18 Day Complete New Zealand Tour

    2022 DEPARTURES: 9 Jun, 7 Jul, 4 Aug, 8 Sep, 29 Sep, 10 Nov, 1 Dec
    2023 DEPARTURES: 12 Jan, 2 Feb, 2 Mar, 13 Apr

    18-Day complete New Zealand tour itinerary from Auckland to Christchurch. You will pass through national parks, and rainforests, visit hidden pools & UNESCO World Heritage Areas, and probably more beaches than you can count.

    Get a really good understanding of what makes NZ tick on this epic small group tour which covers everything you’d want to experience and more, from Auckland to the bottom of the South Island.

    This Auckland to Christchurch tour hits local hotspots plus the most unique destinations further off the beaten track, guaranteed to impress!

    First up we depart Auckland and head to Rotorua. Geothermal activity is so hot right now! Experience (and smell) the sights.

    We then head to our off-the-beaten-track destination Lake Aniwhenua. Discover the history and Maori culture, enjoy a traditionally cooked Hangi dinner and relax by the waterfront.

    Next up is Lake Taupo and a visit to Huka Falls.

    Onto Blue Duck Station where you will horse around on an award-winning conservation farm! Tongariro National Park is the most famous destination on the North Island filled with unbelievable scenery from Lord of the Rings. We then head to the capital of New Zealand Wellington: Soak up the culture, visit museums, watch the sunset from Mt Victoria and check out the cafe scene.

    It’s then time for us to head down to the South Island by taking the ferry across the Cook Strait. straight into hiking in the smallest but most visited Abel Tasman National Park. Walk from Marahau to Anchorage and tick this incredible coastal destination off your bucket list.

    In Abel Tasman National Park do the short walk to Cleopatra’s Pool a natural rockpool and the best freshwater swimming spot. We then cruise the ‘wild’ West Coast and visit a seal colony. Up next is a stop at the famous limestone Punakaiki ‘Pancake Rocks’ and blowholes!

    A stop at Franz Josef Glacier is the highlight of the South Island with the chance to book an optional Heli-hike. We then spend a couple of days in Queenstown the adventure capital of New Zealand. You’ll probably never want to leave!

    For our last few days on tour, we visit Lake Matherson and Mount Cook. Before finishing our adventure in Christchurch.

    Accommodation on this small group tour is Twin share in comfortable 3-4 star hotels. Take the pressure off, kick back, relax, soak up the scenery and let someone else do the driving. You’ll travel by private, air-conditioned bus. Plus our expert local guide to teach you about New Zealand history and culture.

    Join us on the adventure of a lifetime showcasing the very best destinations on our New Zealand tour itinerary!

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      Day 1: Auckland to Rotorua

      Haere Mai and Welcome! Start your tour in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) the city of sails. We pick up at most main hostels in Auckland and then start our adventure around New Zealand.

      You will then head south to Rotorua and, let’s just say, the ‘unusual’ sulphur smell will be a telltale sign that you’ve arrived! Known as the North Island’s geothermal hot spot and hub for all the very best adventure activities, Rotorua is 100% one of the best places to explore… even if your nostrils tell you otherwise! We’ll stop at the Whakarewarewa Forest for a walk amongst the giant California Redwoods planted over 100 years ago before checking in at our hostel.

      Day 2: Rotorua

      Today is a free day for you to explore Rotorua!

      There are so many great activities to do in Rotorua. These include white water rafting, ziplining, zorbing and even a visit to Hobbiton. Or you can just spend the day relaxing in a geothermal spa. If you want to see some geothermal activity for free, head to Kuirau Park to see boiling mud pools and steaming lakes. (B)

      Day 3: Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua

      After hanging out in a major tourist destination like Rotorua, you’ll probably feel ready to experience a more authentic slice of New Zealand culture.

