Learn about the Maori culture, conquer New Zealand's top-rated 1-day trek—the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, get an adrenaline rush in Queenstown, weave through the remote fiords of the Doubtful Sound by sea kayak, discover Abel Tasman National Park by foot
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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.
- Visit to a conservation farm (Raglan). Sea kayaking excursion (Raglan). Surf lesson (Raglan). Maori cultural experience. Tongariro Alpine Crossing (seasonal). Te Papa Museum (Wellington). Abel Tasman National Park. Visit to a seal colony. Walks in Franz Josef National Park. Sea kayaking into Doubtful Sound. Mountain biking excursion (Central Otago). Orientation walks in Wellington and Christchurch.
- 20 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 9 dinners. (Allow NZD200-250 for meals not included.)
- Hostels (8 nts), basic hotel (4 nts), basic lodges (7 nts), floating boat hostel (1 nt, summer, cabin in winter months). Most nights are multi-share.
- Private bus, kayak, boat, ferry
- Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
- Small group experience; Max 20, avg 16
- New Zealand
Please note that most accommodation in New Zealand is multi-share, you can read more in the trip details in our about accommodation section.
Day 1 Auckland
Arrive at any time.
Day 2-3 Raglan (2B,1L,1D)
Visit a special conservation farm to learn about their methods before sea kayaking to a 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)
Travel 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, then 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. 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 NP. 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.
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 the time here with some adrenaline-filled options, such as jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking or skydiving.
Day 15 Doubtful Sound (1B,1L,1D)
Visit Fiordland NP en route to Doubtful Sound. Guided kayak excursion before overnighting in a hostel 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, with the chance to sample local food along the way.
Day 18 Christchurch (1B)
Head north to Christchurch for a free afternoon of exploration in the city.
Day 19 Kaikoura (1B)
Travel to the seaside town of Kaikoura for the night. Options include whale watching, swimming with seals or simply taking a walk along the coast.
Day 20 Wellingtion (1B)
Morning visit to a seal colony before winding 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 at 7pm. Feel free to book onward travel anytime after 10:30pm.
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