New Zealand tours - Ultimate explorer tour

New Zealand’s top rated adventure tour in National Geographics
‘Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth’

Use on or both of the options below to view tours*:

Abel Tasman National Park
Hooker Valley Hike
Cycling near Mount Cook
Lake Tekapo bike ride
White water rafting

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Ultimate Explorer Tour

Tour Starts: Auckland or Christchurch (can start loop anywhere)
Tour Length: from 27 days
Tour Ends: where you started
Tour Costs: from $3,950.00
Summer Tour PDF: Download tour sheet
Winter Option:
Client Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Map: Click here to view map
  • Adventure
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
Guaranteed departures


 

Our most popular trip and quite possibly the best thing you can do in New Zealand. Grab life with both hands on this in depth, all-points covered action and adventure wilderness experience. This trip guarantees to show you the best of the North and South Island, visit spectacular National Parks and enjoy the finest activities, hikes and bike rides New Zealand has to offer.

As the trip is a complete loop of the country you can start anywhere.  Your trip will then finish where you started (and don't forget you can take extended breaks).  The 3 most popular loops are:

Auckland and head north first (Start the trip on the Auckland > Bay of Islands day and complete the loop in 27 days - as shown in the itinerary)

Auckland and head south first (Start the trip from Auckland on the Waiwera > Coromandel day and complete the loop in 28 days with an extra night in Auckland between the New Plymouth > Auckland day and the Auckland>Bay of Islands day)

Christchurch to Christchurch (Start the trip from Christchurch on the Kaikoura > Rangitata day and complete the loop in 28 days with an extra night in Auckland between the New Plymouth >Auckland day and the Auckland>Bay of Islands day)

Tour Highlights:

Below are a few of our favourite parts of this tour - but check out the itinerary as there are plenty more (optional activities not included in your trip price are highlighted in green)...

  • Amazing activity options including dolphin swimming, kayaking, skydiving, white water rafting, bungy jumping, canyoning, flying an aerobatic plane, black water rafting, Milford Sound cruise, glow-worm caves, sailing, whale watching and more.

  • Visit one of the World's new natural wonders - Milford Sound

  • Visit NZ’s 5 best National Parks

  • Cycle sections of the New Zealand Cycle trail and heaps of excellent optional rides along coastlines, through forests and past towering mountains (bike hire required)

  • Camp out at the foot of the Southern Alps, by beaches and by lakes

  • Hike the amazing Routeburn Track & Tongariro Crossing

  • Chances to spot kiwi in the wild

  • Try sandboarding down giant dunes

  • Enjoy spectacular sunsets with accommodation on the Wild West coast

  • Visit the inspiring (and free) Te Papa museum

  • Experience a traditional Maori Haka

 

  • Stay overnight on a boat in the Abel Tasman National Park

  • Tuck in to fresh crayfish by the coast

  • Visit a UNESCO World Heritage site

  • Learn about kiwi culture and traditions

  • Visit secret spots other tourists don't know about

  • Enjoy dining out in amazing locations by lakes, mountains and oceans

  • Discover the wild, rugged beauty of the Catlins region

  • Scenic ferry crossing through the Marlborough sounds included

  • Hike or heli-hike on the World famous Fox Glacier

  • Experience the bubbling mud pools and geysers of Rotorua

  • Explore NZ's lush flora and fauna including giant Kauri trees, the NZ christmas tree and much more

  • Relax and unwind in the thermal pools

  • Enjoy the slides and splashes of the water park

  • Hike or cycle by New Zealand's largest lake

Tour Itinerary:

Tour Itinerary

Auckland to Bay of Islands
Auckland Skytower

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

We leave the City of Sails (Auckland) at 10am. Today we head to the golden beaches & warm waters of the Bay of Islands with some beautiful beach stops on the way.  Take out boogie boards for a splash or relax on the warm sands.  We head to camp via the thriving town of Paihia with the opportunity to enjoy a mangrove walk and thundering Haruru waterfalls.
Meals Included:        Dinner       
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 3 hours

tour DAY  - AUCKLAND TO BAY OF ISLANDS

 

Leaving Auckland at 10am and heading for the golden beaches of the Bay of Islands. Whilst enjoying the scenic drive we’ll be asking you to think about activities for the next day. These include sailing, Cape Reinga day trip, Dolphin Eco Experience, diving the Rainbow Warrior or fishing.  As we drive up the coast you get to take in views of Whangarei heads. Whangarei is NZs warmest and northernmost city so enjoy the heat. You will be able to spot Hen and Chicken Islands as we head up the coasts and with a bit of imagination you can see how they got their names!

We stop off at the beach for a swim and a walk along the sand dunes. When we arrive in Paihia you get to choose from a great Mangrove walk or a beautiful cycle to thundering waterfalls, as well as the chance to visit the Treaty House where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Visit the Treaty House - a very interesting trip to learn more about the Treaty and history of Europeans and native Maori.

harua falls, new zealand

Harua Falls by Derek Craddock

HIKING OPTIONS: 

Great walks around the estuary and through mangroves to spectacular Haruru Falls (around 90 minutes). Also a great option for a lunchtime stroll along the wonderful beaches.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

A gentle 12 km ride to the camp or you can hop off earlier for a hilly 17km ride. Both rides include some gravel road and a stop to take in the Haruru Falls along the way. The rides should take around 1 - 2 hours finishing at our accommodation.

ACCOMMODATION:

We will be staying in a wonderful campsite with excellent facilities and upgrades available. There are kayaks to hire and it’s a great swimming spot.

DID YOu KNOW.......?:

New Zealand was the last major landmass to be populated (with the exception of the polar regions)

tour camp site near auckland

Great riverside campsite by David Kaczmorek

 

Bay of Islands
Sailing in the Bay of Islands

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Delicious pancake breakfast. Day in the Bay of Island’s clear turquoise waters with one of the great optional activities: Cape Reinga day trip, sail Bay of Islands, dolphin swimming or Rainbow Warrior dive. Plenty of treks & rides. 2nd night at same great camp.

Meals Included:       Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available: Yes
Driving distance:     0 - just relax and enjoy

TOUR DAY - AUCKLAND TO BAY OF ISLANDS

Pack your bathing gear and make the most of the famous Bay of Islands. For those looking to enjoy hikes or cycle rides there are a number of options around the area and just ask your guide for their advice. For those wishing to soak up a bit more Maori culture the Waitangi treaty house is a great insight and gives you a chance to get up close and personal and experience the Haka! Make the most of this aquatic paradise and take your pick from a variety of outstanding hike, cycle or activity options.  We are staying in the same wonderful campsite tonight which means maximum time to explore.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Northland is the perfect playground for water lovers. With a staggering 144 islands, the Bay of Islands offers diving, boating, swimming and big game fishing. There are some excellent hiking trails and walks in the native forests leading to some of the largest and oldest trees in the World. From here you can also visit Cape Reinga, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean - which is one of the northernmost spots in New Zealand. Trips to Cape Reinga drive along the flat, silvery sands of Ninety Mile Beach - a “historic” highway (interesting fact: the beach is only 64 miles or 104km long).

This region is also home to the oldest European villages in New Zealand and many historic buildings.

bay of islands

Bay of Islands by Daniel Dang

 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Sailing Bay of Islands

Awesome Cape Reinga day trip

Dolphin Eco Experience

Diving, Rainbow Warrior day trip

Snorkelling

Day in the Bay adventure

Fishing 

HIKING OPTIONS:

Many walking options of different lengths. The pick of the bunch today is a 6-hour round trip (taking in some gorgeous beaches) from Paihia - Russell. A good level of fitness is required but the day is broken up with ferry rides (own cost) and great places to visit. Alternatively, you can walk to the Haruru Falls (1.5 hours).

CYCLE OPTIONS:

It’s a good day for bikers! You have all day to enjoy a number of cycle options including a challenging 50km loop that takes you inland, then back along the coast to camp. For a more relaxed day there are a number of shorter rides to choose from.

