Trekking In New Zealand

Charity Challenges

Trekking In New Zealand

One of the best ways to enjoy New Zealand is by trekking it (or ‘tramping it’ as the New Zealanders say), so here's a sample 23-day itinerary that takes you to both the North and South Islands.

One of the best ways to enjoy New Zealand is by trekking it (or ‘tramping it’ as the New Zealanders say), so here's a sample 23-day itinerary that takes you to both the North and South Islands.

Trekking in New Zealand

It’s easy to see why so many visitors flock to New Zealand each year – where else in the world can you trek through rainforest, kayak with fur seals, hike along a glacier, stroll up volcanic peaks and then go surfing on the beach? New Zealand has a unique and stunning mixture of landscapes waiting to be discovered.

Day-to-day itinerary

Day 1 and 2 – Flight to Auckland

Day 3 – Auckland

Take rest day to recover from your journey to New Zealand. Auckland is a wonderful city with a mixture of old and modern architecture. If you have time, check out the Sky Tower restaurant which revolves while you eat to give amazing views over the city and the harbour.

Day 4 – Auckland to Rotorua

From your hotel in Auckland you will be transported to Rotorua which is a place like no other in the world. Due to volcanic activity, geysers of hissing, steaming and scalding water roar from deep within the earth and shoot high into the air. There are also pools of hot bubbling mud and hot mineral water springs where you can relax and soak up the scenery of the towering volcanoes that once formed this area.

Day 5 – Auckland to Whirinaki Rainforest

After returning to Auckland for the night, on day five you set off again for another adventure. You are taken by vehicle to the stunning Whirinaki Rainforest where you spend an enjoyable day’s trekking while checking out the amazing plant and animal life with many species unique to New Zealand. In the evening you return again to Auckland for a relaxing night out on the town before heading south for more adventures.

Day 6 – Auckland to Waiotapu

In the morning you leave Auckland and are driven to Waiotapu to explore another fascinating thermal area of geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground and volcanic craters. You will then be driven to Lake Taupo for a fantastic trek around this stunning lake before trekking to visit to the Huka waterfalls.

Day 7 – Waiotapu to Tongariro National Park

Today you are transported to Tongariro National Park for an amazing trek through some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet made famous by its use in the filming of 'The Lord of the Rings'.

Day 8 – Tongariro National Park

Today you will continue your exploration of Tongariro National Park – an amazing volcanic landscape, dotted with beautiful emerald green lakes.

Day 9 – Tongariro National Park to Wellington

Transport takes you from Tongariro National Park to Wellington, the southernmost city on New Zealand’s North Island. Here you can spend a well-earned rest day exploring the city. Tomorrow you will leave the North Island and head south where more of New Zealand’s truly amazing landscapes await.

Day 10 – Wellington to the Abel Tasman National Park

Today is an exciting day of travel as you take the ferry from Wellington and cross the Cook Strait to the South Island, landing in Picton. From Picton you will catch a water taxi for a scenic boat ride to the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park.

Day 11 – Abel Tasman National Park

Spend the morning walking along coastal paths and admiring the stunning scenery. Then in the afternoon you’ll take to the ocean to explore the coastline from the perfect vantage point of a sea kayak.

Day 12 – Abel Tasman National Park to Paparoa National Park

This is an exciting day of trekking, starting along the Fox River Canyon before short drive to Punakaiki to check out the 30-million-year-old 'pancake rocks.' After Punakaiki, it’s off to Hokitika for the night.

Day 13 – Hokitika to Franz Josef Glacier

In the morning transport takes you from Hokitika to the Franz Josef Glacier. This is a truly stunning and unique place on the planet where ice meets with rainforest. Don some crampons for a quick lesson in their use before you head off onto the glacier and trek to the town of Fox Glacier.

Day 14 – Fox Glacier to Makarora

Today is a relatively easy day of trekking from Fox Glacier to Lake Matheson with some outstanding views of the Southern Alps along the way. You’ll stop to enjoy lunch en-route before continuing your gentle trek to Makarora.

