Days
22
Price from
$7,015AUD

From Bay of Islands to Doubtful Sound, explore the whole of New Zealand

The Great Outdoors don’t get much greater than New Zealand. Make your way from the volcanic craters of the central plateau to the secluded beaches of the coast on this explorer trip. And the outdoors aren’t just for looking at here – they’re the place for sea kayaking or snorkelling on a Bay of Islands adventure cruise, for underground black-water rafting in Waitomo, bungee jumping and jet boating at Taupo, or mountain biking and kayaking in Nelson. Then, beside the South Island’s stunning mountain views, glassy lakes, lush meadows and modern cities, hike the Franz Josef Glacier, kayak with dolphins in Doubtful Sound, view New Zealand's highest peak, and go wild in Queenstown. Whatever your sense of adventure, this New Zealand trip is bound to satisfy it.


Start
Auckland, New Zealand
Finish
Christchurch, New Zealand
Destination
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, The Great Outdoors, 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 are home to some of the best scenery in New Zealand, which is really saying something. Head out on challenging treks or simply sit back and take in the views

  • Visit Lake Taupo, where you can bungee jump, jetboat to the impressive Huka Falls, or conquer the famous Tongariro Alprine Crossing

  • Visit Lake Taupo, where you can bungee jump, jetboat to the impressive Huka Falls, or conquer the famous Tongariro Alprine Crossing

  • Check out the boiling mud pools and spectacular geysers of the thermal regions of Rotorua

  • Don’t forget to look up inside Waitomo’s limestone caves, where thousands of glow worms form a convincing impression of a starry night sky

  • 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

  • Once you experience the spectacular scenery of the Doubtful Sound you wont want to leave – luckily enough you’ll get to overnight on a boat as you cruise through the fjords of this remote wilderness area

  • You wouldn’t want New Zealand to lose its empty and personal feeling – that’s just one of the reasons why we travel in small groups

  • With plenty of nature hikes, adventure activities and amazing views in every direction, Queenstown is in a class of its own

  • Franz Josef Glacier is every adventurer's dream. Take a guided hike across the glacier, get your blood pumping on a quad bike ride around the area or enjoy unmatched views on a scenic flight

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

Kia-ora! Welcome to New Zealand. This Kiwi adventure begins in Auckland with a welcome meeting at 6pm today. There’s a distinct Pacific flavour to the ‘City of Sails’ – New Zealand's largest city with a population of just over one million people – and it can be seen in the streets and the local markets. The vibrant waterfront region, revamped for the America's Cup sailing challenges, is now a well-visited 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 early to give you time to explore.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Skytower, Auckland - NZD30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Aukland and drive north through fantastic scenery towards New Zealand's winterless north. Be prepared for a long drive today, which should take between five and six hours. When you arrive, there are a heap of beaches and unspoiled places to explore. As there won't be too much light left today, prepare for a full day of optional activities tomorrow, including kayaking and a boat trip to the islands.

Notes: Total driving time is around four hours (approximately 225kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s top holiday destinations. With 144 islands in total, this boating paradise enjoys a sub-tropical climate. There are so many activities on offer to make the most of this place today, including heading out on the water to the ‘Hole in the Rock’ or joining a kayaking tour around the islands. You could also visit the village of Russell for a look into New Zealand's interesting past.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Boat Trip - Hole in Rock - NZD110
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make your way back south, passing unspoiled beaches and lush forests that house native trees a thousand years old and massive in size. This area has always been prized for its fantastic native hardwood timbers, which are fortunately now protected. Cross the Auckland Harbour Bridge, with a spectacular view of the ‘City of Sails’. Stop for lunch, then carry on through to Waitomo, 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
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take your pick today – head out on a boat trip, walk through the glowworm caves or go black water rafting. This is a unique trip that involves hiking and floating down an underground river on an inner tube. The sights are all pretty fantastic and this will probably be one of your highlights. After lunch, head to Rotorua to see geysers and boiling mud pools in an amazing display of mother earth's power. Tonight there’s the option for a Maori Hangi dinner and concert.

Notes: Total driving time is around two hours (approximately 140kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Waitomo - Caves Entrance
Optional Activities
  • Maori Cultural Evening - NZD80
  • Black Water Rafting from - NZD135
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head one hour south to Taupo, best known as the North Island's home of extreme sports. On the way, stop by the crashing cascade of Huka Falls. Here you can bungy-jump, ride in a jetboat, or join in with any number of other activities. If that’s not your speed, how about just relaxing by the shores of the largest lake in New Zealand? This is definitely a real trip highlight. Next you’ll head on to Mt Ruapehu and rest up for another full day of activity.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Rotorua - Te Puia Maori Art & Cultural Centre
Optional Activities
  • Thermal Baths from - NZD15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you might want to hike the famous Tongariro Crossing track, a full day of hiking that needs a decent level of fitness to complete. The rewards are worth it though – it’s considered NZ´s best one-day hike and has fantastic views. Be prepared for amazing landscapes of mountains, hot springs and a better idea why Lord of the Rings was filmed here. In the evening, relax after a long day and enjoy dinner with the group.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tongariro Crossing - NZD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Leave the National Park and head through the central north island to the capital city – Wellington. Visit the Te Papa Tongarewa museum, the museum of New Zealand. Home to many Maori cultural artefacts, they also have the remains of the world's largest specimen of colossal squid. Captured in 2007, it weighs in a massive 495kg. Later, maybe jump in a cable car to the Botanic Gardens for views of Wellington city and its harbour. Tonight, take advantage of the capital city’s nightlife.

