The group at Sealy Tarn, Mt Cook

New Zealand Uncut 13-Day Wilderness Tour

Product ID: 52710

From US$5,546.14 per person

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Key Details
13 days
Mobile Voucher Accepted
Printed Voucher Accepted
Live Guide

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What You'll Do
  • Go underground in the Waitomo glowworm caves
  • Explore the geothermal area of Rotorua and hike the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park
  • Spend more time hiking the Abel Tasman coast, Punakaiki’s luscious green rainforests and the majestic Aoraki/Mount Cook.
  • Sample superb local food in the restaurants of the cities and towns
This is the complete New Zealand travel experience. Explore both islands as you weave your way from north to south. The day hikes have been specially selected to get you into the best and most diverse and iconic wilderness areas of New Zealand.
What to Expect
Day 1      Auckland – Waitomo Caves – Rotorua, 1-2km/2 hours hiking

Meet your North Island guide in the Heritage Hotel foyer at 07:00 before driving south through the classic patchwork green farming country alongside the Waikato River. Arriving at the Waitomo Caves area descend into the vaulted galleries of the Ruakuri Cave with its limestone formations and crystals. Be captivated by the thousands of tiny glowworms that cling to the cave ceiling and mimic a starlit night sky. Later emerge into the sunshine and wander on a loop trail through an outstanding limestone canyon. Arrive in the volcanically active area of Rotorua late afternoon. Rotorua is also the center of Maori cultural tourism in New Zealand and tonight enjoy an evening meal and cultural performance. Distinction Hotel, Rotorua (Lunch, Dinner) 

Day 2      Rotorua Lakes – Lake Taupo, 8km/5 hours hiking

Hike alongside the beautifully clear Lake Tarawera, enjoying the shade that towering tree ferns and ignimbrite cliffs offer. Plop into the water to cool off at any one of the tiny pumice beaches. There are astonishing views all along this trail, giving glimpses of how expansive this massive wilderness of forest, lakes and volcanoes really is. In the afternoon explore some of the amazing thermal areas located a little south of Rotorua. Wander along boardwalks that connect pools of bubbling mud, mineral-tainted hot pools and plumes of rising steam as you wonder at this unique area. Grab a cuppa before driving toward the lakeside town of Taupo. At Huka Falls feel the power as the huge Waikato River gets pinched through a narrow rock corridor. Our accommodation is at the southern end of this stunning lake. Relax with a drink and enjoy the views. Oreti Village, Lake Taupo (All meals) 

Day 3      Tongariro, 8km/2-4 hours hiking

Drive around Lake Taupo’s shores to New Zealand’s first national park – Tongariro. Take a leisurely morning walk through stunning forests around the slopes of Mount Pihanga and to the mystical Lake Rotopounamu (Lake of Greenstone). The next two nights are spent in a lodge on the edge of the park, providing a great opportunity for you to explore the area at your leisure. Join the guide this afternoon for a great walk to Taranaki Falls, cascading 20 meters over a 15,000 year-old lava flow. Enjoy dinner with the group in the comfort of the lodge. Skotel, Tongariro National Park (All meals)

Day 4      Tongariro, 23km/6-8 hours hiking

Join the guide today for a full days walking on the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, regarded as one of the best day walks in the world. The track is extremely well built and even a novice hiker will enjoy the gradual ascent up to the top of Mount Tongariro. Your guide will set a pace that lets you stop and admire the views of the Red Crater, Emerald Lakes and steaming vents that make this hike so iconic. It will all be worth it when you celebrate at dinner with a bottle of fine New Zealand wine. Those who prefer a more restful day can find plenty to do at the village: Soda Springs walk, Taranaki Falls walk, or simply drink coffee and view the great exhibits at the Park Visitor Centre. Enjoy your second night in this alpine village. Skotel, Tongariro National Park (All meals)

Day 5       Tongariro – Wellington

Rest your legs this morning as we drive south through rolling hill country to the capital city of Wellington. The rest of the afternoon is yours, so take your time as you stroll along the fabulous waterfront and through the busy streets of this buzzing wee city. Absorb some of New Zealand’s history in the national museum - Te Papa, explore the waterfront, or simply get lost admiring the heritage houses along one of the many improbably steep streets. Nowhere is very far in Wellington. You are spoilt for choice for places to dine this evening, so take your pick. Distinction Hotel, Wellington (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 6      Wellington – Abel Tasman National Park, 11.7km/4 hours hiking

Before boarding your plane grab a fast breakfast at one of the groovy airport cafes. Enjoy your scenic flight over Cook Straight. Your southern guide will meet you at the airport before your picturesque drive to Kaiteriteri. This seaside village is the gateway to the popular Abel Tasman National Park. Board a water taxi for a jaunt into the heart of the National Park. Step ashore at Anchorage and follow the famed Abel Tasman coastal track through native forests and along golden sand beaches. After passing through Torrent Bay a well-formed trail leads you up and over a gentle ridge into Bark Bay where you will meet the water taxi for a return journey to Kaiteriteri. On a return to Nelson freshen up before strolling downtown for dinner, the town center is well known for its vibrant and arty atmosphere. Rutherford Hotel, Nelson (Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7      Nelson – Punakaiki, 6km/3 hours hiking

