Inspirational reflections come naturally on this walking tour in New Zealand among the South Island’s mountain-backed lakes and blue-green bays.
Step out from your lodge to stargaze, and the sweep of the night sky is gloriously different. On this remote inlet accessible only by foot or boat, it’s not just that the stars shine brighter. They’re completely reconfigured. Stretched out before you, Awaroa Bay reflects the light of the Southern Cross in the moonlight. As you wander the legendary Abel Tasman and Queen Charlotte tracks and explore the South Island’s great national parks on this hiking tour, New Zealand’s most magnificent landscapes become your second home. Even better: its friendly locals—met in charming towns, trails, and even a boat cruise—will become like family. Along the way, its pristine lakes, coves, and sounds—glimmering in gorgeous shades of jade green, turquoise and topaz—will give you a lifetime of memories to reflect on.
- Hike the Mt. Robert Circuit, an alpine trail overlooking Lake Rotoiti, in Nelson Lakes National Park, gazing up for views of the snow-capped Southern Alps.
- Explore one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks,” the Abel Tasman Coast Track, admiring its golden beaches, crystal-clear bays, and stunning rock formations.
- Take in panoramic views of turquoise waters and stunning coastlines at Marlborough Sounds, as you ascend the ridge-top trails of the Queen Charlotte Track.
Alpine Lodge enjoys a pristine natural setting close to the northern shores of Lake Rotoiti. The property’s frontier style took its inspiration from the surrounding mountains. Rooms are un-air conditioned and feature natural wood 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.
Chateau on the Park
The Chateau on the Park is a resort-style hotel tucked between Hagley Park and the beautiful historic home and gardens of Mona Vale, just minutes from the center of Christchurch. Nestled in five acres (two hectares) of beautiful and tranquil gardens, the 193-room property offers a unique escape, seemingly a world away from city life. The hotel is not air conditioned but does offer WiFi throughout.
This four-star wilderness lodge offers comfortable accommodation in a pristine setting within Abel Tasman National Park. Contemporary design and comfort are combined with sustainable practices and local building products in the un-air conditioned guest rooms and throughout the grounds. The restaurant and café offer organic fare, much of it from the lodge’s garden, or sourced from nearby providers.
Conveniently located amid the rustic landscape of Portage Bay, this boutique, casual accommodation offers guaranteed ocean view rooms with stunning views of Marlborough Sounds. Rooms are intentionally designed without TVs, WiFi connections or air conditioning to give you the opportunity to unplug and rediscover nature. And with a private water taxi dock readily available, invigorating activities are right outside your door.
The Rutherford Hotel
The Rutherford Hotel Nelson offers comfortable hotel accommodation with a full range of superior guest facilities with in-room WiFi and air conditioning, as well as two restaurants, a café, and a location only a few minutes’ walk from Nelson’s main shopping district and landmark cathedral.
Select Braemar Lodge
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 air conditioned, open-plan suites—the largest in Hanmer Springs—features floor-to-ceiling windows and a private balcony. Some suites offer a private outdoor hot tub. During your stay, you might indulge in the services of Spa Braemar, from traditional and therapeutic body treatments to premium beauty therapies.
Linger Longer with a Tour Extension
2021 Pre-Tour Extension - Queenstown
- Three nights at the Heritage Hotel
- Small-group airport and hotel transfers
- Three breakfasts
- Internal flight from Queenstown to Christchurch
3 Nights From $548
per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $348
Begin your adventure by departing from a convenient gateway city in the United States or Canada. Spend the first night aloft.
Flying to New Zealand requires crossing the International Date Line, so this day is “lost.”
After arriving at Queenstown Airport, enjoy a complimentary shuttle transfer to the Heritage Hotel, about 15-20 minutes away. After gathering your luggage and exiting baggage claim, look for a representative holding a Country Walkers sign. The shuttle is provided by SuperShuttle. 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 (no meals included).
Country Walkers provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Queenstown during your stay.
Numerous possibilities await you today. Nestled in the heart of the Southern Alps, Queenstown is perfectly situated as a springboard for outdoor adventure. As the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping, it offers the perfect opportunity to get your pulse pounding as either a spectator or a participant. Your hotel can help you arrange many outdoor activities such as mountain biking, whitewater rafting, or paragliding, to name a few. Whichever you choose, be sure to visit one of Queenstown’s exceptional restaurants this evening. With a range of choices, there’s enough variety to satisfy foodies of all types.
After breakfast, the day is yours to discover more of this spectacular city. Perhaps you’ll take an excursion to visit one of Queenstown’s excellent vineyards. Tonight, sip a glass of wine while enjoying the view across Lake Wakatipu, as the setting sun paints the saw-toothed peaks of The Remarkables.
After an early breakfast, you’ll take a complimentary transfer from your Queenstown hotel to the Queenstown Airport at 10:10 a.m. for your flight to Christchurch. A representative from SuperShuttle will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and assist with your transfer.
Upon arrival at Christchurch Airport mid-day, 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 SuperShuttle. 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 using the provided City Information as your guide.
Flight + Tour Combo
|Exceptional boutique accommodations|
|All on-tour meals except 1 dinner|
|Local guides with you throughout tour|
|Local wine and/or beer with dinner|
|Travel assistance available 24/7 provided by Allianz|
|One extra night in Christchurch|
|One extra night in Nelson|
|Airport car service for arrival & departure|
|Pre- and post-tour breakfasts|
|Business-class upgrades available|
Expert Local Guides
Experience your destination like an insider with people who call it home.
After spending her youth exploring the far corners of the globe, with travel to 90 countries and 6 continents, Sarah Inglewood returned to New Zealand to work as an emergency responder and as part of the police search and rescue team. After spending time working in outdoor education, her passion for the outdoors inspired a move to guiding, where she loves sharing adventures in her beautiful homeland.
Mark Brinsden is an avid adventurer and outdoor enthusiast. He has a diverse background having worked in financial markets and bioscience but it is in tourism where his passion lies. A proud ambassador for all things Kiwi, he enjoys nothing more than sharing the wonders of his home country with fellow travelers and visitors from the world over.
From a traditional Kiwi upbringing in Northland, New Zealand, Julia Thorne’s life and vocation have segued through worlds of journalism and editorial photography, to property development, artwork, and eclectic roles in the adventure travel sector. Julia’s undying passion for Aotearoa and sharing its natural treasures and culture with visitors eventually led her to her current adventure-guiding guests around her beloved native country.