Best of New Zealand North to South Adventure

Auckland, New Zealand

Safarika Travel
  • Facebook verified
50 reviews
Feb 16 - Mar 1, 2023
Group size: 10 - 14
Best of New Zealand North to South Adventure
Auckland, New Zealand

Safarika Travel
  • Facebook verified
50 reviews

Feb 16 - Mar 1, 2023
Group size: 10 - 14

About this trip

Experience the best of AOTEAROA, the  Land of the long white cloud 

Our 12-day adventure runs on both North and South islands and going to be a perfect combination of hiking, unique natural wonders, beach time,  visiting Tolkien-inspired places, and immersion into local "maori" culture and history.

We will start our adventure from North Island and its unique highlights like glowworm caves and geothermal geysers, astonishing volcanic landscapes and golden sand warm beaches and then continue to the World Heritage breathtaking  Fiordlands and experience #1 NZ multi-day Routeburn trek in the alpine South Island! 


🌟 Take a tubing adventure into the subterranean wonderland, a unique Blackwater Labyrinth of Glowworm caves

🥾 Hike Tongariro Crossing - the New Zealand's Premium 1-Day Trek across dramatic volcanic landscapes

🌋 Experience the one of 20 most surreal places in the World - a spectacular Waiotapu Geothermal Wonderland!

🧙🏻‍♂️ Step into the enchanting village of Hobbiton and experience many other movie set locations where the Lord of the Rings was filmed

🏝 Sea kayaking! Explore the gems of Coromandel Peninsula and the Cathedral Cove, known for being filmed in the fantasy series of Chronicles of Narnia

🍺 Fall in love with the charming Queenstown on the Southern Island, famous around the globe for its stunning alpine setting and renowned as Adventure Capital of New Zealand

🦀 Enjoy a picturesque day-cruise through beautiful Milford Sound, deep in the heart of Fjordland National Park

🏔 Take a world renowned Routeburn Trek (3days/2 nights, 32km, guided walk), rated by National Geographic as One of the Epic Treks in the World. Stay with comfort in the cozy alpine chalets

🌊 Treat yourself with relaxing in hotsprings and polynesian spas along the way, after the intensive days of hiking and exploring


✈️  Arrival/Departure Auckland, New Zealand

🥾  Average Daily hiking distance:  ~ Routeburn trek: ~7 miles daily (Tongariro day-hike - 14mi)

😫  Level of difficulty:  Moderate (Beginners with previous hiking experience - Ok) 

🍭  Kids:  14+ (with previous hiking experience) 

🏡  Accommodation

    Hotels & lodges in towns and national parks

    On Routeburn Trek: Alpine Chalets, 4-bed bunkrooms, bed linen provided, shared bathroom

Travel Entry Requirements

Travelers arriving to New Zealand for the purposes of Tourism, Business or Transit require an electronic travel authorization (NZeTA).

Apply directly BEFORE departure to check in for your outgoing flight to Auckland: 

Pre-departure covid tests or proof of vaccination are no longer required for entry to New Zealand.

Trip Cancellation Policy

if the Trip is canceled by Organizer by any reason, the amount paid by Participant will be fully refundable (100% of all your payment will be refunded, including transactions fees paid by Participant  at the time of booking)

If the trip is cancelled by Participant due to any personal reasons, the following penalties will be applied:

👉🏽 Cancellation outside of 90 days before departure - $200 USD is non-refundable (after the Trip is confirmed by Organizer)

👉🏽 Cancellation 89 to 60 calendar days before departure - $500 USD is non-refundable ** 

👉🏽 Cancellation 60 to 31 calendar days before departure – up to 50% of trip cost is non-refundable **

👉🏽 Cancellation 30 to 0 days - Up to 100% of trip cost is non-refundable

We strongly encourage you to purchase Travel Cancellation Insurance after the booking is made. It will protect you from unexpected cancellations due to your personal reasons like sudden sickness, change of travel plans and other things. 

Please check out World Nomads travel insurance provider our travelers have been using for years


The best time to visit New Zealand is during the summer months of December to March

Expect long, bright, sunny days and temperatures between 61°F and 75°F.

The water in the ocean warms up to 75F approx.

Expected weather on a Routeburn trek:

The unpredictable nature of the weather in this region means that snow, high winds and rain can occur at any time of the year. It is therefore very important to be prepared for the worst weather conditions, and carry the appropriate clothing at all times.

Generally, January and February are warmer, not necessarily drier. The month of March is more settled weather wise: fresh mornings, sunny days, cooler nights and the days are getting shorter. Due to the nature of Fiordland we cannot predict any forecast. That's why be ready for rain and shine!

