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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

Get ready for an adventure of epic proportions - the best of New Zealand is waiting! Spend 17 days discovering the South Island and North Island with the guidance of a passionate local leader. See the innovative ways Christchurch has rebuilt post-quake, get to know the adventure capital of the world in Queenstown and experience the natural beauty of Franz Josef. Cross the Cook Strait and hang out in delightful Wellington, hop between beaches on the Coromandel Peninsula, learn about local culture at a Maori village and check out the geothermal wonders of Rotorua. From spectacular scenery to fascinating culture, New Zealand is sure to leave you in awe.IMPORTANT INFORMATION:Accommodation on this trip is in mixed-gender multi-share dormitory style hostels with shared facilities. We are aware of a system functionality limitation incorrectly indicating "twin-share" when you manage your booking on our website.

  1. Day 1
    Christchurch / Lake Tekapo
    Welcome to New Zealand! Your adventure begins in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island. Meet up with your local leader and fellow travellers at 8am this morning to find out about what lies ahead on your journey, then head out to get to know Christchurch. After being rocked by an earthquake in 2011, much of Christchurch’s downtown was destroyed, but the locals are a resilient bunch and examples of the cool and creative ways they’ve rebuilt can be seen across the city. Perhaps the best example of this is the Christchurch Cathedral – rebuilt out of cardboard, this is now one of the city’s most interesting architectural features. Then it’s time to get on the road and drive to Lake Tekapo, a truly stunning sight with its bright blue waters and surrounding mountains. Keep an eye out for newlyweds snapping pictures in front of the Church of the Good Shepherd, boasting one of the world’s most inspiring backdrops! Just when you thought things couldn’t get better here, nighttime reveals a whole new side of Tekapo. A designated Dark Sky Reserve, this is one of the top spots in the country for stargazing.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  2. Day 2
    Queenstown
    Rise and shine! If you’d like to really embrace the morning, a hike to the summit of Mt John rewards with showstopping views of the Southern Alps. If you skip out on the walk, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of incredible views to be seen today. Drive past the tussocklands of the Mackenzie Basin and snow-dusted peaks of the Southern Alps as you travel down to Queenstown, making plenty of photo-worthy stops along the way. Swing by the Kawarau Gorge, where you’ll have the chance to take the plunge with a bungy jump if you’re feeling brave! Arrive in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world and your home for the next two nights. Whether you’re into high-adrenaline experiences or sitting back with a glass of wine, Queenstown is sure to tick all your boxes.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Queenstown
    The day is yours to experience all Queenstown has to offer. If you want to get your heart racing, look no further! Paragliding, jet boating, mountain biking, canyon swinging and bungy jumping could all be on the cards for you today – just speak to your leader about arranging these optional activities. For Lord of the Rings fans, a 4WD adventure through scenery where the film was shot is a real highlight. Wine lovers are in the right place – this is one of the top wine-producing regions in the world and there’s no shortage of fantastic wineries where you can sample some for yourself. Queenstown’s nightlife punches above its size, and with more than 40 bars to choose from, you’re guaranteed a good night ahead.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  4. Day 4
    Queenstown / Wanaka
    Take the morning to tick off anything you didn’t get to see or do yesterday, then leave Queenstown in the rear-view mirror and begin the super scenic drive across the Crown Range to Wanaka. Along the way, stop off in the lovely little gold-rush town of Arrowtown, where the high street’s historic facades make it easy to imagine what life here once looked like. Arrive into Wanaka and enjoy a slower pace than high-octane Queenstown. With Lake Wanaka as the star of the show and surrounding mountains only complimenting its beauty, there’s no doubt this is one of the most attractive towns in New Zealand. Hit a hiking trail, explore on a bike or find a cosy cafe to admire the view.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    Wanaka / Franz Josef
    Enjoy a morning at leisure for your own explorations of Wanaka. There’s no shortage of amazing things to see and do here, so be sure to chat to your leader for their top tips. You may like to take a pleasant bike ride along the shores of Lake Wanaka or get on the water and cruise to Mou Waho Island, where you’ll find an island in a lake on an island in a lake! There are heaps of beautiful short walks in the area, and a visit to the famous #thatwanakatree is a must. Depart Wanaka in the afternoon and venture further north, stopping off at a lookout point over either Lake Wanaka or Lake Hawea, depending on conditions. Your eyes will be glued to the window for this journey as you pass the impressive waterfalls of the Haast Pass and more spectacular coastline (your leader will make a few special stops along the way too!). Arrive to Franz Josef village, your base for the evening.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  6. Day 6
