This all-encompassing tour captures the best of both the North and South islands

From sprawling glaciers, snow-capped mountains and spectacular fjords on the South Island to the secluded beaches, volcanic craters and cosmopolitan cities of the North Island, this three-week NZ tour has it all - Franz Joseph Glacier, Milford Sound, Kaikoura, Mt Ruapehu, the Bay of Islands are just some of the highlights. This trip is packed with adrenaline activities for those with an adventurous streak, such as sea kayaking, snorkelling, blackwater rafting, bungee jumping, jet boating, mountain biking and kayaking. Or for travellers after a slower pace, walking trails, picture-postcard scenery, galleries, shops and restaurants are all on the cards. With a perfect combination of sights and activities, this New Zealand Explorer trip has something for everyone.

Start
Christchurch, New Zealand
Finish
Auckland, New Zealand
Countries
New Zealand
Themes
Explorer
Code
PTOAC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 12
Group size
Min 4, Max 15
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • 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
  • Discover the beauty of the Bay of Islands
  • Soak up Auckland's cosmopolitan vibe

Itinerary

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.
Travel west across the Canterbury Plains watching as the dry landscape of the east slowly gives way to green fields, deep blue rivers and sheer mountainsides. Arrive in Punakaiki and take in the spectacular views along the west's windswept coastline.
Get ready for another beautiful drive today as we wind through rich forests, shimmering lakes and secluded beaches en route to Franz Josef. Trek across the region's massive glacier on a guided hike, or board a ski-plane or helicopter and peer down at it from above.
Ascend the Haast Pass into the Southern Alps and travel to the vibrant resort town of Queenstown. Perched by the shores of Lake Wakatipu and with an unpretentious atmosphere and backed by spectacular mountain scenery, this is a place sure to leave an impression. Spend the next few days getting your adrenaline kicks whizzing around by jet boat, taking to the skies paragliding, hitting the hill trails by mountain bike, bungee jumping, kayaking, rafting or choosing from any other number of activities on offer.
Drive into Mt Cook National Park for a night's lodge accommodation at the base of New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki (Mt Cook).
Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand's city on the upswing. Spend some time visiting the pop-up Re:START development or head to dynamic SOMO.
Head up the coast to Kaikoura, where sperm whales, dolphins and wandering albatrosses can usually be spotted.
Set out on a bushwalk through Nelson’s gorgeous inlets and coves, take a winery tour or browse the town’s eclectic range of shops.
Enjoy a cruise through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds between the North and South Island. Explore Wellington's buzzing cafe scene or ride a cable car to the Botanic Gardens, taking in spectacular views of the city and harbour.
Be captivated by the majesty of Mt Ruapehu. Perhaps hike the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing track through stunning forest scenery.
Visit the spectacular Huka Falls and take the opportunity to bungy or jet boat in Taupo - the North Island's home of extreme sports. Discover Rotorua's geysers, bubbling mud pools and volcanic cliffs that have been shaped by seismic forces.
Discover Waitomo, which is famous for its limestone caves, glow worms and blackwater rafting - an unforgettable trip involving hiking and descending an underground river floating on an inner tube.
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.
Finish up this New Zealand adventure in the country’s 'City of Sails'.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
15 breakfasts2 dinners
Transport
Ferry, Van
Accommodation
Hostel (20 nights), Overnight boat (1 night)
Included activities
  • Queenstown - Skyline Gondola
  • Rotorua - Te Puia Maori Art & Cultural Centre
  • Waitomo - Caves Entrance
  • Wellington - Te Papa Museum

Dates

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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 PTOZC. 4. Allow NZD 870 for meals not included. 5. You can upgrade to lodge style accommodation, see tour code PTOACU.

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.

View trip notes