Ultimate South Island
It is unique in the way that you are not only experiencing the land but also the introduction to the local Māori. You are connected to nature and much more aware of the land and the significance it has for the people.
Shabeena - Ultimate South, 2020
Ultimate South Island
Seeing the huge range of diverse attractions on the South Island. Being certain to hit the highpoints from an experienced guide. Māori culture is incorporated into the tour.
Frank - Ultimate South Island
South Island whirlwind tour
Ultimate New Zealand' was 11 people plus the guide in a van, towing a Tardis* with all the kit in it including the kitchen. This was a group tour which I joined alone in order to see as much of South Island and its mountains as possible
It took some organisation to have done so many excellent walks in so many different places. Guides friendly and professional and our chief guide did a lot of very tricky driving on winding roads between locations.
Di - London, January 2019, TripAdvisor
Ticks all the boxes
This adventure ticks all the right boxes if you are after an actioned packed taste of New Zealand's South Island. Lots of hiking with a sprinkle of Waka sailing, biking and sea kayaking if that tickles your fancy. Well organized and great food provided.
We would do another adventure with Hiking New Zealand.
Desma - Australia, January 2019, TripAdvisor
Great way to explore the South Island
I spent two weeks on the South Island and one week with Hiking New Zealand was a great way to round out my solo travel. The group size was small (6) and the guide (John) was friendly and knowledgeable.
This is one of those times when letting the experts handle the details just makes sense. And in my opinion, using a NZ-based company is the way to go (vs. a US-based company, in my case). The conversation with other guests is just more interesting and varied. One night we stayed in a hotel where another US-based group was staying and I was very glad to be with Hiking New Zealand!
Some days were more travel time in the car than I'd hoped for, but the payoff was seeing the variety that the island has to offer. One day we'd be in the lush rain forests of the West Coast, another day, exploring a glacier lake!
They do an awesome job describing their trips in detail, so do your homework and you won't be disappointed!
Hikergirltravel - Washington, February 2018
Ultimate South you were awesome
What an awesome experience, professional and knowledgeable guides, great food and the best of company. The scenery was so special and the memory of our time in the South Island of New Zealand will stay with me forever.
Happytramper2018 - Australia, April 2018, TripAdvisor
Great 2 weeks
I was on the Ultimate South Island Adventure in February and really enjoyed the whole of it, including the rainy days! The communication and organisation leading up to the trip and on it was very good. Our guide for the 2 weeks, Kathryn, was excellent and I think really made it work very well, keeping us informed and organised as to what was happening all the time, was a wealth of knowledge on what we encountered and was a very nice person to spend 2 weeks with, as well as all the guests on the trip. It's a great way to sample New Zealand and you see a lot and the few people who took the North Island part as well enjoyed that as much. I would certainly use Hiking NZ the next time I am going on holiday there.
Chris_Netbuzz - United Kingdom, March 2018, TripAdvisor
Beautiful scenery, well-organized, great trip leader
I went on the 15-day Ultimate South trek. Overall, it was lovely. The participants ranged in age from young twenties to 60-something. We saw a lot of different biomes of NZ, learned a bit about the history and culture of NZ, and had great experiences all around. Our trip leader, Kathryn, was perfect. She clearly loves her beautiful home and enjoys sharing it with visitors. She was organized but also adapted well when things didn't go as planned, an inevitability on a trip such as this.
For those thinking of going, I would highly recommend this trip.
Itinerant T - Brazil, March 2018, TripAdvisor
Lovely 2 weeks on the South Island
I just finished two great weeks traveling with Hiking New Zealand across the south island on their "Ultimate South" trip. Our guide Kathryn was a wealth of knowledge and kept our unruly bunch on focus. The trip was an incredibly efficient way to see most of the top sites of the island, get in some great hikes and overnight trips without any of planning or driving you would need to do on your own. Highlights were two nights overnight camping in Abel Tasman National Park, an overnight hike to a lodge in the Aspiring valley outside Wanaka and even the sitting out the rain at Mount Cook national park. This is a very active trip and group participation in food preparation and clean-up is mandatory, but this also keeps the price down and makes you feel more connected to the group. There were 11 people on my trip ranging in age from 19-65 and it offered a great opportunity to get to know a diverse crowd. I would highly recommend it for the active traveler who wants to see a lot in a short amount of time.
Mospicy - USA, February 2018, TripAdvisor
Ultimate South 10/10
Had a wonderful 15 days on the Ultimate South tour with Rayner our guide for the first 5 days, then Kathryn for the last 10. Really enjoyed the wide variety of activities including multi-day hikes, cycling and sea AND lagoon kayaking. Although the weather was not on our side for the first 6 days, the group stayed in high spirits and Rayner was great with reorganising one of our days when we couldn't do the river crossings.
