11592
New Zealand
Hiking Under Southern Skies
Hike the iconic trails and stunning landscapes of New Zealand, learning from experts as you discover national parks, cascading falls, a wildlife sanctuary and traditional Maori culture.
Rating (5)
Program No. 11592RJ
Length
22 days
Starts at
5,839
Flights start at
1,550
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22 days
21 nights
55 meals
19 B 17 L 19 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In transit

Afternoon: Board overnight flight from USA

DAY
2
International Flight
In transit
DAY
3
Hamilton Garden, Welcome Lunch, Walk River & Orientation
Hamilton
L,D
Hamilton Airport Motor Inn

Activity note: River walkway is on paved path (approx 1.5 hrs 3km)

Breakfast: Breakfast taken on airplane.

Morning: Meet program leaders at airport. Board coach for transfer to Hamillton, Visit Hamilton Botanic Garden The themed gardens are exceptional and include a Maori heritage garden

Lunch: Welcome Lunch at Hamilton restaurant

Afternoon: Hamilton sits on the banks of the country's longest river the Waikato River. Hamilton started as a farming service town and has grown into a city with a university, research institutes and the beautiful Hamilton Gardens Walk along Waikoto River Walkway

Dinner: After orientation a Light meal at motor inn

DAY
4
Turangi, Glow Worm Caves, Volcanic Center & Huka Falls
Turangi
B,L,D
Parklands Motor Lodge

Activity note: Huka Falls walk on wellformed Path (45 mins 2km)

Breakfast: Breakfast in Motel Dining room.

Morning: Coach to Waitomo to view Glow-worm Caves. They include deep caverns, luminescent glowworms and amazing limestone formations

Lunch: en route at Lava Glass View Glass blowing

Afternoon: Continue coach journey to Turangi, with stop at Volcanic Centre for Lecture & view exhibits. Short walk to Huka Falls on the Waikato River. Arrive at Motor Lodge & check in. Turangi is situated next to the magnificent Tongoriro National Park ( World Heritage Site). Trout Fishing is Turangi's obsession and the Tongoriro is one of the most famous trout fishing rivers in the world

Dinner: at Lodge

DAY
5
Visit & Walk in Tongariro National Park
Turangi
B,L,D
Parklands Motor Lodge

Activity note: Silica Springs and Taranaki Falls walks on wellformed loop tracks (2 hrs 6 km each)

Breakfast: Breakfast in Lodge dining room.

Morning: Coach to Whakapapa Village (Mt Ruapehu). Visit Whakapapa Visitor Centre. Walk to Silica Springs (2 hrs 6 km) Enjoy the peace and quiet as you hike over sub alpine vegetation and through native beech forest to these striking golden rapids, coloured yellow by silica deposits on the volcanic rock.

Lunch: At mountain cafe

Afternoon: Walk to Taranaki Falls which tumbles 20 m. over the edge of a large andesite lava flow which erupted from Mt. Ruapehu. Excellent mountain views(2 hrs 6km)

Dinner: At Lodge

DAY
6
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Turangi
B,L,D
Parklands Motor Lodge

Activity note: Climb from 1100 m to 1900 m and down to 750 m over steep Volcanic terrain Wellformed tracks, some scree, uneven footing and numerous steps (19.4 km 7-8 hrs) Option to Soda Springs and return (3 hrs approx 7.5 km return)

Breakfast: Breakfast in Lodge dining room.

Morning: Coach to Mangatepopo Valley for all-day guided hike on Tongariro Alpine Crossing (7-8 hours19.4 km) on mountains. The traverse of the stark and spectacular terrain is one of the most fascinating treks in the country Option to Soda Springs and return (3 hrs approx 7.5 km return)

Lunch: Packed lunch in the field

Afternoon: Continue hike to coach pick-up area & return to Lodge

Dinner: At Lodge

DAY
7
Visit to National Trout Center, Lake Rotopounamu Walk
Turangi
B,L,D
Parklands Motor Lodge

Activity note: Rotopounamu walk ( 2 hrs 5 km) on wellformed track

Breakfast: Breakfast in Lodge dining room.

Morning: FREE MORNING Optional visit to Tokaanau thermal pools for soak (own cost) and short walk around thermal area, fly fishing, rafting, river walk or cycle

Lunch: At Cafe

Afternoon: Guided Walk of Trout Centre. Walk- Lake Rotopounamu. Rotopounamu/Greenstone Lake nestles on the side of Mt Pihanga. This beautiful lake is a special favourite of tree lovers, birdwatchers, walkers and swimmers.

Dinner: At Hotel

DAY
8
Geothermal Visit - Flight to South Island
Methven
B,L,D
Mountain Beech Lodge

Breakfast: Breakfast in Resort dining room.

