An island nation in the South Pacific, New Zealand’s landscapes are home to astonishing diversity. From the mud pools and geysers of Rotorua to the skyscraping peaks of the Southern Alps, our natural grandeur promises to inspire and delight. Read on to discover how you can enjoy New Zealand’s many highlights with MoaTrek.
Looking to experience New Zealand’s spectacular natural places? MoaTrek journeys to the most beautiful parts of the country, and our specially chosen activities and excursions ensure that you enjoy these destinations in the best way possible.
Experiencing the thrill of a scenic flight over Milford Sound, seeing ancient glaciers tumbling down to rainforest and feeling the warmth of Maori culture are just some of the highlights of a MoaTrek small group New Zealand tour.
The very best of New Zealand with MoaTrek
Milford Sound by Land, Sea and Air
Every aspect of a visit to Milford Sound is simply incredible – as soon as you arrive, you’ll discover why famous British author Rudyard Kipling named it the '8th great wonder of the world'. Milford Sound is the jewel in the crown of Fiordland National Park, and even the journey there is impressive. The Milford Road grants access to this wilderness, traversing a spectacular route considered to be one of New Zealand's best scenic drives. Jagged mountain peaks soar above sheer granite cliffs and and valleys of golden tussock add to the magic.
Milford Sound itself showcases some of the most dramatic scenery in the country. The fiord's plunging cliffs, imposing peaks and inky blue water will leave you awestruck. Getting out on the water allows visitors to enjoy the landscape from a different perspective, and the pods of dolphins and families of fur seals bathing on the rocks only add to the experience. Don't miss the opportunity to soar above the mountains and fiords on a scenic flight - a birds’ eye view of these landscapes is a must-do while touring New Zealand.
Milford Sound with MoaTrek
There’s no better way to experience Milford Sound and the surrounding Fiordland region than with a combination of coach, boat cruise and scenic flight – and that’s exactly what guests enjoy on a MoaTrek New Zealand small group tour. Travelling Milford Road in a comfortable coach, there’s plenty of time for photo stops. Upon arriving at Milford Sound we board a boat to cruise the inky waters, admiring the towering waterfalls along the way. Afterwards, we return to Queenstown via a magnificent scenic flight; soaring over the Fiordland landscapes and turquoise blue Lake Wakatipu.
Three reasons to love Milford Sound with MoaTrek:
- A combination of coach, cruise and flight offers the ultimate Milford experience.
- An on-board nature guide means you’ll learn about the Milford wildlife.
- Relax amidst the alpine beauty of nearby Queenstown for a three-night stay.
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
The grand Southern Alps stand sentinel above the West Coast and, to the east, the Canterbury Plains. Reaching a lofty 3,754 meters (12,349 ft.) above sea level, Aoraki/Mount Cook dominates this skyline as New Zealand’s highest peak. The mountain is also an iconic representation of the pioneering kiwi spirit. Aoraki/Mount Cook hosted the endeavors of great adventurer Sir Edmund Hillary, who trained here for his legendary expedition to Mt Everest, making history as the first successful person to summit the Himalayan giant.
When touring New Zealand, strolling in the landscapes that surround the mountain is a privilege – a number of easy-going walking tracks grant access to the scenic valleys, and walkers are rewarded with plenty of vistas of soaring summits along the way. During springtime, these valleys come alive in a riot of purple, pink and blue lupins. Whether you are visiting the Canterbury Plains or exploring the West Coast, Aoraki/Mt Cook is an ever-present spectacle in the landscape of the South Island.
Aoraki/Mount Cook with MoaTrek
On a MoaTrek small group New Zealand tour, guests are introduced to this region with a privately hosted lunch. Dining in a 110-year old Canterbury homestead located amidst manicured gardens, a home-cooked meal is served by hosts Ian and Di McKenzie. After lunch, we journey to the foothills of the Southern Alps, stopping for photos beside pastel coloured lakes on the way. We spend a night at the foot of Aoraki/Mount Cook at the Hermitage Hotel. The next morning, there’s time to stroll in the nearby valley. Stretch your legs, fill your lungs with mountain air and enjoy snowy peaks and grand alpine scenery.
Three reasons to love Canterbury and Aoraki/Mount Cook with MoaTrek:
- Learn about the Kiwi farming lifestyle and enjoy the gardens of Akaunui homestead.
- Enjoy a night in the foothills of the mountains at the Hermitage Hotel.