    Franz Josef
    Franz Josef is the stuff of dreams, where glittering glaciers and soaring peaks provide a spectacular background to daily life. This part of the country is known as Te Wahi Pounamu, meaning ‘the place of greenstone’, due to the region’s abundance of this culturally and spiritually significant stone. Pay a visit to a local gallery and carve your own pendant while learning about pounamu’s importance to Maori culture. This afternoon, if you’d like to get closer to the Franz Josef Glacier, speak to your leader about the option of booking a helicopter ride to drop you on the snow, allowing you to then hike over the glacier’s surface. There’s also the chance to kayak over a glacial lake or chill out in natural hot springs. No matter how you choose to spend the day here, it’s set to be one to remember.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  7. Day 7
    Hokitika / Greymouth / Christchurch
    Travel up the wild and wet West Coast, where the country’s highest annual rainfall means the landscapes are unbelievably green and lush, standing in striking contrast to the blue ocean. Stop off in the town of Hokitika and pop into a pounamu factory where you’ll have the chance to pick up any final souvenirs to remember your trip. If time allows, you may have the chance to visit a kiwi centre, where delightful kiwi birds can be observed in a nocturnal house. Your journey may be nearing its end, but the last leg may just top them all. Hop aboard the iconic TranzAlpine train as you cross the Southern Alps through Arthur’s pass on your way back to Christchurch – you’re going to want to have your camera ready for this one! Arrive to Christchurch in the evening and perhaps head out for dinner and drinks with your group.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  8. Day 8
    Christchurch / Kaikoura
    Enjoy a morning at leisure in Christchurch. With plenty of pleasant cafes and interesting shops, there’s a lovely morning to be had wandering around town. Then it’s time to leave the city behind and make tracks for Kaikoura, a seaside town known for its rugged mountain scenery and abundance of marine life. On arrival, take the chance this morning to get to know the town’s most famous creatures. You may like to set out on a trip to swim with dolphins in their natural habitat – dusky dolphins, hectors dolphins and common dolphins are all regularly seen around these parts. Kaikoura is one of the best spots in the world for whale watching, with humpbacks, orcas and sperm whales often sighted on whale watching cruises. Stop by a seal colony to watch endearing fur seals go about their business.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  9. Day 9
    Kaikoura / Wellington
    Take the morning to soak in the stunning scenery of Kaikoura before heading north to Picton. Take a stroll around this delightful harbour town and perhaps pick up a bite to eat before boarding the ferry to Wellington. But this is no ordinary ferry trip – crossing the Cook Strait is one of the world’s most scenic ferry rides. Be amazed as the vast landscapes of the Marlborough Sounds unfold before you, as well as beautiful coastline, sweeping vineyards and wide open skies. Arrive in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. Known for its amazing food and craft beer scene, be sure to ask your leader for tips on where to pick up a great brew.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  10. Day 10
    Wellington / Taupo
    Wellington is as cool and creative as it is windy (and it’s thought to be the windiest city in the world!). Your leader will show you around the capital this morning. Depending on the interests of the group, this may include a visit to Weta Workshop of Lord of the Rings fame, the parliament buildings, cable car and Mt Victoria. Then it’s time to leave the city behind and drive on to Taupo, nestled into the shores of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. This drive is a perfect introduction to the wild and varied landscapes of the North Island – pass by the arid scenes of the Rangipo Desert and the soaring volcanic peaks of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. Arrive in Taupo in the evening. With calm waters fringed by mountains, this is one of the prettiest spots in the country.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  11. Day 11
    Taupo
    The day is yours to enjoy all Taupo has to offer. Chill out lakeside to soak in the inspiring views, or get active and take on one of the awesome hiking trails in the area. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, the Tongariro Crossing in the nearby Tongariro National Park is considered one of the best one-day walks in the world (but it’s not for the faint hearted!). Carved into the cliff faces surrounding Lake Taupo you’ll find 14-metre-tall Maori artwork that can only be accessed by boat. Want to relax and unwind? A visit to the natural hot pools at Otumuheke Stream is a must! However you decide to spend the day, it’s sure to be one to remember.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  12. Day 12
    Taupo / Murupara
