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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 23 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

  • Experienced tour guide
  • Accommodation, Accommodation transfers
  • Bluebridge Ferry (southbound trip) and scenic flight (northbound trip) between North and South Islands
  • Meals as indicated
  • Maori welcome/guide in Opononi
  • Tane Mahuta visit
  • Hokianga ferry
  • Sand boarding and wildlife boat trip spotting dolphins and other marine life
  • Russell Ferry
  • Cultural experience with traditional hangi meal
  • Interactive cultural performance and exclusive story telling
  • 4WD bush safari/eco-wilderness farm tour
  • Te Papa Museum
  • Abel Tasman scenic boat transfer
  • A winery visit
  • Hanmer Springs Hot Pools
  • Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
  • Mountain biking on the Otago Rail Trail.
  • Breakfast (15), Dinner (11)

Important Notes

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

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PRICE: $4,345 NZD

Number of Days 23

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 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 Opononi and Hokianga, where we will be greeted by a local Maori guide and receive a traditional welcome to the area. See huge sand dunes and take part in an optional twilight tour where you’ll visit the largest Kauri tree in the world, Tane Mahuta “God of the Forest” for some pretty amazing photo opportunities (own expense). Includes breakfast and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Comfortable Kiwi lodge

SIGHTS

Bay of Island’s wild life boat trip, see sand dunes

It’s across the Hokianga Harbour to go sand boarding today down the massive dunes before you start to make our way south through the mighty Waipoua Forest littered with 1000 year old trees. You’ll visit the idyllic Kai Iwi Lakes for a swim in the crystal clear waters draped with beautiful white sand before departing for the big smoke – Auckland – arriving late afternoon. 

ACCOMODATION

Central city hostel

SIGHTS

Sand Boarding, swim in the Kai Iwi Lakes, visit Waipoura Forest, Hokianga Ferry Ride, Tane Mahuta (NZ largest Kauri).

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

The day starts with a swim in a natural hot river before heading to Taupo to visit the spectacular Huka Falls. After that, it’s off to stay at the eco award-winning Blue Duck Station, a working sheep and beef farm, where you will take part in a farm safari and get the opportunity to see their conservation work in action in this spectacular place. During summer months there’s an option to go on a short kayak through the gorge at the base of the Kaiwhakauka Falls. Your dinner is all cooked using local produce. 

ACCOMODATION

Blue Duck Station, country station lodge

SIGHTS

Visit Huka falls, 4WD eco-wilderness farm adventure

Today we head back to the Tongariro National Park to give you the chance to hike the Tongariro Crossing; rated as New Zealand’s best one-day walk. Alternatively other options include shorter walks around this volcanic region or visiting the Volcanic Centre Museum. Accommodation tonight is at the Alpine Lodge. Includes breakfast and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Alpine lodge

SIGHTS

Tongariro Alpine Crossing and transfers, or Taranaki Falls walk and Tawhai Falls (Gollum's Pool)

Today, it’s off to Wellington – New Zealand’s capital city. Here you will see parliament buildings, including the iconic Beehive. There is plenty to do in Wellington like visiting Te Papa, the national museum and art gallery or the botanical gardens. 

ACCOMODATION

Central city hostel

SIGHTS

Experience New Zealand's capital city, Weta Workshop tour

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 are heading to the peaceful Hanmer Springs, first travelling through Kahurangi and Nelson National Parks. Both boast beautiful scenery and superb walks. We have a picnic lunch today before spending the afternoon relaxing in the hot pools. Dinner is a group meal. Includes breakfast and dinner.

ACCOMODATION

Cozy alpine chalets

SIGHTS

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa.

Today we head south and drive directly to the quaint seaside township of Akaroa, nestled in the naturally formed Akaroa Harbour in the Banks Peninsula. Here you have the option to cruise around the harbour to learn more about the area’s native wildlife and early French and British settlement history, head out to swim with the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, or stay on dry land to do any of the awesome walks for breath-taking views of the peninsula. After the afternoon’s activities, we make our way back to the city of Christchurch. Check out the city sights as you make your way to your accommodation in the city centre.

ACCOMODATION

Central city hostel

SIGHTS

Free activities: Peninsula walk

Optional paid activities: Harbour nature cruise, swim with dolphins

Don’t forget your camera today, as there are many fantastic photo opportunities. We travel over the famous Arthur’s Pass and down onto the West Coast. Around almost every corner there’s a new picturesque backdrop to enjoy. We also visit Hokitika, famous for pounamu (jade) and the Bushman’s Centre to learn about local history. The day ends at Franz Josef to see the famous glacier. 

ACCOMODATION

Rainforest Retreat

SIGHTS

Pounamu jade factory, scenic Arthur's Pass. 

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. 

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.

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) 

Leaving Queenstown behind, we’ll jump back on the bus to head for the historic town of Naseby. Located in a shallow valley in the foothills of the Mt Ida Range, Naseby is a unique gold mining village just minutes from the Central Otago Rail Trail. Arriving by midday, there is time to ride our favourite part of the Central Otago Rail Trail in the afternoon. It’s an ideal activity for riders of all abilities and the best way to soak up the incredible scenery of the area. (B,D)

ACCOMODATION

Fully restored historic hotel

SIGHTS

Mountain bike Otago Rail Trail

From Central Otago we head back to the Pacific coast, where we’ll turn to head north on a scenic coastal drive towards Christchurch. Stop along the way to see the fascinating Moeraki Boulders and the town of Oamaru before arriving in Christchurch in the afternoon. There is an option to stay with your group for a tour of the city’s highlights with your driver guide.

SIGHTS

Optional inclusion: Guided city sights tour

We kick off your trip in New Zealand’s second largest city, Christchurch. Bus departs at 9.00am from the Christchurch International Airport for a scenic drive up the East Coast to the coastal port town of Picton. We stop to view a seal colony on the way, before we take a scenic flight over the Cook Strait and Marlborough Sound to Wellington city. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the spectacular Marlborough Sounds and some impressive aerial shots of the nation’s capital. You're free to explore Wellington in the evening, why not explore this funky town’s nightlife at any of the bars and restaurants along Cuba Street.

ACCOMODATION

Central city hostel

SIGHTS

Scenic flight across Cook Straight

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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