- Stunning coastlines, incredible mountains and lush rainforest
- Travel through landscapes used in The Lord of the Rings, Narnia and Top of the Lake
- Warm welcome and the freshest seafood
- Arthur's Pass National Park and the Southern Alps
- Walking to the face of two glaciers: Franz Josef and Fox
The stunning scenery of New Zealand's South Island is the backdrop for this Walk through the landscape that inspired Peter Jackson's film trilogy The Lord of the Rings.
We start in the Queen Charlotte Sounds and retrace the steps of Captain Cook who landed here in 1770. The Queen Charlotte Walkway provides a spectacular highlight with panoramic views, diverse landscapes and peaceful tranquillity.
Traveling south to Kaikoura, we stop at Blenheim to explore the Wither Hills Track which leads up to panoramic views overlooking Blenheim's rolling hills and the ocean. After our walk, we visit the Raupo Cafe in Blenheim for light refreshments before heading south once more towards Kaikoura. We witness basking seals along the dramatic coastline and pause for lunch at the famous Kekerengu Store, where the spectacular ocean views are breath-taking. At Kaikoura, we stay overnight and sample fresh seafood from this quaint seaside town.
We move to the West Coast where lush rainforests and river tracks wind through primeval landscapes. The Porari River walk takes us into the heart of a natural gorge with vast rock walls and magical pancake rock formations at Punakaiki. The majesty and beauty of Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers mark the end of our stay on this coast.
Our journey continues to Wanaka for tranquil lakeside walks and a hike to the summit of Mount Iron for unsurpassed views of Mount Aspiring National Park. In picturesque Arrowtown, an old gold-mining town, we walk along a shady river track which meanders through the township.
Traveling south to the dramatic landscape of Queenstown, we explore the Sunshine Valley walk which follows Lake Wakatipu's shore. Our final destination is the wonderful native beech forest walk called the Routeburn Track. We sample a section of this track in pristine surroundings with mountain waterfalls, babbling rivers and awe-inspiring ranges. We end our adventure near Queenstown, enjoying the pure air and stunning mountain ranges
Tuesday, Wednesday Overnight: Beachcomber Inn
Thursday Overnight: The White Morph Inn
Friday, Saturday Overnight: Wilderness Lodge Arthurs Pass
Sunday, Monday Overnight: Lake Brunner Lodge
Optional Extra: At Lake Brunner and on the West Coast, there are some of the finest trout rivers in New Zealand. We can arrange for you to take a half or whole day away from the group to enjoy some trout fishing with a specialist trout guide. Please note: due to high demand, bookings need to be made in advance of arrival in New Zealand.
Tuesday, Wednesday Overnight: Te Waonui Forest Retreat
On Wednesday evening, you are free to wander out at leisure. Dinner is not included in your vacation package. There are a choice of restaurants, shops and bars within walking distance of your accommodation.
Optional Extra: Between walks you may choose to take an optional helicopter ride to view Mount Cook (12,500 ft ) and land on the glacier to drink in the beauty of this pristine environment.
Thursday, Friday Overnight: Edgewater Hotel
On Friday evening, you are free to wander out at leisure. Dinner is not included in your vacation package. There are a choice of restaurants, shops and bars within walking distance of your accommodation.
Saturday, Sunday Overnight: Nugget Point
Optional Extra: Nearby Arrowtown and Millbrook Golf Courses are both open to the public and easily accessible from the hotel. You can take the opportunity to slip away from the scheduled itinerary or stay on after the walk has ended and enjoy a round..
Optional Extras: We recommend you arrange any extra activities with your Walk Manager on arrival at the start of your Walk. Please note that these activities will incur an additional charge.
(Single Supplement $1,450.00)
Departure: Queenstown Airport
Hotels - Where we stay
The Beachcomber Inn enjoys a very convenient location close to the centre of the small township of Picton, on the edge of the waterfront. It has a quiet location on one side of this small town with lovely views across Picton Harbour. Facilties include a swimming pool, an excellent restaurant and the service is first class. The Wayfarers' have Super King Superior bedrooms with balcony and direct view across the harbour. These rooms are spacious and well-equipped with a hairdryer, TV, radio, phone, Tea/Coffee facilities and wireless internet access for guests' computers. There is also an Internet cafe nearby.
The White Morph Inn
The White Morph Inn offers some of the most luxurious accommodation in Kaikoura commanding stunning views of the ocean and mountains. In a quiet location directly on the waterfront, but only 10 minutes walk from the town, it prides itself on its high quality service and warm hospitality. Your Luxury Spa apartment is fully equipped for your every need including your own hydro-therapy spa bath and separate shower as well as patio or balcony, air-conditioning, phone, TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee-making facilities and internet access.
