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21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

Days
21

Pricing From
$3999

North Island / South Island
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Overview

Leaving Auckland on a 21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour, we journey down the magnificent and volcanic North Island to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, before taking a ferry for crossing the Cook Strait to marvel at the wonders of the South Island.

Like we do with the rest of our tours, we put together a few events that are simply too good to pass up, such as the ‘tiki’ pendant carving, a Maori cultural night, and a ‘waka’ (Maori canoe) paddling learning experience together with your group.

We also have a wide variety of optional activities you can add, from bungy jumping and jet boating to dolphin swimming and scenic flights. You are not required to participate in any of these activities; simply add the ones you like, either on the road or pre-booked. However, we recommend pre-booking activities that you really want to do, as availability is not always guaranteed when booking on the road.

The tour begins early in the morning, and it makes for a stress-free start of your journey if you choose to stay at our Auckland accommodation the night before the tour so you can simply roll off the bed and walk downstairs to begin your adventure. You can also book an additional night in Wellington so you won’t be in a rush when we bid farewell.

A one-day bus transport option to Auckland, leaving the morning after the tour ends, is available.

Shared dorm accommodation among 4 to 6 persons is included in the tour price. If you want a bit of extra space, you may upgrade to a private room for the duration of your tour.

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

21 Days Legendary NZ Adventure Tour

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Auckland to Whitianga (Coromandel Peninsula)

Kia ora (hi) and welcome to Aoteraoa (New Zealand)!

After breakfast, we kick off the tour in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland. Have you noticed that it's pretty hilly? Those aren’t just hills, they are actually 48 volcanic cones! Before we leave town we will walk up one of the most famous ones – Maungawhau, also known as Mount Eden – for 360 degree views of both city and sea.

The Coromandel Peninsula is a paradise of beautiful beaches and misty rainforests. The drive here is epic – the road twists and turns dramatically round the coastline and the ocean gets clearer and more pristine before your eyes. Cameras ready – the views are magnificent!

The Coromandel is home to the famous Hot Water Beach – thousands visit each year to dig their own personal hot tub here. If the tide times allow, we’ll definitely grab our buckets and spades and get busy!

We arrive in Whitianga with plenty of time for your guide to show you around. Sample the sandy beaches, take a surf lesson with the locals, or simply enjoy the vibes.

Free Time

Soak in Whitianga’s geothermal hot pools, check out the maritime museum, or enjoy watching harbour life go by

Available activities

Cathedral Cove Kayaking | Coromandel

This is what we consider one of the best kayaking trips in the country - paddle through amazing sea caves, explore volcanic islands in the marine reserve and enjoy a cappuccino at the exclusive Cathedral Cove beachfront cafe.

Day 2Whitianga to Waitomo

This morning we’ll walk out together along the cliffs and down to Cathedral Cove (which you might recognize from the Chronicles of Narnia). With perfect beaches and massive rock arches and columns, it’s one of the most popular spots in the Coromandel.

Alternatively, take an optional guided Cathedral Cove kayak trip and check out this stunning coastline from a different angle, accompanied by a local dolphin or two if you’re lucky!

Later today we say goodbye to the east coast and hello to the west as we head for the tiny town of Waitomo. If you can’t wait until tomorrow to meet the resident glow worms, tonight’s optional cave-walking tour is a must. Or kick back with a beer and admire the stars – they put on a great show here when the skies are clear.

Free Time

Settle in at Curly’s Bar, a Waitomo institution and a great place to meet the locals” - Hygi, Haka Guide “On a clear night Waitomo is one of the best stargazing spots in the North Island

Available activities

Glowworm Cave Tour | Waitomo

Enjoy the beauty of Footwhistle Cave (also known to local Maori as Te Anaroa Cave) where you will see the magnificent glowworms and cave formations up close and learn about the rich history of Waitomo and it's caves and about the animal life deep down in the caves.

After enjoying a relaxed stroll through the cave, you'll be seated in Footwhistle's Cathedral to see it lit up by a dazzling magnesium torch. Although the display only lasts a few seconds, your memories of the Footwhistle Cave will last a lifetime.

Complete the tour by enjoying a Kawa Kawa tea whilst you relax in our punga hut nestled in native forest and surrounds.

Day 3Waitomo to Murupara

Have you been caving in a place with twinkling glow worms on the ceiling? Now’s your chance!

Daredevils can abseil 100 metres into the caverns on an epic 4-hour caving adventure. Or float along on an underground river on an optional Cave Tubing trip as the glow worms light your way. There are also excellent guided walking tours of the caves available if heights or wet feet aren’t your thing.

This evening is a major tour highlight – we are welcomed to a Māori community for an unmissable cultural performance featuring combat demonstrations, beautiful poi performance, and – of course – the breathtaking haka.

You will also have the privilege of learning a haka or poi dance from local Māori. A traditional hāngī meal, cooked in an earth oven, will fill your puku (belly) right up.

Free Time

  • The Ruakuri rainforest walk is one of the best short walks in NZ - a great option if you don’t feel like caving in Waitomo.
  • Take the Opapaka Pā Walk to the remains of an old Māori village (pā) site.

Available activities

Cave Tubing | Waitomo

This two hour cave tubing trip is a mixed bag of fun, mystery with flashes of excitement, where you get to jump off a waterfall and zip down the underground waterslide, just relax and glide through the brilliant glow worm displays on an inner tyre tube or crawl up to a hidden waterfall!

Lost World Caving | Waitomo

Enjoy the best caving adventure tour on a four hour expedition that combines abseiling the breathtaking tomo, with climbing and tight rock squeezes!

Abseil 100m into this unique and spectacular chasm alongside your instructor. The beauty of this iconic cavern is unsurpassed.

OGO | Rotorua

Dive into a giant inflatable ball and roll down Mt Ngongotaha with OGO Rotorua, where the fun will have you laughing uncontrollably.

Visitors are rewarded with spectacular views over Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island as they Superman-dive into the OGO ride of their choice.

Slip and slide with 40 litres of water (warm in the winter, cool in the summer) down the world’s longest H2OGO Sidewinder track, or race one another down the two-double straight H2OGO tracks or try out their latest creation the DRYGO.

Day 4Murupara to Rotorua

While the majority of the North Island is volcanic in some way, Rotorua is exceptional for its geothermal activity. With neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers, active volcanoes and geysers galore, there are more unique natural wonders to be found in Rotorua than many other places in the world.

On the way to Rotorua, we stop at what really makes the town famous, along with giving it its unique smell: one of several extraordinary geyserlands and thermal parks.

There’s heaps of time to get amongst Rotorua’s diverse attractions while you're here. We’ll get you started with an orientation tour, including a stroll through the flower-filled Government Gardens by the lakefront.

Lord of the Rings fans, channel your inner hobbit with an optional visit to picturesque Hobbiton – have a ginger beer at the Green Dragon pub for us!

If adrenalin’s your thing, the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world, on the Kaituna River, is begging to be conquered on an exhilarating rafting trip. Or let your guide coax you into thundering down grassy hills in a giant air-cushioned inflatable ball (or OGO) – you won't regret it!

Free Time

Lunch at the Fat Dog… huge portions, and the cakes & desserts will blow your mind!

Available activities

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour | Rotorua

Leaving from Rotorua, this half day tour lets you see, visit and explore the set from The Lord of the Rings. Your guide is an expert and will be able to tell you interesting stories, details and facts about the creation of the set, bringing the production to life. You will see the famous Hobbit Holes, Mill, Green Dragon Inn and more. Each of these sets were lovingly created for the film and you will see how the production team transformed farmland into one of the most famous sets in the world.

White Water Rafting | Rotorua

The Kaituna River is home to the highest commercially rafted waterfall, the 7 metre Tutea falls.

This trip is a fantastic introduction to white water rafting for those who have never or barely rafted before.

A unique mix of history, culture and adrenalin overload.

