All about the 15 Day Grand Traverse Auckland to Queenstown Tour

The perfect camping adventure from Auckland to Queenstown. Taking in all the best sites of the North and South Island of New Zealand.

This tour offers some very special camp spots that are strategically placed so we can bring you much closer to nature than you’d ever have expected. Our Flying Kiwi camping tours attract people from all over the globe - the perfect mix of solo travellers, couples and mates who always end up as great friends. Travellers of all ages share a great sense of adventure, an enthusiasm to try and enjoy new things and a genuine interest in experiencing the culture of New Zealand.

Evening meals on our overland tours are prepared in a relaxed and informal rota system. Your great guides will lead things but every 4 or so nights you will be with a team of other budding chefs preparing some great feasts for your fellow travellers - generally one person chops, another looks after veggies, another will cook and someone needs to check the wine! Getting everyone involved.

A few highlights on this tour include cycling sections of the New Zealand cycle trail with heaps of excellent bike rides along coastlines, through forests and past mighty mountains. These can be optional bike rides, you can hike if you prefer. You will be visiting one of the world's new natural wonders - Milford sound, camping out at the foot of the southern Alps, by beaches and by lakes and hiking the amazing Routeburn track and Tongariro crossing. You will also dig your own hot pool on a stunning beach, tuck into fresh crayfish by the coast, visit a UNESCO World Heritage site, discover the wild, rugged beauty of the Catlins region - meet the grumpy sea lions, enjoy stunning sun rises with accommodation on the Pacific coast and the spectacular scenic ferry crossing through the Marlborough Sounds.

Plus our amazing optional activity options including dolphin swimming, kayaking, skydiving, white water rafting, bungy jumping, Milford sound cruise, glow-worm caves, whale watching and more!

Our next 15 day Auckland to Queensland tour starts on the 19th October and we are filling fast. If you're keen to do some walking in the beautiful environment of New Zealand this is the tour for you! 

