Meet: Queenstown, New Zealand
Return: Nelson, New Zealand
Itinerary: Click photo for details
Hiking level: Moderate; 4-7 miles daily
With its golden castaway beaches, dense manuka rainforest, emerald hills, tranquil river valleys, and windswept headlands, New Zealand is a land of astounding contrasts. Due to its geographical isolation, its evolution has been unique, leading to a singular ecosystem of flightless birds, distinctive trees, glowing insects, and strange ferns. In this unparalleled landscape, you’ll walk along colossal mountain glaciers, explore rushing gorges, and browse in quaint frontier towns. On the untamed West Coast, you’ll stroll through estuaries, bogs, and wetland forest on a track that passes remnants of the island’s past—an old log tramway and whitebaiters’ huts. Amble along sections of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, and discover the legacy of Maori settlers, who searched the island for precious pounamu—green nephrite jade. Tread through forests of shivering silver birches as you gaze up at snowcapped peaks. Throughout your journey, you’ll witness unforgettable vistas as you savor an extraordinary destination hidden in one of the most remote corners of the Earth.