This tour captures the best of both the North and South Islands

Explore and experience New Zealand to the fullest, from the secluded beaches and volcanic craters of the north to the glaciers, mountains and fjords in the south. Adventure activities abound throughout the trip - sea kayaking and snorkelling, underground black-water rafting, bungy jumping, jet boating, mountain biking and kayaking. From Auckland to Christchurch and everything in between, this journey has New Zealand covered.


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

Why we love this trip

  • 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

  • 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

  • Spend the night aboard a boat among the spectacular scenery of the Doubtful Sound. Cruise through fjords and take in the natural beauty of this remote wilderness area

  • 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

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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 30 June 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 May 2015 - 31 December 2017

Kia-ora! Welcome to New Zealand.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6.00PM on Day 1.

Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive 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). 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.

New Zealand's largest city with a population of just over one million people. There is a distinct Pacific flavour to the 'City of Sails' and this can be seen in the streets and the local markets. The vibrant waterfront region, built to its current state for the America's Cup sailing challenges, is now a well-frequented local bar and restaurant hub. If you have extra time you might like to take a day trip to one of the many outer islands found in the Hauraki Gulf. This trip doesn't spend much time in Auckland so we recommend you arrive a few days prior so you can explore.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Skytower, Auckland - NZD30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
We leave Auckland 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 four hours (approximately 225kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we have a range of available activities including kayaking, a boat trip to the islands or just taking it easy and relaxing. You can also 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
  • Kayak Tours - NZD79
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
We have an early start and make our way south to Waitomo via Auckland. We cross the harbour bridge and get a great view of the city of sails. Here we stop for lunch and then carry on through to Waitomo which is famous for its limestone caves, glow worms and black water rafting.

Notes: Total driving time is around six and a half hours (approximately 420kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Waitomo - Caves Entrance
Optional Activities
  • Black Water Rafting from - NZD135
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today we have some great choices, maybe a boat trip and walk through the glow worm caves or black water rafting. This is an unforgettable trip involving hiking and descending an underground river floating on an inner tube. The sights are fantastic and this will be one of your highlights. After lunch we head to Rotorua, see geysers and boiling mud pools in an amazing display of mother earth's power. We check in to our lodging and you have the option of a Maori Hangi dinner and concert for afterwards.

Notes: Total driving time is around two hours (approximately 140kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Maori Cultural Evening - NZD80
  • River Rafting - NZD200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
We drive around an hour south to Taupo. Taupo is the home of extreme sports on the North Island. On the way we visit the spectacular Huka Falls. Here you can bungy jump, jet boat or just relax by the world's biggest crater lake. We then drive on to Mt Ruapehu to be ready for our next day's activities.

There are several options for the next day. 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 lakes. There are many short, easy hikes in the park, all accessible for people of all fitness levels and many with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

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
Optional Activities
  • Mountain Biking - NZD60
  • Bungy Jumping from - NZD170
  • Jet Boating from - NZD120
  • Thermal Baths from - NZD15
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
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
We leave the National Park and head through the central north island to the capital city; Wellington. Here you may visit the fantastic Te Papa Tongarewa museum, the museum of New Zealand. The museum holds many Maori cultural artifacts, and is home to the remains of the worlds largest specimen of colossal squid. Captured in 2007, it weighs in around 495kg. We spend some time today exploring Te Papa Tongarewa museum. In our free time perhaps jump in the cable car to the Botanic Gardens for spectacular views of Wellington city and harbour.

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
We cross to the South island on the inter island ferry and enjoy the fantastic scenery of the Marlborough Sound. 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 two hours (approximately 130kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Scenic Cruise via Queen Charlotte Sounds
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you can visit the Abel Tasman National Park (optional). 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
  • Abel Tasman National Park - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Leaving Nelson we head to the beautiful coastline of 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. Kaikoura is famous for its seafood and marine life with much to see and do.

Notes: Total driving time is around four hours (approximately 240kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kaikoura Seal Colony
Optional Activities
  • Whale Watching - NZD155
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make the drive to Christchurch today, which should take around three hours. You should have some time to explore the city before meeting up with new members of your group at around 6.00 pm. 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. In the evening, perhaps head out for dinner with your new travel companions.

Notes: Total driving time is around three hours (approximately 160kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (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
  • Lodge (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
There are no meals included on this day.
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
  • Breakfast
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 from - NZD135
  • Jet boating from - NZD135
  • River Rafting - NZD220
  • Paragliding NZ - NZD200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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). In the evening, settle down in your lodge after a big day of adventure.

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 from - NZD135
  • Bungy Jumping from - NZD135
  • Paragliding NZ - NZD200
  • Mountain Biking Tours - NZD170
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (1)
  • Dinner (1)
Head out after breakfast and take a break from the adrenaline rush of Queenstown, as you drive to Doubtful Sound to board your overnight cruise boat for a trip through the fjords. This place is stunning with tall mountain peaks and waterfalls - easily one of the most spectacular places in the country. Enjoy a dinner aboard the boat this evening with the rest of the group.

Notes: Total driving time is around three hours (approximately 170kms).
Your boat has four berth cabins, so you'll be sharing your space with travellers of the same or different sex. Twin share cabins aren't available on the boat this night.
Accommodation
  • Doubtful Sound Overnight Boat Cruise (4 berth cabins) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • 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 (2)
This morning we depart Mt Cook in the morning making our way to Christchurch where your adventure concludes at around 6 pm. Please take this into consideration when booking any onward flights.

Notes: Total driving time is around five hours (approximately 325kms).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

15 breakfasts, 4 dinners

Transport

Ferry, Van

Accommodation

Lodge (20 nights), Overnight boat (1 night)

Included activities

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

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Auckland with group meeting on day 1 at 6:00pm and finishes in Christchurch 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. Trip runs in reverse, see tour code PTOACU.
4. Allow NZD 870 for meals not included.
5. A single supplement is available on this trip.

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.

Reviews

Our New Zealand Adventure Southbound (ex Auckland) trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 15 reviews in the last year.

New Zealand Adventure Southbound (ex Auckland), November 2017

Leandra Hernandez

New Zealand Adventure Southbound (ex Auckland), November 2017

Annelie Gadsdon