15 Day Grand Traverse Auckland to Queenstown Tour Itinerary - 15 days

  1. Day 1 Auckland - Hot Water Beach
    Leaving Auckland at 10am we travel to the Coromandel, renowned for its natural beauty, misty rainforests and pristine white, sandy beaches. Marvel at the views on a beautiful coastal walk or take in the coastline from the water by kayak. Visit the unique and famous Hot Water Beach to dig, then relax, in your own thermal pool! Soak up the breath-taking scenery and cameras ready for spectacular sunsets at our beachside camp. walks: stunning coastal walk with views over the Pacific
    Bike rides: scenic road cycling options
    Activities (own cost): sea kayaking around hidden bays
    Cabin upgrades: basic single from $72, basic double from $27pp
    Meals: dinner
  2. Day 2 Hot Water Beach to Rotorua
    The morning is filled with activity as we make our way south into the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. On the way, those visiting Hobbiton leave us in Matamata as we continue to the cultural and geological heart of the North Island and the perfect place to experience and learn about Maori culture and the dramatic natural thermals, Rotorua. There is plenty of action to choose from such as Zip Lining, OGO and the Luge or go biking in the Whakarewarewa forest. We recommend finishing your day with a Maori cultural experience at the Tamaki Maori Village, there really is something for everyone!
    Walks: stroll through towering, ancient forests & unique thermal landscapes
    Bike rides: great off-road trail rides
    Activities (own cost): Hobbiton, Tamaki Maori Village, OGO, Luge, hot pools, Zipline canopy tour
    Cabin upgrades: basic single from $50, basic double from $18pp
    Meals: breakfast & lunch
  3. Day 3 Rotorua to Turangi
    Enjoy a relaxed start to the day before we check out the geysers & mud pools at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. First, we visit the Lady Knox Geyser before exploring one of New Zealand’s most extensive geothermal networks, a unique landscape with colourful sulphur lakes and diverse volcanic vistas. We then take time to explore the impressive Huka Falls before arriving into Taupo, considered the North Island's adrenalin capital. Test your fear of heights on the giant swing, bungy or go skydiving, the scenery is well worth it! We finish the day with a beautiful drive around the edge of Lake Taupo on our way into camp at Turangi.
    Walks: walks of various distances past dramatic waterfalls and around Lake Taupo
    Bike rides: ride through the Redwood Forest or take the Lion’s Track cycle path around the
    lake
    Activities (own cost): skydive, bungy, giant swing, Wai-O-Tapu (free – this one is on us )
    Cabin upgrades: basic single from $38, basic double from $11pp
    Meals: breakfast and dinner
  4. Day 4 Turangi to Paekakariki
    Today you have the chance to experience the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - considered NZ's best day hike, offering a remarkable journey across volcanic landscapes. Lava flows, emerald-coloured lakes, magnificent views and steaming vents combine to make this an unforgettable hike. For those who aren't keen on hiking you can enjoy short local walks or cycle the Tongariro river track. After the hike, we make our way south and stay on the Kapiti coast in a quiet little place called Paekakariki. walks: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro river track
    Bike rides: Tongariro river track
    Activities (own cost): Tongariro Alpine Crossing, white water rafting (grade 3 rapids), fly fishing
    Cabin upgrades: basic single from $60, basic double from $25pp
    Meals: breakfast, lunch & dinner
  5. Day 5 Paekakariki to Wellington to Picton
    Heading south to "the coolest little capital in the World" (as recently named by Lonely Planet), our early arrival by 9am gives you time to experience some of Wellington’s attractions or simply soak up the culture and buzz of our capital city. There are plenty for all
    tastes including the highly recommend Te Papa museum. Check out some of New Zealand’s rare birds at Zealandia or take a walk- up Mt Victoria for great views across the city and harbour. Later that day, it’s time to say goodbye to the North Island as the South
    Island welcomes us with picturesque scenery of the Marlborough sounds as we cross the Cook Strait by ferry. Camping isn’t feasible tonight so we stay at a great friendly hostel where we have dorm beds reserved for everyone on board.
    Activities (own cost): Te Papa museum (free), movie tour, Zealandia, cable car
    Hostel (own cost): dorm bed $30pp, private single/double room from $72
    Meals: breakfast
  6. Day 6 Picton to Kaikoura
    Today we travel the scenic Pacific coast to Kaikoura where close encounters with seals and sea birds are common. Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai - food, koura - crayfish) a reference to the abundance of seafood and sea life in the area. The
    town has transformed from a sleepy fishing village into a hot spot for whale watching, dolphin swimming and seal spotting. This picturesque town sits right on the ocean at the foot of the mountains – a spectacular spot. Stretch your legs with a recommended afternoon peninsula walk and build up an appetite for a tasty feast of locally caught fresh seafood.
    Walks: Kaikoura peninsula walk with opportunity to spot seals, a variety of birdlife and the occasional dolphin!
    Bike rides: Kowhai bike track and a short road ride
    Optional activities: whale watching, sea kayaking, deep sea fishing
    Cabin upgrades: basic single from $50, basic double from $18pp - (limited rooms available!)
    Meals: breakfast, & dinner
  7. Day 7 Kaikoura to Christchurch to Rangitata
    For those that are keen there is the chance to rise early for a wonderful sunrise and then enjoy one of our most highly rated optional
