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New Zealand Explorer Tour

New Zealand stretches across two islands that present incredible beauty and a huge range of natural landscapes. This small group tour covers just about all of New Zealand in a 24 day itinerary that starts and finishes in Auckland, the City of Sails.  

The New Zealand Explorer Tour allows you to experience the vividly real and natural grandeur of New Zealand's best regions, in a small group of like-minded travellers - just like you. Along with a fully qualified local guide, you'll uncover unique destinations and immerseyourself in local culture and New Zealand's beautiful environment.

Highlights

  • Bay of Islands wildlife cruise and sand boarding in Northland, the winterless north
  • Explore Cathedral Cove and relax at Hot Water Beach 
  • Specially-developed Maori cultural experience with hangi, interactive show and story telling
  • Franz Josef glacier / Mount Aspiring National Park
  • Enjoy two free days in Queenstown
  • Experience Fiordland on an exclusive overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound
  • Central Otago historic mining area and Otago Rail Trail with all-level mountain biking

What's Included

All transport: You'll travel in our comfortable mid-sized coaches around New Zealand and your inter-island transport between the North and South Island is included too.

Experienced tour guide: Expect entertaining commentary, insight into local secrets and extra support from your tour guide. 

Accommodation: 23 nights’ quad share accommodation in a variety of quality backpacker hostels, wilderness lodges and cabins. Upgrades to twin (NZ$690pp) and single rooms (NZ$1395) are available.

Meals: 20 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 12 dinners

Top rated activities:

  • Tree hugging at Parry Kauri Forest
  • Swim at scenic Waipu Cove
  • Bay of Islands Wildlife Cruise
  • Ferry ride across Hokianga Harbour
  • Sand boarding
  • Visit Waipoua Forest and Tane Mahuta (NZ’s largest Kauri tree).
  • Swim at Kai Iwi Lakes
  • Walk to the world famous Cathedral Cove.
  • Kai cooking demonstration at Hahei.
  • Visit Hot Water Beach 
  • See bubbling hot mud pools in Rotorua.
  • Experience Maori culture at Tamaki Maori Village
  • 4WD eco-wilderness farm tour
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing
  • Take the Bluebridge Ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island.
  • Wine tasting at a vineyard cellar door in Marlborough
  • Hike Abel Tasman National Park. You can choose to take a water taxi ride or hire a stand up paddle board
  • Visit Cape Foulwind seal colony, West Coast
  • Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes
  • Walks around Lake Matheson and the Blue Pools, Mt Aspiring National Park
  • Jet Boat Ride in Makarora
  • Doubtful Sound overnight cruise, Fiordland National Park
  • Sea kayaking in Doubtful Sound, Fiordland National Park
  • Mountain biking in Wanaka
  • Walk on Hooker Valley track, Mt Cook National Park
  • Explore Lake Tekapo area
  • Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
  • Conical Hill walk, Hanmer Springs
  • Seal spotting in Kaikoura.

Important Notes

  • Departure Time / Location: 7am pick-up from your accommodation
  • Finish Time: Late afternoon arrival at Auckland

Book Now

PRICE: $4,445 NZD

Number of Days 24

Starts: Auckland Finishes: Auckland

Tour Type: Small Group Tour

DEPARTURES

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Tour Itinerary EXPAND ALL

The tour starts bright and early from Auckland to head north to Paihia with stops on the way to see giant kauri trees and to hike to a beautiful waterfall. Snorkel off the beach with the marine life at Goat Island followed by a trip to the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds (own expense). After settling into our accommodation, the evening is yours to relax. (D)

ACCOMODATION

Hostel near the beach.

SIGHTS

Tree hugging huge kauri trees at Parry Kauri Forest, snorkel Goat Island

This morning we take a scenic cruise around the beautiful Bay of Islands, a collection of 144 islands bursting with marine life, and there’s no better way to see it than by boat. Keep a watchful eye out and you may see 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. Includes breakfast and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Waterside Lodge

SIGHTS

Hole in the Rock cruise is included.

