22 Day New Zealand Explorer Southbound Itinerary

This all-encompassing New Zealand tour takes you to the very best of both the North and South islands. Visit attractions like Mt Ruapehu and Rotorua, plus Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, Franz Joseph and much more.

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There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from May 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016. View later 22 Day New Zealand Explorer Southbound.
Franz Josef Glacier

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 the wide variety of cafes and restaurants that the city boasts.

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

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.

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.

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 recommended.

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.

Days 9-10 Nelson

Cruise across the Marlborough Sounds on a ferry from the North to South Island. While in Nelson, be sure 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

iscover New Zealand's 'Garden City' and witness a town gallantly recovering from the devastating earthquakes that struck in 2011.

Day 13 Punakaiki

Leave the dry East Coast and cross the dividing range on the way to the lush, green West Coast. Watch as the countryside changes radically to reveal deep blue rivers springing from the steep mountainsides.

Days 14-15 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 activities here. Join a guided hike across the glacier, go for a kayak, take a spin on a quad bike or enjoy unrivalled views of the region on a scenic flight.

Days 16-19 Queenstown

Soak up mountain vistas, meandering rivers and glassy lakes while travelling to Queenstown.Then be spoilt for choice in the undisputed adventure capital of New Zealand. Jet boat, bungee jump, paraglide and kayak around Queenstown before taking time out on the Skyline Gondola.

Day 20 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 tall mountain peaks, waterfalls and crystal-clear water.
ACCOM: Overnight boat - 1

Day 21 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.

Day 22 Christchurch

Travel back to Christchurch, where it will be time to say farewell to new friends. Perhaps celebrate the end of this epic adventure with a group dinner.