Epic New Zealand - 16 Days
Our most popular trip in NZ by far, this is really an experience of a lifetime!! We’ll see some gorgeous beaches, Maori culture, and of course, landscapes to remember forever!
- Queenstown, an adrenaline junkie’s paradise
- Stay over at the beautiful lakes of Wanaka and Tekapo
- We visit a jade factory over in Hokitika
- Take on the Franz Josef Glacier (optional at extra expense)
Is this trip for you?
If meeting new people and having the time of your life sounds like you, then YES!
This is an organised group tour from Auckland to Christchurch. Can so it in reverse too
Group size will be between 2-16
Get up close and personal to nature with some jaw-dropping scenery
- Your transport
- Accommodation: At most you will share with 5 others in a hostel, with upgrades available!
- Super awesome Kiwi guide
- Tranz Alpine Express train ticket (one of the world’s most famed train journeys!)
- Gondola ride to see Queenstown in all its glory
- Maori Culture experience in Rotorua and Coromandel
- Traditional maori ‘Hangi’ (food cooked in an underground oven)
- Cliff walk down to Cathedral Cove (as seen in the Chronicles of Narnia!)
- Sail between North and South Islands!
- Spend two nights in Franz Josef to experience glaciers and rainforests
- Guided tour of every location
What's not included?
- Flights (Request a quote)
This trip also runs in reverse (Christchurch - Auckland) see next page for more details.
DAY 1: AUCKLAND TO COROMANDEL
Our tour starts at 8am at the Haka Lodge this morning! Depending on the weather today, our guide will make you on an orientation tour to get up close and personal with the city.
We’ll hit the road and head direction: South! The best kept secret of the North Island is the Coromandel. At low tide, we make our way to the world-famous Hot Water Beach… basically, you dig a hole in the sand when the tide’s out and natural hot springs will make you a personal hot tub! Right on the beach!
Here you’ll also carve your own tiki pendant from bone, which is a truly enriching Kiwi experience.
DAY 2: COROMANDEL TO WAITOMO
New Zealand is of course famous to a lot of movie scenes- and no wonder! You’ll realise this today as we head down to Cathedral Cove (this requires a little bit of a walk!). The reason for its fame? It just doesn’t look real! It looks like a magic fairytale land!
From here, we head over to Waitomo, home to the glowworm caves!
DAY 3: WAITOMO TO ROTORUA
Waitomo is world-famous because of its glowworm caves, and for good reason too! It feels like you’re looking at the night sky except… you’re in a cave! If you feel adventurous, you can choose to go not he black water rafting excursion (add-on), or you can explore by foot!
If you’re up for a bit more adventure, you can abseil into the caverns… tube, zipline, or climb waterfalls!! Not to worry, there’s may different ways to explore this once-in-a-lifetime place!
After some food we go to Rotorua, where we’ll get a taste of Maori culture, and there’s lots of geothermal activity going on too! There are lots of activities and fun things to do here- hence the nickname Vegas of NZ! Lots of people try Sorbing, where you roll down in a hill in a giant air-cushioned ball!
Lost World Caving Experience
Black Water Rafting
DAY 4: ROTORUA TO TAUPO
Rotorua is special because of its geothermal activity. With the North Island being littered with volcanoes, Rotorua has neon blue and red lakes, steaming streams (say that five time really fast), and other amazing natural wonders.
You can start out with a spot of optional white-water rafting or sliding on the Kaituna river (7-metre waterfall included). Although, if that sounds like too much effort for you, there are plenty of other things to do around town!
You’ll get a chance to do the Hobbiton film set tour here from Lord of the Rings! There’s also the Otorohonga Kiwi House to view NZ’s national icon.
As a group, we’ll find time to ride up the cable car of Rotorua for great views of the area, and of course racing each other down to the bottom in a Luge (this is purchased on tour). Selfie sticks at the ready!
On our way over to Taupo we’ll stop at Orakei Korako or Waiotapu, as they are thermal parks that give you a taste of the extent of geothermal activity in the area!
Rafting Kaituna River
The Shire Set Tour in Rotorua
DAY 5: TAUPO
A gigantic volcanic crater created 70,000 years ago, Lake Taupo is now a very peaceful place, although there are lots of adventure sports to be found here!
If you really want to get that adrenaline going, can we suggest skydiving over the lake? Or maybe go bungy jumping? There’s just so much to do here- everyone will find something they love to try here in Taupo. Ask our guide for suggestions!