We start the morning with a ferry ride across the Hokianga Harbour to experience the thrill of sand boarding down massive dunes (weather dependant) before we start to make our way south through the mighty Waipoua Forest. Here we will have the opportunity to visit 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’ for a late afternoon arrival. Includes breakfast.

ACCOMODATION

Central city hostel

SIGHTS

Included: Hokianga Ferry ride, sand boarding, visit Waipoua Forest (NZ’s largest Kauri trees), swim in the Kai Iwi Lakes

We depart Auckland and head south east, stopping for a walk to the famous Cathedral Cove- a ‘must see’ on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Afterwards we’ll drive to Hot Water Beach, a unique surf beach where you dig a hole in the sand and sit in your own personal spa pool (tide dependent). In the afternoon there will be time for a kayaking tour (own expense) before we feast on a delicious BBQ for dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Comfortable beachside accommodation

SIGHTS

Walk to Cathedral Cove, and kayaking tour (as add-on). Dig a hole at Hot Water Beach

Today we head for Rotorua to discover an area well-known for its Maori heritage, adventure and geothermal activity. Here you will get the chance to do some great optional activities, such as a visit to Hobbiton. And in the evening we 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. After dinner, relax in the mineral pools back at your accommodation. Includes breakfast and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Central city lodge

SIGHTS

Cultural experience with traditional hangi meal, kapa haka (Maori song and dance) and interactive cultural performance. Optional add-ons are a visit to Hobbiton, white water rafting, Zorbing, the Luge

You have a full free day in Rotorua to discover an area well-known for its Maori heritage, adventure activities and geothermal wonders. Here you have plenty of great optional activities to choose from, such as white water rafting, ziplining through native bush, mountain biking and much more. A great option to finish the day is to spend the evening soaking in the hot pools at the luxurious Polynesian Spa.

ACCOMODATION

Central city lodge

SIGHTS

Optional paid activities: visit Hobbiton, whitewater rafting, zorbing, luging, ziplining, mountain biking, Polynesian spa

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 within this volcanic region or visit the Volcanic Centre Museum. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Alpine lodge

SIGHTS

Free activities: Tongariro Alpine Crossing and transfers or Taranaki and Tawhai  falls walks

After your big day of hiking, you get a chance to sleep in because we won’t depart until mid-morning. Our destination today is one of the most remote parts of the North Island accessible 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 tonight is cooked using local produce. Includes breakfast and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Blue Duck Lodge

SIGHTS

Included: 4WD eco-wilderness farm adventure

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, shopping and craft beer and café culture scene. 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 natural and cultural wonders of Te Papa National Museum or wander along the waterfront Oriental Parade. Includes breakfast.

ACCOMODATION

Central city hostel

SIGHTS

Optional paid activities: Weta Workshop, Te Papa National Museum, craft beer sampling

From Wellington, we travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the coastal town of Picton where we join the coach that takes us through Marlborough, NZ’s premier wine region to Abel Tasman National Park. Participate in a wine tasting and discover our world famous Sauvignon Blanc at a local winery. Visit the beautiful sandy golden beaches before heading back to our exclusive campsite accommodation for a bit of seafood and a BBQ dinner. Includes breakfast and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Beach accommodation in the national park

SIGHTS

Bluebridge Ferry trip, Winery visit

You have a whole day to experience this incredible area. Walk the coastal track famous for some of New Zealand’s best beaches or choose any of the optional activities on offer, including sailing or sea kayaking (own expense). Tonight we provide you with BBQ facilities for you to self cater. Accommodation is back at our exclusive campsite adjacent to the National Park. Includes breakfast.

ACCOMODATION

Beach accommodation in the national park

SIGHTS

Walk in the national park, relax on one of the golden sand beaches or jump on the Aqua Taxi (price included) and get dropped along the track and walk back.