    Activities – dolphin swimming. The resident dusky dolphins are amongst the most interactive and entertaining in the World and it’s not unusual to swim with pods of 50 or more in their natural habitat, the ocean! We then have the chance to explore this quaint
    seaside town before heading south to Christchurch to collect and drop off those starting or ending their tour. You’ll have time to explore Christchurch city and buy your lunch from one of the many quirky container cafes at the ‘Restart Mall’. At 2:30pm we travel
    towards the Southern Alps with fantastic views across the Canterbury Plains – real Lord of the Rings country! Tonight’s unique camp is at the Shearer’s Headquarters (an actual operating farm) located at the foot of the Southern Alps.
    Walks: take an early walk around our coastal camp, evening walk in Peel Forest
    Bike rides: 18km country road, 9km country road cycling around camp
    Activities (own cost): highly recommended dolphin swim, dolphin viewing
    Cabin upgrades: basic single or double room from $15pp
    Meals: breakfast & dinner
  8. Day 8 Rangitata to Lake Pukaki
    Wake up to mountain views and refresh yourself even more white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River! If rafting isn’t for you then no problem - soak it all in with a morning cycle or walk through the Peel Forest. We then continue through more jaw dropping
    landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo. Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour brought down from the rivers flowing from glaciers high up in the mountains. Leaving Tekapo we head to one of our best wilderness camps – sitting on the shores of Lake Pukaki you can set up your tent and take in the views of the lake with New Zealand’s highest peak Aoraki/Mt Cook visible in the distance.
    walks: Peel Forest walks, lakeside walks around camp
    Bike rides: Tekapo Canal Alps to Ocean 30km, edge of Lake Pukaki trail riding
    Activities (own cost): white water rafting (grade 5 rapids!)
    Cabin upgrades: no – wilderness camp no upgrade options
    Meals: breakfast, lunch & dinner
  9. Day 9 Lake Pukaki to Moeraki
    Immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for and explore Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain following a trail up the Hooker valley where you’ll cross swing bridges and get stunning
    views of the mountains before finishing up at a glacial lake with views of the Hooker Valley glacier. We then travel back towards the Pacific coast for a quick stop in the historic town of Oamaru before continuing onwards to the small village of Moeraki. Walk to a
    great view point offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and try to spot a little Blue Penguin along the shore. If you have a bike it’s possible to visit a colony of extremely rare Yellow-eyed Penguins near to camp.
    Walks: to the base of Mount Cook and Hooker Valley, the Moeraki heritage Trail and viewpoint
    Bike rides: 15km road ride to Peter’s lookout, Alps2Ocean Omarama trail ride 13km, Yellow-eyed Penguin colony
    Cabin upgrades: basic single from $58, basic double from $23pp - (limited rooms available!)
    Meals: breakfast, lunch & dinner
  10. Day 10 Moeraki to Dunedin
    Before travelling south, we make a stop at the nearby Moeraki Boulders and then it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin, the South Island's second-largest city. This southern city is home to the world’s steepest residential street and the coastline is home to
    some fantastic and rare wildlife. It’s possible to take a tour onto the Otago Peninsula to view some of this diverse wildlife which includes Albatross and Fur Seals. For the adventurous why not try surfing at one of Dunedin’s best breaks! Our camp is a short
    distance from the beach with a variety of restaurants close by to choose from.
    Walks: tide permitting - walk to the Moeraki Boulders, walk the World’s steepest street
    Bike rides: 6km downhill ride into Dunedin, explore Dunedin by bike, ride to camp or along the waterfront
    Activities (own cost): Speight's brewery tour, surfing, Otago Peninsula wildlife tour
    Cabin upgrades: basic single from $40, basic double from $12pp
    Meals: breakfast
  11. Day 11 Dunedin to Hollyford
    Today is one of our longer travel days as we drive through some of New Zealand’s most dramatic natural scenery on our way to Fiordland. Large parts of the landscape have been carved out over thousands of years to leave stunning paths that weave through
    snow-capped mountains. We stop briefly in Te Anau, the hub and gateway town for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound and your last chance to get supplies for those doing the Routeburn Track tomorrow. From Te Anau we make our way into the gigantic Fiordland National Park, encompassing some 12,500km2
    it is New Zealand’s largest National Park. Tonight’s camp is a pretty special place in the heart of the Hollyford Valley, established in the 1930s. You can learn more
    about the history of the camp at the onsite museum. Cyclists have the chance to cycle to camp through some great native bush and walkers can do some nice short walks from camp (ask your guide about the secret glow worm trails).
    Walks: plenty of short walks from camp
    Bike rides: 8km road cycle to camp
    Cabin upgrades: basic single from $45, basic double from $15pp - (limited rooms available!)
    Meals: breakfast & dinner
  12. Day 12 Hollyford to Te Anau
    Travel one of the world’s most scenic routes into Milford Sound! Described as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. We highly recommend taking in the boat trip on Milford Sound with dramatic waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and possible wildlife spotting of dolphins, penguins and seals! As it’s just the one road in and out, we head back along the same breath-taking route to our lakeside camp in Te Anau. Along the way, we drop off those doing the 3-day Routeburn
