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New Zealand Grand Tour

from £6175
Looking for your next adventure? Visit New Zealand's North and South Islands on the ultimate holiday of a lifetime! 
  • Product Code 42100
  • Holiday Type Sightseeing And Walking Holidays, Experiential Holidays
  • Grade Grade 4
  • Holiday Duration 23 Nights

Guided Walking Holidays New Zealand - A 'Grand Tour'

Imagine a small country blessed with more than its fair share of natural wonders, and you are imagining New Zealand. Subtropical beaches, volcanoes and spectacular thermal areas, fjords, ice-capped mountains, unique flora and fauna. Worth travelling half way around the world for? Most definitely!

Ramblers Walking Holidays is one of the few British tour operators licensed by the Department of Conservation to legally operate walking holidays in New Zealand.

The best way to discover New Zealand is on foot, so we will enjoy a series of walks and sightseeing during this epic trip. Our holiday starts in Auckland, a city cradled between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. We travel south from here to Rotorua, centre of both Maori culture and the most extraordinary thermal activity. Here there are geysers, bubbling mud pools and lakes which fizz all the colours of the rainbow. Our next stop is the Tongariro National Park situated in a spectacular region of active volcanoes. The Tongariro Crossing is amongst the greatest one-day walks anywhere in the world (this can be done as an optional extra).

From the capital, Wellington, we sail across the Marlborough Sound to Picton on South Island. After walking by Queen Charlotte Sound and visiting a vineyard we spend two nights at St Arnaud by the beautiful Nelson Lakes. Here the view from the top of Mount Robert is one of the finest in the country. We travel to Fox Glacier and follow a riverside trail to the terminal moraine, walk along Gillespie’s Beach with the chance of sighting fur seals and dusky dolphins, and take in the incredible view across Lake Matheson to the Southern Alps.

The journey over Haast Pass brings us to Queenstown. The setting, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with the craggy ‘Remarkables’ as a back drop, is sensational. The Moke Lake Walk is often voted the best of the holiday, and an ascent of Ben Lomond is also possible.

Te Anau is our base in the Southern Lake District, from where we cruise on Milford Sound. This fjord lives up to its reputation, with dramatic cliffs, hanging valleys and waterfalls cascading into the dark waters. We then head north to spend a day exploring the area around Mount Cook. The view of New Zealand’s highest mountain set against Lake Pukaki or the Hooker Glacier is yet another highlight. Journey’s end is Christchurch; a city which has recovered with great fortitude from the earthquake of 2011. This really is a holiday of a lifetime. With our expert knowledge, we purposely, as far as possible, the excessively touristy places, and spend as much time as we can in the great New Zealand countryside, with its magnificent lakes and rivers, providing you with that exhilarating feeling of really being in wide open spaces (because you are).

Tongariro Alpine Crossing Option*

Heralded as the best one-day trek available in New Zealand, it spans the length of Mount Tongariro covering 12 miles (19.2km) and takes on average 7-8 hours to complete. This can be booked independently through a local operator as an optional extra and will be organised for you to partake in during your stay in Turangi. Price includes local guide, lunch, trekking/wet weather gear hire and return transfers from Turangi. A medium to high level fitness required. If a part of our programme, this would be a more challenging level 7 activity.


Holiday Highlights

  • Walking amongst Rotorua's geysers, thermal springs & boiling mud pools.
  • Cruising amongst vertical cliffs, angling valleys & waterfalls in Milford Sound.
  • Enjoying the view of Mount Cook – the highest & most beautiful point in New Zealand.
  • The ferry ride through the Queen Charlotte Sound. Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world!
  • Getting up close to glaciers.
  • The volcanoes by Tongariro National Park.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Flights and return airport transfers
      Transport for all walks, activities and excursions.
      B&B en suite accommodation.
      Dinners on 10 evenings in hotels or local restaurants
      Tour Leaders licenced by the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 4/SS

  1. Day 1 to 2

    Depart London Heathrow for Auckland via Singapore with Singapore Airlines.

  2. Day 3

    We arrive around lunchtime in Auckland where we stay for two nights.

  3. Day 4

    We spend our time exploring and sightseeing in the ‘City of Sails’ and take the ferry across to Devonport and walk along the magnificent coastline overlooking the City skyline.

  4. Day 5

    Leaving Auckland we travel via Waitomo, where we visit the famous caves lit by ‘glowworms’, and then on to the Maori and thermal centre of Rotorua where we stay for two nights. Our time here will be spent walking in this region of lakes, hot springs and erupting geysers. Some of the country’s best known Maori settlements are here and there are some fine examples of local Maori carvings.

  5. Day 6

    We visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve and the Nature Reserve at Rainbow Springs. In the afternoon, we walk along the Green and Blue Lakes in the Redwoods area.

  6. Day 7

    We continue via Taupo to the Tongariro National Park area for two nights giving us time to walk in the wild country which forms the Park with its volcanic peaks of Ruapehu (2780m), Ngauruhoe (2277m), and Tongariro (1956m).

  7. Day 8

    Today you can choose to do the Tongariro Crossing day walk. Due to our concession restrictions with the National Park we are not allowed to offer the Tongariro crossing as part of our itinerary. However it is an option which you can book, at a supplement, to add on to your holiday (please talk to our Sales & Reservations department for further details). Those not doing the Tongariro Crossing will join your tour leader on a walk through Whakapapa Village, before the Taranaki Falls walk, which rewards us with open views of Mt Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, as well as the Lower and Upper Tama Lake viewpoints. It is simply breath-taking.

