Best of New Zealand
Learning about the Maori culture, conquering New Zealand's top-rated 1-day trek—the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, hiking Franz Josef Glacier, getting an adrenaline rush in Queenstown, weaving through the remote fjords of the Doubtful Sound by sea kayak, discovering Abel Tasman National Park by foot
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 some of the most breathtaking hiking 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.
- Visit to a conservation farm, sea kayaking in remote coves, surf lesson, Maori cultural experience, Tongariro Alpine Crossing (seasonal), Te Papa Museum, Abel Tasman National Park, visit to a seal colony, walks in Franz Josef National Park, sea kayaking into Doubtful Sound, mountain biking excursion
- 20 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 11 dinners. (Allow NZD200-250 for meals not included.)
- Hostels (6 nts), basic hotels (3 nts), eco camp (3 nts), lodges (6 nts), cabins (1 nt), floating boat hostel (1 nt, summer, cabin in winter months). Most nights are quad-share.
- Private bus, kayak, boat, ferry
- Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
- Small group experience; Max 18, avg 12
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Day 1 Auckland
Welcome to Auckland. Arrive at any time.
Day 2-3 Raglan (2B,1L,2D)
Visit a special conservation farm to learn about their methods before sea kayaking to a remote and historic site on the harbour for a picnic lunch. Enjoy an included surf lesson in one of the world's most famous surf areas, then opt to take bone carving lesson with the local Maori.
Day 4 Rotorua/Maori Village Visit (1B,1D)
Opt to go caving before heading to Rotorua, notable for its geothermal activity and culture. Visit a local village to gain insight into Maori culture. Enjoy a traditional 'Hangi' experience.
Day 5 National Park (1B,1D)
Travel around Lake Taupo and explore the volcanic World Heritage-listed national parks in the area. Conquer the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand's top-rated 1-day trek (seasonal).
Day 6 Wellington (1B)
Hit the nation's capital and visit Te Papa, the national museum, or stroll along Oriental Parade. Check out some of the area's great bars and cafés.
Day 7-8 Abel Tasman National Park (2B,2D)
Ferry over to the South Island. Travel by bus and boat into Abel Tasman National Park. Hike and explore the park's golden beaches and waterways.
Day 9 Punakaiki (1B,1D)
Head south down the coast of black sand beaches. Visit a seal colony and take in the pancake rock formations at Punakaiki.
Day 10-11 Franz Josef (2B,1D)
Enjoy an overnight stay in a lodge surrounded by rainforest. Explore this UNESCO World Heritage area and opt for a glacial valley walk to the base of the glacier with a visit to the hot springs or an exciting helihike and hot pools.
Day 12-14 Queenstown (3B)
Stop for lunch at the lakeside town of Wanaka before continuing onto the adventure capital of the world—Queenstown. Fill your time here with some of the adrenaline-filled options, such as jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking, skydiving, or a vineyard tour.
Day 15 Doubtful Sound (1B,1L,1D)
Visit Fiordland National Park en route to Doubtful Sound. Guided kayak excursion before overnighting in a lodge surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery and wildlife.
Day 16-17 Central Otago (2B,1D)
Travel to Central Otago, famous for its vineyards and goldmines. Bike 35 km of the rail trail from one historic town to the next, sampling local food along the way.
Day 18 Christchurch (1B)
Head north to Christchurch for free afternoon of exploration in the city.
Day 19 Kaikoura (1B,1D)
Travel to the seaside town of Kaikoura for the night, options include whale watching, swimming with seals or simply going for a nice walk along the coast.
Day 20 Wellingtion (1B)
Morning visit to a seal colony before winding our way around the coast to Picton to catch the ferry back to Wellington.
Day 21 Auckland (1B)
Take an express journey from Wellington to Auckland, stopping in the king country town of Tamaranui for lunch. Tour ends upon arrival in Auckland in the evening.
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