So you’re considering a guided walk for your next holiday? Congratulations, you have excellent taste! But, before you go, here are the top 6 things you should ask before booking a guided walk
How big is my group?
This is the first question you should ask before booking a guided walk. Always, always check availability. There’s nothing worse than having your chosen date cancelled out from underneath you because the trip didn’t reach minimum numbers. The fullness of modern life means trying to rearrange all those ducks around a new date is a task for the too-hard basket. You won’t be popular with your workmates either, so have a chat to our friendly reservations team who can help point you in the right direction for healthy group sizes.
Who am I sharing a room with?
Most guided walk holiday packages are based on twin-share accommodation. This means if you’re travelling alone, the price you’re paying is only applicable if you’re happy to share a room with another person on the tour. If you’d rather not marinate in someone else’s juices, request the single supplement option. You might pay a bit more, but it’s your holiday after all, you deserve to enjoy your night-time hours in peace. You never know, even if you opt for a shared room but there’s no one to share with at the time of departure, you may just end up in a private room at no extra cost.
What’s the bad-weather plan?
You’ve been looking forward to hiking this particular track for months now, but the weather just won’t cooperate! If this happens to you, commiserations my friends, if only we could control the weather! Most lodge-based guided walk itineraries have alternative options in case of bad weather. Only the worst weather would keep us off the tracks, so be prepared to walk in a little rain from time to time. Luckily, all of our Walking Legends itineraries can be tailored to suit the weather each day. If the weather is looking unsafe or too risky, we’ll plan another equally exciting adventure more suited to the conditions.
Hut-to-hut guided walks present more of a challenge in avoiding bad weather. You’re walking one single track from start to finish along a marked route. It’s very difficult to alter the itinerary so it’s best to outfit yourself physically and mentally to cope with bad weather. With Walking Legends, there’s always a hot cup of restorative tea or coffee and a delicious meal to look forward to at the end of the day.
What happens if I’m not fit enough?
This is the biggest question on most peoples minds when they’re looking for a guided walking holiday! The good news is, if you enjoy hiking and you’re looking into guided walking holidays, you probably are fit enough. On the odd occasion, circumstances can get the better of you and you may find yourself out of your depth and just not having a good time. You may not realise this until Day 2 of even Day 3 of the trip. So, what can Walking Legends do to make sure your holiday doesn’t go completely off the rails?
- Reassess the daily goal! We like to do our most challenging hike usually on Day 3 of the itinerary. Over dinner the evening beforehand, your guide will take you through the walk in detail and you’ll be able to make a decision at that point if you want to complete it. You can always start out on the track, see how far you can go and just turn around when you’re done. At Walking Legends, we call this ‘challenge by choice.’ We don’t chase you up the hill, you can walk as much or as little as you like and we’ll always be there to support you when you’re ready to stop.
- Arrange alternative activities for the day, or set you free to enjoy a day or two in relaxation and peace at the lodge. In almost all of the areas we walk in there are alternative activities to enjoy like kayaking, trout fishing, shopping, dining out or mountain biking. You can tackle one of these other activities or just rest and put your feet up.
Walking Legends offers a no-judgement fitness policy. If you get to the top, we’re right behind you cheering you on. If you don’t quite make it, we’ll be right there pouring you a hot cuppa celebrating how far you did get! Most of our guests are in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s so we have adapted our itineraries to suit a wide variety of fitness levels and abilities. Everyone is welcome on our trips.
Our most flexible itineraries for a range of fitness levels are:
- The Waikaremoana Discovery Tour – we base ourselves for 3 nights at a lakeside accommodation and set off each day to do day walks from there. If you’re not feeling up to tackling any of the bigger walks, there’s plenty of lakeside relaxing to do, fishing, kayaking and swimming!
- The Coromandel Explorer – we spend 3 nights based at the same lodge in Coromandel Township and we head out each day to do day walks all over the peninsula. If you felt at any time that a particular trail was beyond you, you could opt to instead spend a day relaxing at the lodge, have a leisurely wander around the artisan craft galleries of Coromandel Town or try some of the local tourist activities, such as zipping through the forest canopy with Coro Zip, taking a scenic ride on a small-gauge railway with Driving Creek Railways, or indulge in some delicious local fare at Wharf Road Cafe.
- The Great Barrier Island Escape – there are so many excellent short trails on Great Barrier Island, we can tailor this itinerary to suit all fitness levels and abilities. It’s also a fantastic place to simply sit and enjoy the clean, fresh air, wildlife and unique, bohemian island lifestyle. If you want to skip the Mt. Hobson trail, we can set you up with a brilliant day of fishing, relaxing and dining.
Are my valuables insured in your vehicles?
Your travel insurance likely won’t cover anything left in our passenger vans while we’re parked at trail heads because these vehicles aren’t fitted with lockable, separate trunk/boot compartments. Weird, right? But hey, if I sold insurance, I’d say that too. Your House & Contents policy may cover part of the loss, but it’s always best to check this carefully before you go.
With our larger groups, we’ll have lockable, enclosed luggage trailers so you’re welcome to pop all your valuables in these trailers while we’re out on the trails. We won’t know which trips will be big enough to warrant luggage trailers until about 2 weeks before departure, so please refer back to question 1!
A great rule of thumb is to always leave your valuables at the lodge or prepare to carry them in your backpack. If you can’t leave your laptop at the lodge for the day, make sure you’ve got space for it in your backpack. Maybe ask yourself if it’s worth a few extra blisters carrying that extra weight too?
Can I stay on afterwards?
Just because we’ve finished hiking doesn’t mean you have to leave! In almost every area we hike in, it’s possible to stay on following the tour and enjoy more of the area at your leisure. Our reservations team can help organise these extra details like post-tour accommodation at our lodges, extra meals and either self-drive transport or transfers to get you where you need to go after we’ve said our goodbyes.
There you go, 6 handy questions to make sure your North Island guided walk is as smooth as possible. No surprises means no disappointment!