Great Walks of New Zealand

  • 5 Days
  • 14 People Max

    This trip has a maximum of 14 guests, plus two experienced Active Adventures guides.

  • Activity Level 2
    • Activity Level 2

      On the Move

      Sure, I own some hiking boots, they're even worn in, but they don't go on long trips. I like my creature comforts and I like to give a range of activities a go.

    Read more about the Active Range

  • Trip Start: Queenstown
  • Trip End: Queenstown
New Zealand Great Walks Discovery

In just five days, explore the Kepler, Routeburn and Milford Tracks on our Great Walks of New Zealand hiking tour.

Bask in your creature comforts and experience best-in-the-world hikes on our 5-day Great Walks of New Zealand hiking tour exploring the highlights and hidden gems of Fiordland. There's no doubt you'll be amazed by the vast landscapes you'll experience in a short amount of time while still enjoying comfortable accommodations and incredible food each evening. Starting and finishing in Queenstown, you'll hike three of New Zealand's Great Walks (Kepler Track, Routeburn Track and Milford Track), stay the night not only on the Fiordland Navigator on Doubtful Sound but also in the highly sought-after Milford Lodge Chalets and enjoy top-notch service every step of the way. If you're short on time but keen to see the best of the South Island, our Great Walks of New Zealand hiking tour is for you.

Great Walks of New Zealand ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Queenstown Trip End: Queenstown
  • Day 1Overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound

  • Day 2Cruise in Doubtful Sound, hike Routeburn Track

  • Day 3Hike Milford Track, cruise Milford Sound

  • Day 4Takahe Bird Park, hike Kepler Track

  • Day 5Gondola ride, hike Ben Lomond

  • Day 1

    Overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound

    #604

    For the first day of your trip we’ll meet you in Queenstown and head to Lake Manapouri where our journey into Doubtful Sound begins. We’ll board a boat for the cruise across Lake Manapouri, before a drive over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove where we’ll board the Fiordland Navigator for our overnight cruise. Doubtful Sound is a large and remote wilderness area, where you’ll have the opportunity to take a kayak out on the water or hop aboard the tender craft for a guided exploration of the fiord, and in the right season you may catch a glimpse of the rare Fiordland crested penguin. Tonight, you’ll sleep in a quad share room aboard the Fiordland Navigator, though there is the option to upgrade to a private ensuite room, if you prefer.
    Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound (All meals)

  • Day 2

    Cruise in Doubtful Sound, hike Routeburn Track

    #605

    You’ll wake in the middle of Doubtful Sound and after breakfast we’ll retrace our journey back to Manapouri. From there we’ll drive to the Divide, where we’ll hike part of the Routeburn Track, the first of the Great Walks you’ll experience. We hike through beech forest, sub-alpine shrub land and picturesque alpine tarns, before reaching Key Summit. Here you’ll be standing at the head of three different valleys (the Hollyford, Eglinton and Greenstone), with stunning views over the Great Divide, which separates west and east flowing rivers. We’ll take a short drive through the Homer Tunnel and emerge at the top of a spectacular glacier-carved valley for a memorable descent to the shore of Milford Sound (actually it’s a fiord!) Rudyard Kipling rated Milford the eighth natural wonder of the world and it’s truly breath-taking, with steep granite walls plunging over a thousand metres to the Tasman Sea and waterfalls cascading into deep inky water.
    Milford Lodge Chalets, Milford Sound (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 3.4 kilometres (2 miles), 3-4 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    380 metres (1,246 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    380 metres (1,246 feet)

  • Day 3

    Hike Milford Track, cruise Milford Sound

    #606

    It’s worth getting up early to take a photo of Mitre Peak, quite possibly the most photographed mountain in New Zealand, but your challenge is to find a unique angle! After breakfast, we’ll take a short boat ride across Milford Sound to hike from Sandfly Point to the Giant Gates waterfall, a spectacular section of the famed Milford Track. The forest here is lush and rich with mosses and ferns as we follow the Arthur River past Lake Ada. By hiking from the Milford Sound trailhead, we’ll enjoy the track to ourselves, which is a luxury others seldom get. Once we return to the Milford wharf, we’ll board a boat for a two hour nature cruise to the head of this spectacular fiord. We’ll then leave Milford Sound behind to hike some lesser-known tracks in eastern Fiordland before returning to Te Anau.
    Te Anau lodgings, Te Anau (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 10 kilometres (6 miles), 3-4 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    300 metres (985 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    300 metres (985 feet)

