All about the 24 Day North and South Auckland to Auckland Winter Tour

Experience Northern and Southern New Zealand this winter on this action-packed 24 days tour that will take you through bustling cities, serene nature and fascinating culture.

Make friends on tour with lots of international travelers, be part of our traveler 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.

Runs May to October on a fixed itinerary through New Zealand. Hike volcanic caters in Tongariro National Park, explore the Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers, stop for some skiing in Queenstown and Wanaka and tick off all the major cities of the North and South Islands. 

Smaller group sizes in New Zealand mean it’s easier to meet other travelers, 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 traveling on public transport or with mainstream travel companies.

24 Day North and South Auckland to Auckland Winter Tour Itinerary - 22 days

  • Day 1 Auckland to Hahei
    Depart Auckland at 7:30am and head south to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames. We’ll settle into our accommodation in Hahei before heading to Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own natural spa pool in the sand (tidal dependent).
    Accommodation: Exclusive accommodation by the waterfront
    Included Activities: Hot Water Beach visit
  • Day 2 Day in Hahei
    Today you have a full free day to embrace the laid back Coromandel lifestyle. Get up early to catch the sunrise on the beach, then take a scenic coastal walk or opt to kayak to stunning Cathedral Cove. You can also take a guided boat tour through the cliffs and caves of the nearby marine reserve.
    Accommodation: Exclusive accommodation by the waterfront
    Optional Activities: Kayaking, guided boat tour
    Free Activities: Walk to Cathedral Cove, sunrise on the beach
  • Day 3 Hahei to Rotorua
    Our drive today will take us through the Waikato region to Rotorua. You will have to option to a guided tour through the world famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Even if you’re not a fan, this truly unique experience which explores a whimsical garden village, home to Frodo and Bilbo in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogies is loved by all. If this is not for you, then you can continue on to Rotorua where there are plenty of other activities on offer. The Hobbiton goers will return early evening.
    Accommodation included: Comfortable central city hostel
    Optional activities: Hobbiton Movie Set tour, white-water rafting, zorbing, adrenaline-fuelled adventure park (big swings, bungees and more) Free activities: Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest walk
  • Day 4 Rotorua

