Top 10 New Zealand Tours November 2022
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Must-see destinations in New Zealand
There’s a reason Queenstown is a favourite destination of ours – it’s known as the ‘adventure capital of the world’, which suits our Intrepid spirit perfectly. Known for a vast range of activities that adrenaline junkies will love (such as bungee jumping, zip-lining or a variety of water sports), what people may not know about Queenstown is how picturesque it is. The Remarkables Mountain Ranges and nearby Lake Wakatipu are both stunning backdrops for this cosmopolitan town. So, if sitting admiring the views with an excellent glass of New Zealand wine in your hand is more your pace than watching the landscape whizz past you as you jump out of a plane, then Queenstown has your back. On that note, you might also like to spend time exploring the surrounding Central Otago wine region.
Or, if you’re up for an overnighter from Queenstown, we’d highly recommend making your way to Piopiotahi (Milford Sound), where you can take a boat cruise to experience the unforgettable sights of the fiords, waterfalls, icy peaks and lush rainforests… and if you’re lucky maybe even a friendly bottlenose dolphin or two!
2. The Catlins
The Catlins are some of the wildest terrain that New Zealand has on offer. The perfect stop for nature-lovers (although let’s face it, where in New Zealand isn’t?), thanks to the hidden waterfalls, dense forests and rugged cliffs that are just waiting to be explored. If you’re up for a unique adventure on foot, head to the vast Cathedral Caves, which can only be accessed via a specific beach at low tide. Keep an eye out for sea lions who can often be spotted lazily sunbathing on the sand. Your local leader will be sure to get you in and out at the right time of day, so all you’ll need to do is enjoy the wonders of the caves.
It might sound strange, but Rotorua in New Zealand’s North Island is known for its vibrant colours. Rotorua is a lakes district and two of the biggest, Lake Tikitapu and Lake Rotokakahi, take their names from the bright green and blue colours of their waters. These lakes are the perfect place to stretch your legs on a bike ride, with many routes that show off the natural beauty of the region. Lake Rotokakahi is a sacred site for the local Maori people, with the island of Motutawa serving as a burial ground. In fact, the whole region is rich with Maori culture, with many visitors choosing to spend time at a marae – a communal and sacred meeting ground, where the First Nations people connect with each other and their ancestors, sharing their customs with travellers who pass through.
If you’re seeking interesting history, good food and drinks and breathtaking landscapes, it’s pretty hard to go past a trip to Wanaka. Head to Arrowtown, a fascinating village that experienced a gold-rush boom in the 19th century and is now home to heritage listed buildings and relics from the period. We’d also highly recommend you visit the nearby Cardona Valley, home to some of the region’s best food and drinks, including the Cardona whiskey distillery. Given that the landscape in the valley could be mistaken for the Scottish Highlands in parts, it’s not surprising that you can get a quality tipple in the area! If you’re ready to stretch your legs after a whiskey tasting, it would be worth taking a stroll up Mt Iron, where you’ll be treated to 360-degree views of the Pisa range, Upper Clutha Basin, Lake Wanaka and Ka Tiritiri o te Moana (the Southern Alps). Absolute bliss.
5. The Central Otago Rail Trail
A cycling trip along the famed Central Otago Rail Trail could be just what the doctor ordered after months of staying close to home. The past couple of years have been a challenging to say the least, so why not cap it off by challenging yourself to a 4-day bike ride (with plenty of time for eating, drinking and sightseeing thrown in!). Your trip will take you past pretty vineyards, quaint villages, stunning farmlands and even snow-capped mountains. There’ll be lots of opportunities to stop along the way, with visits to unique local attractions like an old engineering works, one of the original mines from the gold rush era and the Hyde Railway Disaster Memorial, which commemorates the fatal 1943 derailment of a passenger train.
Not looking to travel in November? Check out our full international list of monthly destination guides.
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New Zealand FAQs
Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage.
All travellers are required to produce:
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
- All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
- If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.
Getting to the South Island is quite easy and time-efficient with two passenger airports in Christchurch and Queenstown offering several flights per day from popular destinations such as Auckland and Wellington. The price of flights can vary depending on which season you're travelling and which region/city you want to explore. Flying into Christchurch is generally cheaper than Queenstown, especially during ski season when the sleepy, snowy town comes to life. You can also catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton (located at the tip of the South Island) which takes roughly 3 and a half hours.
It's fairly easy and reliable to get around Queenstown with a heap of different options available including public transport, car rentals, and walking. You can easily hire a car in Queenstown with several companies located in the city centre. There is also lots of parking available in Queenstown making it convenient to drive to different locations. You can also catch public transport via the local bus network with tickets starting at NZ$2. Queenstown is also relatively flat so walking is another good option, especially for taking in the beautiful scenery.
The climate in Christchurch is fairly even and dry throughout the year but temperatures in summer aren't likely to get hot while the temperatures in winter are quite cold. It's very unlikely to experience extreme heat in summer but relatively common for freezes to happen overnight during the winter months. Christchurch still gets sunny though with 2,100 hours of sunlight every year.
It's relatively easy to get to the Bay of Islands from various locations within New Zealand. While the Bay of Islands region doesn't have an airport, there is an airport at Kerikeri which is only 23km away. It is easy to catch a flight from major cities such as Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown, making it the most popular way to travel. You can also drive to the Bay of Islands or catch public transport via the InterCity bus services.
The weather in Wellington is often unpredictable and can change multiple times throughout the day. The city is also known for being very windy which is something to be aware of when you're planning outdoor activities such as cycling. However, the climate in Wellington is quite mild throughout the year with warm summers and cool winters, making it the perfect year-round destination.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.