Great Walks Discovery, New Zealand ( 5 days)

New Zealand is most definitely a hiker’s paradise, with thousands of kilometers of trails, no harmful animals, few people, and pristine countryside. On this 5 day trip, take in a sample of 3 of the 8 Great Walks in New Zealand and gain a real insight into Fiordland – New Zealand’s largest and most remote national Park. Also, enjoy an overnight cruise in a remote wilderness area, a nature cruise to the head of a spectacular fiord, and see some of the rarest birds up close at a conservation birdlife park.

Active Adventures is designed for small group tours, anywhere from 4-14 travelers depending on the type of tour. Trips sometimes have set departure dates or may be customized to a group. Contact Terraficionados for more information.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1

Details for Today

Arrive: Queenstown

Transfer to Doubtful Sound in Fiordland, in the far south west of New Zealand

  • Overnight Cruise in Doubtful Sound

Accommodation: Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound

Meals: B,L,D

Overnight Cruise in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand, Supplier

For the first day of your trip, we’ll meet you in Queenstown and head to Lake Manapouri where our journey into Doubtful Sound begins.

We’ll board a boat for the cruise across Lake Manapouri, before a drive over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove where we’ll board the Fiordland Navigator for our overnight cruise.

Doubtful Sound is a large and remote wilderness area, where you’ll have the opportunity to take a kayak out on the water or hop aboard the tender craft for a guided exploration of the fiord, and in the right season, you may catch a glimpse of the rare Fiordland crested penguin.

Tonight, you’ll sleep aboard the Fiordland Navigator.

Day 2

Details for Today

Transfer to Manapouri and then to Milford Sound

  • Hike Routeburn Track and enjoy stunning views of the rivers below
  • Drive to the shore of Milford Sound

Accommodation: Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound

Meals: B,L,D

Road to Milford, New Zealand, Supplier

You’ll wake in the middle of Doubtful Sound and after breakfast, we’ll retrace our journey back to Manapouri. From there we’ll drive to the Divide, where we’ll hike part of the Routeburn Track, the first of the Great Walks you’ll experience.

We hike through beech forest, sub-alpine shrubland and picturesque alpine tarns, before reaching Key Summit. Here you’ll be standing at the head of three different valleys (the Hollyford, Eglinton, and Greenstone), with stunning views over the Great Divide, which separates west and east flowing rivers. We’ll take a short drive through the Homer Tunnel and emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shore of Milford Sound (actually it’s a fiord!)

Rudyard Kipling rated Milford the eighth natural wonder of the world and it’s truly breath-taking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand meters to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water.

Activity for today: 6km, +450/-450m, 3-4 hours

Day 3

Details for Today

Milford Sound:

  • Take a photo of Mitre Peak, quite possibly the most photographed mountain in New Zealand
  • Hike from Sandfly Point to the Giant Gate Waterfall, a spectacular section of the famed Milford Track
  • Enjoy a nature cruise to the head of this spectacular fiord
  • Hike some lesser-known tracks in eastern Fiordland

Transfer to Te Anau

Accommodation: Matai Lodge, Te Anau

Meals: B,L,D

Milford Lake, Milford Sound, New Zealand,

It’s worth getting up early to take a photo of Mitre Peak, quite possibly the most photographed mountain in New Zealand, but your challenge is to find a unique angle! After breakfast, we’ll take a short boat ride across Milford Sound to hike from Sandfly Point to the Giant Gate waterfall, a spectacular section of the famed Milford Track. The forest here is lush and rich with mosses and ferns as we follow the Arthur River past Lake Ada. By hiking from the Milford Sound trailhead, we’ll enjoy the track to ourselves, which is a luxury others seldom get.

Once we return to the Milford Wharf, we’ll board a boat for a two-hour nature cruise to the head of this spectacular fiord. We’ll then leave Milford Sound behind to hike some lesser-known tracks in eastern Fiordland before returning to Te Anau.

Activity for today: 10km, +300/-300m, 3-4 hours

Day 4

Details for Today

Te Anau:

  • Visit the Department of Conservation birdlife park –  see some of the rarest birds up close
  • Hike the Kepler Track

Accommodation: Matai Lodge, Te Anau

Meals: B, L, D

Falcon, Birdlife Conservation, Te Anau, New Zealand,

This morning we’re heading for a Department of Conservation birdlife park in Te Anau. The center takes care of injured or aging birds which would struggle to survive in the wild – it’s a great opportunity to see some of our rarest birds up close, so don’t forget your camera!

Afterward, we’ll tick off our third Great Walk in three days – the Kepler Track. Interestingly, the Kepler Track differs from the Routeburn and Milford Tracks in that it didn’t actually evolve from a necessary Maori greenstone trail, but was custom-built for hiking. The section we’ll hike today passes over the control gates at the outlet of Lake Te Anau and meanders through ancient beech and podocarp forest.

Activity for today: 9.5km, +50/-50m, 2-3 hours

Day 5

Details for Today

Transfer to: Queenstown

  • Drive along the shores of Lake Wakatipu
  • Hike Bob’s Peak

Depart for your international flight home

Meals: B, L

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand,

Today we’ll drive back along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown, and take a ride on the gondola to the top of a tree-covered rocky crag, known as Bob’s Peak, to start our alpine hike. We pass through open alpine tussock-land to the Ben Lomond saddle and will be rewarded with panoramic views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the often snow-covered Southern Alps.

For those keen to press on to the top, Ben Lomond’s summit reveals views of Mt Earnslaw and Mt Aspiring, two of New Zealand’s highest peaks, and even a glimpse of Aoraki Mt Cook on a clear day.

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight home. New Zealand will leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times. 

Activity for today – Full Ben Lomond Hike: 13km, +1,450/-1,450m, 6-7 hours; Or from the Gondola: 8km, +978m/-978m, 4-5 hours


Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound

Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound
The Doubtful Sound overnight cruise takes you over Manapouri Lake to this South Island gem in the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park. A traditional three-mast sailing scow, and cruise past soaring granite peaks in New Zealand’s second-largest fiord. On the Cruise, the guest will learn from an onboard nature guide about the wildlife surrounding them. Such as fur seals, penguins, and bottlenose dolphins. Offering comfortable cabins including a 3-course buffet dinner and breakfast.

Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound
Milford Sound is one of NZ’s most beautiful and popular places, and our lodge is the only accommodation in the area. Nestled beneath the towering peaks of the Darran Mountains, Milford Sound Lodge provides a stunning base to experience the beauty and majesty of Fiordland National Park / Te Wahipounamu. A true way to experience this World Heritage destination in a more authentic in a relaxed way.

Matai Lodge, Te Anau
Matai Lodge is a family-run Holiday Park. The Apartment buildings are the perfect base for you to explore Fiordland. With over 50 years of experience, they know all about Kiwi Hospitality- “we live and breathe it every day, making your stay amazing is what we are all geared up to do!” You will love the clean and modern 5 -star facilities, in its Central Location. It is only a 2 -minute walk from town. Just across the road from the Lakes edge and the beautiful established park that attracts native birds. Guest can enjoy on-site features such as free Wi-Fi, fresh-water hot tubs, saunas.

Great Walks Discovery, New Zealand ( 5 days)