10 Days New Zealand’s Southern Alps Expert Women’s Hiking [REI]

Daily Tour 10 days Availability: 2019-11-15
Southern Alps, Canterbury 7999, New Zealand

10 Days

Fri 15 - Sun 24 Nov 2019

Southern Alps New Zealand


Wander the larger-than-life landscapes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps on this 10-day wilderness hiking adventure.

This trip begins in Christchurch, which blends English colonial influence with Kiwi personality. (In 1982, the city appointed an official wizard.) We head up the Rakaia River by jet boat and sample a variety of trails amongst the South Island’s peaks, plains and golden hills. We explore Mount Cook National Park, with a milky-blue glacial river galloping through it. Stroll a beachy stretch of the Minaret Burn Track. Follow tussock-clad ridgelines to the summit of Beuzenberg Peak, with a panoramic view of Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Between hikes, we explore New Zealand’s landscape in other ways, like paddle boarding on Lake Wanaka and sharing a farm-to-table lunch at a woman-owned dairy. Nights are authentically Kiwi, too. We stay in backcountry huts and lodges, including iconic Rex Simpson Hut and historic Ben Lomond lodge near Moonlight Valley. Speaking of moonlight, we experience once-in-a-lifetime stargazing in the world’s largest Dark Sky Reserve. Encircled by mountain summits, beneath the Southern Cross and the Milky Way.

Secure your spot today!

Price: $5,399 for REI Members
$5,939 for non-members





Double occupancy accommodations
Small inns/hotels, 5 nights, backcountry huts & lodges, 4 nights


Meals as noted in the daily itinerary


Ground transportation


Entrance fees and permits
Experienced local guides


Our trip begins today in Christchurch, New Zealand. We meet our guides and fellow travelers at a Christchurch hotel at 8:30am. We then set out for the Raikaia River Gorge for an exhilarating jet boat ride on the turquoise, glacially fed river. The ride ends in the gorge, and we hike back to the starting point, climbing out of the gorge for wonderful views of the area including the Mount Hutt Range. Our next stop is a working dairy farm where we enjoy a farm-to-table lunch. New Zealand is the world’s eighth largest producer of milk, which plays an essential role in the economy. We gain insight into the industry and learn the day-to-day lifestyle of a Kiwi dairy farmer. Arriving into Geraldine, we check into our hotel and have dinner. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: 1 mile, 1.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 100’; driving 3 hours.

Leaving Geraldine, we drive to incredibly picturesque Lake Tekapo. We take some time to enjoy the view from the Good Shepherd Church, have lunch in town, and pack for our hike to Rex Simpson Hut (4,200′). The rustic, co-ed dormitory-style hut is perched at the top edge of a terrace above Lake Tekapo, providing panoramic views of the Alpine Range, Godley River Valley and Macaulay River Valley. Reaching the hut, we settle in for a dinner prepared by the trip guides. All meals included.

Hiking: 4.5 miles, 3 hours; elevation gain: 2,000′; driving: 2 hours.

Our hike is a ridge walk that provides views of the Southern Alps, including Mount Tasman and the east face of Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. The tussock-clad ridge leads us all the way to the summit of Beuzenberg Peak (6,800′) with 360-degree views. Descending the ridge, we return to the hut with free time to relax or explore before dinner. Evening entertainment comes in the form of a sunset behind the mountains and gazing at the star-filled southern sky. This area is part of the world’s largest International Dark Sky Reserve due to the fact that the skies are virtually free from any light pollution, making it one of the best places on earth for stargazing. All meals included.

Hiking: up to 9 miles, 7.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 2,600′.

Packing up, we hike from the hut to our starting point and then transfer to a favorite café in the town of Twizel for lunch. Our drive continues to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, which boasts the highest mountains and the largest glaciers in the country. There are 19 peaks over 3,000 meters (9,850′) high and glaciers cover 40% of the park. Checking into our accommodations, there is time to relax or go on a hike to Red Tarns (3,457’), named for the red weeds that grow in the ponds. There are stunning views of the Sealy Range, Mount Sefton, Aoraki/Mount Cook and surrounding peaks and glaciers. All meals included.

Hiking: 4.5 miles, 3 hours; elevation loss: 2,000’. Optional hike to Red Tarns: 2.2 miles, 2 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1,099’ and 1,750 stairs each way.

Mueller Hut (5,921’) is today’s destination. Located in the Sealy Range, the hut offers panoramic views of glaciers, ice cliffs, and the vertical rock faces of New Zealand’s highest peaks. The trail begins at the foot of the Mueller Ridge and climbs steeply up to Sealy Tarns. From the tarns, the trail becomes an alpine route, parts of which are quite rocky as it wanders through alpine scrub and tussocks and up a scree slope to the top of the ridge. Reaching Mueller Hut, we eat a picnic lunch and take in the views of Mueller Glacier and the dramatic ice shelf on Mount Sefton. For those experiencing summit fever, an optional hike along a rocky ridge to Mount Ollivier (6,342′) may be possible. This is the first mountain Sir Edmund Hillary climbed. All meals included.

