Woman surrounded by sheep.
Woman hiking on mountainous, glacial trail in New Zealand.
Women crossing a narrow suspension bridge.
New Zealand rockscape
Woman triumphantly holding hiking stick above her head at summit.
Field of blooming lupin flowers
Two women hugging, posing for photo.
Devils Punchbowl Falls, New Zealand.
Waimakariri river, Arthur's Pass National Park, New Zealand.
Landscape with snowy pass
Group of women hugging, posing for photo.
Waterfall feeding into stream
Two women hugging, posing for photo.
Vineyard in New Zealand
Penguin crossing sign
Bottom of waterfall and pool
Maori mask
Tree submerged in water
Waterfall in lush Rainforest on the West Coast of New Zealand.
Lake Moeraki in the evening light.
View of the understory of a giant fern.
Walking & Hiking
New
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New Zealand South Island Women's Walking & Hiking Tour

Rugged Coast & Mountains from Christchurch to Queenstown

Women's Adventures

9 days 8 nights

Activity Level: 1-4

Casual Hotels

From: $6,199 pp dbl occ

($1,500 for sgl occ)

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 South Island Women's Walking & Hiking Tour map
New Zealand South Island Women's Walking & Hiking Tour map

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
  • Relax at family-owned wilderness lodges that showcase Kiwi hospitality and allow access to remote landscapes
  • Experience a variety of scenery, from alpine tundra and glaciers to dramatic coastal rain forest trails to seascapes

Itinerary

Accommodations may vary based on departure date.
9 Days Casual Hotels*
Accommodations may vary based on departure.
Days 1-2
Description

Tramp through the spectacularly beautiful South Island | Hike to a Maori sacred site, Kura Tawhiti, a gorgeous set of limestone outcroppings | As you ascend Bealey Spur, soak up grand views of snowcapped peaks and the braided Waimakariri River | 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.

Accommodations
Restaurant at 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
Description

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.

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

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

Days 4-5
Description

Hike to the toe of 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 kayaking with a naturalist on Lake Moeraki.

Accommodations
Aerial view of Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
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
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
Aerial view of the 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
Description

Explore the Central Otago wine region, famous for producing exceptional Pinot Noir | Amble among the Gibbston Valley vineyards and relish a tasting of local vintages | Discover picturesque Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital, situated near scenic Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by breathtaking views of the Remarkables mountain range.

Accommodations
Exterior view of the Millbrook Resort and grounds.
Millbrook Resort
Arrowtown
| *Premiere Hotel

Set on a sprawling estate, this luxurious retreat offers style, tranquility and mountain views. (pool, spa)

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 in USD.

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Our Private Trips are best for groups of 6 or more. We suggest joining a scheduled trip.

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Activity Level: 1-4

Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. Several routes and a range of levels are offered each day so you can choose how much or how little activity you want to do. Learn more about how we determine activity levels.

Route notes

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

Daily Route Options

* Includes shuttle.
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 | 3 miles | 900 ft. gain
Day 4
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles | 200 ft. gain
Level 2 | 4 miles | 600 ft. gain
Level 4 | 7 miles | 800 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 | 2 miles | 100 ft. gain
Level 1 | 3 miles | 700 ft. gain
Level 2 | 5 miles | 200 ft. gain
Level 3 | 8 miles | 900 ft. gain
Other
Optional Milford Sound Flightseeing & Boat Cruise (4 hours)
Day 7
Walking & Hiking
Level 3 | 6 miles | 1300 ft. gain
Level 4 | 8 miles | 1900 ft. gain
Day 8
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles* | 800 ft. gain
Level 3 | 5 miles | 1400 ft. gain
Day 9
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 3 miles | minimal elevation gain

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.

Accommodations

While our hotels are some of the finest in New Zealand and offer all the comforts of home as well as many modern amenities, they may not offer the level of customer service that you're used to, especially during the hectic summer holidays in New Zealand (our winter). The relaxed Kiwi approach to service is reflected in the hotels on this trip—they are authentic, down-to-earth and without a lot of bells and whistles.

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 Help Center.

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