    Travel today to the Kohutapu Lodge in Murupara – the majority of proceeds from the activities you take part in here are fed back into the local community. You’ll be greeted by a Maori elder who will show you around the Ngati Manawa Tribal Lands while sharing the history and culture of this tribe. Meet with other members of the village and learn a famous haka war dance, then weave a plate for tonight’s dinner out of flax plants. Dinner tonight is one for the books – tuck into a traditional hangi meal, cooked underground to create a delicious, earthy flavour.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  13. Day 13
    Rotorua
    Your journey continues as you drive north towards Rotorua, known for its geothermal activity and the pervasive sulphur smell it lends the town. Fluorescent lakes, bubbling mud pools, active volcanoes and dramatic geysers punctuate the landscape here, making it feel like you’re on another planet. Stop off at a thermal park to get your first look at Rotorua’s otherworldly landscapes, then continue into the town where your leader will show you around the Government Gardens and pleasant lakefront. End the day with a visit to the Te Puia Maori Village, where you’ll get firsthand insight into Maori culture. You’ll also have the chance to see Pohutu, New Zealand’s largest geyser, in action – this is a sight that will blow you away! A visit to the kiwi conservation centre will allow you to observe this endearing nocturnal bird as it behaves at night.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  14. Day 14
    Rotorua
    There’s so much to see and do in Rotorua, so today is free to discover it all. Have a chat to your local leader for tips on how to get the most out of your day here. You may like to take an unforgettable stroll through Kuirau Park, surrounded by bubbling and boiling mud pools. If you feel like getting your heart racing, the Kaituna River is one of the world’s top white water rafting destinations. Choose to head deep into one of New Zealand’s most ancient forests for an exhilarating eco canopy adventure, learning about the native wildlife and ecology as you zipline from tree to tree. Or take a guided kayak trip where you’ll enjoy a fun-filled evening of hot pools (which are only accessible by boat), BBQ dinner and paddling through magical glow worm caves.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  15. Day 15
    Coromandel Peninsula
    We start today with a visit to Hobbiton, an absolute must-do on the way through Matamata. 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. This afternoon we head to the Coromandel Peninsula, a land of beautiful beaches and lush rainforests. Take a walk along the clifftops and down to Cathedral Cove, one of the region’s most beautiful and photogenic spots – the rock arches, columns and pristine beaches are a truly impressive sight. While here you may like to take the chance to explore the coastline on a guided kayaking tour – if you do, be sure to keep an eye out for dolphins swimming alongside the boat!
    Meals:   Breakfast
  16. Day 16
    Coromandel Peninsula / Auckland
    Of all the Coromandel Peninsula’s marvellous beaches, one stands out above the rest. Hot Water Beach is made famous by the warm waters that run beneath its sand, meaning all you need to do to make your own hot tub is dig a hole. Visit at low tide and get digging – unwinding in a natural hot tub on the beach is an experience second to none. Complete the final stretch of your journey as you travel to Auckland, hugging the glittering on your way there. New Zealand’s biggest city has a privileged location where you’re never far from the water, and the dining and nightlife scene is up there with the best of them. As it’s your last night together, you may like to head out for a final dinner with the group before saying your goodbyes.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  17. Day 17
    Auckland
    Your North Island adventure comes to an end this morning after breakfast. If you’d like to spend more time getting to know Auckland, just get in touch ahead of time and we’d be happy to arrange extra accommodation (subject to availability).

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Inclusions

  • Lake Tekapo - Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd
  • Christchurch - City Tour
  • Queenstown - Kawarau Gorge
  • Arrowtown - Village visit
  • West Coast - Haast Pass
  • West Coast - Lake Hawea Lookout
  • Franz Josef - Carve your own Pounamu Necklace
  • Greymouth - Tranz Alpine Train Journey
  • Hokitika - Mountain Jade Greenstone Factory
  • Kaikoura - Visit to a Seal Colony
  • Marlborough - Cook Strait Ferry Crossing
  • Wellington - Mount Victoria Lookout
  • Tongariro National Park - Scenic Drive
  • Murupara - Learn to Weave Flax
  • Murupara - Hangi Dinner
  • Murupara - Village Tour with Maori Elder
  • Murupara - Learn the Haka
  • Rotorua - Visit Te Puia Maori Village
  • Rotorua - Pohutu Geyser
  • Coromandel Peninsula - Cathedral Cove
  • Rotorua - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
  • Coromandel Peninsula - Hot Water Beach

Meals
16 Breakfast(s) Included
1 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Basix

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Accommodations

Multi-share hostel with shared facilities (16 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
3.7

Ratings based off 210 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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