Great Walks Of The South Island – From £3,195

18 Days | Grade: Moderate | Departures November – April
Including the Routeburn Track

Day 1 Christchurch

After arrival in Christchurch, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

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.

Orari Bed & Breakfast

Day 2 Christchurch / Godley Head Walkway

This scenic walkway, located twenty km from Christchurch, provides stunning coastal views and the opportunity to find your walking legs. The headland was probably the first New Zealand landmark seen by the original English settlers after their lengthy voyage. Nesting sites for spotted shags and the white-flippered little blue penguin can be found along the coastal cliffs.

Orari Bed & Breakfast

Day 3 Christchurch / Arthur’s Pass / Hokitika to Bay of Islands

Board your Tranzalpine train for a marvellous alpine crossing of the Southern Alps. In the afternoon collect your rental vehicle in Greymouth and drive south to Hokitika , the centre of the West Coast gold mining rush in the 1870’s.

Teichelmanns B&B

Day 4 Hokitika / Fox Glacier

South along the coast to ‘Glacier Country’. Travel through the small settlements of Ross and Hari Hari to the Franz Josef and Fox townships. You can walk up to the glaciers , take a guided trek or fly over them (weather permitting).

Fox Mountain View

Day 5 Fox Glacier / Wanaka

Along wild coastlines you’ll climb steeply via the Haast Pass into Mount Aspiring National Park. En route stop to enjoy short walks to Thunder Falls and the Blue Pool.

Lake Matheson Forest Walk: A board walk through a forest of Kakikatea, Korimiku and Lacewood which cover gentle slopes down to the lake edge. The dark lake water produces brilliant reflections of the Southern Alps in the early mornings.
Distance: 2km / 1 mile return.

Criffel Peak View

Day 6 & 7 Mount Aspiring National Park

Enjoy walks in the beautiful Mount Aspiring National Park.
Walk through the Matukituki valley with spectacular views of the Rob Roy Glacier.

Matukituki Valley: Walking across open river terraces you can see magnificent strands of totara on either side of the river. Between the towering bluffs, across the river, you can see the Rob Roy Glacier, perched high above a narrow gorge. Continue to Aspiring Hut.
Distance: 19km / 12 miles
Ascent/descent: 150 m / 500ft

Shorter version of the above: Return from Cascade Hut.
Distance: 14km / 9 miles
Ascent/descent: 90 m / 300ft

Diamond Lake and Rocky Hill: This track is now promoted as the finest half-day walk in New Zealand. Views from the summit are spectacular and give an idea of how the Ice Age glaciers carved and shaped the landscape.
Distance: 8km / 5 miles
Ascent/descent: 500 m / 1,670ft

Eely Point: This is a pleasant short walk beside Lake Wanaka, through to Brenner Bay and Beacon Point.
Distance: 5km / 3 miles

Criffel Peak View

Day8 & 9 Queenstown

Drive to Queenstown, Switzerland of the Southern Hemisphere” for walks and activities in this scenic resort situated on Lake Wakatipu. Return your rental vehicle to the Queenstown depot

Walk possibilities include:
Lake Dispute and Moke Lake: These trails offer fine views of the Wakatipu shoreline and surrounding peaks.
Distance: 9km / 6 miles return
Ascent/descent: 220 m / 720ft

Bob’s Cove: A sheltered, secluded bay, 14km (8 miles) from Queenstown. An enjoyable lakeshore walk through beech forest, home to a variety of wildlife.
Distance: 4½km / 3 miles

The Moonlight Trail: An excellent full day walk over the Ben Lomond Saddle to follow the trail of the early gold diggers who sought their fortunes in the Moonlight and Moke Creek gold fields. In good weather there are magnificent views of the Wakatipu region.
Distance: 14½km / 9 miles
Ascent: 645 m / 2120ft
Descent: 1,060 m / 3,465ft

Copthorne Lakefront

Day 10 & 11 Fiordland National Park

Travel by coach to Te Anau, your base for exploration of the Fiordland National Park.

Walk Possibilities include:

Kepler Track: Transfer by boat to Brod Bay for a walk along the lakeside track through mountain and red beech with some scattered rimu and miro.
Distance: 5½km / 3½ miles.

Milford Track Day Walk: Cruise to the top of Lake Te Anau from Te Anau Downs for a day walk on the Milford Track. You will be accompanied by Milford Track Guides, who will explain points of interest including scenic highlights, flora and fauna, and the history of this famous walk.

This is a level walk through ancient beech forest to the Neale Burn, an idyllic setting for a relaxing lunch and maybe a quick swim.
Distance: 8 km / 5 miles

Distinction Villas

Day 12 - 14 Routeburn Track

Spend three days walking the Routeburn Track (2 nights), one of New Zealand’s classic walks, and one of this holiday’s many highlights.

This well-graded route takes you to Key Summit and Lake Howden, and beyond to Lake Mackenzie and Routeburn Falls, before descending through alpine pastures to Queenstown

*The popularity of the Routeburn Track means that early booking is essential. If you prefer not to undertake this walk we can suggest other options including an overnight trip on Doubtful Sound

Copthorne Lakefront

Day 15 Queenstown / Twizel

A morning to relax in Queenstown, prior to collecting your rental vehicle and driving via the picturesque goldrush village of Arrowtown to Cromwell. Continue through the Lindis Pass into the legendary Mackenzie Country.

Mackenzie Country Inn

Day 16 Te Anau

A short drive alongside the glacial blue waters of Lake Pukakaiki will take you to the Hermatige hotel complex and National Park visitor centre from where you can commence your walk on the Hooker Valley Trail.This is a spectacular route with views to Mount Wakefield, Footstool and the south face 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: One of the most popular walks in the park, the route leads up the Hooker Valley towards Mount Cook, crossing two swing bridges, and continuing to the terminal of the Hooker Glacier.
Distance: 14 km / 9 miles return. (shorter options available)
Ascent: 135 m / 440ft

Mackenzie Country Inn

Day 17 Twizel / Christchurch

The final journey of your holiday , via Tekapo to Christchurch. At Tekapo ascend Mt John for superb viewsof the area. Cross Burke’s Pass and drive across the Canterbury Plains to the Garden city.

Orari Bed & Breakfast

Day 18 Depart New Zealand

The morning is free for sightseeing and last minute shopping prior to your flight home.

Day 1 & 2

Orari B&B

Day 3

Teichelmans B&B

Day 4

Chateau Tongariro

Day 5 - 7

Criffel Peak B&B

Day 8 & 9

Copthorne Lakefront

Day 10 & 11

Distinction Te Anau

Day 12 - 14

Copthorne Lakefront

Day 15 & 16

MacKenzie Country Inn

Day 17

Orari B&B

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.

The Geography

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.

Time Difference

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.

The Seasons

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.

Buy Insurance

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.

Book your Hotel, Parking or Lounge Access

Car Insurance

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, 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.

Visa Requirements

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.

Visit Travel Visa Company website

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.