Thrill-seeking activity and ethereal beauty in God’s country.

Get active in one of the world’s most outdoor-oriented destinations – mighty New Zealand. This nine-day southbound adventure has all of the ingredients for an energetic escape – jet boating down the Whanganui River, hiking to Taranaki Falls, and so many optional thrill-seeking adventures to choose from – helibiking, bungy jumping, kayaking and more! You’ll stay in secluded areas at unique lodgings to get up close and personal with nature, and spend time chilling out in so many idyllic surrounds. From the scenic views of the Marlborough Sounds to the hustle and bustle of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, uncover the wild side of New Zealand.


Start
Auckland, New Zealand
Finish
Christchurch, New Zealand
Destination
New Zealand
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Wildlife
Code
PTONA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 12
Group size
Min 1, Max 15

Why you'll love this trip

  • You have the power to choose your own adrenaline rush with numerous optional activities during your active adventure. Bungy jumping? Mountain hikes? Helibiking? New Zealand’s got you covered.

  • Lap up the thrills and spills of a jet boating adventure through the winding Whanganui River. Both that and the cycle back to your lodge will have you and your small group in a spin.

  • Choose to kayak through the stunning Abel Tasman National Park, or opt to sit back and relax on one of the scenic sea shuttles to take you into its pristine and lush surrounds.

  • Discover the strangely satisfying phenomenon of Natural Flames – gas flames that naturally spring from the earth – a truly unique experience in the depths of Murchison’s forests.

  • Admire the dramatic landscapes and stunning lakes and sounds as you traverse New Zealand’s countryside – it’s not just the thrill-seeking activities that will get your heart pumping!

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is an active trip packed with activities such as hiking, jet boating, mountain biking and kayaking either included or as an optional extra. To fully enjoy it, you'll need to be in a good state of health and fitness. To participate in the water-based experiences, you'll need to be a confident swimmer and are happy to get wet. So, while this trip doesn't require a super high level of fitness, it’s essential to be at least moderately fit if you want to partake in all activities.

  • The diversity of the seasons here makes for incredible scenery, but the weather in this region can be unpredictable. It’s best to wear layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so bring your warm clothes.

  • Lots of time allocated for optional activities means freedom and flexibility, but it does require a level of independence. Only are few meals are included, so mostly you'll find your own (with plenty of suggestions from your leader of course) – a great way to mingle with locals and discover unexpected delights!

  • While most of the accommodation on this trip is tourist class, there will be some simple accommodation when it makes sense. What some may lack in comfort definitely makes up for in location and proximity to activities. Please note that on some nights during this trip, there will be shared facilities at your accommodation.

Itinerary

Welcome to Auckland! You’re free to arrive at any time today, as there aren’t any activities planned until an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. Before then, the city is free for you to explore, and your centrally located hotel is right near the action on Queen Street, so check out the CBD, see New Zealand’s best art at one of Auckland’s galleries, head out a little to the delights of Cornwall Park or witness the city from the water by hopping on a ferry. Afterwards, why not get a group of your fellow travellers together for a drink at a downtown bar – your group leader will have some suggestions for you.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

