Whether you call it walking, tramping or trekking, Australia and New Zealand are world class destinations to lace up your boots for a luxury hiking tour. You may even know the best-known routes by name: Milford Track —’the finest walk in the world’—or the Great Ocean Road’s Twelve Apostles.
For every famed, long-distance hike, there’s a handful of lesser-known trails equally worth hiking. Whether you’d like to try a one-day walk or journey out for a five-day tramp, both Oceania island nations feature awe-inspiring options for all ambitions. From pristine coastlines to ancient rainforests to deep valleys, our favorite routes offer unparalleled immersion into breathtaking landscapes and local culture. The scenes may be rugged, but the experience doesn’t always require roughing it. On these expert-guided luxury walking tours in New Zealand and Australia, dinners are multi-course, and the accommodations are marvelous. So, load your pack, lace up your boots, and give your soul the restorative, wide-open adventure you’ve been craving.
Why book a guided luxury hiking tour in Australia or New Zealand?
The Sensory Experience
Wherever you travel in the world, nothing feels quite the same as exploring with the sun on your skin and the breeze in your hair. Whether seeing the sights by motorcycle, bicycle, hot air balloon, or your own two feet, nothing compares to a full sensory experience.
The Relaxed Pace
It’s no secret we’re fans of slow travel. We particularly love the pace of Australia and New Zealand’s luxury walking tours and the connection you’re able to make with the place you visit simply by traversing it yourself, one step at a time. Walking is a terrific way to recalibrate, recharge, and it does wonders for your mental health.
The Unbeatable Access
Paved roads will only take you so far. Some places deserve to be seen on foot. You’ll love the unique vantage point, as well as the opportunity to venture into areas where modern transport simply can’t take you. Most of the lodgings on these luxury walks aren’t accessible by vehicle—and we love them all the more for it. Indulge your inner child; let’s go exploring.
The Care & Comforts of a Luxury Experience
Sure, you’ll be logging a few miles on your walks, but we’d hardly describe luxury walks as “roughing it.” Far from it, in fact! From gourmet meals and well-appointed accommodations to foot baths and spa treatments, you’ll enjoy all the perks you’ve come to expect from the luxury properties we partner with.
New Zealand luxury hiking and walking tours
In 1992, New Zealand established the Great Walks program to identify a collection of premier hiking routes (‘tracks’) spanning the country. The 10 trails pass through awe-inspiring landscapes, are well-trodden and clearly marked, but thru-hiking them in their entirety requires some advance planning—and a reservation. Here are our favorite tracks for luxury hiking in New Zealand, all of which are located in the South Island’s Fiordland.
The Milford Track
Distance: 33 miles, one-directional thru-hike
Duration: 4 days/3 night
Difficulty: Intermediate; ~2,600 feet elevation gain
Seasonality: October 25 – April 30
The most famous and popular of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks is Milford Track, a 33-mile route first used by Māori to overland between Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound. In 1888, Scottish settler Quintin MacKinnon formally carved out the trail. In 1908, the scenic tramp earned worldwide attention when poet Blanche Baughan declared it ‘the finest walk in the world’ in the London Spectator. Today, the allure of this boat-access-only hike has not diminished in the least. Ready your hiking poles for a four-day journey into prehistoric New Zealand, passing through deep granite valleys and moss-blanketed virgin forests. It’s a breathtaking, pulse-quickening trek into the heart of Fiordland.
Make it luxe: Go guided, trekking The Milford Track while staying in private, custom-built lodges. Fully staffed with shared and private room options, dinner is a three-course menu and hot showers are an end-of-day comfort. Post-hike, stay at Blanket Bay luxury lodge where wilderness meets five-star facilities. A jaw-dropping helicopter tour of Milford Sound’s sheer cliffs and gushing waterfalls is a thrilling temptation.
The Routeburn Track
Distance: 20 miles, point-to-point
Duration: 3 days/2 nights
Difficulty: Moderate; an elevation gain of 2,460 feet and two ~seven-mile days of hiking.
Seasonality: Nov 1 – April 30; expect mountain conditions in the alpine, even in summer.
