Trails of New Zealand

18 days
Activity level:
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Group size:

An active adventure exploring the Land of the Long White Cloud

From the waterfront city of Auckland to the spectacular Southern Alps, New Zealand is blessed with an array of natural wonders that are best experienced and appreciated by foot and by boat. This active trip maximises the time spent in the outdoors. Whether it's sailing through waterways, hiking between volcanic peaks or jetboating through Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand is a country that always exceeds expectations. Make the most of this striking country with this jam-packed itinerary that includes many of the highlights en route.


  • Auckland and Christchurch
  • One-day Tongariro Crossing (optional) and other exciting walks
  • Lake Taupo and Rotorua
  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Fox Glacier and Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park
  • Queenstown and Milford Sound

Key information

  • 16 nights in comfortable hotels and lodges, most with en suite facilities, 1 night cruise boat with en-suite facilities
  • Group normally 6 to 14 plus local leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • Travel by private buses
  • Countries visited: New Zealand

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


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  • Day 1

    Arrive Auckland

    The day is free to relax and recover from the jet lag. Auckland is a beautiful city and worthy of some time to explore. The nearby Viaduct restaurants are an ideal means of overcoming the last of the jet lag and the day just slowly passes by. If you are feeling lucky visit the Sky City Casino tower for one of those lunches you just don't forget. Those not flying with the group should meet at the start hotel at 6pm for a full briefing with your leader.

    Auckland City Hotel/ The Parnell Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Visit Rangitoto Island

    Auckland is the City of Sails, so what better way to start your holiday than to take a cruise across the Gulf to the beautiful Rangitoto Island; which at only 600 years old, is the youngest volcano in New Zealand. The island has undergone a significant restoration programme and is entirely pest-free which encourages the native flora and fauna to thrive. We will walk through lava fields and forests to the summit of the island which stands 259m above sea level and has some stunning panoramic views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf.

    Walk Profile- Rangitoto Island: Distance- 8.5 km/5 miles, total ascent 249m and descent 245m, approx. 2-3 hours.

    Auckland City Hotel/The Parnell Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    To Rotorua

    Leaving the city behind us we head south to Rotorua (approx. 3.5 hours drive) and our accommodation. On arrival we stretch our legs with a hike around the redwood forest followed by an optional afternoon at leisure in town or a hike at Blue Lake. The evening highlight is the Marae (ceremonial ground) visit. Our Maori hosts welcome us in their traditional manner before entertaining us with a concert and hangi (traditional meal).

    Walk Profile- Blue Lakes Circuit: Distance- 6 km/3.7 miles, total ascent 125m and descent 117m, approx. 1.5 hours.

    Jet Park Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    To Tongariro N.P

    We explore one of New Zealand's most colourful thermal areas with boiling mud pools, hot streams and silica terraces. The natural wonders that first attracted the Maori in the 14th century, and later the European's, still draw large numbers of tourists every year. Rotorua is a unique natural wonder and a must see destination. Leaving Rotorua we drive south (approx. 3 hours) to Tongariro National Park. On the way we visit the steaming Wai-O-Tapu geothermal valley and impressive Huka Falls.

    Walk Profile- Wai-O-Tapu: Distance- 8.5 km/5 miles, total ascent 109m and descent 152m, approx. up to 3 hours.

    Skotel Alpine Resort/The Park Hotel/Disovery Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Hike Tongariro Crossing

    From the many walking options that exist, you are free to take your choice as we explore this volcanic landform. Two half-day walks to beautiful waterfalls and bush lands (unguided) or the amazing optional 8 hour Tongariro Alpine Crossing are on offer. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing has been called one of the greatest one-day walks in New Zealand and provided the weather is kind the rugged volcanic desert, craters and glacial valleys combined with the incredible views make this a day to remember. The crossing should not be under estimated and there are a number of steep sections where the loose surface can make it tough going, so come well-prepared. The crossing can take 7-8 hours depending on walking ability. 

    Walk Profile- Tongariro Crossing: Distance- 19.4 km/12 miles, total ascent 765m and descent 1125m, approx. 7-8 hours.

