NZ Trails - 14 Day Kiwi Classic Itinerary


Arrive and Hike Ben Lomond

‘Haere Mai’ … welcome to New Zealand. Now you can relax - you are officially on holiday. Everything has been taken care of, we will meet you at the airport.

It’s time to breathe in your first taste of pure New Zealand mountain air. After making our introductions, we’ll head for our first hike of the trip, Ben Lomond. This steady climb is the perfect introduction to New Zealand hiking, offering up panoramic views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

Hike Ben Lomond

We will begin this adventure by ticking off one of our favourite Queenstown hikes, the stunning Ben Lomond track. We’ll buy some time by cutting out the initial slog and hopping on the gondola up to our start point. It doesn’t take long to emerge from the forest canopy out onto the tussock-wrapped hills. You’ll follow the ridgeline to the summit where you'll be rewarded with spectacular 360 degree views over Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountain ranges.

Tonight, we’ll bed down in the neighbouring town of Wanaka. This delightful little town is home to many bustling bars, cafes and of course ‘that Wanaka tree’, which is just a short stroll from our accommodation.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Wanaka - 1 Night

Wanaka Lake

Situated on the lake shores, a stroll across the lawn will have you gazing across Lake Wanaka to the spectacular Southern Alps. Choose between one bedroom suites, studios and two bedroom apartments. Savour the lakeside atmosphere while you are treated to a fresh and contemporary menu in Sargoods Restaurant and Wineglass Cafe.

The Edgewater Resort Lake Wanaka


Your Choice in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Some of New Zealand’s most spectacular alpine hikes are in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. With views normally reserved for serious mountaineers, our hikes today take us into the heart of the national park and provide jaw-dropping vistas for our efforts. Home to our highest and most sacred peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park also boasts a further 19 peaks topping more than 3,000 metres. Your options today include a choice of hikes, exploring the village at your leisure or splurging on a heli-hike or glacier boat tour.

Whichever option you decide on, Hike To "Muller Ridge" (Challenge) or Walk The "Hooker Valley" Track you won’t be disappointed. There is also a "Glacier Heli-Hike" or "Lake Boat" Tour as optional add-ons at an additional cost. After a full day of activities, we’ll meet up and return to our accommodation for a delicious home-cooked meal and a chance to trade stories from the day.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Mackenzie Country - 1 night

Hooker Valley
The MacKenzie Country Hotel, Twizel, is located very in the heart of the historic MacKenzie Basin. The hotel offers 108 spacious guestrooms including 80 standard rooms and 28 deluxe rooms; all offer shower over bath ensuites with surrounding views of the spectacular Ben Ohau Ranges and Mount Cook. Enjoy a meal in the restaurant or bar by choosing from the hearty menus revealing local cuisine accompanied by a range of New Zealand wines.
MacKenzie Country Hotel


Hike Mount John, Explore Mackenzie Country

Today’s journey takes us from mountain to ocean as we head from the fertile plains of Canterbury towards the Pacific Ocean. When we reach Tekapo, we’ll go for a hike up Mount John to experience the panoramic views of the beautifully desolate Mackenzie Country and across the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo. After our hike, we’ll make our way towards Christchurch. We’ll take our time, stopping at some of our favourite spots along the way to stretch our legs and capture the glorious views.

This morning we’ll make the steady climb up Mount John through forest and tussock to the observatory at the top. As we walk, we’ll look out over 360-degree views across the impressive Mackenzie Basin flats and surrounding mountains and lakes. After our hike, we’ll check out the famous and much photographed Church of the Good Shepherd, as well as Tekapo’s statue to the working dog, commissioned in 1968 by local farmers to pay tribute to the role these intelligent canines played in working the land.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 Nights

The Quest Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square in the heart of the commercial, arts and tourist precinct. This purpose built property is on Christchurch's famous inner city Tram Loop and features a mix of new and heritage architecture. Incorporated in the complex are a variety of retail shops, cafes and restaurants. All the serviced Apartments have free Wi-Fi & Fully Equipped Kitchens.
Quest Christchurch


Swim with Dusky Dolphins in Kaikoura

Today is a special one and consistently one of our guests favourites. It is the day you’ll swim with Dusky dolphins. 

