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.

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    • PTRZC
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $3,725
      CAD $3,570
      AUD $3,450
      EUR €2,650
      GBP £2,270
      NZD $4,435
      ZAR R25,070
      CHF FR3,025
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    • Explorer
    • Basix
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nz new zealand mt cook hiking mount

nz new zealand bay of islands rock

nz new zealand franz Josef glacier hike climb trek

nz new zealand kaikara whale tail marine

nz new zealand kaikoura dolphin marine sea ocean

nz new zealand milford sound trees lady forest

new zealand mt mount cook hiking

nz new zealand rotorua geyser

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 a wide variety of well positioned cafes that bask in the lively atmosphere.
ACCOM: Lodge - 1

Day 2 Bay of Islands

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.
ACCOM: Overnight boat - 1

Day 3 Waitomo

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.
ACCOM: Lodge - 1

Day 4 Waitomo

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.
ACCOM: Lodge - 1

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.
ACCOM: Lodge - 1

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.
ACCOM: Lodge - 2

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.
ACCOM: Lodge - 1

Days 9-10 Nelson

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.
ACCOM: Lodge - 2

Day 11 Kaikoura

Travel to Kaikoura, where animal lovers can spot sperm whales, dolphins, seals and wandering albatrosses in this wildlife mecca.
ACCOM: Lodge - 1

Day 12 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. Leave the city behind and head over the Canterbury Plains on to Punakaiki, located on New Zealand's wild West Coast.
ACCOM: Hostel - 1

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.
ACCOM: Lodge - 1

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.
ACCOM: Lodge - 2

Days 16-19 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.
ACCOM: Lodge - 4

Day 20 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.
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 which shelter the world's only alpine parrot, the kea.
ACCOM: Lodge - 1

Day 22 Christchurch

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!