Easy Walks In New Zealand – From £3495.00
24 Days | Grade: Easy
Departures throughout the year
Collect your rental car and drive South across the rolling farmlands of the Waikato to Rotorua.
En route visit the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, time to explore Rotorua’s attractions, including Te Puia, the Maori Arts & Crafts centre, and thermal springs area.
Enjoy a marvellous day’s outing to the Waimangu Valley, created by the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886.
The walk passes such attractions as the Waimangu Cauldron (a pale blue lake steaming quietly at 53˚C), Echo Crater, Frying Pan Lake and Cathedral Rock, before reaching the shores of Lake Rotomahana (Distance: 4.5km / 3 miles).
Cruise to Lake Tarawera and take a walk to the buried village of Te Wairoa. In the evening, attend a concert and traditional Maori ‘Hangi’.
Drive via Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake, to the Tongariro National Park. Choose from a selection of walks and sightseeing possibilities in this beautiful region of volcanic peaks.
Our suggested walks include:
Taranaki Falls: A walk through open tussock and forest to the falls which plunge over the edge on an ancient lava flow. A good area to observe small native birds including the Fantail, Grey Warbler and tiny Rifleman, flitting among the mountain beech trees in search of insects (Distance: 6km /4 miles Ascent/descent: 45m /150ft)
Tama Lakes: This walk continues from Taranaki Falls to the Lower and Upper Tama Lakes, offering fine views of Mounts Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.
(Distance: 16km /10 miles. Ascent/descent: 440m /1,440ft)
Tongariro Crossing: Often described as the finest one day walk in New Zealand, this eight hour trek offers fantastic views of the surrounding peaks and parklands (Distance: 16km / 10 miles Ascent: 780m / 2,550ft Descent:1,130m / 3,700ft)
Alternatively – stay one night in Tongariro and on day 6 continue on to Egmont National Park to walk an excellent day walk – The Pouakai Crossing. A rival to the Tongariro Crossing this day walk has all the challenge and scenic highlights without the crowds of people.
A full day’s drive across the Bombay Hills and down the Kapiti Coastline to Wellington.
In the Capital city head up on the Kelburn cable car ride for great views of the harbour and a pleasant walk through the botanical gardens. Visit Te Papa New Zealand’s premier museum and showcase of the country’s art and history.
Leave your car at your accommodation and take the coach from Nelson to Kaiteriteri.
From the protected beach at Kaiteriteri, you’ll enjoy a scenic cruise along the spectacular Abel Tasman coast with its forest-fringed bays, sculpted granite headlands and off-shore islands. Disembark at Medlands Beach.
A 10 minute stroll takes you to popular Bark Bay. Swim in calm azure waters, sunbathe or relax in the shade of native forest trees.
A forested track around the estuary (4 kms or 2.5 miles) takes you to Bark Bay Falls and Swing Bridge (approx. 1 hour return). Return by coach to Nelson.
Travel through the rugged Buller Gorge, to the west coast. En route stop at beautiful Lake Rotoiti for short walks in Nelson Lakes National Park.
Visit dramatic Cape Foulwind and walk in Paparoa National Park. Paparoa is a wonderful
limestone landscape of fluted rock formations, natural arches and cave systems which are still being shaped by rain and underground rivers.
Cape Foulwind Walkway: A coastal walk reflecting the rugged beauty of the west coast with a chance to see a colony of fur seals en route. (Distance: 3km / 2 miles)
Paparoa National Park: Short walks to see the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes at Dolomite Point. (Distance: 2km / 1¼ miles)
Continue south to the village of Fox Glacier with a stop at Franz Josef.
Stretching from the dramatic blue-white peaks of the Southern Alps down to lush rainforest just 200m above sea level, the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are an awesome sight. They are part of the Westland National Park, which together with Mount Cook, has been honoured as a World Heritage Park. In the afternoon walk to the glaciers or take a guided trek or helicopter flight.
Franz Josef glacier walk: (Distance: 5km / 3 miles return)
Fox Glacier walk: (Distance: 5km / 3 miles return)
From Fox, we travel past deserted beaches, through vibrant rainforests and tiny settlements, and on through the Haast Pass to Wanaka.
Stop is at Lake Matheson, for a walk through Kakikatea, Korimiku and Lacewood forest, along the water’s edge. The lake produces brilliant reflections of the Southern Alps in the early mornings. (Distance: 2km / 1 mile return)
Enjoy selected walks along the Matukituki valley Walking across open river terraces there are superb views of the Rob Roy Glacier, Mount Tyndall and the Shotover Saddle (12 miles (19km) with 500ft (150m) of ascent /descent).
