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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

Step into a captivating world of dazzling peaks, glittering glaciers, icy blue lakes and misty rainforests - it could only be New Zealand. Tucked among these awe-inspiring landscapes you'll find contemporary cities and laidback little towns, every bit as intriguing as their epic surroundings. Spend 20 days uncovering the very best of New Zealand with a local leader at the wheel. In the South Island, the high-adrenaline activities of Queenstown, fabulous wineries of Marlborough, and awe-inspiring scenery of Franz Josef await. In the North Island, travel through the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, chill out on the beaches of Coromandel and Raglan, explore the otherworldly landscapes of Tongariro National Park and get to know Wellington's creative side.

  1. Day 1
    Christchurch
    Welcome to Aotearoa (New Zealand). Sparsely populated and spectacularly beautiful, the South Island is a paradise for lovers of nature, wildlife and the great outdoors. Your adventure begins in Christchurch. If you arrive early, you may like to take a pleasant stroll through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to admire the collection of native plants, or stop by the Canterbury Museum to learn about the region’s cultural heritage. Meet your local leader and new travel buddies at your accommodation at 6pm for a welcome meeting, then the rest of the evening is yours.
  2. Day 2
    Christchurch / Lake Tekapo / Ohau
    Christchurch is not just a pretty city – it’s also remarkably resilient. After a devastating earthquake destroyed much of the downtown area in 2011, the city has begun to rebuild in innovative and creative ways. Head out with your leader this morning to see this for yourself. Stop by the Christchurch Cathedral, which stood as a symbol of the city before collapsing in the earthquake, and has now been replaced with an architecturally striking and quake-proof structure made out of cardboard. After a morning of exploring, say goodbye to Christchurch and drive inland to Lake Tekapo. An eye-catching combination of purple lupins, turquoise waters and snow-dusted peaks makes this one of the most photo-worthy spots in the country. The Church of the Good Shepherd sits on the shores of the lakes and attracts couples from all over the world shooting their wedding pictures. It’s easy to see why – backdrops don’t get much better than this! Continue to Lake Ohau where you’ll spend the night.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  3. Day 3
    Mackenzie Country / Queenstown
    Hit the road this morning for a journey to remember – watch out the window as you pass the sprawling grasslands of the Mackenzie Basin and showstopping peaks of the Southern Alps. Your drive will be broken up with plenty of scenic stops, including a visit to Kawarau Gorge, a popular spot for bungy jumping. If you’re feeling adventurous, get involved and jump off the suspension bridge crossing the gorge, or just stand back and watch brave jumpers take the plunge. Continue on to Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world, and rightfully so! Aside from its high-adrenaline attractions, Queenstown has a booming culinary scene, produces some of the world's best wine and boasts unbelievable scenery at every turn.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  4. Day 4
    Queenstown
    The day is all yours to discover the varied delights of Queenstown. There are loads of options to get your heartrate up, whether you fancy shooting down the river on a jet boat, river kayaking, flying above the town in a gondola or a 4WD adventure through landscapes of Lord of the Rings fame. If you’d like to take things a little slower, perhaps head to the Gibbston Valley to taste wines only topped by the inspiring scenery. A walk around the stunning Lake Wakatipu will give you a good dose of fresh air and epic views. There’s no shortage of dining options to tempt your tastebuds – if you’re willing to wait, a famous Fergburger is hard to beat!
    Meals:   Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    Queenstown / Wanaka
    Take the chance this morning to cross off any Queenstown activities you didn’t have time for yesterday – be sure to speak to your leader for tips on the best way to spend a morning here. In the afternoon, get back on the road for a seriously scenic 1-hour drive to Wanaka through the Crown Range Mountains. Stop off along the way in Arrowtown, a little goldrush town with big personality. Take a walk along the tree-lined high street where historic buildings nod to the town’s glory days. Arrive in Wanaka in the afternoon and embrace the vibe of this laidback and beautiful town. With Lake Wanaka as its glittering centrepiece and dramatic mountains as its backdrop, the town is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s most bewitching. This afternoon you may like to head out on a hike or just stretch out on the shores of the lake and take it all in.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  6. Day 6
    Wanaka
    Visit the beautiful Mou Waho Island today. Accessible only by boat from Wanaka and famous for being home to an (unnamed) island, in a lake (Arethusa Pool), on an island (Mou Waho), in a lake (Lake Wanaka), on an island (the South Island) in the ocean (the Pacific). Sounds complicated, but once you are there it will all make sense! Enjoy a walk through this fascinating scenery and learn more about this predator-free reserve with a natural glacial-formed lake at its summit. Your afternoon is free to explore Wanaka and surrounds. No visit to Wanaka would be complete without seeing #thatwanakatree. Springing up from the waters of Lake Wanaka, this sloping willow is one of the most photographed trees in the world. There's no shortage of excellent hiking routes in the region if you'd like to get out and explore on foot, or you may prefer to hire a bike and hit the cycling trails.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Wanaka / Franz Josef
