South Island Lodge-based Tour
- Comprehensive experience of New Zealand
- Unique, hand-picked accommodations
- Forests, mountains, lakes, and peaks
- Wonderful, local eateries
- Iconic & off-the-beaten-path highlights
- Amazing history of New Zealand
HAERE MAI KI NEW ZEALAND! With a mix of highlights such as the Milford Sound, Queenstown and Mount Cook and more off the beaten track locations such as Manapouri and Glenorchy, we'll show you the amazing beauty of New Zealand. In these 10 days we mix a range of amazing day hikes and spectacular scenery with beautiful accommodations and delicious local fare. Our hikes will take you to mountain top vistas, lush rainforests and 360-degree panoramas of the most dramatic scenery that New Zealand has to offer.
(This trip is operated by Wildland International, a partner company of Wildland Trekking with shared ownership, management teams, guides, and other resources.)
Trip Dates & Booking
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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Welcome to New Zealand! Today we will pick you up at the airport and shuttle you to our first night's lodging. Your Wildland Trekking guide will meet us at 5pm at our hotel for an orientation meeting in Christchurch. Here we will meet everyone on the trip and have a chance to ask questions to help prepare for the adventure ahead! After the meeting we will enjoy a delicious welcome dinner served up by a talented local chef. Our guides will provide the plan for the next day.
- Driving Duration: 4 hours
- Hiking Mileage: 3 miles (4.8 km)
- Elevation Gain: 150 feet (# m)
- Elevation Loss: 150 feet (# m)
On this New Zealand hiking tour we begin our first day with a hearty breakfast, then travel south where we’ll stretch our legs and hike in the Peel Forest, known for its diversity of flora, fauna and bird life. Subsequently, we’ll visit Lake Tekapo with its brilliant shade of blue, glacier-fed water and beautiful backdrop. It is the second-largest of three lakes that run north/south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin. It’s also the home to the Church of the Good Shepherd, arguably one of the most photographed church’s in New Zealand. After our visit and hike, we enjoy our drive to our accommodation for the night, where we have dinner and our guides will deliver the plan for the next day.
- Driving Duration: minimal
- Hiking Mileage: 4 miles (6.4 km)
- Elevation Gain: 3200 feet (975 m)
- Elevation Loss: 3200 feet (975 m)
Aoraki or ‘cloud piercer’ as named by the South Island Maori or more commonly known as Mt. Cook, is the highest mountain in New Zealand sitting at 12,218 ft. Today’s hike is stunning as we walk above Mueller Glacier. It is a challenging but rewarding hike to the main ridgeline and we have breath-taking views of the glacier and the surrounding mountains! The weather conditions are very important to this area, as it’s a true alpine climate that’s notorious for sudden weather shifts. If we’re not able to hike above the Mueller Glacier, or you’d prefer to take it easy instead, there’s another amazing hike up to a glacier lake (complete with icebergs!) at the base of the Hooker Glacier.
- Driving Duration: 2.5 hours
- Hiking Mileage: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
- Elevation Gain: 1230 feet (375 m)
- Elevation Loss: 1230 feet (375 m)
This morning after a delicious breakfast, we’ll travel to the town of Wanaka and hike the Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain trail. This area has been carved out by glaciers, is home to a spectacular circuit lined with native forest and shrub land. We will enjoy a steady ascent until we get to one of the most beautiful view points in the area. We will have views of Mt. Aspiring, Roy’s Peak and beautiful Lake Wanaka. We will have lunch at the vista and then continue back down. We have free time before dinner is served at the beautiful Edgewater hotel. Our guides will provide the plan for the next day.
- Driving Duration: 1.75 hours
- Hiking Mileage: 2.7 miles (4.3 km)
- Elevation Gain: 650 feet (198 m)
- Elevation Loss: 650 feet (198 m)
After a hearty breakfast, we begin our short and dramatic drive over the Cardrona Saddle to Queenstown. We finally reach the shores of Lake Wakatipu from where we’ll head up the most recognizable mountain range of the Southern Alps, The Remarkables. Our trail today begins at the ski resort and follows the rocky ski trails up and over through the alpine wetlands and up to the glacial carved bowl which forms picturesque lake Alta! It’s Amazing! We will have lunch in route and then weave our way out of Queenstown towards the beautiful and isolated hamlet of Glenorchy, the furthest and most stunning end of Lake Wakatipu. This peaceful little settlement is the gateway to a multitude of valleys, dense forest and mountains, a perfect spot to rest our head for the night.
