Discover New Zealand by rental car and by foot and explore its unique fauna and flora close-up. You will see many highlights of New Zealand on this trip, and visit some of the best National Parks, but you will also have time for leisure and relaxation.
Recommended time for travel for most of these walks is 01 November to 30 April.
Price from €4,400 per person*
Day 1: Arrive Auckland
Arrive in Auckland. If you are not too tired, we recommend making a leisurely stroll along Auckland’s waterfront.
Day 2: Auckland – West Coast – Coromandel Peninsula
Approximate driving time 3 hours, 170 km
You can explore Auckland’s fascinating West Coast with a side trip to Muriwai Gannet colony, make a walk on the black sand beach and have a stop at one of the vineyards and cafés in the west. Then you head southeast toward subtropical Coromandel Peninsula. You drive along the coast to charming Coromandel town.
Day 3: Coromandel Peninsula
Coromandel Coastal Walkway, grade 2*, pre-booked walk
You will be picked up from your accommodation and taken to the starting point of the track on the northern tip of the peninsula. From Fletcher Bay, you begin a comfortable 3 to 4 hour self-guided trek over the Coromandel Coastal Walkway, traversing farmland, coastline and pristine native bush. Before you are picked up again you can take a well-deserved swim in the ocean or a bath in a crystal clear creek.
Day 4: Coromandel – Whangamata
Approximate driving time 2 hours, 110 km Wentworth Falls Track, grade 2*, 2.5 hours
You cross Coromandel Peninsula and enjoy many beautiful beaches. At Hot Water Beach you can dig your own thermal pool at low tide or do the short walk from Hahei Beach to the amazing Cathedral Cove. You continue driving along the East Coast, with stops at the long Opoutere Beach with an interesting bird sanctuary. Wentworth Valley near Whangamata has some great walks between 1 and 6 hours. The most popular one is the 2.5 hours loop to the waterfalls. You stay in a lovely Bed & Breakfast near Whangamata.
Day 5: Whangamata – Rotorua
Approximate driving time 3.5 hours, 175 km
You travel along the East Coast and pass through the Kiwi growing area of Te Puke. Make a stop at the visitor centre and learn all about the national fruit of New Zealand. Later you arrive in Rotorua, the heartland of Maori culture and centre of thermal activities in New Zealand. Visit some of the natural wonders of this amazing area and let yourself be entertained by a cheerful sheep show. We recommend a Maori cultural show with a traditional Hangi for the evening.
Day 6: Rotorua/Te Urewera National Park
Whirinaki Waterfall Track, grade 2*, 3-4 hours
Today’s walk takes you through Whirinaki Forest, an area of 60,000 ha with the most beautiful of New Zealand rainforests. It is famous for its distinctive varieties of ancient trees. On your walk you will see gigantic trees like Podocarpus and a huge variety of other native trees. Try to spot the different native trees and seldom seen types of birds, like the Karearea (falcon) or the Kaka (parrot). After the walk relax in the thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua.
Day 7: Rotorua – Taupo – Tongariro National Park
Approximate driving time 4 hours, 220 km
On your way to Tongariro National Park you can visit Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland or Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Lake Taupo fascinates on a clear day with spectacular views to the volcanoes. The active volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park change the countryside all the time and make this park one of the most spectacular and interesting in New Zealand. You stay at the foot of Mount Ruapehu.
Day 8: Tongariro National Park
Tongariro Alpine Crossing, grade 4*, 7-9 hours, pre-booked walk
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is often named as one of the best day hikes in the world. The walk is weather dependent. On the way you will see the highlights of the park like South Crater, Central Crater and North Crater, Emerald and Blue Lakes, Ketetahi Hot Springs and Soda Springs. The track takes you through various vegetations zones, from alpine bush vegetation to Tussock grass and on to barren highlands and down again to lush Podocarpus forest. At the end of the walk you will be picked up again. There are also easier walking options for less ambitious hikers.
Day 9: Tongariro National Park – Whanganui National Park – Wellington
Approximate driving time 5.5 hours, 315 km
Via Raetihi your tour continues to Pipiriki and along the Whanganui River, the most beautiful river in the North Island. You follow the course of the river along the old Whanganui River Road to Wanganui and on to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Wellington is a vibrant city and we recommend a sightseeing tour and a walk along the waterfront to Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand.
