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The Best of New Zealand

25 Days & 24 Nights 5 Read 1 reviews
  • Experience the adventure of a lifetime on this 25-day New Zealand odyssey
  • Walk on the Abel Tasman, Queen Charlotte, Routeburn & Kaikoura Tracks
  • Glaciers, geysers, jagged mountains, rolling pastureland and steep fiords
  • New Zealand gastronomy and local wines, such as Oyster Bay, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Milford Sound Cruise, native forests, raging rivers, sweeping golden beaches
Explore the best of New Zealand on this drive and hike itinerary that links the highlights of “Aotearoa” or the “land of the long white cloud”. This is an adventure of a lifetime as you experience world-class walking with landscapes of mountains, geysers, fiords, forests and beaches. New Zealand has it all and you will also be blown away by its excellent cuisine, local wines and Maori culture. When the Maori arrived here about 700 years ago there were only birds that had evolved to fill the role of mammals and were often flightless, as they had no predators. Therefore the birdlife here is plentiful, as well as sightings of sea-life such as dolphins, seals and penguins.

What To Expect

This drive and hike tour concentrates on the highlights of both the North and South Islands, with their diverse and natural landscapes and first rate walking, or “tramping” as kiwis like to call it.. Since you have a car you will be able to cover a lot of ground in 25 days, however, the pace is not too hectic and rest days are placed into the itinerary when needed. The walks vary from place to place but are always optional so you can pick and choose which ones you would like to take.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Drive & Hike | Enjoy the best of a large region by car and on foot. Day hikes in the best places. Itinerary usually inn to inn, with mapping provided. No bag transfer. Car hire offered as an option or included.

This trip is suitable for:

Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Coastal & Island
  • National Parks & Trails
  • Alpine & Mountains

Featured in our collections:

  • Classic

Grade & Terrain

There are many varying types of walks on this itinerary, from easy, flat and short walks, to longer more challenging hilly walks on rough terrain. However they are all optional and therefore you can choose which walks you would like to do. All the walks are available in the Macs Smartphone App, so you can easily find your way using this GPS technology.

There are walks on tarmac (e.g. Cathedral Cove) and walks on dirt tracks, which are mostly Department of Conservation walks all very well-maintained. New Zealand is a walkers paradise and well-renowned for its walking tracks, therefore it is all very well organised and signposted.

There are walking tracks that are seasonal, but you should be able to do them all as this tour is available in the spring, autumn/fall and summer. However, some walks are weather-dependent and since the weather can change rapidly in New Zealand is it always best to check the forecast, especially walking in high elevations. Also, if there is a Department of Conservation or tourist office nearby, we recommend checking the weather and the condition of the trail before embarking on a walk, particularly the longer walks in high terrain. Some walks are also in avalanche territory, so again, its best to check at a DOC office or on the DOC website for any warnings (see information pack for more details).

Navigation

The tracks in New Zealand are generally very well waymarked and signposted so you should not have a problem finding your way. We have also provided GPX tracks for all the walks, which are accessible on the Macs Smartphone App, so you can simply follow the route on your phone. It will be essential to use the smartphone app for this particular trip as we will not have detailed route notes for all the walks.

Accommodation Information

On this tour you will stay in very comfortable, hotels, motels, lodges, B&B’s and guesthouses. All rooms are ensuite and you will receive a very warm welcome from your hosts, especially in the B&B’s and guesthouses which are all family owned. As much as possible we have chosen accommodations with character and where you will meet local hosts. However in some areas, hotels and motels are the best choices.

Here are some examples of the accommodation that we use on this tour. However, if these are not available, we will use others which will be the same standard.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested, and a single supplement applies. This trip is also available to solo walkers, and a supplement is again payable (as some costs are not shared). Please note that singles may not be of the same standard as twins/doubles.

Meals

Breakfast will be provided by your accommodation in most locations. This will either be a continental or cooked breakfast, depending on what that particular accommodation provides. There are a couple of places where breakfast cannot be included, but you can buy it locally in cafés or restaurants.

Lunches and dinners are not provided but you can easily shop for both or eat in local cafes and restaurants. On the walking days you can buy a packed lunch in a local shop/café.

Included
  • 24 Nights in B&B’s, guest houses, lodges, hotels and motels
  • Private transfer from Auckland Airport to Auckland Hotel
  • Car Rental and GPS Unit
  • 20 Breakfasts
  • Afternoon Tea in Kaikoura
  • Return ferry to Rangitoto Island
  • Entrance to Waimangu Thermal Valley
  • Entrance to Orakei Korako Geyserland and Thermal Park
  • Milford Sound Cruise
  • New Zealand Sim Card
  • Information pack
  • Access to the Macs Smartphone App with GPS Tracks
  • 24-7 Emergency telephone support
Excluded
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Travel to Auckland
  • Travel from Queenstown
  • Lunches and Dinners
  • 4 Breakfasts
  • Fuel for car
  • Queen Charlotte Track private land walking fee ($12)
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal necessities
  • ETA & IVL requests (mandatory as per 1 Oct 2019)
Extras
  • Additional nights

When To Go

This drive and hike Best of New Zealand trip is bookable between September 15th and May 15th. This is within the spring, autumn/fall and summer months when the weather will be more favourable, although it is subject to change quickly at any time of year!