ACCOMMODATION:

We will be staying in the same wonderful campsite with excellent facilities and upgrades available. There are kayaks to hire and it’s a great swimming spot.

DID YOu KNOW.......?:

New Zealand was the first major nation to have universal suffrage. In 1893 it became legal for all male and female citizens of New Zealand to vote.

Bay of Islands to Orewa
Sunset at camp

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

A day full of adventure. We head off from the Bay of Islands and cross to the giant dunes of Opononi, for beach fun & optional sand boarding. For those who are keen we have an excellent cycle option to view the giant Kauri trees. Travel Hibiscus Coast to our beach side camp with hot pools and water slides (included in trip price) nearby - perfect.

Meals Included:       Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available: Yes
Driving distance:      approx 3-4 hours

tour DAY  - BAY OF ISLANDS TO OREWA

Our first stop comes in Opononi with a chance to try your skills sand boarding at the awesome sand dunes on the other side of the harbour. If you don’t fancy heading down the sandy slopes there’s a nice coastal walk to Omapere.

Then it’s back on board heading south towards the Waipoua Forest. Next highlight is a stop at Tane Mahuta where you will be in awe at the largest kauri tree. A short drive then there is a chance to stretch your legs by either walking to the second largest tree, called Te Matua Ngahere or you can cycle ahead of the bus through this magnificent forest.   We will also be taking a short stop in Dargaville. We wrap up the day with hot pools and superb slides, enjoy a well-earned meal and share stories of our Bay of Islands adventures. 

about the area:

The roads around this region pass through forest dominated by huge kauri trees. These tower above you at heights of up to 60 metres with a trunk five or more in diameter. These trees are slow growing and some are over 2000 years old.  Beautiful Opononi is an excellent stop with its endless dunes lined by beautiful pohutakawa trees (the New Zealand christmas tree). 'Opo the Friendly Dolphin' made the region famous in 1955-56 when locals and tourists visited the area in their thousands to see the new playful resident.  Opo's visit is commemorated with a statue.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

sandboarding at opononi

Sandboarding by Dave n Deb

Sand boarding

Hot Pools and slides (included)

hiking OPTIONS:

Some great short walks in Waipoua Forest

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Rides of varying lengths winding through the forest.

ACCOMMODATION:

Excellent camp site located by the beach and the hot pools - an inspirational spot for sunset photography

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

Auckland is the largest Polynesian City in the world with a population mix of - 13% Pacific Island, 12% Maori, 61% European.

Orewa to Coromandel
Dig your own thermal pools at hot water beach

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

An early start as we head back through Auckland to collect new passengers. Depart Auckland at 10am (Day 1 for those joining in Auckland and heading south first). The beautiful Coromandel Peninsula awaits so bring your swim gear. Enjoy a great coastal walk or kayak the coast to Cathedral Cove. Visit unique Hot Water Beach to dig your own thermal pool. Coastal cycle to beachside camp.

Meals Included:       Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available: Yes
Driving distance:      approx 4 hours

TOUR DAY  - OREWA to coromandel

On our way to the fantastic and unique Hot Water Beach, we head back through Auckland and welcome some new faces on the bus. From Auckland we head to the Coromandel, renowned worldwide for its natural beauty, misty rainforests and pristine golden beaches.

We stop in Tairua where there is a excellent place to start todays’ optional ride. The scenery includes some great native bush and the striking Pohutukawa trees (or NZ Christmas trees). You will cycle to Hot Water Beach but save some energy as there’s plenty to keep you entertained once you arrive, such as a great walk or kayak to the magnificent Cathedral Cove. Bring your swimming gear to enjoy these turquoise waters.

At low tide the guides will take you to Hot Water Beach where they will show you the best place to dig yourself your very own natural hot pool to bathe. Tonight you will enjoy a favourite on the Flying Kiwi menu, the famous Flying Kiwi fish dish.

ABOUT THE AREA:

This beautiful Coromandel Peninsula is just a short distance from Auckland but it feels like a different world!  It only takes around two hours to reach the region but the volcanic hills, towering forests and stunning beaches make it an idyllic escape from the city.  Locals and others are attracted by the endless golden beaches, lovely turquoise waters and the great mix of architecture old and new.  The region is home to many of the oldest European villages and buildings in New Zealand.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Sea Kayak in the afternoon at stunning Cathedral Cove

HIKING OPTIONS:

Lovely 2hr (return) walk to the beach at Cathedral Cove.  

CYCLE OPTIONS:

The cycle option today is a 25km ride that takes you over the Tairua hill to Hot Water Beach or Hahei.  

ACCOMMODATION:

Holiday camp near Hot Water Beach with excellent facilities. Cabins are also available for a small extra charge (subject to availability).

DID YOu KNOW.......?:

New Zealand was the last major landmass to be populated (with the exception of the polar regions)

Coromandel to Rotorua
The bubbling thermals at Rotorua

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Heading to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. For the keen cyclist there is an early morning option. On the way south we enjoy a beach stop for a swim or a chance to stroll around a natural reserve brimming with Pohutukawa trees. After lunch it’s onto Rotorua where we give you time to soak up the atmosphere and sulphur of Rotorua and its thermal wonders. 

Meals Included:        Breakfast and Dinner       
Upgrades Available:  No - beautiful bush camp
(alternatives will be found if weather is poor)
Driving distance:      approx 3-4 hours

tour DAY  - COROMANDEL TO ROTORUA 

This is the cultural and geological heart of the North Island.  The area is the perfect place to experience and learn about Maori culture and to experience first hand the dramatic thermals of the country.

We’d highly recommend a dip in the soothing pools to relax and unwind! You can also try the mind blowing OGO, Agrodome Adventures or the famous Rotorua Luge. There is the opportunity for mountain bikers to explore the Whakarewarewa Forest - home to one of the oldest mountain bike networks in the country.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Bubbling mud pools, geysers and Maori culture are some of the main reasons that visitors head to the thermal resort of Rotorua.  It is the oldest and most established thermal resort in the country and from the moment you arrive you will notice something different.  There is a smell of sulphur in the air and numerous spouting geysers frothing and foaming to create a rainbow of wonderful colours. After a days adventure the spa and pool options are a must.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

rotorua

Rotorua by Phil Denby

Polynesian Spa Pools

Ogo

Agrodome Adventures

Skyline Luge

HIKING OPTIONS:

For the early risers you can enjoy a great stroll along the beach and later on another great option at Whiritoa beach.  We then have a few hours to walk around the thermal wonders of Rotorua - Sulphur City.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

In Rotorua there are awesome mountain bike tracks through the Whakarewarewa Forest. Later in the  afternoon you can cycle to the lakeside camp through rolling farm land – there are a few twists and turns.

ACCOMMODATION:

A bush camp by Lake Rerewhakaaitu enjoying the real natural beauty of New Zealand.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

When the Europeans arrived in New Zealand, it was already inhabited by the Maori people – Eastern Polynesian settlers who arrived some time between 800 and 1300. Legend has it that they came from a place named Hawaiki; its location is unknown. The very strong linguistic connection to Cook Island Maori might suggest that they originated from that region of the Pacific.

Rotorua to Tongariro
Cycle or hike via Huka Falls

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Enjoy a relaxed start to the day before we check out the geysers, mud pools and other cool thermal stuff!  There is a morning cycle option for those who are keen. Midday we will be heading towards Taupo and on the way we visit the very impressive Huka Falls with great walk and cycle options into Taupo.  We spend some time exploring this area and its adventure options before heading to camp by the Tongariro National Park. 