    If you do not wish to do the optional Tongariro Crossing, below are two of the most popular and scenic walk options accessible by foot from the accommodation that you may wish to consider. Your leader will also be able to advise locally with further details/options:

    Walk Profile (unguided)- Silica Rapids: Distance- 7 km loop/4.3 miles, total ascent 190m and descent 190m, approx. 2.5 hours.

    Walk Profile (unguided)- Taranaki Falls: Distance- 6 km loop/3.7 miles, total ascent 115m and descent 115m, approx. 2.5 hours.

    Skotel Alpine Resort/The Park Hotel/Discovery Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    To Wellington

    Relax following yesterday's efforts as we drive (approx. 5 hours) south to Wellington. Continue across the Rangitikei and Manawatu Plains and down the Kapiti Coast to Wellington. Across from our hotel is Te Papa, the NZ National Museum which we can explore in the afternoon along with the beautiful Botanic Gardens and cable car and enjoy the exciting nightlife of New Zealand's capital city.

    The Bay Plaza Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Ferry across Cook Strait to Marlborough; drive to Abel Tasman N.P

    After an early breakfast we board the ferry and leave the North Island behind as we cross the Cook Strait, passing the Marlborough Sounds with 1500kms of beautiful coastline. From Picton we have a 90 min drive to Nelson where we can take time out to explore the city and a chance to stretch the legs with a short walk to the geographical centre of New Zealand. After this visit we drive to Motueka (approx. 60 min) on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park, with its idyllic golden sand beaches and forests.

    Walk Profile- Geographical centre of New Zealand: Distance- 1.6 km/1 mile, total ascent 86m and descent 90m, approx. 1 hour.

    Avalon Manor Motel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Half day coastal walk; boat to Motueka

    Out of Marahau, this morning coastal walk takes us through the beautiful beaches and ancient forests as the track weaves through the park, providing a kaleidoscope of impressions. The path is well maintained and the walk will take approx 3-4 hours. We meet our sailing boat at the Anchorage Bay, providing the return to Marahau and some time to relax dining out at the small town of Motueka.

    Walk Profile- Marahau to Anchorage: Distance- 12.7 km/8 miles, total ascent 217m and descent 214m, approx. 3-4 hours.

    Avalon Manor Motel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    To Buller River; sunset walk at Punakaiki

    Our departure from the Abel Tasman National Park is followed by a scenic drive down the mighty Buller River. After a short stop at Cape Foulwind to see the local seal colony, we then stop at Punakaiki, home of the famous Pancake Rocks, to watch the setting sun (total driving time approx. 5 hours). If the tide is up the ground can physically shake and water spurts from the blow-holes and fissures that dot the coastline.

    Walk Profile- Cape Foulwind: Distance- 3.5 km/2 miles, total ascent 76m and descent 98m, approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes.

    Punakaiki Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    To Fox Glacier passing Okarito en route

    Passing through areas of lush forests, we continue south down the beautiful west coast. We drive onto the small village of Okarito nestled on the lagoon, home of the rare Kotuku (white heron). On offer here is optional kayaking where we float in on the incoming tide and explore the bush-clad waterways seeking out the abundant bird life the lagoon is famous for. Those looking to stretch their legs can hike to the nearby Trig station (approx. 1.5 hours) for the spectacular views over the Southern Alps. Later we continue the short drive through to Fox township.

    Walk Profile- Okarito Trig Walk: Distance- 4.2 km/2.6 miles, total ascent 171m and descent 170m, approx. 1.5- 2 hours.

    Mt Cook View Motel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Walk to Fox Glacier; continue to Wanaka

    After breakfast we stroll around the reflective Lake Matheson, a photographer's dream. As we head out of town, we take a drive up the valley and hike to a viewpoint of the spectacular Fox Glacier. 

    We then continue south along bush-clad roads and past the dramatic coastline with its wild windswept beaches to the settlement of Haast. Turning inland we climb over Haast Pass, the southernmost crossing of the Southern Alps that forms the boundary between Westland and Otago. From here the tussock lands of the eastern slopes merge with the beech forests. We travel through to Wanaka, home for the next two nights.

