Great Explorations

(800) 242-1825
(604) 730-1247

National Geographic






“We found the people we met made the trip so special. Several of us have already been talking about which trip to go on next year.”

– Kay & Jim D,
Burlington, VT

More testimonials


Trip Dates:

Jan 7-15
Jan 21-29
Feb 4-12
Feb 18-26
Mar 7-15
Mar 17-25

Jan 6-14
Jan 20-28
Feb 3-11
Feb 17-25
Mar 6-14
Mar 16-24

Trip Size:

8-16 participants

Total Days:

9 days/ 8 nights






Alpine Lodge, Nelson National Park

Awaroa Lodge, Abel Tasman Park

Rahetihi Lodge, Marlborough Sounds

Braemar Lodge and Spa, Hanmer Springs

Post trip:

Hotel St Moritz, Queenstown


Land Cost (current year):
8+ pax-US $2950

4-5 pax - add US$600 pp


6-7 pax - add US $ 400 pp


Includes 8B/8L/7D

Single Supplement:
US $750

Queenstown Extension:
Price: US $495 2D/2N


New Zealand

Hiking Classic - Nelson Lakes National Park, Abel Tasman, Marlborough Sound & Hanmer Springs

The South Island of New Zealand is arguably the world’s most beautiful hiking destination and for good reason; the network of trails through mesmerizing scenery is unparalleled. Imagine snow-capped peaks, beautiful pristine lakes, lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, fjords and more. This region is truly spectacular. This itinerary begins in Nelson and explores Nelson Lakes National Park, Abel Tasman Park, Marlborough Sounds including Queen Charlotte Track, Kaikoura Peninsula and Hanmer Springs.



DAY 1:
Nelson - We meet at the Hotel Rutherford at 11:00 am and transfer to Nelson Lakes National Park, situated in the northernmost ranges of the Southern Alps. (90 min shuttle). After lunch and settling in to the Alpine Lodge, we will walk a trail in Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project area that is a great introduction to hiking on the South Island. This 100,000 hectare park also boasts the spectacular Rotoiti and Rotorura Lakes, surrounded by tranquil beech forest, soaring mountain peaks, clear streams, open tussock lands and riveredge clearings.

DAY 2:
Nelson Lakes National Park - After a leisurely breakfast, walk the Brunner Peninsula Nature Walk and an optional add-on that climbs through beech forest and stands of manuka and kanuka to a viewpoint at Black Hill – a solid mound of volcanic rock. Near the top is a clearing from which St Arnaud Village and Big Bush can be viewed. Or consider a trail that zigzags up the aptly named Pinchgut Track on to Mt Robert, with beautiful Lake Rotoiti in view for much of the way. If time allows, the side-trip along Robert Ridge towards Lake Angelus is irresistible, with expansive mountain vistas into the heart of the park. Amble back down via the gentler Paddy’s Track. Back at the Alpine Lodge, enjoy delicious dinner in the dining room.

DAY 3:
Abel Tasman Park - Depart for Kaiteriteri, the access point for the famous Abel Tasman Park. The drive is approximately 2 hours, followed by a cruise aboard the comfortable Sea Shuttle. You can enjoy lunch en route, enjoying the scenery along the way. Arriving to Awaroa Abel Tasman Park, walk a trail to the lodge and relax. There is also the option to sea-kayak and explore Awaroa Bay, Onetahuti Beach & Tonga Island. Discover dolphins, fur seals, and penguins! The Abel Tasman Park boasts the highest number of sunshine hours year-round in the country.

DAY 4:

Abel Tasman Park -After a leisurely breakfast, walk directly from the lodge along the Awaroa inlet and along beautiful trails through beech forests to the visitor center at Totaranui’s National Park Headquarters. The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. It offers bush and beach walking on a well formed track, mostly shaded by native forest. Weaving between long, golden-sand beaches, there are some gentle climbs between bays with no point higher than 200 metres (650 ft).

DAY 5:

Marlborough Sound - Begin the day on the Sky Track trail, open only to hotel guests or you can opt for an early morning sea-kayak. Mid-morning, cruise to Kaiteriteri and then drive towards the Marlborough Sound district, stopping in the pleasant Moutere Valley to taste some wonderful wines. Afterwards, choose between a 3-hour cruise, sampling mussels en-route or if you prefer less time on the water (and more time wine tasting), shuttle to Te Mahia jetty (45 minutes drive) for the 10 minute crossing by private boat. Arriving to Raetihi Lodge sit back and enjoy the scenery and serenity of this magical place.

DAY 6:
Queen Charlotte Track - Today, you can walk another of the Great Walks of New Zealand along the Queen Charlotte Track. Departing from the lodge by short boat shuttle to the trail head, you can walk the distance of your choice. A popular option is to walk from Te Mahia to Portage which takes 4-5 hours and provides some of the most stunning views along this trail.

DAY 7:

Kaikoura - Depart Marlborough Sounds and transfer along the coast passing Waipapa Bay and the Ohau waterfall. In Kaikoura, walk the Peninsula Walkway along the sea, a popular area for whales, fur lions and dolphins. Afterwards, shuttle to the lodge at Hanmer Springs.



DAY 8:
Hanmer Springs - Half-day walks at Hanmer Springs include a climb to a viewpoint and a stunning waterfall or consider the Chatterton River Track along a trail that is less visited and slightly more remote, but equally beautiful. Complete your day wtih a soak in the natural hot springs and if you wish, visit town.


DAY 9:
Departure Day - Depart for Christchurch by shuttle (90 minutes), included in your trip. Consider Extension to Queenstown.

Stay at the Hotel St. Moritz with two days to explore the city and environs. We’ll provide hiking routes and ideas for everything from jet boating to bungi jumping as this is the adventure capital of New Zealand.

  • What's Included
  • Weather
  • Ride Info
  • Map

Map of the Area

Ride Info


What's Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

What is included: Regular trip

  • services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
  • lodging as per final itinerary
  • All breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 7 dinners
  • entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
  • detailed map and route instructions
  • all baggage transportation
  • Travelogue
  • Pre departure Trip Planner with tips on what to bring and general information about travelling in New Zealand
  • all tips in hotels, restaurants, etc. (excludes discretionary tips for guides)

What is included: Queenstown Extension (after Regular trip)

  • 2 nights at Hotel St Moritz with breakfast
  • 1/2 day hike with local guide
  • Hiking routes and City Guide

Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we gladly accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at or by telephone at 604.730.1247



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