Forest Ziplining | Rotorua

New Zealand zipline adventure activity is the experience of a lifetime. It’s a magnificent environment we’ll take you to – a long forgotten ancient forest just like the whole of New Zealand once was. But we have a very fun way of moving through it – a low impact mode of transport to get you high in the ancient canopy!

Day 5Rotorua to Taupo

This morning there’s time to explore Rotorua or squeeze in any last-minute add-on activities. It’s only a short drive to our next destination, Taupō, and there’s plenty to discover along the way. From mesmerising mud pools to the thundering rapids of the Huka Falls and Aratiatia Dam, your trusty Haka Guide will make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Taupō is a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. Lake Taupō is New Zealand’s largest lake – believe it or not, it’s roughly the same size as Singapore!

This place is all about the thrills and spills, and there are plenty of options in store this afternoon. Get your hair wet with a water touch bungy jump, take an unforgettable skydive or a sunset lake cruise for amazing lake and mountain views.

Psst – bring your swimwear today, one of our favourite secret stops is on the cards!

Free Time

Relax in the mineral waters of Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.

Available activities

Bungy | Water Touch | Taupo

Located in the stunning volcanic Waikato River Valley, Taupo Bungy is considered one of the world’s most spectacular jump sites and also boasts NZ’s highest water touch bungy!

(Water touching is optional)

White Water Rafting | Rotorua

The Kaituna River is home to the highest commercially rafted waterfall, the 7 metre Tutea falls.

This trip is a fantastic introduction to white water rafting for those who have never or barely rafted before.

A unique mix of history, culture and adrenalin overload.

Forest Ziplining | Rotorua

New Zealand zipline adventure activity is the experience of a lifetime. It’s a magnificent environment we’ll take you to – a long forgotten ancient forest just like the whole of New Zealand once was. But we have a very fun way of moving through it – a low impact mode of transport to get you high in the ancient canopy!

Day 6Taupo

A full day in Taupō… are you in the mood for peaceful lakeside tranquility or unlimited adrenalin and adventure? Either way, Taupō’s got you covered.

For many, the ultimate adventure on offer here is the hiking (or tramping, as we Kiwis know it). The Tongariro Crossing is among the top 10 full-day walks in the world. This 19.4-kilometre mountain trek boasts emerald green lakes, venting steam, lava flows and craters. You’ll come back grinning from ear to ear before falling into bed and sleeping like a baby.

If you’d prefer to relax, jump on a boat for a sailing trip to view Māori rock carvings. Or head to Spa Park and soak until your fingers are wrinkly. However you choose to spend today we guarantee you won’t forget it.

Free Time

  • Many people leave Taupō a pie addict. Paetiki Bakery on Spa Rd will change your life forever!! And to work off those pies, Mt Tauhara and Spa Park/Huka Falls walks are stunning!
  • Spa Thermal Park in Taupō... Hot waterfalls at just the right temperature for a massage, into a rock pool with the cool Waikato river on the other side... Pretty special!
  • Walk up Mt Tauhara… amazing sunsets from up there!

Available activities

Bungy | Water Touch | Taupo

Located in the stunning volcanic Waikato River Valley, Taupo Bungy is considered one of the world’s most spectacular jump sites and also boasts NZ’s highest water touch bungy!

(Water touching is optional)

Lake Taupo Sailing - Fearless | Taupo

Be Fearless! Join us for a sail on Fearless, Great Lake Taupo’s only 48’ ketch offering small groups, of up to 14 people, pure sailing magic.

Experience the beauty and thrill of a scenic journey out to the infamous Maori rock carvings taking in the popular Te Kopua and Acacia Bays en route.

The trip includes a swimming stop in summer or winter if your brave, and be sure to bring your camera to capture some of the most breathtaking views around. Come and join us on Fearless for a trip to remember.

Skydive | Taupo

With expert tandem skydive instructors; you’ll jump out of an aircraft from up to 15,000ft and into an incredible free-fall over the worlds most stunning drop zone, surrounded by snow tipped peaks and the clean, fresh blue of lake Taupo, you’ll slow from a 200KM/H descent to a safe, controlled canopy landing.

The Tongariro Crossing | Taupo

Rated as the best one day trek in New Zealand and listed by many as one of top 10 day treks in the world, the Tongariro Crossing is a challenging hike taking 7 - 8 hours covering a distance of 19.4 km.

Day 7Taupo to Wellington

It’s a big drive from Taupo to Wellington, but there’s some unmissable scenery on offer. Lord of the Rings junkies, you’re in for a treat!

Our journey takes us through Tongariro National Park via the Rangipo Desert (bet you didn’t know New Zealand had one of those!). Some of your favourite Lord of the Rings battle scenes were filmed right here.

The Desert Road boasts incredible views of three active volcanic peaks – Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu. You may know Mount Ngauruhoe as Mount Doom, so be sure to snap a Mordor selfie!

We pass through two of the North Island’s quirkier towns – as ever, your guide has a couple of surprises up their sleeve...

We pull into Wellington in the afternoon, with just enough time for film buffs make a trip to Weta Workshop, where the special effects of Lord of the Rings and Avatar were produced.

New Zealand’s capital is famous for its bars and eateries, and is a paradise for lovers of craft beer – you’ll be spoilt for choice tonight!

Free Time

  • Ride the old fashioned cable car to the Botanic Gardens
  • Visit spectacular Te Papa Museum and learn about NZ history and culture

Available activities

Bungy | Water Touch | Taupo

Located in the stunning volcanic Waikato River Valley, Taupo Bungy is considered one of the world’s most spectacular jump sites and also boasts NZ’s highest water touch bungy!

(Water touching is optional)

Day 8Wellington to Kaikoura

Packed with quirky cafes and beautiful street art, and famous for its wind, Wellington will blow you away in more ways than one! Your guide will introduce you to some of our favourite spots this morning. We take a trip up Mount Victoria for the best views in town.

This afternoon we say farewell to the North Island with a scenic ferry journey across the Cook Strait. The South Island has a stunning welcome in store for us – gliding through the Marlborough Sounds as we approach Picton Harbour, you’ll feel like you’re in another world.

Our next destination, Kaikōura literally means “to eat crayfish”, and the area is teeming with them. The nutrient-rich waters of this area attract a wide variety of marine wildlife including the stars of the show – whales and dolphins.

Free Time

The Cook Strait ferry crossing is one of my fave things to do in New Zealand – the swoon-worthy beauty of the Queen Charlotte Sounds as you reach the South Island never gets old

Available activities

Dolphin Encounter | Kaikoura

Get up close and personal with the Dusky - regarded as the worlds most playful Dolphin. The dusky dolphins inhabit the coastal waters off Kaikoura all year round, making Kaikoura a unique place in the world where wild dolphins can be encountered every day, weather permitting.

Whale Watching | Kaikoura

Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience, with sightings of whales varying all the time. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year round residents of this area, with Humpback Whales often making an appearance between May and August.

Day 9Kaikoura to Christchurch

The chance to swim with dolphins in the wild is a massive New Zealand highlight for many travellers, and Kaikōura is one of the best places to find them, with pods of up to 300 of these playful creatures hanging out here at any one time.

If you want to get up close to the giants of the ocean, a whale watching tour here is the way to do it. Humpbacks, sperm whales and orca all stop by at various times of year, so this is a great chance to meet some of them.

After visiting the local seals on our way out of town, our road trip continues to our home for the night – Christchurch, known as the “Garden City” for its peaceful parklands and lazy rivers.

Free Time

  • Stroll the Kaikōura Peninsula walkway to admire staggering limestone cliffs bordered by deep blue ocean
  • Twisted Hop Pub in Christchurch for nice evening vibes, beers and mean food!

Available activities

Whale Watching | Kaikoura

Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience, with sightings of whales varying all the time. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year round residents of this area, with Humpback Whales often making an appearance between May and August.

Day 10Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

This morning we’ll explore iconic downtown Christchurch and your guide will show you the cool and creative ways the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here. Christchurch folk are an innovative and creative bunch – the Transitional Cathedral, created from cardboard, is totally inspirational.

