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Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer
18 day North & South Island Self Drive, from Auckland to Christchurch
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer

Explore Tongariro National Parks famous Tongariro Crossing day hike, considered one of the finest day walks in the world. Then journey by scenic train and ferry south to the capital city of Wellington, then south to Christchurch.  From Christchurch you drive to Mt Cook National Park to self explore the many tracks and trails before heading deeper south and into the Southern Lakes region. From here you take the 3 day/2 night guided walk on the famous Routeburn Track. Returning to Queenstown you take the short drive to Wanaka and time to self explore the wonderful tracks of Mt. Aspiring National Park before continuing north to the glacier region.  Take to the air with a twin glacier scenic flight before returning to Christchurch on board the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train.

Tour summary and feature
Itinerary details at a glance

North & South Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$10,827 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

18 days/17 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible

 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers

 Viewed 17 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance
Quick itinerary overview - Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland the 'City of Sails'
Accommodation: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

Day 2: Travel on the Northern Explorer scenic train south to Tongariro National Park
Accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Day 3: Today you'll accomplish one of the greatest day walks in the world - The Tongariro Crossing
Accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Day 4: Skirt the edge of Lake Taupo as you're guided into the township of Taupo
Accommodation: Bolton Hotel Wellington

Day 5: Today you'll fly to the South Island city of Christchurch and collect your rental car
Accommodation: The George Hotel

Day 6: Enjoy a scenic drive through Canterbury and the MacKenzie Country to Mt Cook National Park
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

Day 7: Explore the many walking tracks within Mt Cook National Park or perhaps take a scenic flight over the Southern Alps
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Day 8: Follow the dry lands to Lindis Pass which leads into Central Otago, then through the Kawerau Gorge to Queenstown
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

Day 9: Explore the sights of Queenstown and this afternoon attend your Routeburn Track briefing
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 10: Travel from Queenstown to the start of the Routeburn Track, then hike to Lake Mackenzie
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

Day 11: Fantastic mountain views today and tonight you stay at the Routeburn Falls Lodge
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

Day 12: Descend to the forested lowlands, before you return by coach to Queenstown
Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 13: Its a short drive over the Crown Range to Wanaka, so there's time to enjoy a wine tour or walk if you like
Accommodation: Edgewater
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 60 kms / 38 miles : 0.9 hours

Day 14: Explore the walking tracks of Wanaka or maybe take a guided tour to Mou Waho Island
Accommodation: Edgewater

Day 15: Travel the spectacular Haast Pass to the West Coast
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 282 kms / 175 miles : 3.4 hours

Day 16: Take to the air on a twin glacier scenic helicopter flight
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 17: Drive north along the stunning West Coast Road and take the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

Day 18: Depart Christchurch today

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Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland the 'City of Sails'
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 1
Private transfer Auckland airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Auckland accommodation.

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

Access to our exclusive New Zealand Touring APP. The APP includes your full itinerary and reservation details, all available online and offline as well as lots of other great information such as restaurant guides, weather forecasts and local activity suggestions. Instant itinerary updates and changes are available and it's easy to keep in touch with us. The App is free and easy to download on your mobile using Android or IOS.
You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Harbour Dinner Cruise with Explore

This unique on-water dining experience is not to be missed while you're in Auckland. Enjoy smooth sailing on the Waitemata Harbour - then watch this photogenic city come alive with twinkling lights. Enjoy your meal as you sail around the beautiful Auckland Harbour taking in the view as the sun slowly sets. You'll be treated to canapes and a drink as you set off towards Westhaven Marina. Choose between dining in the downstairs cabin or on deck to take in the iconic sights of the Auckland Harbour. To finish the evening off, savour your dessert course as you leisurely sail back to Auckland's vibrant Viaduct Harbour.

Your accommodation: SkyCity Hotel Auckland

This modern and spacious hotel allows you to relax in style while enjoying the world-class casino, more than 20 restaurants, cafes and bars, a theatre, free live entertainment on selected nights and the iconic Sky Tower - all right on your doorstep!
Day 2 - Travel on the Northern Explorer scenic train south to Tongariro National Park
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 2
Private transfer Auckland accommodation to train station

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to the Auckland train station.

The Northern Explorer Scenic Train: Auckland to National Park

The Northern Explorer is a journey through the heart of the North Island, travelling between Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. Your journey today takes you along the first half of this scenic train trip through to Tongariro National Park. You also see fantastic views of New Zealand farmland, the volcanic plateau, Mount Ruapehu, the world famous Raurimu Spiral, and stunning river gorges - all from panoramic windows or open-air viewing decks. All carriages feature large panoramic windows giving sweeping views of the magnificent North Island.

