Masterpiece fitness hiking wanaka

Masterpiece – Activity Level Guide

How fit do you need to be for the Masterpiece trip?

The Masterpiece trip is an activity level 2-4* and is designed for you to have maximum flexibility. You can scale your activity level up to a 4, down to a 2, or anywhere in between every day so you can enjoy New Zealand at a pace that's right for you. Walk on well-formed tracks and enjoy a mixture of day walks and activities that showcase the best of New Zealand.

Activity Level 2*. These boots are made for walking...but not too far. You enjoy the outdoors and like to explore, but at a pace that's right for you. You like to take your time so you can enjoy your surroundings, learn from your guides and soak in the experience. 

Activity Level 3*. You love staying active on your holiday and know that travel isn't a race, it's just as much about the journey as the destination! Fresh air, experiencing new activities with your guides and ending the day with a delicious meal and great conversation leave you feeling invigorated. 

Activity Level 4*. You know sometimes the best views need to be earned and you love a wee bit of a challenge. You're comfortable spending a good portion of the day on your feet exploring on well-formed trails with your guides and moving towards your goal. 

You can view a day-by-day breakdown of the activities and hikes below, and if you have any questions at all get in touch, we love to chat!

Day 1: Your choice to cycle or walk the Arrow River Trail

As part of your introduction to New Zealand, we’ll travel to the historic Arrowtown, a quaint old gold-mining settlement just a short drive from Queenstown. Today you’ll have the choice of either biking or walking the Arrow River Trail. We'll ride or walk along a trail next to the Kawarau River towards the world’s first commercial bungy bridge, which is still in operation today, so you can watch a few people jump! If you are biking today your ride will be 12.8km to the Kawarau Suspension Bridge (8mi), if you are walking it's a stunning 5km (3.1mi) walk to the Southern Discoveries bridge where your guide will meet you.

Arrowtown to Kawarau suspension bridge

Day 2: Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park hiking options

Today you'll have options to scale your activity level up or down to suit your preference so you can explore Aoraki/Mt Cook at a pace that's right for you. Whichever hikes you choose to tackle you'll be rewarded with incredible scenery in this UNESCO World Heritage area under the watchful gaze of Aoraki/Mt Cook – New Zealand's highest peak.

This morning we'll hike the Tasman Glacier View and Blue Lakes Track, and Governors Bush Track. On the Tasman Glacier View and Blue Lakes Track you'll be treated to spectacular views of the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand's longest glacier, as well as Aoraki/Mt Cook itself. From your vantage point above Tasman Lake you'll have excellent views of the glacier's terminal face and giant icebergs floating across the lake. 

Tasman Glacier Blue Lakes Tasman Lake

On the Governors Bush Track you'll enjoy a gentle walk through New Zealand's lush native forest and experience another side of Aorkai/Mt Cook National Park. As you make your way round this well-maintained loop track you'll learn all about our native bush from your expert New Zealand guides. 

Governors Bush Track

This afternoon you'll have the choice to explore either the Sealy Tarns Track or make your way up to Kea Point and the Hooker Valley Lookout for spectacular views of Hooker Lake and Aoraki/Mt Cook's towering peak. 

The most physically challenging option of the day is the hike up to Sealy Tarns. Providing spectacular panoramic views of the National Park's many snow-capped peaks and Sefton Glacier, the Sealy Tarns are reached via a steady and steep climb on a well-built track (think: Stairmaster). The views are worth every drop of sweat, even by South Island standards.

White Horse carpark to Sealy Tarns

For those seeking a more relaxed option, we'll hike to Kea Point and the Hooker Valley Lookout. On this well-formed track, you'll enjoy a steady climb on a gentle gradient as you make your way to the Hooker Valley lookout. From here you'll be able to take in Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Hooker Valley in all their glory.

Kea Point Track

Day 3: Hike Mount John, explore Mackenzie Country & Christchurch

This morning we’ll make the steady climb up Mount John though forest and tussock to the observatory at the top. As we walk, we’ll look out over 360-degree views across the impressive Mackenzie Basin flats and surrounding mountains and lakes.

Mt John hike, Tekapo

Day 4: Explore Christchurch & Godley Heads Track

After a relaxed breakfast, the morning is yours to explore the city of Christchurch and its many delights. Christchurch is undergoing an urban regeneration project but still retains a garden-like quality with much to see and do. Alternatively, take it up a notch and join your guides on the Godley Head Track. Offering incredible coastal views and the historic remains of some of New Zealand's WWII coastal defences. This afternoon we’ll travel north a short distance to the seaside settlement of Kaikoura on the East Coast, where we’ll stay the night.

