NZ Trails - Pure South Hiking Itinerary

Hiking NZ

Queenstown Welcome & Hike the Kepler

‘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.

We’ve chosen the best bits for this South Island tour and cleverly squeezed them into eight unforgettable days, packing as much joy as possible into your Pure South trip without rushing. And it all starts today!

After meeting your guides and fellow travellers in Queenstown, you’ll embark on your long-awaited New Zealand adventure.

Hike the Kepler Track

The Kepler Track is renowned for its vivid green moss, native beech forest, and stunning mountain ranges. We’ll walk the section from Rainbow Reach up to Moturau Hut. Following the Waiau River through beech forest and wetlands until we emerge out onto the spectacular viewpoint at the lakeside Moturau Hut. Cast your eyes out over beautiful Lake Manapouri, framed against a backdrop of Fiordland peaks. What a way to welcome you to New Zealand! Afterwards, we’ll head to our accommodation in Te Anau for a delicious home-cooked meal and the chance to rest up before tomorrow’s adventures.

Meals: 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 & hike the Routeburn Track

It’s time to rise and shine for your first full day of activities. We’ll head straight to Milford Sound for a beautiful morning cruise. After our relaxing morning on the water, it’s time to take on the Routeburn Track to Key Summit before ending the day back at your accommodation in Te Anau.

Cruise Milford Sound

This morning, we’ll head to Milford Sound for our scenic boat trip. Enjoy the crisp, fresh air and feel your everyday anxieties slip away as the tranquillity of the fiord washes over you. Have your cameras ready as you snap reels of photos of cascading waterfalls, towering peaks and native wildlife in action. Eventually, we’ll cruise back to dock to discover Fiordland National Park on foot, with a hike on part of the Routeburn Track.

Hike the Routeburn Track to Key Summit

Once back on dry land, we’ll head deeper in Fiordland’s wilderness for a heart-pumping hike on the world famous Routeburn Track up to Key Summit. A well-formed track leads us through lush beech forest and past tall tree ferns, with velvety mosses blanketing the rich earth underfoot. Native birdsong provides a beautiful soundtrack to our walk and as we climb higher, views of the Darran Mountains and Hollyford Valley stretch out beneath us providing a fitting reward for our efforts. You’ll sleep soundly tonight in your lakefront accommodation in Te Anau.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Key Summit


Bike Central Otago & Explore Lake Wanaka

Today you will leave the Fiordland and head for the arid high country lakes of Central Otago.

Explore some of the best bits on two wheels outside of Queenstown. We'll be fitted with bikes and gear in Arrowtown, an old gold mining town with rich Chinese mining history, then following the Kawarau River out towards the Gibbston Valley vineyards and the world’s first commercial bungy bridge before continuing to the mountain resort town of Wanaka.

Tonight you will stay in Wanaka, at the doorstep of Mt Aspiring National Park. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Wanaka - 2 Nights

Biking Queenstown

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


Scenic Flight, Hike & Wilderness Jet Boat

An amazing experience is waiting for you today! First fly deep into Mt Aspiring National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and get dropped off for an unforgettable picnic with views that will blow you away and a taste of what it feels like to be in the wilderness.

Hike Siberia Valley

After a tasty picnic lunch on the deck of the hut, we'll begin our walk along a well-marked track through the thick forest linking the Siberia Valley to the Wilkin Valley wilderness below. Be on the lookout for native birds along the way and the many photo opportunities as you immerse yourself in nature. The track was originally used by Mount Albert Station to take stock into the valley for grazing. The track is 6.8km in length, the first half of which climbs gently 200m in elevation from the airstrip, before heading downhill for the second half of the walk - a total drop in elevation of 470m.

Wilderness Jet Boat Trip

Jet boats were invented in 1954 in New Zealand by Sir William Hamilton for the shallow waters of our braided rivers. Jet boating originally started on the Wilkin River in 1968 transporting venison out of the mountains before hiking and commercial work became more commonplace. On reaching the Wilkin River at Kerin Forks, jet boats will be waiting to take us for a thrilling 30-minute ride down the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers back to the Makarora Village. Get a whole different perspective on this dramatic valley as you watch the landscape rush by and feel the wind in your hair.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Siberia Valley


Hike Aspiring National Park - Travel to Aoraki/Mount Cook

If you’re feeling energetic this morning, we’ll start the day off with a heart pumping hike up to Rocky Mountain. If you’d prefer a more relaxed start, there’s plenty to do in the town itself, from great coffee and boutique gift shops to a gentle amble along the beach and obligatory photo in front of Wanaka’s ‘giant hand’ sculpture. This afternoon it’s a change of scenery as we make our way to the Mackenzie Country, an area of jaw-dropping beauty, wide-open skies, glacial lakes and distant towering peaks. We’ll spend the next two nights staying at the foot of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook.