Your accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Bayview Chateau Tongariro, nestled at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, was completed in 1929 and still retains many of its original features. It is one of New Zealand's few hotels located in a World Heritage Park and offers the most prestigious accommodation in the region.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Today you'll accomplish one of the greatest day walks in the world - The Tongariro Crossing
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 3
Exclusive Guided Tongariro Alpine Crossing with Adrift

For the exclusive guided trips you'll be provided with a really personal, informative and friendly day you will never forget. This trip is tailored so that group sizes are small, your guides are well informed and are able to provide you with an amazing experience. Your guide will also 'work behind the scenes' constantly assessing the weather and track conditions, timing for your Ketetahi personalised transport pick-up at the end of your hike, and other little details that will maximise your enjoyment. They can also tailor the trip to accommodate different fitness levels and know a few tricks about avoiding weather exposed or crowded areas.

Your accommodation: Bayview Chateau Tongariro

Bayview Chateau Tongariro, nestled at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, was completed in 1929 and still retains many of its original features. It is one of New Zealand's few hotels located in a World Heritage Park and offers the most prestigious accommodation in the region.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4 - Skirt the edge of Lake Taupo as you're guided into the township of Taupo
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 4
The Northern Explorer Scenic Train: National Park to Wellington

The Northern Explorer is a journey through the heart of the North Island, travelling between Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. Your journey today travels from National Park, past the rolling countryside of the Manawatu region and along the spectacular Kapiti Coast to our capital city of Wellington. Enjoy fantastic views from the panoramic windows in your carriage or the open-air viewing deck at the rear of the train.

Private transfer Wellington train station to hotel

You will be met on arrival into Wellington train station and transferred to your hotel.

Your accommodation: Bolton Hotel Wellington

The Bolton Hotel offers contemporary apartment-style accommodation in the heart of Wellington. Just steps from the Parliament buildings and central business district, Bolton Hotel is conveniently close to the best of the city's shops, cafes and restaurants and is within walking distance of Wellington's vibrant waterfront.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5 - Today you'll fly to the South Island city of Christchurch and collect your rental car
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 5
Private transfer Wellington hotel to Airport

You will be collected from your Wellington hotel and transferred to the airport.

Air New Zealand flight Wellington to Christchurch

Fly from Wellington Airport to Christchurch Airport.

Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.  To help you on your way GPS is included with all rentals.

Your accommodation: The George Hotel

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. 2 superb award winning on site restaurants also feature.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6 - Enjoy a scenic drive through Canterbury and the MacKenzie Country to Mt Cook National Park
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 6
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you'll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.
Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat.  These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

The Hermitage Hotel ringed by magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, is a world-renowned tourist destination and has been an icon of superior accommodation and dining since 1884.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

Day 7 - Explore the many walking tracks within Mt Cook National Park or perhaps take a scenic flight over the Southern Alps
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 7
Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park

At 3754 metres Aoraki-Mt. Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain, located deep in the heart of the Southern Alps. From the Visitor Centre at the southern end of Lake Pukaki, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of this immense peak. As well as its impressive beauty, Mt. Cook National Park is also home to a huge range of awe-inspiring sights and activities. Take to the air with Mt. Cook Ski Planes for a scenic flight that includes a glacier landing. At around 27 kilometres long the Tasman Glacier is New Zealand's longest and a Glacier Explorers tour will give you the opportunity to see its unique features.

There are many short hikes in and around the park and these are well signposted. For a fascinating guided tour the Mt. Cook Encounter Guided Walk is a must-do and those with an interest in the night sky should take a stargazing tour of the Mt. John Observatory. The region is considered to have one of the clearest night skies in the world and is one of the few gold-rated dark sky reserves worldwide.

The Hermitage Hotel complex offers fine dining, multiple cafes and a bar. Due to the remote location of the property, there are no shops and limited supplies at Mt Cook Village. Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre for insight into this region's mountain climbing history. You'll also learn of Sir Ed's incredible achievements and his dedication to helping others around the world.

