13Days
South ISLAND
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Price US5999 +tax

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14Days
South ISLAND
ACTIVITY
LEVEL
Price US4999 +tax

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14Days
South ISLAND
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LEVEL
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8Days
South ISLAND
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5Days
North ISLAND
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World Heritage – Our Original Luxury Walking Tour

The finest way to enjoy New Zealand.

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Trip information
13 Days
South
Island
Starts

Christchurch

Finishes

Christchurch

Activity level
Price

NZD$8999 AUD$7999 USD$5999 GBP£4599 CAD$7899 +tax

2017-2018 Customer Ratings

World Heritage – Our Original Luxury Walking Tour

4.8 Out of 5 (from 67 reviews)
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World Heritage Trip Map
world heritage walking tour map

Rediscover the joy of simple pleasures and the thrill of new experiences, without having to sacrifice the creature comforts you’ve grown to expect. Go walking in UNESCO World Heritage areas and on several of The Great Walks, at a relaxed pace of course, with guides who embody legendary Kiwi hospitality. They’ll help you reconnect with nature then pour you a generous glass of local wine afterwards. Share stories on the trail with new friends and belly laughs around the table at the best restaurants before retiring to your private room with an ensuite so you can get your beauty sleep.

The World Heritage is a perennial favourite full of genuine ‘only in New Zealand’ experiences taken up a few notches, such as choppering into a remote wilderness lodge that’s a far cry from roughing it. Adventure travel that’s a bit posh but will show the kids, and even the grandkids, you’ve definitely still got it.

We have options to suit all fitness levels.

Combine this trip with our Sweet North for the best of both North and South islands over 18 days.

“We truly loved this trip. The agenda was perfect – it covered all the highlights of the South Island. It was active but not overwhelming. The guides are very helpful and attentive. Traveling in a small group is so much better than a large bus experience.”

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Michael & Karen Adam (World Heritage, Mar '18)

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NZD$8999 AUD$7999 USD$5999 GBP£4599 CAD$7899

+ tax, per person (twin or double share)

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World Heritage Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1
Christchurch
Hike Arthurs Pass

Includes

Lunch
Dinner

Activities

Hiking
Sightseeing

Accommodation

Punakaiki
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Day 1 – Arrive in Christchurch and Hike Arthur’s Pass National Park

After meeting your Trails guides and fellow travellers, we set off from Christchurch for the impressive Canterbury High Country. We’ll dust off any cobwebs with a refreshing but relaxed hike in beautiful Arthur’s Pass National Park, before continuing to the remote West Coast where we’ll stop in Punakaiki, home of the aptly named Pancake Rocks. After a delicious meal, you’ll spend the night in comfortable accommodation with the sound of crashing waves lulling you to sleep.

Hiking in Arthur’s Pass National Park

Breathe in the fresh mountain air as we stretch our legs in one of New Zealand’s incredibly scenic National Parks. The majestic Southern Alps run like a backbone down the South Island, dividing it east and west into two distinct regions, with Arthur’s Pass serving as its gateway. This afternoon we’ll enjoy a gentle hike alongside a crystal-clear stream through the dramatic Bealey Valley. With views up to Mount Rolleston and the permanent glaciers that carve their way down the mountain faces, this hike is a perfect introduction to New Zealand’s beauty and your Trails trip.

Day 2
Punakaiki
Hiking & Glowworm Caves

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Activities

Caving
Hiking

Accommodation

Punakaiki
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Day 2 – Explore the Nile River Glowworm Caves and Hike Paparoa National Park

Today we’ll discover one of New Zealand’s most untouched areas. First, it’s a short but scenic trip up the coast to Paparoa National Park, where we’ll venture into the otherworldly Nile River Glowworm Caves. This afternoon you have the option to hike the Pororari River Track, following the water as it winds its way through the National Park. Or if you’d prefer, take an exhilarating stroll along Punakaiki Beach – be sure to keep an eye out for pods of Hectors dolphins playing in the waves!