  • Day 4

    Takahe Bird Park, hike Kepler Track

    #607

    This morning we’re heading for a Department of Conservation birdlife park in Te Anau. The centre takes care of injured or ageing birds which would struggle to survive in the wild - it’s a great opportunity to see some of our rarest birds up close, so don’t forget your camera! Afterwards we’ll tick off our third Great Walk in three days - the Kepler Track. Interestingly, the Kepler Track differs from the Routeburn and Milford Tracks in that it didn’t actually evolve from a necessary Maori greenstone trail, but was custom-built for hiking. The section we’ll hike today passes over the control gates at the outlet of Lake Te Anau and meanders through ancient beech and podocarp forest.
    Te Anau lodgings, Te Anau (All meals)

    Hiking Distance: 9.5 kilometres (6 miles), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    50 metres (165 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    50 metres (165 feet)

  • Day 5

    Gondola ride, hike Ben Lomond

    #608

    Today we’ll drive back along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown, and take a ride on the gondola to the top of a tree-covered rocky crag, known as Bob’s Peak, to start our alpine hike. We pass through open alpine tussock-land to the Ben Lomond saddle and will be rewarded with panoramic views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the often snow-covered Southern Alps. For those keen to press on to the top, Ben Lomond’s summit reveals views of Mt Earnslaw and Mt Aspiring, two of New Zealand’s highest peaks, and even a glimpse of Aoraki/Mt Cook on a clear day. We’ll leave you refreshed and invigorated from the good food, exercise, rest, and great times you’ll have had with us in New Zealand! For a great way to see the North Island too, where you’ll experience Maori culture, pristine beaches and geothermal areas, combine this trip with our 11-day or 5-day ‘Kauri’.
    (Breakfast, Lunch)

    Ben Lomond Hiking Distance (From the gondola): 8 kilometres (5 miles), 4-5 hours
    Elevation Gain:
    978 metres (3,208 feet)
    Elevation Loss:
    978 metres (3,208 feet)

Great Walks of New Zealand Departure Dates

  • Upcoming
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year

Looking for a private departure? Let us know when you fill your enquiry form, and our Adventure Planners will let you know your different options.

USD $3999/pp
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Interactive Trip Map: Click on the map icons to read details for each day.

What Our Guests Say About the Trip

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- May 2022

Amazing trip with great guides

"I had a great time on the Jaguar trip - our guides were friendly, knowledgeable,… read more

"I had a great time on the Jaguar trip - our guides were friendly, knowledgeable, organized, and always helpful. Our porters and camp staff also were friendly and highly competent. The sites chosen by the guides for us to visit were always interesting, and the guides were able to provide great information about them. The information provided to us by Active Adventures was helpful and comprehensive - my only comments regarding the pre-trip information would be to update the materials to clarify that guests need a small day pack for biking and day hikes AND a 30L plus hiking bag for the Inca trail, and the pre-trip information could have included information about tipping for the porters and guides. While it is sensible that the company would not want to pressure guests into tipping a certain amount, everyone in my group had a wonderful time and genuinely wanted to show appreciation to our porters and guides. It would have been helpful to know how much cash we should have with us when departing on the trail to be able to tip each individual adequately, as well as information about when in the trip we would have an opportunity to tip both porters and guides. read less

5 Stars (2056 reviews)

Amy, United States

- May 2022

Bucket list trip for sure!!

"After having had my retirement bucket list trip snatched from under me in 2020, I… read more

"After having had my retirement bucket list trip snatched from under me in 2020, I was delighted to finally take it this April. Active Adventures deserves huge kudos for honouring its commitment to the trip. I travelled with two friends, and we were in a group of 15 on the trip - from the US and Canada. What a fantastic group of people! Best of all though, were our two tour guides from the Galapagos, Pepo and Paulo. They were the best ambassadors for the islands and Ecuador - very knowledgeable, professional, kind hearted - and just plain fun. They made us feel safe and relaxed throughout the trip. The islands are gorgeous - and the wildlife does not disappoint. I found deep ocean snorkelling a bit out of my comfort zone, and wished I had practiced a bit in a pool before I left. However, it is an essential part of the trip, and cannot be skipped. Learning about tectonic plates, volcanoes and the conservation efforts for the giant tortoises was food for thought. As for helpful tips, bring lots of sun screen, sun protective clothing, and bug spray. These items are not readily available on the islands, but they are absolutely essential. Also bring a reusable water bottle as recommended by AA, because although bottled water is available for purchase everywhere, it makes more sense to fill up from the large reusable containers provided and not create plastic waste. I would definitely recommend this beautiful active adventure - my first with this company, but not my last. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Serena, Canada