    Enjoy a morning at leisure in Wanaka before getting back on the road and making tracks for Franz Josef. This is another incredible drive that you're going to want to have your camera ready for. Depending on the weather, stop off at either Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka, both boasting incredible lookout points. Along the way, your leader will pause at some off the beaten track spots to snap some pictures and stretch your legs. Arrive into Franz Josef in the early evening and perhaps head out to one of the town’s cosy pubs for dinner.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  8. Day 8
    Franz Josef
    Rise and shine – you’re in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and there's so much to discover here. Known for the dazzling Franz Josef glacier and awe-inspiring views of Mt Cook, this is natural beauty on the biggest scale. The region also has a cultural history that’s every bit as captivating as its natural wonders. Only found in the South Island of New Zealand, pounamu (greenstone) is an important part of Maori culture. Today you’ll pay a visit to a local gallery where you’ll have the chance to carve your own pounamu pendant while learning about its spiritual and cultural significance. If you’d like to get up close and personal with Franz Josef Glacier in the afternoon, you can arrange for a helicopter to drop you in for a hike. You may prefer to sit back and unwind in local hot springs, or head out kayaking on an icy blue glacial lake. Your leader will be on hand to help make arrangements.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  9. Day 9
    Hokitika / Greymouth / Christchurch
    Begin the journey up the west coast – this is the rainiest part of New Zealand, resulting in greenery and lush rainforests like nowhere else in the country. Stop off in the lovely little town of Hokitika where a visit to a pounamu factory will give you the chance to pick up any last souvenirs of gifts. If time allows, there may be the chance to check out the National Kiwi Centre – the nocturnal house here gives visitors the opportunity to see how these delightful birds behave at night. The next stretch of your journey may just be the most magnificent – hop aboard the TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch, widely believed to be one of the top train journeys in the world. Cross through the Southern Alps via Arthur’s Pass and travel past the rushing blue waters of the Waimakariri River and endless native beech forest. Arrive in Christchurch in the evening.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  10. Day 10
    Kaikoura
    Get back on the road and drive up to Kaikoura, a seaside town known for its abundance of marine wildlife. Kaikoura is famously one of the world’s top spots for whale watching, so perhaps take advantage of your time here and head out on a boat trip in search of humpbacks, orcas and sperm whales. This evening perhaps go out for a crayfish dinner – it’s a real specialty here!
    Meals:   Breakfast
  11. Day 11
    Wellington
    Drive on from Kaikoura to Marlborough. Aside from its marvellous scenery, the Marlborough region is known for its production of world-class white wine, so what better way to get a taste of the South Island than by visiting some of its best wineries? Stop by and sample their goods while learning what makes Marlborough wine so renowned. Continue north and bid farewell to the South Island as you hop aboard a ferry and cross the Cook Strait. Watch a vast and varied landscape unfold in front of you as you cruise through the iconic Marlborough Sounds and travel to the North Island. Arrive in Wellington, New Zealand’s trendy and attractive capital city. Strung between staggering green hills and a delightful harbour, Wellington holds onto a small-town charm despite its capital status. The city is known for its creative and artistic endeavours, making it a real joy to explore. A welcome meeting will take place at 7.30pm this evening to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next leg of your journey, then the rest of the evening is yours. If you’d like to experience Wellington’s top-notch food and craft beer scene, your leader will have tips on the best places to grab a bevvy or a bite to eat.
  12. Day 12
    Wellington
    Today is all about getting to know windy Wellington, a charming place even on its most blustery days! Kick the day off with an orientation tour with your leader, checking out the bays, central Wellington, the Botanic Gardens and the Parliament Buildings. Next up it's a visit to Zealandia, a groundbreaking conservation project that has successfully reintroduced over 20 species of native wildlife into this area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years. Pay a visit to Weta Workshop, the special effects studio used by Peter Jackson for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While here you’ll have the chance to take an optional tour around the studio to find out how the team here create film magic. This afternoon, you may like to check out Wellington’s most famous cultural attraction, Te Papa Museum. Displaying an intriguing combination of New Zealand’s history and cultural heritage woven with cutting edge technology and interactive displays, there’s something here to entertain everyone. If you’d rather spend the afternoon outdoors, a tour of Kapiti Island offers the chance to spot an abundance of rare and beautiful birds.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  13. Day 13
    Taupo
    Make the most of your final morning in Wellington – perhaps check out the always-buzzing Cuba street for breakfast or have a wander around the City Gallery. Then it’s time to swap the city for the natural wonders of Lake Taupo as you hit the road and head north. This drive is one worth looking out the window for, as the volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro draw closer. Arrive in Taupo, a bustling town on the shores of a stunning crater lake, and your home for the next two nights.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  14. Day 14
    Taupo
