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.
Meet your group in Queenstown for a walk along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, enjoying stunning views of the region’s grassland and surrounding peaks.
Breathtaking mountain and valley panoramas greet you in Mount Aspiring National Park. Choose between a 1,200-foot ascent to Rob Roy Glacier or an easier option follows the shores of Lake Wanaka.
Single + $798
Ascend to the summit of Rocky Mountain, enjoying sweeping views in every direction, including Diamond Lake below and the Southern Alps in the distance. A shorter option is available. This afternoon, set off for New Zealand’s west coast, where you stay in a boutique hotel near Fox Glacier.
Today, enjoy varied perspectives on the Fox Glacier region. The Te Moeka o Tuawe Valley Walk takes you close to the terminal face and glacial moraine, while a loop around Lake Matheson affords views of Mt Cook and Tasman reflected in the clear water.
After this morning’s scenic coastal walk, browse for jade and crafts in Hokitika, a historic gold-rush town. Tonight, enjoy stunning sunset views at Punakaiki Resort.
Minutes from your hotel, explore Pancake Rocks, a natural formation created by seawater sculpting the bedrock into fantastical shapes. Stretch your legs on the Inland Pack Track along the Porarari River. Afterwards, enjoy incredible coastal views and a visit to a fur seal colony.
This morning, , enjoy a scenic drive through two national parks, then transfer by boat to your wilderness lodge in Abel Tasman National Park. En route, stop at the Totoronui Bay for a walk through coastal forest lush with towering tree ferns and manuka (tea tree).
Today’s walk options follow open headlands beside stunning turquoise waters and golden beaches ideal for swimming or picnicking. A water taxi whisks you back to comfortable Awaroa Lodge.
Enjoy an early morning stroll along the beach before transferring to historic Nelson, with a lunch at a favorite café along the way.