- May 2022

Bucket List Trip

"We loved our trip to Galapagos! Our guides, Pepo and Paulo were so knowledgeable… read more

"We loved our trip to Galapagos! Our guides, Pepo and Paulo were so knowledgeable about the islands and loved sharing it all with us. The warm weather was so welcome after a winter in New England. All of the logistics were handled smoothly so that all we had to do was enjoy the varied land and marine wildlife. An amazing trip that I highly recommend! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Claudia, United States

- May 2022

Somethings really do live up to the hype. This was AMAZING!!

"To be honest, I was a little leery traveling with a new company, with new… read more

"To be honest, I was a little leery traveling with a new company, with new people and well, Covid. But this was abso-fricking-lutely the BEST ADVENTURE TRIP! From our guide, Pepo (who completely hit it out of the park), to the places we saw, to the organization behind the scenes and those wonderful meals, this was amazing! If you want the best way to SEE the Galapagos Islands, this is it. I can't say enough great things about Galakiwi (Active's partner) and our guides. They made this trip unforgettable. Pepo and Paolo answered our flora/fauna questions (we had lots!) and happily shared us what makes this place so special. And man, Pepo can dance - and surf! We're already talking about our next Active Adventure - we can't wait! :) read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Lori, United States

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Wonderful Patagonia

"Although initially disappointed that the border with Argentina remained closed, the Torres del Paine hiking… read more

"Although initially disappointed that the border with Argentina remained closed, the Torres del Paine hiking with Alvaro and Christian was compensation aplenty. read less

4 Stars (1175 reviews)

Nick, United Kingdom

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Bucket List Trip!

"I finally made it to Patagonia! And I couldn't have done it with a better… read more

"I finally made it to Patagonia! And I couldn't have done it with a better company! This was my 5th tour with Active!
The landscape was even more breathtaking than I had imagined. And every guide was so much fun to hang out with and incredibly knowledgeable about the culture and the land. If you are planning a trip to Patagonia and you love being in the outdoors, this is the tour company for you! read less

5 Stars (1175 reviews)

Jolene, Canada

- April 2022

West Coast is a must visit

"This is our second Active Adventures trip and we weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent… read more

"This is our second Active Adventures trip and we weren't disappointed. The itinerary was excellent and food and accommodation of a high standard. We loved the West Coast scenery. The walks were amazing, particularly around Lake Matheson and Punakaiki. Kayaking on Okarito Lagoon, heli-hiking on Franz Joseph Glacier and the scenic flight over Mt Aspiring National Park out to Milford Sound were fantastic experiences. Our guide Clare was first class. Everything was organised to perfection and nothing was too much trouble. read less

5 Stars (2 reviews)

Robert, New Zealand

- April 2022

Fabulous trip!

"First “big” trip in 2 years due to the pandemic. Honestly, more anxiety than excitement… read more

"First “big” trip in 2 years due to the pandemic. Honestly, more anxiety than excitement prior to the trip but once I arrived in the Galapagos, the excitement hit and so glad my friend and I decided to go on the adventure together. AA tour made the trip really easy. I really like the balance of being “active” and some downtime of my own. The tour guides were friendly and very knowledgeable. The meals were all very good except for the first night dinner on San Cristobal Island…to me, it wasn’t good. I thought the fish weren’t well prepared and tasted too fishy. Another person ordered the same meal and I noticed she hardly touched hers. Later I found out hers was too salty. Another low light for me was the accommodations on Floreana Island. Apparently, very limited hotel selections on the island. Hotel Wittmer was ran down and we all had cold showers that night. I also found a smashed dead mosquito with blood on the wall! Isabela Island was fun and where we stayed was wonderful. I wish we had more time on Santa Cruz Island. All in all, I had a fantastic trip and would recommend this trip to my friends who enjoy the outdoor and animals! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Hui-Chien, United States