    A volcanic eruption 70,000 years ago created the magnificent Lake Taupo, which now hosts visitors from around New Zealand and the world, keen to both relax and get their blood pumping with the adventure sports and hikes on offer. With a free day here, you’ll have plenty to choose from. If you’re a keen hiker, you may like to complete the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand’s most famous day hike. At 19.4km long, the path takes you around a volcano, past lakes, craters and bush. A variety of guided or unguided options are available, but a good level of fitness and appropriate gear for all types of weather are a must for anyone considering tackling the crossing today. There are shorter hikes in the park available or, for the thrill seekers, you might like to go skydiving or bungy jumping.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  15. Day 15
    Rotorua
    Leave Lake Taupo behind and get back on the road. Stop at the thundering Huka Falls – this forceful, icy blue torrent of water is a must-see! Continue your journey towards Rotorua, known for its Maori heritage, hotbed of geothermal activity and distinctive sulphur smell (you’ll get used to it!). To get your first look at Rotorua’s impressive scenery, take a treetop walk through an ancient redwood forest over a network of suspension bridges, reaching 12 metres at the highest point.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  16. Day 16
    Rotorua
    Spend the day discovering the natural and cultural wonders of Rotorua – this unique destination is really like nowhere else in the world. The geothermal activity in the area is second to none – simmering mud pools, dramatic geysers and fluorescent lakes must be seen to be believed. If you’ve got a head for heights, ziplining through Rotorua’s ancient forests is an unbeatable way to take it all in. This evening you’ll get a true taste of M?ori culture during a visit to a cultural and geothermal wonderland. Here you’ll enjoy a hangi dinner, a traditional meal cooked underground, giving it a delicious earthy flavour. You’ll also experience a soul-stirring haka performance.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  17. Day 17
    Waitomo / Raglan
    This morning’s adventure takes you underground during an optional visit to the Waitomo Caves, a subterranean system of caverns and passageways illuminated by thousands of ethereal glow worms. You may like to join a walking tour to hear the story of the caves’ history, geology and connection to Maori mythology. If you’d rather stay on the surface, the Ruakuri Forest walk is a must, cutting through dense rainforest and taking in views of verdant gorges and limestone arches. Tucked into the rolling green hills of Matamata you’ll find Hobbiton, the set where part of the Lord of the Rings films were shot. On a fully guided tour of the set you will see Hobbit Holes, the Mill, and even enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn. From here, it’s on to Raglan, a chilled-out town with a reputation as New Zealand’s top surf spot. Tonight is set to be one to remember – get on the water for a sunset boat cruise around Raglan Harbour, and tuck into a tasty fish and chips feast while you’re at it – a true Kiwi experience!
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  18. Day 18
    Raglan / Coromandel Peninsula
    Raglan is the ideal place to catch some morning waves, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. If surfing isn’t your thing, the area offers a wealth of awesome activities. Check out creative local cafes, shops and galleries, stretch out on the beach and enjoy the view or head out on a hiking trail to get a better look at the landscape. Continue north in the afternoon towards the Coromandel Peninsula, passing tree-clad hills and dramatic valleys. The journey will be broken up with photo-worthy stops, including a visit to the magical 55-metre cascade of the Bridal Veil Falls.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  19. Day 19
    Coromandel Peninsula / Auckland
    Your leader will spend some time showing you around The Coromandel this morning. A land of white sand beaches and lush rainforests, the Coromandel Peninsula feels a world away from where your journey began. Make a stop at Hot Water Beach, named after the famous warm waters found beneath its golden sand. If the tide allows, dig a hole on the beach and enjoy your own natural hot tub – absolute bliss! Later in the day, hit the road for a final time as you travel towards Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest, busiest and buzziest city. The journey is a highlight in itself, following the extraordinary coastline and watching clear blue water stream past the window. As always, your leader will have tips on some excellent places to grab a meal in this lively city.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  20. Day 20
    Auckland
    Say your goodbyes this morning as your North Island adventure comes to an end. If you’d like to spend some more time in Auckland, just get in touch ahead of time and we’d be happy to arrange additional accommodation (subject to availability).
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Lake Tekapo - Mt John Lookout
  • Wanaka - Mou Waho Island Cruise & Guided Nature Walk
  • Franz Josef - Greenstone Pendant Carving
  • Greymouth - Tranz Alpine Train Journey
  • Hokitika - Mountain Jade Greenstone Factory
  • Wellington - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Taupo - Huka Falls
  • Rotorua - Redwood Forest Canopy Walk
  • Rotorua - Pohutu Geyser
  • Rotorua - Hangi Dinner & Haka Dance
  • Raglan - Fish & Chips Dinner
  • Raglan - Sunset Boat Cruise
  • Waitomo - Ruakuri Bush Walk
  • Rotorua - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
  • Coromandel Peninsula - Cathedral Cove
  • Coromandel Peninsula - Hot Water Beach

Meals
18 Breakfast(s) Included
4 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Comfort

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Accommodations

Hotel/Motel (19 nights)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.8

Ratings based off 206 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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