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New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour
New Zealand Walking & Hiking Tour

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. Kura Tawhiti's limestone monoliths. Franz Josef Glacier, surrounded by rain forest. After these nine days in New Zealand, your next vacation will have big shoes to fill.

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.

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  This is an ideal outing for bird-lovers—look for New Zealand's smallest bird, the rifleman, as well as grey warblers, bellbirds, harrier hawks and gregarious alpine parrots called kea Continue to the top for an exceptional panorama when skies are clear.

Days 3-6 Explore Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, the latter one of the few glaciers in the world that descends into temperate rain forest in an unrivaled mingling of dramatically different ecosystems  Soak up superb views of Mounts Tasman and Cook during a hike around Lake Matheson, a kettle lake that originated as an enormous slab of glacial ice 14,000 years ago You'll certainly understand why this pristine lake is one of the most photographed spots in New Zealand!  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 7-9 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 Ascend Mount Iron, an impressive glacial rock formation  Pass through grasslands and forests on your way to the summit, where you can admire a tableau that includes Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, and a patchwork of farms across the valley.

Trip Highlights
  • 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
big map

Casual Inns

Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass (2 nights): A cozy mountain retreat and high-country sheep station surrounded by a beech forest and frosted peaks.

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

Routes For All Abilities

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.

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
1 4* 800
2 8* 1800 10 2800
3 4 600
Hokitika Township Walk (1 Hour)
4 3* 100 5* 500 8* 3000
4* 100
4* 400
Optional Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike (4 Hours)
5 3 200
4* 600
6 5 0
Lake Moeraki Kayak Adventure (3 Hours)
7 8* 200
8 6 1400
Optional Scenic Flight and Cruise in Milford Sound (4 Hours)
9 3 400

* Includes a shuttle

2015 Dates & Pricing*

  • 11/8-16 Price: $5148 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 11/22-30 Price: $4948 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 12/20-28 Price: $5148 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)

*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.

2016 Dates & Pricing*

  • 1/3-11 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 1/10-18 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 1/17-25 Price: $4948 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 1/24-2/1 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 1/31-2/8 Price: $5048 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 2/7-15 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 2/14-22 Price: $5048 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 2/28-3/7 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 3/6-14 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 3/13-21 Price: $5148 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 11/6-14 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 11/20-28 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 12/4-12 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 12/18-26 Price: $4898 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 for sgl. occ.)
  • 2/21-29 Price: $4698 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1180 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 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. Call us for date availability.

Pricing for Private Trips (prices may vary based on departure date)


8 - 9 guests from $5,498 pp dbl. occ. 12 or more guests from $4,698 pp dbl. occ.
10 - 11 guests from $4,998 pp dbl. occ.


8 - 9 guests from $5,498 pp dbl. occ. 12 or more guests from $4,698 pp dbl. occ.
10 - 11 guests from $4,998 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, having two of our adult children and their spouses along made 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!
Don Tucker- 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 atmosphere. Everything was carefully planned and brilliantly executed by our leaders and I can't imagine a better trip.
Nate Liberman- 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.
Fern Cohen- 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.
Mark Smucker- 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.
Kathy Williams- 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!
Deanna Carstens- 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 leaders were 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.
Marcia Baygents- Jacksonville, FL