Underworld Glowworm Caves

Upon arrival in Charleston, your guides will lead you on a walk through the rainforest to the Nile River Caves. These natural cathedral-like caverns were discovered relatively recently and the cave we’ll explore this morning is one of only a few in the world you can easily walk through and experience in the same state as it was found. The dry upper levels are a remarkable sight, complete with stalactites and stalagmites shimmering with galaxies of glowworms. We’ll get kitted up in wetsuits and walk a short distance to a fleet of small inflatable rafts, which we’ll use to float through this amazing subterranean environment. It’s a surreal, uniquely New Zealand experience you’ll never forget.

Paparoa National Park

Limestone and eons of time are responsible for most of Paparoa National Park’s impressive landscape. For thousands of years, water ran over the relatively soft rock forming a topography known as karst. Characterized by deep river canyons, sculpted mountain ridges and an extensive network of caves and sinkholes, Paparoa’s landscape is covered in a lush layer of thick green rainforest.

Day 3
West Coast
Kayak Okarito Lagoon

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Activities

Kayaking

Accommodation

Okarito
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Day 3 – West Coast and Kayaking on Okarito Lagoon

It’s an enjoyable journey this morning as we travel down the coast to the tiny township of Okarito. Along the way there’s panoramic views of the Southern Alps, virgin West Coast rainforest and rugged Tasman Sea coastline. Home to New Zealand’s largest coastal lagoon, the best way to appreciate Okarito is by kayak. Accompanied by specialist local guides, enjoy the majestic views and abundant birdlife. If you’d like to head out walking this afternoon, there’s a fantastic trail on our doorstep providing elevated views of the coastline. We’ll overnight in Okarito, resting comfortably in a bright and airy beach house.

Guided Kayaking on Okarito Lagoon

Gliding across the waters of Okarito Lagoon in a kayak is undoubtedly the most peaceful way to enjoy this spectacular coastal wetland. Okarito is known for its outstanding population of birdlife, over 70 species of birds have been recorded here. The lagoon is a common feeding ground for kotuku (white heron) and royal spoonbill, both of which breed in the nearby Waitangiroto Nature Reserve. Quietly paddling around this tranquil waterway, with the mighty Southern Alps as our backdrop, you’ll have the best chance of observing the birdlife in their natural habitat, without disturbing them.

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Day 4
West Coast
Glaciers & Southern Alps

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Activities

Hiking

Accommodation

Wanaka
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Day 4 – Glacier Country & Mt Aspiring National Park

Keep your camera handy today to capture the picture-perfect views of Lake Matheson and Fox Glacier’s terminal face, as we enjoy our morning hike together in Glacier Country. We then continue along the West Coast to our third National Park of the trip, Mount Aspiring. You’ll sleep soundly tonight in the relaxed lakeside town of Wanaka.

Fox Glacier

At 13 kilometres (8 miles) in length, Fox Glacier is the largest and most accessible of the West Coast glaciers. The terminal valley itself is a testament to the sheer force of nature. The valleys and lakes around the Fox township are remnants of the ice age and provide some excellent hiking trails for us today. We’ll hike to terminal face of Fox Glacier, as well as stretching our legs on the Lake Matheson track. The reflections in the water of our highest peak Aoraki/Mount Cook are outstanding! For those who want to set foot on the ice, you have the option to take a heli hike up to the glacier itself.

The Haast Pass, Mount Aspiring National Park and the Wanaka Lakes

As we make our way down the coast and inland, the stunning views continue. Once over the Haast Pass, the landscape changes dramatically as we head into the mountains. Linking the West Coast to Central Otago, this pass was used by early Maori on Pounamu (jade) gathering expeditions. We follow the Haast River into Mount Aspiring National Park and the Wanaka Lakes area.