Meals Included:       Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available: Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2 hours

TOUR DAY -  ROTORUA TO TOKAANUI

Taupo is a great little town where you can enjoy some spectacular lakeside scenery, and for the adventure junkies it’s a great day with the option to test your fear of heights on the Rock n Ropes course, bungy or skydiving.  If you prefer something a little more relaxing then you can kayak on Lake Taupo to the amazing Maori rock carvings. The scenery we pass through today includes the largest man made forest in the Southern Hemisphere - the Kaingaroa forest and a crossing of the Waikato River - NZ’s longest and only river streaming northbound.

tongariro crossing hike

Views on the Tongariro hike by Phil Denby

ABOUT THE AREA

This region is centred around Lake Taupo, NZ's largest lake at 619sq km. The area includes hot springs in numerous locations around the lake, which is an extinct volcanic crater.  Just north of Taupo underground steam has been harnessed for electricity generation. From Lake Taupo the mighty Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river, gushes out through a narrow chasm to create the dramatic Huka Falls.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Viewing the giant geysers & Wai-O-Tapu thermal area (included in trip price)

Taupo Bungy

Taupo Bungy by Marta

Skydiving

Bungy

Rock ‘n’ Ropes

Kayaking

HIKING OPTIONS:

Plenty of shorter walks available around the lakes and geysers. From Huka Falls it is a nice two hour walk to the centre of Taupo. Take your swimming gear for a dip in the natural hot pool along the river.  Have a stroll around Taupo and down to the lake shore. 

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Today you can cycle ahead of the bus to Wai-O-Tapu (about 23km's). From Huka Falls there is a great mountain bike track into town.

ACCOMMODATION:

A great camp with free hot pools. Cabins are also available for a small extra charge (subject to availability).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The Maori people named the country, Aotearoa, "The Land of the Long White Cloud." 

 

Tongariro to Kapiti Coast
Tongariro Crossing

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Giving many of you the chance to enjoy New Zealand’s (and possibly the World’s) finest one day walk - the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  For others though there’s still plenty to enjoy.  You will have the chance to enjoy short local walks or cycle the new Turangi river track. There is also the chance to go White Water Rafting.  We wrap up the day at a wonderful camp next to the beach

Meals Included:        Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner       
Upgrades Available: Yes
Driving distance:      approx 3 hours

tour DAY  - tongariro to kapiti coast 

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is described by many as the best one day walk in the World.  It's an amazing hike and an excellent opportunity to absorb a huge diversity of landscapes in a few hours. For those who aren't keen on hiking there are still plenty of options and everyone will love the evening campsite on the Kapiti coast.

tongariro alpine crossing

Tongariro Crossing by Planetd

ABOUT THE AREA: 

The 80,000 hectare Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage Area, with its centrepiece Mount Ruapehu rising dramatically 2797m from the surrounding area. Next to Mt. Ruapehu are two smaller volcanic mountains - Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro.  This is also the site of one of NZ's best ski fields and is often snow capped year round.

hiking options:

Today is your chance to enjoy one of the world’s greatest one day walks – The Tongariro Alpine Crossing. There are also short walk options that run next to the Turangi River. 

cycling OPTIONS:

If you fancy hitting the saddle today there are a couple of cycle options. There is a new two hour river track around the Turangi area, or head towards the end of the walking track, about 28kms. For the keen, cycle ahead towards Waiouru about 60kms.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

White Water Rafting

DID YOu KNOW.......?:

Tourism is the main industry in New Zealand with over two million visitors a year. The main exports are lamb, butter, kiwifruit, and wine.

Kapiti Coast to Picton
Wellington Cable Car

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Heading south to the coolest little capital – Wellington! You have most of the day to experience some of Wellington’s awesome attractions such as Te Papa museum, Botanical Gardens and Zealandia. We then enjoy a scenic ferry crossing to Picton (included in trip price).

Meals Included:        Breakfast       
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 1 hour + ferry crossing

TOUR DAY - kapiti coast to picton 

Soak up the culture and buzz in the nations capital.  There are plenty of attractions to appeal to all tastes and the highly recommended (and free) Te Papa museum.  We give the culture vultures plenty of time to soak up everything kiwi before we jump on the ferry (cost included) to cruise across the Marlborough Sounds to the picturesque town of Picton - eyes peeled for whale and dolphins on the ferry crossing.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Wellington is New Zealand's capital with a population of approximately 390,000.  It is an amazingly compact city surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of spectacular hills and wonderful waterfront.  It has long been established as the entertainment centre of the country and its cafe, restaurant and theatre industry is thriving.  With the highest ratio of eating options in the country its easy to see why Wellington is labelled the "cafe capital".

The stretch of water between the north and south island is known as Cook Strait.  When Abel Tasman first discovered New Zealand in 1642 he didn't realise the significance of this stretch of water and it wasn't until 1769 that James Cook fully explored the navigable gateway between the islands.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Taking in the culture and attractions of the capital city.  Te Papa museum is highly recommended.  There’s great shopping here, so plenty to spend your money on if you’re feeling flush!

HIKING OPTIONS:

A stroll round the bars, cafes and shops of Wellington or amble through the Botanical Gardens which are found at the top of the cable car in central Wellington.  Mt Victoria loop (4.7km), range of central city walks.  Zealandia sanctuary also offers over 30km of walking tracks in a stunning area of over 225 hectares.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

There are no cycling options today, as we head on a busy road into Wellington.

ACCOMMODATION:

A great hostel in Picton (not included in price but your guide will help make a booking with ideal accommodation options).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

Although it is around the size of Japan, New Zealand’s population is just over four million, making it one of the world’s least populated countries.

Picton to Kaikoura
Kayaking in Kaikoura

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Enjoying the stunning coastal road to Kaikoura where close encounters with fur seals, sea birds and other wildlife are common. We stop off at a beautiful lunch spot with great opportunities for walks on and around the beach.  The kayak and whale watching activity options are both excellent highly recommended.

Meals Included:        Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - PICTON TO KAIKOURA

 

We head down towards Kaikoura where you can enjoy the informative and unique Whale watching tour to view the incredible sperm whales. Other activities are sea kayaking and deep sea fishing where you can catch your very own Crayfish!

Cyclists and hikers have some great choices with wonderful coastal tracks. We are staying in a beautiful coastal campsite tonight where you get to enjoy some of New Zealand’s finest coastal scenery with a camp fire on the beach.

ABOUT THE AREA:

The waters off this stretch of coast are home to a variety of marine and bird life - its the perfect spot to get 'close to nature'. Kaikoura has an interesting Maori history and legend - Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself while he 'fished-up' the North Island from the sea. Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai - food, koura - crayfish) which is extremely appropriate with plenty to go around.   The area is particularly celebrated for

whale watching kaikoura

Whale watching by Dave n Deb

It's numerous species of whale and dolphin including the huge sperm whales regularly diving to depths in excess of 1 kilometre (a depth at which little marine exploration has bee done) where they tangle with the giant squid .

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

 Whale Watching

Sea Kayaking

Fishing 

HIKING OPTIONS:

 Beautiful evening coastal walk around the peninsula taking in the amazing scenery, with fur seals and dolphin spotting along the way. Once at camp you can stretch your legs along the beach.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

From the seal colony there is a 30km coastal ride into Kaikoura (though not possible if you are doing the Whale watching trip). After the Peninsula walk cyclists can enjoy a flat 9km ride to camp. 

ACCOMMODATION:

A beautiful sea side camp with the chance to toast marshmallows by the camp fire.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New Zealand won the first ever Rugby World Cup, held in 1987 (took us a while to get the next one but we are warming up!).

Kaikoura to Rangitata
Dolphin Swimming

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Making the most of the unique and diverse sea life around the shores of Kaikoura from our coast side camp.  We’d highly recommend starting the day with a dolphin swim as the dolphins around the Kaikoura coast are some of the most playful performers in the World and its very common to get pods in excess of 20 dolphins.

Those starting their trip in Christchurch join us at 2:30pm by the Antarctic centre as we head out to Rangitata.

Meals Included:        Breakfast and Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 3.5 hours

 

tOUR DAY - KAIKOURA to rangitata

 

This is a unique chance to get up close and personal with dolphins in their natural environment. There are a few hours to enjoy some great walks around the area or to just relax in town.

We then continue south to Christchurch to pick up our new friends meeting us there, before heading out towards the Southern Alps with fantastic views across the Canterbury plains - real Lord of the Rings country! We set up camp near Peel Forest at shearers headquarters where we will enjoy a classic kiwi bbq. There is a great cycle ride into camp.