    Often labelled the adventure capital of the North Island, you have a full free day in Rotorua to discover an area rich in Maori heritage, adventure activities and bubbling geothermal wonders. There are plenty of exciting local activities to get the adrenaline pumping, such as whitewater rafting, ziplining through native bush, zorbing or a truly unique guided jet boat adventure up to bath in a hot waterfall. You can opt to visit the incredible Waitomo Caves, or head out on the highly regarded White Island tour. The choice is yours!
    Accommodation included: Comfortable central city hostel
    Optional activities: Waitomo caving trip, White Island tour, river jet tour, zip lining, zorbing, geothermal parks, luging, Maori village & performance experience.
  • Day 5 Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua
    The morning is free to try one of the many adventure activities on offer in Rotorua. We depart Rotorua at midday and drive into the remote area of Lake Aniwhenua. We will meet a local Maori guide who share the area’s history and take us to visit sacred archaeological sites. At the lodge, our hosts will show you how to prepare the traditional Hangi that will be tonight’s dinner and share the stories about their local legends around the fire. (D)
    Accommodation: Scenic lakefront lodge
    Included Activities: Kohutapu Experience – guided tour of sacred Maori rock carvings, introduction to Murupara area history, delicious ground cooked hangi feast and breakfast.
    Optional Activities: White water rafting, Zorbing, ziplining
  • Day 6 Lake Aniwhenua to Whakahoro
    After breakfast we depart and head to Taupo to see Huka Falls and the impressive great lake. For the brave hearted, we have time for skydiving! At 10am we make our way to Blue Duck Station, a 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leader. Settle in and learn a little more about what makes this destination so special. Spend the evening listening to tales from this unique region. (B)
    Accommodation: Country station lodge
    Optional Activities: Skydiving
    Free activities: Huka Falls, enjoy your hosts’ hospitality and stories on the local wildlife and history.
  • Day 7 Day in Whakahoro
    Today you have a free day to explore this truly amazing and secluded location in depth. The included 4WD farm tour will give you just a taste of life in remote, rural New Zealand. There are plenty of other farming and conservation-based activities for you to experience around the property as well.
    Accommodation: Country station lodge
    Included Activities: Eco-Warrior 4WD farm tour
    Optional Activities: Horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and goat hunting
    Free activities: Take in the lush scenery with a walk to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall.
  • Day 8 Whakahoro to Raetihi
    We depart at 6am and head to the active volcanoes of the nearby dual World Heritage Site of Tongariro National Park. Today you get a chance to do one of the world’s best one day walks: the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Be prepared for some epic scenery as you walk over active volcanos and around the base of “Mt Doom” from the Lord of the Rings films. Tonight, you can soothe your tired muscles from the big walk in the spa pool at your accommodation or relax with a celebratory drink by the fire.
    Accommodation: Historic residence with mountain views
    Optional Activities: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
    Free activities: Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcanic Centre.
  • Day 9 Raetihi to Wellington
    Depart 8am. We head to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, via Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. You have the afternoon to cruise around the shops and cafes along popular Cuba Street, explore the New Zealand wonders found in Te Papa Museum or stroll along the waterfront.
    Accommodation: Central city hostel
    Free Activities: Walk Oriental Parade, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, visit Te Papa National Museum.
  • Day 10 Wellington to Marahau
    We catch the 8am Bluebridge Ferry (check-in 7am) across to Picton on the South Island and meet the Stray bus. We will cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and the coastal town of Nelson, before heading through Motueka to our amazing overnight stop of Marahau, right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park.
    Accommodation: Unique accommodation on the edge of the national park
    Included: Ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton
    Optional Activities: Wine tasting, skydiving
    Free activities: Swim, walk, mussel tasting around the fire
  • Day 11 Day in Marahau
    You have the entire day free to explore this stunning coastal national park. Whether by land, sea or air, there are tons of fantastic options for getting around. An Aqua Taxi ride is included in your tour, but you are welcome to upgrade to sailing or kayaking.
    Accommodation: Unique accommodation on the edge of the national park.
    Included Activities: Walk part of the Abel Tasman track and catch an Aqua Taxi home.
    Optional Activities: Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, hang gliding.
  • Day 12 Marahau to Franz Joef
    Buckle up for an awesome day driving down the incredibly scenic ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its untamed beaches and spectacular rainforest. We’ll pass through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was labelled one of the top ten drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We’ll view the seal colony at Cape Foulwind before continuing further down the coast to the geographic wonder of Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and blowholes. Here we’ll take a walk around these unique limestone rock formations and stop for a bite of lunch. Our next stop is the historic gold mining town of Greymouth to collect passengers connecting from Christchurch. From here we’ll continue on, via Hokitika, to the quaint township of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.
    Accommodation included: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest
    Free activities: Buller Gorge, Cape Foulwind Seal Colony, Pancake Rocks and Blow holes, Hokitika greenstone store
  • Day 13 Franz Josef
    Enjoy a full free day to explore the glacier. Live your glacier walking dream with a guided tour through a world of ice on the glacier or hike from town to view it from below, then unwind in the relaxing spa pools afterwards.
    Accommodation included: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest
    Optional activities: Guided Glacier Heli-hike, Glacier Valley Walk Free Activities: Any of the good bush walks in the area
  • Day 14 Franz Josef to Wanaka

    Depart early to take a walk along the shores of the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson, and then travel through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora with plenty of photo stops along the way. We pass by the beautiful Lake Hawea on our way to arrive in Wanaka by late afternoon.
    Accommodation included: Central hostel
    Free activities: Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thunder Creek Falls walk, explore Wanaka
  • Day 15 Wanaka to Queenstown
    This morning, head out to cycle some of New Zealand’s most beautiful bike paths along the lake before we depart Wanaka and cruise down to the famous original A.J. Hackett Bungy site, where you can take the plunge - if you dare! Then, it’s on to the ‘Adventure Capital of the World!’ Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with a variety of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music.
    Accommodation included: Central hostel
    Included activities: Scenic bike ride around the lake (suitable for all levels)
  • Day 16 Queenstown
    With so much to see and do in and around Queenstown, you need three full days to take it all in! To get you started, a couple highlight activities are included – an exhilarating Shotover Jet Boat ride in the morning on Day 17 and a full day trip to jaw dropping Doubtful Sound on Day 18. Day 19 is free for you to do as you please.
    Accommodation: Central hostel
    Included Activities: Shotover Jet (Day 17) and Doubtful Sound day trip (Day 18)
    Optional Activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jetboating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…), trip to Milford Sound.
    Free Activities: Sleep in, great short walks, take in beautiful views from this cool resort town.
  • Day 17 Queenstown
    Depart early on a day-long trip to the jaw-dropping Doubtful Sound in stunning Fiordland National Park, where you'll take a three-hour wilderness cruise and learn more about this incredible natural wonder. You will return to Queenstown in the evening. Lunch is not included (you can purchase sandwiches and snacks on the day), so make sure you bring lunch, snacks and water.
    Accommodation included: Central hostel Activities included: Doubtful Sound day trip
  • Day 18 Queenstown
    Make the most of your final free day doing any of the other incredible activities on offer or further exploring Queenstown. If you haven’t already, we recommend riding the gondola or walking to the top of the hill for spectacular views of the town, lake and surrounding mountains.
    Accommodation included: Central hostel
    Optional activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jetboating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding...), trip to Milford Sound.
  • Day 19 Queenstown to Aoraki/ Mt Cook
    Depart Queenstown early to drive over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past the vivid blue waters of Lake Pukaki. Then, we head north to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook, arriving in the early afternoon.
    Accommodation included: Stunning alpine lodge
    Optional activities: Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, scenic flights, 4WD Tasman Valley tour
    Free activities: Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks to the Hooker Glacial Lake
  • Day 20 Mt Cook to Rangitata