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village

There are many short scenic walks beginning in and around the Mt. Cook Village, suitable for all ages and abilities. Located within the Mount Cook Village is the Department of Conservation information centre, where updates on the track conditions and suitability is available as well as information on the history of the area and its wildlife.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Mt. Cook Ski Planes Glacier Highlights Scenic Flight including Glacier Landing

Take in the spectacular Southern Alps - including New Zealand's highest peak Aoraki Mount Cook - and the constantly changing glacial landscape. See the Hochstetter Icefall as you fly beneath the face of Mount Cook then along the length of the Tasman glacier before landing on the glacier itself. Experience the silence of the mountains, broken only by the rumbling of an avalanche and creaking of the snow and ice beneath your feet. You'll take off again for another incredible flight over peaks, ice falls, alpine lakes and climbing huts. This flight offers fantastic close up views of Aoraki Mount Cook, Mt Tasman and the Southern Alps from Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

The Hermitage Hotel ringed by magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, is a world-renowned tourist destination and has been an icon of superior accommodation and dining since 1884.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8 - Follow the dry lands to Lindis Pass which leads into Central Otago, then through the Kawerau Gorge to Queenstown
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 8
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Today you'll leave Mount Cook National park and travel to Queenstown. Go through the lakeside town of Twizel and then pass through the gliding capital of New Zealand - Omarama - before ascending the Lindis Pass. Follow the road to Cromwell, located at the at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Continue on towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump, or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship. You'll be greeted off the boat and guided through beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming homestead.
Here you'll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea and coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country.
On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship's pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

Day 9 - Explore the sights of Queenstown and this afternoon attend your Routeburn Track briefing
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 9
Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston Valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.
Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour

For those keen on the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films, join Nomad Safaris for an unexpectedly delightful journey. In safari-equipped 4WD vehicles, you will be taken on a true off-road adventure. Experienced guides will take you on a breathtaking excursion through diverse scenery around the Wakatipu Basin. See historic Arrowtown and go over the Arrow River, as well as experiencing the truly remarkable views of the lake and mountain surround from the Skippers Canyon Saddle. Although no sets remain intact, the landscapes are instantly recognisable. Some of the sites you will visit during this tour include the Misty Mountains, Pillars of Kings and the Ford of Bruinen.

Europcar rental car drop off Queenstown accommodation

This evening leave your rental car keys with the reception at your accommodation. Make sure you take any items such as Kruse, GPS etc with you and that car fuel tank is full. The next morning Europcar staff will collect the rental car from your accommodation.

Routeburn Track Guided Walk Briefing

Today there is a pre-walk briefing for Routeburn Track walkers at 3:45pm at the Ultimate Hikes Centre in Queenstown, it is compulsory to attend.  The briefing will cover everything you need to know to prepare for your hiking adventure.

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10 - Travel from Queenstown to the start of the Routeburn Track, then hike to Lake Mackenzie
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 10
Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk with Ultimate Hikes

The Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountain country between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Since the 1880's the Routeburn Track has proved to be one of the most accessible and popular journeys into New Zealand's forests and mountains. The Routeburn Track passes through two national parks, Fiordland and Mount Aspiring, and is part of Te Wahipounamu, South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. The area is a haven for native birdlife: The Robin, Fantail, Parakeet, Bellbird, Yellowhead and watch out for the resident Kea at Routeburn Falls! The variety of landscapes will also astound you: Mountainous peaks, sheer rock faces, alpine basins, pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls, luxuriant forest, turquoise rivers and million-dollar views around every corner.

The Routeburn Track Guided Walk is a 3 day / 2 night Queenstown to Queenstown all-inclusive walk traversing New Zealand's Southern Alps. The package includes all transport, private or shared accommodation in custom built lodges, meals, snacks, backpacks and rain jackets and you will be led by expert Ultimate Hikes guides.

Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie

14km (8.7miles) 5-6 hours walking

Your adventure begins with a coach ride from Queenstown to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road. Begin your hike up a well-graded trail until you get above bush line, then take a side trip up to Key Summit. Descend to Lake Howden for lunch, before continuing steadily upwards to the magnificent Earland Falls. Further along the trail, the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of the Darran Range come into view before you make your descent to Lake Mackenzie Lodge. (Includes lunch and dinner).

Your accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

The Routeburn Track lodges have been purposely designed and built and all lodges have drying rooms, flush toilets and hot showers complete with soap, shampoo and conditioner. The lodge kitchen treats you with a three course dinner and cooked breakfast. Accommodation is in a private room with queen or twin bedding or bunk bed rooms sleeping up to 4.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 - Fantastic mountain views today and tonight you stay at the Routeburn Falls Lodge
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 11
Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle

15km (9.4miles) 5-6 hours walking

You leave the emerald waters of Lake Mackenzie; climb the zigzag above the bush line and cross the Hollyford face with its dramatic alpine landscape. After crossing the Harris Saddle and skirting Lake Harris, you descend into an immense alpine basin, which is alive with summer flowers. Continue to Routeburn Falls Lodge. (Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Your accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

The Routeburn Track lodges have been purposely designed and built and all lodges have drying rooms, flush toilets and hot showers complete with soap, shampoo and conditioner. The lodge kitchen treats you with a three course dinner and cooked breakfast. Accommodation is in a private room with queen or twin bedding or bunk bed rooms sleeping up to 4.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 - Descend to the forested lowlands, before you return by coach to Queenstown
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 12
Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown

 10 km (6.1 miles) 3-4 hours walking

The trail descends from the Routeburn Falls to the alpine meadows of the Routeburn Flats. Pass crystal clear river pools and enter the forested gorge, opening to the lowlands. Coach back to Glenorchy for your group photo and then on to Queenstown, arriving at 4.00pm.