ABOUT THE AREA:

rangitata rainforest

Rangitata cycle by Matthias Gudath

The coastline between Kaikoura and Christchurch is home to the dusky dolphins - regarded as the most interactive and playful in the World.  They live side by side with the sloth of the sea world - the seal - you will find numerous seals scattering the coastline, taking time to sunbathe on the rocks.  Christchurch is a magnificent city which was rocked by earthquakes.  The city is now getting back on its feet with plans in place to restructure and rebuild the city to its glorious best. The Rangitata River flows for over 120 kms from the Southern Alps to the Pacific ocean. This is the river where you can White Water raft tomorrow morning -- highly recommended!  

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Dolphin swimming - highly recommended

HIKING OPTIONS:

Morning beach walks and a 1 hour walk with great views of Kaikoura peninsula.  

CYCLE OPTIONS:

There is a chance to cycle in the morning if not swimming with the dolphins. In the afternoon there is a great ride to camp which involves a few more uphill sections (17km or 35km).

ACCOMMODATION:

The totally unique Shearer’s headquarters at the foot of the Alps. 

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New Zealand has 6,000 kilometres of coastline and the furthest inland is only 120km from the coast.

Rangitata to Lake Pukaki
White water rafting group

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Waking by stunning Peel Forest near the foot of the Southern Alps. We get the chance to try rafting at one of the most consistent spots in the South Island offering exciting conditions throughout the year. Peel Forest is a great place to enjoy shorter walks and rides and get your cameras ready for the most photogenic lake in New Zealand. 

Meals Included:       Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available: No - beautiful lakeside camp (alternatives will be found in bad weather)
Driving distance:     approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - RANGITATA TO LAKE PUKAKI 

We pass through some real southern country gems and Geraldine (home of the World’s largest jersey!!!).

After a very scenic drive we arrive in stunning Lake Tekapo with its fantastic lake and beautiful Alpine surround. You have some time here to take in the beautiful scenery before we head to Lake Pukaki - our camp for the night - get your swimmers and cameras ready!

ABOUT THE AREA:

Around 300 million years ago this area and Lake Tekapo were part of a seafloor valley. The continual movement between 2 tectonic plates has pushed the horizontal seabed to rock and upwards to create the amazing spectacle you see today.

Lake Tekapo was named by the Maori after a small white berry that grows locally.  In the late 1800s, James Mckenzie (a shepherd turned sheep stealer), discovered the basin now named after him.  He drove flocks of sheep inland, with the help of his dog Friday, to escape capture. Although authorities finally caught James they couldn't take control of any of this sheep as his dog, Friday, continued to drive them without his masters control - a bronze memorial to working collies now sits by the shores of Lake Tekapo next to the Church of the Good Shepherd - one of the Worlds most picturesque churches.

lake tekapo hiking

Lake Tekapo by Chris Reynolds

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

White water rafting

HIKING OPTIONS:

A lovely short walk in the Peel Forest area. There are also great views to be had from walks around the Tekapo lookout and village. From camp there’s the chance to take a hike along the lake shore.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Some shorter cycle routes around Peel Forest in the morning and then longer rides through to Geraldine and Lake Tekapo, rides range from 17-50km. There is a fantastic 35km ride by the canal into camp.

ACCOMMODATION:

A camp nestled by the side of Lake Pukaki - absolutely stunning with views of Mount Cook!

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The heaviest insect in the world is a New Zealand native – the Weta.

Lake Pukaki to Aoraki National Park
Hooker Valley hike

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Today we have some excellent options for hikers and cyclists around the Mount Cook region.  Be prepared for snow capped mountain backdrops and amazing views around every corner - just check out the photos in our gallery.  We then head to the coast to set up camp in a stunning spot right on the beach.

Meals Included:       Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available: No - beautiful beach camp
Driving distance:     approx 2.5 hours

 

TOUR DAY - lake pukaki to Aoraki National Park

 

Today we explore the area around Mount Cook National Park - this staggeringly beautiful area is home to snow capped peaks, turquoise waters and the Tasman Glacier - the largest in New Zealand.  We then head back to the east coast passing through a few classic NZ country towns including Kurow, birth place of All Black rugby legend Richie McCaw! A quick stop in Oamaru then a short drive to our magnificent beach camp at Kakanui. An optional coastal bike ride into camp and penguin viewing at night

ABOUT THE AREA:

Mount Cook (Maori name - Aoraki) dominates the skyline at 3,754m and is New Zealand's highest mountain. It sits atop the numerous peaks of Mount Cook national park next to the 30km giant Tasman Glacier - one of the longest outside of the Himalayas. You can view this during your morning hike.

The area is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna including the Mount Cook "lily" - the largest buttercup in the world. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

breakfast at camp nz

Breakfast at camp by Lindsey Keith

Penguin Watching

HIKING OPTIONS:

Excellent range of short walks and a longer walk around Hooker Valley. Recommended is the 3 hour walk to view Tasman Glacier. Once at camp there’s also plenty of time to enjoy a beach stroll.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Today’s a good one to challenge the fitter cyclists in the pack. Cyclists can cycle ahead of the bus toward Mount Cook – 60kms to the Shelter. Awesome coastal cycle into camp.

ACCOMMODATION:

A lovely campsite to the south of Oamaru right by the sea.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The Lord of the Rings was filmed entirely in New Zealand.

Aoraki National Park to Otago Peninsula
Moeraki Boulders

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Enjoying waking up to the sound of waves lapping the beach, with the option to clear your head with a sunrise beach stroll.  Today is our chance opportunity to visit the wildlife capital of New Zealand, the Otago Peninsula, home to an abundance of magnificent wildlife including albatross and penguins. Tonight we camp out on the peninsula with fantastic cycle and walk options.

Meals Included:        Breakfast and Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

 

TOUR DAY - AORAKI NATIONAL PARK to OTAGO PENINSULA

 

We will be heading out towards the mystical Moeraki Boulders and onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin - home to the World’s steepest street. This southern city is also home to the Cadbury chocolate factory and the famous Speight’s brewery. 

ABOUT THE AREA:

moeraki boulders

Moeraki boulders by Planetd

The Otago Coast stretches along  the South Island's eastern side. Dunedin marks the halfway point along this coast and shortly on from there lies the mysterious Moeraki Boulders - a collection of perfectly round rocks each weighing up to 4 tonnes.

Dunedin is the South Island's second-largest city. Its name is the old Gaelic one for Edinburgh - very appropriate as the city is a carbon copy of the Edinburgh map (street names and all).  One of the main attractions of this region is the natural beauty and abundant wildlife, just 15 minutes from Dunedin you can view endangered yellow-eyed penguin, cormorants and albatross. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Visit the Cadbury chocolate factory or the Speight’s brewery 

Walk up Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street (free)!

HIKING OPTIONS:

Lovely beach strolls from our morning camp and then a beach walk to take in the famed Moeraki boulders. We also give you a couple of hours to wander the historic streets of Dunedin - try and walk or cycle the steepest street if you feel like it!

Lovely walk at camp through native bush.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Cyclists can take the chance to cycle ahead of the bus and head for the beach and Moeraki Boulders, about 27 kms. There is also an awesome downhill cycle into Dunedin and a spectacular coastal ride to the lighthouse from camp.

ACCOMMODATION:

A wonderful camp on the Otago peninsula with good facilities.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

30% of New Zealand land is forest.

Otago Peninsula to Milford Sound
Heading into Fiodland

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Journey through scenic southern pastures and enjoy a peaceful lakeside picnic. We stop in the lakeside town of Te Anau before heading to Fiordland National Park and our historic camp in the unspoilt Hollyford Valley - this site is a true wilderness escape. Excellent rides & an awesome bush trek

Meals Included:        Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 3.5 hours

 

TOUR DAY - OTAGO PENINSULA TO MILFORD SOUND

 

Heading through some of New Zealand’s most dramatic natural scenery on our way through Fiordland. Large parts of the landscape have been carved out over thousands of years to leave stunning paths that weave through snow-capped mountains. We stop off at magnificent Lake Manapouri for a picnic lunch and swim, then head to Te Anau with an optional cycle and a chance to explore the lakeside town. On the way to our rugged camp deep in the Fiordland National Park we will stop to take in the amazing views with some short walks.

