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Guided Walking : Asia & South Pacific

New Zealand: The South Island

Easy to Moderate Terrain: 2-8 Miles Daily

New Zealand South Island Guided Tour Map

Tramping—that’s Kiwi for “taking long walks”—is a beloved and long-cherished pastime in New Zealand. When you join Country Walkers in this breathtaking corner of the world, you will understand why. In the northern reaches of the South Island, pristine lakes glimmer in the soft light reflected by emerald-clad hills. Tranquil footpaths deliver you to secluded coves and golden-sand beaches. Sea-drowned valleys form a maze of waterways dotted with lush forested islands. Follow the footpaths of locals—and some of the nation’s earliest settlers— along spellbinding trails sought by connoisseurs of nature. Set off on trails directly from your lodges, savoring the lakeside tranquility of Nelson Lakes National Park, absorbing the coastal beauty of Abel Tasman National Park—home of one of the nation’s “Great Walks”—and traversing the magnificent Queen Charlotte Track in Marlborough Sounds. Along the way, enjoy fresh cuisine from land and sea—including a special tasting of the region’s famed green-shell mussels.


Tour Highlights:
  • Hike the Mt. Robert Circuit and marvel at the untouched vistas of Nelson Lakes National Park.
  • Trace the spellbinding trails of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, rated one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks.”
  • Follow the scenic ridgeline of the Queen Charlotte Track as splendid vistas of island-dotted sounds unfold far below.
Flight + Tour Combo

11 days, 10 nights

FROM $6,098 USD

per person, double occupancy

Tour extensions available
Queenstown
3 nights from $1148 - $1248*

Tour Only

8 days, 7 nights

FROM $4,198 USD

per person, double occupancy



Request Reservation Online Contact Us

OR Call to Book 800.234.6900

Why Walk With Us

  • Trust our expertise with 38+ years in active travel.
  • Immersive experiences with our local guides.
  • Virtually everything is included, even beer and wine with dinner.
  • Your departure is always guaranteed.
  • We take care of our solo travelers.
  • Past guests and referrals always save.

Itinerary & Accommodations

View the Tour Only Itinerary Open
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Day 1

Join your New Zealand: The South Island tour

Your guide(s) meet you at the Chateau on the Park at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby. Your guide(s) will be wearing a Country Walkers shirt. Please be dressed for walking.

From Christchurch, drive to Hanmer Springs, a walker’s paradise of forested hills and soothing thermal baths. Climb the gentle trail up Conical Hill, passing Japanese cypress and giant firs, and take in sweeping views of the Hanmer Basin at the top.

Accommodation: Select Braemar Lodge & Spa, Hanmer Springs

Ideally located close to the village yet enveloped in its own pocket of peace and tranquility, Select Braemar Lodge & Spa offers outstanding views across the valley toward the mountains and alpine forests. Each of its 24 open-plan suites—the largest in Hanmer Springs—features floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony. During your stay, you might indulge in the services of Spa Braemar, from traditional and therapeutic body treatments to premium beauty therapies.

Day 2

Honeydew Walk

Transfer to the northern shores of Lake Rotoiti, part of the scenic Nelson Lakes National Park. Upon arrival, trace the Honeydew Walk through beech forests and past grassy tussocks, watching for parakeets and bellbirds.

Accommodation: Alpine Lodge, St. Arnaud

Alpine Lodge enjoys a pristine natural setting close to the northern shores of Lake Rotoiti. The property with its frontier style took its inspiration from the surrounding mountains. Rooms feature natural woods and large windows that look out into the open forest. This family-owned property is operated by the founder’s daughter and her husband, Alexandra and Leighton. Their restaurant proudly serves fresh, local cuisine with personable service.

Day 3

Mt Robert Circuit or Brunner Peninsula

Walk the Mt. Robert Circuit today, ascending through beech forest to high landscapes of alpine herbs and shrubs. For a gentler option, the Brunner Peninsula Nature Trail hugs the lake’s shore and offers stunning views.

Accommodation: Alpine Lodge, St. Arnaud

Alpine Lodge enjoys a pristine natural setting close to the northern shores of Lake Rotoiti. The property with its frontier style took its inspiration from the surrounding mountains. Rooms feature natural woods and large windows that look out into the open forest. This family-owned property is operated by the founder’s daughter and her husband, Alexandra and Leighton. Their restaurant proudly serves fresh, local cuisine with personable service.

Day 4

St. Arnaud to Kaiteriteri

Transfer to seaside Kaiteriteri to embark a sea shuttle to Abel Tasman National Park, a stunning peninsular nature reserve. Upon arrival, hike the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks,” marveling at rocky outcrops, sheltered coves, and palm-fringed beaches.

Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge, Abel Tasman National Park

This four-star wilderness lodge offers comfortable accommodation in a pristine setting within the national park. Contemporary design and comfort are combined with sustainable practices and local building products in guest rooms and throughout the grounds. The restaurant and café offer organic fare, much of it from the lodge’s organic garden, or sourced from nearby providers.

Day 5

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Trace the contours of Awaroa Inlet through beech, rimu, and matai forest, descending to Totaranui past giant cliff-top rata trees. You may spend time at this famous beach before returning your lodge by sea shuttle.

Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge, Abel Tasman National Park

This four-star wilderness lodge offers comfortable accommodation in a pristine setting within the national park. Contemporary design and comfort are combined with sustainable practices and local building products in guest rooms and throughout the grounds. The restaurant and café offer organic fare, much of it from the lodge’s organic garden, or sourced from nearby providers.

Day 6

Sky Track Walk and Greenshell Mussel Cruise

After a scenic morning loop walk, transfer to Marlborough Sounds, a striking landscape of secluded bays, islands, and beaches surrounded by soaring hills. Enjoy a vineyard lunch, then embark a private cruiser for Kenepuru Sound, sampling the region’s delectable green-shell mussels and award-winning wine along the way.

Accommodation: Raetihi Lodge, Marlborough Sounds

Located amidst the natural serenity of Marlborough Sounds and set directly on Kenepuru Sound, the boutique-style Raetihi Lodge offers the ultimate in tranquility. Popular since the 1930s, the lodge has been extensively rebuilt and today is a four-star property heralded for its luxury and comfort. With only 14 rooms, it guarantees an intimate experience. And with a private water-taxi dock and kayaks and mountain bikes readily available for your use, the invigorating activities of the sound are right outside your door.

Day 7

Queen Charlotte Track

Cross Kenepuru Sound by water taxi to hike the Queen Charlotte Track, one of New Zealand’s most spectacular walks. Your choice of routes traces the ridgeline of hills that surround the sound, offering magnificent views.

Accommodation: Raetihi Lodge, Marlborough Sounds

Located amidst the natural serenity of Marlborough Sounds and set directly on Kenepuru Sound, the boutique-style Raetihi Lodge offers the ultimate in tranquility. Popular since the 1930s, the lodge has been extensively rebuilt and today is a four-star property heralded for its luxury and comfort. With only 14 rooms, it guarantees an intimate experience. And with a private water-taxi dock and kayaks and mountain bikes readily available for your use, the invigorating activities of the sound are right outside your door.

Day 8

Your New Zealand: The South Island tour concludes

Transfer to the town of Nelson. After lunch, explore on your own or follow the mile-long Centre of New Zealand path before transferring to the airport.

View the Flight + Tour Combo Itinerary Close
Download Full Itinerary
Flight

Fly from USA to Christchurch, New Zealand

Begin your adventure by departing from a convenient gateway city in the United States or Canada. Spend the first night aloft. Flying from the US to New Zealand requires crossing the International Date Line, so this day is “lost.”

Arrival

Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand

Upon arrival at Christchurch Airport, gather your luggage and exit baggage claim to look for a representative holding a Country Walkers sign. Enjoy a complimentary shuttle transfer to the Chateau on the Park, about 15-20 minutes away. The shuttle is provided by Super Shuttle. Please note that your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m.; however, you may store your luggage at the reception desk while you explore the city. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. Meals are on your own.

Accommodation: Chateau on the Park, Christchurch

Tucked between Hagley Park and the picturesque historic homes and gardens of Mona Vale, the 193-room Chateau on the Park is nestled amidst five acres of beautiful and tranquil gardens. This resort-style hotel is just minutes from the center of Christchurch and offers a unique escape, seemingly a world away from city life. Country Walkers has reserved deluxe rooms for our guests.

Day 1

Join your New Zealand: The South Island tour

Breakfast is included at your hotel.

Your guide(s) meet you at the Chateau on the Park at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby. Your guide(s) will be wearing a Country Walkers shirt. Please be dressed for walking.

From Christchurch, drive to Hanmer Springs, a walker’s paradise of forested hills and soothing thermal baths. Climb the gentle trail up Conical Hill, passing Japanese cypress and giant firs, and take in sweeping views of the Hanmer Basin at the top.

Accommodation: Select Braemar Lodge & Spa, Hanmer Springs

Ideally located close to the village yet enveloped in its own pocket of peace and tranquility, Select Braemar Lodge & Spa offers outstanding views across the valley toward the mountains and alpine forests. Each of its 24 open-plan suites—the largest in Hanmer Springs—features floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony. During your stay, you might indulge in the services of Spa Braemar, from traditional and therapeutic body treatments to premium beauty therapies.

