18 Day Hiking the Land of the Long White Cloud
18 Day Hiking the Land of the Long White Cloud
A total walking package adventure, there's no better way to spend 18 days than exploring New Zealand from North to South. From the Viaduct in Auckland to the botanically beautiful Christchurch, discover what lies at the heart of the Land of the Long White Cloud.
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Auckland to Christchurch|
|Departures:||Jan 2019 - March 2020|
|Price:||From (NZD) $5997 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|17 nights accommodation|
|Rental vehicle of your choice|
|Kiwi Dundee wilderness walks|
|Mt Tarawera 4WD guided walk|
|Tongariro Crossing guided walk|
|Scenic ferry crossing|
|Abel Tasman cruise and walk|
|Guided Milford Track walk|
|Franz Josef Heli-hike|
|Admission to Franz Josef hot pools|
Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2019 – March 2020. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at time of booking.
Click here for our full terms and conditions.
Click on the prices below to enquire.
* Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling).
* 2 Bedroom Motel pricing also available with Exclusive Specials. Please request a quote for prices.
Day by Day Tour Itinerary
Welcome to Auckland! Once you’ve moved through customs and collected your baggage, it’s time to sign for your rental car and check-in at your accommodation. You’ve landed on the doorstep of New Zealand’s largest city, an idyllic setting overlooking the forested Waitakere Ranges, the sheltered Manukau Harbour and the island-studded Hauraki Gulf to the north. No wonder over a million people choose to live here! Beautiful beaches and dreamy offshore islands are just half an hour from the city. In fact, the sea is so much a part of the place that an unusually high number of people own their own boats giving the city its moniker of the ‘City of Sails’.
Today, travel south to the Coromandel Peninsula, a beautiful rugged area fringed with dozens of excellent beaches that separate the Pacific Ocean from the Hauraki Gulf. Many Kiwis choose the Coromandel to escape the hustle and hype of city life, providing a home haven for many artists who seek a slow-paced lifestyle. A visit to the quaint town is highly recommended and if you have time, we suggest riding the Driving Creek narrow gauge railway to a wonder-inducing creative colony. (2 nights)
Take a moderately challenging guided walk with Kiwi Dundee and explore a pristine rainforest surrounded by giant rock faces, rugged volcanic peaks, ancient Kauri, Rimu and Rata trees. Wonder at the world’s largest tree ferns and capture crystal clear rivers on camera. Visit old historic gold caves, home to hundreds of glittering glowworms and learn more about forest biodiversity. Enjoy your picnic lunch by the rock pools or in the mountains, letting the world go by, one bird call at a time.
Head south along the East Coast of the North Island. Potential stops include the isolated Whiritoa beach and the mining town of Waihi; stretch your legs at Mt Mauganui, walking around the base of the mountain, before getting back in the car and passing some spectacular gorges on the way to the thermal capital of New Zealand, the much beloved Rotorua. (2 nights)
Today, you’ll discover just how volatile this region used to be, when Rotorua fell victim to an expected pyroclastic event. On June 10th, 1886, Mt Tarawera erupted, putting the world’s youngest geothermal valley of Waimangu on the global radar, destroying the legendary Pink and White Terraces in a devastating surge of lava. You’ll be guided through this historic entry moment by moment, as Rotorua’s landscape comes to life through stories and commentary. With unmatched scenic vistas and 360 panoramic views this experience is ideal for all ages and includes an optional run into the heart of the volcanic crater.
As the evening settles in and the stars brighten the sky, you’ll be treated to a Maori feast, as Te Po’s cultural experience promises hours of fun, thought and Maori kai (indigenous food). After a formal Maori welcome, relax and enjoy a captivating performance by the local people, including traditional songs and the renowned haka. Following a truly delectable dinner, you will be transported by people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.
A short drive and a visual treat are on the docket today, as your journey reveals the magnificent Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake… but you have other pit-stops to make first. Start at the Aratiatia Rapids, spending a few minutes savouring the sights and continue to the mighty Huka Falls on the Waikato River. When you’ve had your fill of waterfalls, drive the road Taupo, on the shores of Lake Taupo. Have lunch and a walk by the lake before continuing onto Tongariro National Park, centred around the volcanoes of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. The park is only one of a handful of sites in the world that has dual World Heritage status in recognition of both its natural and cultural values. (2 nights)
A real and rare treat, the Tongariro Crossing Track is your own mini-journey into the reaches of volcano country, as a guided tour takes you on a one-day adventure across active terrain. Get your camera ready, as you’ll soon be getting up close and personal with lava flows, mountain springs, emerald lakes, volcanos and stunning views.