    Walk Profile- Lake Matheson Loop: Distance- 2.6 km/1.6 miles, total ascent 42m and descent 42m, approx. 1.5 hours.

    Walk Profile- Fox Glacier Valley Walkway: Distance- 2.6 km/1.6 miles, total ascent 68m and descent 69m, approx. 1 hour.

    Ramada Wanaka /Wanaka Heights Motel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Jet boat in Matukituki

    In the morning we head into the Mount Aspiring National Park and experience an exciting jetboat ride along the braided rivers leading into the park. Jetboating was invented in NZ as a means to negotiate the shallow braided rivers which we use to access a track leading to a hike into the cirque surrounded by huge mountain walls. Back at our coach we eat our picnic lunch before driving onto our 3 hour hike at the beautiful Diamond Lake that provides stunning views of the river delta and the landscape.

    Walk Profile- Matukituki Valley (walk during Jet boat): Distance- 2.2 km/1.3 miles, total ascent 29m and descent 29m, approx. up to 1 hour.

    Walk Profile- Diamond Lake & Rocky Mountain Circuit: Distance- Up to 7.1 km/4.4 miles, total ascent 437m and descent 432m, approx. 2-3 hours.

    Ramada Wanaka /Wanaka Heights Motel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Transfer to Milford Sound and board overnight boat

    From Wanaka we depart early heading for Te Anau and then into the Eglington Valley, enjoying a series of short walks in the spectacular Milford region and then into Milford Sound itself where we join our floating accommodation for the night. The Milford Mariner boat has private two bed cabins with en-suite facilities where we enjoy our overnight stay amidst dolphins and mighty peaks towering above the fjord.

    Walk Profile- various short walk options on Milford Road of up to 1 hour/2 kms duration depending on group fitness, weather and time permitting.

    Real Journeys- Milford Mariner boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 14

    Cruise Inner Sound; drive to Queenstown

    After an early morning breakfast we cruise the inner sound again searching for dolphins and seals before disembarking and retracing our tracks to The Divide and the start of the Routeburn Track. Here we take a 3-hour walk (approx. 6.8km) to Key Summit for some spectacular views. After this hike we drive via Te Anau (approx. 4 hours) onto Queenstown, where we stay for the next two nights.

    Walk Profile- Routeburn Track: Distance- 6.8 km/4.2 miles, total ascent 430m and descent 413m, approx. 3 hours.

    Garden Court Suites or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Free day in Queenstown

    A free day to enjoy the scenic delights of this world famous destination! There are numerous activities on offer which your leader can advise about locally. Or, you may just prefer to simply spend the day shopping or relaxing!

    Garden Court Suites or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Transfer to Mt Cook N.P.; trek in Hooker Valley

    Travel through the barren Kawarau Gorge where large amounts of gold were dredged at the turn of the century. Drive over Lindis Pass to the tussock-covered plains of the Mackenzie basin and into the Mt Cook National Park (total approx. 4 hours). Beneath NZ's highest peak we walk into the Hooker Valley with its crashing glaciers and glacial lakes. By early evening we reach our accommodation and watch the spectacular view from the warmth of the restaurant.

    Walk Profile- Hooker Valley: Distance- 10.5 km/6.5 miles, total ascent 209m and descent 218m, approx. 3 hours.

    Aoraki/Mt Cook Alpine Lodge /Mount Cook Lodge and Motels or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

    Drive to Christchurch via Canterbury Plains

    After breakfast we drive to Christchurch via the Canterbury Plains. After the devastating earthquakes of 2010/11, Christchurch is undergoing a major rebuild, unrivalled in the world. The afternoon is free for you to explore this city as well as the beautiful gardens and Hagley park before we have a final group dinner.

    Pavilions Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 18

    End Christchurch

    For Land Only clients, the trip will finish after breakfast and check-out from the hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info


New Zealand

From 1 October 2019, British nationals (including citizens of the EU, USA, Canada and South Africa) travelling (or transiting) by air or cruise and entering New Zealand without a visa (tourists) will need to hold an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority- NZeTA) before travelling to New Zealand. You will be able to apply for an NZeTA from July 2019. An NZeTA will last up to 2 years (valid for multiple visits) and cost NZD 9 for mobile application requests and NZD 12 for web browser requests.