After lunch we leave the city behind and head for Lake Tekapo. The lake’s breathtaking turquoise colour and aThe tiny Church of the Good Shepherd stands right at the water’s edge, proving that small is definitely beautiful. Grab some confetti and congratulate any passing brides – couples travel from all over the world for wedding shots in front of the chapel!

Tekapo has been declared an International Dark Sky Reserve and the super clear skies make it the best place in New Zealand to see the stars and galaxies on a clear night. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Free Time

  • The Re:Start container mall is the perfect place to pass an hour or two on a sunny afternoon
  • Head to the Tekapo lakefront at night, and just lay on your back and look at the stars

Available activities

Hot Air Ballooning | Christchurch

Take a ride of a lifetime and admire the beauty of Christchurch and its surrounding region from a hot air balloon.

This is the only place in the world where it is possible to fly from the centre of the city in view of the ocean and toward snow-capped mountains.

Day 11Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

This morning if you’re feeling energetic, hike up to the summit of Mt John. With awesome views of the Southern Alps, you’ll feel on top of the world. Speaking of views, today’s scenic drive to Queenstown is a show-stopper.

From the golden tussocklands of Mackenzie country – where epic battles of Return of the King were filmed – to the dramatic peaks of the Southern Alps, it’s like you’re driving into a postcard.

We’ll pause for lots of photo stops en route to give your camera a workout, including a stop at the spectacular Kawarau Gorge. This also happens to be the World Home of Bungy, give it a go or enjoy watching the jumpers scream their way through the gorge!

Whether you’re an adrenalin junkie, an avid hiker, wine taster or scenery lover, Queenstown has something for absolutely everyone. With two nights and plenty of daylight hours here, get ready – this town certainly knows how to live life to the max!

Free Time

  • Walk up Mt John to be rewarded with sweet views and awesome hot chocolate from the cafe at the top.
  • There's an A-MAZING burrito place at the top of the Queenstown Mall called El Caribe. Burritos as big as your head!

Available activities

Bungy | Kawarau Bridge | Queenstown

As you shuffle out to the edge of the bridge, heart pounding and mind racing, remember this – you’ve found yourself at the World Home of Bungy. This is the original. Many people have come and gone, on a mission to push the limits and test themselves, why not join them?

Grand Traverse Scenic Flight | Tekapo

Well worth the cost, this is a flight of a lifetime over two World Heritage National Parks and 200km of New Zealand’s most memorable and spectacular scenery.

The 50 minute flight passes over Mt Cook (Aoraki) and Westland National Parks, 12 major glaciers, the highest peaks in Oceania and the sub tropical rain forests of the South Island's West Coast.

Paragliding | Queenstown

Treat yourself to an incredible paragliding experience, enjoying breathtaking views taking off from Queenstown!

To get to the Paragliding site, you ride the Queenstown Gondola. This ride is included on one of your days in Queenstown, as part of your tour.

However if for whatever reason you can't paraglide on that day, you will need to pay an additional $34 NZD to get to the Paragliding site on an alternative Queenstown day.

Day 12Queenstown

With a full day in Queenstown, let’s work on that bucket list! There are heaps of options to choose from: paragliding over the lake, mountain bike parks and trails to die for, bungy jumping while your Haka friends cheer you on, horse riding through Lord of the Rings scenery, and swinging through a canyon are just a few of our favourites.

Hikers: the Ben Lomond day walk (not for the faint- hearted) will be right up your alley. This is a firm tour guide favourite, and they can recommend great shorter walks too.

For scenery lovers, Milford Sound is a must-see. Whether you fly or drive, the scenery en route is as awesome as the destination. Once on the Sound, sailing beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, you’ll understand why some call it the “8th Wonder of the World”.

Tonight you have around 40 bars to choose from – your guide will fill you in on their favourites – to share your adventures with your travel buddies, and party the night away.

Free Time

  • For a full day adventure, hike Ben Lomond Track for the ultimate panoramic views.
  • Cycle the Lake Wakatipu Trail and enjoy the wind in your hair.

Available activities

Horse Trekking | Glenorchy (Queenstown)

Riding alongside beautiful braided rivers, this adventure offers river crossings and spectacular scenery of Te Wahipounamu, as well as Lord of the Rings locations. An experience to remember for riders of all levels. Please note there is a 95 Kilogram weight limit for riders.

Bungy | Kawarau Bridge | Queenstown

As you shuffle out to the edge of the bridge, heart pounding and mind racing, remember this – you’ve found yourself at the World Home of Bungy. This is the original. Many people have come and gone, on a mission to push the limits and test themselves, why not join them?

Canyon Swing | Queenstown

The canyon swing is a bit different to a bungy. You are secured in a full body harness enabling you to depart from the 109 metre high platform in any position imaginable.

Day 13Queenstown to Wanaka

After the excitement of Queenstown, today is a chance to chill. Wanaka is Queenstown’s slightly quieter little sister, a mere one hour drive away. On the way we’ll stop in at charming Arrowtown, a historic gold rush village with heaps of old world character.

Blessed with towering peaks and a glacial blue lake, you’ll soon see why Wanaka’s considered to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain towns. There are stunning hikes and bike rides all around for a welcome chance to chill.

One of the best ways to admire Wanaka is from the air. Treat yourself to a skydive or a scenic flight in a vintage plane – you can even take a flying lesson, or if you prefer to keep your feet closer to the ground, stroll or bike around the lake and check out the famous Wanaka Tree, standing all alone in the water. As always, it’s your trip and your choice: you do you.

Free Time

  • The Frisbee golf course, only 5 minutes from town, has AMAZING views.
  • Check out some stunning landscape photography at the Picture Lounge.
  • Yummy burritos from the burrito van behind the supermarket - always one of my first stops when heading to Wanaka!

Available activities

Extreme Jet Boating | Queenstown

This is a jet boat trip like no other! Shotover Jet has been operating since 1970, and now it's your turn!

The state of the art custom built jet boats are designed for one purpose: to excite and thrill you as you race through the Shotover Canyon at speed of 80km/hr.

Sit back, hold on and enjoy the ride.

Aerobatic Plane Flight | Wanaka

See Lake Wanaka like you've never seen it before in a 1941 open cockpit bi-plane. Not for the faint-hearted!

This 30 minute flight includes some of the aerobatic skills of the by-gone era. The journey will include some of the most spectacular scenery in the region, taking in views of Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and Glendhu Bay with the backdrop of Mt Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.

Bungy | Nevis - NZs Highest! | Queenstown

The ultimate boast for your friends back home (though you might not want to tell your mother...)

The experience kicks off with a rugged 35 minute back-blocks 4x4 drive before you get harnessed up and board a shuttle which ferries you to the Bungy Pod.

The bungy itself is the highest in the Southern Hemisphere at 134m (8.5 seconds of freefall). 100% pure adrenalin, get yourself out there and do it!

Canyon Swing | Queenstown

The canyon swing is a bit different to a bungy. You are secured in a full body harness enabling you to depart from the 109 metre high platform in any position imaginable.

Day 14Wanaka to Franz Josef

After a relaxing morning in Wanaka, the journey to Franz is an another stunner – many of our Haka Guides rate it as their favourite drive in New Zealand.

As we hit the road, we’ll stop at one of our favourite lakeside lookout points at Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka. Your guide will keep an eye on the weather and pick the best option.

From the cascading waterfalls of Haast Pass to classic Kiwi coastal views, you won’t want to nap on the bus in case you miss anything. Your guide will have some epic surprise photo stops and short walks along the way.

Between September and December it’s whitebait season (a small fish that’s a delicacy in New Zealand). Fried up with eggs and served on toast, it’s a local treat and shouldn’t be missed. We’ll stop at one of the local spots for a taste during the season.

We roll into Franz Josef around late afternoon/early evening. This UNESCO World Heritage area is famous for its spectacular glacier, just 5 kilometres from town, which is begging to be explored tomorrow.

Free Time

  • Hire a bike, and cycle the Outlet Track next to the crystal clear waters of Clutha River

Available activities

Aerobatic Plane Flight | Wanaka

See Lake Wanaka like you've never seen it before in a 1941 open cockpit bi-plane. Not for the faint-hearted!

