Hike & Drive

Duration: 25 Days
Starts: Auckland
Finishes: Christchurch

Exploring New Zealand’s walking and hiking trails is one of the most rewarding ways of seeing the country’s outstanding natural beauty.

With thousands of kilometres of tracks available to suit all levels of fitness and experience, you will be at one with the beautiful landscapes, vast native forests and stunning coastal regions along the way.

Local guides who are never short of a tale, keep you informed about the history of the region and fill you in on all you need to know about the native trees and wild life that you’ll discover.

So grab a pack and put on your walking boots as you embark on a once in a life time journey through New Zealand.

DAY

01

Arrive Auckland

On arrival in Auckland Meet & Greet by REST NEW ZEALAND TOURS. Transfer to your accommodation in Auckland and handover of travel documents. If you are not too tired we recommend a leisurely stroll along Auckland’s waterfront.

DAY

02

Auckland - West Coast - Coromandel Peninsula

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 3 HOURS, 170 KM

Pick up your cental car. 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

03

Coromandel Peninsula

Included: Coromandel Coastal Walkway, grade 2

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

04

Coromandel - Whangamata

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 2 HOURS, 110 KM

Suggested activity: 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

05

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, a region rich in stunning landscapes. Discover 18 sparkling lakes, magnificent native and exotic forests, geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and the best of New Zealand’s fascinating Maori culture.

DAY

06

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

07

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

08

Tongariro National Park

Included: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, grade 4 (7-9 hours) or Sunset Walk, grade 2 (2 hours)

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is often named as one of the best day hikes in the world. The walk is weather dependent. See the highlights of the park like South Crater, Emerald and Blue Lakes, and Soda Springs while traversing through a variety of vegetation zones, from alpine bush to Tussock grass. At the end of the hike, you will be picked up for your transfer back to your accommodation.

For an easier walking option, choose the guided Sunrise Walk. Enjoy watching the sunrise with a fresh coffee in hand, then take an easy stroll on Mt Ruapehu while your guide shares his knowledge of geology, volcanology and New Zealand cultural history with you. A stunning time of day with great lighting in a majestic Alpine setting.

DAY

09

Tongariro National Park - Whanganui National Park - Wellington

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 5.5 HOURS, 315 KM

Via Raetihi your tour continues to Pipiriki and along Whanganui River, the most beautiful river on 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, WATER TAXI TRANSFER EX PICTON

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.

DAY

11

Queen Charlotte Sound - Queen Charlotte Walk

Included: Queen Charlotte Walk, grade 2, 2-3 hours

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 before you continue to Abel Tasman National Park.

DAY

13

Abel Tasman National Park

Included: Abel Tasman Coast Track, grade 1-3, 4 hours

A boat takes you along the coast to Abel Tasman National Park. 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. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are fascinating. At high tide water is pressed through the rocks and shoot out of the holes. Sunset at the rocks will round up the day.

DAY

15

Punakaiki

Suggested activity: Pororari River Track, grade 2, 3 hours

Great walk through a river valley and gorge with dramatic cliffs and dense subtropical forest with rare birds. There is a nice picnic area and swimming spot on the way. The park has many more tracks for any fitness level with 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. Insiders consider this to be the best National Park in New Zealand.

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 the country. Visit a workshop and watch the jade carvers do their art work. Glaciers, rainforest and coast are close together in Westland National Park. There is a lot to see and to do like a jet boat tour in Whataroa to a White Heron Colony where you can watch these rare birds. Or visit Okarito at the coast and make a kayak trip through the quiet lagoon. Helicopter flights with glacier landing are possible from Fox Glacier and Franz Josef.

DAY

17

Westland National Park - Haast Pass - Wanaka

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 4.5 HOURS, 285 KM

Suggested activity: Mount Iron, Wanaka, grade 1, 1.5 hours

We recommend a stop at Ship Creek Walk and a side trip to Monro Beach. During the months of October to December you might even be lucky and 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 to the Southern Alps.

DAY

18

Wanaka - Mt. Aspiring National Park

Suggested activity: 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.

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 to Lake Wakatipu. 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. A boat can take you over the lake to the caves.

DAY

20

Te Anau/Milford Cruise & Walk

Included: Milford Coach, Cruise & Walk Day Tour, grade 2-3, 5-6 hours

Enjoy a leisurely, small group day trip to Milford Sound, including a boat cruise along the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. Then choose from either a series of short walks and exploration with a friendly, local nature guide or 2.5 hours hiking (unguided) on the renowned Routeburn Great Walk to Key Summit. You will spend another night in Te Anau.

DAY

21

Te Anau - Queenstown

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 2.5 HOURS, 175 KM

The relatively short drive back to Queenstown gives plenty of time to explore more of Fiordland National Park. Then drive along Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown where you stay for the next two nights.

DAY

22

Queenstown

Over 2 million visitors are drawn to Queenstown each year to experience unique scenery, search for adventure, seek out relaxation and rejuvenation, or to just breathe pure mountain air. The region is home to plenty of hiking and biking trails, guided tours, family activities, spa and wellness centres. For adrenaline junkies, the self-proclaimed adventure capital of the world offers plenty to get your blood pumping: Test your limits with white water rafting, ziplining, 4x4 offroading, paragliding and skydiving.

Suggested activity: Lakeshore, Forest & Bird half day walk ex Queenstown (departs 8.00 am & 1.30 pm daily)

Experience nature at its best on this half day walk through a unique microclimate with magnificent lake and mountain views. The ‘Lakeshore, Forest and Bird’ guided walk is a unique nature interpretative experience; taken at a leisurely pace through native beech forest, with morning or afternoon tea/coffee on the lake-shore where you stop and enjou views across the lake to The Remarkables and Cecil Peak. Transfer from and to Queenstown included.

DAY

23

Queenstown - Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIME 4 HOURS, 265 KM

Suggested activity: Hooker Valley Track, grade 2-3, 2-4 hours

Through the wide Central Otago and over Lindis Pass you reach the foot of Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Your walk starts in Mt Cook Village and takes your over two swing bridges to a viewing point with amazing views to Mount Cook and the glaciers. Not less interesting is the side trip from Omarama to the Clay Cliffs. This 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 lakes and Alps or drive to the top of Mount John near Tekapo and enjoy the amazing view. Drive along the foothills and over the endless wide Canterbury Plains to Garden City Christchurch. Take a walk through Hagley Park and along the Avon River and take advantage of a last opportunity to purchase souvenirs from Aotearoa.

DAY

25

Depart Christchurch

Drop off your vehicle at the rental car office at the airport.

REST NZ Tours