An International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) will also be introduced alongside the NZeTA and will cost NZD 35 (to be paid at the same time whilst applying for an NZeTA online). Once paid, the IVL will last as long as the NZeTA is valid.

You must request your NZeTA well in advance of your trip to New Zealand. It can take up to 72 hours to approve your NZeTA. If you do not hold an NZeTA when you check in for your flight, you will not be allowed to board.

Please visit the Immigration New Zealand website for further information on the new requirements and to apply for the NZeTA.

TRAVELLING VIA THE USA If you are travelling via the USA (even for transit) and are eligible to transit under the Visa Waiver Programme (most British citizens with a machine-readable passport), you are now required to register in advance for an Electronic Travel Authority (ESTA). There is a USD14 charge for the ESTA, which is only payable online with a credit card. Please see the FCDO website for further information. All other non-residents passing through the US must get a visa in advance.


New Zealand

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners are included.

Breakfasts will be either supplied by the accommodation or by the guides for you. We will always be able to purchase lunches on the run but can also facilitate creating sandwiches at your accommodation and have these stored in our on-board fridge. Morning tea / coffee stops are available at your own cost. 


Weather in New Zealand is very changeable throughout the year and all months are moderately wet. Fine sunny spells can happen at any time of year but the departures have been timed to coincide with the best chance of good weather; although you should come prepared for rain.

The temperatures in Auckland will vary from approximately 11-30C (min-max) from October-March. However it will be slightly cooler in October. The weather on the South Island will be slightly cooler with a range of temperatures of approximately 7-20C (min-max). As New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere the seasons are opposite to those in the UK/ Europe and North America. Summer runs from December to February, Spring September to November and Autumn March to May. Adverse weather may require changes to the itinerary which the leader will discuss with the group.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is an Activity Level 3- Moderate

This is a varied trip with 1 full day walks and some half-day, shorter walks- please see day by day itinerary for more details. There are a number of other activities included in the itinerary which all require a good level of fitness. The majority of walks are on good paths, however those wishing to undertake the Tongariro Crossing should be prepared for some scrambling. If you wish to undertake the optional Tongariro Crossing, you should be aware that the trek is tougher than the moderate grade of the main tour and would be considered a more challenging grade.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels & Cruise Boat

You will spend 16 nights in comfortable hotels most of which have en-suite facilities. There will also be one night spent aboard a cruise boat with ensuite facilities. Accommodation on this trip uses a mixture of character motels and friendly hotels, some of which offer spectacular views. Single rooms are available for a supplement (on request), this covers all nights apart from 1 evening when we are aboard the Milford Mariner boat.

Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you would like to request a single supplement.

Below is a list of the standard hotels used on the trip for the late 2021/early 2022 season departures. However, please be advised these are subject to change and some departures may be accommodated in different a hotels of a similar standard:

Auckland:   Auckland City Hotel or The Parnell Hotel

Rotorua:   Jet Park Hotel

Tongariro N.P:   Skotel Alpine Resort , The Park Hotel or Discovery Lodge

Wellington:   The Bay Plaza Hotel

Motueka- Abel Tasman N.P:   Avalon Manor Motels 

Punakaiki:   Punakaiki Resort 

Fox:   Mt Cook View Motel

Wanaka:   Ramada Wanaka or Wanaka Heights Motel 

Milford Sound:   Real Journeys - Milford Mariner (boat)

Queenstown:   Garden Court Suites

Mt. Cook N.P:   Aoraki/Mt Cook Alpine Lodge/ Aoraki Court Motel or Mount Cook Lodge and Motels

Christchurch:   Pavilions Hotel

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for private group trips:
020 3885 9103
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed March 2019
    Anne Black

    A wonderful trip.