This 30 minute flight includes some of the aerobatic skills of the by-gone era. The journey will include some of the most spectacular scenery in the region, taking in views of Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and Glendhu Bay with the backdrop of Mt Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.

Skydive | Wanaka

If you want unbeatable views of Wanaka's world-famous lakes and mountains, this it the ultimate way to get them! Strap yourself to a beautiful stranger and leap out of a plane, right into the heart of Lord of the Rings country.

Scared? Believe it or not, 15,000 feet is recommended over 12,000 feet because you have more time to adjust to the freefall.

Day 15Franz Josef

With Aoraki/Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) twinkling behind the glaciers, Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand.

Te Wahi Pounamu (which means ‘the place of greenstone’ in Māori) is the name given to the this part of the West Coast because of the abundance of pounamu (greenstone/jade) to be found here. Included in your tour today is a special opportunity to carve your very own pounamu pendant at a local gallery.

There are heaps of ways to enjoy Franz Josef Glacier; weather permitting, to get up onto the bluest ice you can take a scenic helicopter flight and hike onto the glaciers. Maybe you’d prefer to kayak on a glacial lake; or just relax in the steamy hot springs down below.

As well as the awesome glacier activities you could also try out quad biking, horseback riding and even a bit of group karaoke tonight in Franz Josef!

Free Time

  • Take a little night walk to see the native glow worms, right around the corner from our accommodation. Don’t get spooked in the dark!

Available activities

Glacier Heli Hike | Franz Josef

Glacier trekking is considered an absolute #nzmustdo, and is actually suitable for all abilities. We recommend the heli-hike as a quick way to reach the bluer ice of the glacier.

Glacier Kayaking | Franz Josef

A gorgeous way to enjoy the snowy peaks and mirror-like waters as you glide along the glassy waters of Lake Mapourika. You'll take in stunning panoramic views of the Southern Alps and up to 10 different Glaciers, including the Franz Josef Neve.

On the far side of the Lake follow your guide deep into the rainforest and Kiwi Sanctuary, via a rainforest creek. Simply an awesome way to enjoy the unique Franz Josef landscape up close.

Heli Experience with Snow Landing | Franz Josef

Within seconds of lifting off from the Franz Helipad at the foot of the Southern Alps, the scenic views have already started. Fly over the world famous Franz Josef Glacier as you climb above and beyond to reveal the real heart of the truly magnificent Southern Alps. Take a deep breath as the highest Mountain in New Zealand comes into view: Mount Cook, shouldered by Mt Tasman and the Southern Alps.

Quad Biking | Franz Josef

A ton of fun as you embark on a 4WD adventure and head across stony braided riverbeds, see glacial fed rivers and listen to your guide tell you about local history.

The vehicles are incredibly easy to ride. There is a passenger option if you would prefer not to drive.

Day 16Franz Josef to Punakaiki

Driving along the incredible coastal road and exploring the lush forests around Punakaiki, it almost feels like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s a rare treat to experience such remote prehistoric landscapes, so make the most of this awesome opportunity to unplug from the outside world.

Get excited; our trusty guides always have some surprises up their sleeves for this part of the trip, including a spot or two to get your feet wet.

We’ll visit one of the famous artisan greenstone factories in Hokitika as we make our way north, as well as passing through some old gold mining towns before arriving in Punakaiki.

One of Punakaiki’s many natural wonders is the subtropical rainforest – and we are staying in the heart of it for the next two nights!

Cook up a group dinner in this rainforest paradise, and be sure to end the day watching the sun set over the ocean tonight.

Free Time

  • Why not walk part of the Truman Track through the pristine rainforest? Look out for the local weka (native birds) as they try to steal your food!
Day 17Punakaiki

Whether you decide to soak up the sun on the unspoilt beaches or stroll through the rainforest to a chorus of birdsong, you’ll shed your cares in this magical place.

A short walk to see a giant stack of pancakes is a must-do today: Punakaiki’s limestone Pancake Rocks developed over 30 million years ago. You’ll see what water pressure can do when the waves power through some seriously impressive blowholes – watch out for that spray!

Today you could try your hand at kayaking or exploring the region’s underground caves by tube. There are also opportunities for horseback riding in Paparoa National Park. Or simply chill by the beach near your rainforest home.

On a clear night, head to the beach with your buddies and watch the stars come out to play – seriously, is there a better way to end the day?

Free Time

  • The beach is spectacular, even when it’s wet and wild. Crashing waves, gemstones and caves – you’ll love it!

Available activities

Cave Tubing | Punakaiki

A superb 4 hour Black Water Rafting adventure in the enormous Nile River Cave System deep in the ‘Untamed Natural Wilderness’ of the Paparoa National Park. Float on a slow moving underground river to emerge back into daylight having used only the natural light of the simply awe inspiring display of glow worms as navigation.

Day 18Punakaiki to Abel Tasman

Cruising up north from Punakaiki, the scenery gets better and better. The powerful, untouched coastline gives way to rivers and gorges before we drive over the hills and down towards the bayside town of Nelson, to stock up on supplies before our next remote hideaway.

Marahau, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, boasts golden beaches, tranquil lagoons and crystal clear waters. Abel Tasman is the perfect contrast to the wildness of the rainforests and mountains.

Why will you fall in love with Abel Tasman? Lush forests, sandy beaches, sheltered bays, and jaw-dropping views… not to mention the resident wildlife. Get ready to lose your heart to the most popular National Park in New Zealand.

Free Time

  • Stroll down to the Marahau causeway tonight for an awesome introduction to Abel Tasman National Park.

Available activities

Skydive | Abel Tasman

Skydiving is a definite inclusion on our New Zealand bucket list and is something no one on our tours has ever regretted doing!

Feel the freedom of flying over turquoise oceans, snow-capped mountains-some of the most beautiful scenery on earth right at the centre of New Zealand.

Day 19Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman… you beauty. Lush forests, golden sandy beaches, sheltered bays, and jaw-dropping views… not to mention the local seals, dolphins and bird life...

You might like to hike part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track – one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks – or paddle a kayak to Split Apple Rock. You could jump, slide, abseil, float and zipline your way through the park on an awesome canyoning adventure.

Fancy a relaxing day instead? Choose yourself a golden beach and make yourself at home.

In the warmer months we’ll stay another night at the edge of the national park. In winter we’ll drive a little further and stay in quirky Nelson with its cosy pubs, cool craft beers and artsy vibes.

Free Time

  • Just relax and take it all in - locations this wild and gorgeous don’t come along every day!”

Available activities

Canyoning | Abel Tasman

Let us take you to the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park where we jump, slide, abseil and zipline our way down Torrent River.

Canyoning in is a combination of lots of fun stuff all bunched into one exciting activity. Trips normally start with a walk up through beautiful scenery. Then it’s time to get the rubber suits on and start making our way down the canyon.

We jump off cliffs into deep pools below, slide down water polished chutes and abseil besides or sometimes even through showering waterfalls.

Kayaking | Abel Tasman

This half-day guided kayak tour in Abel Tasman involves paddling between Marahau and Observation Beach (approximately three hours). It then takes you through the safe, sheltered and scenic southern reaches of the Abel Tasman. Home to more than a dozen beautiful golden beaches, two islands, several sea caves, reefs and tidal lagoons, this area of Abel Tasman is a delight to sea kayak.

Day 20Abel Tasman to Wellington

Today you’ll start things off by learning to paddle a traditional waka (a Māori war canoe). Experience a karakia (blessing for protection), and learn tikanga (waka etiquette) all while getting out on the water to enjoy this unique included activity.

Our road trip continues along the northern edge of the South Island this afternoon. We’ll stop for tasting at a local winery, and there's a chance to taste some famous New Zealand mussels in Havelock as we wind our way towards Picton to catch the evening ferry to Wellington.

As the lights of Picton Harbour fade into the night, relax on board together for a chilled evening.

