The New Zealand Great Walk Adventure - Activity Level Guide
How fit do you need to be for The New Zealand Great Walk Adventure?
Most of the people that join our small group guided tours have questions about how fit they need to be and the answer is that as long as you enjoy being active in the outdoors you will enjoy yourself on this trip.
With our small groups of no more than 12 people, we offer you plenty of options and flexibility every day. To make sure everybody gets what they want, we always have easier or more challenging options available so that you can choose how much or little activity you enjoy each day.
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. Those who feel like an extra challenge can continue on to Routeburn Falls, where you will be rewarded for your effort with stunning views back down over the valley. Whether you choose to soak in the views at the Flats or stretch your legs up to the Falls, you can’t go wrong!
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. A 4km (2.5mi) walk to the summit of Mt Luxmore will reward those who choose to take on the climb with panoramic views of the Te Anau basin and surrounding mountains. We will then make our way back to Luxmore Hut and begin the 8km (5mi) descent to Brod Bay. The walk 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.
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.