- Driving Duration: 1 hour
- Hiking Mileage: 7.5 miles (12 km)
- Elevation Gain: 600 feet (182 m)
- Elevation Loss: 600 feet (182 m)
Today we will wake up early, have breakfast and begin our day. It’s worth the early start as we’ll hike part of the famous Routeburn Trail! Our trail will take us through lush beech forests, beautiful waterfalls until we reach Routeburn Flats! Upon arrival, we will have views of amazing mountains and glacial rivers. If we’re lucky, we will be able to view some beautiful native birds such as the Kea, Kakariki, Mohua or the elusive blue duck! We head back to our van and drive back to Queenstown, where we will spend the next couple of nights.
- Driving Duration: minimal
- Hiking Mileage: 5 miles (8 km)
- Elevation Gain: 3208 feet (978 m)
- Elevation Loss: 3208 feet (978 m)
This morning after breakfast we will enjoy the views of Queenstown as we ride on the gondola to the top of a tree-covered rocky mountain, known as Bob’s Peak! We will start our hike from here as we pass through open alpine tussocks to the Ben Lomond saddle. We are immediately rewarded with panoramic views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, backdropped by the Southern Alps. For those eager to keep hiking, we will have the option to climb Ben Lomond’s summit which also reveals vies of Mt. Earnslaw and Mt. Aspiring (2 of New Zealands highest peaks!) If the weather is clear we may even be able to see Mt. Cook. After we have enjoyed our time, we will descend, head back to our hotel and enjoy free time until we meet up for dinner. Our guides will provide the plan for the next day.
- Driving Duration: 2 hours
- Hiking Mileage: 5.5 miles (8.9 km)
- Elevation Gain: 165 feet (50 m)
- Elevation Loss: 165 feet (50 m)
This morning after breakfast, we will load up and begin hiking the world famous, Kepler Track. Interestingly, the Kepler Track differs from the Routeburn and Milford Tracks in that it didn’t actually evolve from a necessary Maori greenstone trail but was custom-built for hiking. The section we will hike passes over the control gates at the outlet of Lake Te Anau and meanders through ancient beech and podocarp forest to Brod Bay. At Te Anau, we will check into our accommodation and enjoy free time before meeting for dinner. Our guides will provide the plan for the next day.
- Driving Duration: 4 hours
- Hiking Mileage: 6 miles (9.7 km)
- Elevation Gain: 985 feet (300 m)
- Elevation Loss: 985 feet (300 m)
It's worth the early start this morning as we set off for our largest and perhaps most spectacular national park, Fiordland. When we arrive, we'll be greeted with jaw-dropping views of Mitre Peak and the surrounding jagged granite peaks - quite possibly the most picturesque mountain range in New Zealand - though we'll let you be the judge of that! We'll then take a short boat ride to where our hike will begin at Sandfly Point and we will walk until we get to the Giant Gates waterfall, a spectacular section of the Milford Track. The forest is quite lush and we begin to follow the Arthur River until we reach Lake Ada. From hiking from the Milford Sound trailhead, we get to enjoy the trail to ourselves, which is a luxury others rarely get to experience. Once we arrive back at the Milford Wharf, we'll board a boat for a 2 hour nature cruise to the head of the beautiful Fjord. We then leave Milford sound and set out to hike some lesser-known trails in Eastern Fjordland before returning to Te Anau.
- Drive Time: 2 hours
This is our last day of the trip and we’ll all be refreshed and invigorated from the good food, rest, exercise, and great times we have had in New Zealand! We’ll drop you at the Queenstown Airport in time for your afternoon departure or stay on in Queenstown and have a few more adventures on your own. Thanks for choosing Wildland Trekking!
Add-on Rooms: If you'd like to extend your stay, we are happy to book extra room nights at some destinations (not available at all destinations) before and/or after your trip at our preferred hotel for an additional 30% service fee.
Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however occasionally trips are subject to itinerary changes based on a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to: extreme weather, political or bureacratic obstacles, earthquakes, fires, flooding and more.
- A detailed trip packet that takes the guesswork out of your travel, training, packing, and preparing for the trip
- Access to our Adventure Consultant team 7 days a week
- Transportation for the duration of the tour starting on Day 1 and ending on the day you depart
- Hotel and lodge accommodations for the duration of the tour. See Lodging Details.
- Gear including backpack and trekking poles
- All meals from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on the last day
- Professional, certified Wildland New Zealand hiking guides
- Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
- You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!
