Discover the beauty and dynamism of New Zealand's North and South Islands

Visually striking, culturally daring and ever-surprising, New Zealand will charm the socks off even the most reserved traveller. Nature enthusiasts will be awe-struck by the Franz Josef Glacier, photographers dazzled by the Bay of Islands, food lovers swooning over Kaikoura's cuisine and thrillseekers will have their pulses racing in Queenstown - the diversity of landscapes and activities in NZ is boundless. From south to north, beaches to volcanoes and charismatic towns to historical legacies, New Zealand has the capacity to wow on all fronts.


Start
Christchurch, New Zealand
Finish
Auckland, New Zealand
Destination
New Zealand
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Walking & Trekking
Code
PTOACU
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 15

Why you'll love this trip

  • Share amazing moments with your fellow travellers. As you'll be in a small group, the trip retains a fun, personalised atmosphere throughout

  • Tour a network of caves in Waitomo and witness nature's illumination in a section lit up with glow worms

  • Spend several nights in Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital, where's you'll have tonnes of time to explore

  • Discover the thermal regions of Rotorua, which offer an impressive mix of boiling mud pools and spectacular geysers

  • Kayak around the Bay of Islands during a full day of optional activities. With its sub-tropical climate and clear blue waters, this is the South Pacific's answer to paradise

  • The national parks of Abel Tasman and Tongariro feature some of the best scenery in New Zealand. Venture out on challenging treks or simply sit back and take in the views - it's up to you

Is this trip right for you?

  • Accommodation on this trip isn't luxurious, but it's comfortable enough for you to relax after a day of adventure.

  • There are more optional activities on this trip than included ones. These activities range from trekking moderate hiking trails to white water rafting, so you'll be able to choose your own adventure level.

  • You'll be spending quite a lot of time in a minibus as you travel through the islands. The bus may be small, but it's comfortable, and offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers and gaze at passing landscapes.

  • This is a combination of two of our most popular trips. As a result the make up of the group may change on day 11.

Itinerary

Kia-ora! Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

If you arrive early into the city, there's a whole new range of pop up cafes, restaurants and bars to run through. Christchurch has hit the ground running and it's a great chance to get your bearings of this resilient city. Your evening is the free to do as you wish, before settling into your accommodation for the night.

Note: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive to the welcome meeting in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Depart Christchurch early in the morning and head over the fertile Canterbury Plains, heading for the mountains. Leave the dry earth of the east coast and cross the dividing range to go down to the lush, green west coast. The countryside changes radically, as great deep blue rivers spring from the steep mountainsides. On arrival to Punakaiki, perhaps talk a walk out to Pancake Rocks and watch the power of the waves as they crash against the rocks. In the evening, drive onto Greymouth where you'll spend the night.

Notes: Total driving distance is around five hours (approximately 300kms). Total distance walked is approximately two to three kilometres.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pancake Rocks and Blowhole
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The drive down the coast later today is beautiful. You have plenty of time in the morning and afternoon to take part in optional activities, before leaving for Franz Josef Glacier along the coast of forests, lakes and hidden beaches. Pull into Franz Josef in the evening and relax before tomorrow's activities. Your evening is free, so possibly head out for dinner with the group.

Notes: Total driving distance takes around three hours (approximately 180kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast this morning, your day is free to do as much or as little as you please. There are plenty of amazing optional activities to keep you busy, such as a guided hike across a glacier, kayaking, taking a spin on a quad bike or enjoying unrivaled views of the region on a scenic flight (at your own cost).

Notes: Total driving time is around 30 minutes (approximately 10kms). Total distance walked will be between one and five kilometres.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kiwi House
Optional Activities
  • Glacier Flights from - NZD195
  • Glacier Hike from - NZD339
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After breakfast, drive the remainder of the west coast and climb up through the Haast Pass into the Southern Alps (approximately four to five hours). This is a stunning drive with fantastic views of the mountains, rivers and lakes. Arriving into Queenstown in the late afternoon, enjoy dinner with the rest of your night free. Over the next few days, you'll see and experience a place that's widely acknowledged as being the extreme activity capital of the world. There is simply no end to the line up of optional activities including bungy-jumping, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, helicopter rides, jet boating and paragliding.

Note: Total driving time is around five and a half hours (approximately 360kms).
Total distance walked is around one to two kilometres.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Matheson
  • Arrowtown Tour
Optional Activities
  • Bungy Jumping - NZD135
  • Jet boating - NZD135
  • River Rafting - NZD220
  • Paragliding NZ - NZD200
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is free to take part in as many optional activities as you want. Queenstown will spoil you for choice, as the undisputed adventure capital of New Zealand. Jet boat, bungee jump, paraglide, kayak, mountain bike, ski or river raft - there's so much to do in this grand place (all activities are at own expense). This evening, head out for an included dinner at the renowned Skyline Restaurant - Stratosfare.

Notes: Total driving time is around one hour (approximately 10kms).
Walking distance will depend on what activities you take part in.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • Jet boating - NZD135
  • Bungy Jumping - NZD135
  • Paragliding NZ - NZD200
  • Mountain Biking Tours - NZD170
Meals Included
  • Dinner (1)
Head out after breakfast and take a break from the adrenaline rush of Queenstown, as you drive to Milford Sound (Piopiotahi) to board your cruise boat for a trip through the fjords. This place is stunning with tall mountain peaks (spot Mitre Peak - Rahotu) and Stirling and Lady Bowen Falls, as well as numerous temporary waterfalls after rain. Continue on to Te Anau .