Free Time

  • Havelock is the green-lipped mussel capital of the world, you HAVE to try some if you get the chance!
Day 21Wellington to Auckland

Our final day of the tour is an optional transfer drive from Wellington to Auckland, which is super handy if you have booked your return flights from the City of Sails. Crank up your favourite tour tunes and enjoy reflecting on the awesome time you have had in New Zealand while the North Island passes you by.

We arrive in Auckland early- to mid-evening. Why not have a final dinner and a few drinks with your new travel buddies? Your accommodation tonight is included so you can treat yourself to a lie-in tomorrow morning!

Please note that you’re free to stay in Wellington tonight if you prefer – we can help with additional accommodation here, just let us know.

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Auckland to Whitianga (Coromandel Peninsula)

Kia ora (hi) and welcome to Aoteraoa (New Zealand)!

After breakfast, we kick off the tour in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland. Have you noticed that it's pretty hilly? Those aren’t just hills, they are actually 48 volcanic cones! Before we leave town we will walk up one of the most famous ones – Maungawhau, also known as Mount Eden – for 360 degree views of both city and sea.

The Coromandel Peninsula is a paradise of beautiful beaches and misty rainforests. The drive here is epic – the road twists and turns dramatically round the coastline and the ocean gets clearer and more pristine before your eyes. Cameras ready – the views are magnificent!

The Coromandel is home to the famous Hot Water Beach – thousands visit each year to dig their own personal hot tub here. If the tide times allow, we’ll definitely grab our buckets and spades and get busy!

We arrive in Whitianga with plenty of time for your guide to show you around. Sample the sandy beaches, take a surf lesson with the locals, or simply enjoy the vibes.

Free Time

Soak in Whitianga’s geothermal hot pools, check out the maritime museum, or enjoy watching harbour life go by

Available activities

Cathedral Cove Kayaking | Coromandel

This is what we consider one of the best kayaking trips in the country - paddle through amazing sea caves, explore volcanic islands in the marine reserve and enjoy a cappuccino at the exclusive Cathedral Cove beachfront cafe.

Day 2Whitianga to Waitomo

This morning we’ll walk out together along the cliffs and down to Cathedral Cove (which you might recognize from the Chronicles of Narnia). With perfect beaches and massive rock arches and columns, it’s one of the most popular spots in the Coromandel.

Alternatively, take an optional guided Cathedral Cove kayak trip and check out this stunning coastline from a different angle, accompanied by a local dolphin or two if you’re lucky!

Later today we say goodbye to the east coast and hello to the west as we head for the tiny town of Waitomo. If you can’t wait until tomorrow to meet the resident glow worms, tonight’s optional cave-walking tour is a must. Or kick back with a beer and admire the stars – they put on a great show here when the skies are clear.

Free Time

Settle in at Curly’s Bar, a Waitomo institution and a great place to meet the locals” - Hygi, Haka Guide “On a clear night Waitomo is one of the best stargazing spots in the North Island

Available activities

Glowworm Cave Tour | Waitomo

Enjoy the beauty of Footwhistle Cave (also known to local Maori as Te Anaroa Cave) where you will see the magnificent glowworms and cave formations up close and learn about the rich history of Waitomo and it's caves and about the animal life deep down in the caves.

After enjoying a relaxed stroll through the cave, you'll be seated in Footwhistle's Cathedral to see it lit up by a dazzling magnesium torch. Although the display only lasts a few seconds, your memories of the Footwhistle Cave will last a lifetime.

Complete the tour by enjoying a Kawa Kawa tea whilst you relax in our punga hut nestled in native forest and surrounds.

Day 3Waitomo to Murupara

Have you been caving in a place with twinkling glow worms on the ceiling? Now’s your chance!

Daredevils can abseil 100 metres into the caverns on an epic 4-hour caving adventure. Or float along on an underground river on an optional Cave Tubing trip as the glow worms light your way. There are also excellent guided walking tours of the caves available if heights or wet feet aren’t your thing.

This evening is a major tour highlight – we are welcomed to a Māori community for an unmissable cultural performance featuring combat demonstrations, beautiful poi performance, and – of course – the breathtaking haka.

You will also have the privilege of learning a haka or poi dance from local Māori. A traditional hāngī meal, cooked in an earth oven, will fill your puku (belly) right up.

Free Time

  • The Ruakuri rainforest walk is one of the best short walks in NZ - a great option if you don’t feel like caving in Waitomo.
  • Take the Opapaka Pā Walk to the remains of an old Māori village (pā) site.

Available activities

Cave Tubing | Waitomo

This two hour cave tubing trip is a mixed bag of fun, mystery with flashes of excitement, where you get to jump off a waterfall and zip down the underground waterslide, just relax and glide through the brilliant glow worm displays on an inner tyre tube or crawl up to a hidden waterfall!

Lost World Caving | Waitomo

Enjoy the best caving adventure tour on a four hour expedition that combines abseiling the breathtaking tomo, with climbing and tight rock squeezes!

Abseil 100m into this unique and spectacular chasm alongside your instructor. The beauty of this iconic cavern is unsurpassed.

OGO | Rotorua

Dive into a giant inflatable ball and roll down Mt Ngongotaha with OGO Rotorua, where the fun will have you laughing uncontrollably.

Visitors are rewarded with spectacular views over Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island as they Superman-dive into the OGO ride of their choice.

Slip and slide with 40 litres of water (warm in the winter, cool in the summer) down the world’s longest H2OGO Sidewinder track, or race one another down the two-double straight H2OGO tracks or try out their latest creation the DRYGO.

Day 4Murupara to Rotorua

While the majority of the North Island is volcanic in some way, Rotorua is exceptional for its geothermal activity. With neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers, active volcanoes and geysers galore, there are more unique natural wonders to be found in Rotorua than many other places in the world.

On the way to Rotorua, we stop at what really makes the town famous, along with giving it its unique smell: one of several extraordinary geyserlands and thermal parks.

There’s heaps of time to get amongst Rotorua’s diverse attractions while you're here. We’ll get you started with an orientation tour, including a stroll through the flower-filled Government Gardens by the lakefront.

Lord of the Rings fans, channel your inner hobbit with an optional visit to picturesque Hobbiton – have a ginger beer at the Green Dragon pub for us!

If adrenalin’s your thing, the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world, on the Kaituna River, is begging to be conquered on an exhilarating rafting trip. Or let your guide coax you into thundering down grassy hills in a giant air-cushioned inflatable ball (or OGO) – you won't regret it!

Free Time

Lunch at the Fat Dog… huge portions, and the cakes & desserts will blow your mind!

Available activities

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour | Rotorua

Leaving from Rotorua, this half day tour lets you see, visit and explore the set from The Lord of the Rings. Your guide is an expert and will be able to tell you interesting stories, details and facts about the creation of the set, bringing the production to life. You will see the famous Hobbit Holes, Mill, Green Dragon Inn and more. Each of these sets were lovingly created for the film and you will see how the production team transformed farmland into one of the most famous sets in the world.

White Water Rafting | Rotorua

The Kaituna River is home to the highest commercially rafted waterfall, the 7 metre Tutea falls.

This trip is a fantastic introduction to white water rafting for those who have never or barely rafted before.

A unique mix of history, culture and adrenalin overload.

Forest Ziplining | Rotorua

New Zealand zipline adventure activity is the experience of a lifetime. It’s a magnificent environment we’ll take you to – a long forgotten ancient forest just like the whole of New Zealand once was. But we have a very fun way of moving through it – a low impact mode of transport to get you high in the ancient canopy!

Day 5Rotorua to Taupo

This morning there’s time to explore Rotorua or squeeze in any last-minute add-on activities. It’s only a short drive to our next destination, Taupō, and there’s plenty to discover along the way. From mesmerising mud pools to the thundering rapids of the Huka Falls and Aratiatia Dam, your trusty Haka Guide will make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Taupō is a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. Lake Taupō is New Zealand’s largest lake – believe it or not, it’s roughly the same size as Singapore!

