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20 Day Complete New Zealand (Auckland to Christchurch) Summer Itinerary

Australasia
  • Duration: 20 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: AKLNZZ/168207
  • Starts: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Finishes: Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Auckland
  • Christchurch

Itinerary

01

Day 1

Auckland to Paihia
Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your journey kicks off in New Zealand’s largest city Auckland, known by those who live here as the ‘city of sails’ because of its location between the Waitemata and Manukau harbours, making it a boaters and yachters paradise.
Pick-ups start at your accommodation bright and early, before we head north to the seaside town of Paihia, gateway to the Bay of Islands. We stop en-route to hug some of the world’s mightiest trees, the native Kauri, enjoy a hike to a beautiful waterfall and stop for lunch and a swim at scenic Waipu Cove. This is followed by a trip to the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds (own expense), before settling into our accommodation where you’ll have a group meal and the evening free to relax. (D)
Accommodation included: Beachfront hostel
Activities included: Tree hugging huge kauri trees at Parry Kauri Forest, Waipu Cove
Optional activities: Waitangi Treaty Grounds

02

Day 2

Paihia to Hokianga
This morning we take a wildlife cruise in the beautiful Bay of Islands, a collection of 144 islands bursting with marine life. There’s no better way to see it than by boat - keep an eye out for wild dolphins.
In the afternoon it’s off to the Hokianga Harbour, where we will see the huge sand dunes. Tonight you have the option to take part in a Maori-guided twilight encounter, where you’ll visit the Waipoua Forest, learn about Maori legends and the spiritual inhabitants of the forest, and visit the largest Kauri tree in the world, the “God of the Forest” Tane Mahuta (own expense). Finish the day with a Kiwi classic for dinner, traditional fish and chips. (B,D)
Accommodation included: Waterside lodge
Activities included: Bay of Islands wildlife boat trip
Optional activities: Footprints Waipoua twilight encounter, bone carving

03

Day 3

Hokianga to Auckland
We start the morning with a ferry ride across the Hokianga Harbour to go sand boarding down massive dunes (weather dependent) before we start to make our way south through the mighty Waipoua Forest. Here we will have the opportunity to see NZ’s largest Kauri trees. We visit the idyllic Kai Iwi Lakes for a swim in the beautiful crystal clear waters surrounded by a pure white sandy beach, before returning to the ‘Big Smoke’ Auckland for a late afternoon arrival. (B)
Accommodation included: Central city hostel
Activities included: Hokianga Ferry ride, sand boarding, visit Waipoua Forest (NZ’s largest Kauri trees), swim in the Kai Iwi Lakes

04

Day 4

Auckland to Hahei
We depart Auckland and head south east to the pristine sands of Hahei Beach, from which you can access the famous Cathedral Cove. Accessible only by foot, boat or kayak, you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and stunning sea views in this beautiful coastal spot. Cathedral Cove is a ‘must see’ on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Afterward an afternoon of seaside exploration, we gather for an entertaining hands-on ‘Kaimoana’ (seafood) cooking class to prepare a delicious feast of fresh local seafood for dinner (non-seafood option available). (D)
Accommodation included: Comfortable beachside accommodation
Activities included: Walk to Cathedral Cove, Kaimoana cooking class
Optional activities: Cathedral Cove Kayaks

05

Day 5

Hahei to Rotorua
Today we start by driving to Hot Water Beach, a unique surf beach where you can dig a hole in the sand to create in your own personal spa pool (tide dependent). After the beach, we’ll make our way towards Rotorua, stopping before we get to town to stretch our legs with an easy walk to watch white water rafters navigate the waterfalls of the Kaituna River.
This evening you will be welcomed into the authentic Tamaki Maori Village, where you will discover Maori art, ancient rituals and traditions. Tonight we dine on a delicious hangi (Maori feast), enjoy an interactive cultural performance and the company of our Maori hosts. (B,D)
Accommodation included: Central city lodge
Activities included: Dig your own spa pool at Hot Water Beach, Kaituna waterfall walk, cultural experience with traditional hangi meal, kapa haka (Maori song and dance) and interactive performance.

