All about the 18 Day North to South Auckland to Christchurch Summer Tour

Hit all the highlights with this 18-day tour covering both the chilly South and the lush North. From adrenaline activities to getting in touch with local culture, this tour has it all. 

Highlights include exploring Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, visiting the historic French and British settlement of Akaroa (optional marine activities available at your own expense). Our specially-developed Maori cultural experience with hangi, interactive show, and story telling. Bubbling hot pools, Huka Falls near Taupo and bush safari at unique eco-wilderness stop, Tongariro Alpine Crossing and Te Papa National Museum, hiking Abel Tasman National Park, visiting Hanmer Springs and exploring Kaikoura (for dolphin and whale spotting)

We also head to Franz Josef glacier and Mount Aspiring National Park in the South Island with two free days in Queenstown. Our well known exclusive overnight cruise in Doubtful Sound is a highlight. Your guide takes you on a once-of-a-lifetime journey, with plenty of awesome stops along the way showing you the real New Zealand!

18 Day North to South Auckland to Christchurch Summer Tour Itinerary - 18 days

  • Day 1 Auckland to Hahei
    Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your journey kicks off from Auckland heading southeast, stopping for a walk to the famous Cathedral Cove. Accessible only by foot or boat, you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and stunning views in this beautiful coastal spot. Cathedral Cove is 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. (D)
    Accommodation included: Comfortable beachside accommodation
    Activities included: Walk to Cathedral Cove, dig a hole at Hot Water Beach
    Optional activities: Cathedral Cove Kayaks
  • Day 2 Hahei to Rotorua
    Today we head for Rotorua, arriving around midday, 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.

    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: Cultural experience with traditional hangi meal, kapa haka (Maori song and dance) and interactive cultural performance
    Optional activities: Visit Hobbiton, white water rafting, Zorbing, the luge
  • Day 3 Rotorua to Whakahoro
    We start the day by visiting some bubbling mud pools before travelling to the powerful Huka Falls. Huka mean’s ‘foam’ in Maori and describes the gushing rapids that squeeze through the narrow gorge and burst over this impressive 20 metre drop.

    Our destination today the most remote parts of the North Island by road. We’re heading for the award winning Blue Duck Station in Whakahoro, a 5,200 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 all cooked using local produce. (B,D)
    Accommodation included: Remote country station lodge
    Activities included: Visit Huka falls, 4WD eco-wilderness farm adventure
  • Day 4 Whakahoro to National Park
    Today we 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 (own expense). (B,D)
    Accommodation included: Alpine lodge
    Activities included: Tongariro Alpine Crossing and transfers, or Taranaki Falls walk and Tawhai Falls (Gollum’s Pool)
  • Day 5 National Park to Wellington
    We depart early to arrive into Wellington around midday. Get a taste of ‘Wellywood’ when you head out to the world famous Weta Workshop for an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the studio responsible for blockbuster films such as The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and Avatar. 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, craft beer and café culture scenes. As New Zealand’s capital city, it is home to New Zealand’s parliament and the iconic Beehive government building. We recommend wandering down Oriental Parade, visiting Te Papa National Museum or the botanical gardens. (B)
    Accommodation included: Central city hostel
    Activities included: Weta Workshop tour
  • Day 6 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, enjoy a wine tasting and discover a 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 visit
  • Day 7 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 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 paddle board hire
  • Day 8 Abel Tasman to Hanmer Springs
    Today you’ll travel through beautiful scenery in the Kahurangi and Nelson National Parks where we’ll stop for a picnic lunch, before heading to the peaceful town of Hanmer Springs. This afternoon you are free to enjoy this alpine setting. Spend the afternoon surrounded by mountains and forest as you relax in the thermal hot pools. Tonight is a group dinner. (B,D)
    Accommodation included: Cozy alpine chalets
    Activities included: Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
  • Day 9 Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
    Today we head for the East Coast and the coastal village of Kaikoura, famous for a huge array of natural wonders from land to sea. We arrive in Kaikoura early, so you are free to experience all this location has to offer. Why not go out on the water and experience one of Kaikoura’s famous dolphin and whale spotting tours (own expense), see seals sitting right beside the road at Goose Bay or wander around the peninsula and check out the breath-taking views from the lookout. After the afternoon’s activities, we make our way to the city of Christchurch. Check out the city sights as you make your way to your accommodation in the city centre. (B)
    Accommodation included: Central city hostel
    Activities included: Peninsula walk and seal colony visit
    Optional activities: Whale watching, swim with dolphins
  • Day 10 Christchurch to Franz Josef
    We depart Christchurch this morning for a stunning journey across the Canterbury Plains and over the famous Arthur’s Pass to the West Coast. Around almost every corner there is a picturesque backdrop to enjoy so have your camera ready as we stop often for walks and photo opportunities. We visit Hokitika, famous for pounamu (jade), before our day ends in the quaint little West Coast town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Joseph Glacier. (D)
    Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions
    Activities included: Pounamu jade factory
  • Day 11 Full day at Franz Josef
    Enjoy a free day and get out and explore the mighty Franz Joseph 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 many local cafes and restaurants in town or make use of the self-catering kitchen at our accommodation. (B)
    Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions
    Optional activities: Glacier Ice Explorer, helicopter flight
  • Day 12 Franz Josef to Makarora
    Today we head down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in some breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror 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, experience the best in shallow water boating skimming just inches from the riverbed, see 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
  • Day 13 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; 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)
    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
  • Day 14 Doubtful Sound to Queenstown
    We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind the 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
  • Day 15 and 16 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, skiing, sky diving or walk Ben Lomond or Queenstown hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. (B)
    Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views
    Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging
  • Day 17 Queenstown to Central Otago
    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)
    Accommodation included: Fully restored historic hotel
    Activities included: Mountain bike Otago Rail Trail
  • Day 18 Central Otago to Christchurch
    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 finishing back 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. We hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! (B)
    Optional activities: Guided city sights tour
Real Adventure Group Real People
Real Kiwi Says:
Experience Northern and Southern New Zealand this Summer on this action-packed 18 day tour that will take you through bustling cities, serene nature and fascinating culture. Make friends on tour with lots of international travellers, be part of our traveller community on and offline. We are continually hunting out and creating our own authentic, off the beaten track, stop-overs and activities that aren’t in the guidebooks or on TripAdvisor. Get the most out of your travels through our local guides. Our fun and enthusiastic guides get involved with your travel experiences. Smaller group sizes in New Zealand mean it’s easier to meet other travellers, you don’t feel herded around and it allows us to include connections to off the beaten track things which can’t be accessed by individuals travelling on public transport or with mainstream travel companies.

18 Day North to South Auckland to Christchurch Summer Tour Price information
AUD per person

Price

Description

Tour code: NS18
$3865
Dorm share
$4320
Double/ twin share
$4855
Single share

Departure information

Starts

Tuesdays October 2017 to March 31, 2018

Traveling from May to September 2017? Check out our 22 Day North to South Auckland to Christchurch Winter Tour

Ends
Christchurch


More information

Important Notes

Things you need to know about this tour

Itinerary is subject to change due to cultural or seasonal conditions
^Upgrade accommodation is excluded in Hahei and Doubtful Sound.
*Standard accommodation is 6-share in Whakahoro.
Child rate available to one passenger 8-12 years sharing with 2 adults.
Luggage should be restricted to 23kg in a single bag, plus a small day pack.

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