    This trip covers a lot of ground, with a packed itinerary and with plenty of walking in beautiful scenery. The weather was very kind to us - we even saw Milford Sound with clear blue skies!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I couldn't single out just one - there were too many. The North Island volcanoes and geothermal activity were amazing but the South Island scenery was spectacular. The ' Abel Tasman' day was one highlight - a beautiful walk followed by a swim and beach picnic then a return journey by sail - perfect. Sunrise at Lake Matheson, the boat trip on Milford Sound and walk to Key Summit were other highlights, as were the unexpected extras arranged by Sean and Merisha.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joint leaders Sean and Merisha were great!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel as light as you can - there are chances to wash clothes at lots of the motels. I brought far too much luggage and regretted it! Do bring layers, even though we had fantastic weather the temperature ranges were big. We didn't use our waterproofs much but I don't think our weather was typical. If you can, add an extra day or two in NZ at the start and end of the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    New Zealand is a beautiful and fascinating country. We had a great group and excellent leaders. I would highly recommend this trip.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Ann Emanuel

    Title is good.

    It’s a very full an encompassing trip. It covers a great deal and involves a lot of hiking, which is really the only way to truly see and appreciate this spectacular country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Many many beautiful views.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2, they we’re both absolutely excellent and complimented one another perfectly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be fit

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our small group of 10 was very special and together with our guides we really seem to bond. All of us had a great time. As a solo traveller, I got lucky - it was a special group! Our guides were over-the-top wonderful! We got lucky with the weather too which was beautiful.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Graham Wright

    An Unexpected Journey.

    An excellent introduction to both islands. There is so much to see and do that the time we had just whizzed by. It is clear that this trip only just touches the surface but in saying that we had an unprecedented insight into the geography, geology, flora, fauna and cultural diversity, balancing the city explorations with the more exciting challenges provided by the spectacular scenery. To achieve this itinerary you have to withstand long travelling interspersed by the activities included. It would have been good to have extra days in certain areas to enhance the experience but you can only do so much in 19 days. However, in saying that, this trip cannot be faulted and certainly shows New Zealand at its best.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many as each area we visited gave totally different experiences. The Tongariro crossing was not to be missed- fortunate with the weather but there was snow in the craters at the plateau with high winds on the crater edges. Geothermal valleys. Walking up to the terminal face of Fox glacier (despite no polar bear!) Cruising the Milford Sound-seeing the penguins. Walking through the indigenous tropical forests. Walking in the snow at the foot of Mount Cook and crossing glacial torrents in full flood. Walking at night on a Glow Worm trail- like thousands of LED lights- quite enchanting. Sobering walk through the disembodied Christchurch- still recovering and has not regained its soul yet.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All this could not be achieved without the excellent guidance, support and knowledgeable expertise of our two guides, Chris and Rich who both complemented each other- one being a Kiwi and the other a Devonian export. Nothing was too much trouble for them in trying to accommodate individual interests, adjusting the activities according to the prevalent weather conditions and providing a constant supply of snacks to sustain us upon our activities. They appeared to have a magical influence over the weather and visitors, providing a narrow window of opportunity that allowed us to visit volcanic landscapes and geothermal valleys without the crowds or rain that would normally be expected. Their energy and enthusiasm to share their knowledge of the islands and its peoples went without saying. They were quick to ascertain the abilities of each individual member and gave optional activities when needed. The entire trip was skilfully organised and despite the long distance driven by both of them, they were able to protect themselves from being on constant demand.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long travelling. Be prepared for Vivaldi weather (four seasons). If you are reasonably fit and used to mountain terrain, all walks should be within your grasp. Make the most of your time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The accommodation was excellent and the resort spa was much appreciated.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Ann Keene

    Fabulous walking in New Zealand

    A wonderful itinerary and excellent guides/leaders with infectious enthusiasm for this amazing country!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Tongariro Crossing and the visit to the Milford Sound, but so many wonderful days so very difficult to choose just one. I would therefore say, the entire trip!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Chris Cameron and second leader was Richard Mortiboys. Chris was an excellent experienced leader with a lovely friendly personality and huge knowledge of the country and all the plants. She had boundless energy and tremendous enthusiasm for the country which was very infectious. Her organization of every part of the day was very clear and well planned, ensuring the best possible experience and full confidence in her leadership. Richard was the second in command and he and Chris worked very well together, sharing the driving and general care of each and every one in the party. He was extremely kind and caring when some of us had left items at various places enroute and he spent a great deal of time and effort to ensure that these items were successfully forwarded. They were both excellent leaders and they certainly made the trip a resounding success.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't pack too many items. When you are moving on regularly, there isn't the time or the inclination to uncover more than the top few items of clothing!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I do not see how this trip could be improved! It just had everything to make it a wonderful comprehensive tour of North and South Islands.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Annabel Ions