On the way to the West Coast stop for a remarkable hike to marvel at natural flames which have been burning since the 1920's. Access this phenomena with a local guide over a privately owned working deer farm. Unlike the Eternal Flames of the Chimera in Turkey these flames are surrounded by lush tree ferns and beech forest. A cup of 'billy tea' and hot cakes prepared over the flames gives this experience a distinctly kiwi flavour. Continue your journey alongside the mighty Buller River as it cuts through the massive wilderness of the upper South Island, arriving on the coast at Westport. Take a short stroll at Cape Foulwind to view a colony of New Zealand fur seals playfully splashing around in the rock pools. Then head south visit a local pub for dinner. Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki (All meals)

Day 8      Punakaiki, 11km/4 hours hiking

Hike the Inland Pack Track from Punakaiki to Pororari. This historic route was once used by prospectors and miners to avoid the immense coastal cliffs while travelling the West Coast. Pass through deep limestone canyons, towering rainforests, and the groves of Nikau Palms. You may not be able to resist a speedy swim in one of the many deep clear pools you pass on the way! After lunch hike along the Truman track to reach stunning waterfalls, sea cliffs, and wild beaches. And of course no visit to Punakaiki is complete without a trip to the Pancake Rocks and blowholes. Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki (All meals)

Day 9      Punakaiki – Christchurch, 4km/2 hours hiking

This remarkable highway takes us from the lush green rainforests of the West Coast and over the glaciated Southern Alps to the parched soft yellow savannahs of Canterbury. From Arthur’s Pass hike (unguided) four kilometers down to the village on a well-formed walking track. Catch a glimpse of the colonial past as we pass Jacks Hut, a restored roadman’s cottage. East of the pass, stretch your legs again and stroll around the enchanting limestone outcrop. Arrive in Christchurch in the mid afternoon, time to explore the inner district and see some of the innovative and exciting methods used to rebuild the heart of the city post the devastating 2011 earthquake. Camelot Motor Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 10  Christchurch – Aoraki/Mount Cook, 2km/1 hour hiking

A mid-morning departure allows time to discover some city cafes or see one of the parks in the Garden City. The drive west takes you to Lake Tekapo, famous for its stunning turquoise waters and the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, perched daintily by the lake. Hike up through wilding conifers and tussock grasslands to the summit of Mount John. Revel in the 360-degree views of the Patagonia-like landscape. The sweeping Mackenzie basin is a sparsely populated region in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps; tawny-brown drylands, braided riverbeds and startling glacial lakes extend to the horizon. Arrive at Aoraki/Mount Cook in the late afternoon. Relax and enjoy breathtaking views of New Zealand's highest mountain (3,724 meters). Aoraki / Mount Cook Alpine Lodge (Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11    Mt Cook, 5-8km/4 hours hiking

Hike up to Sealey Tarns and enjoy the awesome views of Mt Sefton, Mueller Glacier and across the Hooker Valley to Aoraki/Mount Cook. If you’re feeling energetic, join the guide for a further climb from the tarns up to the crest of Mueller Ridge for even wider views of this magnificent alpine landscape. Those not wanting to climb to Sealey or Mueller can take the flatter option and walk up the Hooker Valley (unguided), enjoying close up views of the Mueller and Hooker Glaciers on the way. Aoraki / Mount Cook Alpine Lodge (All meals)

Day 12    Mt Cook – Wanaka, 2km/1 hour hiking

Travel up the Tasman Valley towards the longest glacier in New Zealand, the Tasman Glacier. Take a short walk through the glacial moraine and board a custom-built boat for a unique spin around the terminal lake. Like most glaciers in the world the Tasman Glacier is retreating and the terminal lake increases in size every year. This dynamic environment is dotted with icebergs of all shapes and sizes from the collapsing terminal wall of the glacier. The drive to Wanaka follows the Mackenzie country south before climbing over the tussock lands of the Lindis Pass into the southern lakes district. Wanaka is a lovely holiday town on the lake-side. Edgewater Resort, Wanaka (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 13    Wanaka – Queenstown, 10km/4 hours hiking

A beautiful drive alongside Lake Wanaka leads you to Aspiring National Park. Hike up the Matukituki Valley beneath some fine peaks before turning up the Rob Roy side stream and climbing abruptly to the bushline. Watch water tumble off the glacier’s snout as you relax and enjoy lunch. After the hike grab a drink and unwind on the lawn of the famous old drover’s hotel at Cardrona, before driving over the Crown Range and into the lively scene of Queenstown. Your tour finishes here, in the late afternoon. (Breakfast, Lunch)
What's Included
  • Guide
  • Transport
  • Accommodation
  • Most but not all meals
  • First-aid kit
  • Drinking water
  • Safety equipment
  • Hiking equipment (please request)
  • Maps
What's Not Included
  • 2 evening meals and 1 breakfast
  • Any optional activities
Cancellation Policy
Cancel up to 1 day in advance for a full refund
Meeting Point

Auckland – 07:00 Heritage Hotel foyer, 35 Hobson Street, Central Auckland (Open in Google Maps)

Know Before You Go
• Up to 4-5 hours of physical activity per day
• At times carrying a backpack of 4-5kgs
• Tracks generally in good condition
• Altitude gains of up to 600 meters (2000 feet) on harder days
• No hiking experience necessary, hiking and fitness grade B
• The full (optional) Tongariro Alpine Crossing on day 4 takes 6-7 hours and has an altitude gain of 750 meters

From US$5,546.14 per person

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Hiking New Zealand

Product ID: 52710