This place is all about the thrills and spills, and there are plenty of options in store this afternoon. Get your hair wet with a water touch bungy jump, take an unforgettable skydive or a sunset lake cruise for amazing lake and mountain views.

Psst – bring your swimwear today, one of our favourite secret stops is on the cards!

Free Time

Relax in the mineral waters of Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.

Available activities

Bungy | Water Touch | Taupo

Located in the stunning volcanic Waikato River Valley, Taupo Bungy is considered one of the world’s most spectacular jump sites and also boasts NZ’s highest water touch bungy!

(Water touching is optional)

White Water Rafting | Rotorua

The Kaituna River is home to the highest commercially rafted waterfall, the 7 metre Tutea falls.

This trip is a fantastic introduction to white water rafting for those who have never or barely rafted before.

A unique mix of history, culture and adrenalin overload.

Forest Ziplining | Rotorua

New Zealand zipline adventure activity is the experience of a lifetime. It’s a magnificent environment we’ll take you to – a long forgotten ancient forest just like the whole of New Zealand once was. But we have a very fun way of moving through it – a low impact mode of transport to get you high in the ancient canopy!

Day 6Taupo

A full day in Taupō… are you in the mood for peaceful lakeside tranquility or unlimited adrenalin and adventure? Either way, Taupō’s got you covered.

For many, the ultimate adventure on offer here is the hiking (or tramping, as we Kiwis know it). The Tongariro Crossing is among the top 10 full-day walks in the world. This 19.4-kilometre mountain trek boasts emerald green lakes, venting steam, lava flows and craters. You’ll come back grinning from ear to ear before falling into bed and sleeping like a baby.

If you’d prefer to relax, jump on a boat for a sailing trip to view Māori rock carvings. Or head to Spa Park and soak until your fingers are wrinkly. However you choose to spend today we guarantee you won’t forget it.

Free Time

  • Many people leave Taupō a pie addict. Paetiki Bakery on Spa Rd will change your life forever!! And to work off those pies, Mt Tauhara and Spa Park/Huka Falls walks are stunning!
  • Spa Thermal Park in Taupō... Hot waterfalls at just the right temperature for a massage, into a rock pool with the cool Waikato river on the other side... Pretty special!
  • Walk up Mt Tauhara… amazing sunsets from up there!

Available activities

Bungy | Water Touch | Taupo

Located in the stunning volcanic Waikato River Valley, Taupo Bungy is considered one of the world’s most spectacular jump sites and also boasts NZ’s highest water touch bungy!

(Water touching is optional)

Lake Taupo Sailing - Fearless | Taupo

Be Fearless! Join us for a sail on Fearless, Great Lake Taupo’s only 48’ ketch offering small groups, of up to 14 people, pure sailing magic.

Experience the beauty and thrill of a scenic journey out to the infamous Maori rock carvings taking in the popular Te Kopua and Acacia Bays en route.

The trip includes a swimming stop in summer or winter if your brave, and be sure to bring your camera to capture some of the most breathtaking views around. Come and join us on Fearless for a trip to remember.

Skydive | Taupo

With expert tandem skydive instructors; you’ll jump out of an aircraft from up to 15,000ft and into an incredible free-fall over the worlds most stunning drop zone, surrounded by snow tipped peaks and the clean, fresh blue of lake Taupo, you’ll slow from a 200KM/H descent to a safe, controlled canopy landing.

The Tongariro Crossing | Taupo

Rated as the best one day trek in New Zealand and listed by many as one of top 10 day treks in the world, the Tongariro Crossing is a challenging hike taking 7 - 8 hours covering a distance of 19.4 km.

Day 7Taupo to Wellington

It’s a big drive from Taupo to Wellington, but there’s some unmissable scenery on offer. Lord of the Rings junkies, you’re in for a treat!

Our journey takes us through Tongariro National Park via the Rangipo Desert (bet you didn’t know New Zealand had one of those!). Some of your favourite Lord of the Rings battle scenes were filmed right here.

The Desert Road boasts incredible views of three active volcanic peaks – Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu. You may know Mount Ngauruhoe as Mount Doom, so be sure to snap a Mordor selfie!

We pass through two of the North Island’s quirkier towns – as ever, your guide has a couple of surprises up their sleeve...

We pull into Wellington in the afternoon, with just enough time for film buffs make a trip to Weta Workshop, where the special effects of Lord of the Rings and Avatar were produced.

New Zealand’s capital is famous for its bars and eateries, and is a paradise for lovers of craft beer – you’ll be spoilt for choice tonight!

Free Time

  • Ride the old fashioned cable car to the Botanic Gardens
  • Visit spectacular Te Papa Museum and learn about NZ history and culture

Available activities

Bungy | Water Touch | Taupo

Located in the stunning volcanic Waikato River Valley, Taupo Bungy is considered one of the world’s most spectacular jump sites and also boasts NZ’s highest water touch bungy!

(Water touching is optional)

Day 8Wellington to Kaikoura

Packed with quirky cafes and beautiful street art, and famous for its wind, Wellington will blow you away in more ways than one! Your guide will introduce you to some of our favourite spots this morning. We take a trip up Mount Victoria for the best views in town.

This afternoon we say farewell to the North Island with a scenic ferry journey across the Cook Strait. The South Island has a stunning welcome in store for us – gliding through the Marlborough Sounds as we approach Picton Harbour, you’ll feel like you’re in another world.

Our next destination, Kaikōura literally means “to eat crayfish”, and the area is teeming with them. The nutrient-rich waters of this area attract a wide variety of marine wildlife including the stars of the show – whales and dolphins.

Free Time

The Cook Strait ferry crossing is one of my fave things to do in New Zealand – the swoon-worthy beauty of the Queen Charlotte Sounds as you reach the South Island never gets old

Available activities

Dolphin Encounter | Kaikoura

Get up close and personal with the Dusky - regarded as the worlds most playful Dolphin. The dusky dolphins inhabit the coastal waters off Kaikoura all year round, making Kaikoura a unique place in the world where wild dolphins can be encountered every day, weather permitting.

Whale Watching | Kaikoura

Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience, with sightings of whales varying all the time. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year round residents of this area, with Humpback Whales often making an appearance between May and August.

Day 9Kaikoura to Christchurch

The chance to swim with dolphins in the wild is a massive New Zealand highlight for many travellers, and Kaikōura is one of the best places to find them, with pods of up to 300 of these playful creatures hanging out here at any one time.

If you want to get up close to the giants of the ocean, a whale watching tour here is the way to do it. Humpbacks, sperm whales and orca all stop by at various times of year, so this is a great chance to meet some of them.

After visiting the local seals on our way out of town, our road trip continues to our home for the night – Christchurch, known as the “Garden City” for its peaceful parklands and lazy rivers.

Free Time

  • Stroll the Kaikōura Peninsula walkway to admire staggering limestone cliffs bordered by deep blue ocean
  • Twisted Hop Pub in Christchurch for nice evening vibes, beers and mean food!

Available activities

Whale Watching | Kaikoura

Every Whale Watch tour is a unique experience, with sightings of whales varying all the time. Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year round residents of this area, with Humpback Whales often making an appearance between May and August.

Day 10Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

This morning we’ll explore iconic downtown Christchurch and your guide will show you the cool and creative ways the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here. Christchurch folk are an innovative and creative bunch – the Transitional Cathedral, created from cardboard, is totally inspirational.

After lunch we leave the city behind and head for Lake Tekapo. The lake’s breathtaking turquoise colour and aThe tiny Church of the Good Shepherd stands right at the water’s edge, proving that small is definitely beautiful. Grab some confetti and congratulate any passing brides – couples travel from all over the world for wedding shots in front of the chapel!

Tekapo has been declared an International Dark Sky Reserve and the super clear skies make it the best place in New Zealand to see the stars and galaxies on a clear night. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Free Time

  • The Re:Start container mall is the perfect place to pass an hour or two on a sunny afternoon
  • Head to the Tekapo lakefront at night, and just lay on your back and look at the stars

Available activities

Hot Air Ballooning | Christchurch

Take a ride of a lifetime and admire the beauty of Christchurch and its surrounding region from a hot air balloon.

