from $2999.00

Best of New Zealand

Tour Map

Tour style - Active & Adrenaline, Chill out & Beach

21 days

Compared with their enormous western neighbour, the islands of New Zealand don’t look especially big on the map, but don’t let their small stature deceive you. There is much, much, much to do here, be it biking to old gold mining sites, kayaking remote coves and hiking some of the most breathtaking routes in the whole world. But if you’re short on travel dollars, fear not; this trip squeezes in the very best of both the North and South Islands into an affordable, action-packed 21-day itinerary that moves swiftly without ever seeming rushed.
  • Day 1 Auckland

    Arrive in Auckland at any time. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. Please try to arrive before 7pm for an important group welcome meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. If you arrive early enough, you'll have time to head into the city to visit the Maritime Museum, walk the waterfront, or even take the ferry to Waiheke Island. Please note: if you have pre-booked the Auckland Sailing and Queenstown Jet Boat your CEO will inform you when you will do the activity throughout your tour, days are subject to change: Sailing (Day 1 - Auckland) and Jet Boat (Day 13 - Queenstown). For more information on the Extra see the Optional Activities section. Make sure you book your accommodation and flights accordingly for Day 1.

  • Day 2-3 Raglan (2B,1L,1D)

    Travel the backroads to a remote conservation farm where they are using natural means to boost the stocks of traditionally farmed marine life. They have created a balanced ecosystem to attract the native birds and animals back to the area. Kayak to a remote part of the harbour for a picnic lunch and boat cruise before heading to our lodge in the famous surf and arts town of Raglan for the night. Nestled in native bush overlooking the sea, the lodge is located near one of the most famous surf breaks in the world. They also have a vegetable garden where they use as much fresh produce as they can and they treat their own waste adding to the sustainability of the lodge On Day 3 head down to the beach for an included surf lesson. The instructor chooses a secluded and safe part of the beach and we use large boards to ensure that you stand up and ride a wave. The afternoon is open for optional activities such as bone carving with local maori, mountain biking or exploring the many walks. At night enjoy opt for a fish and chips dinner. Note: There has been a change to the original itinerary to include Raglan instead of the Coromandel, which also affects the inclusions on these days. We feel that Raglan is a better destination for our travellers because it offers a more comprehensive experience that includes more interaction with locals, a wider variety of activities (e.g. surfing), and also demonstrates our support of sustainable initiatives, such as the native fish farm found in Raglan. Estimated travel time: 3 hours Travel distance: 160 km

  • Day 4 Rotorua/Maori Village Visit (1B,1D)

    Depending on the weather conditions and the desires of the group, we have an option to visit the Waitomo caves, famous for their glow worms. The glow worm is unique to New Zealand. Hundreds of thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their luminescent light in underground caves calved by rivers and time. Enjoy the tranquil boat ride under magical glowworms and become a part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history. For the adventurous, there is the option of ‘black water rafting’ (floating in an inner tube along the river, approximate cost NZD$120). Please note that if you choose to go to the Waitomo caves there is not enough time to go either skydiving or rafting in Rotorua. Your CEO will explain the pros and cons of these choices upon arrival. Continue to Rotorua for an engaging cultural experience on the grounds of a historic Maori village. Dine this evening in picnic fashion on traditional maori food (Hangi). Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 250 km

  • Day 5 National Park (1B,1D)

    An early start to walk across the Tongriro Crossing, New Zealand's top-rated 1-day trek. Collecting supplies before the trek, the transfer will drop the group off for the self-guided trek and collect eveyone at the other end. Experience spectacular views while traversing across the volcanic range, one volcano is currently active. We ensure that you are prepared by going through a safety checklist and taking you to buy the supplies you might not have for the 19.4 km trek. The elements can consistently be changing, remember to dress accordingly and bring snacks. If the weather is too bad for the trek there will be alternative options such as smaller walks in the area or a visit to remote hot springs. Additionally, if you do not wish to do the Tongriro Crossing other activities can be arranged. *Please note: In the winter months (usually between June and October) when there is snow on the mountains the crossing can only be done with special equipment and a guide. If you still wish to do the crossing your CEO can arrange it and there will be an extra cost of around $100 for the equipment and guidance. If you do not wish to do the walk in such conditions we include a couple of shorter walks and visit the Volcanic Information Centre as an alternative activity during these months. After finishing the trek travel to a ski lodge on the side of a mountain for the night. A spa and sauna on site will help ease those tired muscles. Estimated travel time: 3 hours driving time, walking time depending on group speed and size. Travel distance: 180 km driving, 19.4 km walking

