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New Zealand Explorer: Walking and Scenery

  • Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, Tongariro, Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Abel Tasman, Punakaiki, Queenstown, Fiordland National Park
New Zealand Explorer: Walking and Scenery New Zealand Explorer: Walking and Scenery
£ 7975

Featuring some of New Zealand’s greatest walks, this itinerary will lead you through landscapes of astonishing natural beauty. Over three weeks you’ll discover golden beaches, Jurassic-like forests, tumbling waterfalls, charming cities and a rich Maori heritage.

After one night in Auckland, you’ll set off along the Pacific Coast Highway to the Coromandel Peninsula where you’ll trek through ancient kauri forest to visit old gold caves and Maori sites. You’ll then drive to Tongariro to commence an eight-hour hike through the ‘moon-like’ volcanic landscapes of Tongariro National Park.

Following visits to Hawke’s Bay, Wellington and Nelson, you’ll ferry over to the South Island for a three-day guided walk through the extraordinary landscapes of Abel Tasman National Park, staying in beautiful beachfront lodges en route. You’ll discover the attractions of Punakaiki, Franz Josef and Queenstown, before starting the dramatic Hollyford Track. Completed by foot, jet boat and helicopter, this spectacular three-day route features a breathtaking flight over Milford Sound.

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    Detailed Itinerary
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    Day 1-2 Auckland

    Fly to New Zealand where you’ll be met and transferred to your fashionable hotel in the heart of Auckland’s CBD.

    With not one but two harbours to its name, Auckland is a water lover’s paradise with the opportunity to sail across beautiful blue waters in an original America’s Cup racing yacht. A variety of tours are available that can take you to Mount Eden, Parnell Village and the Eastern Bays. Alternatively, you can enjoy a foodie tour or take a day trip to discover the charming boutique wineries of Waiheke Island.

    Stay: One night in a Double Boutique Suite at Hotel De Brett – bed and breakfast

    Day 3-4 Coromandel Peninsula
    Coromandel Peninsula

    Today you’ll collect your hire car and follow the scenic Pacific Coast Highway to the Coromandel Peninsula, a stunning region celebrated for its beautiful coastline, deep valleys, semi-tropical rainforest, giant ferns, clear streams and historic sites. You’ll be staying at a luxury lodge overlooking Lonely Bay, an area known for its pristine beaches.

    Immerse yourself in Coromandel’s natural heritage and scenic beauty on the ‘Kiwi Dundee Nature and Coast Tour’. You’ll walk through ancient kauri forest, visit an old historic gold cave (now sparkling with glow worms) and learn more about the local flora and fauna. You’ll also visit Hot Water Beach’s famous thermal sand pools, old Maori Pa sites and huge beach caves.

    Stay: Two nights in a Double Shakespeare Suite at 970 Lonely Bay Lodge – bed and breakfast

    Day 5-6 Tongariro

    Your next port of call is Tongariro Lodge, right on the doorstep of the World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park. You’ll meet your guide at Adrift Base for the start of the full-day ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing’ guided walk, regarded as the country’s finest day walk. The 19km, eight-hour track weaves through the park’s barren yet beautiful, ‘moon-like’ volcanic landscape. It will take you past unusual geological features, visible volcanic activity and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. You’ll cross the multi-cratered active volcano Mt Tongariro with its coloured craters, mountain springs and vivid blue lakes. In winter the landscape turns into a snow-covered wonderland and you can enjoy the luxury of being one of the few walkers in the area.

    Stay: Two nights in a Double One Bedroom Chalet at Tongariro Lodge – half board

    Day 7-8 Hawkes Bay
    Hawkes Bay

    Today the Thermal Explorer Highway leads you to Hawke’s Bay in the heart of the country’s largest wine region. Your boutique lodge lies within the picturesque Omarunui Valley, with pretty views of the surrounding vineyards. You’ll find yourself within easy reach of the wineries of Hawke’s Bay, whilst the Art Deco town of Napier, with its stylish period architecture, is also close by.

    During your stay, you will enjoy a half-day tour featuring wine tastings at four different wineries. As you travel through premium wine growing country you’ll visit New Zealand’s oldest winery, explore the country’s only wine museum, see the old wine vats, delve into the history of each winery and, of course, sample a variety of top quality wines.

    Stay: Two nights in a Double Suite at Breckenridge Lodge – bed and breakfast

    Day 9 Wellington

    On day nine you’ll travel south to Wellington, New Zealand’s picturesque capital. Spend some time at the superb Te Papa Museum to learn more about the country’s history, before wandering around the bustling waterfront district. Your apartment-style hotel is well located within easy reach of the city’s many restaurants, cafes and theatres.

    Stay: One night in a Double One Bedroom Classic Suite at Bolton Hotel – bed and breakfast

    Day 10 Nelson

    Today you’ll leave the North Island behind and begin your tour of the South. You’ll ride the Interislander ferry across the famous Cook Strait to Picton, an incredibly scenic journey of about three hours. Upon arrival, you’ll collect your hire car and drive to the old city of Nelson where you’ll be staying in a beautifully restored colonial homestead dating back to the 1800s.

