Discover the beauty and dynamism of New Zealand's North and South islands

Visually striking, culturally daring and ever-surprising, New Zealand will charm the socks off even the most reserved traveller. Nature enthusiasts will be awe-struck by the Franz Josef Glacier, photographers dazzled by the Bay of Islands, food lovers swooning over Kaikoura's cuisine and thrillseekers will have their pulses racing in Queenstown - the diversity of landscapes and activities in NZ is boundless. From south to north, beaches to volcanoes and charismatic towns to historical legacies, New Zealand has the capacity to wow on all fronts.

Christchurch, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 15
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


  • Discover why Christchurch is known as the 'Garden City'
  • Take a guided hike across ancient ice and rock at Franz Joseph Glacier
  • Go wild in the adrenaline-rush capital of the world
  • Glide through breathtaking Doubtful Sound
  • Be dwarfed by spectacular Mt Cook
  • Spot sperm whales and dolphins in Kaikoura
  • Bushwalk in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Visit Wellington's Te Papa Tongarewa museum
  • Marvel in the majesty of Mt Ruapehu
  • Experience Rotorua's geysers and bubbling mud pools
  • Meet Waitomo's glow-worms
  • Enjoy the pristine surroundings of the Bay of Islands
  • Soak up Auckland's cosmopolitan vibe


