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New Zealand Uncut

offered by supplier M14735 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 7 - 19 day(s)
Group Size: 4 - 11 people
Destination(s): New Zealand  
Specialty Categories: Hiking & Trekking   Volcano Tours  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 2100 New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 5700 New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

Explore both islands as you weave your way through this magnificent country. Maximise your time in the wilderness yet still marvel at the iconic destinations. Enjoy true wilderness campsites followed by comfortable eco lodges. A range of activities including white water rafting, sea kayaking, glacier walking and mountain biking complement the hikes superbly and keep this tour as diverse and exciting as the landscapes we explore!

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Auckland to Rotorua.
Depart from Auckland and head south through the dairy farming plains of the Thames Valley before passing over old ignimbrite (volcanic) flows to reach Lake Rotorua with its stunning crater lakes and volcanoes. Enjoy a picnic lunch en-route. In the afternoon you have the option to take a 1 hour rafting trip (optional extra ~NZ$99) on the thundering Kaituna River. This trip is for the wild at heart as it travels down one of the highest commercially rafted waterfalls in the world. Alternatively, enjoy a bush walk alongside the beautiful Lake Okataina (lake of laughter). Sample good kiwi kai (food) with an evening meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants in Rotorua. Stay at lodge accommodation nearby. L

Day 2: Rotorua – Whirinaki 5 hours hiking
Explore one of the incredible DoC thermal areas near Rotorua. Marvel at the bubbling mud, sulphurous smells and mineral-induced colours of the rock and lakes. Drive east through the huge Kaingaroa forests of plantation pines to the indigenous jungle of the Whirinaki Forest Park. Pack up your kit for the two-day hike through this spectacular Jurassic-like rainforest. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to when the dinosaurs roamed when you splash through streams and explore this pure wilderness. Stay overnight at a hut/camp. Enjoy cooking up a fine meal and later laze around a campfire. Fall asleep to the gentle sounds of the river. BLD

Day 3: Whirinaki – Tongariro 5 hours hiking
Shoulder your now familiar pack for the second day of hiking alongside the beautiful Whirinaki River. This remote wilderness valley is completely off the tourist trail. Rare blue ducks and robins are often seen; hear kaka (a large bush parrot) as you hike beneath majestic tree ferns. On our drive back towards Taupo there’s time to have a dip in a natural hot river, one of those secret spots only the locals know about. Look at the powerful Huka Falls, feel the spray on your face, and later relax in the charming lake-side fishing lodge near Taupo. BLD

Day 4: Tongariro 5 hours hiking
After being dropped off at the trail start, hike through waving tussock-grasslands between the volcanoes to a hut set in an enclave of native beech forest. After lunch traverse across stony deserts to an alpine hut at 1400 metres, perched on the edge of an old lava flow. From this hut you get fantastic views of the three main peaks in the park; Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. It’s an extraordinary landscape of active volcanoes and lava valleys, dynamic and changing even in recent years (2012!). Enjoy the fun sharing a basic alpine hut with like-minded travellers passionate about the outdoors. BLD

Day 5: Tongariro 6-8 hours hiking
Hike up through a moon-like valley of contorted lava flows and ash fields before climbing up a steep section to the Emerald Lakes for lunch. Cross the volcanic plateau, which boasts lava valleys and steaming explosion craters, flanked by the brooding volcanoes, before descending on the western side. In good conditions, there is an option to climb one of the volcanic peaks. Tongariro National Park is full of landscapes the likes of which are found nowhere else in New Zealand. An evening drive takes you to a lodge beside the park with great views back on the volcanoes. Enjoy a beer and a meal out in the alpine village. BL

Day 6: Tongariro - Wellington
Morning drive to Wellington, arriving in the early afternoon. Wellington is New Zealand’s wonderful harbour capital. The giant fault-created harbour almost encircled by steep suburbs gives it a giant ‘coliseum’ feel. Nowhere is very far in this stylish city. You have free time to enjoy walking around the ports and steep hills with its domino-like houses. You may like to visit the museum of New Zealand, called Te Papa, or even the beehive (Parliament House) to hear politicos ranting. Wellington is well known for its vibrant café scene and its accessible downtown area. People come into the city to enjoy the lively atmosphere. BL

