Great Walks Discovery – Manuka hiking tour - Active New Zealand

Of the more than 800 hiking tracks the Department of Conservation (DOC) manages, they selected 9 that are exceptional - these are the Great Walks.

Since 1996, Active New Zealand has shared what they believe is the best way to experience New Zealand. They have taken over 15,000 active people hiking, cycling and kayaking in the stunning New Zealand outdoors. With their legendary Kiwi hospitality they’ve helped their guests have ‘an experience of a lifetime’ whilst exploring New Zealand’s national parks, hiking trails, valleys, bays, backroads and diverse culture.

One of the cornerstone trips that Active Adventures New Zealand offers is the Milford Hiking Quest '​Manuka', a 14-day hiking trip around the South Island, at a relaxed pace. This trip has a strong focus on New Zealand’s natural history and is designed for people who still want to get off-the-beaten-track, but also like their creature comforts. Aside from Fiordland and some of the Great Walks (which I’ll talk about below), this trip also includes hikes on the West Coast, in Mt Aspiring National Park, Paparoa National Park, Fox Glacier and Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

Recently Active Adventures New Zealand introduced the Great Walks Discovery to the 'Manuka' itinerary – a five-day option that starts with a hike to Ben Lomond, towering above Queenstown, followed with hikes to Lake Marian and Humboldt Falls. The following three days cover sections of the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler Tracks (all Great Walks) before a cruise on the misty and mysterious Doubtful Sound. The Great Walks Discovery was designed to allow travellers to experience the diversity and grandeur of Fiordland National Park, whilst still being able to see other iconic areas around the South Island, all during a two-week adventure.

The nine Great Walks of New Zealand are widely known as the country’s premier hiking trails, with some of the best scenery in New Zealand, great facilities and well maintained tracks. They are popular with locals as well as tourists and advanced booking is required during the summer months. The Department of Conservation ensures that only a limited number of commercial operators can guide on these trails and Active Adventures New Zealand is one of these.

Since launching the Great Walks Discovery option in 2011, Active Adventures New Zealand have found the response to be very positive, with guests commenting that they appreciated the comfort of sleeping in a fully serviced lodge each night, rather than a back country hut. They also enjoyed the diversity of the trails that this option provides:

“We were very impressed with the variety of hikes and how conscientious the guides were in checking weather and trail conditions before planning our days' hikes. Lots of options were available, and the guides were flexible - always taking into consideration the safety and needs of the group.”
- Judy Austin, Manuka Feb 20th 2012

“Excellent, perfect choice of hikes, selection, lengths.”
- Margareta Sequin, Manuka Jan 23rd  2012

“I enjoyed each and every hike. The trails and surrounding areas were pristine. The respect for nature in New Zealand is evident.”
- Janet Barbee. Manuka Oct 31st 2011

Of course, many hikers come to New Zealand with a clear goal in mind and that’s to hike the Milford Track. Whilst this is a slightly more expensive option on the 'Manuka' trip, there is no denying that it is an unforgettable hike and a real bucket-list activity. Since the birth of the 'Manuka' trip, this 5-day/4-night iconic hike has been a popular choice and will continue to be so.

So, if you’re keen to go on an all-inclusive adventure trip around the South Island of New Zealand and like the idea of customising your itinerary, then check out the Manuka trip and start planning your holiday!

* The Manuka trip has an average rating of 4.32 out of 5 – from 634 trip reviews received since 2004