Day 2

Honeydew Walk

Transfer to the northern shores of Lake Rotoiti, part of the scenic Nelson Lakes National Park. Upon arrival, trace the Honeydew Walk through beech forests and past grassy tussocks, watching for parakeets and bellbirds.

Accommodation: Alpine Lodge, St. Arnaud

Alpine Lodge enjoys a pristine natural setting close to the northern shores of Lake Rotoiti. The property with its frontier style took its inspiration from the surrounding mountains. Rooms feature natural woods and large windows that look out into the open forest. This family-owned property is operated by the founder’s daughter and her husband, Alexandra and Leighton. Their restaurant proudly serves fresh, local cuisine with personable service.

Day 3

Mt Robert Circuit or Brunner Peninsula

Walk the Mt. Robert Circuit today, ascending through beech forest to high landscapes of alpine herbs and shrubs. For a gentler option, the Brunner Peninsula Nature Trail hugs the lake’s shore and offers stunning views.

Accommodation: Alpine Lodge, St. Arnaud

Alpine Lodge enjoys a pristine natural setting close to the northern shores of Lake Rotoiti. The property with its frontier style took its inspiration from the surrounding mountains. Rooms feature natural woods and large windows that look out into the open forest. This family-owned property is operated by the founder’s daughter and her husband, Alexandra and Leighton. Their restaurant proudly serves fresh, local cuisine with personable service.

Day 4

St. Arnaud to Kaiteriteri

Transfer to seaside Kaiteriteri to embark a sea shuttle to Abel Tasman National Park, a stunning peninsular nature reserve. Upon arrival, hike the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks,” marveling at rocky outcrops, sheltered coves, and palm-fringed beaches.

Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge, Abel Tasman National Park

This four-star wilderness lodge offers comfortable accommodation in a pristine setting within the national park. Contemporary design and comfort are combined with sustainable practices and local building products in guest rooms and throughout the grounds. The restaurant and café offer organic fare, much of it from the lodge’s organic garden, or sourced from nearby providers.

Day 5

Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Trace the contours of Awaroa Inlet through beech, rimu, and matai forest, descending to Totaranui past giant cliff-top rata trees. You may spend time at this famous beach before returning your lodge by sea shuttle.

Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge, Abel Tasman National Park

This four-star wilderness lodge offers comfortable accommodation in a pristine setting within the national park. Contemporary design and comfort are combined with sustainable practices and local building products in guest rooms and throughout the grounds. The restaurant and café offer organic fare, much of it from the lodge’s organic garden, or sourced from nearby providers.

Day 6

Sky Track Walk and Greenshell Mussel Cruise

After a scenic morning loop walk, transfer to Marlborough Sounds, a striking landscape of secluded bays, islands, and beaches surrounded by soaring hills. Enjoy a vineyard lunch, then embark a private cruiser for Kenepuru Sound, sampling the region’s delectable green-shell mussels and award-winning wine along the way.

Accommodation: Raetihi Lodge, Marlborough Sounds

Located amidst the natural serenity of Marlborough Sounds and set directly on Kenepuru Sound, the boutique-style Raetihi Lodge offers the ultimate in tranquility. Popular since the 1930s, the lodge has been extensively rebuilt and today is a four-star property heralded for its luxury and comfort. With only 14 rooms, it guarantees an intimate experience. And with a private water-taxi dock and kayaks and mountain bikes readily available for your use, the invigorating activities of the sound are right outside your door.

Day 7

Queen Charlotte Track

Cross Kenepuru Sound by water taxi to hike the Queen Charlotte Track, one of New Zealand’s most spectacular walks. Your choice of routes traces the ridgeline of hills that surround the sound, offering magnificent views.

Accommodation: Raetihi Lodge, Marlborough Sounds

Located amidst the natural serenity of Marlborough Sounds and set directly on Kenepuru Sound, the boutique-style Raetihi Lodge offers the ultimate in tranquility. Popular since the 1930s, the lodge has been extensively rebuilt and today is a four-star property heralded for its luxury and comfort. With only 14 rooms, it guarantees an intimate experience. And with a private water-taxi dock and kayaks and mountain bikes readily available for your use, the invigorating activities of the sound are right outside your door.

Day 8

Your New Zealand: The South Island tour concludes

After breakfast, transfer to the town of Nelson, after lunch in Nelson there is the option to spend time in Nelson or do the Centre of New Zealand Walk before going to the airport.

