New Zealand Experience

From £1,550.00

Highlights

Kayak at Abel Tasman National Park

Trip Highlights

  • Take on the highlights of the North and South Island in 17 days
  • Spend three nights in the amazing Queenstown
  • Check out New Zealand's cities: Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
  • Cruise through the stunning Milford Sound
  • Spend the night in a traditional Maori village
  • See awe-inspiring National Parks: Tongariro, Abel Tasman
  • Stay in Fox Glacier

Trip Summary

From the snazzy Auckland to the sassy, majestic Queenstown, the New Zealand Experience discovers the best of what this incredible country has to offer in 17 days. Over the course of your trip you'll head over the most beautiful of landscapes, pass through the Southern Alps and visit some awe-inspiring places. Trust us, this trip has a little bit of something for everyone!

Starting out on the beautiful North Island, you'll head up to the calm and collected Bay of Islands. The next stop - Rotorua, is the perfect place to check out to Hobbiton, and the beautiful Tongariro National Park awaits. Wellington and Christchurch are awesome cities to explore and next up, Queenstown, is a personal RG favourite. We properly fangirl after that place. 

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

Trip itinerary

Day 1: Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands

Kio Ora! On the first day of your New Zealand Experience you'll leave the bright lights of Auckland behind and head north to the beautiful Bay of Islands. This place is majestic central: 144 islands, secluded bays and an abundance of marine life are waiting for you! The evening is yours to enjoy - relax by the pool, head into town for a meal (personally, we loved the chinese!) and most importantly get to know your new tour buddies!

There's also the choice for an optional 'Rock the Boat' overnight upgrade where you spend the night sailing through the islands and stargazing from the deck.

Day 2: Paihia, Bay of Islands

Today is a free day for you to explore the beautiful Bay of Islands; there are loads of things to see and activities to take part in (at your own cost). Adventure lovers can catermaran along the inner bay looking for dolphins (NZ$120), kayak through mangrove forests to the Haruru Falls (NZ$85), or take a ride along 90 mile beach to Cape Reinga (NZ$139). Remember to take your camera with you, there's loads of beautiful spots around here!

Day 3: Bay of Islands to Rotorua

Next stop Auckland! We'll have a lunch break here, and then head on to Rotorua. This steamy thermal goodness is renowned for its natural and cultural beauty and a distinct welcoming aroma in the air! Tonight you'll have the unique opportunity to stay in a traditional Maori Marae (sacred meeting house), so get ready for an awesome, spiritual evening of historical and cultural stories and learn local Haka and Poi dances.

Day 4: Rotorua

Famous for its geothermal activity, Rotorua is full of geysers and thermal spa pools all waiting to be explored. There are loads of other activities too; hire a mountain bike or go white water rafting (NZ$85). You'll experience a little bit of luxury tonight as you stay in Rotorua's largest hotel, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Rotorua and just a short stroll from the vibrant city centre.

Day 5: Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

From one geothermal site to another, you'll stopover in the Taupo volcanic zone to explore the boiling mud and steaming waters of the Wai-O-Tapu region. There'll be the chance to visit Huka Falls and Lake Taupo, and there's loads of activities in the area to keep you busy. You'll then be taken to our alpine retreat in the amazing Tongariro National Park. Tonight we savour the flavours of our traditional Kiwi roast lamb dinner follwed by the ultimate Kiwi desert, pavlova!

Day 6: Tongariro National Park

You'll want to make sure you've had a good nights rest as today is your free day to explore the National Park- and there is loads to do. Hiking the beautiful Tongariro Crossing is a must or you can hire a mountain bike and even ski during the winter months. Later you can rest those sore feet as you have a realaxing evening in the spa pool and sauna at the accommodation.

Day 7: Tongariro National Park to Wellington

Today you'll leave behind the great New Zealand countryside as you rock up in the capital city, Wellington. Considered by many to be the coolest city in the country, Wellington is jam-packed full of funky galleries, designer shops, top museums, great restaurants and stylish bars. 

Day 8: Wellington to Nelson

You'll trade North Island for South Island with a ferry through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds today. First stop, an included wine tasting session in the Marlborough region! This area has one of the world's greatest wine trails: fabulous wine, breathtaking scenery, a warm climate and relaxed people clustered in one small grape growing region. The vineyard we'll be visiting is family-owned and was one of the first vineyards to be set up in this area and the passion the staff have for all facets of wine making is truly infectious. You'll then continue on to Nelson, New Zealand's sunniest region, where you'll stay overnight.

Day 9: Nelson (Abel Tasman National Park)

Today you can visit the nearby beauty of Abel Tasman National Park to hike the trails or take an optional ocean kayak trip. Other choices include horse riding, quad biking and many more. You'll finish the day off with a scrumptious local Kiwi BBQ.

