EXPLORE THE BEST OF BOTH ISLANDS IN 24 DAYS
Our Total Aotearoa New Zealand bus tour is our second most popular NZ tour behind the Ultimate Explorer. It is for people that want absolutely the best of New Zealand but don't quite have enough time to squeeze in the very top, the Bay of Islands. While we absolutely love the Bay of Islands we understand that some people just don't quite have the time and the desire is to hit the rest of the North Island and the South Island first.
The Total Aotearoa New Zealand adventure tour takes in both the North and South Island spending time in all the spectacular National Parks of Tongariro, Mount Cook, Mount Aspiring, Fiordland and the Abel Tasman. Staying in extra-ordinary overnight camping spots or small private lodges and hostels in the main centres you will be exasperated by the enormity of the landscape which has been made popular by so many movies like Lord of the Rings, Vertical Limits and Wolverine to name a few. Picture yourself swimming with dolphins, creating your own hot pool on a white sandy beach, solitude in high mountain ranges, incredible bird song under rain forest canopy or a roaring campfire on a secluded beach. Our purpose built buses come equipped with high quality tents, a complete bush kitchen, and enough cricket bats, footballs, frisbees to create your own real world playstation! The Total Aotearoa NZ bus tour is what memories (#flyingkiwimemories) are made of.
Throughout the country we have included some of the best activities as well as giving you more than enough time to experience some of the optional activities you can do throughout New Zealand that has made it the adventure playground of the world - including Bungy Jumping, natural thermal hot pools, Sea-Kayaking, and Black Water Rafting. You can also alternate travelling in our purpose built vehicles with optional bike riding and hiking on some of New Zealand’s best trails
The Total Aotearoa camping, cycling and hiking tour is a complete loop of New Zealand starting and finishing in Auckland. If you realise in fact you do have time, you can upgrade to include the Bay of Islands for only $500. This is the northern area of the North island past Auckland - an extra 3 days travel.
Customise your trip: On the flip side, maybe you have lots of time in New Zealand and would like to take things a bit slower. Talk to our crew in the office about how you can break your trip up along the way, maybe in Queenstown to get an extra long adrenaline buzz, or Wellington to explore the buzz of our capital city.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE TOTAL AOTEAROA ALL NEW ZEALAND TOUR
We know New Zealand like the back of our hands, and we are very proud to constantly show it off to visitors as yourselves. We want you to have the best possible experience whilst on the road with us. So, we have included the following in the Total Aotearoa tour which we think shows off the very best:
- Accommodation: We like to set up in scenic locations so we will usually be residing beside beaches, lakes, mountains and forests. A spacious, shared tent is included in the tour price (sharing with one other person of a similar age/same sex). There is the option to upgrade to a single tent if you prefer for a small cost just let us know before your trip departs.
- Food: Most meals are included throughout your tour and are cooked for you by our brilliant Guides. We like to eat fresh, and shop for dinners every 1 or 2 days depending on location. This is down to your tour guides so all you have to worry about is your own personal snacks/drinks etc. We also cater for some dietary requirements. (our detailed itinerary outlines exactly what is included on a day-to-day basis)
- Use of Sports & Game Equipment on Board: Rugby Ball, Soccer ball, frisbees, guitar, books and more.
- Hikes and Bikes: If you have hired one of our bikes then our guides will point you in the direction of incredible daily rides, you will be given a detailed map, clear instructions and a variety of on road and off road options. A numerous of free walks and hikes are available almost everyday day to keep you nice and active.
- Guide tips and local locations: We will share with you extensive knowledge about New Zealand and show you some of our secret spots off the main tourist trails including sunrise hunts, best places for star gazing, glow worm caves, 1,000 year old Kauri trees and the roaring Huka Falls.
- Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland: Wai-o-tapu is New Zealand’s most colourful geo-thermal area featuring unique volcanic activity, bubbling mud pools, and steaming geysers. Explore the park either on your own or with your newfound travel family. We give you a decent 1.5hrs here - so enough time to see it all!