Dolphin Swimming Kaikoura

The early start is well worth it today for the best chance at meeting some of the local wildlife that call this area home. We’ll don wetsuits to swim with a pod of dolphins in their natural environment. Of course, this is all dependent on whether the dolphins cooperate, but they usually do! The tour is an educational experience designed not to interfere with the natural behaviour, routines or habitat of the dolphins. There are strict regulations in place to protect and respect the dolphins, and to keep you safe in the water. Our boats are well-equipped with swimming/snorkelling platforms. Dusky dolphins are typically found in pods of around 100 and are well-known for their aerobatic feats and interactive behaviour. Whether you opt to get in the water, or watch from the boat, it’s a joyful experience for all. Many of our guests have told us this is one of the highlights of their New Zealand adventure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Kaikoura - 1 Night

Dolphins Jump
The Quest Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square in the heart of the commercial, arts and tourist precinct. This purpose built property is on Christchurch's famous inner city Tram Loop and features a mix of new and heritage architecture. Incorporated in the complex are a variety of retail shops, cafes and restaurants. All the serviced Apartments have free Wi-Fi & Fully Equipped Kitchens.
Quest Christchurch


Overnight hike Pelorus Sound to Nydia Lodge

Today we'll embark on the first of our overnight backpacking adventures, the Nydia Track in the remote Pelorus Sound. Pelorus Sound is the largest of the four sounds that make up the Marlborough Sounds area. Most of the sound is only accessible on foot or by boat. We'll walk from Kaiuma Bay to Nydia Lodge today. The track is an old bridle path that follows the coast through lush forest and over the Kaiuma Saddle. Tonight we stay at our first Department of Conservation Hut, Nydia Lodge. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Nydia Lodge - 1 Night


Pelorus Sound to Nelson

After a night spent in the backcountry, it’s time to return to the world of comfort and style with a visit to one of the iconic vineyards of Marlborough. The region is most renowned for its zesty Sauvignon Blanc, so ready your taste buds to sample some of the finest wines in the country.

This afternoon we will make our way to Nelson, “the sunniest place in NZ”. It's famous for its arts scene, award-winning wines, craft beers and fruit orchards, with plenty to keep you entertained within walking distance. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Nelson - 2 Nights

The Palms Motel is a great choice for a comfortable place to stay in Nelson. Relax on the open patio, take a dip in the pool or visit the nearby amenities. Located in the centre of beautiful Nelson, The Palms Motel offers a modern, interior decorated self-contained apartments with full kitchen facilities. Everything you need to have a hassle free time in beautiful Nelson.
The Palms Motel Nelson.


Free day to Explore Nelson

Today is yours to spend as you wish, and conveniently where we’ll be staying is just a short walk into town. Your guides can point you in the right direction if you’d like to go for a hike or bike ride. Nelson is a colourful wee town with a lively arts scene and fantastic beaches, so we recommend you enjoy a relaxing day and indulge in the fine seafood, local wine and craft beer. Or if you’d like to keep your heart rate up, the adrenaline activities on offer are plentiful – canyoning, jet boating, skydiving or quad biking, to mention just a few. One of the most popular options is a sea kayaking or hiking tour in nearby Abel Tasman National Park.

Meals: none


Backpacking Nelson Lakes National Park

Hiking Nelson Lakes National Park

Today we'll head to Nelson Lakes National Park. Our overnight backpacking adventure will take us through wilderness backcountry to Bushline Hut. You’ll be carrying an overnight pack and some gear, while your guides will carry the rest of the supplies needed.

The anticipation for the adventure ahead builds as we travel to the start of our hike in St Arnaud. Our second overnight hike will take us up Pourangahau/Mount Robert on a well graded track through the beech forest. Towards the end of the afternoon, the forest gives way to alpine herbs and shrubs and we’ll reach Bushline Hut, where we’ll stay the night. It’s one of over 900 public backcountry huts dotted around the country and has incredible views over Lake Rotoiti.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Bushline Hut - 1 Night


Bushline Hut to St Arnaud and on to the West Coast

After breakfast, we'll begin our descent down into St Arnaud, Lake Rotoiti glistening invitingly beneath us. There’ll be time for a quick swim in the lake at the end of our hike if you’re keen!

