New Zealand Explorer Northbound Overview

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This 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. Including Franz Joseph Glacier, Milford Sound, Kaikoura, Mt Ruapehu, the Bay of Islands and so much more. This trip is packed with adrenaline activities for those with an adventurous streak including sea kayaking, snorkelling, blackwater rafting, bungee jumping, jet boating, mountain biking and kayaking. Travellers after a slower pace will enjoy walking trails, picture-postcard scenery plus galleries, shops and restaurants. With a perfect combination of sights and activities, the New Zealand Explorer has something for everyone.

  • Be dwarfed by spectacular Mt Cook
  • Discover why Christchurch is known as the 'Garden City'
  • Enjoy an overnight cruise through the Bay of Islands
  • Experience Rotorua's geysers and bubbling mud pools
  • Marvel in the majesty of Mt Ruapehu
  • Soak up Auckland's cosmopolitan vibe
  • Take a guided hike across ancient ice and rock at Franz Joseph Glacier
  • Visit Wellington's Te Papa Tongarewa museum

What's included in this trip

  • Start:

    Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Finish:

    Auckland, New Zealand
  • Group size:

    Min 4 , Max 15
  • Ages:

    Min 12
  • Meals:

    No meals included
  • Accommodation:

    Hostel (2 nts), Lodge (17 nts), Overnight boat (2 nts)
  • Transport:

    Ferry, Van
  • Included activities:

    Milford Sound - Day Cruise, Queenstown - Skyline Gondola, Rotorua - Te Puia Maori Art & Cultural Centre, Waitomo - Caves Entrance, Wellington - Te Papa Museum

  • Notes:

    Accommodation is generally on a 4 share single sex room basis. In some areas we may need to use larger rooms. Double rooms can be obtained at extra cost depending on availability. This must be requested at the time of booking.

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About New Zealand

New Zealand Explorer Northbound Summary

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Day 1 Christchurch

Arrive early and discover why Christchurch is known as the 'Garden City'. Visit Hagley Park or hire a punt and glide down the Avon River.

Day 2 Punakaiki

Leave the big city behind and head over the Canterbury Plains on to Punakaiki, located on New Zealand's wild West Coast.

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 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 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. Jet boat, bungee jump, paraglide and kayak around Queenstown before taking time out on the Skyline Gondola.

Day 9 Milford Sound

Explore Milford Sound on a cruise. When weather permits, kayak its tranquil bays and search 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.

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 which shelter the world's only alpine parrot, the kea.

Day 11 Christchurch

Return to Christchurch and further explore this picturesque and welcoming city.

Day 12 Kaikoura

Head out to sea and spot whales off the coast of Kaikoura, a town famous for its fresh seafood.

Days 13-14 Nelson

Bushwalking tracks among these gorgeous inlets and coves are just begging to be explored. It is also possible to fit in a spot of fishing, take a winery tour or perhaps just wander through the eclectic range of shops in Nelson.

Days 15-16 Wellington

Enjoy a cruise through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds on a ferry 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.

Day 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. If feeling adventurous, activities like skiing and snowboarding are available during the winter months.

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. Rotorua's geysers, bubbling mud pools and volcanic cliffs are shaped by seismic forces.

Day 19 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.

Days 20-21 Bay of Islands

Explore the Bay of Islands on an overnight cruise that incorporates all the water activities, as well as plenty of time to soak up the stunning scenery and spot wildlife.

Day 22 Auckland

The final leg of the North Island Tracks tour lands travellers in Auckland - enjoy crossing the harbour bridge with a great view of the 'City of Sails'.
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