Take a southern road to Wellington and wind your way through a river-sprung landscape. Break up the drive with a few strategic stops, the first in Shannon for a short hoot at the owl sanctuary; followed by the majestic Mangaweka Gorge and finally Kapiti Island, ideal for bird enthusiasts and those who love to experience something off the beaten track.
You’ll have very little time behind the wheel this morning, as you drop the car at the Interislander Ferry Terminal, ready to cross the Cook Strait to the South Island. Where will you sit? Inside or outside? Try to vary your experience if you can, as some of the sights are better seen without the barrier of a window – watch as boats bob on Wellington harbour, disappearing in the distance as you head into the majestic Marlborough Sounds, chugging away to Picton.
Once you’re on dry land again, pick up a new rental car and journey to Havelock, a small town famed for its Green Shell Mussels. Between bites to eat, explore the forest glades of Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve; or for something a little more adventurous, ascend via ridgeline to a 417m peak. Stop in Nelson for the two nights, the gateway to the famous Abel Tasman National Park. (2 nights)
Drive through Motueka to Kaiteriteri and board your boat. Relax in style, as you cruise the stunning golden inlets of the Abel Tasman coast. Laze on an idyllic beach or choose a walk exploring the beaches and forests. There are various trails available, ranging from 2 to 6 hours long. Rejoin your cruise back to Kaiteriteri and return to your hotel late afternoon.
Today depart the Abel Tasman National Park and make your way to Christchurch. There are a couple of routes you can take, one of which is to retrace your steps back towards Picton and then travel down the East Coast via Kaikoura. Alternatively head for the Alpine Village of Hanmer Springs and then continue on to Christchurch.
Buckle up and begin your drive through MacKenzie Country to Lake Tekapo. In Tekapo there are a few options for short walks – you can amble along the lakefront and admire the views from the Church of the Good Shepherd or climb to the summit of Mt St John for instant splendour. Then it’s on to the Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site.
Mt Cook is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3764 metres. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breath-taking alpine scenery and is also home to the Tasman Glacier; the longest in the Southern hemisphere.
Skirt the western shores of Lake Pukaki and drive through Twizel and Omarama before heading up over the Lindis Pass – this is the area where gold was first discovered in the Central Otago region in 1861. Central Otago has a harsh but beautiful landscape due to its summer heat and winter cold. A lot of gold was discovered in the area in the late 1800’s. More recently in the late 1900’s it’s been discovered as a great place for growing grapes so there are more good reasons for exploring this area. Continue on through the Kawarau gorge to get to the alpine town of Queenstown. (2 nights)
Famously described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘finest walk in the world’, the Milford Track is internationally acclaimed for its spectacular scenery – expect dramatic alpine views, busy rivers and ancient beech forests to steal your breath and your camera battery.
The 11km returning guided tour begins with a one-hour lake cruise to the head of Lake Te Anau and the start of the Milford Track. From Glade Wharf, the track follows the Clinton River to Glade House for lunch. Enjoy a 4 – 5 hour leisurely wander on a gentle gradient through forest, grassy flats and wetlands.
Put Queenstown in your rear-view mirror and travel along the banks of the Hawea and Wanaka lakes, before stopping in Makarora for an essential, short walk along the Blue Pools Track nearby. Refreshed by the brisk mountain weather, continue your climb over the Haast Pass, reaching the West Coast – where ancient rainforests tower above you. Continue north to the village of Franz Josef Glacier. (2 nights)
Thrills and chills abound, as we combine a scenic helicopter flight over the Franz Josef Glacier, with a guided walk amongst the ice caves, pinnacles and crevices – this is alpine country as you’ve never seen it. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains with plenty of snap-happy opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier.
Your guide chooses the route, ensuring you see only the most spectacular ice formations, leading you into icefall terrain that is usually seen only by experienced mountaineers. With a spotless safety record, rigid assessments, and using exclusive quality equipment, your safety and enjoyment is taken seriously by the folks at Heli-Hike.
After your trek is complete, bathe under a rainforest canopy and climb into the Franz Josef Glacier hot pools for some warm R&R.
Travel north along the narrow, bush clad, coastal plain past Hokitika, to Greymouth. Turn inland towards the Southern Alps to travel through the Otira Gorge, over Arthur’s Pass and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
Sadly, your holiday is at an end and you will be transferred to Christchurch airport today for your onward flight. Here, we bid you a fond farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
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A total walking package adventure, there's no better way to spend 18 days than exploring New Zealand from North to South. From the Viaduct in Auckland... Read More
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