“You can't beat NZ for wild and woolly and if you fancy getting a taste of Abel Tasman, Tongariro and Fiordland national parks then walk this way for 3 weeks of pure pleasure.”
Auckland | Rotorua | Taupo | Whirinaki Rainforest | Tongariro volcanoes | Tongariro World Heritage Area | Wellington | Abel Tasman National Park | Murchison | Buller River | Paparoa National Park | Fox Glacier | Makarora | Siberia Hut | Queenstown | Fiordland National Park | Milford Sound | Te Anau | Mount Cook National Park | Tasman Valley | Christchurch | Optional activities include guided heli hike in Mount Aspiring National Park as well as white-water-rafting, sea kayaking and glacier walking |
Check dates, prices & availability
Price per adult
07 Jan 2017
US $ 6505
04 Feb 2017
US $ 6505
04 Mar 2017
US $ 6505
8 spaces left
09 Dec 2017
US $ 6975
06 Jan 2018
US $ 6975
03 Feb 2018
US $ 6975
03 Mar 2018
US $ 6975
Our top tip:
Base layer leggings are a must as are a 4-season sleeping bag, 30ltr day pack and 50ltr overnight pack.
Small group. Avg 8. Min age 16.
Moderate/Challenging. 12 days walking between 3-6 hrs per day.
2 nights hotel (en-suite), 7 nights lodges, 5 nights cabins (shared and en-suite) and 5 nights huts/camping (shared facilities).
Accommodation, transport, listed activities and tour leader.
16 brks, 17 lunches, 7 dinners.
Solo walkers welcome. Single room supplements apply.
Small group vacation
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.
Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: New Zealand hiking vacation
Conservation/Charity: We are committed to putting something back into the New Zealand wilderness and for each client on this trip our local operator contributes $5 per into a Wildlife Research Fund. This fund has contributed to the New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust to assist with conservation of Hector's dolphin - one of the rarest marine dolphins in the world, found only in New Zealand waters. These playful dolphins are often seen on our trips and we hope they will still be there in the years to come. There is also the option to have a tree planted on your behalf with the aim of carbon offsetting, re-establishing native species of tree and attracting native birds back to the area.
Activity: Few vacations have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a trekking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints and have a strict policy with proper disposal of litter. Our staff are trained with environmental stewardship in mind and protective guidelines are then passed on to our clients through briefings in order to keep our impact neutral.
Water: Water is a really important issue with trekking trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should use fresh water springs on the way to re-fill a singular container. These springs are clean and are a wonderful resource for reducing plastic waste, or guests can simply re-fill at their accommodation or from the water tanks in our vehicles.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation & Meals: The accommodation on this trip is a mixture of hotels, lodges and a majority of cabins- which will help to reduce energy consumption. Many of these housings are part way through or fully completed Qualmark accreditation. Most recently, the YHA Wellington has recieved a gold award for ‘exceeding the highest levels of environmental and social responsibilities’ and representing ‘strong leadership and advocacy.’ There are a mixture of workers here but they are predominantly local to New Zealand and where meals are not provided, we eat locally and spread income to the community.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of New Zealand hiking vacation
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 18 Aug 2014 by Roisin Courtney
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The scenery, the culture, the tour leader Mayuko was the best leader ever. Very friendly, helpful, warm, informative she made the vacation.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Travel light there is a lot of moving around between train stations and bus stations etc.
Food is limiting enough if you don't eat meat/fish.
Be prepared to eat a lot of rice and noodles
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
All of the above yes
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Very good. More traveling on buses and trains than I had anticipated.