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
Take the inter-island ferry and cross to the South Island, cruising through the amazing scenery of the Marlborough Sound – the islands scattered across the bay are like green-forested tentacles, the peaks of ancient sunken valleys treading above the surface. You’ll dock in Nelson, in the heart of the wine producing area and Abel Tasman National Park. This pleasantly sunny place if home to some of the best sea kayaking in the world. You’ll take this afternoon to explore this picturesque town, and there’s a huge choice of ways to do it. Kayaking, boating, sailing in the Abel Tasman National Park, mountain biking or just relaxing in town or on the beach – it’s your choice.

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’s another chance to visit the little piece of coastal paradise that is Abel Tasman National Park. Tackle the walking tracks that wind their way between bush-wrapped beaches, gorgeous inlets and coves, all of it just begging to be explored. Don’t miss out a boat ride in a water taxi. Also make sure you got plenty of space left on your camera’s memory card – there are so many amazing photo opportunities. If you have time, you could also head out on a winery tour of the area.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kayak Tour from - NZD140
  • Abel Tasman National Park - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Leave Nelson and head up the beautiful coastline to Kaikoura, a place full of adventures. When you arrive, there’s the chance to take a boat trip whale watching and experience being close to some of the largest creatures in the world (whale watching activities are subject to weather conditions). If you want to see the area from a different perspective, there are plane or helicopter flights that sweep over the water on the lookout for whales.

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
Special Information
ITINERARY VARIATION DUE TO RECENT EARTHQUAKE

We will drive through the Nelson Lakes district toward Murchison where we will stay this evening. The drive will take us through some spectacular mountain scenery as we make plenty of stops for photograph opportunities. Murchison offers some unique activities and also a free museum and stunning river walk for those who prefer to relax rather than indulge in some adrenalin activities. Fur seals that normally would have been visited in Kaikoura can normally be seen in Abel Tasman National Park aboard the water taxi or many of the Kayak tours.
Kaikoura is famous for its marine life, so this morning maybe try some swimming with dolphins. Continue down the coastline to Christchurch, one of the country’s most exciting cities and re-emerging after the earthquake of 2011. New pop-up cafes, restaurants and bars have sprung up around this resilient city. Drop by the ‘Re:Start’ development on the fringe of the CBD, a shopping and entertainment area of shipping containers, which boasts great coffee, shopping and food. Use this evening however you’d like – maybe get to know any new people that may have joined your trip.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Dolphin Swim - NZD170
  • Whale Watching - NZD155
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave Christchurch early this morning and cross over the fertile Canterbury Plains, heading for the mountains. Leave the dry earth of the east coast behind and cross the dividing range to go down to the lush, green west coast. The countryside changes pretty quickly, as great deep blue rivers spring from the mountainsides. When you arrive in Punakaiki, maybe take 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.
There’s plenty of time this morning and afternoon to take part in cultural activities. Then you’ll leave for Franz Josef Glacier, taking a beautiful drive along the coast of forests, lakes and hidden beaches. Pull into the town of Franz Josef in the evening and relax before tomorrow's activities. Your evening is free, so maybe head out for dinner with the group.

Notes: Total driving distance takes around three hours (approximately 180kms).
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kiwi House
Optional Activities
  • Glacier Flights from - NZD195
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Franz Josef Glacier is an incredible piece of turquoise ice that feels like it’s been picked up straight out of the Poles and dropped into a valley of lush rainforest. The local Māori know it as Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere, or The Tears of Hine Hukatere, named after the Māori legend of lovers Hine Hukatere and Tuawe. After breakfast this morning, the day’s free to explore the glacier area however you like. There are plenty of amazing optional activities to keep you busy – maybe a guided hike across a glacier, kayaking, taking a spin on a quad bike or enjoying unrivalled 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)
Optional Activities
  • Glacier Flights from - NZD195
  • Glacier Hike from - NZD339
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, keep driving down the west coast and climb up through the Haast Pass into the Southern Alps (approximately 4-5 hours). This is the kind of drive you’d see in a car commercial – sweeping roads 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 make the most of a place that's everyone agrees is the extreme sports capital of the world.

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
  • Arrowtown Tour
  • Lake Matheson
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Strap in, because the next two days are going to be a real ride. There’s no end to the list of optional adventure activities including bungy-jumping, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, helicopter rides, jet boating and paragliding. In the evenings, take a breath and relax back at the lodge.

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
  • River Rafting - NZD220
  • Jet boating from - NZD135
  • Bungy Jumping from - NZD135
  • Mountain Biking Tours - NZD170
  • Paragliding NZ - NZD200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (1)
  • Dinner (1)
Take a break from the adrenaline rush of Queenstown and drive out to Doubtful Sound to board a boat for an overnight cruise through the fjords. Doubtful Sound is easily one of the most amazing landscapes in New Zealand and, in a country so full of them, that’s no small honour. More difficult to reach and so less visited that nearby Milford Sound, the water runs along a route through towering, forested mountains that was once carved by glaciers. Feel small as you look out at the peaks and crashing waterfalls from the boat. Enjoy a dinner on-board with the rest of the group this evening.

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
Back on dry land, drive back up to Canterbury and the foot of Aoraki (Mt Cook) (approximately 5 hours), which, at an impressive 3,754 m (12,316 ft.), is New Zealand's highest peak. The drive takes you over expansive high-country farmland with views of the Alps, rivers and lakes. When you get to Mt Cook National Park you'll spend the night in a lodge in an amazing location. Use the days here to explore meadows, lakes, streams and glaciers, and look out for 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 at Mt Cook, if the weather is fine you should be able to catch a view of this spectacular mountain and hike some of the lower trails. There are wonderful lake views and plenty of photo opportunities. In the afternoon, Leave Mt Cook and make your way back to Christchurch, where your adventure comes to an end 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
  • Arrowtown Tour
  • Lake Matheson

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

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