Itinerary Notes

 

Due to the recent earthquake in New Zealand, there has been significant damage to the area around Kaikoura. As a result, we have rerouted Day 20 & 21 of this itinerary for departures through April 2017. Please see the full itinerary for details of the change.

When arranging your transportation, such as flights, please take into consideration the below time restrictions for joining and departing from your group. With these times, we have taken into account travel time to/from the airport in the given destination and required time for check-in or baggage collection/immigration.

 

Your flight must arrive by or before: 11:59 p.m. on Day 1
Your flight must depart no earlier than: 09:00 p.m. on Day 21

Itinerary

Day 1Auckland

 

Arrive at any time.

 

Jump right into your adventure by adding the 'Auckland Sailing: America's Cup Experience' extra to your tour. Work with a crew to sail around Auckland's Waitemata Harbour on a competitive yacht, and take in the stunning views. PLEASE NOTE: If booking this extra, a pre-night in Auckland is highly recommended as this activity may start early in the morning on Day 1.

This tour departs Auckland early on Day 2. If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, like the Hobbiton Movie Set or local wineries, it is recommended you book additional pre-trip accommodation nights.

 
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

 

1h19:00

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

Optional Activities - Day 1

Waiheke Island Excursion
Waiheke Island3h-8h
45-130NZD per person

Take a ferry ride to Waiheke Island for a quick, fun getaway. Swim or kayak at white-sand beaches in the Hauraki Gulf. Tour the island's tracks and bush reserves, or sample your way through some of the island’s 19 boutique wineries (the island produces some of New Zealand’s finest reds). 

Accommodation

 
Kiwi International Hotel (or similar)
Hotel

Day 2Auckland/Rotorua

Enjoy a morning cycle through Karangahake Gorge, then travel to the Rotorua region to the Tamaki Maori Village. After a traditional greeting of the marae, learn the arts of the haka and poi before a traditional hangi dinner.

In the evening visit a Maori village for traditional ceremonies, a Hangi meal and entertainment. After dinner, lounge by the bonfire and have some time to get to know the Maori hosts.

Accommodation is in a Maori wharepuni (sleeping house). Groups will often stay together in one sleeping house (multi-share, mixed gender), staying in line with Maori traditions.

 
Private Vehicle
Auckland – Waihi2h-3hMorning

Karangahake Gorge
Approximate distance cycled: 8km/4.9mi

 
Karangahake Gorge Cycling
Karangahake Gorge1h-2h8km

Enjoy beautiful scenery on this interesting ride through Karangahake Gorge that combines history, nature, and adventure all in one trip! Follow the historic Paeroa to Waihi rail line. Cycle old lines and through a tunnel along the river that runs through the gorge. Take it easy, if you wish – this trail is suitable for cyclists with little experience and offers lots to take in on the way.

 
Private Vehicle
Waihi – Rotorua2h-2h30m120km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 
Local Living: Maori Village Visit with Overnight
 

Visit the Tamaki Maori Village. Receive the traditional Powhiri welcome ceremony followed by a captivating stage performance explaining Maori history and culture. For dinner, enjoy a traditional Hangi meal, similar to the Hawaiian Luau, with dishes cooked in the ground. After, enjoy some quiet time with our Maori hosts by a fire.

Accommodation

 
Tamaki Maori Village (or similar)
Hostel

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Dinner

Day 3Rotorua

Enjoy a free day in Rotorua, a town in a geothermal area with boiling mud and hotpools. Opt to go whitewater rafting, tackle an offroad mountain bike track, go hiking, or hit the spa.

This region of New Zealand is renowned for its geothermal qualities. Enjoy free time to experience the regions' geothermal wonders. Opt to mountain bike in the world famous Redwood Forest, go white water rafting, or indulge in the therapeutic hot springs.

Accommodation is in a Maori wharepuni (sleeping house). Groups will often stay together in one sleeping house (multi-share, mixed gender), staying in line with Maori traditions.

 
Free Time
RotoruaAfternoon

Enjoy free time in Rotorua to enjoy one of the many optional activities available in the area.

Optional Activities - Day 3

Mountain Biking
Rotorua2h-4h
35-130NZD per person

Head out on an exhilarating cycling adventure. Explore the stunning Redwood Forest on two wheels on what some call the world's best mountain biking trails. Whether you're a beginner or expert mountain bike enthusiast there's sure to be a trail perfect for you.