    This trip is one of the best we have experienced with Exodus. The varied walking, landscape and experiences on the trip make it an amazing adventure. Beware though there are many long distances to cover (we did over 3500 Km in the 19 days), but Ian and Sonya made it very interesting with their local knowledge and frequent rest stops at interesting places. The highlight of the walking was of course the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which on the day we did it was truly spectacular with the Emerald lake just like the Guide books. The Abel Tasman Coastal walk again like the guide book pictures. The Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain walk was tough but well worth it for the views. Other experiences met all our expectations – Sailing on Tasman sea, Jet boat on River Motukituki where at times we were in 5 inches of water, Helicopter to Fox Glacier (paid locally) and overnight on Milford Sound in Fiordland. Christchurch was sad to see but it is good to that they are beginning to get the city rebuilt. It is important to note that a few walks and experiences can be affected by weather. Although it was summer we dodged Storm Fehi – Tongariro was closed the day after we walked it, Windy Wellington was stormy Wellington, roads near Fox Glacier were closed due to landslides and they had had no electricity for 3 days before we arrived. However we managed all the planned itinerary except walking to Fox Glacier due to landslide. All in all an AWESOME trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit on the Tongariro Alpine Pass and seeing the Lakes as shown in all the guidebooks

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ian was an excellent leader. He was a very confident and safe driver which is important on this trip. He kept us up to date with weather and reasons for his decisions in view of Storm Fehi. We had plenty of rest stops mostly in very interesting places.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take note of distances travelled in order to cover the area - New Zealand is a huge country Be aware that although summer itinerary might be changed due to weather
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Djamila Stachowski

    The best of New Zealand

    What an amazing trip! I cannot recommend it highly enough - it showcasts everything that New Zealand has to offer, and despite travelling for 3 weeks it is not enough. We wanted to stay longer, explore further, be stunned by the mindblowing views. From the rolling hills on the North Island to the majestic mountains and fields in Middle Earth and Milford Sounds on the South Island - it is impossible to choose a favourite spot, and certainly calls for another trip in the near future. I loved, loved, loved it, the country, the people and how happy it made me.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I cannot pick a most inspirational moment, but Mount Aspiring National Park, Milford Sound and Mount Cook left quite an impression - I am in awe. The views! Simply stunning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic leaders. I very much appreciated having two leaders, both very friendly, approachable, fun and entertaining and of course, knowledgeable about flora and fauna. Both were a treasure!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for mindblowing views.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • Reviewed April 2017
    Anna Cheer

    Trails of New Zealand

    A perfectly balanced blend of touristy sightseeing activities, incredibly beautiful, varied walks and exciting, unforgettable experiences. We were blessed with fantastic weather, too!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing under the 80m high Fairy Falls on the bow of the Milford Wanderer, water pummelling down on our heads, totally surprised, completely exhilarated and utterly happy. I have to add first seeing Red Crater on the Tongariro Crossing, jetboating, catamaran sailing on the Tasman Sea, walking through Tiritiri Matangi Island’s gorgeous native woodland ringing with exotic bird calls and cicadas, the joy of seeing the glorious colour of Huka Falls. The trouble is that every day had moments like these, so how do you choose!?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hayley and Josh are an extraordinary young couple, calm, cheerful, incredibly hard working and competent. If everyone drove like Josh, the roads would be safer places. Every suggestion regarding where to eat or shop or what to do in our free time turned out to be good. In his review, Martin mentioned the lady stranger who had a fall, but not that Hayley actually carried her most of the way down a steep mountain after giving first aid! There were, inevitably, some long drives, but Hayley and Josh arranged an enjoyable short walk or other activity at least every two hours. I think I’d trust these two in almost any situation.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t scratch your Blackfly bites! They really are the scourge of South Island, but DEET does deter them so use it. I kept leaving it too late. Bites I managed to resist scratching settled down quickly, those I took the tops off had scabs for weeks and have left scars. Be prepared for the jet lag - it took us a week to get over it after coming home. Take lots of notes as well as taking photos -see below!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It has been five weeks since the end of our holiday. It has taken this long to go through all my photos and notes, remembering more and more things that we did, to do research on the internet and to write a journal. Only now do I feel able to take an overall view and write this review. This holiday is a full-on three weeks of new experiences and it is almost impossible to take it all in at the time. For us and, I imagine most people, this was a holiday of a lifetime and I really do recommend making a photographic journal to fix those memories. It is a lot of work, but rather like having the holiday again!
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Martin Bigg