New Zealand’s most famous hike is the Tangariro Crossing, spanning 19.4km. It’s a tough one, but it’s worth every minute for the great views and of course, the fact that you’re essentially scaling a volcano! There are gorgeous green volcanic lakes awaiting you, and you may even catch a glimpse of the coast! If you’re a die-hard LOTR fan, you should definitely climb up Mt Ngauruhoe, also known as Mt Doom!
Water Touch Bungy
Skydiving over Lake Taupo
The Tongariro Crossing
DAY 6: TAUPO TO WELLINGTON
If you didn’t climb Mt Ngauruhoe, don’t worry- we’ll get to see it in its spectacular glory on our way to Wellington. We’ll also stop at Mokai Gravity Canyon (read: extreme adventure park). It houses NZ’s second largest bungy, and the world’s most extreme zipline called the Flying Fox (1.2km zipline reaching speeds of 160kp/h). Maybe find a buddy from the tour and go down together!!
Lord of the Rings Wellington Tour
DAY 7: WELLINGTON
If you think you’ve had all the fun you can have, you’re wrong! There’s so much in store for you in NZ’s capital city of Wellington. There’s lots to see and do here, and why not take in a cup of coffee in an artsy little cafe for your morning cuppa joe?
Head over to the LOTR studios for a tour, ride an old-fashioned cable car to the Botanic Gardens, or Wellington’s famous museum filled with interactive exhibits and weird things (called Te Papa), or just get lost in town!
As a group, we’ll head up out to Mt Victoria, which is an iconic spot of Wellington. You’ll get fabulous views of the town, and there’s plenty of walks to take part in!
DAY 8: WELLINGTON TO KAIKOURA
One of the must-do things on anyone’s NZ bucket list is of course, the sailing of the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands! We’ll wave goodbye to the North Island, and get distracted by the occasional dolphin before we say hello to the South Island!
We’ll take in a wine-tasting or two in the famous Marlborough wine region— welcome to the South Island! We let the beautiful, rugged coastline lead us to Kaikoura. Be sure to look out for the seal colonies and waterfalls lining this coast!
If the weather is good, we’ll make up a bonfire on the beach and cook up a Haka family BBQ!
DAY 9: KAIKOURA TO CHRISTCHURCH
Snowcapped mountains edge the beach right here in Kaikoura, and that’s just setting the scene to the incredible sea life that this area has to offer. Go whale watching, take a surf lesson… kayak, play mini-golf, or swim with friend and curious wild dolphins in the gorgeous waters!
Later on in the day, we’ll head down to Christchurch and essentially ‘come home’ to our own Lodge here in Christchurch.
We’ll have a family-style BBQ together tonight, and unwind and chill, for the South Island has so much more to offer!
DAY 10: CHRISTCHURCH TO LAKE TEKAPO
You might remember that Christchurch was devastated by an earthquake a few years ago, so the city is still rebuilding itself. You can really feel the transformation taking place, and the spirit of the people!
We’ll check out the downtown area and the way in which the city is being rebuilt. There’s lots of cool little places to eat and drink, we’ll be sure to point it out!
We then head to Tekapo, if not the most famous lake, then one of the most famous lakes of NZ! The turquoise waters is really a spectacular site to see! Minerals that are left behind by ancient glaciers is what makes the colour of the water of this lake so vibrant. Throw in a few pink Lupin flowers, and you’ve got the recipe of a beautiful setting.
The area around Tekapo is known for its super clear skies, meaning that it’s a ‘Star Reserve’, the best place in NZ to do a bit of skywatching at night! We’ll be staying at a hostel not far from the shores of this beautiful lake.
Learn to Surf (summer only)
DAY 11: LAKE TEKAPO TO QUEENSTOWN
We might be headed to another scenic wonder of a town in NZ, but don’t forget the journey that will take us there! We’ll try our hand at wine-tasting in the wine-famous Otago region, and even checking out a salmon farm or two along the way.
Surrounded by the Remarkables (no, not superheroes…mountains!) and stretching along the banks of the famous Lake Wakatipu, this is really a picture you want to send home to your parents. As part of our package, we’ll jump on the gondola and see Queenstown from he air— this is really a spectacular way to start off your adventures in QT!
We spend the night at the Haka Lodge in Queenstown, so if you want you can cook a meal, or just go out, the choice is yours!
DAY 12: QUEENSTOWN
We have a full day here in QT so make the most of it!! There are soooo many things to do, it’s unbelievable!! Check out the Optional Activities list below for inspiration!
We do highly recommend that you try NZ’s most famous burger: the Fergburger… you won’t be disappointed, we promise!!
