All about the 26 Day North and South Christchurch to Christchurch Winter Tour

This 26-day tour starts in Christchurch and finishes in Christchurch. Explore the length of New Zealand on this comprehensive tour of both the North and South Islands. The South is known for its snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes and adventure capital Queenstown. The North Island has a culture in abundance plus more than a few hidden beaches.

Real Kiwi Adventures is about adventure and getting involved. We don’t define by age but our trips are quite active. We get travelers from all over the world, people traveling by themselves, couples and groups A great way to meet new people and with an experienced and fun tour guide. Accommodation is dorm share or you can upgrade to a twin share (2 people traveling) or single share if you're a solo traveler.

Discover the very best of New Zealand on this trip. New Zealand's incredibly diverse natural beauty is revealed around every winding corner. As the locals would say, Real Kiwi Adventures is sweet as bro!

26 Day North and South Christchurch to Christchurch Winter Tour Itinerary - 26 days

  • Day 1 Christchurch to Kaikoura
    Depart from the Christchurch International Airport at 8 am and enjoy a beautiful drive up the coast to Kaikoura. You have the afternoon free for activities to check out the amazing marine wildlife that calls 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: 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 2 Kaikoura to Wellington
    Depart 8am. 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: Central hostel
    Included Activities: Ferry crossing from Picton to Wellington
    Free activities: Queen Charlotte View Walk, explore the capital city
  • Day 3 Wellington north (via Raetihi) to Auckland
    Depart 6.40am. This is an express day via Raetihi to Auckland, arriving in the early evening.
    Accommodation: Central city hostel
  • Day 4 Day in Auckland
    Take a free day to explore New Zealand’s largest city! Enjoy one of the many sailing trips on the harbour, head up the Sky Tower for panoramic views or do some souvenir shopping on Queen Street.
    Accommodation: Central city hostel
  • Day 5 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 6 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 7 Hahei to Raglan
    We leave Hahei early to travel towards the mighty Waikato River. Head on to the world-renowned Raglan surf beach, with cow spotting and a walk to Bridal Veil Falls on the way. Chill out on the beach or go hard surfing the waves in this funky surf and arts town.
    Accommodation: An eco-lodge surrounded by native bush
    Optional Activities: Learn to surf
    Free Activities: Waterfall walk, relax on the beach, spot glowworms in the bush, West Coast sunset, Inspiration Point.
  • Day 8 Raglan (via Waitomo) to Rotorua
    Head to the rural town of Waitomo with time to explore its famous caves and see the enchanting glowworms. We then carry on towards our overnight destination Rotorua, where you can spend the afternoon touring the Hobbiton Movie Set or exploring this popular tourist town.
    Accommodation: Comfortable central city lodge
    Optional Activities: Waitomo must-do caving options, Hobbiton Movie Set tour.
    Free Activities: Walk around Ruakuri Reserve, Waitomo Valley Caves walk.
  • Day 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 Raetihi to Wellington
    Depart 8 am. 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 14 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 15 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 16 Marahau to Westport
    Today we head south towards the ‘wild’ West Coast, passing through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was rated one of the Top 10 drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We stop at Cape Foulwind to visit the seal colony and then head for the historic coal mining town of Westport. The sunset from our accommodation tonight is a must see if the weather is clear!
    Accommodation: Charming character villa in the centre of town.
    Optional Activities: Surfing, caving, craft brewery tour.
    Free activities: Westport seal colony, West Coast sunset.
  • Day 17 Westport to Franz Josef
    An early start takes us down the rugged West Coast to the spectacular limestone Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We’ll stop to take a short walk and grab refreshments at the café before we head for the historic gold mining town of Greymouth. We do pick-ups in Greymouth and make a stop in Hokitika before heading to the quaint little town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.
    Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest
    Free Activities: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and their mighty blowholes, Truman Track walk.
  • Day 18 Day in 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 afterward.
    Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest
    Optional Activities: Guided Glacier Heli-hike, Glacier Valley Walk
    Free Activities: Many bush walks in the area
  • Day 19 Franz Josef to Wanaka
    Depart at 8 am. We head to Lake Matheson for a walk at the amazing mirror-like lake, stop at Fox Glacier for pick-ups, and then travel through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora with plenty of photo stops along the way. We pass by beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka by late afternoon.
    Accommodation: Central hostel
    Free Activities: Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thundercreek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.
  • Day 20 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 at 10.30am and cruise down to the famous 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 plenty of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music.
    Accommodation: Central hostel
    Included Activities: Scenic bike ride (suitable for all levels)
  • Days 21, 22 and 23 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 21 and a full day trip to jaw-dropping Doubtful Sound on Day 22. Day 23 is free for you to do as you please.
    Accommodation: Central hostel
    Included Activities: Shotover Jet (Day 21) and Doubtful Sound day trip (Day 22)
    Optional Activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jet boating, 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 24 Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook
    Depart from 8.40am. We head over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past Lake Pukaki, then head north to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook, arriving in the early afternoon so there’s time for scenic walks.
    Accommodation: Stunning alpine lodge
    Optional Activities: Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre
    Free Activities: Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks to the Hooker Glacial Lake.
  • Day 25 Mt Cook to Christchurch
    Today we make our way through a landscape made famous by the Lord of the Rings films. First, we head to turquoise Lake Tekapo, where we stop for ice skating, snow tubing or a swim at the hot springs. In the early afternoon we pass through Geraldine, and then continue across the Canterbury Plains to our overnight stop in the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch.
    Accommodation: Purpose built backpackers near the city centre
    Optional Activities: Ice skating, snow tubing, soak in the hot springs
    Free Activities: Take photos of stunning scenery, explore Christchurch by foot.
  • Day 26 Day in Christchurch
    Your journey officially ends here. If you have more time to explore before you depart, we recommend checking out some of the city’s highlights, such as the Re: Start Mall, Quake City exhibition, Canterbury Museum or the gorgeous Botanical Gardens. We hope you’ve had a blast!
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! This incredible 26 day adventure journeys through all the best bits of New Zealand's North and South Islands.

26 Day North and South Christchurch to Christchurch Winter Tour Price information
NZD per person



Tour code: TNZ26W
Secure your seat today with only a 10% deposit!
Dorm share
Twin/ Double share
Single share

Departure information


Sundays from Christchurch International airport at 9.45am from May 1 to September 2, 2018

Travelling from October 2018 to April 2019? Check out our 21 Day North and South Christchurch to Christchurch Summer Tour


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.
All Real Kiwi winter departures to be 100% guaranteed. You will still have a set itinerary with included accommodation and activities. 

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