Day 5
Wanaka
Mou Waho Island

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Activities

BoatCruise
Wildlife
Walking

Accommodation

Queenstown
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Day 5 – Lake Wanaka Boat Cruise and Hike in Mou Waho Island Wildlife Reserve

This morning we’ll cruise across picturesque Lake Wanaka to the tiny island wildlife sanctuary of Mou Waho. Guided by an experienced ecologist, we’ll explore one of the most magical spots on the South Island. In the afternoon we’ll take in more breath-taking views as we make our way over the Crown Range to the alpine resort town of Queenstown, where we’ll stay for the next three nights.

Lake Wanaka Cruise & Island Wildlife Walk

Close to the centre of Lake Wanaka is Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve, accessible by a 35-minute boat ride. Accompanied by our favourite eco warrior and long-time local guide, we’ll walk a well-formed track that gently climbs through native bush to the top of Tyrwhitt Peak. Just before the top we come to Arethusa Pool, a small lake on the island, with yet more islands in it – very intriguing. From our vantage point there’s a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains and valleys. On a hot day, there’s nothing like a refreshing dip in the cool clean waters of the lake.

The Cardrona Valley and Queenstown

Our afternoon drive takes us through the Cardrona Valley and over the Crown Range, down into the Wakatipu Basin. Prepare to be wowed as we wind our way down the mountain road and towards the bustling hub of Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

Day 6
Glenorchy
Routeburn Track

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch

Activities

Hiking

Accommodation

Queenstown
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Day 6 – Hike the famed Routeburn Track

This morning we travel to Glenorchy at the top of the lake following the shoreline road - a journey regularly voted one of the best drives in the world. And you can’t help but see why, the views are captivating. We have the whole day to wend our way on the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s nine ‘Great Walks’. There are different options available depending on how far you’d like to hike. We’ll head back at the end of the day for our next night in Queenstown.

Hiking on the famous Routeburn Track

Today will be one of the hiking highlights of the trip, as we walk a section of the famous Routeburn Track. Once on the trail your guides will lead you through lush beech forest (Lord of the Rings fans might spot some familiar landscapes from the movies around here). The track meanders alongside the clear waters of the river and down into the meadows of Routeburn Flats – the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. If you’re keen to stretch your legs further, we’ll carry on and up to Routeburn Falls.

As with all our hikes, there’s lots of flexibility. If you want to push yourself and really get your pulse pumping, or you’d rather just enjoy a relaxed hike on the flat trail, there are options to suit. No matter what you decide, the views will be equally magnificent.

 

Day 7
Queenstown
Free day to explore

Includes

Breakfast

Activities

FreeDay

Accommodation

Queenstown
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Day 7 – Explore Queenstown

Today you’ll be spoilt for choice in the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’, Queenstown. A world-class mountain resort nestled on the shores of the sleeping giant, Lake Wakatipu. The activity options here are endless; on land, water and even in the air – relaxing also permitted, of course!

There’s something for everyone, from adrenalin activities like bungy jumping and jet boat rides, to more gentle pursuits such as wine tasting, a round of golf or a spa treatment. Famous as a winter ski destination, Queenstown is equally magnificent in spring, summer and autumn. Today is yours to make the most of what Queenstown has to offer, your guides will be able to point you in the right direction to ensure you do. After a day spent soaking it all up, you’ll enjoy a third night in your Queenstown lakeside accommodation.

Day 8
Fiordland NP
Milford Sound

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Activities

Sightseeing

Accommodation

Milford Sound
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Day 8 – Fiordland National Park & Milford Sound

We’ll have a relaxed start to the day before journeying to one of the most pristine corners of World Heritage New Zealand, Fiordland National Park where we’ll spend the next three days. It’s an extraordinary drive through diverse landscapes with jaw-dropping views. We’ll make plenty of stops along the way for photo opportunities and short walks, as well lunch in the town of Te Anau. Our destination is the spectacular Milford Sound, where we’ll spend our first night in perfectly located lodgings in the heart of Fiordland National Park.