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, and 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. Includes dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Hostel close to all attractions

SIGHTS

Cape Foulwind seal colony, Punakaiki pancake rocks

The day is spent in Franz Josef, a World Heritage area. As well as the glacier, the area is famous for its excellent walking trails (and lots of rain!). There are many great options for activities but a highly recommended guided trip (own expense - Franz Josef Glacier Hike) will enable you to get a hike ON the glacier, with a helicopter trip from the village nonetheless. Tonight is self-catering; there are plenty of local cafes and restaurants to enjoy or make use of the self-catering kitchen. Includes breakfast.

ACCOMODATION

Hostel close to all attractions

SIGHTS

Franz Josef Glacier Hike (extra expense) or loads of other activities. 

We head down the coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park and along the way see some breathtaking scenery including Lake Matheson, NZ’s most photographed lake. We also visit a waterfall and travel over a spectacular alpine pass. Once we arrive at the National Park there’s plenty of time to enjoy some of its activities including walking, scenic flights or jet boating (own expense). We spend the night in Chalets. Includes breakfast and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Unique mountain chalets

SIGHTS

Walk around Lake Matheson - Mirror Lake, walk through beech forest to the Blue Pools

Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, with stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery; 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 to explore the fiord. (B,D)

ACCOMODATION

Overnight on the boat, anchored within a secluded bay in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

SIGHTS

 Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise, sea kayaking, wildlife spotting.

We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind the stunning Fiordland to head for the ‘adventure capital of the world’ Queenstown. Includes Breakfast.

ACCOMODATION

Lodge located close to town with awesome views.

The world's your oyster in Queenstown. Head out on a Day Tour to Milford Sound, take advantage of loads of walks or choose from a whole range of adventure activities. Adventure not your thing? How about a day sampling wine in Gibbston Valley. Either way you have two FREE days to explore Queenstown. Optional activities and meals are at own expense. Overnight accommodation included. Breakfast included. 

ACCOMODATION

Lodge located close to town with awesome views

SIGHTS

Milford Sound Day Tour, Wine Tasting, adventure activities, relax, go for hike (activities at extra expense) 

We’ll jump back on the bus for a short drive to Wanaka, where we’ll spend the morning biking some of New Zealand’s most scenic lakeside trails. 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. Includes breakfast and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Stunning alpine lodge

SIGHTS

Included: scenic bike ride in Wanaka, scenic walk along the Hooker Valley track

Optional paid activity: Big Sky Stargazing or scenic heli-flight

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 in Christchurch this evening. This is where your tour comes to an end – we hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! Includes breakfast.

SIGHTS

Optional paid activity: Rangitata white water rafting

Your journey kicks off this morning when we depart from the city centre to the historic French settlement of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. After exploring the delights of the village, we’ll have time for lunch – make sure you sample one of the wonderful French pastries on offer in the charming cafes. Next, we head to the peaceful alpine town of Hanmer Springs, where you can spend the evening surrounded by mountains and forest as you relax in the thermal hot pools. Includes dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Cozy Alpine chalets

SIGHTS

INCLUDED: Hanmer Springs thermal pools and spa

Kaikoura is known for its huge array of wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seals and albatross. We get to Kaikoura early so you can choose from the many optional activities such as walking around the cliff tops to see the seals and amazing views to joining a whale-watching cruise (additional cost). We spend the night in this charming coastal village. Includes breakfast.

ACCOMODATION

The Lazy Shag

SIGHTS

Whale watching, dolphin swimming, scenic flights (extra costs). 

Leaving Kaikoura in the morning we wind our way up the rugged coastal roads, with stops for photos and a seal colony en-route. You can choose to spend the night in Picton, or head across the Cook Strait to Wellington. 

ACCOMODATION

Central hostel. 

SIGHTS

Free Activities: Seal colony.

Today is an express journey from Wellington to Auckland.  We stop along the way for photos and to have lunch in the township of a dual World Heritage area – National Park. Includes breakfast.

ACCOMODATION

Central city hostel

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