06

Day 6

Full day in Rotorua
You have a full free day in Rotorua to discover an area well-known for its Maori heritage, adventure and geothermal activity. Here you have the chance to do some great optional activities, such as a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, white water rafting, ziplining through native bush, mountain biking and more. A great option to finish the day is to spend the evening soaking in the hot pools at the luxurious Polynesian Spa. (B)
Accommodation included: Central city lodge
Optional activities: Visit Hobbiton, white water rafting, Zorbing, the luge, ziplining, mountain biking, Polynesian Spa

07

Day 7

Rotorua to National Park
It’s a very early start this morning so we can make our way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Tongariro National Park,’ where you’ll get the chance to do what is rated as one of the world’s best one day walks, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Trek through dramatic natural scenery past volcanic peaks, vast craters and stunning turquoise lakes on one of the most spectacular treks in New Zealand. Alternatively you can go on one the shorter walks around this volcanic region or visit the Volcanic Centre Museum. (B,L,D)
Accommodation included: Alpine lodge
Activities included: Tongariro Alpine Crossing and transfers, or Taranaki Falls walk and Tawhai Falls (Gollum’s Pool)

08

Day 8

National Park to Blue Duck Station
After your big day of hiking, you get a chance to sleep in and we won’t depart until mid-morning. Our destination today is one of the most remote parts of the North Island by road. We’re heading for the award winning Blue Duck Station in Whakahoro, a 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working sheep and beef station and an environmental conservation leader. This afternoon you get the opportunity to take part in a 4WD Bush Safari and farm adventure, where you’ll explore this vast land and the New Zealand native bush, discover the remains of an unbelievable local history, and learn about the farm’s conservation efforts. Your dinner is cooked using local produce. (B,D)
Accommodation included: Remote country station lodge
Activities included: 4WD eco-wilderness farm adventure

09

Day 9

Blue Duck Station to Wellington
We depart early to arrive into Wellington around midday. Wellington is known as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ thanks to Lonely Planet, and it’s a great place to check out the lively arts scene, shopping, craft breweries and café culture. As New Zealand’s capital city, it is home to New Zealand’s parliament and the iconic Beehive government building. This afternoon, you have the option to tour the world famous Weta Workshop, marvel at the wonders of Te Papa National Museum or wander along the Oriental Parade. (B)
Accommodation included: Central city hostel
Optional activities: Weta Workshop Tour, Te Papa National Museum, craft beer sampling

10

Day 10

Wellington (via Picton) to Abel Tasman
Leaving Wellington we’ll travel across the Cook Strait to the South Island’s coastal town of Picton. Here we meet our coach and cruise through the famous Marlborough wine region. We visit a local vineyard’s cellar door to sample New Zealand’s world famous Sauvignon Blanc, before heading to the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park. Tonight we enjoy some delicious seafood and a BBQ dinner at our exclusive campsite accommodation. (B,D)
Accommodation included: Beach accommodation in the national park
Activities included: Bluebridge Ferry trip, winery cellar door visit

11

Day 11

Full day in Abel Tasman
Today is a free day to experience the incredible Abel Tasman National Park. Explore this stunning coastal area famous for being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand. Walk the coastal track and discover some of New Zealand’s best natural golden sand beaches or choose an optional activity like sailing or sea kayaking (own expense). Tonight you can self-cater and use the BBQ facilities at our accommodation on the edge of the national park. (B)
Accommodation included: Beach accommodation in the national park
Activities included: Abel Tasman Track and Aqua Taxi or stand-up paddle board hire (SUP)

12

Day 12

Abel Tasman to Franz Josef
We start early to head south along the ‘wild’ West Coast, travelling on the rugged rocky coastline that makes this stretch of road one of the country’s top drives. We’ll stop at Cape Foulwind to view a wild seal colony that’s active year round, then make our way further down the coast to visit the spectacular limestone Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. From there, we carry on to our next overnight stop in the quaint little West Coast town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. (B,D)
Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions
Activities included: Cape Foulwind seal colony, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks walk

13

Day 13

Full day at Franz Josef
Enjoy a free day and get out and explore the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on a Franz Josef Glacier guided tour which we highly recommend (own expense). There are also many excellent bush hikes available in the region. Tonight we self-cater, giving you the opportunity to dine at one of the local cafes and restaurants in town or make use of the communal kitchen at our accommodation. (B)
Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions
Optional activities: Glacier heli-hike, scenic helicopter flight

14

Day 14

Franz Josef to Makarora
Today we head further down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in the breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson, NZ’s most photographed lake. See waterfalls as we travel through the mountainous Haast Pass towards Makarora then visit the stunning Blue Pools. On arrival in Mount Aspiring National Park we go jet boating to experience the best in shallow water boating, skimming just inches from the riverbed, viewing pristine waterways, snow-capped peaks and native bush. (B,D)
Accommodation included: Unique mountain chalets
Activities included: Walk around Lake Matheson - Mirror Lake, walk through beech forest to the Blue Pools, Jet Boat Mt Aspiring National Park

