New Zealand Hiking & Adventure
November 18-27, 2019
November 30-December 9, 2020
A 10-day journey bringing you deep into the stunning landscapes of New Zealand's South Island
November 30-December 9, 2020
$3595 per person
4 nights accommodations in comfortable 3-4 star hotels
2 nights accommodations in back country huts
2 nights accommodations in private tents with comfortable sleeping mats (provided)
1 night sleeping under the Ballroom Overhang (giant limestone outcrop) with sleeping mats (provided)
Group transfer from Nelson airport and drop off to Queenstown airport
Ground transport between each destination in comfortable & private, high end vehicles
Water taxi from Kaiteriteri to Barks Bay
Scenic drives with guide commentary & freedom to stop for photos and bask in the stunning views
Overnight hikes in Abel Tasman National Park, Paparoa National Park, Arthurs Pass National Park, and Mt Aspiring National Park
Boat cruise in Abel Tasman
Visit to NZ fur seal breeding colony
Visit to Punakaikai & Pancake Rocks
Visit to Lake Tekapo & Wanaka
Hike to Rob Roy Glacier
Optional (not included): sea kayaking in Abel Tasman + cycling on Alps 2 Ocean trail
5 dinners (4 prepared at campsite + 1 restaurant meal)
Hiking snacks like chocolate, nuts, raisins, biscuits
Visit with our Community Partner + donation to their organization
Orientation and training for overnight hikes
Dedicated New Zealand-native hiking guide + Traverse host
Traverse representative assisting you from booking to departure
Small group experience, max 14 people
Day 1 - Join Tour in Nelson
Our trip starts in Nelson (airport: NSN) around midday, giving you time in the morning to arrive on a quick domestic flight from New Zealand’s international hub airports (Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch). You may also arrange a pre-night in Nelson and take the morning to wander around this vibrant and charming city. From Nelson it is a picturesque drive around Tasman Bay to Kaiteriteri, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park. Here you can pack your gear for a 2-night stay in the park and then board the water taxi. A beautiful cruise around the coast takes you to Onetahuti. Upon arrival to Barks Bay, where the tents and guide have been previously dropped by boat, there’ll be plenty of time to take a dip before pitching your tent and enjoying our first dinner together. Fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore.
Meals: L, D
day 2 - Bark Bay to Anchorage
Today offers the opportunity to hike in this magical national park and wander along the sheltered coastline marveling at the crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery of this marine reserve. The hike from Barks Bay takes us through glades of Manuka, over a low saddle and across a 150 ft suspension bridge at Falls River. The optional side trip to Cleopatra’s Pool is a must and a perfect place for a swim on a warm summer’s day. Tonight’s campsite is at Anchorage, a stunning bush-fringed bright blue inlet. Time to take another swim, read a book or have a snooze, before preparing and enjoying another evening meal together. Sea kayaking can be arranged for this day if requested at the time of booking.
Meals: B, L, D
Hiking: 5-7.5 miles / 3-4 hours
day 3 - Anchorage to Murchison
Sleep in or join the guide for a morning stroll out to Te Pukatea Bay and Pitt Head – the site of an old Maori Pa. Then back to camp and maybe a swim before leaving behind the beautiful Anchorage Bay for a gentle ramble over a saddle and through lush beech forest with large Kanuka trees. Today your guide will take all of the group gear and tents by water taxi so you can enjoy the hike along the well-marked trail with a lighter pack. We’ll pass through several picturesque bays before eventually emerging out into the estuary. Finish walking the track by crossing the Marahau causeway where your guide will meet you with the van. Then it’s time to rest the legs on the drive to tonight’s accommodation in Murchison.
Meals: B, L
Hiking: 8.5 miles / 5 hours
Accommodation: ensuite rooms at boutique lodge
day 4 - Murchison to Ballroom Overhang
After driving down the Buller Gorge to the West Coast, the first stop this morning is Cape Foulwind. Here is an opportunity to observe a breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals – almost hunted to extinction in the 1800s. After lunch, you’ll enjoy a hike up to a spectacular limestone river canyon in Paparoa National Park. Established in 1987, the park covers over 74,000 acres. It has natural attractions including mountains, limestone cliffs, caves, rivers and wilderness areas. The hike involves several river crossings (your boots will get wet!). Collect firewood along the way and set up camp under the massively impressive Ballroom Overhang.
Meals: B, L, D
Hiking: 5 miles / 4 hours
day 5 - Ballroom Overhang to Kumara
Heading out from the Ballroom, we wander along quaint rivers, channelled through towering limestone cliffs covered in lush native rainforest. The scenery in this area is truly breath-taking and unparalleled in the South Island. Take the opportunity to explore a nearby canyon where the river disappears into a cave. Leaving the rivers behind, walk along an old inland pack-track that winds its way through tranquil native forest before emerging at the road end where our van awaits. A short drive gets us to the small tourist town of Punakaikai. We have lunch at the local cafe and wander through the geologic phenomenon that is the Pancake Rocks – scientists still cannot agree on how they formed. If the tide is right, you will get to witness the magnificent blowholes in action. Tonight we step back in time and stay in the West Coast’s only restored miners’ hotel, and once world-renowned theatre.