Notes: Total driving time is around 6 hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
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 that shelter the world's only alpine parrot, the kea.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (2 nights)
Optional Activities
  • 360 Degree Screen Documentary - NZD20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (1)
This trip is a combination of two of our most popular New Zealand itineraries. As such the make up of your group may change today. Today is a free day to explode more of Christchurch at your leisure. Your guide will hold a joining meeting this evening for travellers joining today. Its a good chance to go along and meet some new faces.  
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
We depart Christchurch this morning and we head up the beautiful coastline to Kaikoura where many adventures await us. Take a boat trip out to see the whales. Experience being close to some of the largest creatures in the world. For those who wish there are plane or helicopter flights to view the whales (whale watching activities are subject to weather conditions). Kaikoura is famous for its seafood and marine life with much to see and do.

Notes: Total driving time is around three hours (approximately 160kms).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today our destination is Nelson, in the heart of the wine producing area and the Abel Tasman National Park. It is a very pleasant sunny place and home to some of the most beautiful sea kayaking in the world. We spend the afternoon exploring the town.

We have a huge variety of activities to choose from including kayaking, boating, sailing in the Abel Tasman National Park, mountain biking or just relaxing in town or on the beach. Nelson is very picturesque and is a delight to visit.

Notes: Total driving time is around four hours (approximately 240kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Dolphin Swim - NZD170
  • Whale Watching - NZD155
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you can visit the Abel Tasman National Park. Bushwalking tracks among these gorgeous inlets and coves are just begging to be explored and the boat ride in Water Taxi is spectacular. Have plenty of space left on your memory card as photo opportunities abound.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kayak Tour from - NZD140
Meals Included
  • Dinner
We cross to the north island on the inter island ferry and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Marlborough Sound. We arrive in the afternoon and have a great opportunity for a night out in the capital city.

Notes: Total driving time is around two hours (approximately 130kms).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Scenic Cruise via Queen Charlotte Sounds
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
We leave Wellington after visiting the fantastic Te Papa museum. We head through the central North Island plains towards the great volcanoes & Mount Ruapehu National Park.

There are several options during our time here. Many will want to hike the famous Tongariro Crossing track. A good day hike which is known as the best of its kind in New Zealand. This hike has spectacular views of the volcanic plateau and the lakes. Those who do not go on the hike can explore the beautiful local area.

Notes: Total driving time is around four and a half hours (approximately 330kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Wellington - Te Papa Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you have the option of walking the Tongariro crossing. This is a full day hike and people should have a decent level of fitness. It is considered NZ´s best one day hike and has fantastic views. For those not doing the hike there are lower altitude bush walks available from the Motel.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tongariro Crossing - NZD35
Meals Included
  • Dinner
We head to Taupo, just one hour away which is widely acknowledged as the North Island's home of extreme sports. On the way we visit the spectacular Huka Falls. Here you can bungy-jump or ride in a jet boat, as well as do many other activities. Or how about just relaxing by the shores of the largest lake in New Zealand? The sights are fantastic and this will be one of your highlights.

We visit the Whakarewarewa, site of the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and thermal area in Rotorua. See geysers and boiling mud pools in an amazing display of the power of nature. There is an option for a Maori Hangi dinner and concert.

Notes: Total driving time is around two and a half hours (approximately 180kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rotorua - Te Puia Maori Art & Cultural Centre
  • Huka Falls
  • Te Puia Thermals
Optional Activities
  • Bungy Jumping from - NZD170
  • Jet Boating from - NZD120
  • Maori Cultural Evening - NZD80
  • Mountain Biking - NZD60
  • Thermal Baths from - NZD15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we have some great choices. You can do the boat trip and walk through the glow worm caves or go black water rafting. This is an unforgettable trip involving hiking and descending an underground river floating on an inner tube.

Notes: Total driving time is around two hours (approximately 140kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Waitomo - Caves Entrance
Optional Activities
  • Black Water Rafting from - NZD135
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
We leave Waitomo and drive north through fantastic scenery towards New Zealand's winterless north. There are beautiful beaches and unspoiled places to explore. The next day we have a host of available activities including kayaking, a boat trip to the islands or just relaxing Visit the village of Russell for a look into NZ´s past.

Notes: Total driving time is around six and a half hours (approximately 420kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s top holiday destinations. 144 islands in total, this boating paradise enjoys a sub-tropical climate. Today we have a host of available activities including kayaking, a boat trip to the islands or just relaxing. Visit the village of Russell for a look into NZ´s interesting past.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Boat Trip - Hole in Rock - NZD110
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
We make our way south towards Auckland passing unspoiled beaches and lush forests. There are native trees of massive size that are over 1000 years old. This area has always been prized for its fantastic native hardwood timbers that are fortunately protected nowadays. Crossing the Auckland Harbour Bridge, with a spectacular view of the "City of Sails", we arrive in Auckland to say our fond farewells.

Our trip finishes on arrival to Auckland at approx 6PM. Please take this into consideration when booking any onward flights.

Notes: Total driving time is around four hours (approximately 225kms).
Optional Activities
  • Skytower, Auckland - NZD30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

6 breakfasts, 4 dinners

Transport

Ferry, Van

Accommodation

Lodge (21 nights)

Included activities

  • Pancake Rocks and Blowhole
  • Kiwi House
  • Lake Matheson
  • Arrowtown Tour
  • Scenic Cruise via Queen Charlotte Sounds
  • Wellington - Te Papa Museum
  • Rotorua - Te Puia Maori Art & Cultural Centre
  • Huka Falls
  • Te Puia Thermals
  • Waitomo - Caves Entrance

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Christchurch with group meeting on day 1 at 6:00pm and finishes in Auckland day 22 at approx 6pm; please consider when booking flights and accommodation.
2. We recommend you book accommodation in advance and extend your stay.
3. This trip also runs in reverse, see tour code PTOZCU.

Essential trip information

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