  • Day 6 Wellington (1B)

    Travel to the capital city, Wellington. Arrive early enough for a visit to New Zealand's National Museum, a must-see with great displays of historical Maori artifacts and relatively modern exhibits such as the motorbike that was built in a shed and won the world championships. A guided orientation walk displays the sights of the coastal central business district, finishing the day off with an optional night on the town. A suggested activity is to take a taxi to the nearby suburb of Miramar, and visit Weta Workshops. Here, marvel at the creative team behind the Lord Of The Rings, and many other feature films. Entrance is free. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 400 km

  • Day 7-8 Abel Tasman National Park (2B,2D)

    The itinerary for Abel Tasman National Park varies in summer and winter months. SUMMER (MID NOV - MID APRIL): Catch a morning ferry and cross the scenic Cook Strait. Make sure to stand outside and enjoy the views of the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. Disembark and transfer to Abel Tasman National Park, well-known for its stunning white sand beaches. Board a water taxi to transfer our home in the middle of the National Park. Depending on weather conditions the night will be spent on a floating boat hostel or in a local campsite. Spend Day 8 exploring Abel Tasman National Park by following the various walks throughout the park. Walk along a coastline track to one of the world's most scenic golden sand beaches. The walk from Anchorage to Marahau is approx 12.4km (4 hours). Optional activity: sailing in the Abel Tasman. Overnight in a floating boat hostel or in a local campsite. *Please note that due to operational reasons, the following departure will be adhering to the winter itinerary: 2014: March 12 WINTER (LATE APRIL - EARLY NOV) Catch a morning ferry and cross the scenic Cook Strait. Make sure to stand outside and enjoy the views of the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. Disembark and transfer to our bus for a journey to the Abel Tasman National Park, well-known for its stunning white sand beaches. For the next two nights we overnight in cabins in a true rural setting on the edge of the park. Day 8 starts with a water taxi ride into the Abel Tasman National Park. Walk along a coastline track to one of the world's most scenic golden sand beaches. The walk from Anchorage to Marahau is approx 12.4km (4 hours). Share stories about your day over a group meal as you complete your experience in the Abel Tasman. Optional activities: sailing and kayaking day trips in the Abel Tasman. Overnight in Cabins in a true rural setting on the edge of the park. Estimated travel time: 3 hours drive, 3 hour ferry, 30 min boat Travel distance: 200 km drive

  • Day 9 Punakaiki (1B,1D)

    Morning drive through the stunning Buller Gorge to the West Coast of the South Island. Visit the Cape Foulwind seal colony, then follow the stunning coastal road down to our beach camp in Punakaiki for the night. Opt to kayak the river into the Paparoa National Park or stick to the local trails for some day hikes. The evening offers an opportunity to express our cooking skills and create a group meal together! Estimated travel time: 4 hour drive, 30 min boat trip Travel distance: 250 km

  • Day 10-11 Franz Josef (2B,1D)

    Trek the famous Punakaiki 'Pancake Rocks' walk and continue following the coastal road towards Franz Josef arriving at a unique wilderness lodge set in the rainforest for the night. Day 11 is a free day for optional activities. Options include various hikes, horseback riding and quad biking. Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 220 km

  • Day 12-14 Queenstown (3B)

