22 Day New Zealand Explorer Northbound Itinerary

This New Zealand tour takes in the best of both the North and South islands. Visit attractions like Mt Ruapehu and Rotorua, plus Auckland, Wellington, Franz Josef, Queenstown and more.

    • 22
    • PTOAC
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $3,265
      CAD $3,480
      AUD $3,620
      EUR €2,510
      GBP £2,160
      NZD $4,280
      ZAR R32,860
      CHF FR3,090
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    • Basix
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new zealand kaikara whale tail sea life fish marine nz

nz new zealand bay of islands rock ocean

nz new zealand franz Josef glacier

nz new zealand kaikara whale tail marine

nz new zealand kaikoura marine dolphin

nz new zealand milford sound trees lady forest trees

nz new zealand mt mount cook hiking

nz new zealand rotorua geyser

Day 1 Christchurch

Arrive in Christchurch and start exploring the cafes, restaurants and pop-up bars gaining ground in this rapidly re-emerging city. Perhaps stroll down to Re:START, the exciting new development initiative, and relax with a coffee in a converted shipping container or toast the city's resilience with a glass of Marlborough wine.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

Day 2 Punakaiki

Leave the drier east coast and cross the dividing range on the way to the lush, green west coast. Watch as the countryside changes to reveal deep blue rivers springing from the steep mountainsides.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

Days 3-4 Franz Josef Glacier

Sit back and relax on a breathtaking drive along the coast, passing forests, lakes and hidden beaches. Arrive in Franz Josef and choose from an array of optional guided glacial hikes or perhaps splash out on a scenic flight over the surrounding mountains, valleys and glaciers.
ACCOM: Hostel - 2

Days 5-8 Queenstown

Soak up mountain vistas, meandering rivers and glassy lakes while travelling to Queenstown. Be sure to have camera batteries charged as there'll be countless photo opportunities along the way. Then be spoilt for choice in the undisputed adventure capital of New Zealand. Get your thrills jet boating, bungee jumping, paragliding or kayaking around Queenstown before taking time out on the Skyline Gondola.
ACCOM: Hostel - 4

Day 9 Doubtful Sound

Explore Doubtful Sound on a cruise, searching out bottlenose dolphins, seals and crested penguins. This area dishes up scenery that is nothing short of breathtaking, with its tall mountain peaks, waterfalls and crystal-clear water.
ACCOM: Overnight boat - 1

Day 10 Mt Cook

Be dwarfed by spectacular Aoraki (Mt Cook) which, at an impressive 3,754 m (12,316 ft), is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Explore meadows, lakes, streams and glaciers that shelter the world's only alpine parrot, the kea.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

Day 11 Christchurch

Set out for a hike along one of Mt Cook's lower trails. Weather permitting, there'll be the chance to glimpse New Zealand's highest peak rising through the morning mist. Return to Christchurch and spend a free day becoming further acquainted with this attractive city.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

Day 12 Kaikoura

Head up the coast to Kaikoura where animal lovers can hope to spot sperm whales, dolphins, seals and wandering albatrosses.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

Days 13-14 Nelson

Spend two days becoming acquainted with picturesque Nelson and the nearby Abel Tasman National Park. Choose between kayaking, sailing, mountain biking and hiking outings for exploring these gorgeous inlets and coves. Alternatively, try your luck throwing in a line or set out on a winery tour – this region's drops are lauded the world over.
ACCOM: Hostel - 2

Day 15 Wellington

Enjoy a cruise through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds on a ferry between the South and North islands. Explore Wellington's buzzing cafe scene or ride a cable car to the Botanic Gardens, taking in spectacular views of the city and harbour.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

Days 16-17 Mt Ruapehu

Be inspired and captivated by the majesty of Mt Ruapehu. Perhaps hike the famous Tongariro Crossing track or take a different route through the lower forest.
ACCOM: Hostel - 2

Day 18 Taupo/Rotorua

Visit the spectacular Huka Falls and take the opportunity to bungy or jet boat in Taupo – the North Island's home of extreme sports. Wander through Rotorua's geysers and bubbling mud pools and perhaps opt in for a traditional Maori hangi dinner at the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

Day 19 Waitomo

Discover Waitomo, which is famous for its limestone caves and glow worms. Perhaps give blackwater rafting a shot - an otherworldly experience that involves navigating an underground river by hiking and drifting along in an inner tube.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

Days 20-21 Waitomo/Bay of Islands

Head north to the always sunny, always beautiful Bay of Islands. Consider kayaking to see this area's pristine beaches and untouched wildernesses or take a boat trip to the islands to discover true paradise. If that all sounds too hard, chill out in Russell for a historical look at New Zealand.
ACCOM: Hostel - 2

Day 22 Auckland

The final leg of this New Zealand adventure lands travellers in Auckland - enjoy crossing the harbour bridge that has a great view of the 'City of Sails'.