12 Day North Island Explorer Southbound Itinerary

This tour of New Zealand captures the highlights of the country's North Island. Discover the Bay of Islands and visit Huka Falls, Waitomo, Nelson and Kaikoura.

    • 12
    • PTON
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    • Explorer
    • Basix
Maori wood carving


Bubbling geyser, Rotorua

Day 1 Auckland

Arrive early to make the most of the distinctive Pacific flavour of Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Enjoy a cosmopolitan vibe and a wide variety of restaurants and cafes.
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Days 2-3 Bay of Islands

Cross green farmland and peer up at the ancient trees of the kauri forests on the way the unforgettable Bay of Islands. Set out exploring the pristine natural beauty of the Bay Islands by kayak or boat, or travel out to the quaint village of Russell for a taste of old-world New Zealand.
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Day 4 Waitomo

Check out the limestone caves and glow worms of Waitomo. Opt to get a feel for this underground wonderland on a black-water rafting expedition, which will have you floating down underground rivers in an inner tube.
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Day 5 Rotorua

Geysers, bubbling mud pools and volcanic cliffs shaped by seismic forces make Rotorua a must-see while travelling in New Zealand. This popular resort town also boasts a fine selection of restaurants and cafes.
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Days 6-7 Taupo/Mt Ruapehu

Visit the beautiful Huka Falls on the way to Taupo. While in Taupo, take the opportunity to bungee jump or jet boat - this is the extreme sports capital of the North Island after all! Be inspired and captivated by the majesty of Mt Ruapehu. For the energetic, a hike along the Tongariro Crossing is highly recommended.
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Day 8 Wellington

Spend time exploring Te Papa Tongarewa museum. In free time perhaps jump in the cable car to the Botanic Gardens for spectacular views of Wellington city and harbour.
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Days 9-10 Nelson

Cruise the Marlborough Sounds from the North to the South Island on the way to Nelson. Be sure to make time to visit Abel Tasman National Park or perhaps indulge in a local winery tour.
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Day 11 Kaikoura

Travel to Kaikoura, where animal lovers can spot sperm whales, dolphins, seals and wandering albatrosses in this wildlife mecca.
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Day 12 Christchurch

End the adventure on arrival in Christchurch. If time permits, why not book in a few extra days to enjoy this picturesque city's laidback vibe and witness the various initiatives aimed at getting the city back on track post-earthquake.