A shorter version of this valley walk, returning from Cascade Hut, is also possible (9 miles (14km) with 300ft (90m) of ascent/descent).
There are a variety of walks and activities to enjoy in this spectacular region. From easy walks through the town’s gardens to adrenalin pumping pursuits such as bungy jumping, parapenting and skydiving you’ll find much on offer . A cruise on the TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu and a ride on the gondola lift to the Skyline Restaurant for an evening meal high above the town is highly recommended.
Frankton Arm Track: A pleasant walk around Lake Wakatipu with views to the Remarkables, Walter Peak and Queenstown Hill. (Distance: 12km / 7 ½ miles)
Queenstown Hill: Walk to the summit for excellent views over Lake Wakatipu and a panorama of the surrounding mountains. An easy steady climb. (Distance: 4km / 2.5 miles return Ascent/descent: 500m / 1,670ft)
Bob’s Cove: A sheltered, secluded bay 14km from Queenstown. An enjoyable lakeshore walk through beech forest, home to a variety of wildlife. (Distance: 4.5km / 3 miles)
The Moonlight Trail: An excellent day walk over the Ben Lomond saddle to Arthur’s Point, following the trail of the early gold diggers who sought their fortune at Moonlight and Moke Creek. In good weather we’ve magnificent views of the Wakatipu region. (Distance: 14.5km / 9 miles. Ascent: 645m / 2,120ft, descent: 1,060m / 3,465ft)
Lake Dispute and Moke Lake: These trails offer fine views of the Wakatipu shoreline and surrounding peaks. (Distance: 9km / 6 miles. Ascent/descent: 220m / 720ft)
The Mount Crichton Scenic Reserve: A circular walk through mountain beech forest and open pastures offering good views of the western edge of Lake Wakatipu. (Distance: 6km/3.75 miles. Ascent/descent: 370m/1,210ft)
A short drive south to Te Anau, is the base for your exploration of the Fiordland National Park. Here you can enjoy walking amongst stunning alpine scenery. There are a range of day walks and the opportunity to extend your holiday by walking the Milford or Routeburn tracks. Coach and excursions to Milford or Doubtful Sounds are one of the highlights of this holiday.
A wonderful day for walking the spectacular route along the Hooker Valley, with views to Mount Wakefield, Footstool and the southface of Mount Cook. At 3,755m, Mount Cook is known to the Maoris as ‘Aoraki’, the cloud piercer, and dominates a national park where there are some 20 peaks over 3,050m.
Hooker Valley: This walk is one of the most popular in the park. The route leads towards Mount Cook, crossing two swing bridges, and continues to the terminal of the Hooker Glacier. (Distance: 14km / 9 miles return (shorter options available) Ascent: 135m / 440ft).
The final journey of your holiday, via Tekapo to Christchurch.
At Tekapo ascend Mt John for superb views of the area. Cross Burke’s Pass and drive across the Canterbury Plains to the Garden city.
This most English of New Zealand cities suffered a succession of terrible earthquakes in early 2011. Christchurch is re-inventing itself with typical Kiwi spirit and exciting new sights include the ‘cardboard’ cathedral and Re:START shopping mall in re-purposed shipping containers. A guided tour of the city will help you to understand the past including the beautiful Botanic Gardens, the present and future hopes for the city.
Head into the Port Hills to enjoy short walks for views to Lyttleton and across the Canterbury Plains.
Return your rental vehicle to the Airport depot and depart on your homeward flight.
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Day 22 & 23
Know before you go
Although New Zealand is one of the easiest countries to travel to, we realise that contemplating a long haul trip to the other side of the world can be daunting, so we’ve put together some essential information that you will need to know before you head off on your holiday.
We hope we’ve covered everything, but do give us a call if you have any other questions or queries or are unsure about any details.
New Zealand is made up of two Islands, The North Island and The South Island. The majority of the population live on the North Island.
The country has an incredibly varied landscape. You’ll find wide, sweeping coastlines, spectacular mountain ranges, tropical rainforest, steaming volcanoes and stunning glacier regions. It truly has something for everyone, whether you’re seeking peace, quiet and relaxation, or the thrill and adrenaline rush of all the adventure it offers.
