XNZ 12 Day New Zealand Tour

A South Island Walking Adventure

12 Day New Zealand Tour

Walk in Fiordland National Park; cruise of Milford Sound; Hike the Routeburn Track; Explore the quaint village of Glenorchy; Scenic forest hiking; Thundering waterfalls; Explore Queenstown; Southern Alps Mountain views; See endangered native wildlife; Hike around Aoraki/Mt Cook


Dates & Prices

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.

How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?

The easiest way to make a reservation is online via our website; you can also call us at 1800 665 3998, Monday-Friday 9-5 Pacific Time.

A non-refundable $500 deposit is payable at the time of booking (some tours require a higher deposit); if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required immediately. Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require considerable preparation time.

Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and provide a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and online forms for you to complete and submit to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be provided approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.

What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?

Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing (e-mail preferred) immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% non-refundable/non-transferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, non-transferable. Name changes are not permitted. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason. All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated.

We may cancel departures if forced to do so by unforeseen circumstances such as war, civil unrest, pandemics/disease outbreaks (ie Ebola, Zika, Covid-19 etc), catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, etc -- things beyond our control that are commonly referred to as “force majeure.” In these instances we will offer 100% credits for all deposits if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date. Such credits can be applied to any future scheduled or custom tour (time limits may apply).

If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date and your full payment on the postponed tour will remain non-refundable.

Regardless of the timing of cancellation (outside or inside 60 days), we will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline policies pertaining to cancellation/change fees, any trip component/s that may be non-refundable from our suppliers, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage for the above listed circumstances and other perils.

If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you, either the same tour on a different date or another tour of your choice. If this is not acceptable, your deposit/s will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given no later than 60 days prior to trip start date.

Do you have a shared accommodation program?

Yes! Most tours have a single-share program in which we match you with another single traveller of the same gender. If we are unable to pair you, we will usually absorb the cost of a single room. On some tours a "forced single" will apply; please enquire at time of booking. You will normally be informed of this charge 60 days prior to departure; however, we reserve the right to charge this fee up to your departure and, in rare cases, once you have departed. Upgrading to single room once the tour has begun is subject to availability in each overnight point, and payment must be made immediately to our office or locally to the Tour Leader. If you want to guarantee your own room, a single supplement applies. Payment of single supplement does not, however, guarantee that you will receive a twin size, twin-bedded room.

I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?

All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location.

This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement.

The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible.

On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available.

Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.

Select a date below to reserve your spot:

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Thu 10 Mar 2022Mon 21 Mar 2022 $5150 USD Please contact us
Thu 09 Mar 2023Mon 20 Mar 2023 $5300 USD

If you're booking your flights, due to the nature of our journey on the last day of the tour, please do not book anything that departs Christchurch before 3:00 pm. The tour pricing includes New Zealand's 15% Goods & services tax (GST).

Optional Single Supplement: $1453 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $727 if you join our share program and we are unable to pair you.

Tour Overview

What a stunning addition to our popular series of active adventures! True to our overall concept with respect to our "X"-coded tours, this one features a nicely-balanced mix of non-hiking travel/sightseeing days and leisure time, as well as some carefully-selected hiking (or "tramping" as the Kiwis say) routes that will blow you away with some of the most stunning and dramatic scenery in the Southern Hemisphere. Our walks are moderately easy, with plenty of time for pictures, snack breaks, informational chats, and just for taking it all in. We overnight in charming small hotels and lodges -- no camping! All you carry is your camera, water bottle, granola bars, and spirit of adventure, Down Under style.

Regions visited: Down Under
Countries visited: New Zealand

What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?

Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 60-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.

Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?

Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.

Full Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Queenstown
We start our adventure in Queenstown - welcome to New Zealand!

Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is New Zealand's premier four-season lake and alpine resort. Queenstown has a compact and sophisticated downtown area tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Dwarfed by the surrounding mountains, there are amazing views from everywhere.

Tonight we’ll have an orientation with our local guide and our first dinner together at a local restaurant.

Overnight in Queenstown.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Fiordland National Park & Milford Sound
Today we dive right into the heart of New Zealand’s largest National Park — Fiordland.

At over 11% of the South Island, it’s a wee drive to get there, but it’s a stunning journey and we'll stop along the way to experience some great short walks such as mirror lakes, the Marian gantry, and ‘the Chasm’. After journeying through the Homer tunnel we'll emerge at the top of the Cleddau Valley with amazing views down into Milford Sound — our destination and home for the night!