This is the only place in the world where it is possible to fly from the centre of the city in view of the ocean and toward snow-capped mountains.

Day 11Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

This morning if you’re feeling energetic, hike up to the summit of Mt John. With awesome views of the Southern Alps, you’ll feel on top of the world. Speaking of views, today’s scenic drive to Queenstown is a show-stopper.

From the golden tussocklands of Mackenzie country – where epic battles of Return of the King were filmed – to the dramatic peaks of the Southern Alps, it’s like you’re driving into a postcard.

We’ll pause for lots of photo stops en route to give your camera a workout, including a stop at the spectacular Kawarau Gorge. This also happens to be the World Home of Bungy, give it a go or enjoy watching the jumpers scream their way through the gorge!

Whether you’re an adrenalin junkie, an avid hiker, wine taster or scenery lover, Queenstown has something for absolutely everyone. With two nights and plenty of daylight hours here, get ready – this town certainly knows how to live life to the max!

Free Time

  • Walk up Mt John to be rewarded with sweet views and awesome hot chocolate from the cafe at the top.
  • There's an A-MAZING burrito place at the top of the Queenstown Mall called El Caribe. Burritos as big as your head!

Available activities

Bungy | Kawarau Bridge | Queenstown

As you shuffle out to the edge of the bridge, heart pounding and mind racing, remember this – you’ve found yourself at the World Home of Bungy. This is the original. Many people have come and gone, on a mission to push the limits and test themselves, why not join them?

Grand Traverse Scenic Flight | Tekapo

Well worth the cost, this is a flight of a lifetime over two World Heritage National Parks and 200km of New Zealand’s most memorable and spectacular scenery.

The 50 minute flight passes over Mt Cook (Aoraki) and Westland National Parks, 12 major glaciers, the highest peaks in Oceania and the sub tropical rain forests of the South Island's West Coast.

Paragliding | Queenstown

Treat yourself to an incredible paragliding experience, enjoying breathtaking views taking off from Queenstown!

To get to the Paragliding site, you ride the Queenstown Gondola. This ride is included on one of your days in Queenstown, as part of your tour.

However if for whatever reason you can't paraglide on that day, you will need to pay an additional $34 NZD to get to the Paragliding site on an alternative Queenstown day.

Day 12Queenstown

With a full day in Queenstown, let’s work on that bucket list! There are heaps of options to choose from: paragliding over the lake, mountain bike parks and trails to die for, bungy jumping while your Haka friends cheer you on, horse riding through Lord of the Rings scenery, and swinging through a canyon are just a few of our favourites.

Hikers: the Ben Lomond day walk (not for the faint- hearted) will be right up your alley. This is a firm tour guide favourite, and they can recommend great shorter walks too.

For scenery lovers, Milford Sound is a must-see. Whether you fly or drive, the scenery en route is as awesome as the destination. Once on the Sound, sailing beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, you’ll understand why some call it the “8th Wonder of the World”.

Tonight you have around 40 bars to choose from – your guide will fill you in on their favourites – to share your adventures with your travel buddies, and party the night away.

Free Time

  • For a full day adventure, hike Ben Lomond Track for the ultimate panoramic views.
  • Cycle the Lake Wakatipu Trail and enjoy the wind in your hair.

Available activities

Horse Trekking | Glenorchy (Queenstown)

Riding alongside beautiful braided rivers, this adventure offers river crossings and spectacular scenery of Te Wahipounamu, as well as Lord of the Rings locations. An experience to remember for riders of all levels. Please note there is a 95 Kilogram weight limit for riders.

Bungy | Kawarau Bridge | Queenstown

As you shuffle out to the edge of the bridge, heart pounding and mind racing, remember this – you’ve found yourself at the World Home of Bungy. This is the original. Many people have come and gone, on a mission to push the limits and test themselves, why not join them?

Canyon Swing | Queenstown

The canyon swing is a bit different to a bungy. You are secured in a full body harness enabling you to depart from the 109 metre high platform in any position imaginable.

Day 13Queenstown to Wanaka

After the excitement of Queenstown, today is a chance to chill. Wanaka is Queenstown’s slightly quieter little sister, a mere one hour drive away. On the way we’ll stop in at charming Arrowtown, a historic gold rush village with heaps of old world character.

Blessed with towering peaks and a glacial blue lake, you’ll soon see why Wanaka’s considered to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain towns. There are stunning hikes and bike rides all around for a welcome chance to chill.

One of the best ways to admire Wanaka is from the air. Treat yourself to a skydive or a scenic flight in a vintage plane – you can even take a flying lesson, or if you prefer to keep your feet closer to the ground, stroll or bike around the lake and check out the famous Wanaka Tree, standing all alone in the water. As always, it’s your trip and your choice: you do you.

Free Time

  • The Frisbee golf course, only 5 minutes from town, has AMAZING views.
  • Check out some stunning landscape photography at the Picture Lounge.
  • Yummy burritos from the burrito van behind the supermarket - always one of my first stops when heading to Wanaka!

Available activities

Extreme Jet Boating | Queenstown

This is a jet boat trip like no other! Shotover Jet has been operating since 1970, and now it's your turn!

The state of the art custom built jet boats are designed for one purpose: to excite and thrill you as you race through the Shotover Canyon at speed of 80km/hr.

Sit back, hold on and enjoy the ride.

Aerobatic Plane Flight | Wanaka

See Lake Wanaka like you've never seen it before in a 1941 open cockpit bi-plane. Not for the faint-hearted!

This 30 minute flight includes some of the aerobatic skills of the by-gone era. The journey will include some of the most spectacular scenery in the region, taking in views of Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and Glendhu Bay with the backdrop of Mt Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.

Bungy | Nevis - NZs Highest! | Queenstown

The ultimate boast for your friends back home (though you might not want to tell your mother...)

The experience kicks off with a rugged 35 minute back-blocks 4x4 drive before you get harnessed up and board a shuttle which ferries you to the Bungy Pod.

The bungy itself is the highest in the Southern Hemisphere at 134m (8.5 seconds of freefall). 100% pure adrenalin, get yourself out there and do it!

Canyon Swing | Queenstown

The canyon swing is a bit different to a bungy. You are secured in a full body harness enabling you to depart from the 109 metre high platform in any position imaginable.

Day 14Wanaka to Franz Josef

After a relaxing morning in Wanaka, the journey to Franz is an another stunner – many of our Haka Guides rate it as their favourite drive in New Zealand.

As we hit the road, we’ll stop at one of our favourite lakeside lookout points at Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka. Your guide will keep an eye on the weather and pick the best option.

From the cascading waterfalls of Haast Pass to classic Kiwi coastal views, you won’t want to nap on the bus in case you miss anything. Your guide will have some epic surprise photo stops and short walks along the way.

Between September and December it’s whitebait season (a small fish that’s a delicacy in New Zealand). Fried up with eggs and served on toast, it’s a local treat and shouldn’t be missed. We’ll stop at one of the local spots for a taste during the season.

We roll into Franz Josef around late afternoon/early evening. This UNESCO World Heritage area is famous for its spectacular glacier, just 5 kilometres from town, which is begging to be explored tomorrow.

Free Time

  • Hire a bike, and cycle the Outlet Track next to the crystal clear waters of Clutha River

Available activities

Aerobatic Plane Flight | Wanaka

See Lake Wanaka like you've never seen it before in a 1941 open cockpit bi-plane. Not for the faint-hearted!

This 30 minute flight includes some of the aerobatic skills of the by-gone era. The journey will include some of the most spectacular scenery in the region, taking in views of Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and Glendhu Bay with the backdrop of Mt Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.

Skydive | Wanaka

If you want unbeatable views of Wanaka's world-famous lakes and mountains, this it the ultimate way to get them! Strap yourself to a beautiful stranger and leap out of a plane, right into the heart of Lord of the Rings country.

Scared? Believe it or not, 15,000 feet is recommended over 12,000 feet because you have more time to adjust to the freefall.