Hiking: 5 miles / 4 hours
Accommodation: ensuite rooms at boutique hotel
day 6 - Kumara to Arthur’s Pass
Today we travel along a remarkable highway which travels up from the lush green rainforests of the West Coast and into the glaciated Southern Alps. This is one of the most cleverly engineered roads in New Zealand. We will stop in Arthur’s Pass Village for a stroll around this alpine settlement. This is an ideal opportunity to see our cheeky alpine parrot, the kea. Just east of the village we start our overnight hike into Edwards Hut. We are now experts at crossing rivers and get our boots wet as soon as we start the hike across the Bealy River. The track rises and falls several times avoiding the gullies below. We will emerge onto the upper river flats among the red tussocks and make away amongst the grasses before a short final hike through the forest where the hut comes into view. This remote alpine valley is the domain of our national bird the Kiwi, so we keep our ears tuned tonight for their distinctive call.
Meals: B, L, D
Hiking: 6 miles / 4-5 hours
Accommodation: hikers hut
day 7 - Arthur’s Pass to Methven
We soak up the serenity and solitude some more with a wander up to the head of the valley and the aptly named Falling Mountain, named so after the 1929 Arthurs Pass earthquake caused a 3000 ft high section of the mountain to crumble into the valley below. After morning tea back at the hut we head back out via the same track, a little easier in this direction as it is mostly downhill. Arriving back at the vehicle we drive through the stunning Craigeburn basin with its sweeping mountain vistas and limestone crags and escarpments. Leaving the main highway a backroad takes us around Lake Lyndon and through the Rakaia gorge to Methven.
Meal: B, L
Hiking: 6 miles / 4-5 hours
Accommodation: ensuite rooms at boutique B&B
day 8 - Methven to Ohau
We drive south following the edge of the Canterbury plains to Lake Tekapo, famous for its stunning turquoise waters. The sweeping landscape is a sparsely populated region in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps; tawny-brown drylands, braided riverbeds and glacial lakes extend to the horizon.
From Twizel those wishing to cycle get fitted out with bikes to ride a section of the magnificent Alps to Ocean cycle trail. The cyclists will cycle along the quiet canal roads before crossing the Lake Ohau weir and weaving their way around the lake on a purpose-built cycle track. The views are amazing and there will be plenty of time to stop, take photos and admire the mountains and the amazing blue of the glacially fed Lake Ohau before arriving at the lodge. Those people not wishing to cycle will travel by mini bus with the guide to the lodge and choose between relaxing on the decks overlooking the lake or going for a short self-guided walk on the Alps to Ocean trail. Tonight we enjoy a delicious meal together at our lodge and admire the beautiful, yet stark landscape of the Mackenzie High Country.
Meals: B, L, D
Cycling: 24 miles / 3-4 hours
Accommodation: ensuite rooms in boutique lodge
day 9 - Ohau to Mt Aspiring National Park
Our drive to Wanaka follows the Mackenzie country south before climbing over the tussock lands of the Lindis Pass into the southern lakes district. We continue through the township and drive around Lake Wanaka and up the Matukituki Valley to the start of our hike in the walkers’ paradise of Mt Aspiring National Park. The hike to Aspiring Hut is unforgettable with views of high glaciated mountains and ice carved valleys. Depending on the weather, we may make the side hike up to Rob Roy Glacier today. From the hut we enjoy stunning alpine views as we hike the valley to Aspiring Hut. Between high peaks look out for glimpses of the Matterhorn-like Mt Aspiring.
Meals: B, L, D
Hiking: 5 miles / 3 hours
Accommodation: hikers hut
day 10 - Mt Aspiring National Park to Queenstown
On the last day of this tour we can walk to the view point of Rob Roy Glacier if this was not done yesterday. As we reach the tree-line the beech forest gives way to alpine vegetation. The hanging glaciers beneath Mt Rob Roy are spectacular. The glacier is active and you may be able to hear and see avalanches from this safe viewing point. On the return walk to the vehicle we will meander alongside the Rob Roy Stream and take in the beautiful waterfalls dotted along the track. We stop in Wanaka for a look around this lakeside alpine resort and a chance to enjoy a café lunch at our leisure. The final leg of the journey is a remarkable drive over the Crown Range. From the summit there are breath-taking views across the Wakatipu Basin and lakes. We continue the drive into Queenstown - New Zealand’s Adventure Capital arriving in the afternoon. You may book a domestic or international flight from Queenstown airport (ZQN) this evening, or opt to arrange additional post-tour nights in Queenstown to continue your adventures.
Hiking: 8.5 miles / 6 hours
10-day Trip cost
Trip price based on double occupancy. You'll be paired with a tent mate and roommate of your same gender unless you request your own tent/room.
$3595 per person, double occupancy
+$600 per person, single occupancy "my own tent/room" option
+$140 Sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park (day 2)
+$60 Cycle tour along the Alps 2 Ocean Trail (day 8)
Trip Does Not Include:
Additional meals and activities
Required travel insurance
Hiking & Fitness
This trip is a participatory trip where everyone lends a hand: whether it’s cooking over a campfire, collecting firewood or pitching a tent together. No multi-day hiking experience is needed but you need to be a good walker and able to carry a backpack. And yes, occasionally you might just get your feet wet!