ABOUT THE AREA:

lake manapouri

Lunch stop by Lindsey Keith

The south west corner of New Zealand is home to Fiordland - home to wild, dramatic and rugged landscapes.   The main town for access to the Fiordland National park region is Te Anau, the park is a World Heritage Area over 1.2 million hectares in size.  In this area everything is oversized - gigantic waterfalls, towering  mountains and forested valleys meet you around every corner.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A chance to rest your adrenalin and wallet.

HIKING OPTIONS:

There are a range of short walks from camp which explore the dense native forest.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

After lunch there is a 20km cycle ride into the lake side town of Te Anau. Also the chance to cycle into camp along a gravel road surrounded by native forest.

ACCOMMODATION:

A stunning unique camp deep in Fiordland.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

For each person who lives here, New Zealand produces 100kg of butter and 65kg of cheese each year.

Milford Sound to Fiordland National Park
Amazing Milford Sound

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Travel one of the World’s most scenic routes into Milford Sound and enjoy a relaxing downhill ride to one of NZ's best sights! Boat cruise to enjoy the fiord up close. Routeburn Track walkers depart for their 3 day adventure. Stunning lakeside camp which has a huge variety of track, road & lakeside bike rides.

Meals Included:        Breakfast & Lunch 
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - MILFORD SOUND TO FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK

 

Taking in one of the most scenic drives in the world on our way to Milford Sound. The scenery is breathtaking and make sure your cameras are well charged as there are amazing views to be seen.  On the way in we stop at the beautiful Chasm for a chance to stretch your legs.

We then spend some time at one of the world’s natural wonders and we highly recommend taking in the boat trip on Milford Sound with dramatic waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and possible wildlife spotting of dolphins, penguins and seals! As it’s just the one road in we head back along the same breathtaking route to our lakeside camp. Along the way we drop off the lucky ones who will be doing the three day hike on the Routeburn Track. Keep an eye out for Keas - they are not shy, especially if you’ve got food!

ABOUT THE AREA:

The Maori attributed the creation of the Fiordland area to a “titanic mason” (Tute Rakiwhanoa) who carved out the steep sided valleys. Few other explanations seem appropriate to describe the seemingly impossible masterpiece that nature has created here.

“For thousands of feet upwards the eye looks upon straight cut rocky frontages, not worn smooth by time, or by wind or water, but as sharply defined and as fresh looking in all respects as if riven asunder but yesterday by the stupendous wedges of Titanic Masons.“ James Hingston, 1883. 

routeburn track nz

Routeburn Track by Pedro

In any weather Milford Sound is an incredible spectacle.  The sheer cliffs, dramatic waterfalls lead along a spectacular 16km journey to the open ocean.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Cruise on Milford Sound

Routeburn Track

HIKING OPTIONS:

An excellent short walk to the Chasm.

Those doing the Routeburn Track will leave us here and re-join in Queenstown.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

For those who are returning to Te Anau you can cycle once back at camp with a relaxed lakeside option or if you like to test yourself more there is a mountain bike track right next to camp.

ACCOMMODATION:

 A lake-view holiday park with great facilities. Cabins are available for a small extra charge (subject to availability).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The kea, native to New Zealand, likes to eat the strips of rubber around car windows.

Fiordland National Park to Queenstown
The Luxmore Jet

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

An early start to the activities capital of the world...Queenstown!

Meals Included:        Breakfast
Upgrades Available:  Yes - free lodge upgrades
Driving distance:      2.5hrs

tour day - FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK TO QUEENSTOWN 

In the morning we journey to Queenstown on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown has the well-deserved reputation for being the adventure capital of the world with an abundance of activities! Test yourself with an adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing, skydive or paraglide just to name a few, or enjoy a more relaxed horse trek, sail or gondola ride - this place has it all, as well as spectacular views. Great cycle rides and walks in scenic alpine areas.

ABOUT THE AREA:

A spectacular lakeside setting surrounded by mountains.

 

mount luxmore views

Mount Luxmore views by Dave n Deb

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Bungy jumping

Canyon Swing

Skydive

Too many to name!

HIKING OPTIONS:

Multiple walking/hiking options

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Mountain bike (Skyline Queenstown Bike Park), Ride the Queenstown bike trail (various lengths)

ACCOMMODATION:

A great lodge just oustide Queenstown before for exploring the area - this lodge upgrade is included in the price

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The longest place name in the world still in use is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwenuakitanatahu, a hill in Porangahau in the Hawkes Bay.

Queenstown
Feeling brave - try the Canyon Swing !!

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

A full day to enjoy Queenstown and it's many activities on offer!

Meals Included:        Breakfast
Upgrades Available:  yes - free upgrade to lodge
Driving distance:      0 - a non driving day!

TOUR DAY - QUEENSTOWN

Providing the adrenalin junkies with the ultimate fix – Queenstown! Every mad thrill sport is here, so get ready, charge yourself up and leap, scream and ride your way along some of the best attractions in New Zealand!

Queenstown is also a stunning place with excellent shops, cafes and bars and we will be making the most of all of them. On board we have got some guides to flick through with a heap of activities to choose from including bungy, jet boat, horse riding and much, much more.

For cyclists there’s also a great route along the lake shore. At midday the Routeburn walkers will re-join the group with their amazing stories to share.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Rightfully regarded as the adrenalin capital of New Zealand (if not, the World) Queenstown has something for every taste.  It is also a spectacular location,

queenstown bungy

Bungy by Darcy Mcarthy

nestled beside the deep blue of Lake Wakatipu by the foot of the Remarkables Range. Queenstown thrives year round with its superb alpine facilities and slopes -it was recently voted one of the top 25 cities in the World by a top travel magazine and we know why!

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

There are too many to fit on one page but here are a few:

Bungy, Skydiving, White water rafting, Luge, River Boarding, Horse riding Canyon swing, Gondola ride and many more.... +

free gondola ride (included in price)

HIKING OPTIONS:

You’ve got a free afternoon to check out great walks in the Queenstown area or just explore this great little town. Feel like a challenge? Follow the steep track up to the top of the Gondola or take the Gondola up and an easy stroll down.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Once in Queenstown there are cycle options galore! Talk to your guides to select the best option for you.

ACCOMMODATION:

A well-equipped lodge just outside of Queenstown (included in trip price) perfect for exploring the town.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

Less than 5 per cent of the population of New Zealand is human - the rest are animals. This is one of the highest ratios of animals to humans in the world.

Queenstown to Mount Aspiring National Park
The gondola and luge track

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Use your free time in the morning to try any of the numerous activities including bungy, canyon swing, skydive, paraglide, horse trek or gondola ride - to name a few! There are also some excellent alpine bike rides and walks. For those joining us in Queenstown the bus heads off around 3:00pm. Camp beside a tranquil lake in nature’s paradise and a chance to relax and reflect on the thrills and spills of Queenstown.

Meals Included:        Breakfast
Upgrades Available:  No - beautiful lakeside camp (alternatives found in bad weather)
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - queenstown to MOUNT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK

 

Giving you a last chance to throw yourself off a bridge before we head towards Wanaka. There’s also the chance again to try any of the great Queenstown buzzes in the morning, then at midday we pick up our new friends joining us for the Wild West and head towards the west coast. Tonight’s camp is beside the tranquil lake with spectacular views of Mt. Aspiring National Park.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Wanaka is located on the shores of Lake Wanaka, just north of Queenstown. Surrounded by the Southern Alps, this is a spectacular location and another popular alpine resort.  The crystal clear waters reflect the snow capped peaks year round and it's the perfect place to absorb the beauty of Mount Aspiring National Park.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

queenstown luge

Luge by Mark Hassenflow

You have until midday to experience Queenstown’s great attractions.