15

Day 15

Makarora to Doubtful Sound
Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, with stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery; and it is our first port of call today. Within Fiordland we visit Doubtful Sound, the deepest of all the fiords, surrounded by towering peaks and huge waterfalls. We will board a purpose-built boat and enjoy complimentary afternoon tea while cruising past fur seals, penguins and dolphins. There are also sea kayaks available to explore the fiord. (B,D)
Accommodation included: Overnight on the boat, anchored within a secluded bay in a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Activities included: Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise, sea kayaking, wildlife spotting.

16

Day 16

Doubtful Sound to Queenstown
We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind stunning Fiordland to head for the ‘adventure capital of the world’, Queenstown. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with excellent restaurants, pubs and live music. (B)
Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views

17

Day 17-18

Queenstown
You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skydiving or walk up Ben Lomond or Queenstown Hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery around you and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. (2xB)
Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views
Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging.

18

Day 19

Queenstown to Mt Cook
We’ll jump back on the bus for a short drive to Wanaka, where we’ll spend the morning cycling along some of the world’s most beautiful lakeside bike paths. After lunch, we head over the Lindis Pass through the picturesque Mackenzie region to the base of the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. There is time for a hike through the Hooker Valley for breathtaking views of the dramatic mountain landscape, or opt to take an alpine scenic flight (own expense). This is also one of the best places in New Zealand to join an evening stargazing tour. (B,D)
Accommodation included: Alpine lodge
Activities included: Mountain biking in Wanaka, scenic walk in Hooker Valley
Optional activities: Big Sky Stargazing or scenic heli-flight

19

Day 20

Mt Cook to Christchurch
Today we make our way through a landscape made famous in the `Lord of the Rings` films. We’ll take a break for a stroll around Lake Tekapo, iconic for its historic church and turquoise waters. Between Tekapo and Christchurch there is an option for thrill seekers to hop-off and join a top-notch Grade 5 white water adventure on the Rangitata River (own expense). Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch, where your driver guide will point out the highlights of the South Island’s largest city. The rafters will rejoin the group at the accommodation in Christchurch this evening. This is where your tour comes to an end - we hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! (B)
Activities included: Explore Lake Tekapo area
Optional activities: Rangitata white water rafting

Inclusions:
    • Experienced tour guide, meals and touring as indicated, multi-share accommodation (or upgrade to twin/double), Bluebridge ferry, Bay of Islands wildlife cruise, Hokianga ferry ride and sand boarding, Kaimoana cooking class, Maori cultural experience, including traditional hangi meal and interactive performance, 4WD eco-wilderness farm adventure, Aqua Taxi ride or Paddle board hire, Jet Boat Ride in Makarora, Doubtful Sound overnight cruise, Mountain biking in Wanaka
    Accommodation

      Day 1: Auckland to Paihia - Beachfront Hostel
      Day 2: Paihia to Hokianga - Waterside Lodge
      Day 3: Hokianga to Auckland - Central City Hostel
      Day 4: Auckland to Hahei - Comfortable Beachside Accommodation
      Day 5: Hahei to Rotorua - Central City Lodge
      Day 6: Full day in Rotorua - Central City Lodge
      Day 7: Rotorua to National Park - Alpine Lodge
      Day 8: National Park to Blue Duck Station - Remote Country Station Lodge
      Day 9: Blue Duck Station to Wellington - Central City Hostel
      Day 10: Wellington (via Picton) to Abel Tasman - Beach Accommodation in the National Park
      Day 11: Full day in Abel Tasman - Beach Accommodation in the National Park
      Day 12: Abel Tasman to Franz Josef - Hostel close to all attractions
      Day 13: Full day at Franz Josef - Hostel close to all attractions
      Day 14: Franz Josef to Makarora - Unique mountain chalets
      Day 15: Makarora to Doubtful Sound - Overnight on the boat, anchored within a secluded bay in a UNESCO World Heritage Site
      Day 16: Doubtful Sound to Queenstown - Lodge located close to town with awesome views
      Day 17-18: Queenstown - Lodge located close to town with awesome views
      Day 19: Queenstown to Mt Cook - Alpine Lodge

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