Day 10: Nelson to Christchurch via Kaikoura

Pass through the Rai Valley with stops in Blenheim, Ohau Point to spot fur seals and Kaikoura, with options to go whale watching or dolphin/seal swimming (summer only). Tonight you'll stopover in Christchurch, a city heroically rebuilding itself after the 2011 earthquakes.   

Day 11: Christchurch to Fox Glacier

Leaving Christchurch behind, we set off through the majestic Southern Alps to enjoy some of New Zealand's most jaw-dropping scenery. Along the way you'll visit a jade factory in Hokitika to see the carvers skilfully creating works of art from the iconic Pounamu greenstone.

The visit to Lake Matheson is a highlight of the day where you will hopefully catch a glimpse of New Zealand's two highest peaks reflecting in the lake's waters. You'll spend the night in Fox Glacier

Day 12: Fox Glacier to Queenstown

Most of the day will be spent in Fox Glacier with the opportunity to do a half-day hike or heli-hike on the glacier- an incredible experience that will live with you forever! Afterwards the amazing scenery will continue as you drive past Thunder Creek Falls, Haast River and Lake Wanaka en-route to the adreniline capital of the world, Queenstown!

Day 13 to 14: Queenstown

Are you ready for Queenstown? This lively alpine resort on the shores of Lake Wakatipu has loads of extreme activities on offer. Deep breath...horseriding, boat safari, mountain biking, a skyline gondola, a walk to Ben Lomond for 360 degree views or one of the many fantastic walks Queenstown has to offer! Phew! If this is all a bit active for you, there are loads of beautiful spots to relax around the lake, or experience the legendary nightlife in the evenings. Most of the time spent in Queenstown will be free for you to do whatever you fancy!

Day 15: Queenstown to Fiordland

Get ready for more awe-inspiring scenery as you take on the Fiordland region via Mirror Lakes and Hollyford Valley. This afternoon you're in for a treat with a nature cruise on the stunning Milford Sound- keep your eyes peeled for seals, dolphins and even penguins. Tonight you'll stay in the lakeside village of Te Anau.

Day 16: Fiordland to Lake Ohau

Journey alongside Lake Wakatipu and stop off in quaint Arrowtown where you'll leave the coach behind for just a little while and use pedal power! Cycle along the willow-lined Arrow River, crossing various bridges along the way before ending up at the famous Kawarau Bridge, home of the world's first commercial Bungy operation. It's then back to the comfort of the coach for more dramatic scenery as you head to your home for the night, a classic Kiwi lakeside lodge on the shores of Lake Ohau.

Day 17: Lake Ohau to Christchurch

Hop on board the coach for one last time as you head back to Christchurch where the tour will sadly come to an end. It's not over yet though and there's plenty more to see along the way. You'll stop at Mount Cook Village and Lake Pukaki for some photos and then take a lunch stop on the shores of Lake Tekapo's blue waters. In the afternoon you'll have a Kiwi Farm Experience in Fairlie where you'll learn about life on a sheep farm! From here it's on to the final destination, Christchurch, where the tour will end. The tour usually finishes at about 6:30pm so don't make any onward travel arrangements until after this time.

Please Note: Due to the recent earthquake in New Zealand, this itinerary is subject to change without prior notice. Whilst we will always try and notify you of any changes prior to departure, this is not always possible and is outside of the control of ourselves or our in-country operators. We ask that you are remain open-minded and understanding to any itinerary changes that may occur during your travels with us.

Destination Information

New Zealand has two main islands – North Island and South Island – which are very different in landscape and climate. Your adventure tour will give you the opportunity to explore both. 

The North Island is where the major cities are - the capital Wellington and Auckland – ‘the city of sails’. It’s mainly volcanic in origin with lots of seismic features such as geysers and hot springs. 

The South Island is separated down its length by the Southern Alps, the highest point of which is Mount Cook (Aoraki in Maori). 

The country has a landmass a little larger than the UK with a population of some four million. With 10 sheep to every person it's no surprise their major export is lamb! Despite the huge number of visitors travelling there every year, it’s never crowded.

Trip Notes

What's Included

  • All accommodation
  • Activities as stated in the itinerary
  • Most meals (16 breakfasts, 1 afternoon tea, 7 dinners)
  • Cook Strait ferry crossing
  • Modern air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi
  • Services of a trip leader throughout
  • Overnight in a traditional Maori Marae
  • Wine tasting in Marlborough
  • Milford Sound cruise
  • Arrow River bike trail

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Optional activities

Additional Information & FAQ's

Minimum Age & Eligibility

Minimum age is 18 years. Maximum age is 38 years.

Accomodation & Meals

15 nights in hotels, motels and lodges plus one night in a traditional Maori marae

On your trip you will stay at a variety of multi-share accommodations, which include hotels, motels, lodges and even a traditional Maori Marae! The number of people in a room varies depending on the type of accommodation however it is generally based on a 4-share same sex basis. There is also the option to upgrade to single or twin share rooms if you want a little extra privacy, for an additional cost.