If you are arriving at Auckland International Airport today, please note that there is an airport shuttle which leaves for the city every 30 minutes, and will take 30-60 minutes to arrive into the city. Please find your Joining Point Instructions under the Essential Trip Information, so you can tell your shuttle driver the closest point to drop you in the city.
This morning, drive to Taupo – the centre of all things thrill seeking on New Zealand’s North Island. This lakeside town has all kinds of active adventure to choose from – whether it’s jet boating near Huka Falls, bungy jumping from 47 metres to the waters below or mountain biking around the rugged countryside, Taupo has got you covered. For something calmer to start off your day, why not opt for a lake cruise to Taupo’s striking Maori cliff carvings, a short hike along the Waikato River or a visit to the local hot springs for a soak. On a good day, Lake Taupo offers spectacular views over the snow-capped countryside, including the Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu mountains in the distance.
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
The total driving distance today is approximately 275 km, taking around 3.5 hours. The total distance you’ll walk is generally 1-2 kilometres, depending on what activities you choose to partake in.
Leave the township of Taupo in the late morning, driving along the shores of the lake bound for Mt Ruapehu. In the early afternoon, there’s the option to embark on a two-hour self-guided hike to the stunning Taranaki Falls at the base of Mt Ruapehu. Here, not only will you get some scenic views over the falls, you’ll also be able to check out some vistas of the volcanic plateau nearby. Later on, check into your accommodation for the night, Blue Duck Lodge. This secluded lodge, situated at the northern edge of Whanganui National Park, is an ideal base for exploring the best of the North Island’s untouched beauty over the coming days – you’ll really feel like you’re one with nature now.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The total driving distance today is approximately 260 km, taking around 4 hours.
Stock up on breakfast and then head off on a day of included activities in the area. Begin by strapping in for a jet boating adventure down the Whanganui River, weaving past the rapids and threading your way through the Whanganui National Park. This river is considered sacred to New Zealand’s Maori Iwi people, and so much so that it has become the first landmark in the world to be recognised as a living entity. After boating until your heart’s content, head on land to visit the Bridge to Nowhere – a concrete footbridge spanning over the forest seemingly placed in the middle of nowhere. It’s, however, the perfect spot to stop, rest and enjoy the scenic views. Swap the boat for two wheels and make your way back to the lodge on a mountain bike. As it’s a pretty active day today, make sure you have plenty of water on you.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Set off out of the national park and down the scenic Kapiti coast to Wellington, arriving early afternoon. Once you’ve checked into the hotel and got your bearings, you’re free to explore New Zealand’s waterside capital. You might like to check out the Museum of New Zealand, known as Te Papa. This combined museum and exhibition space is a forum to present, explore and preserve the heritage of the nation’s cultures and knowledge of the natural environment. Otherwise, you may like to take the cable car to check out Wellington’s renowned Botanic Gardens. Wellington is also known for its thriving bar and restaurant scene, with plenty of nightlife each night, so be sure to get out and about with your travel crew in Te Aro or along the waterfront.
Meals Included
  • Dinner
It’s time to get back on the water, but this time it’s between the islands! Take the Interislander Ferry across the Cook Strait to Picton this morning (approximately 4 hours) – it will be an early start to catch the 8 am ferry, but will free up some time in the afternoon for some South Island exploring. Be sure to have your camera charged for today, as cruising through the Marlborough Sounds is nothing short of spectacular. Once arrived, have the best part of the afternoon free to check out the Nelson area, where you will spend the evening.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The total driving distance today is approximately 195 km, taking around 3 hours. The ferry from Wellington to Picton via the Marlborough Sounds will take approximately 4 hours.
Get out in nature today and explore the Abel Tasman National Park. The Abel Tasman National Park is one of New Zealand’s smallest national parks, but what it lacks in size makes up in pristine beauty. Think sandy beaches budding up against verdant forests, and crystal-clear streams weaving through mossy valleys to the ocean. Walking trails in the national park are some of the most beautiful in the country and suit a range of fitness levels. Perhaps you’d like to hop on a sea shuttle to one of the upper bays then walk back to your pickup point. Otherwise, you could take to the water yourself and book in on a sea kayaking adventure to witness the park from the Tasman Bay. Your group leader will have a number of options to suit you.
Meals Included
  • Lunch
This morning, you’ve got the chance to choose your own adventure, and this part of the South Island is the perfect place to get your heart pumping. You might like to check out the unique craze of helibiking. Yes, it’s part helicopter, part mountain biking, and full on. If that’s not for you, do not fear – there are non-helicopter rides available as well. Otherwise, chill out on a winery tour sampling some of the country’s best or just relax in the picturesque town of Nelson. Later on, continue onwards to Murchison. Your 2.5-hour drive is as scenic as it gets – you’ll hug Lake Rotoroa and see some of New Zealand’s great landscapes pass you by.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
The total driving distance today is approximately 140 km, taking around 2.5 hours.
Today is something you won’t see too often. Take a hike through some of the lush forests around Murchison until you reach a certain point, dubbed ‘Natural Flames’. As the name suggests, gas flames spring naturally from the earth and provide quite a unique sight over the forest. Not only will you be able to see these flames in action, they’ll help you cook a light pancake lunch! Afterwards, drive on to Christchurch, where you will arrive between 5 and 6 pm at a centrally located hotel. Once you’ve arrived, you are free to leave at any time, as there is no accommodation booked for tonight. As this trip does not spend any time checking out Christchurch, we recommend staying an extra couple of days to see the best of the South Island’s largest city. If this interests you, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
The total driving distance today is approximately 290 km, taking around 4.5 hours.

If you wish to organise an onward flight connection from Christchurch International Airport tonight, we recommend not booking anything before 9 pm to allow for driving delays and your own transfer to the airport.

Meals

3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle

Dates & availability

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Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

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