Once in Milford we'll embark on a cruise of the fiord itself to get up close and personal with the dramatic sea cliffs and thundering waterfalls. This evening we'll retire in the stunning Milford Lodge chalets right on the riverside and you'll have the chance to go for a twilight wander to see if you can spot some glow-worms!

Hikes: Short walks along route, 45 minutes; 2 hr cruise.

Overnight Milford Sound.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 Hiking the Milford Track - Te Anau
After waking up in the peaceful serenity of Milford Sound, we'll head out on a boat this morning to Sandfly point on the Milford Track to hike ways up the trail to Giants Gate Waterfall. Wandering along in the lush green forest you'll think you’ve stumbled right into Naia!

After lunch we'll retrace our steps back out along the stunning Milford road to Te Anau for the evening. Those that want a further leg stretch can wander along the shores of Lake Te Anau, with stunning views at dusk. Te Anau is built on the edge of pristine lakes surrounded by World Heritage-status mountains, the living heart of Fiordland. This is the walking capital of the world and wilderness capital of NZ.

Milford: 9.5km / 6mi, +/- 265m / 870ft, 3 hrs.
Routeburn: 3km / 2mi, +/- 380m / 1,246ft, 3-4 hours

Overnight in Te Anau.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 Experience Glenorchy's Mining History
Travelling North today we'll head out of Fiordland and into our second National Park of the trip — Mount
Aspiring National Park. We'll stop in the cute hamlet of Glenorchy for some lunch before walking the
Whakaari trails up behind the town that lead us up to magnificent view points over Lake Wakatipu, and
we'll encounter historic huts and mining relics covered in tussock from the early 1880s. The small town of
Glenorchy was thrown into the spotlight in the early 1880s due to the discovery of the mineral scheelite
"Otago's white ld" and we'll have the opportunity to visit the restored huts, the battery site and other relics like the aerial cable way from Bonnie Jean Hut. Afterwards we'll head back down to Camp Glenorchy — our stunning eco camp accommodation for the next few nights.

We finish our day at Camp Glenorchy – our stunning eco camp accommodation for the next couple of nights.

Hikes: 11km / 6.8mi, +/- 542m, 4 hours.

Overnight in Glenorchy.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 Hike Mt Aspiring National Park
Today we hit the Routeburn Track. This walk offers spectacular views and passes a range of native vegetation: beech forest, sub-alpine shrublands, alpine tarns and bogs. Birdlife is prolific and tomtits, robins, New Zealand pigeons and bellbirds are commonly seen.

Named for Mt Aspiring, one of New Zealand's highest peaks, this park is a dreamland of mountains, river valleys, and alpine lakes. This glacial and mountainous world is home to 100 permanent glaciers. In fact, the area is part of the Te Wahipounamu – Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, truly a hiker's paradise.

We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch in the valley flats while absorbing the dramatic mountain views, before heading back down the trail to Glenorchy.

Day's Walking: 12km (7.5 mi), 5 hours

Overnight in Glenorchy.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 Explore Glenorchy Wetlands & Queenstown
After the great hiking effort of yesterday, we’ll take today at a slower pace, with your choice this morning to relax or have a stroll around the local Glenorchy Wetlands to see native ducks and black swans.

Wetland is a collective term to describe a habitat which is permanently wet, usually in shallow water with undefined land-water margins. They are important because they hold 22% of bird species in New Zealand and an astonishing array of flora and fauna; however, they make up only 2% of the country's land area.

In the afternoon we’ll journey back along the beautiful shores of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown. Lake Wakatipu fills a deep valley carved into the mountains by ancient glaciers. Because of its unusual shape, Lake Wakatipu has a 'tide' (more correctly, an unusually large seiche or "standing wave"), which causes the water to rise and fall about 10 centimetres every 25 minutes or so. Maori legend links this phenomenon to the heartbeat of a huge monster named Matau, who is said to be slumbering at the bottom of the lake.

Dinner on your own this evening.

Day's Walking: 3.58 km (1.6mi), 1-2 hours

Overnight in Queenstown.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch

Day 7 Queenstown: Day at Leisure
Today is a nicely-timed free day (and a mandatory rest day for our tireless crew).

Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is New Zealand's premier four-season lake and alpine resort. Queenstown has a compact and sophisticated downtown area tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Dwarfed by the surrounding mountains, there are amazing views from everywhere.