The busiest months are January and February and over the Christmas/New Year season. If you wish to go during these times you will need to book far advance in order to get availability at the accommodations.

Time of Year

The best time of year is from September to May which is when this tour operates. In the spring there will be flowers in abundance, it should be warm to hot in the summer (never hot in the mountains though) and in the Autumn/Fall it will be a bit quieter with nice colours.

Getting to the Start

To reach Te Anau you can fly into and out of Queenstown Airport. Some international airlines fly into Queenstown, including Qantas and Air New Zealand. However you can also take a domestic flight from any of the larger airports such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. From Queenstown you can either pick up a rental car and drive to Te Anau (2H) or you can take a bus. You can take a bus direct from the airport (2H15) but they only leave twice day. Check the timetable on the Intercity website.

* Please be aware that when booking flights from the UK to New Zealand you will arrive 2 days after you set off and on return you will arrive 1 day after you set off. So, for example, if you leave on a Tuesday you will arrive on a Thursday and on return if you leave on a Saturday you will arrive home on the Sunday. This is obviously because of the time it takes to get there but also because you are travelling back and forth across the International Date Line.  Similar principles apply when travelling from other places in Europe and from the USA and Canada. Please make sure that when you book you take this into consideration so that you are arriving on the correct day that the tour begins.

Getting from the End

On return you can do the same things as in the Getting to the Start information but in reverse.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Extra Information

This tour is a drive and hike. By driving you will be able to see a lot more than if you were to travel by public transportation, which is not exactly very prevalent here. We have set the tour up so that you will pick up your rental car after you have stayed in Auckland. We have also provided a GPS unit so you can easily find your way from place to place, making the navigation easy. You will also take your rental car on the Interislander ferry between the north and south islands and then drop it off at the end of the tour at Queenstown Airport.

Equipment

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take with you to New Zealand. This includes warm and cold weather gear, hiking boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

Car Rental

Car rental is included in the cost of this tour, as it is a drive and hike itinerary. When you arrive in Auckland, a private transfer is included to take you to your hotel. Car pick up will occur on the morning of Day 3. You will take the car with you on the Interislander ferry from the North to the South Island. You will then use the car for the remainder of your trip and drop it off at Queenstown Airport on your final day. You will be able to park your car at all of the accommodations and the walks will mostly have car parks at the start where you can safely leave it. At times you will have to leave your car in a car park with luggage inside, however New Zealand has a very low crime rate  and you should feel comfortable doing so. The car will be a Toyota Corolla or equivalent.

The car rental includes tax (GST), unlimited kilometres and insurance, but excludes the first NZ$2500.00 (deductible) of any accident damage to the vehicle.

As part of your car rental a GPS unit will be provided and is included in the cost of the tour. We will provide addresses for all accommodations, sites and walks so that you can easily find your way. In case of any issues we also provide an included New Zealand SIM card so that you can make contact with any accommodation and service providers.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Auckland and overnight Day 2 Ferry to Rangitoto Island. Loop Walk to Summit - 12 km 8 miles / 13 km Day 3 Rental car pick up. Drive to Coromandel. Harray Track - 7 km 4 miles / 6 km Day 4 Drive to Hahei. Walk to Cathedral Cove, Drive to Mt Manganui. Walk to summit - 7 km 4 miles / 7 km Day 5 Waimangu Volcanic Valley Walk. Orakei Korako Geyserland and Thermal Park. Drive to Taupo - 4 km 4 miles / 6 km Day 6 Free day in Lake Taupo or Huka Falls and Aratiatia Rapids Walk - 7 or 20 km 12 miles / 20 km Day 7 Drive to Tongariro National Park. Taranaki Falls and Tama Lakes Walking Tracks - 7 or 20 km 12 miles / 20 km Day 8 Drive to Martinborough. Free time to vineyard visit on arrival Day 9 Putangirua Pinnacles Walk, 4km. Drive to Wellington 3 miles / 5 km Day 10 Free morning in Wellington. Afternoon ferry to Picton Day 11 Queen Charlotte Track, Torea Bay to Punga Cove - 23 km 15 miles / 24 km Day 12 Drive to Marahau. Abel Tasman Track. Boat to Anchorage Bay, walk to Marahau - 13 km 8 miles / 13 km Day 13 Drive to Kaikoura, free time Day 14 Walk the Kaikoura Coast Track, Buntings Gulley to Ngaroma, 13km. Drive to Hamner Springs 8 miles / 13 km Day 15 Free day in Hanmer Springs for spa treatments, etc. or Conical Hill Walk. 1 miles / 2 km Day 16 Drive to Arthur’s Pass. Bealey Valley Track - 4 km 2 miles / 4 km Day 17 Walk the Avalanche Peak and Scott Tracks - 7 km 4 miles / 7 km Day 18 Drive to Glaciers region and Franz Josef. Free time Day 19 Choice of Walks, Alex Knob Track 15 km, or Robert’s Point Track 9 km 9 miles / 15 km Day 20 Drive to Wanaka (Otago Region). Free time Day 21 Roy’s Peak Track - 16 km 10 miles / 16 km Day 22 Drive to Te Anau via Arrowtown/Queenstown Day 23 Milford Sound Cruise. Routeburn Track, Key Summit - 6 km 4 miles / 7 km Day 24 Free day Day 25 Onward Travel

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