New Zealand Great Walks

The New Zealand Great Walk Adventure - Activity Level Guide

How fit do you need to be for The New Zealand Great Walk Adventure?

The New Zealand Great Walks Adventure - South is an activity level 2-4* trip 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. 

"The trip was awesome, the atmosphere was relaxed but also well-planned and organised. Our guide made sure everyone was included and comfortable with the activity level and could suit everyone's fitness and needs. There wasn’t a single boring minute!!!!" 

- Hannah Howse, New Zealand

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: Routeburn Track hiking

Today we will get the tour off to a great start with a hike on the first of our four Great Walks, the Routeburn Track. We will wind our way through the beech forest of Mt Aspiring National Park, climbing gradually uphill until reaching Routeburn Flats. Here we break out of the forest and the valley opens up to reveal impressive mountain vistas, making it the perfect spot for lunch.

Routeburn Track to Flats Hut2

Day 2: Heli-hike on the Kepler Track

This morning we will travel to Fiordland National Park where we will take to the skies for a scenic helicopter flight across Lake Te Anau, New Zealand’s second-largest lake. Perched high in the alpine tussock fields overlooking Te Anau and the mountains of Fiordland National Park, Luxmore Hut is the starting point of today’s hike on our third Great Walk, the Kepler Track. The 8km (5mi) descent to Brod Bay from Luxmore Hut traverses the alpine tussocks on a boardwalk track, before descending on switchbacks through the Fiordland beech forest and along the shores of Lake Te Anau. Our water taxi will be waiting for us at Brod Bay to whisk us back across the lake to Te Anau for a well-earned meal and a comfortable night’s rest.

Luxmore Hut to Brod Bay

Day 3: Hike the Milford Track and cruise Milford Sound

The trail from Sandfly Point to Giant Gate Falls is a flat section of the track which passes through lush native forest with towering mountains in every direction. Our return hike to the falls is a mostly flat 10km (6mi) walk and is a great sample of the 'finest walk in the world'. 

This afternoon we'll see the Eighth Wonder of the World from the sea on our nature cruise of Milford Sound.


Day 4: Hike the Rakiura Track

Stewart Island is one of New Zealand’s hidden gems, and today we have the whole day to explore it! After a scenic flight across Fouveaux Strait, we will head for the Rakiura Track, New Zealand’s most remote Great Walk. The track is a pleasant 4.5km (2.8mi) walk following the coast, undulating gently as we make our way through regenerating native forest before descending to Maori Beach. This beautiful golden-sanded bay was once home to a bustling settlement, and relics of the old sawmill and school can still be found. Retracing our steps we will return to Lee Bay, keeping an eye out for Stewart Island tokoeka (kiwi) along the way. The lack of predators on the island means these kiwi often venture out during the daytime on Stewart Island, however, if you want the best chance of spotting these nocturnal creatures we recommend you join the Kiwi Spotting tour tonight after dinner!


Day 5: Explore Ulva Island

A short water taxi ride will deliver us to Ulva Island, one of the few pest-free open sanctuaries in New Zealand. Ulva Island is a safe haven for threatened native species and is home to healthy populations of many endangered birds rarely seen on the mainland. We will spend a couple of hours here listening to the calls of the kaka, saddleback and mohua, and stepping back in time to explore an environment largely untouched by humans. There are lots of walking options here. Wander the full 4km (2.5mi) loop to Boulder Beach or take a short stroll around the Post Office Bay circuit with your guide, learning about the special birds that call this place home. 

This afternoon we'll return to Queenstown to say our goodbyes. 

Ulva Island2

To conclude our trip we will take a scenic journey through to Queenstown. See the full itinerary for The New Zealand Great Walk Adventure here and if you have questions, please get in touch.