Puzzling World

HIKING OPTIONS:

Enjoy some of the shorter walks Queenstown has to offer, Mt Iron summit

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Ride the Queenstown trail (various lengths), Lake Wanaka -Albert Town loop (11km)

ACCOMMODATION:

Bush camp with great setting by Lake Wanaka.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

There are more Scottish pipe bands per head of population in New Zealand than in Scotland.

Mount Aspiring National Park to Fox Glacier
Hike or cycle by the rivers of the Haast region

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Jet boat in Mount Aspiring National Park. Bus or cycle the dramatic Haast Pass with views of the Southern Alps. Short walks through rainforest, past waterfalls & pools to the wild West Coast. Picnic lunch then head to Glacier country & accommodation in the alpine village of Fox Glacier. 

Meals Included:        Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - MOUNT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK to fox glacier

 

Enjoy a relaxed morning at our lakeside camp with an optional jet boat ride into the beautiful Mt Aspiring National Park, or a lovely morning cycle. Just before we reach the West Coast we stop for a walk to the amazing blue pools, and then head over the dramatic Haast Pass. As we are heading out towards the wild West Coast, the scenery starts to change and there’s a great chance to sample this with a waterfall hike. After our stop for a picnic lunch we hit the coast and head north to the beach. Here you can enjoy one of the short walks and this is a great chance to find yourself some Pounamu, New Zealand’s Greenstone. Also keep an eye out for dolphins!

ABOUT THE AREA:

The wild "West Coast" refers to the beautiful and diverse area lodged between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. This area is home to arguably the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand the the least number of people - a perfect combination for our tours)  The region is dotted with towering mountain peaks, glaciers, turquoise lakes, thundering rivers and rainforest.  The national parks in this region have been designated as World Heritage Areas to help keep this area of supreme natural beauty intact. Residents of the region are known as "coasters" and known for their genuine friendliness.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Jet boating

HIKING OPTIONS:

Some great short walks including the dramatic waterfalls, one of our favourite secret spots and and exploring Ship Creek.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

There’s the chance to cycle ahead of the group with a 20km ride to Makarora and if weather permits you can cycle from the top of Haast Pass. If daylight permits there is a longer cycle into camp at Fox Glacier. 

ACCOMMODATION:

Holiday Park with great facilities. Cabins are also available for a small extra charge (subject to availability).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New Zealand has more book-shops per head of population than any other country; one for every 7500 people.

Fox Glacier to Okarito Lagoon
Hike on the World famous Fox Glacier

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Spend the morning taking in the wonderful scenery before an optional guided walk, heli hike or ice climb on the spectacular glacier. Optional cycle or walk around Lake Matheson. Head up the coast to Okarito beach. Relax next to the fire with breathtaking views all around.

Meals Included:        Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  No - amazing camp by lagoon
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - FOX GLACIER TO OKARITO LAGOON

 

Exploring Fox Glacier and the surrounding area. You have the chance to hike or ice climb on the glacier, but if glaciers aren’t your thing then you will have the day to explore. You can cycle the area or visit the must-see Lake Matheson, famous for its beautiful reflections of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. We then have a short drive up the coast to our beautiful beachside campsite next to the Okarito lagoon.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Okarito Lagoon is home to NZ's only colony of the white heron (kotuku). Fox glacier is one of New Zealand's most famous landmarks but here are a few things you might not now about this natural phenomenon:

  • Fox glacier, like all glaciers, advances and retreats - this is demonstrated by the bulging lower ice fall.

  • Maori legend tells the story of the glacier named Te Moeka o Tuawe. When Tu Awe fell to his death exploring the area his lover, Hine Hukatere wept, the  valley filled with her everlasting tears of ice

    fox glacier town

    Fox Glacier town by Lindsey Keith

  • Fox glacier if the largest and longest glacier on the West Coast

  • The glacier, unusually, ends in rainforest just 250 metres above sea level

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Half or full day glacier hike

Heli-hike

Ice climbing

HIKING OPTIONS:

All the glacier options or a great one hour hike around Lake Matheson

CYCLE OPTIONS:

If you’re not doing the Glacier Hike there is a hilly ride from Fox Glacier township to our camp of just under 60km. If you prefer a shorter option then you just ride the 26km over the hills to Franz or the last 12km into Okarito.

ACCOMMODATION:

A beachside camp tonight next to a beautiful lagoon.  

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New Zealand is home to the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors Dolphin, the rarest sea lion, the Hookers Sea Lion, the largest flightless parrot, the kakapo, the oldest reptile, the tuatara, the heaviest insect, a weta, the biggest earth-worms, the smallest bats, some of the oldest trees, and many of the rarest birds, insects, and plants in the world.

Okarito Lagoon to Paparoa National Park
Kayaking at Okarito lagoon

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Early morning walk & chance to spot a Kiwi in the wild. Visit Bushmans Museum, then onto Hokitika & its famous Greenstone factories. Coastal walk or ride through native forest. Travel to Paparoa National Park & the famous Pancake Rocks! Absorb the sunset & explore secret glowworm caverns

Meals Included:        Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      approx 2.5 hours

TOUR DAY - Okarito lagoon to paparoa national park

 

Heading up the rugged West Coast through dramatic Lord of the Rings scenery! For the early birds we definitely recommend taking a morning trek to enjoy a sunrise with outstanding views over the Alps and a chance to spot kiwis in the wild. First stop of the day is what we like to call a ‘café experience’, a great chance to learn about the local area. We then reach Hokitika - a genuine “coasters” town! After a spot of exploring in the home of Greenstone it’s on to a great coastal walk, then to the renowned Paparoa National Park, home of Punakaiki and the famous Pancake rocks.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Hokitika and the surrounding area is a traditional source of greenstone (pounamu) - several stores and outlets offer a variety of jewellery and other tiemsin this thriving arts and crafts scene. Paparoa National Park is home to a plethora of luxuriant coastal forests, limestone cliffs, canyons, caves and underground streams, and an absolutely spectacular coastline, all packed into one national park.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Bushman's Museum (included in trip price)

Visit a greenstone factory

Visit the Kiwi house

HIKING OPTIONS:

Hike up to The Trig for sunrise (1.5 hr return) and a great view of Southern Alps.  Point Elizabeth Walk coastal walk (about 1.5hrs).  

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Cyclists can hit the last 33km along the coast and into camp

ACCOMMODATION:

Punakaiki camp next to a river and beach. Cabins are an option (subject to availability).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

New zealand has two national athems- God Save The Queen and God Defend New Zealand.

Paparoa National Park
The bizarre Pancake Rocks

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Delicious pancake breakfast & day to explore this dramatic National Park with walks & cycles galore! Optional river kayak. Depending on the tides you will get the chance to view the explosive blow holes & don't forget to ask you guide about our secret spot - the hidden wave rock. 2nd night at this magnificent camp.

Meals Included:        Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      0 - just relax

TOUR DAY - PAPAROA NATIONAL PARK

 

Starting the day with a hearty pancake breakfast. Once fuelled and ready to go the day is yours to explore this amazing national park. There are a number of walks available ranging from short 20 minute walks to 5 – 6 hour hikes.

There’s the opportunity to head to Pancake rocks and check out the famous blowholes. You can also try your hand at kayaking on the Pororari River or a spot of horse riding. For the cyclists there are great mountain bike tracks and also the chance to check out the glow worms hidden in the sub-tropical fauna. Alternatively, just take the day at your own pace and enjoy the easy laid-back life of the West Coast!

ABOUT THE AREA:

The national park offers great access to several coastal and historic tracks dating back to the days of the gold rush boom. Limestone is responsible for the unusual rock formations and landforms scattered along the coast.  This has also been the reason for the formation of the bizarre and impressive pancake stack of rocks at Punkaiki blowholes.

These blowholes are best caught at high tide and your guide will advise you on the best times to catch them in full flow. Birdlife in the area is also varied with  tui, bellbird/korimako and kereru all found throughout different times of year.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Kayaking

HIKING OPTIONS:

A number of walks available ranging from short 20 minute walks to 5 – 6 hour hikes.  Also a great walk to watch the blowholes at Pancake Rocks.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Cyclists have plenty of chances to explore the wonderful area.