Day 15 – Makarora – helicopter flight

It's time to rest your weary legs from all that trekking yesterday and take to the skies. A thrilling helicopter flight takes you around the jaw dropping scenery of Mount Aspiring National Park. After the flight you’ll land in the remote Siberia Valley, hike up to a glacial lake to a mountain hut and this is where you will spend the night.

Day 16 – Siberia Valley to Makarora

Today you leave your mountain hut to trek above the Siberia River. It’s then time for some adrenalin pumping action as you take a jet boat ride on the Wilkin River back to Makarora.

Day 17 – Makarora to Fiordland National Park

Transport takes you from Makarora to the Fiordland National Park for a superb day of trekking amongst huge glacial lakes and spectacular inland coastline. A trek up to Key Summit on the truly stunning Routeburn track which takes you to your overnight accommodation in mountain huts.

Day 18 – Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound

After leaving the Fiordland National Park behind you are driven to Milford Sound, often described as the most scenic place in New Zealand. Spend the day trekking around the waters of this magical place before an unforgettable kayak ride into the Fiord to see its cascading waterfalls.

Day 19 – Free day in Queenstown

You will be transported from Milford Sound to Queenstown – the adventure capital of the world. Every adrenalin-pumping activity imaginable is on offer including; white water rafting, bungee jumping, skydiving, paragliding, gorge swinging, heli-skiing and jet-boating.

Day 20 – Queenstown to Mount Cook

After the adrenalin-pumping activities of Queenstown you jump in your transport for a spectacular drive through Central Otago and Mackenzie Country. Your destination is Mount Cook for a hike up the Hooker Valley to a stunning mountain lake.

Day 21 – Mount Cook to Christchurch

The morning is spent trekking down Mount Cook before transport takes you to Christchurch, visiting the stunning, tranquil waters of Lake Tekapo en-route.

Day 22 – Rest day in Christchurch

Spend the day relaxing in Christchurch and celebrating the end of your adventure. Christchurch is an idyllic town and there are whale and dolphin spotting trips available to the nearby bays.

Day 23 – Arrive home

How to get to Auckland

This adventure trip is easier to plan than those to other adventure destinations. There are plenty of guide books detailing places to stay in New Zealand and a few bus companies offer services around New Zealand dedicated to backpackers. You can hop on and off at any stop and stay as long as you like in each location before just hopping on the next bus.

The alternative is to book through a reputable trekking tour operator. Due to the large distances and terrain covered it is advisable to have knowledgeable guides as well as all of your accommodation booked in advance. This is something a tour operator can organize fully for you.

The price of your 23-day New Zealand trekking adventure should include:

  • Return flights
  • Applicable departure taxes
  • All airport transfer and holiday transport costs
  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • Adventure holiday leader and full support crew
  • Luggage transfers
  • All group camping equipment and basic medical kits

This 23-day adventure activity trip is suitable to relatively fit individuals who are able to be trek for five to six hours a day for a prolonged 23-day period. There are plenty of rest days along the way but you should make sure you are fit before you travel to ensure you get the maximum enjoyment from your adventure.   

Regardless of your level of fitness, it is always good advice to have a full medical check-up before deciding whether or not to tackle a trekking challenge. Also when you are planning your trip ensure you have had at least one rest day after flying to Auckland to recover from any jet lag or travel fatigue.

Medical information

Always consult your doctor for a list of all the medical requirements for an adventure activity holiday. A Hepatitis B vaccination is sometimes recommended for traveling in New Zealand – consult your doctor at least two months before your departure date. Also, before traveling to New Zealand, ensure that your tetanus and polio vaccinations are up-to-date.

Charity treks

You could also choose to take on a New Zealand trek in aid of charity. The experience will be one of a kind and gives you the opportunity to raise money for a charity close to you heart.

Feeling inspired? Why not view our list of Partner Charities and pick a great cause to support.