This afternoon we will make our way to the wild West Coast. With it's dramatic coastline, expansive rainforests and incredible wildlife, it's sure to be a highlight of your trip. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Westport - 1 night

Nelson Lake Hike
Comfortable, well appointed king studio units with views of the Tasman Sea and Paparoa ranges. Set among lush manicured grounds, all rooms at Omau Settlers Lodge Motel boast a private balcony with magnificent sea or mountain views. You can enjoy the peaceful surrounds from the comfort of your room, or relax in the shared lounge area.
Omau Settlers Lodge


Pororari River Track and Tauranga Bay Seal Colony

We’ll start our day with a short stroll on the Cape Foulwind Walkway. There, you’ll experience the Tasman Sea in all its glory, pounding on the cliffs below as you make your way to the Tauranga Bay Seal Colony, well known for its seal pup rookery.

Our second hike of the day is truly unique. Set amongst dense temperate rainforest with a backdrop of towering limestone cliffs, we’ll follow the Pororari River on the Paparoa Track as it winds its way through the lush undergrowth. Your guides will tell you about the fascinating flora and fauna along the way and maybe even offer you some ‘bush tucker’ to taste if you’re game!

The West Coast Road is a journey voted by Lonely Planet readers as one of the best coastal drives in the world. Rivers, rainforests and tumbling glaciers meet isolated beaches and crashing waves, it’s easy to see why people are drawn to this barren but beautiful place. We’ll travel this afternoon to the small township at the foot of Franz Josef Glacier.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Franz Josef - 1 Night

Franz Josef Glacier
After a long day, the 10 Cottages accommodation will be the perfect place to get some rest. It is located in a quiet street in 2 minutes walk from the centre of Franz Josef and next to the rainforest of Westland National Park.
10 Cottages franz Josef


Hike Blue Pools and Sunset Kayak Tour

Descending 12km from the Southern Alps into lush rainforest just 300m above sea level, Franz Josef Glacier is one of New Zealand's most accessible glaciers. This morning we'll take a relaxed hike to the terminal face of the glacier, learning about the geological formation and history of the area as we go.

This afternoon we'll paddle the beautiful and serene kettle lake, Lake Mapourika and enjoy the mountainous backdrop of the Southern Alps on the largest lake in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Watch out for the abundance of wildlife that call this place home, from the rare crested grebe, the white-faced heron, kingfisher, tui and so many more.

We'll travel over the Haast pass to Mt Aspiring National Park and our home for the night, the tiny riverside village of Makarora. We'll stop along the way to explore the Blue Pools. This short walk weaves through native beech and podocarp forest. You’ll be awe-struck when you first set eyes on the sparkling glacial water of the Blue Pools.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Wonderland Makarora Lodge - 1 Night

Mount Aspiring


Bike or hike near Queenstown

Today we'll travel alongside Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and over the Crown Range to our backyard! Queenstown and the surrounding area is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with many purpose-built tracks and trails ideal for hiking, biking or running. This morning we’ll explore the historic Arrowtown, a quaint old gold-mining settlement just a short drive from Queenstown. You’ll have the choice of either biking or walking the Arrow River Bridges Trail.

This evening we’ll head to Te Anau in preparation for tomorrow’s epic adventure in Fiordland National Park.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Te Anau - 2 Nights 

Te Anau
Matai Lodge has a selection of comfortable double or twin rooms.The communal facilities at Matai Lodge boast a modern fully equipped kitchen, dining room and lounge area which is only available to guests of Matai Lodge. The kitchen has everything you may require including hot plates, oven, microwaves, fridge/freezer, crockery, cutlery, pots, pans, rice cookers, electric jugs, toasters and coffee plungers. Matai Lodge also has a comfortable Lounge/dining area as well as Laundry and gas BBQ facilities. FREE WI-FI also runs throughout the complex.
Matai Lodge


Cruise Milford Sound and Hike Routeburn Track to Key Summit

This morning we gear up for our adventure further into Fiordland. We'll start the day off with a cruise of the iconic Milford Sound. You'll get up close to waterfalls and catch glimpses of the unique wildlife that reside in the area. Once back on dry land we’ll discover more of Fiordland on foot, with a heart-pumping hike up to one of our favourite spots in this area – Key Summit on the Routeburn Track. Tonight, you’ll have time to explore the lakefront of Te Anau where we’ll spend the night.