What to pack for a trip:


  • A suite-case for your main luggage (for the Routeburn trek your suitecase can be left in the storage room of hotel in Queenstown)
  • Compact day-pack for daily tours and city walks
  • Casual and comfortable outfit for day-tours  and city walks (always carry an extra layer with you like fleece or wind-breaker, as the weather may change quickly) 
  • Outfit and gear for hiking days (please see the list below)
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen (50SPF)
  • Water bottle
  • Plug adapter (bring your own from home, see explanations in FAQs)
  • Portable charger (useful having)
  • Comfortable tennis shoes for day-tours, sandals can be also useful for hot days and beach activities (flip flops -optional)
  • Swimming suite 
  • Quick-dry personal towel (bring it, there will be lots of water activities on North Island)
  • Your personal first-aid kit (that you always take for every trip) 
  • Credit cards, valid travel passport, travel insurance


It is important that you are prepared for any weather conditions whilst on the track, and if you stick to the equipment list below your pack shouldn't weigh more than 5-7 kgs. (10-14 lbs). We suggest taking one set of clothing to walk in, the more that is taken, the more that must be carried.  Luggage transportation or porter services are not provided, you have to carry your own luggage from lodge to lodge. All lodges have hand washing and drying facilities so clothing can be washed and dried overnight, however the washing and drying facilities can be limited.  

Outfit for HIking:

We suggest you wear fabrics that are lightweight but warm and quick drying such as merino wool, polypropylene, thermal, micro fleece and polar fleece. Cotton is not recommended for physical activity as when it gets wet, the fabric retains the moisture next to your skin and can make you feel cold.

  • Hiking boots Broken in, preferably with ankle support. Please check your boot condition in advance.
  • Windbreaker  (quick-drying) GORETEX or similar
  • Thermal base layer (top and bottom). Fundamental clothing that can be worn either as a base layer or as a single layer.
  • Fleece or merino wool jacket (soft shell) An ideal outer layer in cold weather.
  • T-shirt. Ideal for fine weather. Avoid cotton.
  • Sunhat,  beanie & gloves. Be prepared for sun and cold.
  • Hiking pants. Fast drying hiking pants or zip-off pants (NOT JEANS), quick-drying
  • Three pairs of merino wool or thermal socks (medium thickness). Main consideration is warmth and comfort

In the lodges:

A change of clothes is recommended for the lodges and for sleeping in. Remember the more that is taken, the heavier the pack is to carry. The nights may be cold so a warm change of clothing is recommended. 

  • Shirt or long sleeved top
  • Sweater/jersey or fleece
  • Lightweight pants or trainers
  • Lightweight tennis shoes (a change for hiking boots)
  • Nightwear (PJs)
  • Personal toiletries (soap, shampoo and conditioner are provided)
  • Change of underwear 
  • Sleep sheets will be provided by the lodge, but we recommend to bring your own pillow case

Gear items:

  • Backpack  (30-40L) for your personal staff that you carry on multi-day hike. You can bring your own backpack or borrow it from trekking company at no extra charge (backpack and liner weighs approximately 2 kgs empty). Let us know if you need one!
  • Hiking poles. We strongly advise you to use two walking poles, especially if you have difficulty walking up or down gradients. There will be steep sections on a trail. Leki poles are available for hire in Queenstown. Or you can bring your own (note, hiking poles are not always allowed into carry on on the flights)
  • Rain poncho. Bring your own or borrow from trekking company at no additional cost (PVC waterproof raincoat with hood, no pockets. weighs approximately 500gms)
  • Cotton sleep sheet (weighs approximately 500gms).  Required for multi share rooms. These are supplied at the lodges and must be carried on the Greenstone section of the Grand Traverse only. What we suggest to bring from home is your own pillow case.
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
  • Insect repellent (MUST HAVE against sand flies!)
  • Water bottle or bladder (1-1.5 L capacity)
  • Credit card (accepted for payments for alcohol drinks at the bar in the lodges)

Useful optionals:

  • Gaiters (protection of your feet from dust and mud on a trail)
  • Lip balm
  • Ear plugs (bring them, if you are a sensitive sleeper)
  • Small torch (headlamp)
  • Reusable face covering
  • Reusable lunch box
  • Spare laces. Just in case
  • Ziplock bags for personal tras
  • Portable charger (there are power outlets in the lodge , but limited, we suggest bringing your own charger)



Customs. Produce you can’t bring into New Zealand:

No fresh produce, fruits or veggies , honey

No items made of wood 

Processed and packed food such as chocolate and candies are ok.

You have to declare those products anyways

Travellers will still need to complete the Passenger Arrival Card, which is handed out onboard your flight to New Zealand. 

Money/currency/local payments:

Credit cards payments are accepted everywhere, mostly Visa & Mastercard. 

Cash is optional to have. United States Dollars are not accepted for payments, only local currency - NZD.