ACCOMMODATION:

A final night in the great camp at Punakaiki.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

While it is no longer the case, New Zealand was once governed as a part of the territory of New South Wales (later a part of Australia). When Australia federated in 1901, New Zealand was offered a place as one of their states. New Zealand refused and is its own country with no ties (other than economic and commonwealth) to Australia.

Campsite at Punakaiki

Campsite by Natalie

Paparoa National Park to Abel Tasman National Park
Explore stunning bays and coves

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Travel through Buller Gorge to NZ’s best national park – Abel Tasman. Skydive, hang glide or fly an aerobatic plane - all of which give you the perfect birds eye view with varying levels of adrenalin. Cycle the golden sand bays to Marahau. Highly recommended option to spend the evening on a boat moored in the heart of the national park.

Meals Included:        Breakfast & Dinner
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      3 hours

TOUR DAY - PAPAROA NATIONAL PARK to abel tasman national park

 

Taking time to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand. The Abel Tasman is one of our favourite spots and we have some excellent options for everyone here. You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chance for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) You also have the option to stay a night in the park. 

ABOUT THE AREA:

New Zealand has a range of fantastic national parks but this is our favourite - maybe it's because this little gem lies on the doorstep of Flying Kiwi HQ but mainly it's due to the the golden sandy beaches, twisting rocky outcrops, turquoise clear waters and beautiful hidden bays.  The park is also home to a range of life from dolphins and orcas to tuis and bellbirds. Whether from the ground, water or air the Abel Tasman never fails to disappoint aspiring photographers looking for the perfect beach shot!

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Skydiving

Hang gliding

Micro light flight

Pilot a stunt plane

HIKING OPTIONS:

A number of short walks are available in the region and once we reach the camp.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

An excellent 25km ride into camp or try the 15 km coast road to our accommodation.

ACCOMMODATION:

 In a great, fun campsite for the next couple of days to explore the area. Cabins are available for a small extra charge (subject to availability).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

Almost three quarters of New Zealand’s electricity is generated by renewable methods, specifically hydro-electricity, wind and geothermal energy.

Abel Tasman National Park
Split apple rock - don't bite too hard!

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

This park is so good we had to stay here a bit longer.  Today you have a free day to explore Abel Tasman, kayaking or sailing the crystal clear waters. Great walking options and the chance to combine various water transport with hikes to get the best of this park by foot and water.   Our camp is right on the National Park’s doorstep. At night we celebrate the last night in the south by going out for a great group dinner.

Meals Included:        Breakfast
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      0 - just relax

TOUR DAY - abel tasman NATIONAL PARK

 

Taking time to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand. The Abel Tasman is one of our favourite spots and we have some excellent options for everyone here. You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chance for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) You also have the option to stay a night in the park. At night we celebrate the last night in the south by going out for a great group dinner.

ABOUT THE AREA:

 Abel Tasman is world renowned for its beautiful beaches and amazing coastal hikes. It has a very mild climate making it a popular destination year round. The Maori lived along the Abel Tasman coast for over 5000 years with a rich supply of food from the water and forest. On 18th Dec 1642, the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman, anchored at Golden Bay and was the 1st European to visit New Zealand. He was met by the resident Ngati Tumatakokiri people and after losing  4 crew in a skirmish with the Maori he soon moved on.

European settlement didnt begin until around 1855. The settlers soon began logging forests for ship building and quarries the granite hillsides.  The temporary

walking in abel tasman

Abel Tasman by Lindsey keith

boom soon began to dip as wood supplies depleted and in 1942 15,000 hectares of land was made into Abel Tasman National Park. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

 Sea kayaking

Sailing

Various kayak/walk/sail combinations

Canyoning

HIKING OPTIONS:

 A variety of different length walks in the National Park. We recommend you water taxi (at your own cost) into the park and hike back out at your leisure.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

The day is yours to explore the region but unfortunately there is no cycling allowed in the national park. A great option is to cycle to Kaiteri for the day.

ACCOMMODATION:

The same great camp for the last night in the south island.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

A New Zealand chef invented the meringue dessert known as the Pavlova in honor of the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.

Abel Tasman National Park to Wellington
Marlborough vineyards

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

A last morning in Abel Tasman before We head out from to Nelson with a coastal cycle option on Tasman’s Great Taste Trail. Explore the Marlborough wine region with a chance to taste the world famous wines. We then take a scenic ferry across the Marlborough sounds to Wellington (cost included). We don’t provide accommodation but will help you make a booking in a hostel perfect for exploring the city.

Meals Included:        Breakfast 
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      3.5 hours + ferry crossing

TOUR DAY - ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK to wellington

 

We have a relaxed start to the day then heading into Nelson for a few hours to explore this unique little city. There is also a great morning cycle option. On the way over to Picton we stop at a top winery in the world famous Marlborough region to sample award winning wines. Then it’s a short drive to the ferry for the journey over to Wellington which is simply breathtaking so have your cameras charged up. Upon arrival back in the north you will be transported to your hostel which is a great location to enjoy the Wellington night life.

ABOUT THE AREA:

the Nelson region is situated at the top of the south island and surrounded by mountain ranges.  This provides a perfect Mediterranean-type climate and is the reason Nelson is known for its year-round sun (and the home to Flying kiwi HQ).   There is a thriving community here with over 370 working artists, boutique wineries, countless cafes, fresh seafood, and a generally relaxed lifestyle. Blenheim is the main town of the Marlborough win region - a name you will see on most leading New Zealand wine bottles.  The sunniest part of NZ its renowned for vineyards, tasty food and boat cruising. The lovely waterside

wine tasting

Cheers !!! by Lindsey Keith

village of Picton is an ideal base to explore this marine playground of pristine beaches and secret coves.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Free wine tasting  (includedin trip price)

HIKING OPTIONS:

Early birds can walk part of the track, and there are a few hours to stroll around the unique and charming town of Nelson - plenty of cafes, bars and shops to keep you busy.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Joining part of the national cycle trail

ACCOMMODATION:

Accommodation tonight is at your own expense but we will help arrange a good hostel with transport to it from the ferry.

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

Sheep outnumber New Zealanders 9 to 1. On the South Island, the ratio is 20:1.

Wellington to Heart of the North Island
Explore the country's capital

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Time in morning to explore and look around in Wellington before we head off to the heart of the North Island.

Meals Included:        No meals
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      4-5 hours

TOUR DAY - wellington to WAIKATO REGION

 

Enjoying the morning in our wonderful capital city (Wellington) that provides you the opportunity to indulge in the great cafes, shops and culture. At 11am we head north through the heart of the North Island. Beautiful river walks and cycle options.

ABOUT THE AREA:

Wellington is the nation's capital and from Maori legend its earliest name is Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui, meaning ‘the head of Maui's fish’. This relates to the legend when a giant fish was pulled to the surface by Maui, the fish became the North Island. Half way between Wellington and Auckland we find Taranaki,

mount tarankai view

Mount Tarankai by Lindsey Keith

jutting out on the peninsula its a popular area for surfers as it picks up swell from all directions.  Its also home to the near perfect volcanic cone of Mount Taranaki which dominates the region. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of Wellington’s fantastic attractions. The Te Papa museum is highly recommended.

HIKING OPTIONS:

Time to explore Wellington; stroll around Te Papa or the Botanical Gardens and later an awesome river track.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

Good cycle options around the river track.

ACCOMMODATION:

Wonderful spot in the heart of the North island (upgrades subject to availability)

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

The national football team (aka soccer team) is called the All Whites, and the national rugby team is the All Blacks.

Waikato Region to Auckland
Ready for action at Waitomo caves

*all photos on this site are taken by past passengers

Early departure to the limestone wonderland of Waitomo Caves. Black Water rafting or a cave walk. Local farm walk and cycle. Picnic lunch then travel to Auckland for a taste of big city life kiwi style.  For some this will be the end of your tour but for those continuing accommodation is not included but we'll help with booking in hostel perfect for exploring the city and ideal for tomorrows trip to the Bay of Islands. 

