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22 Day New Zealand Explorer Southbound Itinerary
This New Zealand tour captures the best of both the North and South islands. Visit attractions like Mt Ruapehu and Rotorua, plus Auckland, Wellington and more.
Day 1 Auckland
Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most populous city.
Days 2-3 Bay of Islands
Cross lush, green farmland and peer up at the ancient trees of the kauri forests before arriving in the gorgeous Bay of Islands, where kayaking, boat trips and a village exploration are all options.
Day 4 Waitomo
Perhaps delve into the heart of Waitomo on a black-water rafting expedition that will see you floating down an underground river in an inner tube.
Day 5 Rotorua
Geysers, bubbling mud pools and volcanic cliffs combine to make Rotorua one of the country’s most popular tourist haunts.
Days 6-7 Taupo/Mt Ruapehu
Stop by the beautiful Huka Falls on the way to Taupo. Then be inspired by the majesty of Mt Ruapehu. For the energetic, a hike along the Tongariro Crossing is well recommended.
Day 8 Wellington
Spend time exploring Te Papa Tongarewa museum. In free time perhaps jump in a cable car to the Botanic Gardens for spectacular views of Wellington city and harbour.
Days 9-10 Nelson
Cruise across the Marlborough Sounds from the North to the South Island, arriving in the beautiful harbour of Nelson. Be sure to make time to visit Abel Tasman National Park or perhaps indulge in a local winery tour.
Day 11 Kaikoura
Travel to Kaikoura, where animal lovers can spot sperm whales, dolphins, seals and wandering albatrosses in this wildlife mecca.
Day 12 Christchurch
Discover Christchurch, commonly dubbed New Zealand's 'Garden City', and witness a town gallantly recovering from the devastating earthquakes that hit it in 2011.
Day 13 Punakaiki
Set out on a scenic drive across the ever-changing patchwork of greens that colour the Canterbury Plains.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1
Days 14-15 Franz Josef Glacier
Embark on a guided hike across Franz Josef's massive glacier, clambering up its icy inclines and through its otherworldly caverns. For the ultimate vantage point, maybe consider splashing out on a helicopter ride with the added opportunity of a snow landing.
ACCOM: Hostel - 2
Days 16-19 Queenstown
Wind up through the spectacular Haast Pass to the country's bona fide adventure capital, Queenstown. Take in the region's breathtaking natural scenery whether by hiking, jet boating, bungee-jumping, paragliding or kayaking. Then when evening sets in, suss out the town's pumping night scene.
ACCOM: Hostel - 4
Day 20 Doubhtful Sound
Majestic, mysterious and breathtakingly beautiful all at once, the Doubtful Sound serves as a study of the sublime. Embark on an overnight cruise, passing sheer rock walls, cloud-draped peaks and gushing waterfalls, keeping eyes peeled for penguins, seals and whales broaching the surface.
ACCOM: Overnight boat - 1
Day 21 Mt Cook
Return to dry land and drive to the base of New Zealand's highest mountain, where we spend the night. Explore the meadows, lakes, streams and glaciers surrounding Mt Cook, keeping an eye out for the kea, the world's only alpine parrot.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1
Day 22 Christchurch
Weather permitting, sneak a glimpse of Mt Cook’s summit on a morning trek. Then take a final drive across New Zealand's scenic countryside to Christchurch, where this memorable adventure draws to an end.
Our small group style of travel means you’ll stay under the radar, travel the local way, eat the local way and sleep the local way.
Small groups, big adventures.
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