Lake Wakatipu & Te Anau BBQ lunch

As we leave Queenstown and journey up to the southern end of Lake Wakatipu and beyond, the landscape begins to shift from mountains and lakes, to rolling hills and alpine tundra. We’ll make a stop in Te Anau for a delicious barbeque lunch. Snug on the shores of the South Island’s largest lake, Te Anau is the gateway to Fiordland National Park and offers expansive views of the scenery beyond – the perfect spot to enjoy lunch and anticipate the adventure that awaits us.

Eglington Valley, Homer Tunnel & Milford Sound

After lunch we’re off to the most famous of all our National Parks, Fiordland. This is the stuff of legends and you’ll feel the spirit of the early pioneers as we follow the trails they blazed over mountain passes and through dense forests. Travelling to Milford Sound in the early afternoon means we’ll enjoy our stops along the way in peace and quiet, as most people catch a bus to Milford early in the morning. There’s no rush for us though and with so much to see, you’ll want to take your time. Eglinton Valley, the Hollyford, the Divide and the impressive Homer Tunnel are just some of the highlights on this journey you’ll never forget. We’ll arrive in Milford Sound with plenty of time for a foreshore walk and the opportunity to capture your own memories of this “Eighth Wonder of the World”, the achingly beautiful Milford Sound.

 

Day 9
Milford Sound
Hiking & Martins Bay

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Activities

Hiking
Helicopter
Jetboating

Accommodation

Martins Bay Lodge
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Day 9 – The Milford Track, Milford Sound by Helicopter and Jetboating in Martins Bay

Day 10
Fiordland NP
Hollyford Track

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Activities

Hiking
Jetboating

Accommodation

Te Anau
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Day 10 – Fiordland Backcountry, Jetboat Ride and Walk the Hollyford Track

We start the day with a second thrilling jetboat ride, this time up the Hollyford River and across Lake McKerrow, an area regarded by many as New Zealand’s most beautiful wilderness valley. Just when you thought your time in Fiordland couldn’t possibly get any better, we’ll enjoy a full-day guided hike on the superb Hollyford Track. We’ll travel back to Te Anau for dinner with lake views and a good night’s rest.

Hiking on the Hollyford Track

Wandering through the Hollyford Valley is like stepping into a lost world, a prehistoric wilderness unchanged for thousands of years. The Hollyford Track is the only major track in Fiordland at a consistently low altitude throughout, gently undulating through native forests, past picturesque lakes and roaring waterfalls, following the clear swift waters of the Hollyford River. The valley is home to a diverse array of vegetation; 1000-year-old rimu trees, ancient beech forest and crimson southern rata stand tall, as intricate ferns, emerald mosses and velvet lichens blanket the roots. An area truly worthy of its World Heritage status.

We have options available for all fitness levels. Get in touch to discuss the best one for you.

Day 11
Mackenzie Country
Gibbston Valley

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Activities

WineTasting
Stargazing

Accommodation

Mt Cook Village
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Day 11 – Gibbston Valley, High Country Lakes, Aoraki/Mount Cook & Stargazing tour

After a relaxed start this morning, we'll make our way to the gorgeous mountain setting of Gibbston Valley, where we'll enjoy a selection of locally-produced wines and a leisurely lunch. This afternoon we’ll journey to the heart of the Southern Alps, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, an area of vast snow-covered mountains and glacier-fed lakes. Tonight, we’ll enjoy a planetarium visit and stargazing tour in the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve. We’ll then stay the night in our most famous mountain hotel, the Hermitage at Mount Cook.

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

This National Park is truly a jewel in New Zealand’s crown. Named in honour of our highest peak, the majestic mountains tower above bright turquoise lakes surrounded by vast fields of golden tussock. With a settlement population of less than 100 people and building restrictions enforced, Aoraki/Mount Cook offers not only a feast for the eyes, but a rare tranquillity that soothes the soul.