Another highly recommended trip is heading to Milford Sound, a beautiful park!! As if the drive there isn’t enough, the moment you hit the water…! It’ll literally make you see beautiful towering cliffs in a whole different way! There might even be a sea lion or dolphin to say hey as you kayak or boat your way around the beautiful area!
Skydiving (over the Remarks)
Kawarau Bridge Bungy
Extreme Jet Boating
Horse Trekking (at Glenorchy)
Milford Sound Trip
Middle Earth Tour in QT
Skiing/Snowboarding (winter only)
DAY 13: QUEENSTOWN TO WANAKA
Our drive from QT to Wanaka is filled with beauty and surprises, and we’ll even stop in the historic Arrowtown for a bit of an explore! We’ll also stop at NZ’s oldest pub in Cardrona, really get our history on ;)
Wanaka is a destination that is loved year-round. Towering mountains and a glacial blue lake offer activities a-plenty, with the town offering a buzzing, fun vibe. When its warm, you can do lots of lake activities like kayaking, wake boarding, etc. Then there’s the beautiful hikes you can pick too! In winter, Wanaka is famous for its snow sports!
Why not hit up a cafe on the lakefront to end the day with your tour mates and a bit of a chill!
DAY 14: WANAKA TO FRANZ JOSEF
Start your day properly with a skydive over Wanaka, and see if you can spot Mt Cook, NZ’s highest peak! If you don’t want to do the flying yourself, maybe step into a Tiger Moth biplane to take in the views from above anyway!
You’ll get an opportunity to mountain bike or even climb up Mt Iron for a pretty impressive view. If that doesn’t take your fancy, try out Puzzling World… fun and games all round!
A little later in the day, we’ll head west on one of the most epic coastal journeys you will ever behold!! Our awesome Kiwi guide will show us some secret hideaways that other people don’t usually get to find!!
Between Sep and Dec it’s whitebait season (it’s a small fish that is considered a delicacy in NZ), so make sure you don’t miss this treat! It’s fried up with eggs and served on toast… shh! We’ll tell you the best place to try it!!
DAY 15: FRANZ JOSEF
You cannot, absolutely CANNOT come to South Island and not hit up Franz Josef, and NOT see a glacier (or two). The Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are world-renowned, mostly due to their accessibility.
The most popular way to see the glacier is by helicopter, and there are even a few heli-hike options available (if you can afford it, it really is a great way to see this place!).
In the afternoon, you can maybe take part in some quad-biking, horse-trekking, or just relax in the spa pool at the hostel. It’s our last night together, so often we’ll have a farewell party to celebrate a wonderful week!
Kayak in Glacier Country
Glacier Heli Hike
DAY 16: FRANZ JOSEF TO CHRISTCHURCH
As if time goes by so quickly! After breakfast we keep hugging the West coast for one of the most jaw-dropping drives int he world… rugged landscape of rainforests hitting the blue blue ocean… it really is a sight to behold!
We’ll pass through Ross, a town that rose to prominence from gold mining… the gold rush days might be over, but it was the reason for the settlement of the west coast. We’ll try and visit Hokitika, where we visit a greenstone factory and see how jade is used to make jewellery.
If we have enough time, we’ll try and hit the National Kiwi Centre to catch a look or two of the rare Kiwi birds!
Our return to Christchurch will be highlighted with the TRanz Alpine Train Crossing— this is really a beautiful train ride, going through Arthur’s Pass. We usually get back to Christchurch by 6.05pm to say our goodbyes. Make sure you don’t book any onward travel for at least after 9pm, or the next day!!
This trip also runs in reverse. See below for dates. Same price. Enquire now for booking details
Start: Christchurch - End: Auckland
18 May - 2 Jun
1 Jul - 16 Jul
14 Aug - 29 Aug
27 Sep - 12 Oct
19 Oct - 3 Nov
10 Nov - 25 Nov
2 Dec - 17 Dec
22 Dec - 6 Jan
Hamish (UK) 6 Feb 2016: "Did this tour starting in Christchurch finishing in Auckland as a solo traveller. We had Willow as our tour guide and she was brilliant all the way through, proud as punch to show of her amazing country to everybody, nothing phased her or was too much trouble, and she was always about to assist working endlessly. Every day was a different experience, with mind blowing scenery, and plenty of activities to chose to do whether you were a teeny bopper or a 75 year old (Katsuko). All daily pit stops and evening accommodation were excellent. It took me a week to stop waking up and thinking I was still on the tour it was that good. New Zealand is amazing, Willow and the rest of their staff do it proud, I'll be back as I can't stop thinking about it. Cheers!"