Morning: Coach to Rotorua. Visit Te Puia Geothermal area and experience a Maori cultural program

Lunch: Lunch at Te Puia

Afternoon: Flight to Christchurch Coach to Staveley A small village situated in the foothills of the Southern Alps undrneath Mt Somers and adjacent to large tracts of pristine native forest. .

Dinner: At Local Home

DAY
9
All-day Hike on Mt. Somers Foothills trail
Methven
B,L,D
Mountain Beech Lodge

Activity note: Mt Somers track varies from flat easy sections to a couple of steeper pitches The track is wellformed but rough underfoot in places. (5 hrs 10 km return)

Breakfast: Breakfast at Lodge.

Morning: Coach to start of Mt. Somers Foothills Trail for all-day walk. Coalminers track to Woolshed Creek Hut (5 hrs 10 km return), an optional extension 1 1/2 hrs to Trifalls). Follow the old coal miners trail through regenerating beech forest out onto sub alpine vegetation with outstanding views towards the Arrowsmith range and Lake Heron

Lunch: Packed lunch in the field with lecture by botanist.

Afternoon: Complete hike & return to Lodge.

Dinner: At local home

DAY
10
Mt. Potts (Lord of Rings Film Site) & River Walk
Methven
B,L,D
Methven Resort

Activity note: Mt Sunday Walk. Climb 30 mins 100 m. vertical gain

Breakfast: Breakfast at Lodge.

Morning: Coach to Mt. Potts. with a stop at Lake Clearwater Guided walk to Mt Sunday (Lord of the Rings location, Edoras) (2 hrs 3-4 km return)

Lunch: In the field (packed lunch)

Afternoon: Walk into Glacial Kettle Tarn Return via Mt Somers Village to Methven Just 1 hour from Christchurch Methven is a combination of rural New Zealand and a busy Ski Town. It is also a popular summer resort Braided rivers are a feature of this area with salmon fishing and nearby Mt Somers offers Birdwatching and Hiking

Dinner: At the Lodge

DAY
11
Field Trip to Sheep Farm & Bush Walk
Methven
B,L,D
Methven Resort

Activity note: Walk on well formed trail with numerous steps (1hr 2-3 km)

Breakfast: Breakfast at Lodge.

Morning: Coach to local sheep farm to experience farming activities. Lecture on local geology at Staveley museum

Lunch: At local home

Afternoon: Walk to Sharplin Falls on Mt. Somers through virgin native bush

Dinner: At local Cafe

DAY
12
Transfer to Glenorchy via Lake Tekapo & Queenstown
Glenorchy
B,L,D
Mt Earnslaw Motel

Breakfast: Breakfast at Lodge.

Morning: Board coach for journey to Glenorchy via Tekapo to view church and the collie dog and to view Mt. Cook

Lunch: At Omarama en route.

Afternoon: Continue coach journey via Lake Wakatipu, with brief 1hr stop at Queenstown. Glenorchy is set among towering mountains, beech forest and flowing rivers, this is also the start point for many walking tracks including the renowned Routeburn track. Many scenes for the Lord of the Rings movie were shot around here

Dinner: At Glenorchy Lodge

DAY
13
Field trips to Greenstone Valley & Lake Rere
Glenorchy
B,L,D
Mt Earnslaw Motel

Activity note: Walk on wellformed trail with some short elevations and descents (5-6 hrs 13 km)

Breakfast: Breakfast at Lodge.

Morning: Coach to Greenstone Valley for walk in beech forest following the Greenstone river renowned for its clear water and trout fishing

Lunch: In the field.

Afternoon: Return via Lake Rere and Elfin Bay with magnificent views of Lake Wakatipu and Mt Earslaw (5-6 hrs 13 km)

Dinner: At local cafe

DAY
14
Walking field trip to Invincible Gold Mine
Glenorchy
B,L,D
Mt Earnslaw Motel

Activity note: Uphill walk on wellformed trail (3-4 hrs approx. 7 km return)

Breakfast: Breakfast in the Lodge dining room.

Morning: Field trip to Invincible Goldmine in Rees Valley Outstanding views of Mt Earnslaw and Rees Valley (3-4 hrs approx. 7 km)

Lunch: In the field

Dinner: Coach to Kinloch Lodge for dinner.

DAY
15
Routeburn Track Hike
Glenorchy
B,L,D
Mt Earnslaw Motel

Activity note: Routeburn Shelter to Routeburn Flats hut on wellformed easy graded track (13 km 4-5 hrs return). Routeburn Flats Hut to Routeburn Falls Hut (2.3 km 1 hr) steady climb through beech forest with excellent views of the valley below and the magnificent Routeburn Falls (7 hrs 17.6 km return)

Breakfast: Breakfast at local cafe

Morning: Coach to start of celebrated Routeburn Track. Hike up to Routeburn Falls & return. (7 hrs 17.6 km) Optional Routeburn Flats (13 km 4-5 hrs) The Routeburn Track - a 32 km, 2-4 day track weaves through beech-forested valleys and alongside clear green rivers and glistening alpine lakes

Lunch: In the field

Afternoon: On the Track

Dinner: At the lodge

DAY
16
Visit to Paradise Lord of Rings Site
Glenorchy
B,D
Mt Earnslaw Motel

Activity note: Walk around Paradise property through a narrow Virgin forest track and over wider wellformed tracks (approx. 2 hrs)

Breakfast: Breakfast in Lodge dining room.