International Dark Sky Reserve

Recently recognised as one of only three of the world’s Gold Standard Dark Sky Reserves, tonight we’ll experience the unforgettable Mount Cook night sky and the southern-most observatory on earth. Accompanied by a night sky expert, you’ll marvel at the myriads of stars visible to the naked eye, as well as through telescope and specialised binoculars. View the wonders of the Milky Way, Southern Cross and Alpha Centauri. Your imagination will be spinning as you ponder your place in the universe.

Day 12
Aoraki/Mount Cook
multiple choice

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner

Activities

Choices

Accommodation

Mount Cook Village
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Day 12 – Glacier Boat Tour and options in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Your last full day on the trip will be one of the most unforgettable. Home to not only our highest and most sacred mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park boasts a further 19 peaks topping over 3000 meters. After a scenic glacier boat tour this morning, options this afternoon include hiking, exploring the village or a glacier heli-hike for truly mind-blowing views. Whichever option you choose you won’t be disappointed. After a full day of activities, we’ll meet up and return to the Hermitage Hotel for our final dinner together and a chance to trade stories from the day. Your last night of the trip will be a memorable evening as you look back on your adventure and the places you’ve travelled.

Glacier boat and Hiking in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

Some of New Zealand’s best alpine hikes are found here. Surrounded by the peaks where Edmund Hillary honed his mountaineering skills before successfully summitting Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay in 1953, you’ll want to explore for yourself. Mount Cook, or Aoraki “the Cloud Piercer” as named by the Maori people, stands proudly at its heart raising up to the imposing height of 3724 meters (over 12,000 feet). The glacier boat cruise this morning takes us across the terminal lake to the ancient ice face of the Tasman Glacier, affording us incredible up-close views – keep your camera at the ready!

Choice 1

Walk the Hooker Valley Track

This is one of the South Island's most popular trails in glacier country. When you look down from the impressive swing bridges down to the rushing river below that leads you all the way to an alpine lake complete with icebergs, you'll understand why. For flower lovers, the Hooker Valley is one of the best places to see Mount Cook lilies in season.

Choice 2

Free time around Mt Cook Village

Today is a great opportunity to explore on your own. Visit the museum and planetarium in the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, take some short walks or just soak in the views with a coffee and a book.

Day 12 Optional Add-ons

Below are some of the optional add-ons you can also enjoy:

Glacier heli-hiking

Climb aboard a chopper and land high up on the Tasman Glacier, where you’ll don crampons and explore the dramatic ice caves and clear blue glacial shards with a specialist guide.

USD390+TAX
Day 13
Mackenzie Country
Lake Tekapo

Includes

Breakfast
Lunch

Activities

Sightseeing

Accommodation

Finish the trip in Christchurch
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Day 13 – Tekapo and the Mackenzie Country, Depart Christchurch

Enjoy your final taste of the incredible Mackenzie Country scenery as we make our way back to the city of Christchurch. The unreal colours of Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo contrast against our highest peaks in the distance, creating the perfect backdrop for photos you’ll treasure in years to come. After 13 days of extraordinary experiences, adventures, friendship and fun, we’ll say our goodbyes with drop-offs at Christchurch airport or your city accommodation. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and satisfied in the knowledge that you’ve made the very most of your time in New Zealand.

World Heritage Walking Tour

13 Day Tour – Christchurch to Christchurch. All inclusive. If the price below is not in your home currency, get an indication of what it converts to by using our currency converter below. Or ask us for trip prices in your home currency.
NZD$8999 AUD$7999 USD$5999 GBP£4599 CAD$7899

Combine this trip with the Sweet North to see both islands in 18 days! We do have shorter trip options and solo travellers don’t pay more, unless you’d like an upgrade to a private room. PLEASE NOTE: This is a sample of our current itinerary. Keep in mind we are constantly fine-tuning and improving our trips based on feedback from our guests and guides, availability, etc. So your trip will be at least this good, but we reserve the right to make slight alterations without notice to make it even better!

hollyford boating3

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