- April 2022

Wonderful wildlife adventures

"The Tortuga trip was full of once in a lifetime experiences. Pablo, our guide was… read more

"The Tortuga trip was full of once in a lifetime experiences. Pablo, our guide was so passionate about the islands and knowledgeable about the wildlife and all aspects of our trip. We swam with sea turtles, rays, sea lions, and sharks!. The land tortoises were great to see in their natural habitat and in the breeding centers. I learned so much about the history of the islands, the environment, Darwin's studies and plans for the furture on the island. The snorkeling in Los Tunels was the highlight as well as the hike to the volcano lava fields. The Galapagos is truely a unique and fascinating place. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Barb, United States

- April 2022

Great experience

"Well organised trip read more

"Well organised trip read less

5 Stars (863 reviews)

Adrian, New Zealand

Ultimate Patagonia & Chile Adventure - April 2022

Almost to Antarctica

"The Condor trip and the W Trek were wonderful. I was there in early February… read more

"The Condor trip and the W Trek were wonderful. I was there in early February and the weather was good; clouds mixed with sun, and surprisingly warm…but windy. The guides, as always, were special and took care of everything. The scenery is amazing, and constant for the entire 4+ days. The Argentina border was closed so the trip was modified to include the Chile Lake District, and I opted out of that portion of the trip because it was similar to the Active Adventures Puma trip which I did a couple years ago (also a great trip!). Even doing only the W Trek was great…and I hope to return for the whole trip! read less

5 Stars (1175 reviews)

Mark, United States

- April 2022

Great trip with Great people

"I could write pages about our Tortuga trip in April . Instead I will just… read more

"I could write pages about our Tortuga trip in April . Instead I will just say that we were so surprised how much we enjoyed traveling with Active Adventures. We are typically not "group travel" people but in the Galapagos it seems necessary...so many things to line up and local people and facilities to communicate with. AAdventures did this with amazing competency. Things flowed seamlessly. Our guide Pepo and his assistant Paolo were amazing. They seemed to do all this and yet still ENJOY being with us, answering questions and getting everyone excited for the next adventure. I will advise that this is an active trip, not intense but lots of exercise, sweating and moving every day. It is important to know that and be prepared or know that you might skip some of the longer things. I also want to add that the guides' English was beautiful and Pepo's knowledge about the area, the geography and the animals was impressive. To anyone who is worried about the "group" aspect but needs the logistics AAdventures can provide, be assured. They still respect your privacy, your right to skip something if its not for you and the small size makes it not feel chaotic. Food was also very good, fresh and simple but abundant and well prepared. I had dreamed of this trip since I was a little girl and read about the tortoises in National Geographic. I never thought the experience would live up to the dream, but it truly did and I think Active Adventures had a big part in that. read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Lynn, United States

Ecuador Volcano and Jungle Adventure - April 2022

Tapir with Alberto

"This was an excellent way to see more of mainland Ecuador. The scenery was… read more

"This was an excellent way to see more of mainland Ecuador. The scenery was breathtaking with waterfalls, rushing river and majestic mountains. Got to sample local cuisine with I enjoyed very much. read less

5 Stars (294 reviews)

Sandy, United States

- April 2022

Takahe trip 27 Mar-31 Mar 22

"This was a trip down memory lane for me revisiting old haunts & visiting new… read more

"This was a trip down memory lane for me revisiting old haunts & visiting new ones. I was thrilled with how it all went & with the experience of our guides & their enthusiasm. The weather was perfect & I achieved everything on my bucket list! read less

5 Stars (863 reviews)

Colleen, New Zealand

- April 2022

Our 4th trip with Active

"Another great guide. Beautiful diving, biking and hiking adventures. Great local food and accommodations. We… read more

"Another great guide. Beautiful diving, biking and hiking adventures. Great local food and accommodations. We have loved every single Active Adventure. As always though, the Active guides are what make the trip special. This time Pepo and Paulo were absolutely awesome with their knowledge and communication. The people in the group always seem to come together as great friends and we have the guides to thank for that! Can't wait for the next one! read less

5 Stars (1564 reviews)

Paul, United States

- April 2022

Amazing trip

"We loved our Active Adventures trip. The guides were amazing, super organised and great company. read more