I was unsure of fitness levels going into this trip but as long as you are an enthusiastic individual who doesn't mind getting a bit soggy and going to bed early to recoup after a long day of hiking, you'll be great. There is definitely a good balance of lighter days with less walking/not hiking with packs on to keep spirits up along the way. Definitely worth building up a bit of stamina for the more challenging walks up Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park (you don't want to miss out on those views).
I had the time of my life and wouldn't have gone to some of the more unknown areas of the South Island, so thanks Hiking NZ!
Georgie B - February 2018, TripAdvisor
Ultimate South Island Kiwi Style - just do it!
I researched my New Zealand vacation extensively trying to figure out what I wanted to see and do during my time there. I considered one of the "great walks" on the South Island but after seeing the agenda, determined it was not enough of what I wanted to see and do while there. And it would have left me planning my own agenda, logistics, schedules and more. Tempting sometimes certainly but not for a vacation. I researched HNZ and determined the Ultimate South Island Kiwi Style fit the bill for what I wanted to see and experience. Our guide, Rory Hart, was spectacular. His knowledge of his home country, the scenery, the wildlife, the geology, and more made the trip an experience of a lifetime. I feel like I saw a lot more of the South Island than I would otherwise and would whole heartedly recommend HNZ to anyone considering a trip to NZ. Great job!
I would highly recommend anyone considering New Zealand to consider Hiking New Zealand as your guide company. They're simply the best at what they do!
Rleclair - United Kingdom, April 2017, TripAdvisor
Ultimate South - 15 day trip with Rory
Had been hiking with Hiking New Zealand 16 years ago, and I wanted to do another trip with them. In February I finally came back to NZ and did the 15 day Ultimate South trip. It was fantastic and fully lived up to my high expectations! And even the weather was great - most of the time. Only 3 rainy days out of 15, not too bad for the notoriously wet South Island ;-)
Your feet will become sustainably wet on the river crossings, but this creates a cosy cushion of water in your boots and you will love it - except for the day after when you put on the wet shoes again. Yet it's only the first couple of minutes and then you will be fine.
You will also have breathtaking views of the sea, the mountains, glaciers, etc.
If you are looking for a great kiwi hiking experience mostly off the beaten tracks - this is it! And if you are lucky enough to have a great and fun guide like Rory and the best group ever , you will never forget this trip!
Go for it!
Sylvia G - March 2017, TripAdvisor
Ultimate South Hike New Zealand
I completed the 15 day Ultimate South Hike. it was the best experience of my life so far. there was always something to do, something to see and something to learn. I was lucky enough to be a group with 11 incredible people, who now I consider close friends. Our Guide Rory was very knowledgeable about New Zealand and just a really nice and catered to everybody's needs and requests.
Alisa B - February 2017, TripAdvisor
Excellent quality and variety
A hiking tour packed with an amazing variety of stunning landscapes, beautiful walks and challenging hikes, quality equipment, quirky and fun accommodations, fresh meals and a well humored guide.
Alice - The Netherlands, April 2016, TripAdvisor
Beautiful spots off the beaten track
This trip was a really great experience. HNZ did a thorough job with the planning and preparation, and the office staff was responsive and helpful leading up to departure. I was impressed with the well thought out itinerary, which took us to some really beautiful spots off the beaten path. Our guide was awesome, very competent and knowledgeable. As advertised, this trip involves a lot of hiking and camping -- not for those who require a daily shower and phone charge! I highly recommend it and hope to return some day to do the Ultimate North tour.
Marianna - USA, March 2016, TripAdvisor
Amazing time with 10 fellow travellers
Great mix of hikes, camping, huts & occasional lodges. Packed itinerary, with many early starts, so don't do it if you're looking to relax! Challenging hikes on many days, amazing locations, and fantastic craic. Only wished had booked the north island tour with Hike NewZealand too. Highly recommend.
Gilly S - United Kingdom, March 2017, TripAdvisor
The best month of my life!
I did the "Ultimate New Zealand" which was 22 days and we travelled both the north and south islands. For me personally it was a very challenging trip but my guides and the rest of the group where all very supportive. I highly recommend this company and this tour. I would happily do it again!
I will never ever forget this trip. it was just the best experience I have ever had. the trip is well organised and guided, I was able to go alone as a 19 year old and they took care of me very very well.
this tour has to be number one on everyone's bucket list! I fell in love with New Zealand, so much so I am hoping to get a conservation job and move over there!! thank you Hiking New Zealand!
Chrissyv97 - Australia, December 2016, TripAdvisor