First traversed by Māori in the 1500s and later, by Europeans in the mid-1800s, the joys of Routeburn Track have been known for hundreds of years. One of the country’s Great Walks, this route leads hikers through ice-carved valleys beneath a crown of Southern Alp peaks. Glacial tarns, alpine lakes, waterfalls, alpine gardens and meadows feature along the way.
Dubbed the ‘ultimate alpine adventure,’ the 20-mile tramp starts out in a beech tree forest overlooked by the Humboldt Mountains as it winds up the Routeburn River. You’ll ascend into a sublime alpine that rewards with jaw-dropping mountain vistas. Navigate the bluff that hems Lake Harris to reach Harris Saddle, the trail’s apex. From here, cross the exposed Hollyford Face before descending to enchanting Lake Mackenzie. The final, lesser demanding day brings you to picturesque Earland Falls before reaching The Divide Shelter terminus. Routeburn Track can be walked in either direction.
Make it luxe: Go guided, trekking The Routeburn Track while staying in private, custom-built lodges. Fully staffed with shared and private room options, dinner is a three-course menu and hot showers are an end-of-day comfort. There are even laundry facilities.
The Hollyford Track
Distance: 35 miles, one-way
Duration: ~4 days/3 nights (independent); 2 nights( guided)
Difficulty: Moderate; some long days but very little change in elevation.
Hollyford Track is a multi-night, backcountry trek that offers hikers a spectacular mountain-to-sea route along a valley floor. On this 35-mile trail, you’ll ramble through the glacier-carved Hollyford Valley, where a virgin forest laced with rivers, waterfalls and lakes has remained unchanged for millennia. Arriving at remote Martins Bay, you’re greeted with a wild, rugged coast where fur seals and crested penguins can be spotted (seasonally). Hollyford Track enjoys a low altitude, meaning it can be walked year-round, in either direction. Late October through late April are the best months.
Make it luxe: Go guided, hike Hollyford Track while staying in private, purpose-built lodges. Fully staffed by friendly lodge hosts, you’ll enjoy a gourmet antipasto platter ahead of a three-course dinner and dessert, hot showers, hot water bottles and flush toilets.
The Kepler Track
Distance: 37 miles, loop
Duration: 3 – 4 days
Difficulty: Moderately difficult; a front-loaded elevation gain of ~3,000 feet
Seasonality: October 25 – April 30; expect mountain conditions in the alpine, even in summer.
The Kepler Track is a spectacular 37-mile loop that starts in a fern-carpeted forest that hugs the shoreline of Lake Te Anau. You’ll then make an uphill push beneath limestone bluffs to reach the alpine. The hike’s second, hallmark day traverses the exposed spine of a dramatic ridge graced with glorious views of the adjacent mountain ranges. A descent that includes switchbacks leads you through the Iris Burn valley to the shores of pretty-as-a-picture Lake Manapouri. The final push is an evenly graded, 10-mile amble through wetlands and virgin forest. The Kepler Track can be walked in either direction, though counterclockwise is the official recommendation.
Make it luxe: Unlike Routeburn, Milford or Hollyford Tracks which have private lodge options, The Kepler Track only offers camping and shared bunks. For a luxury trail sampler, check into Fiordland Lodge in Te Anu where guests can experience the most scenic stretch of the Kepler Track in a single day via a helicopter transfer to Luxmore Hut, followed by a 5-mile alpine hike.
Australia luxury hiking and walking tours
Our top luxury hiking tours in Australia have comfortable lodging baked right into the fully hosted experience. Guides lead the way, meals and snacks are prepared for you, and in some cases, gear and equipment is provided; your only concern is enjoying each step of the journey.