Kia-ora! Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early into the city, there's a whole new range of pop up cafes, restaurants and bars to run through. Christchurch has hit the ground running and it's a great chance to get your bearings of this resilient city. Your evening is the free to do as you wish, before settling into your accommodation for the night. Note: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive to the welcome meeting in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Depart Christchurch early in the morning and head over the fertile Canterbury Plains, heading for the mountains. Leave the dry earth of the east coast and cross the dividing range to go down to the lush, green west coast. The countryside changes radically, as great deep blue rivers spring from the steep mountainsides. On arrival to Punakaiki, perhaps talk a walk out to Pancake Rocks and watch the power of the waves as they crash against the rocks. In the evening, drive onto Greymouth where you'll spend the night. (D) Notes: Total driving distance is around five and a half hours. Total distance walked is approximately two to three kilometres.
The drive down the coast later today is beautiful. You have plenty of time in the morning and afternoon to take part in cultural activities, before leaving for Franz Josef Glacier along the coast of forests, lakes and hidden beaches. Pull into Franz Josef in the evening and relax before tomorrow's activities. Your evening is free, so possibly head out for dinner with the group. Notes: Total driving distance takes around two and half hours.
After breakfast this morning, your day is free to do as much or as little as you please. There are plenty of amazing optional activities to keep you busy, such as a guided hike across a glacier, kayaking, taking a spin on a quad bike or enjoying unrivalled views of the region on a scenic flight (at your own cost). (B) Notes: Total driving time is around 30 minutes. Total distance walked will be between one and five kilometres.
After breakfast, drive the remainder of the west coast and climb up through the Haast Pass into the Southern Alps (approximately four to five hours). This is a stunning drive with fantastic views of the mountains, rivers and lakes. Arriving into Queenstown in the late afternoon, enjoy dinner with the rest of your night free. Over the next few days, you'll see and experience a place that's widely acknowledged as being the extreme activity capital of the world. There is simply no end to the line up of optional activities including bungy-jumping, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, helicopter rides, jet boating and paragliding. (BD) Note: Total distance walked is around one to two kilometres.
Today is free to take part in as many optional activities as you want. Queenstown will spoil you for choice, as the undisputed adventure capital of New Zealand. Jet boat, bungee jump, paraglide, kayak, mountain bike, ski or river raft - there's so much to do in this grand place (all activities are at own expense). In the evening, settle down in your lodge after a big day of adventure. (B) Notes: Walking distance will depend on what activities you take part in.
Head out after breakfast and take a break from the adrenaline rush of Queenstown, as you drive to Doubtful Sound to board your overnight cruise boat for a trip through the fjords. This place is stunning with tall mountain peaks and waterfalls - easily one of the most spectacular places in the country. Enjoy a dinner aboard the boat this evening with the rest of the group. Notes: Your boat has four berth cabins, so you'll be sharing your space with travellers of the same or different sex. Twin share cabins aren't available on the boat this night.
Head back to Queenstown this morning after breakfast on the boat, which should take around three hours. On arrival, the rest of your day is free to get stuck into more optional activities. (B)
Enjoy another free day in Queenstown. If you're a big fan of spectacular panoramic views, then hike on the Ben Lomond Walkway. This requires a good level of fitness, sturdy walking/hiking shoes, and plenty of water and food supplies. Please ensure you keeping checking the weather forecast before you hike this trail, as conditions can change really quickly. (B)
After breakfast this morning, drive up to the foot of New Zealand's highest peak, Mount Cook (approximately five hours). The drive takes you over expansive high-country farmland with views of the Alps, rivers and lakes. On arrival to Mt. Cook National Park, you'll spend the night in a lodge in an amazing location. (B)
Make the drive back to Christchurch after breakfast, which should take around four and a half hours. You should have some time to explore the city before meeting up with new members of your group at around 6.30 pm. In the evening, perhaps head out for dinner with your new travel friends. (B)
Depart Christchurch around 7.30 am this morning and head up the coastline to Kaikoura, where many adventures are waiting (approximately three hours). On arrival, there's an optional boat trip where you can go watching whales and experience being close to some of the largest creatures in the world. For those who wish to see the area from a different perspective, there are plane or helicopter flights to view the whales (whale watching activities are subject to weather conditions). Kaikoura is famous for its seafood and marine life, so there's lots to see and do including swimming with dolphins. Note: Walking distance is dependant on any optional activities you take part in.
Today's destination is Nelson, in the heart of the wine producing area and the Abel Tasman National Park. This is a very pleasant sunny place and home to some of the most beautiful sea kayaking in the world. Spend the afternoon exploring the town, with a huge variety of activities to choose from including kayaking, boating, sailing in the Abel Tasman National Park, mountain biking or just relaxing in town or on the beach. In the evening, join the group for dinner. (BD)
Today, you have the option of visiting the Abel Tasman National Park. Bushwalking tracks among these inlets and coves are just begging to be explored, and the boat ride in water taxi is spectacular. Make sure you have plenty of space left on your memory card, as photo opportunities are aplenty. If you have time, you could also head out on a winery tour of the area. (B) Notes: Total distance travelled is around two hours. Walking distance is dependant on what activities you take part in.
Cross to the north island on the inter island ferry today and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Marlborough Sound (approximately five and a half hours). Arriving in the late afternoon, use the opportunity to go on a night out in the capital city of Wellington. (B)
Pay an included visit to Te Papa National Museum this morning, and leave Wellington afterwards. Head through the central North Island plains towards the great volcanoes and Mount Ruapehu National Park. There are several optional activities during your time here. Many will want to hike the famous Tongariro Crossing track, which is a good day hike and known as the best of its kind in New Zealand. This hike has spectacular views of the volcanic plateau and the lakes below. Those who don't fancy going on the hike can explore the local area instead. (B)
Today you have the option of walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This is a full day hike and people should have a decent level of fitness - it's also considered New Zealand's best one day trek and has fantastic views so it's more than worth it. For those not taking part, there are lower altitude bush walks available from your motel. In the evening, head back to your accommodation to have an included dinner with the group.
Drive for around an hour to Taupo today, which is widely acknowledged as the North Island's home of extreme sports. On the way visit the spectacular Huka Falls, where you can bungy-jump or ride in a jet boat, as well as do many other activities. Or how about just relaxing by the shores of the largest lake in New Zealand? The sights are fantastic and this may just be one of your highlights. You'll also visit the Whakarewarewa, site of the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and the thermal area in Rotorua. See geysers and boiling mud pools in an amazing display of the power of nature. In the evening, there's an option for a Maori Hangi dinner and concert. (B)
Drive west for around two hours today, as you leave Taupo behind and venture to Waitomo. Today there are some great optional activities to choose from, as you can head out on a boat trip, walk through the glow worm caves or go black water rafting. This is an unforgettable trip involving hiking and descending an underground river, while floating on an inner tube. (B)
Leave Waitomo and drive north through fantastic scenery towards New Zealand's winterless north. Be prepared for a long drive today, which should take between five and six hours. On arrival, there are tonnes of beautiful beaches and unspoiled places to explore. As there won't be too much light left today, prepare for a full day of optional activities tomorrow, including kayaking, a boat trip to the islands or simply relaxing. (B)
The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s top holiday destinations, and with 144 islands in total, this boating paradise also enjoys a sub-tropical climate. After breakfast, why not head out on the water to the Hole in the Rock or take part in a kayaking tour around the islands. Another option is to visit the village of Russell for a look into New Zealand's interesting past.
Pass unspoiled beaches and lush forests this morning, as you make your way back south. You'll see huge native trees that are over 1000 years old, as the area around Auckland is full of protected hardwood timbers. Crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge, with a spectacular view of the 'City of Sails', arrive into Auckland to say farewell to your fellow travellers. Your trip finishes on arrival into Auckland at around 6 pm. (B) Note: Please take the arrival time into consideration when booking any onward flights.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


15 breakfasts6 dinners
Ferry, Van
Lodge (20 nights), Overnight boat (1 night)
Included activities
  • Franz Josef Glacier - Kiwi House
  • Rotorua - Te Puia Maori Art & Cultural Centre
  • Waitomo - Caves Entrance


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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Christchurch with group meeting on day 1 at 6:00pm and finishes in Auckland day 22 at approx 6pm; please consider when booking flights and accommodation.
2. We recommend you book accommodation in advance and extend your stay.
3. Trip runs in reverse, see tour code PTOZCU.
4. Allow NZD 870 for meals not included.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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