- Flight to/from New Zealand
- Trip insurance that includes medical coverage and at least $100,000 in evacuation and repatriation coverage (required)
- All expenses due to unavoidable events e.g. flight cancellation, personal illness, strikes, etc. (we recommend trip insurance coverage for these variables)
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
- Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
- Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
- Gratuity for guide(s) - tipping is not routinely expected in New Zealand but is always appreciated. Many of our clients do choose to tip their guides at the end of an awesome trip, and in this instance US$100 per person per guide is the local industry standard. USD or local currency is acceptable.
This New Zealand hiking tour features a combination of in-town meals and meals prepared by your guide. For the most part we'll be enjoying in-town meals for dinner and some breakfasts and carefully-selected restaurants and lodges, and lunches are prepared on the trail by your guides.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
We can often accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee, and in some countries may be more difficult to accommodate than others. Please inquire with us for more information about the specific trip you're interested in.
We provide all group gear which includes the following:
- Deuter or Osprey backpacks
- Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
- Company-issued first-aid kit
- Satellite phone
We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.
NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.
Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).
Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!
You'll meet your hiking guide and group in Christchurch, New Zealand on Day 1 for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM. Your guide will be in contact approximately 45 days before your trip to coordinate the rendezvous.
Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.
Your safety is our top priority. This trek is led by professional hiking guides along with additional support staff. All of our guides are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and all tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) for more information.
In the interest of your safety, it's important to refer to the Center for Disease Control website for up-to-date recommendations on immunizations before your trip.
Your tour will be led by trained, experienced professionals with solid guiding backgrounds, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.
The standard group size on this hiking tour is 12 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) and we'll answer all your questions.
Age restrictions are as follows:
- 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
- 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis
For your protection, the purchase of field evacuation, repatriation, and medical trip insurance with coverage of at least $100,000 is required in New Zealand. International travel is expensive, and the modest cost of trip insurance is a sound investment in an uncertain world.
If you wish to purchase trip insurance, we recommend IMG/iTravelinsured. They are one of the world’s leading providers of travel insurance.
For information on recommended IMG/iTravelinsured policies please click here.
For even greater information, or if you simply prefer communicating with a real, live person, feel free to contact our exclusive agent Michael Bennett. Michael will help you identify the best product for your needs, and there is no cost associated with his assistance. You may contact him at:
Email: WildLandTrekking@EasyToInsureME.comIf you already have insurance or wish to purchase from anyone other than IMG/iTravelinsured, we recommend careful consultation with the provider to ensure appropriate coverage. This is because many providers have a number of policy exclusions.
US by Phone: 877-305-9083
Direct/International by Phone: 702-448-3664
If you secure an insurance policy please bring a copy of it to provide to your guides at the orientation meeting.
New Zealand weather varies significantly by latitude, including big variations on the North Island versus South Island. This trip is entirely on the South Island, which is, during summer months (Dec-Feb) quite temperate but potentially chilly in the higher mountains. Because New Zealand is surrounded by ocean, its temperatures stay quite moderate, but inland areas (i.e. mountains) can see dramatic and sudden temperature and weather shifts. We will likely experience many micro climates, changing frequently (like 4 seasons in one day) and it is best to be prepared for anything!
Below are overall average highs, lows but precipitation is separated for two of the places you will visit during the summer months, you will notice there is a stark contrast in precipitation and this is to highlight how wet the West Coast can be. Bear in mind that New Zealand has a very complex climate and average temperatures don't realistically reflect the different weather you may encounter. You might encounter a high of 100° F or a low of 30°F. So, again, come fully prepared for all four seasons!
This beautiful hotel was built around the heritage listed manor house with clean, modern and quiet rooms, comfortable amenities, and perfect location.
This hotel is nestled in the heart of Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, and has housed visitors for over 100 years. It boasts dramatic views of Aoraki and surrounding mountains.
This is the only accommodation in Wanaka directly on the lakefront. It has unsurpassed views and tranquillity with modern, clean and luxurious rooms.
Recently opened, this eco retreat boasts in-built wetlands, clever power and water insulating systems that reduce your carbon footprint, and beautiful mountain vistas.
Crowne Plaza Queenstown
Crowne Plaza Queenstown helps guests to not only soak up the breathtaking scenery from the hotel but also to experience the heart of town and the beauty of Lake Wakatipu.
Located on the Te Anau lake front, a short stroll from the Te Anau town centre, this hotel and villas are perfectly situated for hiking, exploring, and relaxing.