That evening you meet at a Queenstown restaurant for a celebration dinner at 6.30pm where you will be presented with your group photo and certificate of achievement. (Includes breakfast and lunch)

Your accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13 - Its a short drive over the Crown Range to Wanaka, so there's time to enjoy a wine tour or walk if you like
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 13
Choose from our great range of late model rental cars for your driving holiday

Today you’ll take to the road for your New Zealand Self Drive holiday, so take a look through the great selection of late model vehicles available and take your pick.  To help you on your way GPS is included with all rentals.

Queenstown to Wanaka

Leaving Queenstown you'll drive over New Zealand's highest sealed road, the Crown Range before arriving into the resort town of Wanaka.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Wanaka Wine Tours Boutique Central Otago Wine Trail

This small group wine tour (maximum 8) offers a relaxed and personal introduction to the wines and scenery of the Central Otago region. This tour is a great way to explore award-winning vineyards hidden amongst the rugged landscape of Central Otago. Visit and enjoy tastings at 4 Central Otago vineyards including a gourmet canape matched tasting.  You'll also discover the history of the region with a visit to Old Cromwell Town, a charming heritage precinct that has been revitalised into a boutique arts and crafts village.

Your accommodation: Edgewater

Edgewater is Wanaka's leading hotel located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka. A short stroll to the town centres shops, cafes and restaurants and close to many walking trails the resort is ideal to explore this wonderful Alpine setting.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 60 kms / 38 miles : 0.9 hours

Day 14 - Explore the walking tracks of Wanaka or maybe take a guided tour to Mou Waho Island
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 14
Walking tracks in and around Wanaka

There are some excellent walks in and around Wanaka. The information below is provided by the Department of Conservation. Located in Wanaka is a Department of Conservation information centre and you can get updates on track conditions and suitability plus you can learn about the area, its natural history and its people. Listed below are a selection of short walks but check with the Department of Conservation information centre for weather conditions, track suitability and conditions first.

Outlet Track
This is a local favourite as it is an easy walk suitable for all ages and abilities. It begins from Wanaka town centre and takes you around picturesque Lake Wanaka to the outlet to the Clutha River and on to Albert Town. This track can also be explored by bike.
Distance: 3 km one way. Completion Time: 1 hour one way.

Mount Iron Track
This very popular, close-to-Wanaka-town loop walk suits all ages and abilities and offers great views from the summit.
Distance: 4.5 km. Completion Time: 1.5 hour.

Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain walks
These two excellent walks in the Diamond Lake Conservation Area give wonderful views of the surrounding alps and Lake Wanaka.
Distance: 2km - 7 km depending on trail. Completion Time: 45 minutes - 3 hours depending on trail.

Rob Roy Glacier Track
Rob Roy Valley is a good entry point to an area of spectacular alpine scenery, snowfields, glaciers, sheer rock cliffs and waterfalls. The road to this track is unsealed and unsuitable for rental cars, but transportation to the beginning of the walk can be arranged.
Distance: 10 km.  Completion Time: 3 - 4 hours return. There is avalanche danger during winter and spring (June-November) on the Rob Roy Track.

Roy's Peak Track
The most famous walk in the Wanaka area, this steep walk climbs 1,500m on a well-formed track with the most spectacular views of Lake Wanaka, its islands, bays, and the mighty snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps, including Mount Aspiring.
Distance: 16 km return via the same track. Completion Time: 5 - 6 hour return. This track is closed from the 1st of October - 10th November each year. In winter alpine equipment (such as crampons) are required.