Godley Head MSTP

Day 5: Dolphin Swim and Lochmara Lodge

After an action packed morning swimming with dolphins you will make your way North to Picton, here you will catch a water taxi across to Lochmara Lodge - here you can relax and unwind with a book in a hammock, get the body moving by heading off on a scenic walk nearby or learn all about New Zealand wildlife at one the many interaction activities on offer here.

Swim with dolphins

Day 6: Kayak Queen Charlotte Sound and Marlborough Vineyard

Hit the water nice and early this morning! This is your opportunity to explore the Queen Charlotte Sounds by kayak and the opportunity to say "Kia Ora" to the wildlife that abound in this beautiful region!

Lochmara Lodge to Picton kayak

Day 7 – Explore Nelson

Today is yours to enjoy as you wish. Nelson, “the sunniest place in NZ”, with plenty to keep you entertained within walking distance. Most of our guests are happy to spend a relaxed day exploring Nelson, browsing the shops and galleries, strolling along the beach or reading a book. Or if you’d prefer something a little more active, we can help you book a tour to explore Abel Tasman National Park on foot or by kayak.

Overlooking Nelson

For today, this beautiful seaside town is your playground.

Day 8: Coastal Walkway to Tauranga Bay Seal Colony

Today we will head to the "wild West Coast" of New Zealand. Known for its thundering seas and cliff top coast line, today's walk will deliver. A stunning coastal walk looking out over the Tasman Sea and finishing with the Tauranga Bay Seal Colony - if you're lucky you might see seal pups frolicking in the rock pools below!

West Coast Walkway

Day 9: Hike Paparoa National Park

Towering limestone cliffs, lush rainforest, the crashing ocean... you've entered what feels like Jurassic Park! We have a stunning hike today in the Paparoa National Park - an easy underfoot loop track that takes around 2 hours and then a short hike to see the famous Pancake Rocks.

Punakaiki Pororari river track

Day 10: Kayak Lake Mapourika and Hike to Franz Josef Glacier lookout

We'll be up first thing this morning for a paddle out onto the calm waters of Lake Mapourika to spot some of the birdlife. The paddling is flat. The incredible alpine scenery though is anything but! You will have a full briefing on what to expect and will be with our expert kayak guide who will guide you as you paddle these still waters.

Kayak Lake Mapourika

Day 11: Wanaka Hiking options

You can choose from a selection of hikes today or you can opt to stay back and explore the alpine village of Wanaka. If you're looking to fill those lungs with fresh mountain air again, we have some rewarding short hikes lined up for you. There's a short circular walk to visit the pretty Diamond Lake, which will have you out for around 45 minutes, or you can take on a 3-hour return hike like a pro for a fantastic viewpoint offering incredible views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains.

Diamond Lake circuit

Rocky Mountain

Day 12: Hike the Kepler Track

This afternoon you’ll have a chance to head out on a stunning hike on another of our Great Walks, the Kepler Track.

Kepler CG to Brod Bay

Day 13: Explore Milford Sound and Hike the Routeburn Track (Key Summit)

This morning we will explore Milford Sound by boat, taking in the grand scenery. After disembarking our boat, we’ll head off to discover a gem on one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. Climbing steadily up through the dense beech forest, this walk on the world-famous Routeburn Track is well worth the effort. The view from the top is one of Fiordland’s most iconic scenes - across the snow-capped Mount Christina, Mount Tutoko and the rest of the Darran Mountains – tranquil mountain tarns, jagged peaks, vertical granite cliffs and glacial blue rivers rushing to the Tasman Sea, which is clearly visible down the Hollyford Valley. The total walk time today is around half a day (3 hours) with a lunch stop to remember en route.

Key Summit

Day 14 – Mt Crichton Loop Track & Finish in Queenstown

Today we’ll hike the picturesque Mt Crichton Track. This trail meanders through beech forest and alongside the crystal clear blue Twelve Mile Creek before reaching the old gold mining hut of Sam Summers.

Mt Crichton circuit

For the full itinerary including all the other things involved on this trip, please read the full day by day itinerary. At the end of your trip, you'll leave for home refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated.

Haere ra!