- Time to stroll through valleys and grand mountain scenery.
Rotorua Explore Geothermal Activity and Maori Culture
It could be said that few other locations on the Pacific Ring of Fire portray their tempestuous, tectonic character more boldly than Rotorua – New Zealand’s ultimate geothermal hotspot and a resounding highlight on our New Zealand small group tours. And it’s easy to see why: Rotorua is studded with majestic lakes and offers one of the hottest live theatrical performances on the planet – literally. Here, restless forces claw their way to the surface in the form of boiling mud pools, hot springs, bursting geysers and colourful mineral depositions.
Further adding to the unique appeal of Rotorua is its status as the Maori Cultural Hub of New Zealand. The region is steeped in Maori history, and today visitors can experience vibrant renditions of a culture that found its roots here almost 1000 years ago. In Rotorua, the spirit of Manaakitanga (hospitality) is alive and well – delicious dining experiences combine traditional Maori foods with warm, embracing hosts to create a cultural experience visitors remember for life.
Rotorua with MoaTrek
Our time in the Rotorua area starts in the most memorable way possible, exploring the reaches of beautiful Lake Rotoiti on a cruise aboard a luxury catamaran – visit natural hot pools on the edge of the lake that are only accessible by boat.
You'll also visit the famous 'Buried Village' of Te Wairoa for lunch the following day for a hosted lunch with our friends David and Karen before learning all about the amazing efforts going in to helping our national icon at the Rotorua Kiwi Encounter. We're here for two nights, right on the lakefront and within walking distance of Ohinemutu Village, a living Maori settlement on the shores of Lake Rotorua.
We round off our time in Rotorua the next day with a guided visit to the enchanting geothermal hideaway of Wai-O-Tapu. Bubbling mud pools and colourful silica terraces create an otherworldly and unforgettable landscape
Three reasons to love Rotorua with MoaTrek:
- Enjoy a hosted lunch at New Zealand's only buried village.
- Soak in naturally heated geothermal pools only accessible by boat.
- Experience Rotorua’s most spectacular geothermal landscapes at Wai-O-Tapu.
Glaciers & West Coast Rainforest
They don’t call the West Coast ‘wild’ for nothing. This spectacular stretch of paradise unfolds over 600km (372 miles) of incredible coastline, hemmed in by the mighty Southern Alps and the endless Tasman Sea. The tempestuous weather for which the region is so famous for constantly shapes the environment, adding drama to the grand natural orchestra. The glaciers of this region are notable for their accessibility – tumbling down from the Southern Alps, their lower reaches are surrounded by temperate rainforest and they descend nearly to sea level.
It’s no wonder this land of extremes has created such a unique breed of resilient kiwis. The culture here is different to the rest of New Zealand – perhaps due to the isolation and hardships that the first hardy settlers who etched out a living here had to endure. Hokitika is a great place to get a feel for this pioneering spirit. In the north of this region, the stacks of limestone that form the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are not to be missed on any small group New Zealand tour. At the right tide, water shoots up through cracks in the rocks, creating a show of blowholes and sea spray.
Glaciers & West Coast Rainforest with MoaTrek
This is a very special part of the country, and with a MoaTrek small group New Zealand tour, we take four days to explore it thoroughly. Beginning by journeying through the native beech forests and cascading waterfalls of the Haast Pass, we enjoy a short stroll to crystal-clear blue pools. Continuing towards the coast, we top off the day by viewing Fox Glacier along with picture-perfect Lake Matheson – known for its mirror reflections of the Southern Alps.
The following day is spent exploring Okarito Lagoon, a feeding ground for the rare white heron (Kotoku). Guests choose to either paddle a kayak or enjoy a boat cruise. Later on, there’s the option of relaxing in glacier-fed natural hot pools.
Next morning, we visit the artisan art galleries of Hokitika before driving the coastal road to the Punakaiki Pancake rocks. Admiring these prehistoric formations, we soak up the drama of the blowholes and wild coastline. Wrapping up our time on the coast, we celebrate our travels with a farewell dinner at Jacob’s Grill Restaurant, dining on local specialties overlooking views of the ocean.
Three reasons to love the glaciers and West Coast Rainforest with MoaTrek:
- Four days here allows you to get a feel for the landscape and pioneering spirit.
- A cruise on Okarito Lagoon is a rare experience that’s off the tourist trail.
- Our farewell dinner in Paparoa National Park overlooking the wild West Coast.