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.

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


Highlights

  • Soak up Auckland's cosmopolitan vibe
  • Enjoy an overnight cruise through the Bay of Islands
  • Meet Waitomo's glow-worms
  • Experience Rotorua's geysers and bubbling mud pools
  • Marvel in the majesty of Mt Ruapehu
  • Visit Wellington's Te Papa Tongarewa museum
  • Bushwalk in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Spot sperm whales and dolphins in Kaikoura
  • Be dwarfed by spectacular Mt Cook
  • Glide through breathtaking Milford Sound
  • Go wild in Queenstown - the adrenaline-rush capital of the world
  • Take a guided hike across ancient ice and rock at Franz Joseph Glacier

Itinerary

Arrive early to make the most of the distinctive Pacific flavour of Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Enjoy a cosmopolitan vibe and a wide variety of well positioned cafes that bask in the lively atmosphere.
Travel north to the Bay of Islands. Take an overnight cruise through this amazing region. Soak up the stunning scenery, be on the lookout for wildlife and enjoy the many water activities on offer.
Savour picture-perfect views of the 'City of Sails' while crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge on the way to Waitomo. Here, discover limestone caves, opportunities for blackwater rafting and, of course, those iridescent glow worms that put Waitomo on the map.
Savour picture-perfect views of the 'City of Sails' while crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge on the way to Waitomo. Here, discover limestone caves, opportunities for blackwater rafting and, of course, those iridescent glow worms that put Waitomo on the map.
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.
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.
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.
Cruise the Marlborough Sounds while aboard a scenic ferry from the North to the South Island, on the way to Nelson. Be sure to make time to visit Abel Tasman National Park or perhaps indulge in a local winery tour.
Travel to Kaikoura, where animal lovers can spot sperm whales, dolphins, seals and wandering albatrosses in this wildlife mecca.
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. Leave the city behind and head over the Canterbury Plains on to Punakaiki, located on New Zealand's wild West Coast.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Travel back to Christchurch where it will be time to say farewell to new friends. Perhaps choose to celebrate the end of this epic South Island adventure with a group dinner!
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Ferry, Van
Accommodation
Hostel (1 night), Lodge (18 nights), Overnight boat (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Milford Sound - Day Cruise
  • 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. Please note that due to a brochure printing error, the prices in the current brochure are incorrect. Prices found on-line are the most up to date. 2. 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.
3.The tour commences on Day 1 at 630pm and finishes on arrival in Christchurch on day 22 at around 18:00. Please take this into consideration when booking any flights and accommodation. We recommend you book accommodation in advance for any extra nights either prior to your stay or extend your stay here.

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