You may choose just to relax, wander the streets, and soak up the atmosphere of the place. Or you may wish to join one of the optional excursions available (booked locally), such as a lake cruise, wine tour, jet boating, or a local garden tour. Your Tour Leader can help you plan your day (dinner on your own this evening).

Overnight in Queenstown.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 8 Cromwell Winery & Lake Wanaka
Travelling east out from Queenstown we’ll head through the small town of Cromwell, surrounded by fertile land perfect for fruit and grape growing. So naturally we’ll stop along the way here at a winery for some lunch and to sample the delicious wines. Afterwards we’ll follow along the Clutha River to the stunning township of Wanaka, a small resort town serving both summer and winter seasons. Historically, Maori visited the Wanaka area to hunt and fish in summer; the current town was founded during the gold rush of the 19th century.

This afternoon there will be time for those who want to have a gentle stroll along the lakeshore and to spot the famous ‘wanaka tree’, a picturesque lone tree growing in the shallows of the lake.

Overnight in Wanaka.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9 Walk Mt Iron & Optional Wildlife Cruise
This morning we'll hike up a local hill called Mt Iron, just a short walk from central Wanaka. It's a nice incline
to the top where we get 360 degree views of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, all the way over to Mount Aspiring National Park. After heading back down and having a delicious lunch, you have the choice this afternoon to either explore Wanaka at your leisure, or take a wildlife cruise to Mou Waho Island (Optional Extra: Mou Waho Island C, (NZD$180 + gst pp).

Mou Woaho Island has been established in Lake Wanaka as a nature reserve free of introduced predators so New Zealand's native bird numbers can flourish. You'll see many native bird species including the largest population of buff Weka — a hen-like bird that is very curious about humans! A short boat ride takes you to the island where you can take the short (1.5mi) island loop walk to sopt wildlife, and also encounter one of the very few places on earth that you can see an island in a lake, on an island, in a lake, on an island, in the ocean.

Hikes: 5 kilometres (3 miles), 2 hours, +/- 200m (660ft)

We return to Wanaka.

Overnight in Wanaka.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 10 Journey Over Lindis Pass - Aoraki / Mount Cook
We’ll leave the central Otago region today to head towards the Mackenzie Country – open tussock clad hills that roll out before the dramatic snowy peaks of the Southern Alps. We’ll cross over the spectacular Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand's highest alpine road passes, to head to Mount Cook Village.

Mount Cook Village is nestled at the base of Aoraki/Mount Cook, probably the most spectacular national park in the country and one that rivals most scenery you'll see in the European Alps. The park, 680 sq km (270 square miles), contains more than 20 peaks over 3000m (10,000 feet), including Aoraki/Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in Australasia; indeed the Maori word Aoraki means 'the Cloud Piercer.' It also features the world's longest temperate-zone glacier, the Tasman.

For those keen to stretch their legs in the afternoon, we can head out to the nearby Tasman Lake to see some icebergs floating off from the end of the Tasman Glacier.

Overnight at Mount Cook Lodge.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 11 Hike Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is a rugged land of ice and rock. Walking one of the tracks is the best way to experience this ancient landscape.

Our track leads up the Hooker Valley and along the Hooker River, ending at the glacier lake, where there are amazing views of Aoraki/Mount Cook on a clear day. Along the way you will cross three swingbridges and encounter picturesque icebergs, glaciers and majestic mountains that will have you reaching for your camera at every turn. We’ll have great views of Mt Tasman, Mt Seton, and Mt Jellicoe, all with their own glaciers dripping off them.

Day's Walking: 9km (5.6mi), +/-100m (+328/-328ft). A quick hiker could do this route in about 3 hours, but we'll take our time with plenty of stops for admiring, resting, and photgraphy.

Overnight at Mount Cook Lodge.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12 Mt Cook - Tekapo - Christchurch & Depart
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll travel to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo where we’ll stop at the stunningly picturesque ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’ to stretch our legs and soak up the last hours of the great scenery. From there we’ll head north to Christchurch in time for flights out after 3pm.


Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch

Tour Map

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hotel List

The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.

Crowne Plaza

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Queenstown
Country: New Zealand

A minute's walk from the banks of Lake Wakatipu, this upmarket hotel in a contemporary building is also a 7-minute
... from Milford Galleries Queenstown and a 10-minute walk from the Skyline Queenstown gondola.

The streamlined rooms have balconies, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.

Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Milford Sound Lodge

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Milford Sound
Country: New Zealand

Treat yourself to a bit of luxury while you take in the sheer majesty of Milford Sound after the crowds
... There is simply no better way to reward yourself after enjoying Milford Sound Great Walks and scenery.

Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Camp Glenorchy

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Glenorchy
Country: New Zealand

Aside from providing beautifully-appointed, comfortable accommodation, the founders behind Camp Glenorchy hope to inspire and share learning about new standards
... sustainable tourism. This world-first guest accommodation aims to set new standards in sustainable tourism and has been designed according to the Living Building Challenge
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Oakridge Resort

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Wanaka
Country: New Zealand

Overlooking a picturesque mountain landscape, this contemporary, low-rise hotel is 2 km from Lake Wanaka. The sleek rooms feature feather
... plus balconies, desks, flat-screen TVs and tea and coffeemakers.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Mt Cook Lodge

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Mt Cook
Country: New Zealand

Located in Mount Cook National Park and offering beautiful mountain views, Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Lodge is a 5-minute walk
... Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center. All rooms are heated and feature a flat-screen TV and an private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Trip Information


All transport, accommodation, guiding services (2 local guides), sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary and necessary Department of Conservation permits. Most meals (as per tour itinerary). Gratuities for our two local guides, driver, restaurant staff, porters (if available).

Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving/late departing land & air customers who also book their extra hotel nights through us.


International airfare (and taxes) to/from the tour. A small number of meals (see detailed tour itinerary). Tour Leader gratuities (one person), alcoholic drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), travel insurance, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers.

Seasonality and Weather

The timings of our two annual dates are set to coincide with late spring (Nov) and late summer (Mar), both of which allow us to enjoy comfortable temperatures and favourable weather, while also avoiding the crowds and higher costs associated with the Austral summer holiday period (Dec-Feb).

While we hope, of course, for fine days, mountain weather can be fickle at the best of times and rain/showers can occur throughout the year. One good thing about this part of the world is that if you don't like the weather, you often just have to wait 5 minutes for a change!

Travellers choosing our November (spring) date will enjoy snowy peaks and plenty of wildflowers. March travellers (late summer) will enjoy slightly warmer temperatures, locally-grown fruit and vegetables, and the possibility of some early fall colour in some spots.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Since New Zealand isn't quite small enough to simply walk everywhere and still see all the highlights in a limited amount of time, we travel in fuel-efficient 20-seat Toyota Coasters. Our leader/guides make the journey enjoyable, introducing you to some local music as well as providing interesting commentary and informal conversation. En route we enjoy New Zealand’s ever-changing landscapes -- truly a feast for the eyes. Our focus, as always, is on getting you out of the vehicle and into nature and all of that stunning scenery!

Our "Category 3" difficulty rating refers to the walks/hikes that are sprinkled throughout our program. This activity does not occur every day, but as per our tour itinerary, even when not on a "hike," we will be on foot quite a lot with plenty of places with uneven surfaces. While most our our tracks take place in a mountainous setting, none of our hikes occur at high altitudes.

Our walks/hikes: Because some hikes can/may be adjusted at the discretion of your Tour Leader and local guides depending on things like weather and group interest, the final distances/durations of our hikes as indicated in our itinerary should be taken as guidance only. In the meantime, however, we can advise that, generally-speaking, our walks are leisurely on well-trodden pathways over undulating terrain, 3-4 hours actual moving, and likely a longer duration overall once you add breaks for refreshment, photos, and taking it all in. In order to be suitable for this program, you must already be a regular hiker and accustomed to moderately-strenuous walks on gravel surfaces and uneven grades.

For day-by-day summaries of our activities, please refer to the detailed itinerary.

All participants will have to complete/submit a medical self-assessment form indicating their suitability for this tour. To preview this form, please click the link below.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

How might Covid-19 impact this tour and your booking? To review our safety protocols, passenger responsibilites, frequently asked questions, and terms governing your reservation, click here.

Review our full booking terms here.


We’ve chosen a selection of locally-owned 3-star lodges and hotels, all of which are cozy and charming, well-appointed, and designed with sustainability in mind. They are also beautifully-situated with great views and delicious food.

For more information and photos, please click/tap the "Map & Hotels" tab elsewhere on this page.

Staff and Support

Tour leader, driver, and two local guides, who will also be preparing our delicious lunches along the way.

Group Size

Maximum 14 plus Tour Leader



TOUR STARTQueenstown

TOUR ENDChristchurch

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