Isthmus Peak Track
A long, steady climb that rewards walkers with spectacular, panoramic views of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea as well as the mountains of the Southern Alps.
Distance: 16 km return via the same track. Completion Time: 5 - 6 hour return. This track is closed from the 20th of November - 20th December each year. This track is not recommended in winter due to snow and ice build up on the track.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Lake Wanaka Cruise and Island Nature Walk

Lying close to the centre of Lake Wanaka is Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve. A unique glacial remnant of the last ice age, the island is also the historic site of early shipbuilding and used to be a stopping place for the steamers and log rafts that once plied the lake. Accessible from Wanaka by a 35-minute boat cruise, the landing is on the eastern side of the island where the remnants of the early settlement remain; a stone wharf and a hut. A well-formed track leads from the landing and climbs steadily through native bush to near the top of Tyrwhitt Peak. Just before the top, we see Arethusa Pool, a small lake on the island with small islands in it - very intriguing! From the top, we have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka, its surrounding mountains and valleys, and below Arethusa Pool. The perfect spot to stop for tea or coffee. Going back down the track gives us more time to take in our surroundings, listening to and watching the lively bird-life, and just enjoying this unique wildlife reserve. You will feel well rewarded as you re-join the boat for the cruise back to Wanaka. Total cruise time is 1.5 hours. The trip runs subject to weather and lake conditions. Depending on the planting season, you can help The Reforestation of Mou Waho by planting a tree.

Your accommodation: Edgewater

Edgewater is Wanaka's leading hotel located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka. A short stroll to the town centres shops, cafes and restaurants and close to many walking trails the resort is ideal to explore this wonderful Alpine setting.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 15 - Travel the spectacular Haast Pass to the West Coast
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 15
Wanaka to Franz Josef Glacier

The route follows the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea before you enter the village of Makarora, the gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park.  The Blue Pools, just outside Makarora, are a wonderful 30 minute walk through pristine native beech forest. Descending into Mt. Aspiring National Park and towards the Haast Pass, crashing rivers and waterfalls are around every corner. Crossing the Haast River you are now truly on the wild West Coast, a 600 kilometre stretch of bush, rainforest and podocarp forest. First Fox Glacier welcomes you to the glacier region and Franz Josef township is just a further 45 minutes. A great way to experience the glaciers is with a scenic flight or glacier hike.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Siberia Experience with Southern Alps Air

The Siberia Experience is a 4 hour wilderness adventure in Mt. Aspiring National Park. Leaving from Makarora at the head of Lake Wanaka you will enjoy some of New Zealand's untouched scenery from the air, on land and from the water. Mountains, rivers, glaciers, alpine lakes, rain forest, waterfalls and more - this is your chance to see it all. This unique adventure incorporates a 25 minute unforgettable scenic flight with Southern Alps Air, a 2 1/2 hour walk beginning in the remote Siberia Valley in Mt. Aspiring National Park and a 30 minute exciting Jet Boat ride with Wilkin River Jets.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Only a breath away from the Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel is located in the heart of Franz Josef Village. Here you will find all of the amenities you would expect, as well as being close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer in the beautiful Westland region.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 282 kms / 175 miles : 3.4 hours

Day 16 - Take to the air on a twin glacier scenic helicopter flight
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 16
Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Located in In the heart of the West Coast, Franz Josef is small but lively town. Known for its 12 km long glacier and surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains, the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To get close to the ice, walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Only a breath away from the Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel is located in the heart of Franz Josef Village. Here you will find all of the amenities you would expect, as well as being close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer in the beautiful Westland region.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 17 - Drive north along the stunning West Coast Road and take the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 17
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Your drive today takes you north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. This seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s and is known for its Greenstone (Pounamu). Take in the endless sea-views from the coast and pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops before moving on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour

From humble origins in 1868, the Monteith's family-owned Phoenix Brewery became the West Coast's most popular brewery for its strong tasting, full-bodied ale. The Phoenix Brewery later merged with a group of small breweries to form Westland Brewing Company, predecessor to today's Monteith's Brewing Company. In this informative brewery experience, you will learn about the heritage and traditions of the brewing business. Witness the making of a fine beer in open fermenters by coal-fired boilers, using only the finest ingredients. Watch the brewers carefully hand craft the beer in small batches to develop the full natural flavours. When each batch is ready, the brewers employ a brilliant time honoured tradition for quality control - they taste it.

On completion, you will receive a tasting a 3 beers of your choice from the tap at the Brewery bar, plus your very own personalised Monteith's 500ml bottle with your name on it - a personalised endorsement from the head brewer himself.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Crossing the south from Greymouth to Christchurch, the Tranz Alpine is considered one of the worlds greatest train journeys. You'll travel from east to the west of the south island through Arthur's Pass National Park.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Private Transfer Christchurch Train Station to your accommodation

On arrival at the Christchurch train station, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: The George Hotel

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. 2 superb award winning on site restaurants also feature.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

Day 18 - Depart Christchurch today
Auckland to Christchurch 18 day hiking explorer - Day 18
Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Airport

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Christchurch Airport in time for your departing flight.

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