ATMs can be found everywhere in towns along the way except for rural areas.

You can exchange money in tourist towns, we would suggest to do that on arrival in Auckland and then in Queenstown. 

Daily average budget for meals per person (NZD):

Meals are not included in the cost of this trip, except for the hiking Routeburn trek,

Breakfast in hotels depending on location $NZ 25 - 40 

Lunch in town $NZ 25 - 40.00 

Dinner (w/o drinks) $NZ 40 - 60 

Coffee $NZ 5.00 – 6.00 

Electricity & Plug adapters types:

For New Zealand the associated plug type is I, 

which is the plug that has three flat pins in a triangular pattern. New Zealand operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. IMPORTANT to bring your own plug adapter from home.

Is it safe to drink tap water in New Zealand?

New Zealand cities and towns have excellent water systems and in all cases tap water is fresh and safe for drinking. On the Routeburn trek water in the lodges is treated and good for refiling your bottles. Water from streams and rivers on a trek is good for drinking, but if you are uncomfortable with refilling the bottle from natural sources, bring purification tablets

Are there any poisonous animals in New Zealand?

New Zealand has no snakes, large predators or other dangerous animals or insects, making it one of the safest countries in the world, especially for nature travel. The biggest nuisance is midges on the West Coast of the South Island. However, the use of standard repellents easily solves this problem.


Tipping is not but if you feel that you would like to tip then im sure your guides and lodge team would appreciate this, there isn’t an amount we recommend just what you are able and feel is appropriate. Tips are normally not included into the restaurant check, you can leave 10% if you liked the service and food.


Where can I store my suite-case while I'm walking?

The excess luggage that you won't use for the hike can be left at hotel's storage room in Queenstown before heading to Milford Sound cruise on Feb 24th and then will be picked up on Feb 27th late afternoon.

Hiking terrain, and how to get prepared for the trek. 

To enjoy your walk you should be able to carry a medium sized backpack for 5 to 7 hours over 10-21km of mountain track each day. To maximize your enjoyment we encourage you to set your own pace while walking the track, there is no need to keep up with the fastest walkers. There is always a guide at the back of the party. The track surface varies from smooth well-formed paths to rough terrain broken up by rocks and tree roots and we recommend you wear hiking boots, which provide firm ankle support. If you are not a regular walker, we suggest you begin a daily walk regime 6-8 weeks before your departure. Some practice carrying a pack and hill/staircase walking during this time will make you even better prepared for your walk

How remote are the trails? 

The tracks are not accessible by road except at the start and at the end. Any requirement to remove people off the track or over closed sections will be done by helicopter. In the event of an accident or emergency, a medical evacuation by air will be carried out by New Zealand emergency services

How bad are the sandflies? 

We recommend you wear insect repellent each day for hiking

How the meals will be organized on a trek?

On the first day of hiking there will be a morning tea provided at the meeting point in Te Anau.

Breakfast and hot dinner will be served in the lodges. 

For lunch you make your own sandwiches, there will be a lunch station in the dining room of the lodge, with different, bread, wraps, sandwiches fillings, snacks and fresh fruit, so please leave room for your lunch box in your backpack.

Alcohol sold in the lodges:

New Zealand Beer and wine is available for purchase at the lodges. Credit card payments are accepted at the lodge, cash is not accepted.

Dietary requirements:

Vegetarian options are included in all our menus.   Please advise us of any specific dietary requirements when you make your booking. We will endeavor to cater for them, however please remember we operate in an extremely isolated and challenging environment

Can I wash and dry my clothes in the lodge? 

Yes. Lodges have hand washing facilities with soap powder and drying rooms. Being able to wash and dry clothing helps keep the pack weight down

How many people share the Quad rooms? 

Quad rooms sleep up to 4 people on single beds.  All quad rooms have shared bathroom facilities,. All dorms and bathrooms are mix-gender.

Are the towels and bedsheets provided in the dorms?

Towels are provided for personal use. Bedsheets are not changed after each group, however a personal sleep-sheet (sack) is provided for every traveler. 

Bring your own pillow-case if you like.

Toilets on the trek:

All lodges have flush toilets. There are also toilets (some flush, some Kiwi long drop style!) at all our lunch shelters and huts

WiFi and Cellphone reception on a trek:

 It is important to remember that the trekking route is in a remote wilderness area. There is no cellular or internet service on a trail.  All of our guides and the lodges are in touch with each other and the Queenstown base by radio.  