Day 10: Wellington – Marlborough Sound – Picton – Queen Charlotte Sound
Ferry crossing 3.5 hours
The tour with the ferry through picturesque Marlborough Sound is one of the highlights of your trip. In Picton you take a water taxi to your accommodation in Queen Charlotte Sound. If you feel like it you can do an afternoon walk, or discover the bay by kayak.
Day 11: Queen Charlotte Sound – Queen Charlotte Walk
Queen Charlotte Walk, grade 2*, 2-3 hours, pre-booked walk
Today explore the stunning Marlborough Sounds by boat and by foot. Your excursion includes water taxi transfers as well as a self-guided hike on the famous Queen Charlotte Track. Enjoy the breath taking Marlborough Sounds’ coast – a magical place for exploring.
Day 12: Queen Charlotte Sound – Nelson – Abel Tasman National Park
Approximate driving time 3 hours, 180 km
Transfer back to Picton by boat. Pick up your rental car and drive along Queen Charlotte Drive and the bays and beaches of the Marlborough Sound. Enjoy sunny Nelson, with its local art scene and beautiful vineyards, before you continue on to the Abel Tasman National Park.
Day 13: Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman Coast Track, grade 1-3*, 4 hours, pre-booked walk
A boat takes you along the coast to Abel Tasman National Park to a bay where your walk starts. You walk through rainforest and native bush and on golden sand beaches. If you are lucky you can see seals close up. After your walk the boat will pick you up again in another bay.
Day 14: Abel Tasman National Park – Paparoa National Park/Punakaiki
Approximate driving time 6 hours, 315 km
The drive along the winding Buller Gorge takes you to the wild West Coast. A side trip in Westport to Cape Foulwind and a seal colony is worthwhile if you have time. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are fascinating. At high tide water is pressed through the rocks and shoots out of the many holes in the rocks. Being here at sunset is a great way to round up the day.
Day 15: Punakaiki
Pororari River Track, grade 2*, 3 hours
This is a great walk through a river valley and gorge, with dramatic cliffs and dense subtropical forest with rare birds. There is a lovely picnic area and swimming spot on the way. The park has many more tracks for any fitness level with walks of between 4 and 7 hours. The bizarre rock formations at the coast and the subtropical climate with plenty of sun and rain are responsible for the diverse flora. You can also kayak along the Pororari River, if you feel like a change from hiking!
Day 16: Punakaiki – Westland National Park/Franz Josef
Approximate driving time 4 hours, 225 km
You continue along the West Coast. Greymouth and Hokitika are the jade centres of New Zealand. Visit a workshop and watch the jade carvers doing their art work. Glaciers, rainforest and coastal areas are close together in the Westland National Park. The many different shades of green that abound in the dense rainforest will amaze you. There is a lot to see and to do in this area, including a jet boat tour in Whataroa to a White Heron Colony, where you can observe these rare birds. Or visit Okarito on the coast, and make a kayak trip through the quiet lagoon. Helicopter flights with glacier landings are also possible from both the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers.
Day 17: Westland National Park – Haast Pass – Wanaka
Approximate driving time 4.5 hours, 285 km Mount Iron, Wanaka, grade 1*, 1.5 hours
We recommend a stop at the Ship Creek Walk and a side trip to the Monro Beach Walk. During the months of October to December you might even be able to see penguins and hector dolphins playing in the sea. You drive over Haast Pass, a scenic drive with many opportunities to stop and explore, to Wanaka. After the long drive the easy walk to the top of Mount Iron will reward you with a 360 degree view of the Southern Alps.
Day 18: Wanaka – Mt. Aspiring National Park
Rob Roy Glacier Track, grade 2-3*, 4-5 hours
The great track starts in beautiful Matukituki Valley at a swing bridge. This walk enables easy access to a spectacular alpine region with snowfields, glaciers, steep cliffs and waterfalls: the best Mother Nature has to offer. The Mt. Roy track is another spectacular walk in the area, with wonderful views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.