Hike Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain Track

We’ll kick the day off with a hike to Diamond Lake to appreciate the sweeping views out over the Southern Alps and Lake Wanaka, before carrying on up the Rocky Mountain trail. It’s a steady climb and one that will no doubt get your heart pumping, but with each passing step, the scenery just gets better and better, making it all worth it at the top.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Mount Cook - 2 Nights

Lake Wanaka
Situated in the iconic Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, Mt Cook Lodge & Motels offers a selection of accommodation types from backpacker styled dorms, cosy chalets to newly refurbished and contemporary self-contained motel units. All rooms include ensuite bathrooms, quality linen, fridge and a patio or balcony so you can soak up the stunning mountain views. Chill out in the Chamois Bar & Grill, a favourite of travellers and locals alike.
Mt Cook Lodge & Motels


Aoraki / Mount Cook Free Day

Mount Cook National Park is home to not only its namesake – our highest and most sacred peak known as “the Cloud Piercer” to Māori looming at 3,724 metres (over 12,000 feet) – but 19 peaks in total over 3,000 metres. This rugged land of rock and ice is a hiker’s paradise, and you have several experiences to choose from today, including a chance to get up close to some icebergs on a glacier boat trip or even walk on the ice on a glacier heli-hike (both these options are at additional cost). There is plenty to do and see in this area. 


1) Hike to Mueller Ridge (Challenge) The most challenging option is a hike up to Mueller Hut via Mueller Ridge for some spectacular alpine views. It's a steady and steep climb on a well-built track but the views are worth every drop of sweat, even by South Island standards.

2) Walk the Hooker Valley Track: This is one of the South Island's most popular trails in glacier country. When you look down from the impressive swing bridges down to the rushing river below that leads you all the way to an alpine lake complete with icebergs, you'll understand why. For flower lovers, the Hooker Valley is one of the best places to see Mount Cook lilies in season.

3) Free time around Mt Cook Village: Today is a great opportunity to explore on your own. Visit the museum and planetarium in the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, take some short walks or just soak in the views with a coffee and a book.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Hooker Valley


Hike Mount John

It’s our last morning together and the adventure isn’t quite over just yet. We’ll start today with a hike through the picturesque Mackenzie Country. We'll climb through forest and tussock until we reach a spectacular view of the surreal turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki before heading back to Queenstown to say our farewells. 

Hike Mt John 

This morning we’ll make the steady climb up Mount John though 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.

*For logistical reasons, we may make small changes to our itineraries or accommodation from time to time.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Mount John hike near lake Tekapo


Tour Inclusions

  • Two experienced New Zealand Trails Guides to guide you on your tour.
  • All meals.
  • Activities, hikes and guides as shown in the itinerary.
  • Accommodation as indicated in your final itinerary.
  • All local taxes and gratuities.

New Zealand is not a tipping culture. If you'd like to show your appreciation to your guides with a tip it is very much appreciated but not an expectation on our trips. 

On the Pure South trip you'll experience the very best hiking the South Island has to offer including:

- Fiordland National Park: The Routeburn Track, The Kepler Track
- Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park: Hooker Valley track, Sealy Tarns track.
- Mt Aspiring National Park: Siberia Valley
- Rocky Mountain and Diamond Lake near Wanaka

On your Pure South tour you'll get the chance to experience some very special Kiwi activities including:

- Scenic plane flight into Siberia Valley
- Jet boat down the Wilkin River
- Nature cruise on Milford Sound
- Bike or walk in Central Otago

What's not included on my Pure South tour?

- Airfares to and from New Zealand. Airfares between the North and South Island of New Zealand if you are joining our Sweet North trip.
- Airport transfers.
- Travel insurance.
- Visas.
- Non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages with lunch and dinner.

7 Days Short South Tour map

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The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price