  8. Day 9

    We leave the Tongariro National Park and drive south to Wellington; from where we take the ferry across the Cook Strait through the Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton, on the shores of the Marlborough Sound, where we spend one night. The crossing and the coastal views from the ferry as we leave Wellington and cruise along the Queen Charlotte Sound are spectacular.

  9. Day 10

    After a morning’s walk along the Marlborough Sound, we continue to Blenheim to visit a local winery before moving on to the alpine village of St Arnaud, for two nights.

  10. Day 11

    We have a full days walking in the beautiful surrounding country of Nelson Lakes National Park near Mt Robert and Lake Rotoiti.

  11. Day 12

    We travel west and south following the Buller River and the coast to Franz Josef were we spend two nights. Here we explore the Fox and Franz Josef Glacier regions. En route we visit the strange phenomenon of ‘Pancake Rocks’ at Punakaiki and continue along the fabulous West Coast via Hokitika to the glacial area.

  12. Day 13

    Here we explore the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, Lake Matheson and the wild west coast at Gillespies beach.

  13. Day 14

    We continue south via Haast turning inland over the Haast Pass and through wonderful country to Queenstown, where Ben Lomond and the Remarkables tower above Lake Wakatipu . We stay for three nights with some free time for self-exploration. Our programme includes some superb walking in the backcountry and an excursion to the old gold mining town of Arrowtown. An optional hike up Ben Lomond via the gondola is recommended for those wanting a classic mountain climb.

  14. Day 15 to 16

    Two days to further explore Queenstown.

  15. Day 17

    We head south of Queenstown to our next destination Te Anau, where we stay for two nights. In the heart of the Southern Lakes region from where we can walk alongside the Lake and explore the magnificent Fjordland NP. We spend a day visiting the stunning Milford Sound,and take a boat cruise out to the sea between the towering spires of rock surrounding the narrow inlet and sail beneath the waterfalls cascading from above.

  16. Day 18

    Today we enjoy a magnificent cruise on the Milford Sound.

  17. Day 19

    We leave Te Anau and travel north through the centre of the island northwards to Omarama, a village near Mount Cook, for two nights. On arrival, we will visit Clay Cliffs to see the ‘cathedral of spires’ created by the erosion of the sandstone formation.

  18. Day 20

    We spend most of the day walking in the area around Mount Cook (3741m), which dominates the surrounding 17 peaks, all over 2700m, in this spectacular alpine region. We walk up the Hooker Valley towards the base of Mt. Cook to take some unforgettable photographs of the icebergs in the glacial lake and of the surrounding mountains.

  19. Day 21

    We leave Mount Cook and travel across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch for two nights.

  20. Day 22

    A free day to explore Christchurch.

  21. Day 23

    We transfer to Christchurch Airport for the morning return flight to London Heathrow via Singapore.

Travel Details

  • Arrival transfer by road (c30mins).
  • Flights Heathrow-Auckland/ Christchurch-Heathrow via Singapore both ways (c24hrs + stop), Singapore Airlines or Qantas via Dubai.
  • We can offer regional flight options and often there will be up to two transfer vehicles (which may include coaches, minibuses or taxis) from the airport to the hotel and vice versa which will minimise any waiting time at the overseas airport.
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights Premium Economy, Business or First Class may be possible, please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Stopover package: If you would like to break your journey in Singapore please contact us for details on the stopover packages available when flying Singapore Airlines.

Trip Map

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Copthorne Hotel Auckland City

Simple, sophisticated, and designed for comfort, Copthorne Hotel Auckland City is centrally located, making it the perfect base to see the city and surrounding attractions. Whilst you acclimatise to the time zone you may want to visit nearby Queen Street shopping, the Central Business District, or Auckland University. All rooms are uniquely equipped with soundproof ‘hush windows’ - designed to ensure utmost privacy and comfort. Best of all, enjoy the beautiful seascape or city view from the in-room balconies. For hunger pangs and nightcaps, there’s Jimmy Cook’s Kiwi Kitchen, a casual spot serving up some of the most delicious fresh local produce alongside an extensive wine, beer, and cocktail menu.


Copthorne Lakefront Resort

The upscale Copthorne Lakefront Resort has amazing views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range, from its restaurant and many of the rooms. Despite being set in this tranquil spot it is within walking distance of Queenstown’s central shopping and entertainment area. Spacious warmly decorated rooms come with Wi-Fi (fee), flat-screens, tea and coffee making facilities, plus minibars and views of the mountains and the garden; some include balconies. There's 24/7 room service. A cosy restaurant has a terrace with panoramic views of the dramatic scenery, where you can sample the excellent wines of New Zealand. Or take a drink in the cosmopolitan Impressions Cocktail Bar with both indoor and alfresco sitting.


Holiday Inn, Rotorua

We stay in the well reviewed Holiday Inn Rotorua near Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and Whakarewarewa Forest. Rooms feature flat-screen TVs, minifridges, coffeemakers and desks; some have balconies. Wi-Fi is also available. Breakfast and dinner are served in a restaurant/bar that features an a la carte menu as well as a buffet. There's also a lobby bar/lounge. Other amenities include a fitness room and a geothermally heated outdoor pool.


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