Day 19: Wanaka – Fiordland National Park/Te Anau
Approximate driving time 3.5 hours, 230 km
Across the Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest official road, you come down to Lake Wakatipu. First you drive along the lake and later through rural countryside to Te Anau. The little town is also known as ‘the walking capital of the world’. It is the perfect base for numerous walks. The Te Anau glow worm caves are another attraction, and a boat can take you over the lake to the caves if you are interested in seeing them.
Day 20: Te Anau/Milford Track
Guided Milford Track Day Tour, grade 2-3*, 5-6 hours, pre-booked walk, November – March
The 11 km day tour starts with a boat trip on Lake Te Anau to the head of the track. You walk through ancient forest all along the coast until you reach the Neale Burn River. Your guide will explain the historical background of this unique area. There will be plenty of time to relax, as well as have lunch. Because this tour is seasonal we offer an alternative boat trip to the Doubtful Sound, also called The Sound of Silence, from April to October. From the steep cliffs with lush rainforest, waterfalls plunge into the sea below. Dolphins and seals can usually be seen as well. You will spend the night again in Te Anau.
Day 21: Te Anau – Milford Sound – Queenstown
Approximate driving time 7 hours, 410 km
The road to Milford Sound takes you through Eglington and Hollyford Valley to the reflecting waters of the Sound, with its 1,000 meter towering Mitre Peak. You have the opportunity to go on a boat cruise in this spectacular sound, where the mountains rise straight out of the sea. In the evening, you drive back to Te Anau and along Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown.
Day 22: Queenstown
There are no limits for adrenalin junkies in the self-proclaimed adventure capital of the world: Jet boat tours, white water rafting, river surfing, all kinds of bungee jumping and river safaris. If you like it more relaxed, do a leisurely walk in the Remarkables and admire the view, play golf at world class courses or visit the gold mining town of Arrowtown. The possibilities are endless.
Day 23: Queenstown – Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
Approximate driving time 4 hours, 265 km
Hooker Valley Track, grade 2-3*, 2-4 hours
Through the wide Central Otago and over the Lindis Pass you reach the foot of Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Your walk starts in Mount Cook Village and takes you over two swing bridges to a viewing viewpoint with amazing views to Mount Cook and the glaciers. Another fascinating side trip is from Omarama to the Clay Cliffs. The bizarre rock formations change colours depending on the time of the day. You spend the night in Mount Cook Village.
Day 24: Mount Cook Village – Lake Tekapo – Christchurch
Approximate driving time 5.5 hours, 335 km
At the end of your holidays, spoil yourself with a scenic flight over the lakes and Alps or drive to the top of Mount John near Tekapo and enjoy the amazing views. You drive along the foothills and over the endless wide Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, often referred to as the most English town outside England, where you can go punting on the Avon River. Take the opportunity to tour the inner city, and marvel at the innovative and artistic reconstruction of the city, following the 2011 earthquake. Make sure you visit the fabulous new Cathedral designed by prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban (and made out of cardboard!), and stop for afternoon tea at one of the many great cafes dotting the inner city. (We love C1 Espresso.)
Day 25: Depart Christchurch
*Walking grades for the above walks: 1 Easy walks, no special condition required. 2 Low requirement on condition, light sloppy terrain. 3 Advanced – Good physical condition. 4 Experienced hiker with good physical fitness and endurance, challenging terrain. 5 Skilled expert, excellent fitness.
Price from €4,400 per person
Package includes standard accomodation, rental car, Meet & Greet on arrival in Auckland, transfer Coromandel Coastal Walkway, Transfer to/from Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Boat transfer to the Queen Charlotte Track, Boat transfer Abel Tasman National Park, Doubtful Sound boat cruise from Te Anau, and the Interislander ferry. (From November to March, the Doubtful Sound boat cruise will be replaced by a Milford Track Day Walk, from Te Anau). Also included is a personalised Tour Manual with detailed day-to-day driving instructions and recommended activities, New Zealand road atlas and map as well as regional brochures.
*Flights to New Zealand are not included in the above package price. Flights from Germany to New Zealand cost from €1300 and above, depending upon how far in advance you book, the season of travel, the airline, and the route. Please let us know if you would like us to assist you with booking flights to New Zealand.