Day 7: Wellington – Abel Tasman
Meet your South Island-based guide at the Koromiko airport after your short group flight from Wellington to Picton over the Cook Strait and Marlborough Sounds. Travel from here through to Nelson and on to Kaiteriteri. This picturesque beachside village is the gateway into Abel Tasman National Park with it’s golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs and world famous Abel Tasman Track. It is a 30 minute water taxi ride into one of the most beautiful campsites in the park - Tonga Quarry. On arrival tents are set up and there is time for a wander along the beach, or a swim before enjoying dinner prepared by your guide. BLD

Day 8: Abel Tasman - Nelson Lakes National Park 1.5 hours hiking, 3 hours kayaking
Start the day with a walk along the Abel Tasman coastal track to Bark Bay; sea kayaks and a local guide meet you there for a paddle exploring the bays and coast back to Anchorage. From Anchorage board the water taxi once more for the return journey to Kaiteriteri. Kayaking is optional, should you prefer to hike instead. Drive to St Arnaud village, situated on the shores of Lake Rotoiti with a dramatic backdrop of mountains. BLD

Day 9: Nelson Lakes - Hanmer Springs 5 hours hiking
Start the day with an optional pre-breakfast walk around the Rotoiti Mainland Island Reserve. Intensive pest eradication schemes are in place in this area of beech forest in an effort to restore native bird populations to a pre–European state. After breakfast take a short drive up onto the Robert Range to start the hike. From the car park the track climbs steadily on to the crest of the Robert Range. Wide expansive views of mountains and lakes are the reward for the climb. Have lunch at Bushline Hut, which is perched on a grassy ledge high above Lake Rotoiti. Return to the vehicle via a different track and then relax on the drive over the Southern Alps at Lewis Pass to Hanmer Springs thermal resort. The next two nights are spent here, so plenty of time to take advantage of the great hiking and mountain biking available, not to mention the hot springs! Option to dine out in a local restaurant tonight or self cater at accommodation. We stay at Green Acres Resort, a park like setting on the slopes of Conical Hill. BL

Day 10: Hanmer Springs 5 hours hiking, 2-3 hr biking (optional)
After a leisurely breakfast those keen will hike up Mt Isobel, the nearby mountain, which dominates the skyline behind the village. Enjoy the superb views of the Amuri basin before descending down a different route through alpine tussocks to Jacks Pass. In the afternoon there is the option of hiring a mountain bike (optional - $35*) and exploring the trails that wind their way through the park-like setting of exotic forest species. Alternatively take a wander around the village and visit the cafes, before soaking in the mineral and aqua therapy pools at the hot springs resort. For dinner tonight the group cook and eat together, usually al fresco style at the accommodation. There is time for a soak in the hot springs you have been hiking and biking all day. Enjoy a second night in the well appointed chalets and spacious grounds overlooking the village. BLD

Day 11:Hanmer Springs - Flock Hill 4-5 hours hiking,
Depart Hanmer Springs and drive south across the edge of the Canterbury Plains before turning back into the mountains again. Drive over Porters Pass and through the Craigeburn Range. A hike up nearby Bealey Spur where you will enjoy smoko (afternoon tea) at an old ‘Musterer’s Hut’. The hike offers excellent views looking up the wide braided river bed of the Waimakariri River and the glaciated peaks of Arthurs Pass National Park. The vegetation ranges from mature beech forest, regenerating manuka (Tea Tree), and sub alpine clearings dotted with tarns (small alpine lakes). After the hike it is just a short drive to our accommodation at Flock Hill Station, well appointed accommodation in the high country with a restaurant. BL

Day 12: Flock Hill - Hokitika 3-4 hours hiking
Take a stroll around the large limestone out crops at Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill). This area was an important meeting place and food gathering area for early Maori people, today it is very popular with climbers who like to climb the vertical rock walls. Leaving Flock Hill the drive passes through the small alpine village of Arthur’s Pass before crossing back over the Southern Alps and descending through lush native forests to the coastal plains of the West Coast. We detour north to Punakaiki, for a hike in Paparoa National Park. Hike along an historic pack track through luxuriant rainforests and canyons with towering limestone cliffs. The hike finishes near the well known "Pancake Rocks" and blowholes at Dolomite Point. There is time to wander around these amazing rock formations before driving to Hokitika. Once a thriving gold mining town in the 1860’s, the town of Hokitika is a little more relaxed these days but still has plenty of charm. In true “kiwi style” tonight’s dinner is a meal of fish and chips (optional) on the beach, watching the sun go down over the Tasman Sea. The accommodation tonight sits on a terrace above the town with panoramic views of the ocean - great sunsets! BL