Morning: Coach visit to Paradise Valley & sites of Lord of the Rings filming. Lecture on the history of the property and the Paradise Trust

Lunch: Own choice- .

Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON (Jet boating on the Dart river, optional extra, own expense) "Glenorchy Air" Flight to Milford (optional extra, own expense, weather dependent) Horse riding, Golf, own exploration, Cycling

Dinner: At local cafe Followed by lecture on New Zealand history and systems

DAY
17
Queenstown, Visit Wildlife Center, Bluff, Stewart Island
Stewart Island
B,D
South Sea Hotel

Breakfast: Breakfast in Lodge dining room.

Morning: Coach to Queenstown. Some free time. (1.5 Hrs) Visit Wildlife Centre view native birds.

Lunch: Free choice,

Afternoon: Coach to Invercargill & Bluff. Board ferry for Scheduled trip to Stewart Island (NZ's third island) Stewart Island's main settlement is Oban, at Halfmoon Bay. The islands bird life is one of the main draw cards In Maori legend, Stewart Island is known as the anchor of Maui;s canoe (the South Island) from which he fished the North Island out of the sea.Arrive at Half-Moon Bay & check in to Hotel.

Dinner: At South Sea Hotel

DAY
18
Walking Field Trip to Ackers Point lighthouse & Golden Bay
Stewart Island
B,L,D
South Sea Hotel

Activity note: Walking along Island roads and well formed tracks. Along the Golden Bay track there are numerous steps (5hrs 10-12 km)

Breakfast: Breakfast at Hotel.

Morning: Video at Visitors Centre. Walking field trip to Ackers Point Lighthouse

Lunch: Packed lunch in the field

Afternoon: Walking field trip to Golden Bay, Observation Rock and Fushia walk (5hrs 10-12 km)

Dinner: At the Hotel

DAY
19
All-day hike to Port William
Stewart Island
B,L,D
South Sea Hotel

Activity note: Walk along Island roads wellformed tracks and along beaches

Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel Dining room.

Morning: Guided All-day hike to Port William. (5 hrs 12km) Rakiura National Park opened in 2002 and is the 14th of New Zealand's national parks. The park covers about 157,000 hectares and makes up about 85 percent of Stewart Island/Rakiura. Although the island lies only 30 kilometres south west of Bluff, between latitudes 46 and 47 degrees south, it exudes a charm of a world on its own. The sunrises and sunsets in soft southern light are amazing. Visitors can explore pristine beaches, sheltered inlets, and coastal forest, and see seals, penguins, kiwi, weka and many other birds. There are also opportunities for hunting, fishing, boating, cruises and scenic flights. Return by Scheduled boat service

Lunch: Packed lunch in the field

Dinner: At hotel

DAY
20
Pelagic Boat Trip & Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary
Stewart Island
B,D
South Sea Hotel

Activity note: Ulva Island walking on wellformed tracks 1.5-2 hrs

Breakfast: Breakfast in Hotel dining room

Morning: Boat trip by scheduled service to view seabirds and seals with commentary. Visit Ulva Island (perdator-free Wildlife Sanctuary) for self guided exploration

Lunch: Own choice-

Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON for Sea Kayaking, bird watching, submarine, and further exploration or water taxi return to Ulva Island

Dinner: Dinner in restaurant.

DAY
21
Bluff Hill Walk, Wellington, Politics & Economy Lecture
Wellington
B,L,D
West Plaza Hotel

Activity note: Walk downhill from Bluff Hill and around the coast on wellformed track (1.5 hrs, 5 km)

Breakfast: At hotel

Morning: Ferry to Bluff Bluff Hill Walk Lookout and walk to Lands-End (1.5 hrs, 5 km)

Lunch: At Buff

Afternoon: Flight to Wellington Lecture on Politics and Economy

Dinner: Farewell Dinner

DAY
22
Program Concludes
In transit
B,L

Activity note: Walk up through Botanic Gardens Take Cable Car down and along waterfront on paved paths.

Breakfast: At hotel

Morning: City Walk, Cable car, Walk down through Botanic Garden. Guided tour and lecture at New Zealand Parliament Buildings. Continue city walk along Waterfront

Lunch: Lunch at cafe

Afternoon: Visit Te Papa Museum and/or free time to explore Wellington Transport to Wellington Airport for international check in to Auckland and USA