"We loved our Active Adventures trip. The guides were amazing, super organised and great company. read less

5 Stars (64 reviews)

Kate, New Zealand

milford lodge 2
milford lodge 3
milford lodge

Accommodation

We have selected the accommodations on your ‘Takahe’ trip for their stunning setting and location, quality of service, comfort and attentive hospitality. From the Milford Lodge (the only accommodation in Milford Sound) to the Fiordland Navigator, you'll never get tired of the views.
Active Adventure Assurance

Our Active Adventures Assurance

If your plans change or you decide to travel to another destination, you can change your trip to any of our departures in any destination or request a refund (less deposit) up to 90 days out from your original trip start date.

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Useful Info

What's the maximum group size on this trip?

This trip has a maximum of 14 guests, plus two experienced Active Adventures guides. 

Where does the trip start?

On the first morning of the trip we will meet you at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 7:30am for breakfast and a trip briefing. You are welcome to stay at any hotel in Queenstown if you arrive before the first day, though you must make your own way to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the pre-designated time.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Queenstown Airport (ZQN) in time for flights below or anywhere in central Queenstown around 5pm

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: We recommend arriving into Queenstown the night before the trip starts. If that isn't possible please contact us to arrange an alternative arrival time. 

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Queenstown after 6pm. If you’re considering alternative flight times please check with us. International flights from Auckland airport (AKL) usually leave early evening, so if you’re heading back to North America, you’ll get home on the same day, even though you left that evening! Flights back to Europe, of course, take a little longer.

How fit do I need to be?

As an Activity Level 3 trip, you’ll need a good level of fitness for the trip as it’s one of our more adventurous trips. Typically, hikes range between two and five hours to complete, more, or less hiking is available depending on your multi-day option.

Please head to our Fitness Guide for great tips on how to prepare along with a workout plan!

What accommodations do we stay at on this trip?

This trip is a wilderness hiking trip and while it’s not designed to be a scenic tour of the South Island’s luxury hotels, it features more creature comforts than some of our other trips and you’ll certainly feel like you’re hiking in style! You’ll stay in some wonderful places in the remote locations we take you.

Laundry facilities will be available at almost all accommodations (except the Doubtful Sound overnight boat). Please check with reception on check-in, or we can do that for you.

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

You’ll need one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage can be anything from a backpack, to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase and a good quality daypack 25-30 litres (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days.

Tell me about the Doubtful Sound overnight cruise?

On your Active Great Walks Discovery option we spend one night onboard the Navigator ship on the remote Doubtful Sound. It’s a stunning environment and you’ll probably be one of just a small group of people exploring this part of the country.

Rooming on the Navigator is in 4 person dorms with bunk - style beds and shared bathroom facilities. There is also the option to upgrade to a private room with ensuite bathroom for an additional cost. If you’d like a private room please let us know as soon as possible, as there are limited rooms available and they can only be requested on a first come, first served basis. 

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Your Local New Zealand Guides

Why Travel With Us

benefit group size

Just-right group sizes allow you to get off the beaten path

With an average of 12 guests per departure and an industry-leading 6:1 guest-to-guide ratio, you’ll enjoy a highly personalized experience with the perspective of an insider.

benefit guides

Award-winning guides lead the way

It’s so much easier to relax and enjoy your adventure when you have fun, caring guides who know the land, are experts in motivation, sweat all the details and whip up incredible meals, too!

benefit inclusive

You’ll never need to sweat the details

When we say all inclusive, we mean it! Meals and snacks, activities, lodging, transportation, guiding services and more. Every detail is handled; all you need to do is show up!

benefit safety

Enjoy freedom to push your boundaries – safely

Every aspect of your trip is thoroughly considered for your safety, from highly vetted vendors and well-maintained equipment to extensively trained guides and our seasoned operations team at headquarters.

benefit family

Decades of expertise mean you’ll experience only the best

Family travel and North American National Parks are our specialty. We’ve perfected our itineraries and sustained relationships for decades, ensuring you'll experience your destination to the fullest.

benefit wow

"Wow Moments” take your trip from enjoyable to extraordinary

For us, the extra mile is never extra, it’s part of the way! Count on special touches throughout your trip that will amplify your experience. If we’ve done our job, they’ll have you saying “wow!”

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New Zealand

Great Walks of New Zealand