- Seafood Feast: We enjoy great food on our trips but in Kaikoura we treat you all to a fresh seafood feast (priceless!) from one of the best seafood locations in New Zealand! This is a meal not to be missed!
- Queenstown Gondola: Take in the picture-perfect postcard views as you ride the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown! The Gondola carries you 450 metres above Queenstown and offers spectacular 220 degree panorama views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown.
- Wine Tasting Marlborough: The Sauvignon Blanc wines of Marlborough are internationally recognised for their beautiful crisp flavour and distinctive summer citrus aromas. The tastings are on us in our specially arranged wine tasting experience at St Claire vineyard
- Cook Strait Ferry Crossing: The most scenic way to get from one island to the other is the Cook Strait ferry. You can sit back and relax on the 3 hour scenic crossing between the North and South islands through the stunning Marlborough Sounds - keep your eyes peeled for dusky dolphins and amazing sunsets on the way.
Our bike rides page and the hiking pages give you lots more detail into the rides and hikes our guides will show you along the way. We include printed maps and route notes for any of the hikes and rides you might want to do.
Kiwis are a generous bunch and lots of museums and attractions are free of charge, as well as all access to National Parks. We take in many of these on the Total Aotearoa Tour including:
- Entrance into Tongariro, Abel Tasman, Paparoa, Westland Tai Poutini, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks
- Dig your own thermal pool on Hot Water beach (we provide the spades!)
- Natural hot springs in Taupo
- Rotorua Mountain Bike Park (bike hire & maps not included)
- The full-day Tongariro Crossing hike (bus transfer not included)
- New Zealands National museum - Te Papa
- Wellington Botanical Gardens
- Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo
- Otago Early Settlers museum
- Hollyford camp quirky museum
- Lake Matheson mirror lake
- Hokitika greenstone factory
- Punakaiki Pancake rocks and blowholes
- Amazing sunrises and sunsets at beautiful beachside campsites
Our activities page above gives more detail on many of the free and optional activities that you might choose to do on your Total Aotearoa tour and how it all works while on tour.
IMPORTANT THINGS WE WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE TOTAL AOTEAROA ADVENTURE TOUR
Where it goes: The Total Aotearoa adventure tour includes a total of 24 days, 6 days in the North Island and 18 days in the South Island. The Tour will start from Auckland heading South, you will cross over to the South island on the afternoon of Day 5, do the full South Island loop crossing back to the North Island on day 22 and then having your last 2 days in the North, finishing up back in Auckland on day 24. This Tour does not include the Bay Of Islands, which is the far Northern part of New Zealand north of Auckland.
Multiple departures: The Total Aotearoa all NZ trip has frequent departure dates. Start dates are 9 days apart across our summer season starting from the 19th of October, departing every 9 days up until the 21st March. The tour departing on the 21st March would be the last departure for the Total Aotearoa tour for our season
Bush camps: During the Total Aotearoa tour we stay at 2 bush camps, and 1 limited campsite, both in the South Island. Bush camps are part of our charm, especially the 2 we have selected for their amazing scenery and often our bush camps are what travellers have fondest memories of. Due to their remote locations there are no cabin upgrade options available and they also come with only basic toilet facilities. For the 1 night at our limited campsite, basic toilet and shower facilities are available but limited power and shelter.
Hostels: There are two nights during the the tour where camping isn’t feasible and we stay in hostels (these are at your own cost and are paid directly to the Hostel on arrival at check-in). Hostel nights are in Picton and Wellington. Your guide takes care of booking this for you and we have dorm beds reserved for everyone. If you would like a private room (subject to availability) please contact us to book this in advance.
An Interactive tour: The Total Aotearoa Adventure Tour, as well as all of our other tours, provides a chance for you to get involved with the preparation and cooking of meals and helping out your tour guides when you can. We have a great 'cook group' roter system set up which would be a group of 4 or 5 to help out with the prep of dinner each night. This makes it a fair and fun way to get a delicious meal on the table for dinner to share between new made friends! It's also a great way to meet new people, maybe learn some new skills and get to know each other a little bit better! It's nothing to stress over as our guides will be there over seeing and doing most part of the actual cooking.
For more useful information visit our How It Works page.