Grade D - Average of 4-5 hours physical activity per day, up to 6 hours on longer days. Pack weights of 22-26 lbs on some days. Altitude gains of up to 2600 ft. Some uneven track surfaces and river crossings. No multi-day hiking experience necessary - you just need to be reasonably fit and enthusiastic! Terrain - mostly tracks, some may be slippery or rough; some off-track hiking and river crossings.
Guides and Safety
An excellent guide can make the difference between a trip of a lifetime and just an ordinary trip. Our hiking guides are handpicked professionals from a range of backgrounds. Each has extensive outdoor and hiking experience and a passion for New Zealand’s wild and beautiful backcountry. The guides will ensure that your trip is truly inspiring, a huge amount of fun and safe. All guides are trained in Mountain Safety First Aid.
What to Take
New Zealand’s weather is changeable and very cold weather can be experienced at any time of year, especially in the mountains. Huts/camps vary in altitude from sea level to over 3300 feet. It is necessary to have warm clothing. Jeans are not suitable for hiking. A full packing list will be provided.
Supplied: Therm-a-rest sleeping mats, tents, backpack liner (plastic bag), cooking equipment, plates/cutlery, first aid kit, safety equipment and maps.
Luggage: Any gear you do not need while hiking can be locked in the custom-built trailer.
Equipment Hire: You may hire high-quality hiking equipment for use on your trip. Please arrange hire gear when you book. Requests for hire equipment must be made at least 5 days before the departure date. Cancellation of gear hire must also occur at least 5 days in advance or no refund will be given.
"Wild nights" vs nights in civilization- this trip is a combination of “wild nights,” which are the nights where you are truly in the wilderness, staying in backcountry huts or camping in locations that may be several hours walk from the nearest road or populated area, versus nights in civilization where you may stay in a variety of accommodations including lodges and B&Bs.
Camping - You will camp in a range of campsites, on the "wild nights" you may camp under natural rock shelters, on remote beaches or even sleep out under the stars! Single tent available on request.
Bathroom facilities - on the wild nights there will be long drop (pit) toilets. There will be the sea, rivers or lakes nearby for washing. This trip is set up so after a couple of nights of "roughing it" in the wilderness, you will stay somewhere where you can enjoy a shower and a few home comforts (including laundry facilities) before the next foray into the wild!
As well as being the time to rest, refuel and recharge, meal times are also a great time to get to know your fellow travelers better, sit back and enjoy the amazing surroundings and enjoy some great food! Everybody participates in the preparation and cooking of meals: barbecues, salads, pancakes, curries, pasta, stir-fries, hangi... Vegetarian meals are no problem. On the "wild nights" the group will usually eat pasta and rice meals (special "secret" recipes used). There is always a lot of hiking food - chocolate, nuts, raisins, biscuits. The vehicles carry a full range of cooking equipment including gas burners, woks, frying pans and billies (cooking pot). When you go on an overnight hike the group will carry a portable stove.
About your Traverse host:
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to registration for complete terms.*While supplies last
A $250 non-refundable deposit is required for each traveler to secure the booking.
Payments can be made either by 1) full payment on booking 2) $250 deposit on booking + payment schedule in registration. Payments will be invoiced via e-mail for credit card or Paypal payment online. To pay by check, please indicate on registration and make check payable to Traverse Journeys and send to PO Box 40516, Austin, TX 78704.
Cancellations, less the trip deposit ($250), are refundable until 90 days from departure. Please refer to the full Payment Plan for details.
Trip protection-style travel insurance that includes travel medical coverage is required for all trips with Traverse. The coverage must have a minimum $200,000 of medical coverage and include injury, medical, evacuation, and repatriation. Most domestic US health insurance plans do not cover international travel claims or provide a global network of contracted doctors and facilities. We want to make sure you are covered in case of an emergency or non-emergency illness or injury while abroad. Trip protection coverage protects the investment of your trip, including benefits for items such as trip interruption, trip cancellation, delays, baggage and personal effects, and more. We do not have a required coverage amount, but typically coverage is based on your trip costs. We partner with Wanderwell, a B-Corp Certified provider who can offer both Travel Medical and Trip Protection. If you choose to purchase through Wanderwell, you can buy the trip protection directly from our Traverse Journeys partner page provided in your Welcome Pack, and a portion of your purchase will be donated to WeForest through 1% For the Planet to aid with carbon offset for your trip. With Wanderwell, the TripProtector Classic and TripProtector Preferred plans meet our minimum requirements for coverage. Once insurance is obtained, a copy must be sent to Traverse. Failure to provide proof of insurance within 30 days of booking will result in trip booking suspension until proof of insurance has been provided.
Documents, Personal Identification, Vaccinations
Traveler is responsible for all required travel documents including passport, visas, entry or exit fees, and vaccinations. Traverse does not cover the cost or assist in obtaining any of the above, and reserves the right to collect information on all.