    Stay: One night in a Double Standard Suite at Cambria House – bed and breakfast

    Day 11-12 Abel Tasman 3-day Coast Track
    Abel Tasman 3-day Coast Track

    Today you’ll embark on the incredible ‘Abel Tasman Coast Track’, an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring coastal scenery of Abel Tasman National Park. After a briefing, you’ll be driven to Kaiteriteri at the park’s southern tip.

    From here you’ll board a Vista Cruise which will take you along Abel Tasman’s golden coast to Totaranui as you admire the passing landscape from the viewing deck. Upon arrival, you’ll walk two and a half hours through mature native rainforest and along isolated beaches to reach the mighty expanse of the Awaroa Inlet. You’ll cross the inlet (either on foot or by boat) to get to the beachfront Meadowbank Homestead where you’ll spend one night.

    After a home-cooked breakfast, you’ll begin your walk to Torrent Bay. Boat transfers can be arranged depending on how much walking you want to do. Otherwise you’ll begin trekking from Awaroa to Onetahuti, the site of a beautiful, Maori-designed boardwalk and bridge. Enjoy strolls along the golden sands and a visit to the Tonga Quarry, during which your guide will share stories of the site’s history and unusual granite features. You’ll descend to Bark Bay along the waterfall trail where you’ll stop for lunch and a refreshing swim. Later you’ll continue through mature beech forest, fern grottoes and fragrant manuka, cross the swing bridge at Falls River and reach your lodge at Torrent Bay.

    The final day of your walk comprises the easiest section of the coastal track from Torrent Bay to Marahau. As well as panoramic views across Tasman Bay, you can expect to get an insight into the history of the region as your guide recount stories of how landmarks were named by early explorers. At Marahau you’ll be met by your driver and begin your return journey to Nelson.

    Day 13 Nelson

    After returning from your Abel Tasman walk, you’ll spend one more night at Cambria House in Nelson.

    Stay: One night in a Double Standard Suite at Cambria House – bed and breakfast

    Day 14 Punakaiki

    Day 14 of your New Zealand adventure brings you to the small village of Punakaiki on the west coast. You’ll be staying at a charming eco-hotel on Punakaiki Beach, just a stone’s throw from some of the region’s top attractions including the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, adjacent to Paparoa National Park.

    Stay: One night in a Double Hotel Garden or Seaview Room at Punakaiki Resort – bed and breakfast

    Day 15 Franz Josef
    Franz Josef

    Franz Josef is your next stop, gateway to the mighty glacier of the same name. You’ll be perfectly based for experiencing the many natural wonders of the Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Area, from its glaciers to its rocky coasts, wild rivers and 800-year-old native rainforest. There’s also wonderful fauna to discover, including the world’s only alpine parrot and the rare and indigenous takahe bird.

    Stay: One night in a Double Deluxe Room at Te Wanoi Forest Retreat – half board

    Day 16 Queenstown

    Drive over to Queenstown, the adventure sports capital of New Zealand with a reputation for outdoor activities including white water rafting, jet boating, bungee jumping and tandem hang-gliding. Tastings at local wineries and scenic walks are also available for those seeking a more laid back experience. Your hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from the town centre.

    Stay: One night in a Double Remarkables Room at Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel – bed and breakfast

    Day 17-18 Hollyford Track, Fiordland National Park
    Hollyford Track, Fiordland National Park

    Now comes another of New Zealand’s legendary walks – the iconic Hollyford Track in Fiordland National Park. A three-day, low-altitude trek along the Hollyford Valley floor, this route will introduce you to pristine natural landscapes, geologically spectacular landforms and rich New Zealand history.

    Day one comprises a 19.5km journey to Pyke lodge, following in the footsteps of past explorers and original Maori. Highlights along the way include beautiful lakes, glacial valleys, native beech forest, cascading waterfalls and views of the park’s two highest peaks – Mt Tutoko and Mt Madeline. Upon arrival in Pyke Lodge, you’ll be treated to a delicious three-course meal.

    Day two will see you traverse 15km on foot. After a short walk to Lake Alabaster, you’ll enjoy an exciting jet boat ride along the Hollyford River and down Lake McKerrow – keep your eyes peeled for bottlenose dolphins! You’ll discover the historic, ill-fated site of Jamestown, and stroll through thousand-year-old forests dominated by giant Rimu, Totara and Kahikatea trees. You may be lucky enough to see the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin, and a fur seal colony at Long Reef, before ending your day at Martin’s Bay Lodge.

    On day three you’ll embark on your final 8.5km walk, exploring Martins Bay Spit which separates the Tasman Sea from the Hollyford Valley. View historical Maori sites, explore sand dunes, learn about the wildlife of the area and wander along the isolated beach at your leisure. You’ll return to Martin’s Bay Lodge for lunch before boarding an incredibly scenic helicopter flight into Milford Sound. You’ll then embark on your return journey to Queenstown via the impressive Milford Road and Homer Tunnel.

    Day 19-20 Queenstown

    Enjoy two more nights in Queenstown before embarking on your flight back to London the following day.

    Stay: Two nights in a Double Remarkables Room at Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel – bed and breakfast

    Day 21-22 Queenstown - London

    Today you’ll be transferred to the airport for your international flight back to London.

    When to go to Private: New Zealand
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