Hike some of New Zealand's most breathtaking trails on this epic loop through the South Island. Begin in the Southern Lakes region and trek two of New Zealand's Great Walks - the mountainous Routeburn Track and idyllic Milford Track. Then spend some time relaxing in Wanaka and Queenstown.
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Step straight into a little piece of alpine paradise. Queenstown lies on the banks of Lake Wakatipu, with the picture-ready Remarkables mountain ranges as a backdrop.
This town has no problem living up to its reputation as the adventure capital of the world - experience skydiving, bungy, or rafting. There's plenty of opportunity for some relaxation too, with world-class dining, health spas, wine tours and a lively nightlife scene.
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After three days of walking, give your tired legs a well-earned rest and spend the day relaxing in Te Anau. As the closest town to Milford Sound, Te Anau is the ‘gateway to the fiords’. Fit in a visit to one of the local restaurants, where you’ll be tempted by fresh seafood, venison and other local fare.
Other attractions here include the glowworm caves, local museum, and wildlife park. Cruise Lake Manapouri or Lake Te Anau, or take in Dusky Sound or Milford Sound via a scenic flight before embarking on the Milford Track tomorrow.
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Milford Track is arguably New Zealand’s most famous walk. The 53 km journey begins at the head of Lake Te Anau and leads you across suspension bridges, boardwalks and a mountain pass. You'll pass pristine lakes, towering mountains, enormous valleys and feel the misty breath of New Zealand's tallest waterfall. If you're walking independently, be sure to pre-book DOC(opens in new window) huts as space is limited in peak season. Guided tours offer separate accommodation, but should also be booked well in advance.
From Te Anau take a shuttle or drive to Te Anau Downs, from there you’ll take a pre-booked boat to Glade Wharf and the start of the track. The walk ends in Milford Sound village, where you can hop on a pre-arranged shuttle back to Te Anau Downs or Te Anau.
Catch your breath and enjoy a sleep in before setting off for Wanaka.
With hundreds of fun activities on offer, Wanaka is a great place to relax and unwind. Try a scenic lake cruise, 4WD Safari, wine tour, or simply walk around and take in the alpine town vibe. Wildwire offer an exciting climbing experience up twin waterfalls. For quirkiness at every turn you can’t go past Puzzling World. Filled with optical illusions, a great 3D maze, eccentric architecture and the intriguing Psychic challenge, this is definitely a brain-teaser of an attraction.
Spend a night in Queenstown before continuing to Wanaka.
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From Wanaka, travel to Queenstown, stopping in at Arrowtown along the way. This charming little village has a rich gold mining history and is particularly beautiful in autumn.
Make the most of your last day in Queenstown. The Queenstown Hill Time Walk – approximately 3 hours return – makes a great morning outing. It climbs through pine forest to the summit of Te Tapu-Nui (mountain of intense sacredness) offering stunning views on the way. If you're in the mood for some cycling, try riding part of the Queenstown Trail, which connects Queenstown, Arrowtown and the Gibbston Valley. In the afternoon, catch up on the quintessential Queenstown attractions or simply relax and unwind.
Getting around New Zealand is easy with a great range of transport options available.
There are plenty of accommodation options for every budget and travel style.
Visit in Spring or Autumn to enjoy warm weather, lower prices and short queues.
More information on basic costs for accommodation, travel and food.