Maria Island Walk, Tasmania
Distance: 15 – 26 miles
Duration: 4 days/3 nights
Difficulty: Easy-moderate; kids eight years and older are welcome
Seasonality: October to April
The Maria Island Walk takes you on a rambling four-day hike through Tasmania’s coastal scenery where delightfully quirky wildlife lives, with a dose of convict history. Nature rules in this remote, car-free sanctuary dubbed ‘Tasmania’s Noah’s Ark.’ You might spot wombats, Forester kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian devil, whales and dolphins. Depending on optional spur trails, the walk spans 15 to 26 miles along an easy grade. You’ll slumber in exclusive, minimalist tented bush camps. (Don’t worry, dinners are candlelit and multi-course, and the wines are award-winning, Tasmanian vintages.) Each site is located close to a pristine, powder-fine beach so you’ll fall asleep to a lullaby of waves breaking and awaken to bird song. On the third night, stay at the UNESCO-designated Bernacchi House which once served as a penal settlement to more than 600 convicts. The Maria Island Walk is all-inclusive and fully hosted by an expert guide who will share the island’s rich Indigenous and settler history. Guests walk in groups of up to 10. Paid porter services are available on select departures for hikers who prefer to travel light. Your 13 to 16 lb. pack will wait for you at the next accommodation so that all you have to carry is water, a camera, rain jacket and lunch.
Bay of Fires Lodge Walk, Tasmania
Distance: 27 miles, in-and-out
Duration: 4 days/3 nights
Seasonality: Spring, summer and fall
Sitting atop a hill overlooking the sea, Bay of Fires Lodge is a secluded, timber-and-glass eco-hideaway swathed by coastal wilderness. Ensconced by National Park, it’s the only lodging on this pristine, 12-mile stretch of beach. To reach it, you’ll have to walk—an experience that only deepens your connection to the environment. At the trailhead, you’ll receive the equipment you need to walk the 23 miles in, and meet your expert guides and fellow hikers. On day one, you’ll stroll nine beachy miles before overnighting at Forester Beach Camp—a glampsite tucked behind a protective dune that hems a white sand beach. Swim, then stargaze with a pinot in-hand. The following day, after a slow breakfast, you’ll close out 14 miles of secluded coves, dunes, lawns and cross a tidal creek to reach Bay of Fires Lodge where you’ll spend two sumptuous nights. Afternoon tea, an outdoor tub, and spa treatments are welcome upon arrival. A three-course dinner is served atop a long table in the company of your new friends. On day three, choose your adventure: go kayaking, hiking, snorkeling in a marine nursery or enjoy leisure time in the lodge’s surrounds. On departure day, it’s a short four-mile walk to the pick-up point.
12 Apostles Lodge Walk, Victoria
Distance: 28 miles; hub-and-spoke
Duration: 4 days/3 nights
Difficulty: Moderate; two ascents in the grade profile rising ~1,300 feet and ~650 in elevation
Seasonality: September 1 to June 30
Spanning some 250 miles of sun-kissed, windswept southern Australian coast, The Great Ocean Road is an incredible road trip—but an even better walk. Bookended by Castle Cove and the iconic limestone stacks, Twelve Apostles Lodge Walk offers three full days of hiking, returning hikers to an eco-certified lodge each night for mineral-infused footbaths, massages, and long table dinners. You’ll cover off 29 miles altogether, and while the route is generally graded easy, there are some moderate pumps that will make your heart race. Along the way, you’ll pass through coastal scrub, tea tree forest, and stands of eucalyptus. Enjoy ocean vistas from clifftops, kick off your boots for some barefoot, soft sand walking, and listen to your guides share tales of loss and survival on this shipwreck-studded shore. The adventure wraps with a thrilling 10-minute helicopter ride that offers a bird’s eye view of the 12 Apostles.
Book your guided hiking or walking tour with us!
With countless landscapes and hundreds of miles to explore on foot, there’s no shortage of walking opportunities in Australia and New Zealand.
Come for the sensory experience, the relaxed pace, and the unbeatable access. Stay for the care and comforts of a luxury experience. Where you stay and which tracks you explore is up to you. Just know that whatever you choose, you’re sure to be amazed.
Itinerary: Self-Drive in Tasmania
For even more walking inspiration, and to see how a luxury walk could be the perfect addition to your adventure Down Under, consider our Self-Drive in Tasmania itinerary. We can design a similar journey, making changes to suit your specific tastes. But remember, we customize every journey for our clients; no two trips are ever the same!