    Leaving Mt Cook, we make our way through a landscape made famous in the Lord of the Rings films. We’ll stop to admire the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd – a famous photo stop. Relax in the Tekapo hot pools, go snow tubing or ice skating or hike up to the Mt John observatory where you’ll witness stunning views of the lake from above. After lunch, we will continue to our overnight stop in Rangitata Peel Forest. Tonight, we’ll stay in one of Canterbury’s original sheep stations.
    Accommodation included: One of Canterbury’s original sheep stations
    Optional activities: Tekapo Hot Springs, Ice skating (April-Sept), Snow tubing (June-Sept) Free activities: Visit Lake Tekapo, Mt John walk, Rangitata forest walks
  • Day 21 Rangitata to Christchurch

    This morning, you will have the opportunity to sign up to a Lord of the Rings tour or to explore the stunning Peel Forest scenery on horseback. Tonight, we’ll stay in Christchurch where you can spend your afternoon exploring the city or getting involved in one of the activities on offer.
    Accommodation included: Comfortable, modern backpackers near the city centre Optional paid activities: LOTR tour, horse trekking
    Free activities: Explore Christchurch by foot, check out the Re-Start Mall, Cardboard Cathedral and inner-city street art
  • Day 22 Christchurch to Kaikoura
    We stop briefly to do pick-ups and drop-offs at the Christchurch International Airport as we depart early this morning for a beautiful drive up the coast to seaside Kaikoura. You have the afternoon free for activities to check out the amazing marine wildlife that call this area home. Go on a whale and dolphin spotting tour, search for seals sunning themselves at Goose Bay or walk to the peninsula lookout for breathtaking views.
    Accommodation included: Warm modern hostel
    Optional activities: Whale watching by boat or by plane, swimming with dolphins, guided fishing trip
    Free activities: Walk around the peninsula and up to the lookout
  • Day 23 Kaikoura (via Picton) to Wellington
    Leaving Kaikoura this morning, we wind our way up the rugged coastal roads for the top of the South Island. When we get to Picton there is time to stretch your legs and grab some lunch before we board the ferry to carry us over the Cook Strait to Wellington where you can spend the evening checking out the fantastic craft breweries and restaurants of the capital city.
    Accommodation included: Central Wellington hostel
    Included: Ferry crossing from Picton to Wellington
  • Day 24 Wellington to Auckland
    Today is a very early departure out of Wellington - this is an express day via Raetihi to Auckland, where your trip comes to an end when you arrive in the early evening. We hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey!
Real Adventure Group Real People
Real Kiwi Says:
During the winter our Real Kiwi Adventures tours are operated with our partners on the hop on hop off network, so you can guarantee we depart with a good group of travellers every week. There is plenty to see in New Zealand in the winter, with some saying its even better at that time of year!

24 Day North and South Auckland to Auckland Winter Tour Price information
AUD per person

Price

Description

Tour code: AKAK24W
$2745
Dorm share
$3380
Double/ Twin share
$4035
Single share

Departure information

Starts

Tuesdays from Auckland 7 May to 10 September 2019

Travelling from October 2018 to March 2019? Check out our 20 Day North and South Auckland to Auckland Summer Tour

Ends
Auckland


More information

Important Notes

Things you need to know about this tour

Itinerary is subject to change due to cultural or seasonal conditions
*Twin / Double upgrades based on two people sharing.
Winter tours will operate in conjunction with the Stray Travel Network allowing all Real Kiwi winter departures to be 100% guaranteed. Clients will still have a set itinerary with included accommodation and activities however less meals are included and the guide and group may change during the tour.

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