From secluded beaches to volcanic craters, New Zealand's North Island will delight

Explore New Zealand's northern heartland, from the secluded beaches of the coast to the volcanic craters of the central plateau, on this North Island Explorer trip. Adventure activities abound here – why not go sea kayaking or snorkelling on our Bay of Islands adventure cruise, underground black-water rafting in Waitomo, bungee jumping and jet boating at Taupo or mountain biking and kayaking in Nelson. Whatever your interest, this small group adventure offers the perfect combination of incredible sights and thrilling activities.

Christchurch, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand
Explorer, Wildlife
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 15
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


  • Discover the breathtaking Bay of Islands
  • Observe Waitomo's mysterious glow worms
  • See Rotorua's geysers
  • Visit the spectacular Huka Falls
  • Be inspired and captivated by the majesty of Mt Ruapehu
  • Explore Te Papa Museum
  • Bushwalk in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Spot sperm whales and dolphins in Kaikoura


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.

Soak up the atmosphere, a city that Lonely Planet described as "re-emerging as one of New Zealand's most exciting". With a whole new range of pop up cafe's, restaurants and bars, Christchurch has hit the ground running. Its a great chance to spend a dew days exploring this resilient city. With the CBD closed down, visit the 'Re:Start' development on the fringe of the CBD, a shopping and entertainment area of shipping containers, boasting great coffee, shopping and food.
We depart Christchurch around 7.30 in the 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).
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).
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.
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).
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).
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.
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).
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).
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).
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.
We make our way back South 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).
View trip notes to read full itinerary


8 breakfasts, 2 dinners
Ferry, Van
Lodge (11 nights)
Included activities
  • Kaikoura Seal Colony
  • 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


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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 12 at approx 6pm. Please consider this when booking flights and accommodation.
2. Trip runs in reverse, see tour code PTONU.
3. A single supplement is also available for this trip

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

View trip notes


Our New Zealand North Island Explorer (ex Christchurch) trips score an average of 4.38 out of 5 based on 8 reviews in the last year.

New Zealand North Island Explorer (ex Christchurch) , April 2016

New Zealand North Island Explorer (ex Christchurch) , March 2016