    Track, one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. This 3-day hike passes through two National Parks and is a haven for native birdlife. Charge up your camera as this hike offers everything from mountainous peaks and sheer rock faces to pristine lakes, cascading
    waterfalls and dense, luxuriant forest.
    Walks: 3-day Routeburn Track (re-join group in Queenstown on day 14) – pre-book with us
    soon as possible as this activity can book out months in advance!
    Bike rides: 10.5km Te Anau loop, Ivan Wilson Park mountain bike trail
    Activities (own cost): highly recommend Milford boat cruise, Routeburn Track, Te Anau glow worm caves & boat ride
    Cabin upgrades: basic single from $25, basic double from $25pp
    Meals: breakfast & lunch
  13. Day 13 Te Anau to Queenstown
    Today we journey to Queenstown along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. Once we arrive at the adventure capital of New Zealand you can enjoy spectacular views, a free Gondola ride and a huge selection of activities to choose from. There is everything
    here, from adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing and skydiving to a relaxing horse trek or boat cruise – this place has it all. There are great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this alpine region.
    Walks: Queenstown lakefront or hill walks
    Bike rides: Lake Wakatipu trail 16km
    Activities (own cost): too many to list – something for everyone (see our website or ask us for details)
    Cabin upgrades: single en-suite from $135, double en-suite from $58pp - (limited rooms available!)
    Meals: breakfast
  14. Day 14 Queenstown
    With so much to do we spend the full day in fantastic Queenstown with the opportunity to enjoy those once in a lifetime experiences (don’t forget to try the legendary and very tasty Fergburger!). Routeburn Track walkers re-join the group here at midday with time to
    try some of the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight, we dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost).
    Walks: Queenstown walks, Ben Lomond
    Bike rides: Lake Wakatipu trail, Queenstown trail 48km
    Activities (own cost): too many to list – something for everyone (see our website or ask us for details)
    Cabin upgrades: single en-suite from $135, double en-suite from $58pp - (limited rooms available!)
    Meals: breakfast
  15. Day 15 Queenstown
    A last chance to indulge in the Queenstown action before finishing your tour with us here and saying farewell to your fellow Flying Kiwi travellers by 2:30pm.
    Walks: multiple walking options
    Bike rides: road cycling around town
    Activities (own cost): too many to list – something for everyone (see our website or ask us for details)
    Meals: breakfast
Real Kiwi Real People
Real Kiwi Says:
Our Grand Traverse trip launches from the City of Sails (Auckland) and takes in the country's finest natural highs as you head south. You get to enjoy amazing natural wonders, fantastic hike and cycle options and stunning accommodation by lakes, mountains, beaches and forest. You will see a diverse set of landscapes from white sand beaches and dramatic Fiords to thermal geysers and towering forests. The tour is ideal for those who love the great outdoors, perfect if you want to hike or cycle New Zealand. You can bring your own bike or rent one on tour. Let us know about bike hire at the time of booking, as we have limited on board and sell out quickly. Your guide will point you in the direction of incredible daily rides, these will include cycling on roads, beside lakes, mountain bike tracks and cycle trails. Accommodation is included in the tour price. You will sleep in shared tent accommodation, two people per tent. You can upgrade to your own tent for a small additional cost. During the Grand Traverse, we stay at 1 Bush camp, this is located in the South Island. Due to its remote location, there are no cabin upgrade options and it also comes with only basic toilet facilities. This camp is stunning and rated by past travellers as some of their fondest memories. Most meals are included (see the detailed itinerary which outlines exactly what is included on a day-to-day basis). We can also cater for a broad range of dietary requirements.

15 Day Grand Traverse Auckland to Queenstown Tour Price information
NZD per person

Price

Description

$2845
Adult

Departure information

Starts

Departs Auckland at 10am from 172 Quay Street (opposite ferry building).

2017
Oct 19, 28.
Nov 6, 15, 24.
Dec 3, 12, 21, 30.

2018
Jan 8, 17, 26.
Feb 4, 13, 22.
Mar 3, 12, 21, 30

Ends
Queenstown


More information

Important Notes

Things you need to know about this tour

^ Single travellers will be paired in a tent with a person of the same sex or can upgrade to their own tent for $130
Cabin upgrades are available most nights for a small fee, payable on the day. When staying in our more remote and picturesque campsites upgrades are not available but alternatives will be found in the event of inclement weather.
Optional bicycle hire for the duration of the tour is $200 (subject to change)
Customers may bring their own bicycle and will be charged a handling fee of $95
Sleeping bag hire is $60
A shuttle bus option is available for customers wishing to finish their trip in Christchurch at an approximate cost $NZ50. Further touring options are also available.
This tour is recommended for persons 18 years and older, however, requests for younger participants will be considered on a case by case basis.

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