Hiking 5 to 6 miles, 6 to 8 hours; elevation gain/loss: 3,400 to 3,800′ and 1,800 stairs each way.

From Mount Cook we head south over Lindis Pass and descend into the Otago region. Our destination is Wanaka, in the heart of the Southern Lakes District, where we take a guided stand up paddle boarding (SUP) lesson on Lake Wanaka. Gaining confidence and experience, we proceed on a one-hour paddle, touring the lake and taking in the sights. Next we head across the spectacular Crown Range and down into the historic goldmining village of Arrowtown for dinner. Our day concludes in Queenstown, where we spend the night. All meals included.

Stand up paddle boarding: 2 hours; driving: 3.5 hours.

Skippers Canyon Road is a narrow and winding gravel road, hand carved out of a sheer cliff face by miners during the gold rush over 140 years ago. We drive this road for about one hour to Pipeline Bridge and our trailhead. Our hike begins as we cross over the rapid-filled, cerulean Shotover River. The remote trail traverses through the Ben Lomond High Country Station following abandoned 1860s gold mining water races. Along the way the mountain peaks, beech forests and vast tussock lands will constantly distract you. Once we reach the backcountry lodge, our hosts share the history of the station and merino wool sheep farming practices. All meals included.

Hiking: 10 miles, 7 hours; elevation gain: 1,400′; elevation loss: 1,000′.

Today we have options to enjoy the stunning beauty of the surrounding countryside. Choose a high country hike with our guides and explore more of this vast landscape or relax in the big backyard of our comfortable lodge. Our hike will be nearby on gently graded tracks through beech forest or along treeless ridgelines with unobstructed views of the surrounding valleys. Whether hiking or relaxing, the solitude and beauty of this mountainous slice of New Zealand will not disappoint. Hiking options will depend on the group, weather, and trail conditions. All meals included.

Hiking: 4-8 miles, 3-6 hours; elevation gain/loss: 500-1,500’.

After a hearty breakfast, we pack up and hike to the Ben Lomond saddle (4,265′). From here we can see our earlier route from Skippers and Shotover Canyons, the expanse of the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu. The Remarkables Mountain Range rises up to the south above Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown below. We descend until we reach a gondola, which provides a quick ride into town. This evening we dine together and celebrate our summit successes! All meals included.

Hiking: 10 miles, 6.5 hours; elevation gain: 3,000’; elevation loss: 1,600’.

The trip concludes with a group transfer at 8:30am to the Queenstown Airport. Or extend your stay to explore Milford Sound, take in the views during a thrilling zip-lining adventure, or even experience bungee jumping. Breakfast included.

Important Info

This trip is rated Vigorous. Trip members should be strong, experienced hikers capable of hiking 3-8 hours a day (6-10 miles) with steep ascents and descents. Trail elevation gains/losses of 1,000’-4,100’ daily are common. One hike reaches close to 7,000’ in altitude. Many of the trails are demanding with sections that are unmaintained, uneven, steep, rough, and may be rocky and/or muddy.


$5,399 for REI Members
$5,939 for non-members
Note: Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Fitness Requirement

This trip is rated Vigorous. Trip members should be strong, experienced hikers capable of hiking 3-8 hours a day (6-10 miles) with steep ascents and descents. 


  • Double occupancy accommodations
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Ground transportation
  • Entrance fees and permits
  • Experienced local guides


  • Airfare to New Zealand
  • Meals as noted in the itinerary
  • Optional excursions
  • Cost of medical immunizations
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Excess baggage charges
  • New Zealand airport departure tax
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Optional tips to guides
  • Laundry fees
  • Internet fees and other items of a personal nature

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy first class hiking in New Zealand’s Southern Alps
  • Jet boat ride up the turquoise waters of the Rakaia River
  • Stay in high country huts and visit the adventure nexus, Queenstown
  • REI Women’s Adventure—designed for women, guided by women

Meet the Host

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI)

At Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.

We believe that it’s in the wild, untamed and natural places that we find our best selves, so our purpose is to awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors, for all.

Since 1938, we have been your local outdoor co-op, working to help you experience the transformational power of nature. We bring you top-quality gear and apparel, expert advice, rental equipment, inspiring stories of life outside and outdoor experiences to enjoy alone or share with your friends and family. And because we have no shareholders, with every purchase you make with REI, you are choosing to steward the outdoors, support sustainable business and help the fight for life outside.

So whether you’re new to the outdoors or a seasoned pro, we hope you’ll join us.


Website: https://www.rei.com
Phone: 1-800-426-4840


We loooooove showcasing epic adventures run in NZ, by amazing businesses. We do our best to ensure all information included in this listing is accurate at the time of listing. Adventure Girls is not responsible for running this adventure in any way. For full up to date information about this adventure, please contact the host.


Book Today!

Price: $5,399 for REI Members
$5,939 for non-members