Our Walk Gradings
Choosing the right grade is as important as choosing the right destination.
There is nothing worse than being on holiday and not enjoying yourself or finding a walk that you thought easy, far too hard. That’s why our Great Walks of New Zealand are all graded in an honest way to ensure that you are on the right trip compared to your individual ability and fitness level.
Grade 1: Discovery & Cruising
These are our least demanding trips. These journeys of discovery and cruises involve little or no extended activity and are suitable for people with a basic level of fitness and good health. The itinerary may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and may involve long travelling days on various types of transport. Sightseeing may be conducted on foot and all participants should be capable of carrying their own luggage from vehicle to hotel rooms. Suggested preparation: Once or twice a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour, for at least 2-3 months prior to departure.
Grade 2: Adventure Touring
These adventure tours sometimes may visit remote areas where facilities are often basic. Many of these trips sometimes involve some camping or basic lodging. These adventure tours will often involve long journeys and rough roads. To enjoy these adventures we suggest reasonable fitness and health, a moderately active lifestyle and a positive attitude. Suggested preparation: Two or three times a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour or more, for at least 3 months prior to departure.
Grade 3: Introductory
These trips involve walking for up to five or six hours a day at a slow but steady pace. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health. Our introductory trips are not ‘easy’ trips and you will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health. Suggested preparation: We recommend 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (fast walking, jogging or cycling) three times a week. Hill or stair walking with a 5-7kg daypack is also highly recommended at least once a week for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness. Walking in variable weather conditions is advisable.
Grade 4: Introductory to Moderate
These trips involve a combination of what is described in our Introductory and Moderate levels. The emphasis is on introductory activity with several moderate stages. Suggested preparation: We recommend 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise three times a week, from a minimum of three months period to your departure. This can include swimming, jogging, hard walking or cycling - good cardiovascular exercise. Hill or stair walking with a 7kg daypack is also highly recommended at least once a week.
Grade 5: Moderate
These adventures involve walking for up to 6 or 7 hours a day at a steady pace. You will need a good level of fitness and must be in good health. Treks may involve carrying a full pack around 15kg. Be prepared for potential variable weather conditions. Suggested preparation: We recommend 45 minutes of aerobic type exercise, three to four times a week. Hill walking with a pack in variable weather conditions is also recommended.
Grade 6: Moderate to Challenging
This trip grading involves a combination of what is described in our MODERATE and CHALLENGING levels. The emphasis is on moderate activity with several challenging stages. Suggested preparation: We recommend one hour of aerobic type exercise, four times a week. Hill walking with a pack in variable weather conditions is also recommended.
Grade 7: Challenging
These adventures involve walking in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day, possibly more. With remoteness comes potential to encounter variable weather conditions. You will need an excellent level of fitness, be prepared to carry a full pack weighing up to 20kgs (depending on the trip you choose) and be completely comfortable in adverse weather conditions and remote locations where evacuation may be very difficult. Suggested preparation: One hour of strenuous exercise, four times a week, interspersed with a relatively demanding bushwalk. Hill walking with a 5-7kg daypack is also highly recommended at least once a week for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness. The best exercise for trekking is bushwalking involving relatively steep ascents and descents. Hill walking with a 7kg pack in variable weather conditions is a must. Multi day walks are ideal preparation for our challenging adventures.
Please review the ‘Physical Fitness’ section of the detailed trip notes for each expedition to ensure your fitness and training are sufficient.