Meals Included:        Breakfast & Lunch 
Upgrades Available:  Yes
Driving distance:      4.5 hours

TOUR DAY - WAIKATO REGION to auckland

 

Heading to the City of Sails - Auckland. It’s a scenic drive with an excellent stop-off at the Waitomo caves, rated by many as the best attraction in New Zealand. Here you get the unique chance to raft in a limestone wonderland created by erosion over millions of years. We pull into the city as evening approaches which allows you to get out and enjoy the night life of New Zealand’s largest city.

sky tower

Sky Tower by Dave Kaczmorek

ABOUT THE AREA:

Auckland is bordered by 2 harbours, Waitemata and Manukau and lies at the southern end of the Auckland Peninsula. Auckland is NZs largest city and the main gateway for all elements of commerce, tourism and industry.  Although this is the largest urban area its also has great beaches, excellent shopping and the buzzing nightlife and culture you'd hope for in a large city. Auckland is also known as the City of Sails and this has been added to with the America’s Cup event regularly held here.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

Black Water Rafting

Glow worm cave walk

HIKING OPTIONS:

For those not trying the caves there are plenty of farmland walks in the area.

CYCLE OPTIONS:

 You can cycle ahead to Waitomo and the bus will meet you there (if you want to try caving you won’t have time to do this ride).

ACCOMMODATION:

We will get right into the city centre and make the most of the bustling city by staying in a local hostel (this will be a seperate expense but we will help arrange it for you).

DID YOU KNOW.......?:

Auckland has the largest number of boats per capita of any city in the world.

Trip Reviews

We love our trips...but we are a little biased. Get a real feel for our tours from previous clients reviews below. To view all Flying Kiwi tour reviews click here »

Comments

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    A four weeks travelling in NZ to all most appreciated hot spots can't be better.

    Posted by Ulrich Merker from DE, 10/11/2013

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Trip was amazing. Met so many awsome people. Great. Thanks.

    Posted by Anna Olesiejuk from PL, 10/11/2013

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Was an amazing trip. Had so much fun. I love the off the beaten track of Flying Kiwi.THe hiking and camping was great. The guides made the trip!

    Posted by Kierstin Burnstad from CA, 10/11/2013

  • Trip rating: (4 out of 5)

    The best opportunity to see the best of NewZealand.

    Posted by Julia Endres from DE, 10/11/2013

  • Trip rating: (4 out of 5)

    I had a brilliant time, seen lovely scenery, tried activities I have never done before, met great people, and had a 'WOW' experience.

    Posted by Gordon from GB, 03/11/2013

  • Trip rating: (4 out of 5)

    Habe veil gesehen, nette Leute getroffen und das Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis ist sehr gut.

    Posted by Rainer from DE, 03/11/2013

  • Trip rating: (4 out of 5)

    I got to know a lot of beautiful places of New Zealand with a bunch of very like-minded people. Great experience!

    Posted by Elisabeth from AT, 01/11/2013

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Fantastic trip! Perfect way to explore NewZealand with new found friends. We are genuinely sad it is over and will miss our Flying Kiwi family.

    Posted by Dee from GB, 22/10/2013

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Freakyyy awesome!!!

    Posted by Jack from GB, 22/10/2013

  • Trip rating: (5 out of 5)

    Fantastic trip. Wonderful experience travelling with Flying Kiwi family. Plenty of activities for all levels of fitness.

    Posted by Sue from GB, 22/10/2013

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tour Starting Auckland

(heading north first)
16, 25 OCT
312, 21, 30 NOV
9, 18, 27 DEC
5, 14, 23 JAN
1, 10, 19, 28 FEB
9, 18, 27* MAR
5* APR
 
*  these trips will finish in Picton & is discounted accordingly. Transfers after trip can be easily arranged.
+ LIMITED AVAILABILITY - Please contact us for departure options.
 

tour Starting Auckland

(heading South first)
19, 28 OCT
615, 24 NOV
3, 12, 21, 30 DEC
8, 17, 26 JAN
4, 13, 22 FEB
3, 12, 21 MAR
+ LIMITED AVAILABILITY - Please contact us for departure options. 
 

tour starting christchurch

Starting Christchurch
25 OCT
3, 12, 21, 30 NOV
9, 18, 27 DEC
5, 1423 JAN
1, 10, 19, 28 FEB
9, 18 MAR
+ LIMITED AVAILABILITY - Please contact us for departure options.

tour prices

trip price: $3950
bike hire: $385
sleeping bag: $50
single tent upgrade: $75

Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below answers to some of the most common questions about these specific trips.  For general questions about our tours please visit our frequently asked questions page.   For anything else please contact us.

How do I find out the departure times for my trip?
You can find up-to-date departures times and the main pick locations from this link . If you would like to be picked up from somewhere not detailed on the itineraries you will need to contact the Flying Kiwi office via email or phone to find the specific time - we are very flexible and alternatives can easily be arranged.

What happens with the different start points and different trip lengths?
The main itinerary shown here is for a trip starting in Auckland and heading North first.  However, the bus does a full loop so you can start at any point.  The other two popular options are to start in Auckland and head South first (joining half way through the Orewa to Coromandel day or join in Christchurch (joining half way through the Kaikoura to Rangitata day).  With both options you finish where you started.  These two options have an extra night in Auckland as we pass back up the West Coast extending the trips out to 28 days.

This trip is bursting with as much activity and adventure as you would like. Each tour is carefully structured so you can pick and choose the things you love to fill your day.  There's never any pressure to participate so whether you enjoy dolphin swimming & sailing or bungy & skydive you are guaranteed to enjoy some once in a lifeime experiences.

ACTIVITIES INCLUDED with YOUR TRIP FEE:

(the activities below are usually chargeable but are included free with your tour)

Hot pools & water slides, Wai-O-Tapu thermals, Bushman’s museum, gondola ride, wine tasting,  lodge upgrades (see itinerary), scenic ferry crossing (both directions)

OTHER FREE ACTIVITIES to try ON YOUR TRIP:

(the activities below are free.  Some operators may list these as free activities specific to their tour but as Kiwis are such a generous bunch they are actually free for everyone!)

Tongariro Crossing (bus transfer not included), crayfish dinner, glow worm walks, use of sports equipment on board (bodyboards, frisbee and more), Te Papa museum, Wellington Botanical Gardens, heaps of free hikes, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks walk, seal spotting, gum boot throwing, Abel Tasman National Park walk, Lake Matheson mirror lake, Tekapo Church of Good Shepherd, Kauri forest walks,  Huka Falls, access to National Parks (Paparoa, Abel Tasman, Tongariro, Fiordland, Aoraki), Waitomo museum, Weta Cave in Wellington (bus transfer not included - around $5), Hokitika greenstone factory, dig your own thermal pool on Hot Water beach, explore the Bay of Islands region, amazing sunrises and sunets at beautiful beachside campsites, and more.

OPTIoNAL  ACTIVITIES ON YOUR TRIP:

(the activities below are additional to your trip and can be booked as you travel -  for price guides visit the optional activities page

sailing, fishing, waitangi treaty house. 90 mile beach trip, dolphin eco experience, diving, sandboarding, kayaking, H2OGO (like a Zorb), agroventures swoop and agrojet, shweeb, xtreme body flying, bungy, canopy tours, geothermal tours, rock n' ropes, blackwater rafting, glowworm caves, swim with or view dolphins, whale watching, fishing, rafting, penguin colony, brewery tour, cadbury world, Milford Sound boat cruise, Routeburn track, glacier walks, knifemaking, microligh flight, pilot a stunt plane, bungy, Nevis arc, canyoning, hang gliding, paragliding, horse riding, scenic helicopter flight, jetboating, canyon swing, rafting, heli-rafting, high country farm tour, gondola, luge, quad biking, Lord of the Rings tour, clay pigeon shooting, skydive, zipline adventure, boat cruise, kayaking