Cruise Milford Sound

You’ll have time to appreciate Milford’s undeniable grandeur as we cruise to the mouth of the fiord leading out into the wild Tasman Sea. Whether the sun’s shining brightly or the sky’s clouded over, the beauty of Milford Sound never disappoints. In a perfect world, it would be raining heavily as that’s when the fiord’s hundreds of waterfalls are at their most powerful. Get close enough to feel the spray on your face as the thundering torrents cascade down the vertical rock faces – it’s an exhilarating experience.

Hike Routeburn Track to Key Summit

Climbing steadily up through dense beech forest, this hike on the world-famous Routeburn Track is well worth the effort. The view from the top is one of Fiordland’s most iconic landscapes – across to the snow-capped Mount Christina, Mount Tutoko and the imposing Darran Mountains. A natural tapestry of alpine tarns, jagged peaks, granite cliff faces and glacial blue rivers flowing towards the Tasman Sea and clearly visible down the Hollyford Valley.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Aspiring National Park


Kepler Track & Finish in Queenstown

Breathe in the fresh Fiordland air and relax in the lakeside town of Te Anau, home to the South Island’s largest lake. Gateway to Fiordland’s Great Walks, this small town is bustling with hikers and there’s a real sense of adventure in the air. It’s the perfect place to sign off your own hiking journey with one last foray on the trails. If you’re up for stretching the legs this morning, we’ll hike a pleasant section of the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks, following the Waiau River as it meanders through beech forest and wetlands before emerging at a spectacular viewpoint on the shores of Lake Manapouri – a fitting end to your New Zealand adventure tour.

Our last journey together is a scenic trip through tussock country and small farming towns, before tracing the shoreline of the impressive Lake Wakatipu back to Queenstown. Once there, it’s time to say goodbye to your guides, travel companions and new-found friends as we drop you at the airport or your accommodation. If you’re joining us to explore the North Island on our Sweet North trip, we’ll ensure a smooth transition for you. If not, we hope to see you again soon in the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

The Palms Motel is a great choice for a comfortable place to stay in Nelson. Relax on the open patio, take a dip in the pool or visit the nearby amenities. Located in the centre of beautiful Nelson, The Palms Motel offers a modern, interior decorated self-contained apartments with full kitchen facilities. Everything you need to have a hassle free time in beautiful Nelson.
The Palms Motel Nelson.


Tour Inclusions

- An experienced New Zealand Trails Guide to guide you on your tour.
- All meals except dinner the night you arrive in Nelson and breakfast, lunch and dinner on your free day in Nelson when guests like to explore the outstanding local restaurants and cafés.
- Activities, hikes and guides as shown in the itinerary.
- Accommodation as indicated in your final itinerary

On the Kiwi Classic trip you'll get to experience New Zealand's most iconic walks along with a some of our personal off-the-beaten track favorites including:

- Fiordland National Park: The Routeburn Track, The Kepler Track
- Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park: Mueller Ridge
- Paparoa National Park: Pororari River track
- Franz Josef Glacier walk
- Tauranga Bay Seal colony walk
- Ben Lomond near Queenstown
- Mt Aspiring National Park: Blue Pools
- Nelson Lakes National Park overnight hike to Bushline Hut
- Overnight hike to Nydia Hut in Pelorus Sound

On your Kiwi Classic trip you'll get the chance to experience some very special Kiwi activities including:

- Swimming with dusky dolphins in Kaikoura
- Nature cruise on Milford Sound
- Sunset kayak on Lake Mapourika
- Bike in Central Otago
- Wine tasting in Marlborough
- Visit the Pancake Rocks near Punakaiki

Kiwi Classic Large Map

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