    Trails of New Zealand

    We had promised ourselves this trip for some time and had high expectations. We were looking for a good mix of activities to see and experience the country. Trails of New Zealand went way beyond our expectations. We thoroughly enjoyed the amazing places, the range of walks in different landscapes, the fun of jet-boating, sailing and cruising, and luging, and the unique birds and wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had so many experiences which will stay with us: walking the stark volcanic landscape of the Tongariro Crossing; walking to and flying over Mount Cook and landing on pristine Fox glassier; sailing a catamaran; or travelling at 80mph up a braided river; the magnificent kauri and redwoods, and not forgetting the kiwis. On our way to Milford Sound on the South Island it poured with rain and we were not expecting to see much. However, soon after we boarded the boat the skies cleared and the fiord was filled with magnificent waterfalls. It was magical as we explored Milford Sound in boats and kayaks, and our ship nosed its way past and into the silver cascading water against a backdrop of majestic snow covered peaks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Josh and Haley were superb leaders. They were very organised and ensured that we knew all we needed to know. They provided supplements to our meals and provided a super spread when they catered for us. They were great at sharing additional information and encouragement to the slower and faster members of the group. When they found that an unknown walker had had a serious fall they ensured that she returned down the mountain safely while continuing to look after our group. When the bus developed a technical fault it was dealt with quickly and efficiently.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go!!! It is a long way so pace and prepare yourself, but it will repay you many times over. The country is very varied and so is the weather, so go prepared for everything - it was coldest and wettest at sea level and hottest in the mountains.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is a good balance of activities. You should be reasonably fit and prepared for the unexpected. We were delayed for two hours when a giant kauri fell across the road, and there are no alternatives. So we had a great time chatting with everyone including the fire brigade and police. It is that sort of country.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Helen Cock

    Trails of New Zealand

    This was a wonderful walking holiday. We were fortunately blessed with extremely good weather, so the views were unforgettable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Helicopter flight to the Fox glacier

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent - always keen to please, make excellent meal suggestions and slightly adjust the program to fit the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make the most of this wonderful trip!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If there was one small suggestion I could make (and believe me, it is small and nit-picky), I would recommend cleaning the bus windows if it has become dusty; this could prevent a photoshoot stop on a few occasions. This idea came from a previous tour I made with a different company.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Eileen Bigg

    Highlights of New Zealand

    An excellent and varied itinerary through stunning scenery. Much travelling thoughtfully balanced by good walks. A good mix of group activities and free time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - hard work and a long day but worth it. The views round Lake Matheson. The waterfalls in Milford Sound. We clocked up a few first experiences: first time in a jet boat (great fun and something we would not have done otherwise), first helicopter flight, first time sailing a catamaran (yes, I took the helm), first time on the Luge ...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hayley and Josh were calm, efficient, funny, informed, caring and very committed. They were great. They prepared us well for each day's activities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a daysac as well as your 40 litre rucksack, if you can. Pack layers - it can be very hot and very cold. Don't forget sunhat, suncream and insect repellant. Poles can be hired for the Tongariro crossing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip doesn't cover Auckland and Northland up to Cape Reinga, the Coromandel peninsula, the deep south or Kaikoura so you might want to try to fit them in before and/or after the trip. After all, it is a long way to go back again!

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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