Discover the beauty and dynamism of New Zealand's North and South islands

Visually striking, culturally daring and ever-surprising, New Zealand will charm the socks off even the most reserved traveller. Nature enthusiasts will be awe-struck by the Franz Josef Glacier, photographers dazzled by the Bay of Islands, food lovers swooning over Kaikoura's cuisine and thrillseekers will have their pulses racing in Queenstown - the diversity of landscapes and activities in NZ is boundless. From south to north, beaches to volcanoes and charismatic towns to historical legacies, New Zealand has the capacity to wow on all fronts.

Start
Christchurch, New Zealand
Finish
Auckland, New Zealand
Countries
New Zealand
Themes
Explorer
Code
PTOACU
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, 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
  • Enjoy the pristine surroundings of the Bay of Islands
  • Soak up Auckland's cosmopolitan vibe

Itinerary

Arrive early and discover Christchurch, the South Island's re-emerging city. Explore pop up bars, cafes and restaurants in the exciting new development dubbed Re:START. Relax with a coffee in a converted shipping container and see what’s happening in funky Christchurch.
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.
Sit back and relax on a breathtaking drive along the coast, passing forests, lakes and hidden beaches. Arrive in Franz Josef and take your pick from an array of optional activities (anyone for a guided glacier hike?) or settle in by the fire with a hot toddy in a nearby bar.
Enjoy a free day to explore this magnificent area. Perhaps take a spin on a quad bike, paddle around in a kayak or enjoy unrivalled views of the region from above on a scenic flight.
Soak up mountain vistas, meandering rivers and glassy lakes while travelling to Queenstown, New Zealand’s undisputed adventure capital. Be sure to have camera batteries charged – there'll be countless photo opportunities along the way.
The hardest thing about today will be picking which heart-starting activities to do! Whether you’re looking for thrills and spills on a jet boat, a leap of faith in the bungee capital of the world or a high-flying canyon swing, Queenstown will spoil you for choice.
Take the adrenaline down a notch and drive to Doubtful Sound for a cruise through the fjords. Surrounded by mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls, this is one of the most beautiful spaces on earth.
Return to Queenstown for another full day of choose-your-own-adventure. Perhaps head out on a river raft, strap in for some paragliding or gear up for a mountain bike tour.
Spend your last day here ticking any remaining adrenaline-pumping activities off your list – or soak away your stresses in the Queenstown hot pool complex.
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.
Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand's exciting re-emerging city. Spend some time visiting the pop up Re:START development or SOMO, Christchurch's most dynamic neighbourhood.
Head up the coast to Kaikoura, where animal lovers may spot sperm whales, dolphins, seals and wandering albatrosses.
Bushwalking tracks among the gorgeous inlets and coves outside of Nelson are just begging to be explored. It is also possible to fit in a spot of fishing, visit Founders Park or perhaps just wander through the eclectic range of shops in Nelson.
Today is free to explore. Perhaps visit the Abel Tasman National Park for some magnificent bushwalking opportunities, or visit a nearby winery to sample some premium regional wines.
Enjoy a cruise through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds on a ferry between the North and South islands. Visit the fascinating Te Papa Museum and, perhaps in free time, catch a cable car up to the Botanic Gardens for spectacular views over the city and harbour.
Be inspired and captivated by the majesty of Mt Ruapehu, a snow-capped volcano sitting alongside two smaller cones. Perhaps saddle up and explore the region on horseback or set out on a hike through the lower forest.
Take the opportunity to trek one of New Zealand’s best day hikes, the Tongariro Crossing. Hike amid towering peaks and across basalt rocks along the 19-kilometre trail, but be warned: walkers will need a considerable level of fitness. Those not walking can take a less strenuous walk along a lower altitude trail.
Visit the spectacular Huka Falls and perhaps take the opportunity to bungy or jet boat in Taupo - the North Island's home of extreme sports. Rotorua's geysers, bubbling mud pools and volcanic cliffs are shaped by seismic forces and are as spectacular as they sound.
Discover Waitomo, which is famous for its limestone caves, glow worms and blackwater rafting – an unforgettable trip that involves hiking and descending an underground river floating on an inner tube.
Explore the Bay of Islands' pristine beaches by boat or kayak.
Take your pick from some optional water-based activities today, such as kayaking or boating through the islands. Otherwise, feel free to relax or explore the nearby village of Russell.
The final leg of this North Island adventure lands travellers in Auckland – enjoy crossing the harbour bridge that has a great view of this 'City of Sails'.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
15 breakfasts6 dinners
Transport
Ferry, Van
Accommodation
Lodge (20 nights), Overnight boat (1 night)
Included activities
  • Franz Josef Glacier - Kiwi House
  • 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 PTOZCU.
4. Allow NZD 870 for meals not included.

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