New Zealand also has 14 National Parks that showcase more than 30,000 square kilometres of wonderful nature and breathtaking scenery.
New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), making it one of the first countries in the world to welcome in each new day.
Like us here in the UK, New Zealand observes Daylight Saving, and so during their summer time (and our winter time) their clocks go forward one hour to GMT+13. Daylight saving begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following April, when clocks are put back to GMT+12.
Being in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand's seasons are the opposite way around to ours, so December to February are their hottest months, and also the most expensive time to visit. June to September is the peak season for skiing in the ski resorts of Wanaka, Queenstown and Canterbury on the South Island, and the in between or ‘shoulder seasons’ often offer the best of both worlds, with better prices, more accommodation options and less tourists while still enjoying bright sunny days and warm weather.
Health and Insurance
We realise how difficult can be for our older travellers to find travel Insurance at a reasonable cost, and after a lot of research, are confident that our current partner Holiday Extras offer the best value for money insurance policies.
You don’t need any vaccinations to travel to New Zealand, and you will find doctors and health centres in every large town and city. Calling 111 will contact the emergency services from anywhere in the country.
It’s perfectly safe to drink the tap water in New Zealand, so there is no need to worry about needing to purchase bottled water when you are there.
Airport Hotels, Parking & Lounge Passes
Depending on the time of your flight you may wish to avoid an early morning start by checking into an Airport hotel. With our partner, Holiday Extras, we are able to offer a range of hotel options and parking arrangements. There are also a number of airport lounges you can book if there is considerable waiting time between your flights. These lounges offer a range of facilities from refreshments and drinks to showers and comfortable seating areas in a quiet environment.
Car hire companies often charge an excess for damage caused to the car whilst you're behind the wheel even if it's not your fault. This can be upwards of £1000 meaning if you're involved in an accident, you'll have to pay a contribution to cover the damage
To reduce this amount they offer what is called an Excess Insurance or Damage Waiver, typically around $25-$30.00 per day. If you’re following a two or three week itinerary, this can add up to around $600.00
However you can purchase an annual excess car hire insurance in the UK for a lot less.
Our suggestion is to contact an insurance company such as insurance4carhire.com, With them you're able to reclaim the excess you’d have to pay in the unfortunate event of an accident or your car being stolen. You may also get more cover compared with waiving the excess at the car hire desk.
From 1 October 2019 you will need a Visa to travel to New Zealand as a British citizen or British Passport Holder. We are still awaiting final details from the New Zealand Immigration Department regarding this requirement.
All Silver Fern travellers will be advised by our office as to the nature of this process, prior to their travel to New Zealand.
For Silver Fern travellers contemplating stopovers en route to New Zealand or integrating a New Zealand holiday with a longer worldwide tour, a visa may be required.
For example an Australian tourist visa is necessary for anyone entering the country other than those in transit. Similarly entrants to America should have arranged an ESTA. These can be applied for online or through the Travel Visa Company, one of our trade partners who charge for this service.
Currency and Credit Cards
The currency in New Zealand is the NZ Dollar. The exchange rate varies but as a general guide, there is NZ$2 / NZ$2.20 to every GBP£1.
You can use all major credit cards in New Zealand, and ATM’s are found as easily as they are in the UK, on most high streets, in shopping malls and in banks. You can also exchange foreign currency at banks, some hotels and bureau de change kiosks.
Do let your bank know you’ll be travelling before you leave home though to ensure that you’re able to use your card overseas.
What to pack
Holiday packing is always a challenge, especially when you’re going away for longer than a week or two, so we wrote a blog post offering our advice on how to pack for your New Zealand holiday – you can read it here. Remember to pack a good pair of sturdy walking boots if you’re planning to get out and explore some of the country on foot, and we recommend lightweight layers that you can add/remove depending on the weather.
Electronics and mobile devices
You can buy a prepaid Vodafone sim card at the airport or many of the local shop to put in your phone but its always worth checking with your mobile phone provider to see if they offer an overseas package before you leave home.
New Zealand electricity supply runs at 230/240 volts, and they use the same plug as in Australia, with two or three pins. You’ll need to use an adapter for all appliances, which can easily be purchased either in the UK before you travel or once you’re in New Zealand.
Wi-fi is widely available in most hotels and B&B’s and also in many cafes and eateries.
As far as possible we have endeavoured to make this information as accurate as possible, but we always recommend that you do make sure to double check things like Visa’s / Insurance etc before travel as changes do occur.