Day 15Franz Josef

With Aoraki/Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) twinkling behind the glaciers, Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand.

Te Wahi Pounamu (which means ‘the place of greenstone’ in Māori) is the name given to the this part of the West Coast because of the abundance of pounamu (greenstone/jade) to be found here. Included in your tour today is a special opportunity to carve your very own pounamu pendant at a local gallery.

There are heaps of ways to enjoy Franz Josef Glacier; weather permitting, to get up onto the bluest ice you can take a scenic helicopter flight and hike onto the glaciers. Maybe you’d prefer to kayak on a glacial lake; or just relax in the steamy hot springs down below.

As well as the awesome glacier activities you could also try out quad biking, horseback riding and even a bit of group karaoke tonight in Franz Josef!

Free Time

  • Take a little night walk to see the native glow worms, right around the corner from our accommodation. Don’t get spooked in the dark!

Available activities

Glacier Heli Hike | Franz Josef

Glacier trekking is considered an absolute #nzmustdo, and is actually suitable for all abilities. We recommend the heli-hike as a quick way to reach the bluer ice of the glacier.

Glacier Kayaking | Franz Josef

A gorgeous way to enjoy the snowy peaks and mirror-like waters as you glide along the glassy waters of Lake Mapourika. You'll take in stunning panoramic views of the Southern Alps and up to 10 different Glaciers, including the Franz Josef Neve.

On the far side of the Lake follow your guide deep into the rainforest and Kiwi Sanctuary, via a rainforest creek. Simply an awesome way to enjoy the unique Franz Josef landscape up close.

Heli Experience with Snow Landing | Franz Josef

Within seconds of lifting off from the Franz Helipad at the foot of the Southern Alps, the scenic views have already started. Fly over the world famous Franz Josef Glacier as you climb above and beyond to reveal the real heart of the truly magnificent Southern Alps. Take a deep breath as the highest Mountain in New Zealand comes into view: Mount Cook, shouldered by Mt Tasman and the Southern Alps.

Quad Biking | Franz Josef

A ton of fun as you embark on a 4WD adventure and head across stony braided riverbeds, see glacial fed rivers and listen to your guide tell you about local history.

The vehicles are incredibly easy to ride. There is a passenger option if you would prefer not to drive.

Day 16Franz Josef to Punakaiki

Driving along the incredible coastal road and exploring the lush forests around Punakaiki, it almost feels like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s a rare treat to experience such remote prehistoric landscapes, so make the most of this awesome opportunity to unplug from the outside world.

Get excited; our trusty guides always have some surprises up their sleeves for this part of the trip, including a spot or two to get your feet wet.

We’ll visit one of the famous artisan greenstone factories in Hokitika as we make our way north, as well as passing through some old gold mining towns before arriving in Punakaiki.

One of Punakaiki’s many natural wonders is the subtropical rainforest – and we are staying in the heart of it for the next two nights!

Cook up a group dinner in this rainforest paradise, and be sure to end the day watching the sun set over the ocean tonight.

Free Time

  • Why not walk part of the Truman Track through the pristine rainforest? Look out for the local weka (native birds) as they try to steal your food!
Day 17Punakaiki

Whether you decide to soak up the sun on the unspoilt beaches or stroll through the rainforest to a chorus of birdsong, you’ll shed your cares in this magical place.

A short walk to see a giant stack of pancakes is a must-do today: Punakaiki’s limestone Pancake Rocks developed over 30 million years ago. You’ll see what water pressure can do when the waves power through some seriously impressive blowholes – watch out for that spray!

Today you could try your hand at kayaking or exploring the region’s underground caves by tube. There are also opportunities for horseback riding in Paparoa National Park. Or simply chill by the beach near your rainforest home.

On a clear night, head to the beach with your buddies and watch the stars come out to play – seriously, is there a better way to end the day?

Free Time

  • The beach is spectacular, even when it’s wet and wild. Crashing waves, gemstones and caves – you’ll love it!

Available activities

Cave Tubing | Punakaiki

A superb 4 hour Black Water Rafting adventure in the enormous Nile River Cave System deep in the ‘Untamed Natural Wilderness’ of the Paparoa National Park. Float on a slow moving underground river to emerge back into daylight having used only the natural light of the simply awe inspiring display of glow worms as navigation.

Day 18Punakaiki to Abel Tasman

Cruising up north from Punakaiki, the scenery gets better and better. The powerful, untouched coastline gives way to rivers and gorges before we drive over the hills and down towards the bayside town of Nelson, to stock up on supplies before our next remote hideaway.

Marahau, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, boasts golden beaches, tranquil lagoons and crystal clear waters. Abel Tasman is the perfect contrast to the wildness of the rainforests and mountains.

Why will you fall in love with Abel Tasman? Lush forests, sandy beaches, sheltered bays, and jaw-dropping views… not to mention the resident wildlife. Get ready to lose your heart to the most popular National Park in New Zealand.

Free Time

  • Stroll down to the Marahau causeway tonight for an awesome introduction to Abel Tasman National Park.

Available activities

Skydive | Abel Tasman

Skydiving is a definite inclusion on our New Zealand bucket list and is something no one on our tours has ever regretted doing!

Feel the freedom of flying over turquoise oceans, snow-capped mountains-some of the most beautiful scenery on earth right at the centre of New Zealand.

Day 19Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman… you beauty. Lush forests, golden sandy beaches, sheltered bays, and jaw-dropping views… not to mention the local seals, dolphins and bird life...

You might like to hike part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track – one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks – or paddle a kayak to Split Apple Rock. You could jump, slide, abseil, float and zipline your way through the park on an awesome canyoning adventure.

Fancy a relaxing day instead? Choose yourself a golden beach and make yourself at home.

In the warmer months we’ll stay another night at the edge of the national park. In winter we’ll drive a little further and stay in quirky Nelson with its cosy pubs, cool craft beers and artsy vibes.

Free Time

  • Just relax and take it all in - locations this wild and gorgeous don’t come along every day!”

Available activities

Canyoning | Abel Tasman

Let us take you to the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park where we jump, slide, abseil and zipline our way down Torrent River.

Canyoning in is a combination of lots of fun stuff all bunched into one exciting activity. Trips normally start with a walk up through beautiful scenery. Then it’s time to get the rubber suits on and start making our way down the canyon.

We jump off cliffs into deep pools below, slide down water polished chutes and abseil besides or sometimes even through showering waterfalls.

Kayaking | Abel Tasman

This half-day guided kayak tour in Abel Tasman involves paddling between Marahau and Observation Beach (approximately three hours). It then takes you through the safe, sheltered and scenic southern reaches of the Abel Tasman. Home to more than a dozen beautiful golden beaches, two islands, several sea caves, reefs and tidal lagoons, this area of Abel Tasman is a delight to sea kayak.

Day 20Abel Tasman to Wellington

Today you’ll start things off by learning to paddle a traditional waka (a Māori war canoe). Experience a karakia (blessing for protection), and learn tikanga (waka etiquette) all while getting out on the water to enjoy this unique included activity.

Our road trip continues along the northern edge of the South Island this afternoon. We’ll stop for tasting at a local winery, and there's a chance to taste some famous New Zealand mussels in Havelock as we wind our way towards Picton to catch the evening ferry to Wellington.

As the lights of Picton Harbour fade into the night, relax on board together for a chilled evening.

Free Time

  • Havelock is the green-lipped mussel capital of the world, you HAVE to try some if you get the chance!
Day 21Wellington to Auckland

Our final day of the tour is an optional transfer drive from Wellington to Auckland, which is super handy if you have booked your return flights from the City of Sails. Crank up your favourite tour tunes and enjoy reflecting on the awesome time you have had in New Zealand while the North Island passes you by.

We arrive in Auckland early- to mid-evening. Why not have a final dinner and a few drinks with your new travel buddies? Your accommodation tonight is included so you can treat yourself to a lie-in tomorrow morning!

Please note that you’re free to stay in Wellington tonight if you prefer – we can help with additional accommodation here, just let us know.

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