All about the 17 Day North to South Auckland to Christchurch Summer Tour

Hit all the highlights with this 17-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 storytelling. 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)

You will 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!

17 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 New Zealand’s largest city Auckland, heading southeast to the pristine sands of Hahei Beach, from which you can access the famous Cathedral Cove. Accessible only by foot, boat or kayak, you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and stunning sea views in this beautiful coastal spot. Cathedral Cove is a ‘must see’ on the Coromandel Peninsula.
    Afterward an afternoon of seaside exploration, we gather for an entertaining hands-on ‘Kaimoana’ (seafood) cooking class to prepare a delicious feast of fresh local seafood for dinner (non-seafood option available). (D)
    Accommodation included: Comfortable beachside accommodation
    Activities included: Walk to Cathedral Cove, Kaimoana cooking class
    Optional activities: Cathedral Cove Kayaks
  • Day 2 Hahei to Rotorua
    Today we start by driving to Hot Water Beach, a unique surf beach where you can dig a hole in the sand to create in your own personal spa pool (tide dependent). After the beach, we’ll make our way towards Rotorua, stopping before we get to town to stretch our legs with an easy walk to watch white water rafters navigate the waterfalls of the Kaituna River.
    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: Dig your own spa pool at Hot Water Beach, Kaituna waterfall walk, cultural experience with traditional hangi meal, kapa haka (Maori song and dance) and interactive performance
  • Day 3 Full day in Rotorua
    You have a full free day in Rotorua to discover an area well-known for its Maori heritage, adventure and geothermal activity. Here you have the chance to do some great optional activities, such as a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, white water rafting, ziplining through native bush, mountain biking and more. A great option to finish the day is to spend the evening soaking in the hot pools at the luxurious Polynesian Spa. (B)
    Accommodation included: Central city lodge
    Optional activities: Visit Hobbiton, white water rafting, Zorbing, the luge, ziplining, mountain biking, Polynesian Spa
  • Day 4 Rotorua to National Park
    It’s a very early start this morning so we can 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. (B,L,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 Blue Duck Station
    After your big day of hiking, you get a chance to sleep in and we won’t depart until mid-morning. Our destination today is one of the most remote parts of the North Island by road. We’re heading for the award winning Blue Duck Station in Whakahoro, a 7,200 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 cooked using local produce. (B,D)
    Accommodation included: Remote country station lodge
    Activities included: 4WD eco-wilderness farm adventure
  • Day 6 Blue Duck Station to Wellington
    We depart early to arrive into Wellington around midday. 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 scene, shopping, craft breweries and café culture. As New Zealand’s capital city, it is home to New Zealand’s parliament and the iconic Beehive government building. This afternoon, you have the option to tour the world famous Weta Workshop, marvel at the wonders of Te Papa National Museum or wander along the Oriental Parade. (B)
    Accommodation included: Central city hostel
    Optional activities: Weta Workshop Tour, Te Papa National Museum, craft beer sampling
  • Day 7 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’s cellar door to sample New Zealand’s 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 cellar door visit
  • Day 8 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 sand 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 stand-up paddleboard hire (SUP)
  • Day 9 Abel Tasman to Franz Josef
    We start early to head south along the ‘wild’ West Coast, traveling on the rugged rocky coastline that makes this stretch of road one of the country’s top drives. We’ll stop at Cape Foulwind to view a wild seal colony that’s active year round, then make our way further down the coast to visit the spectacular limestone Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. From there, we carry on to our next overnight stop in the quaint little West Coast town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. (B,D)
    Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions
    Activities included: Cape Foulwind seal colony, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks walk
  • Day 10 Full day at Franz Josef
    Enjoy a free day and get out and explore the mighty Franz Josef 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 local cafes and restaurants in town or make use of the communal kitchen at our accommodation. (B)
    Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions
    Optional activities: Glacier heli-hike, scenic helicopter flight
  • Day 11 Franz Josef to Makarora
    Today we head further down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in the breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror-like 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 to experience the best in shallow water boating, skimming just inches from the riverbed, viewing 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 12 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; and 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 available 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 13 Doubtful Sound to Queenstown
    We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind 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 14 and 15 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, skydiving or walk up Ben Lomond or Queenstown Hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery around you and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. (2xB)
    Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views
    Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging
  • Day 16 Queenstown to Mt Cook
    We’ll jump back on the bus for a short drive to Wanaka, where we’ll spend the morning cycling along some of the world’s most beautiful lakeside bike paths. After lunch, we head over the Lindis Pass through the picturesque Mackenzie region to the base of the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. There is time for a hike through the Hooker Valley for breathtaking views of the dramatic mountain landscape, or opt to take an alpine scenic flight (own expense). This is also one of the best places in New Zealand to join an evening stargazing tour. (B,D)
    Accommodation included: Alpine lodge
    Activities included: Mountain biking in Wanaka, scenic walk in Hooker Valley
    Optional activities: Big Sky Stargazing or scenic heli-flight
  • Day 17 Mt Cook to Christchurch
    Today we make our way through a landscape made famous in the 'Lord of the Rings' films. We’ll take a break for a stroll around Lake Tekapo, iconic for its historic church and turquoise waters. Between Tekapo and Christchurch there is an option for thrill seekers to hop-off and join a top-notch Grade 5 white water adventure on the Rangitata River (own expense). Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch, where your driver guide will point out the highlights of the South Island’s largest city. The rafters will rejoin the group at the accommodation in Christchurch this evening. This is where your tour comes to an end - we hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! (B)
    Activities included: Explore Lake Tekapo area
    Optional activities: Rangitata white water rafting
Real Adventure Group Real People
Real Kiwi Says:
Experience Northern and Southern New Zealand this Summer on this action-packed 17 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.

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

Price

Description

Tour code: NS17
$3935
Dorm share
$4390
Double/ twin share
$4925
Single share
$3985
Quad Share. For travel April 1 2019 to March 31 2020
$4500
Twin/Double - 2 people travelling together. For travel April 1 2019 to March 31 2020
$5060
Single - Sole Use. For travel April 1 2019 to March 31 2020

Departure information

Starts

Wednesdays 3 October 2018 to March 31, 2019 and 18 September 2019 and 29 April 2020.

Travelling from May to September 2018? 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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