Day 13: Hokitika - Lake Paringa/Haast* 4 hours glacier hiking
A pleasant drive down the coast this morning to Fox Glacier - one of the few places in the world where you can see glaciers descending right down into rainforest. Here you have the option of taking a guided hike (optional - $123*) on the glacier. Local guides fit you out with special crampons that fix to your boots giving you extra traction on the ice. Hike amongst crevasses and ice ridges whilst enjoying close up views of the icefall and lower glacier. After the hike enjoy the world class scenery driving south through the South Westland World Heritage Area. Final destination for the day is the village of Haast with a stop at Ship Creek, a coastal walkway where Hector’s Dolphins (world’s smallest marine dolphin) are often spotted playing in the surf. BLD
* Lake Paringa accommodation not always available for March departures, we use comparable accommodation in Haast on these dates.

Day 14: Lake Paringa/Haast - Aspiring Hut 3 hours hiking
Crossing the Southern Alps for a third and final time today at Haast Pass takes you into a markedly different landscape. Lush rainforests give way to high mountain peaks and vast glacially formed lakes and valleys. A stop in the resort town of Wanaka gives you time to wander around and enjoy the awe-inspiring vistas before heading off on an overnight hike into Mt Aspiring National Park, part of the South Westland World Heritage Area. Your afternoon hike follows the wide valley floor of the Matukituki River to Aspiring Hut. This large stone hut offers comfortable yet basic accommodation in incredible surroundings. For those that prefer camping there is a sheltered campsite nearby. BLD

Day 15: Aspiring Hut - Queenstown 5 hours hiking
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in this majestic mountain setting, before a hike up a side valley to view the Rob Roy Glacier. The track climbs gently through virgin beech forest before emerging into an alpine basin. A break for lunch here allows for plenty of time to enjoy the majestic Rob Roy Glacier. The cheeky kea (alpine parrot) may join the group for lunch. On return to the vehicle the drive takes you over the Crown Range, where you can stop off for a drink at the historic drover’s hotel at Cardrona and arrive into Queenstown late afternoon. BL

Day 16: Queenstown (optional Milford Day Trip)
Today is either a free day in Queenstown or you may want to use this day to visit Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Your guide can arrange a coach and cruise or fly and cruise options to Milford Sound – once described as the eighth wonder of the world by Rudyard Kipling. The journey to Milford by air is a fantastic experience and once there the sheer scale of the landscape will not disappoint. If staying in Queenstown there will be plenty of adventure activities to keep you entertained. Your guide is happy to advise and organise these on your behalf. B

Day 17: Queenstown (optional 6-8 hours hiking)
You have a free day to take advantage of all the adventure activities available in Queenstown. Or you can join the guide for a day hike to the summit of Ben Lomond, which overlooks Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. BL

Day 18: Queenstown - Aoraki/Mt Cook 4 hours hiking
Leave Queenstown and drive through the MacKenzie Country and on to Aoraki/Mt Cook. Arriving at Mt Cook Village at midday gives the group the whole afternoon to hike up to Sealy Tarns, and for the more energetic, on to the crest of Mueller Ridge. An alternative, easier but no less spectacular walk is also available up the Hooker Valley to view the Hooker Glacier. Both hikes afford amazing views of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook at 3754 metres. BLD

Day 19: Aoraki/Mt Cook - Christchurch 3 hours hiking
More time in Mt Cook this morning to do one last hike, a hike around the terminal moraines of the Tasman Glacier, or up to the Red Tarns below Mt Sebastapol are some of the options. Alternatively there is time to visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, and learn more about the fascinating history of this area. Depart for Christchurch in the early afternoon arriving in Christchurch around 5pm. BL

- All of the accommodation and some of the food on this trip is included in the trip price.
- Optional activities must be paid for during the tour.
- It is possible to do the North Island only (NZ$2100 - 6 days) or South Island only (NZ$4200 - 13 days) portion of this trip.

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Excludes:
- Optional activities:
* Sea kayaking (NZ$95)
* Kaituna River rafting (NZ$105)
* Hanmer Springs bike hire (NZ$35)
* Glacier hiking (NZ$123)
* Milford Sound day trip (NZ$159)
- 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 9 dinners.

About This Supplier
Photos: Next »
Location: New Zealand
Joined InfoHub: Aug 2006

Active Earth is a tour company for adventurous people on holiday who want to go hiking or trekking in New Zealand’s wonderful National parks. We do other activities including paddling sea kayaks, caving, riding dune boards AND we relax beside campfires and just hang out in remote and beautiful wilderness areas of New...

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