This journey brings you everything you could want to do on the South Island—that's why we named it “ultimate” South Island! We hike four of the country's Great Walks: the alpine Routeburn Track, plus the lush pathways of the Rakiura, Kepler, and Abel Tasman tracks, all protected in pristine national parks filled with soaring landscapes. We'll also savor an overnight cruise in Milford Sound (the jewel of Fiordland National Park), hike and sea kayak in the coastal paradise of Abel Tasman National Park, look for kiwis (the feathered kind) on remote Stewart Island, and sip wines in Central Otago. We've arranged three internal flights so we can easily get to the South Island's most diverse settings.
Arrive: Queenstown, New Zealand
Depart: Nelson, New Zealand
A short flight brings us to remote Stewart Island, more commonly known by its Maori name, Rakiura. Taking a water taxi out to Ulva Island, predator-free and a birder's paradise, we hike the Rakiura Track along the coast. One evening, there's an option to visit a private conservation area to search for the nocturnal and flightless Stewart Island kiwi. Flying back to the mainland on Day 6, we'll hike our third “Great Walk,” the Kepler Track, through red beech forests along Lake Te Anau in Fiordland National Park, with an optional thrilling alpine heli-hike from the Luxmore Hut.
In the majestic Matukituki Valley, we hike the Rocky Mountain Track to Diamond Lake for panoramas of the Southern Alps. The next day's hike is a fantastic journey across the Rob Roy Glacier Track into a dramatic setting of snowfields, hanging glaciers, cliffs, and waterfalls.
Flying to Nelson, we'll make an exciting journey by water taxi out to Abel Tasman National Park for a grand finale in a world of aquamarine waters, native forests, golden beaches, and magnificent coastal trails. Wading to shore from the boat, we'll hike a coastal trail to our lodge by way of mystical fern forests and lagoons. Our lodge, the Awaroa, is set in a 47-acre private reserve inside Abel Tasman National Park itself. From this beautiful setting right in the park, we'll hike to our heart's delight and explore by sea kayak. Depart via Nelson on Day 15.
Pricing below is per person and based on double occupancy. The earlier you book, the more choice you’ll have. WT also has the most generous cancellation and transfer policies in the industry, we make it easy if you change your mind. Have a small group of your own? Take over an existing date or choose your own. You’ll have your own private guide–and the adventure–all to yourselves!
$600 due at time of reservation
90 days prior to departure: Balance
Up to 91 days prior to departure: No Charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost
Scroll through our signature accommodations for this trip below. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Day 1 (1 night)
The Heritage Hotel Queenstown is set in a quiet location on a hillside just above the town and offers panoramas of Lake Wakapitu and the majestic Remarkables Mountain Range. It's far enough away from the hustle...
Glenorchy, New Zealand
Days 2-3 (2 nights)
Oban, New Zealand
Days 4-5 (2 nights)
Te Anau, New Zealand
Day 6 (1 night)
Milford Sound, New Zealand
Day 7 (1 night)
Gibbston, New Zealand
Days 8-9 (2 nights)
Wanaka, New Zealand
Days 10-11 (2 nights)
Kaiteriteri, Abel Tasman Nat'l Park, New Zealand
Days 12-15 (4 nights)
Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders have a passion and a joy for creating an unforgettable journey. We are extremely proud of them and the incredible travel experiences they make possible. For more information, including client comments about them and which specific trips they will be leading, please click on their profiles below.
Zac ImhoofView Profile
Tony McCutcheonView Profile
Chris CochraneView Profile
Karen StuartView Profile
Peter BersaniView Profile
Gordon RaynorView Profile
Mary RaynorView Profile
This trip is rated Level 3+, Moderate, according to our trip grading system, with softer options available for anyone who prefers a gentler hike. You will need to be comfortable hiking 8 miles in a day, being on your feet for up to 5 hours a day. Trail conditions, weather, and the group's level of fitness can affect hiking times and pacing.
"The trip was action packed, we saw and did such wonderful hikes in the fern forests, top of mountains, and gorgeous lakes. Bonus helicopter ride too!"
San Rafael, CA
Small Group Adventure
Hiker’s Journey to New Zealand
New Zealand: Auckland to Milford Sound
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New Zealand: Hidden Treasures of the Far North
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Our Area Specialists know every detail about our tours. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!
Submit the form below to download itinerary
With more than 200 different adventures to choose from, we want to help you find the trip that’s right for you. Our Trip Level system ranks each trip in two ways: a number rating from 1 to 6 according to the activity, and general travel rigors. 1 is the easiest and 6+ the most difficult—see descriptions below for explanations of each number. A plus (+) sign means the trip is a bit more strenuous than other trips of that level. The detailed explanation of each trip—below the bar with the number rating—is perhaps more important, specifying activities, altitudes, hiking, and travel conditions. The Detailed Itinerary, available by download or mail, gives further information. Our Area Managers can also answer questions and guide you to the trip that best suits your interests.
Level 1 – Easiest
Non-camping journeys, optional walks, little elevation gain or loss.
Level 3 – Moderate
Half- to full-day hikes (3-6 hours) over rolling countryside on most days, occasional steep trails. Many of our hotel-based walking tours are in this category, as are our snorkeling adventures.
Level 5 – Strenuous
Full-day hikes (4-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Trips with hiking at average altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet are in this category.