 
Whitewater Rafting
Rotorua
89NZD per person

Get your adrenaline fix on on this exhilarating white water rafting trip. Enjoy the amazing scenery along the way, but don't forget to paddle!

 
Hot Springs
Rotorua
Free-45NZD per person

Soak tired muscles in the area's natural hot springs and let the mineral water work its magic. Rotorua is home to a number of amazing geothermal parks – be sure you don't miss the healing and relaxing benefits of the city's naturally heated waters.

 
Hells Gate Geothermal Park
Rotorua
35-90NZD per person
 
Whakarewarewa Geothermal Village Visit
Rotorua1h30m-2h
35-60NZD per person

Visit an authentic Maori Geothermal Village. With a local guide, follow the path past bubbling mud pits and mineral pools with different fluorescent coloured water. Learn how geothermal energy is used around the village and hear the history of the area. Just try to ignore the sulfurous smell; that's just Mother Earth making magma magic. 

 
Zorbing
Rotorua
35-50NZD per person

Accommodation

 
Four Canoes (or similar)
Hostel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 4Rotorua/Tongariro National Park

Conquer the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand's top-rated 1-day trek and spend the afternoon hiking an active volcano.

An early start to walk across the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand's top-rated 1-day trek. Collect supplies before heading out. The transfer will drop the group off at the beginning of the self-guided trek and collect everyone at the other end. 

After the trek, travel to a ski lodge on the side of a mountain for the night. An on-site spa and sauna will help ease those tired muscles.

 
Private Vehicle
Rotorua – Tongariro National Park3h180km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 
Tongariro Alpine Crossing Trek
Tongariro Crossing5h-6h30m19-20km

Enjoy spectacular views and otherworldly landscapes on this challenging and rewarding 19.4km (12 mi) trek across a volcanic range. This trek has been called one of the best day hikes in the world. Get prepared before you head out – go through a safety checklist and be sure to buy supplies, food, and water ahead of time. Dress accordingly – elements change constantly. 

Note: if the weather is too bad to trek, there will be alternative options such as smaller walks in the area or a visit to remote hot springs. If you do not wish to do the Tongariro Crossing, other activities can be arranged.

Accommodation

 
Skotel Alpine Resort (or similar)
Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Dinner

Day 5Tongariro National Park/Whanganui National Park

Kayak along the Retaruke and Whanganui Rivers into the heart of Whanganui National Park.

The third longest river in New Zealand, the Whanganui River begins at Mt Tongariro and flows all the way out to the west coast of the North Island. After a safety briefing, embark on a 12-25km canoe journey downriver to an overnight stay in the heart of Whanganui National Park.

 
Whanganui River Kayaking
Whanganui River5h-6h12-25km

Grab a paddle and life jacket and journey by kayak down the famous Whanganui River – the third longest river in New Zealand. Paddle to the lodge, enjoying amazing scenery along the way. Get up close to the area's natural beauty, and see sights that you may miss on shore. It's a great way to unwind and pack in some more New Zealand adventure.

Accommodation

 
Whanganui River Quarters (or similar)
Lodge

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 6Whanganui National Park/Raetihi

Continue along the Whanganui River by jet boat visiting old Maori and European settlements before travelling to the night's lodge by bus.

In the morning, trade the canoe for a jet boat and continue downriver. After a short walk to the Bridge to Nowhere, board the jet boat again and return to the bus, travelling on to Snowy Waters Lodge for the night. Enjoy a delicious dinner.

 
Private Vehicle
Whanganui National Park – Raetihi1h30m

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 
Whanganui River Jet Boating
Whanganui River3h-4h50km

Have fun and hold on! Fulfill your need for speed travelling down the amazingly scenic Whanganui River by jet boat. 

Accommodation

 
Snowy Waters Lodge (or similar)
Lodge

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 7Raetihi/Wellington

In the morning, transfer to Wellington and visit the Te Papa museum, dedicated to the history and culture of New Zealand.

 

 
Private Vehicle
Raetihi – Wellington4h15m

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 
Te Papa Museum Visit
Wellington30m-6h

Visit this must-see museum, home to displays of historical Maori artifacts and modern exhibits. See how the museum is constructed on shock absorbers to withstand New Zealand’s many earthquakes – find the stairwell just outside the entrance and descend into the foundations of the building.

 
Free Time
WellingtonEvening

Enjoy free time to explore the city of Wellington, and take in the best that the area has to offer.