What’s included

  • Comfortable lodging
    Standard Hotels 3-4* & Lodges (twin rooms)
  • Assistance
    Local English-Russian speaking guide & driver, Team Leader from US (Karina Safari)
  • Ground transportation
    Comfortable 21-passanger van & Group shuttles (shared) on Milford Sound Cruise & Routebrun trek
  • Tours & Admissions
    Black water tubing (glow worm caves), Waiotapu Geothermal Valley, Hobbiton Movie Set, Cathedral Cove Kayaking tour, Tongariro National Park
  • Alpine lodges
    Mixed dorms 4 ppl sharing. Public facilities: shared bathrooms , hot showers, toiletries, electricity, laundry& dry room, bar, dining room
  • Professional assistance
    Trekking guides
  • Meals on a Trek
    All inclusive on Feb 25- Feb 27. 2 breakfasts , 3 packed lunches, 2 dinners)
  • All tours & activities
    All mentioned activities (see itinerary)
  • Boat tours
    Milford Sound day-cruise & transportation from Queenstown
  • Gear (on request)
    Backpack (40L), rain poncho, hiking poles
  • Flights
    International direct flights start at $1000 USD from SFO. Domestic flights Auckland-Queenstown roundtrip
  • Optional activities
    Hotsprings & SPA admissions, Optional activities in Queenstown and Auckland , any tour extensions , late hotel check-ours , private airport transfers etc.
  • Meals in towns
    Allow a pocket budget for breakfasts in hotels, lunches and dinners (apart from Trekking days)

Available Packages

Early Bird
Available until August 16, 2022Sold Out
Deposit: $1,400
Count Me In!
Available until December 1, 2022Sold Out
Deposit: $1,400

Available options


Day 1 , Feb 18 (Sat)
Auckland city walk

Departure from SFO on Feb 16th (Thur) at 7:55PM with United/AirNZ.

Arrival in Auckland at 6AM in the morning. 

Meet at the airport with our local guide, and take a slow city tour in Auckland, including the main highlights of the city, an opportunity to swim in the ocean and relax on the beach.

Check in hotel at 3PM. Free time.

Overnight in Auckland, hotel Mercure Auckland Queen Street

Your Organizer

Safarika Travel
50 reviews
Safarika Adventure Club (Safarika Travel Inc.) was founded in Los Angeles (CA) in the year 2013. Legal travel provider on the territory of United States (California Seller of Travel License # 2112795-40) since 2013. Founder & CEO - Karina Safari, professional adventure travel organizer and team leader since 2011. Specialization: in small group hiking trips in South America and beyond, as well as private eco-adventures for families.


Wonderful surprise! Karina is not only amazing group travel organizer, but also works with private parties. Our trip was catered to our specific needs, and we couldn’t be happier with everything! So much fun, amazing experiences and fond memories! Thank you so much, will be back! 🤩
By Alina S for Ecuador Adventure: Avenue of Volcanoes, Amazon & Galapagos on Aug 08, 2023
This was an unforgettable trip into Peruvian mountains, jungle, culture and cuisine. The trip managed to cover all the key sights in the Cusco area balancing sightseeing and hiking. The trekking company was amazing and they made the trek as comfortable as it can be. The two main hikes we did (Salkantay trek and rainbow mountain) were not particularly hard and we had plenty of time and did not need to rush. The were lucky to have very knowledgeable guides who educated and entertained us with various stories about Inka history and culture. I hope to come back to Peru again in the future.
By Vladimir L for Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mt (Memorial day 2023) on Jun 07, 2023
Excellent tour + great planning and execution (as usual). Highly recommend it. Not too strenuous.
By Grigory L for Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mt (Memorial day 2023) on Jun 06, 2023
The trip to Peru was amazing! Flawless organization of the trip up to any small detail + genuine care for every single member of the group. Amazing experiences, great food, beautiful country and fun group to enjoy all of that! Highly recommended!
By Evgeny S for Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mt (Memorial day 2023) on Jun 05, 2023
Every day of the trip was unforgettable and filled with adventure. After telling all the stories to friends dozens of times I realize how lucky I am to know Safarika Adventure Club , because without Karina Safari this trip would not have been as awesome.
By Larysa Z for Best of New Zealand North to South Adventure on Mar 20, 2023
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One of the best trips I've done! I am mainly either a solo traveler or prefer to go with my family But 4 days hiking trip to Montana Glacier NP has changed my preferences :) Thank you very much, it's been a pleasure and FUN Met so many interesting intelligent people, would highly recommend if you enjoy active vacations
By Yelena M on 10 Sep, 2020
I traveled with Karina to Patagonia in 2020 and it was awesome! Perfect planning & organization throughout the trip, including dealing with the unexpected (e.g. lost luggage). I really liked other folks in the group and made several new friends in this trip. I highly recommend Karina's trips to casual and semi-serious hikers, and plan to be a return customer myself.
By Grigory L on 14 Mar, 2020
Thank you, Karina, for a wonderful first time experience of active adventure trip! Everything is well thought and organized. Would recommend to anyone!
By Aizhan T on 20 Jun, 2019