Special Youth Savings: Kids 4 to 17 save up to 20%. See details.

New Zealand South Island Family Walking & Hiking Tour

Small Group Adventures for:

Couples, Friends & Solos Adults 18+

Women's Adventures Women 18+

Families with Young Adults 20s & Beyond Best for ages 20+ (min. age 18)

Families with Older Teens & 20s Best for ages 17-23 (min. age 14)

Families with Teens & Kids Best for ages 9-17 (min. age 4)

One or more kids 17+ required (siblings 14+ ok) | Min age to ride e-bike 16+

From $6,749 /person

9 days

8 nights

Activity Levels 1-4

We categorize our trips based on a range of activity levels from leisurely (1) to avid (5) with plenty of options in between.

Casual & Premiere Hotels

Premiere Hotels - From lavish luxury to on-trend boutique, offering experiences as unique as the regions we explore.

Casual Plus Hotels - A step above Casual but not quite Premiere.

Casual Hotels - Known for their character, charm and proximity to outdoor adventures and Backroads activities.

Small Luxury Ships - Unpack once and cover more distance on an intimate ship with spacious staterooms and superb amenities.

Special Youth Savings: Kids 4 to 17 save up to 20%. See details.

New Zealand South Island Family Walking & Hiking Tour

Small Group Adventures for:

Couples, Friends & Solos Adults 18+

Women's Adventures Women 18+

Families with Young Adults 20s & Beyond Best for ages 20+ (min. age 18)

Families with Older Teens & 20s Best for ages 17-23 (min. age 14)

Families with Teens & Kids Best for ages 9-17 (min. age 4)

One or more kids 17+ required (siblings 14+ ok) | Min age to ride e-bike 16+

9 days

8 nights

Activity Levels 1-4

We categorize our trips based on a range of activity levels from leisurely (1) to avid (5) with plenty of options in between.

Casual & Premiere Hotels

Premiere Hotels - From lavish luxury to on-trend boutique, offering experiences as unique as the regions we explore.

Casual Plus Hotels - A step above Casual but not quite Premiere.

Casual Hotels - Known for their character, charm and proximity to outdoor adventures and Backroads activities.

Small Luxury Ships - Unpack once and cover more distance on an intimate ship with spacious staterooms and superb amenities.

2024: Dec

From $6,749 /person

Rugged Coast & Mountains from 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.

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Highlights

  • Tramp through the unmatched natural wonders and sacred sites of the South Island—it's a New Zealand tradition!
  • Relax at family-owned wilderness lodges that showcase Kiwi hospitality and allow access to remote landscapes
  • Explore the small towns of Arrowtown and Lake Wanaka, absolute gems of the South Island
  • Experience a variety of scenery, from alpine tundra and glaciers to dramatic coastal rain forest trails to seascapes
New Zealand South Island Family Walking and Hiking Tour

New Zealand

Start Christchurch

End Queenstown

Airports & Travel details*

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

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Itinerary

Days 1-2

Description

Explore the spectacularly beautiful South Island with your family • 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 • Soak up grand views of snowcapped peaks and the braided Waimakariri River while climbing Bealey Spur • Bird-lovers rejoice: look for tiny rifleman and gregarious alpine parrots called kea.

Accommodations

Nights 1-2

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.

Hotels may vary based on departure. Any variations will be displayed when selecting a departure under Dates & Prices.

Day 3

Description

Ascend 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 family bucket-list 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, enveloped in native forest.

Accommodations

Night 3

Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Franz Josef
*Premiere Hotel

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

Hotels may vary based on departure. Any variations will be displayed when selecting a departure under Dates & Prices.

Days 4-5

Description

Hike to 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 or kayaking with a naturalist on Lake Moeraki.

Accommodations

Nights 4-5

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Lake Moeraki
Casual Hotel

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

Hotels may vary based on departure. Any variations will be displayed when selecting a departure under Dates & Prices.

Days 6-7

Description

Stroll the shore of Lake Hawea 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 the surrounding Alps and catch a spectacular view of Lake Wanaka • Wind through a dazzling valley and traverse a swing bridge to the Rob Roy hanging glacier—a quintessential New Zealand hiking experience!

Accommodations

Nights 6-7

Edgewater Resort Hotel
Lake Wanaka
Casual Hotel

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

Hotels may vary based on departure. Any variations will be displayed when selecting a departure under Dates & Prices.

Days 8-9

Description

Take in the vistas at the top of Rocky Mountain • Discover the historic charm of Arrowtown, a quaint gold mining town nested in the mountains • Extend your family adventure in picturesque Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital, situated near scenic Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by breathtaking views of the Remarkables mountain range.

Accommodations

Night 8

Kamana Lakehouse
Queenstown
Casual Plus Hotel

Relaxation comes easy at this gorgeous hotel, where sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range abound.

Hotels may vary based on departure. Any variations will be displayed when selecting a departure under Dates & Prices.

Want to learn more about this trip?

Request a Detailed Itinerary! Complete with descriptions of each day, tips on travel arrangements, regional highlights and more, it’s the perfect tool to help you choose. You can easily share it with friends too!

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What's Included

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Straight Talk

We want to make sure you're on the trip that's right for you. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.

Climate

New Zealand's West Coast is a unique destination with a pristine lush green environment, thanks to its climate. Due to frequent rain it's sometimes called the Wet Coast, so make sure you pack rain gear!

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—though always to reach a worthwhile destination!

Accommodations

While our hotels are some of the finest in New Zealand, the relaxed Kiwi approach to service is reflected in the hotels on this trip—they are down-to-earth, without a lot of bells and whistles, and may not offer the level of customer service that you might be used to.

From $6,749 /person

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Hotels

Adventure-Ready Hotels

Ideally located with ready access to trip activities, our Casual hotels are also known for their character and charm.

Hotels may vary based on departure. Any variations will be displayed when selecting a departure under Dates & Prices.

Nights 1-2

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.

Night 3

Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Franz Josef

*Premiere Hotel

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

Nights 4-5

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Lake Moeraki

Casual Hotel

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

Nights 6-7

Edgewater Resort Hotel
Lake Wanaka

Casual Hotel

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

Night 8

Kamana Lakehouse
Queenstown

Casual Plus Hotel

Relaxation comes easy at this gorgeous hotel, where sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range abound.

From $6,749 /person

View Dates
Return

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From $6,749 /person

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Dates & Prices

Click on dates for pricing, itinerary variations (if any) and to book your trip. Price is per person, double occupancy in USD.

Your guest & room selections

1 adult

1 room, 1 bed

Edit

Kids 4 to 17 save up to 20% (savings applied after booking). See details.

Dec 24
Tuesday
Jan 1
Wednesday
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Our Private Trips are best for groups of 6 or more. We suggest joining a scheduled trip.

Please Select a Group Size

Group size is required to show per-person pricing. Your group size can be approximate and can change.

Want to learn more about this trip?

Request a Detailed Itinerary! Complete with descriptions of each day, tips on travel arrangements, regional highlights and more, it’s the perfect tool to help you choose. You can easily share it with friends too!

Download & Share

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Backroads provides flexible booking policies so that you can plan your vacation with complete peace of mind.

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From $6,749 /person

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