16 breakfasts, 1 afternoon tea, 7 dinners

Breakfasts are included every day (except on the first morning). A typical breakfast may consist of cereals with milk or yoghurt, bread and a range of spreads, with fruit juice, tea or coffee to drink. It is rare to get a hot breakfast, though on some occasions there may be some hot food available as well. Some included evening meals will be prepared by the Road Crew and some by local restaurants and accommodation places. If you have special dietary requirements e.g. vegetarian or wheat intolerance, we will make every endeavour to cater to your specific needs as long as you advise us when you book. Please be aware that in some areas, the restaurants we use for included meals may not be able to cater for every single dietary requirement, but we will always try our best to arrange it. However, we cannot cater for tastes or dislikes, as most of our included evening meals feature a set menu. 

Reviews

Overall Rating: (9/10)

10 Reviews

I've done this trip

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patrick barber

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Queenstown is a place that has something for all ages & tastes. The wide range of optional activities was brilliant & most don't depend on others for them to take place.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Perhaps extend our time in the bay of islands & try to fit in Hanmer Springs or lake wanaka into the routing.

Tips for other travellers?

Not everyone on the trip is doing the exact same tour you are! Expect people to hop on & hop off the coach.

Any other comments?

It is a lot of long days & a lot of time spent on a coach but it is definitely the best way to see the island especially as the guides are so knowledgeable. They will take you to cool places you wouldn't otherwise find.

James Nicholls

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Everything! Totally loved the whole trip.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Can't think of anything!

Tips for other travellers?

Definitely go on this trip!

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

I particulary enjoyed the Blue Duck Lodge and The Parks though the weather ruined many of the activities. On the south island it was all very good but in particular Kaikora (dolphin swim), Queenstown for its activities and the Doubtful Sound was amazing.

Tips for other travellers?

Tip 1 : Definitely jump off at Christchurch on day 19 if you want to explore more, but if you aren't bothered about the 30K cycle you could jump off after the Doubtful Sound trip as Naseby is awful and there is nothing to do at the Rafting Lodge. See more sights yourself and fly back up. Tip 2: Take lots of money! Although there are free things (like hiking) and those activities included - several places are very quiet and unless you spend the money you will be missing out on many adventures! Tip 3: Ensure you like sitting on a bus. Although it never feels like a chore you are often traveling from 7am to 4pm though the many stops make it more enjoyable and you get to see lots of little spots. Only 2 days were really long. (I never travelled back up on days 19/20 though)

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

all of it, except our intial issue with the first driver of the south island!

Tips for other travellers?

CAMERA - in such a beuatiful country how could you not bring one, so much to see and capture BUNGY SWING/SKYDIVE - just DO IT!! GO BACK AGAIN - I plan to!

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Skydiving from 15000 feet over lake wannaka, absolutely amazing. The whole trip was a highlight new zealand is such a stunning country there were no negative points.

Tips for other travellers?

1,Go skydiving over lake wannnaka 2, take plenty of SD cards for photos 3, Enjoy it!

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

franz joseph glazier and queenstown freetime.

Tips for other travellers?

pack warm clothes

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

skydiving

Tips for other travellers?

bring more cash than you think you need. try everything once be prepared for bad weather

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

I loved the activities, especially the 19km crossing in the North Island, the Blue Duck Lodge, the scenery is beautiful, Queenstown was so much fun, walking the Glacier was a great experience and I even loved the journies on the bus!

Tips for other travellers?

1) Be prepared to spend a lot of time travelling on the bus - some times it is up to 6/7 hours at a time. 2) You do not need to take with you a sleeping bag as you do not stay at campsites and at no point is a sleeping bag required (the tour leader was quite surprised that I bought one with me) 3) The activities on offer are quite expensive. If you are travelling to more than one country you may want to consider doing certain activities somewhere else.

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Staying at blue duck lodge on the north island where we had a three hour kayaking session to get to the lodge and then we had a goat curry around the fire. A really amazing day.

Tips for other travellers?

Do not bring a sleeping bag, even though it states on the kit list, this is not correct as you stay in hostels where there is no need for this. Get off at Christchurch and spend a few days there, (around day 18) instead of getting the express up to Auckland. Fly up to Auckland for under $100 as it is a long two days travelling on the bus, plus, you don't see much of Christchurch in the general itinery. Real Gap, please offer the optional extra of the three day Bay of Islands tour, which Adventure Tours NZ offer, before the trip from Auckland starts, or at least state on the trip pack that they offer this, as it is relatively cheap to go on and it was a highlight of the whole trip for some.

How would you rate your overall experience?

Please rate the service received from our team before departure

Please rate the service provided by the team in country

Please rate the accommodation during your stay

What were the highlights of your trip?

Skydive at Fox Glacier, Queenstown, Doubtful sound, Glacier walk at Franz Josef.

Tips for other travellers?

To participate in activities be prepared to spend alot of money - overall was a very expensive trip. Also very active, lots of walking.

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