Accommodation

 
Downtown Backpackers - Waterloo Hotel (or similar)
Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 8Wellington/Abel Tasman National Park

Travel by ferry to the South Island and then transfer by bus and water taxi into Abel Tasman National Park.

 

 
Ferry
Wellington – PictonMorning

Get to the next spot on your route aboard a convenient and efficient ferry boat.

 
Water taxi
Cook Strait – Abel Tasman National Park

Jump in and cross the water to the next stop.

Accommodation

 
Aquapackers (or similar)
Houseboat

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Dinner

Day 9Abel Tasman National Park/Marahau

Sea kayak in Abel Tasman out to the edge of the park.

Set off from the beach and kayak along the Abel Tasman coastline towards Marahau. 

 
Kayaking to Marahau 
Abel Tasman National Park – Marahau2h-3h

See Abel Tasman National Park at a pleasant pace by sea kayak. Take part in a safety briefing and preparation, then head out into the water to glide in and out of the bays and islets on the route to Marahau. Look for nesting seabirds and tiny islands, and enjoy amazing views along the way.

Accommodation

 
Old MacDonalds Farm (or similar)
Hostel

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch

Day 10Marahau/Westland District

Enjoy the scenery of the mountainous coastal Westland region, and stop en route to see the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks.

 

 
Private Vehicle
Marahau – Paparoa National Park3h-4h

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Accommodation

 
Te Nikau (or similar)
Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Dinner

Day 11Westland District/Franz Josef

Transfer to Franz Josef, stopping for a walk at the wildlife mecca of Okarito Lagoon en route. Enjoy free time for optional activities such as hiking and checking out the stunning Franz Josef Glacier.

Continue south along the coast towards Franz Josef, stopping for an invigorating walk at the wildlife mecca of Okarito Lagoon. Spend 2 nights staying amongst verdant temperate rainforest.

 
Private Vehicle
Westland District – Franz Josef4h220km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 
Okarito Lagoon Walk
Franz Josef1h-2h10km

Walk through the wetlands of Okarito Lagoon, bordered by forest and surrounded by nature. Enjoy spectacular views all the way up to the mountains on a clear day. Take the time to soak in the scenery – the walk is gentle and includes a variety of landscapes on the path through the estuary out through the wetlands.

Accommodation

 
Rainforest Retreat (or similar)
Resort

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 12Franz Josef

A free day for optional activities. Options include various hikes, horseback riding, quad biking as well as the unique and stunning Franz Josef Glacier.

 

 
Carte Blanche
Franz JosefFull Day

There's plenty to see and do in Franz Josef, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like a glacial hike, quad biking, and a helicopter hike. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

Optional Activities - Day 12

Hiking 
Franz Josef30m-8h3-17km
Free

Take your pick of many scenic and memorable treks in Franz Josef – a true hiker’s haven. Get prepared before heading out, and be mindful of signs along the track. See majestic mountains, glaciers, rivers, and amazing views that you’ll definitely want your camera on hand for.

 
Horseback Riding
Franz Josef
65-150NZD per person

Hop in the saddle and explore Franz Josef’s amazing glacier landscape on horseback. Ride amid rainforests and mountain scenery, and enjoy fresh open air and natural beauty on this unforgettable trip. 

 
Franz Josef Quad Bike
Franz Josef
65-160NZD per person

Hop aboard the two-seater ATV quad and drive along ancient glacial pathways carved into the landscape by ice and water. Be amazed at what lies around every twist and turn as you are guided through rainforests, riverbeds, grasslands, sand and mud. Feel the thrill of fresh air in your face and the excitement of riding in the wild.

 
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Franz Josef
65-75NZD per person

Enjoy spectacular views on a guided interpretive walk that follows a riverbed along the Franz Josef Glacier's retreat. At the end, you'll be rewarded with a great view of the glacier off in the distance.

 
Helicopter Hike
Franz Josef3h-4h
449-499NZD per person

Take a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter ride high up on Franz Josef Glacier. Hop out and trek on the white and blue ice. Cool!

 
Ice Explorer Guided Hike (Heli Transfer)
Franz Josef
379-409NZD per person

The sheer size and power of Franz Josef is something you need to see to believe. Board a chopper for a leisurely flight over the glacier before landing directly on the ice. From there, get up close and personal on a three-hour guided hike past towering peaks and stunning blue ice. The constantly shifting ice flows and crevices ensure your visit will be one-of-a-kind!

