premiere Hotels*
Accommodations may vary based on departure.
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.

Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass
Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass
Arthur's Pass
| Casual Hotel

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

Day 3

Climb through a mountain beech forest to a magical alpine garden in a glacier-hewn valley | Mighty mountains, dividing east and west, tower above as you make your way to the summit of Arthur's Pass—the striking beauty of the area is undeniable | Take in the views as you head south along the incredible West Coast to Franz Josef, the gateway town to "Glacier Country" and the Southern Alps, New Zealand's highest mountain range | Settle into our decadent retreat, situated next to Glacier Hot Pools.

Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Franz Josef
| *Premiere Hotel

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

Days 4-5

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.

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Lake Moeraki
| Casual Hotel

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

Days 6-7

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 | Discover the stunning landscape of Mount Aspiring National Park and catch a spectacular view of Lake Wanaka.

Edgewater Resort Hotel
Edgewater Resort Hotel
Lake Wanaka
| Casual Hotel

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

Days 8-9

Explore the Central Otago wine region | Discover picturesque Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital, situated near scenic Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by breathtaking views of the Remarkables mountain range.

Hotel St. Moritz
Hotel St Moritz
Queenstown
| Casual Hotel

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

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. View cancellation policy

Click on dates for pricing, itinerary variations and to book your trip. Price is per person, double occupancy.

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Activity Level: 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. LEARN MORE.

Day 1
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles* | 500 ft. gain
Level 2 | 4 miles* | 800 ft. gain
Day 2
Walking & Hiking
Level 2 | 4 miles* | 1000 ft. gain
Level 3 | 8 miles* | 1800 ft. gain
Level 4 | 10 miles | 2800 ft. gain
Day 3
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 2 miles | 600 ft. gain
Level 2 | 4 miles | 900 ft. gain
Day 4
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles | 200 ft. gain
Level 3 | 6 miles | 800 ft. gain
Level 4 | 9 miles | 1000 ft. gain
Other
Optional Franz Josef Glacier Scenic Flight
Day 5
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles | 300 ft. gain
Other
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki Guided Excursion (3 hours)
Day 6
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles* | 800 ft. gain
Level 2 | 4 miles | 200 ft. gain
Level 3 | 5 miles* | 1300 ft. gain
Level 4 | 9 miles | 1500 ft. gain
Other
Optional Milford Sound Flightseeing & Boat Cruise (4 hours)
Day 7
Walking & Hiking
Level 3 | 5 miles* | 1500 ft. gain
Level 4 | 7 miles* | 1800 ft. gain
Day 8
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles* | 400 ft. gain
Level 3 | 6 miles | 400 ft. gain
Day 9
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 2 miles | 100 ft. gain
* Includes shuttle.

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

What's Included

  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Expertise and services of our experienced Trip Leaders
  • Snacks and beverages between meals
  • Additional guides and experts from the region on many trips
  • Van shuttles to support a variety of route options
  • Comprehensive Travel Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at museums, historic sites, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the Travel Planner
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Special events, including wine tastings and other select attractions as mentioned in the Travel Planner
  • On biking and multi-adventure trips, use of fully equipped Backroads titanium bike plus helmet and accessories
  • Trailercycles, carriers, and kid-sized helmets for Family Trips
  • Equipment and experienced guides for kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, sailing and canoeing as described
  • Park and other entry fees
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the Travel Planner
  • Select coach transfers
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

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.

Climate

New Zealand's West Coast is a unique destination with a pristine lush green environment. Due to frequent rain it's sometimes called the Wet Coast. Make sure you pack rain gear so we can explore it together and remember: if you want to see a rainbow you have to see some rain!

Shuttle Time

In order to access the most scenic routes and significant points of interest on this trip, strategic shuttles are incorporated into several days of our itinerary. Most will be limited to an hour or so at a time, but on some days you can expect to spend a bit more time in the shuttle. We've planned our itinerary to make the most of our time in this spectacular area, so sit back and relax, knowing that someone else is doing the driving, and enjoy the beauty of the journey.

Ask a trip expert

Have a question and need expert advice? Our team of Trip Consultants is here to help! You can also visit our FAQ's.

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