Wilderness Lodge Arthurs Pass
This family-owned eco-lodge is located in a spectacular mountain setting adjacent to Arthur's Pass National Park. Well away from Christchurch, it has not been affected or damaged in any way by the earthquakes a few years ago. It has been designed to fit into a natural forest clearing and blend with the surroundings of this area, creating minimum intrusion. The owners, Dr Gerry McSweeney and his wife Anne Saunders, are passionate about conservation in New Zealand. Half of their property is on a nature reserve with a vast network of native forest, alpine tussock and mountain nature walks and the other half is a working high country Merino sheep farm. The spacious Mountain View bedrooms have magnificent vistas across the Waimakariri River Valley and Southern Alps. They all have full length feature windows to take advantage of the magnificent views and are tastefully well-appointed; including private bathroom, telephone, and tea and coffee making facilities. The restaurant also has wonderful alpine views to compliment the superb New Zealand cuisine and wines served. Beside the large social lounge, there is a guest library with a full range of New Zealand natural history books and literature to peruse. Satellite broadband internet is available for guests' use and there are complimentary laundry facilities.
Lake Brunner Lodge
Hidden in the tranquil, rolling foothills overlooking the largest lake in the northwest of the South Island, the Lodge is a luxurious hideaway offering natural beauty, seclusion, old-world charm and warm New Zealand hospitality. The Lodge still generates its own electricity from the nearby Cascade Falls stream in keeping with its remote locality. A range of relaxing and private guests rooms surround the lodge's vast hallways, each individually decorated to create a truly unique Kiwi experience. All rooms have superior king-size beds, beautifully appointed en-suite bathrooms, flat-screen TV, and free WiFi access. The restaurant's menu features fresh produce sourced locally.
Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Encircled by native bush, the Te Waonui Forest Retreat is at the cutting edge of sustainable accommodation. Natural lighting is abundant, building materials have been chosen to minimise environmental impact, and the Retreats carbon footprint is reduced with energy efficient design. Furniture and fittings incorporate natural wool carpets, organic cotton bedspreads and even possum skin cushioning, in keeping with the character of the region.
The sustainable, eco-friendly feel is enhanced by soft timbered detailing, natural colour schemes and recycled local materials to make the hotel at one with its surroundings.Guest rooms offer heat pump temperature control system, luxurious bed linen and a pillow menu, private balcony or courtyard, safe, entertainment suite includingLCD TV,movies and music options, free WiFi, personal beverage selectionincluding teas, coffee andmini-bar. The appropriately named Canopy Restaurant offers sumptuous breakfast and dinner menus in a setting that feels like it is up in the treetops, with an alfresco-style covered balcony. The luxury spa at the Retreat offers a variety of indulgent treatments.
With lawns stretching right to the water's edge of Lake Wanaka, Edgewater is a welcoming retreat in a stunning location. There is beauty to be found in all directions so you can immerse yourself in the landscape and take in the full majesty of nature's changing colors. Each hotel suite features a bedroom, ensuite bathroom with bath and hairdryer, living room, kitchenette, Sky TV and phone. Located in the heart of the resort, Sargoods Restaurant has a fresh, contemporary feel and the chef injects a distinctive Kiwi flair to his delicious menus. The spa and sauna have recently been refurbished and are the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate. There is Wi-Fi access throughout the resort and a guest computer in the lobby.
In a situation that couldn't be more dramatic, Nugget Point is suspended above the famous Shotover River and surrounded by majestic mountains. The views from the bedrooms and restaurant of the rugged Queenstown landscape are awe-inspiring. An exclusive boutique hotel, it boasts 36 luxurious suites, all of which have an open-plan bedroom and lounge area, ensuite bathroom, and private balcony or patio, with desk, hairdryer, heater, refrigerator, satellite/cable TV, couch, tea and coffee-making facilities, telephone and WiFi. In the Birches Restaurant, with its panoramic vista, the cuisine highlights New Zealand favorites like salmon, lamb rack, beef fillet and duck. To relax after a day on the trail, there is a pool, gym and spa too.
Start planning your trip
What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation
- Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
- A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
- Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
- Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
- Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
- All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
- Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
- First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
- Meals as indicated - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
- Two Dinners are NOT included on your Walk to allow for individual freedom and experiencing the local atmosphere and cuisine.
There will be a list of recommendations given for these two evenings on your own.
- Wine with dinner
- On-trail snacks and refreshments
- All gratuities at hotels and restaurants