 
Franz Josef Kayaking
Franz Josef3h-4h
99-129NZD per person

Explore the stunning Lake Mapourika by kayak. This lake was created as the Franz Josef glacier retreated 14,000 years ago, and the still water has created a natural mirror allowing you to soak in the incredible panoramic views.

Accommodation

 
Rainforest Retreat (or similar)
Resort

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 13Franz Josef/Wanaka

Transfer to Wanaka, where there are a variety of optional activities available. Opt to go mountain biking, skydiving, or check out the giant maze and optical illusions of Puzzling World.

 

 
Te Wahipounamu Visit
Makarora1h-2h

Tour the mountainous wilderness of Te Wahipounamu, a true natural wonder. See for yourself the views that make New Zealand famous - jagged mountains, snowy peaks, and clear blue waters. Wander among fjords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes, and waterfalls, and enjoy breathtaking scenery. Don't forget your camera!

 
Private Vehicle
Franz Josef – Wanaka5h-5h30m290km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Optional Activities - Day 13

Hiking
Wanaka
 
Scenic Boat Cruise
Wanaka
 
Puzzling World Visit
Wanaka
 
Mountain Biking
Wanaka
 
Skydiving
Wanaka
 
Aircraft Museum Visit
Wanaka

Accommodation

 
Wanaka Hotel (or similar)
Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 14Wanaka/Queenstown

Continue onto the “adventure capital of the world,” Queenstown.

Free day to maximize time for all the optional activities in the area. Opt for a jet boat outing, bungee jumping, mountain biking, sky diving, or a vineyard tour. The options in this adventure capital are endless. Two nights are at a centrally-located hostel, which means you can make the most of your time here. 

 
Private Vehicle
Wanaka – Queenstown3h130km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 
Free Time
QueenstownAfternoon

Enjoy free time to try some of the challenging optional activities available in the “adventure capital of the world.”

Optional Activities - Day 14Accommodation

 
Nomads Queenstown (or similar)
Hostel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 15Queenstown

Enjoy a full-day hiking excursion along the world renowned Routeburn Track, taking in the gorgeous mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and lakes surrounding the track.

 

 
Routeburn Track Day Hike
Routeburn Track13-18km

Head out for a day of hiking along the stunning Routeburn Track. Start on a gradual incline through a 130 million year old forest, with incredible views of snow capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, crystal clear streams, and alpine meadows. After enjoying a picnic lunch, continue on the forgotten paths of the Maori while travelling along their old 'Greenstone' trails. With incredible scenery and historical significance, this hike is not one to miss!

Accommodation

 
Nomads Queenstown (or similar)
Hostel

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch

Day 16Queenstown

Enjoy a free day for optional activities in Queenstown.

 

 
Carte Blanche
QueenstownFull Day

There's plenty to see and do in Queenstown, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like mountain biking, bungee jumping, and jet boating. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

Optional Activities - Day 16

Shotover Jet Boating
Queenstown2h-3h
149NZD per person

Jet boating is a typical New Zealand activity— go as fast you can in a boat over water. Hang on tight as you fly across the surface of the water. Shoot through narrow rocky gorges and dare to watch as the driver takes hairpin turns frighteningly close to the cliffs.

 
Bungee Jumping
Queenstown1h30m-4h
175-510NZD per person

Adrenaline junkies will be happy with a stop at the world's original commercial bungee site (bungy in New Zealand!). Opt to take the plunge or simply observe where it all started from the comfort solid ground. Shoot some amazing photos of those brave enough to dive into the abyss.

 
Mountain Biking
Queenstown1h-6h
31.50-140.00NZD per person

Hop on a bike and get familiar with some of the great trails in the area. There are routes for all levels of cyclist to enjoy so rent a and start exploring the hills. 

 
Skydiving
Queenstown
299-439NZD per person

Enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of Queenstown from an eagle's perspective. Suit up, get briefed and board the prop plane to soar high about the rugged alpine landscape. Strap onto your instructor, take a breath and leap into a once-in-a-lifetime free fall. This is what a natural high truly feels like!

 
Gondola Ride
Queenstown1h-2h30m
32NZD per person

Take a ride up to the top of the mountain by cable car gondola. Get a spectacular 220º view of Coronet Peak, the Remarkables mountain range, and Lake Wakatipu below. 

 
Canyon Swing
Queenstown
205NZD per person

Get your heart racing as you launch yourself from the world's highest canyon swing. Free fall for 60m before a 200m swing across Shotover Canyon. See you at the other side!