    Early start to travel to the picturesque Lake Matheson. When the weather is right you can get a great photo of the Southern Alps reflected in the lake. Follow the wild West Coast Road, through the rainforest before stopping for some small walks and waterfall visits. Adrenaline junkies will be happy with a stop at the world's original commercial bungee site. Opt to take the plunge or simply observe the site where it all started while getting some great pictures of those who do decide to jump. Days 13 and 14 are free days to maximize time for all the optional activities in the area. Opt for a jet boating outing, bungee jumping, mountain biking, sky diving, or a vineyard tour. The options in this adventure capital are endless. Three nights at a centrally-located hostel means that fitting everything in won't be too hard. *Please note - in the winter months (late April - early Nov) skiing and snowboarding in the Southern Alps is a highlight for any visitor. Most of the aforementioned activities are also available, ask your CEO which ones are in season. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 365 km

  • Day 15 Doubtful Sound (1B,1L,1D)

    Travel to Fiordland National Park, one of the most stunningly rugged places on earth - think 'Lord of the Rings' country. Take a boat across Lake Manapouri to meet the local kayaking guides. Spend the afternoon on a guided 3 hour interpretive bush walk in deep cove with a visit to Helena Falls. The night is spent in a lodge on the edge of Doubtful Sound. The following day we engage in a 4-5 hour kayaking trip through the national park below towering cliffs and waterfalls while admiring the wild rainforest terrain. Spot dolphins, seals and penguins as the abundant birdlife surrounds you. Note: Depending on weather the walk and kayak may be reversed to fall on different days. Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 250 km

  • Day 16-17 Central Otago (2B,1D)

    Spend the morning paddling back to the wharf, then transfer by bus to the historic central Otago mining counry. Overnight in a historic miners hotel. Day 17 drive to one of the best starting points of the Historic Otago Rail Trail. Spend the better part of the day cycling (easy gradient) through stunning scenery along 35km of the old rail trail. In the evening opt to try your hand at luging and/or curling at the only year-round curling facility in Australasia. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 350 km

  • Day 18 Christchurch (1B)

    Drive through breathtaking central Otago, stopping at historic towns to buy supplies for a picnic lunch. Arrive to Christchurch in the early afternoon, stretch the legs with a short walk through Hagley park to the downtown district. Get to know sights around the central business district and witness the rebuilding that is going on in this recently devastated city. Overnight in the very unique converted Jail House. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 400 km

  • Day 19 Kaikoura (1B)

    Early start to drive the scenic coastal road up to Kaikoua. The views are breathtaking in this small town where the mountains meet the ocean. The just off shore deep water Hikurangi Trench brings an abundance of marine life very close to the shoreline. This is one of the premier spots in the world for whale watching. A free afternoon can also be spent swimming with dolphins, visiting a colony of Southern Fur seals, or taking a scenic flight over the peninsula. Bird watchers will be pleased to know that big ocean birds such as albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters frequent the area. Hikers can opt to go on several day hikes in the Seaward Kaikoura mountains, part of the Southern Alps range, that provide an excellent backdrop to the town's picturesque landscape. One of the most popular routes is the Kaikoura peninsula walkway that starts at a seal colony and provides excellent sea and mountain views. In Maori, “Kai” means food, and “Koura” means crayfish. Be sure to sample the delicious offerings from the sea. Estimated travel time: 3 hours Travel distance: 180 km

  • Day 20 Wellingtion (1B)

    Travel to the capital city, Wellington. Arrive early enough for a visit to New Zealand's National Museum, Te Papa. This is a must-see with great displays of historical Maori artifacts and relatively modern exhibits such as the motorbike that was built in a shed and won the world championships. Entrance to the museum is free (but there is a charge for special exhibits). Be sure to find the stairwell just outside the entrance and descent into the foundations of the building. See how the museum is constructed on shock absorbers to withstand the many earthquakes New Zealand encounters. A short walk from our accommodation displays the sights of the coastal central business district. Finish the day off with an optional night on the town. Wellington has an abundance of nightlife, bars, cafes and restaurants all located on and around the entertainment district of Courtenay Place. Wellington is also renowned for its coffee – be sure to grab a cup of java from one of the many cafes. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 400 km

  • Day 21 Auckland (1B)

    Travel through the centre of the North Island making a stop for lunch in the king country town of Tamaranui. Tour ends upon arrival in Auckland around 7pm. Feel free to book onward travel anytime after 10:30pm. Estimated travel time: 9 hours Travel distance: 650 km

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