Add a Tour Extension to Your Flight + Tour Combo
Post-Tour Extension: Queenstown

3 nights from $1148 - $1248*

  • Three nights at the Heritage Hotel†
  • Transfer from the airport to the Heritage Hotel
  • Three breakfasts

For those guests reserving our Flight + Tour Combo, you may wish to further extend your time in New Zealand with an additional two nights in Queenstown. Set in the heart of the Southern Alps, Queenstown is perfectly situated to springboard an outdoor adventure. As the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping, it creates opportunities to get your pulse pounding in spades. From mountain biking to white-water rafting to paragliding, you’ll find outfitters for whatever kind of activity you might want to enjoy. Of course, those with more sedate interests will find plenty to delight them too. Queenstown offers countless exceptional restaurants and excellent vineyards to satisfy foodies of all stripes. And no visit to South Island is complete without watching the sun set across Lake Wakatipu, painting the saw-toothed peaks of the Remarkables beyond.

Single Supplement: $498*

†Please note that some hotel city taxes may need to be paid locally.

*For those traveling in 2018, Post-Tour Extension price may vary depending on your departure date.

Flight + Tour Combo Inclusions:

  • Round-trip international airfare (includes airline fuel charges and taxes)
  • Airport transfers
  • One night at the Chateau on the Park, Christchurch*
  • One breakfast
  • 8-day/7-night New Zealand: The South Island guided walking tour with on-trip inclusions

*Please note that some hotel city taxes may need to be paid locally.

Tour Extension Available

Queenstown
3 nights from only from $1148 - $1248*

Learn More

Ready to take the next step?

Request A Reservation

OR Call 800.234.6900

Dates & Prices

Tour Only

2018 Dates Per person, double occupancy Single Supplement
more info
Jan 16 - Jan 23 $4,398 $798
Feb 13 - Feb 20 $4,198 $798
Mar 6 - Mar 13 $4,198 $798
Nov 6 - Nov 13 $4,198 $798
Dec 4 - Dec 11 $4,398 $798

Flight + Tour Combo

2018 Dates LOS ANGELES Change Departure Airport
Flight + Tour Combo
more info
Flight + Tour Combo
more info
Single Supplement
more info
Jan 13 - Jan 23 $6,598
$898
Feb 10 - Feb 20 $6,098 $898
Mar 3 - Mar 13 $6,098 $898
Nov 3 - Nov 13 $6,098 $898
Dec 1 - Dec 11 $6,298 $898

Guides

Guides

Our guides' experience, dedication, and enthusiasm make them ideal ambassadors for your destination. They chart the course, finesse the details, and speak the language (English, as well as the local language). They also possess a truly rare skill, knowing when to let serendipity and inspiration take the lead.

Rene Schwaller - New Zealand Walking Tour Guide
Rene Schwaller

Rene Schwaller moved to Queenstown from Switzerland in the 1980’s and was a pioneer heli-ski and rafting guide. He then brought the first paragliders into New Zealand and manufactured his own brand of glider – Renegade! Rene spreads his time between leading hiking and cycling tours and working as a tandem paragliding pilot in the summer and heli-skiing in the winter. Rene’s long history of adventuring in New Zealand means he is often running into friends who are local characters during his travels.

Vanessa Wards - New Zealand the South Island Guide
Vanessa Wards

Having grown up on a farm in the North Island, Vanessa Wards, or Ness, loves all things involving the outdoors, including many adventure sports common in New Zealand. After completing a degree in Sport and Recreation Management at the Auckland University of Technology, she went on to work in an array of occupations before a love of travel and adventure took her across the globe, visiting Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, and Morocco, among other places. Upon returning to New Zealand, she has been able to share her passion for introducing the scenic landscapes of the South Island by guiding adventures throughout her home country.

Brenda George
Brenda George

Raised on a sheep and cattle farm on New Zealand’s South Island, Brenda George began her guiding career working as a trekking guide on the Routeburn Track while attending Lincoln University. Following graduation, Brenda moved to the alpine town of Wanaka working on ski patrol at Treble Cone Ski Resort in winter and as a trekking guide during the summer. Brenda has been guiding for Country Walkers for more than 10 years and loves to show off her favorite places on the South Island.

Yvonne Cook - New Zealand Walking tour guide
Yvonne Cook

Yvonne Cook has worked as a guide, interpreter, and educator for small groups on adventurous expeditions in the polar regions in addition to being a kayak and trekking guide in both New Zealand and internationally. A university education in natural sciences combined with wide-ranging guiding experience has given her a broad knowledge base with her main areas of expertise being geology, glaciology, oceanography, meteorology, marine mammals, and botany. As a South Island local she is committed to understanding and protecting New Zealand’s natural environment. In addition, she has three decades of managing national and international field projects and personal expeditions that have all provided extensive experience in risk management, team work, and interacting with people from a variety of cultures.

Photos

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