 
Canyon Fox
Queenstown
165NZD per person
 
Vineyard Tour
Queenstown5h-7h
185-230NZD per person

Visit vineyards in New Zealand's fastest growing wine region. Taste some of Queenstown's finest Pinot Noir, as well as Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Sample local cheeses and learn more about the grape varietals that flourish here. Pick up a few bottles to savour back home.

 
Lord of the Rings Horse Riding Tour
Queenstown
165-325NZD per person

Escape New Zealand and head to Middle-earth on a horseback riding tour of sites used in the Lord of the Rings films. Take in the breathtaking views and see if you can spot places where the films were shot.

 
Ziptrek
Queenstown
120-170NZD per person

Accommodation

 
Nomads Queenstown (or similar)
Hostel

Day 17Queenstown/Te Anau

Travel to the fiords of the South Island. Enjoy the stunning scenery of Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound from the deck of a boat, then return to Te Anau for the night.

 

 
Private Vehicle
Queenstown – Milford Sound3h-4h300km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 
Milford Sound Cruise
Milford Sound2h-2h30m

Enjoy the stunning scenery of Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound from the deck of a boat. Recharge your camera and be ready to shoot stunning photos of waterfalls, mountains stretching up to the sky and down to the sea and then search for dolphins and seals. This place is any artist's dream!

Optional Activities - Day 17

Fiordland Cinema 'Ata Whenua'
Te Anau
10NZD per person

Discover the Fiorland Work Heritage Area during this 32-minute film. The remote region has jaw-dropping scenery – experience it through stunning cinematography and aerial shots.

Accommodation

 
Te Anau Lakeview Kiwi Holiday Park (or similar)
Holiday Park

Day 18Te Anau/Central Otago District

Morning departure to Central Otago to spend the afternoon cycling 42km (26 mi) along the historic Otago Rail Trail.

Cycle the Rail Trail, a route created specially for mountain biking. Pass through scenery unspoiled by traffic and not visible from any roads. 

 
Private Vehicle
Te Anau – Central Otago District

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 
Otago Rail Trail Cycling
Otago Central Rail Trail5h-6h42km

Drive to one of the best starting points of the Historic Otago Rail Trail. Spend the better part of the day cycling through stunning scenery along 42km of the old rail trail. Cycle through scenery unspoiled by traffic and not visible from any roads.

Accommodation

 
Mt Ida Shearers Quarters (or similar)
Hostel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 19Central Otago District/Christchurch

Drive through breathtaking Central Otago via the Lindis Pass and Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Arrive in Christchurch in the evening.

 

 
Private Vehicle
Central Otago District – Christchurch7h-8h500km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Accommodation

 
Jailhouse Accommodation (or similar)
Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 20Christchurch/Kaikoura

Transfer to Kaikoura, with optional whale- or dolphin-watching in the afternoon.

Early start to drive the scenic coastal road up to Kaikoura.

A free afternoon can also be spent swimming with dolphins 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. 

As a result of the recent earthquake in New Zealand, groups will travel to St Arnaud or Nelson instead of Kaikoura today.

 
Private Vehicle
Christchurch – Kaikoura3h180km

Drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura

 
Free Time
KaikouraAfternoon

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.

Optional Activities - Day 20

Swimming With Dolphins 
Kaikoura3h-4h5km
170NZD per person

Hop aboard a boat and head out to the open seas to search for wild dusky dolphins. Depending on conditions, most groups have 20-40 minutes of swim time with the dolphins.

 
Scenic Flight
Kaikoura
135-180NZD per person

Take a 30-minute flight and set off to search for whales, dolphins, and other marine life. On land, you'll see Maori sites, Kaikoura town and New Zealand's southern fur seals.

 
Hiking
Kaikoura2h-10h1-9km
Free

Set off along one of many hiking trails to take in the beautiful scenery surrounding Kaikoura.

 
Sea Kayaking
Kaikoura
95NZD per person

Accommodation

 
Dusky Lodge (or similar)
Hostel

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 21Kaikoura/Wellington

Transfer to Picton and take the ferry back to Wellington where the tour ends upon arrival. 

 

 
Private Vehicle
Kaikoura – Picton1h30m-2h156km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 
Ferry
Picton – Wellington3h-3h30m

Get to the next spot on your route aboard a convenient and efficient ferry boat.

 
Departure Day (Activities)
 

Depart on arrival to your final destination. Your CEO can help with any onward travel arrangements you require.

Meals included:

 Breakfast

 

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