      Today we venture off the beaten track to the shores of Lake Aniwhenua. Kohutapu Lodge is owned by a local Maori family who are passionate about showcasing their Maori tribal heritage. You’ll see sacred Maori rock carvings, play traditional stick games and watch the preparation of a ground cooked ‘hangi’, before tasting it for yourself! Prepare your tastebuds – this will probably be the best meal you eat in New Zealand, or maybe even in your lifetime! (B and D)

      Exclusive experience includes:

      ● Welcome to the tribal lands and a guided tour to sacred Maori rock carvings
      ● Introduction to to the Murupara area, its people, history and challenges
      ● Afternoon tea
      ● Mau Rakau (Maori stick games)
      ● Weaving Lesson
      ● Haka Lesson
      ● 1 night’s accommodation at the serene lakeside Kohutapu Lodge
      ● Full traditional hangi buffet dinner & dessert
      ● Storytelling around the fire pit
      ● Continental breakfast

      Day 4: Lake Aniwhenua to Blue Duck Station

      Rise and shine, strayers! Enjoy your buffet breakfast and get ready for a day of jam-packed adventure. Keep your togs (swimwear) handy, because our first stop is Kerosene Creek – a naturally hot river and the perfect place for a morning soak. Then it’s on to Taupo to see Australasia’s largest lake and the mighty Huka Falls before venturing about as far off the beaten track as you can get in the North Island! Blue Duck Station is a sprawling 7,200-acre high country farm that is both a working station and an eco-conservation pioneer dedicated to protecting the native environment for its namesake, the rare blue duck. On arrival, we will settle in to learn a little about daily life at Blue Duck, the station’s interesting settlement history and their sustainability efforts before cooking some dinner and chilling out around the bonfire. (B and D)

      Day 5: Blue Duck Station

      Good news – You have a full free day to explore this ruggedly charming destination. For entertainment, you have the option to go horseback riding over rolling green hills, or jump on a 4WD and travel through native bush to the ‘Top of the World’ where you can see the three peaks of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. If you’d prefer to explore on foot, hike to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall and see if you can spot a rare blue duck in the flesh. Whatever you decide, we have no doubt this will be the start of your love affair with this lush kiwi paradise. Those holiday romances, aye! (B, L and D)

      Day 6: Blue Duck Station to Ohakune

      Rise and shine this morning for your trip to Ohakune. We’ll head straight there after breakfast for your scenic bike ride along the Old Coach Road. You’ll be fitted for your Bike and then shuttled to Horopito where your easy but epic 4-hour unguided bike trail begins. Download the free app before you start if you’d like to get some info along the way about your route. You’ll cycle on a unique cobbled road, past historic Viaducts and limestone cliffs and there’ll be plenty of stops along the way to take photos for the ‘gram. Once you’ve finished the tour you’ll head to your accommodation at Powderhorn Chateau for a relaxing evening. (B)

      Day 7: Ohakune to Wellington

      Now it’s time to head to Wellington, the ‘coolest little capital in the world’!

      Wellington packs a lot of character into its downtown district, with funky restaurants and bars along Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. Fill your afternoon by browsing through the exhibits at Te Papa National Museum, grab a craft beer at an edgy brewery, climb to the top of Mt Victoria for panoramic views or take a stroll along the waterfront and Oriental Parade. Oh and, most importantly for those who seek 24/7 caffeination, you’ll be glad to know that Wellington’s coffee culture and cafe scene is considered one of the best in NZ. (B)

      Day 8: Wellington to Marahau (Abel Tasman)

      It’s time to move from North Island to South Island in New Zealand. You will take the Bluebridge Ferry across the Cook Strait and through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds to the South Island. If the weather’s good, head out to the viewing deck to witness some incredible scenes before arriving in Picton and setting off through the picturesque Marlborough region. Then we continue to Marahau, situated right on the edge of the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park.

      Accommodation: The Barn or similar
      Meals included: Breakfast
      Optional paid activities: Wine tasting (usually $5-10)
      Meal options: We’ll stop at a supermarket to stock up on supplies – Self-cater or join the optional group dinner
      Free activities: Stargazing

      Day 9: Marahau (Abel Tasman)

      Today is your full day to explore New Zealand’s most popular national park, Abel Tasman.

      From our accommodation, you can hike straight into the park (no water taxi required!). It’s a cool 12kms to Anchorage and you’ll see the park’s natural golden sand beaches and brilliant blue waters along the way. The walk is approx. 4 hours each way but there are enough photo stops en-route to spend an entire day exploring. Enjoy a picnic on the beach before checking out Cleopatra’s Pools, moss-lined fresh water pools with a natural water slide. (B)

      Day 10: Marahau (Abel Tasman) to Hokitika

      Buckle up for an awesome day driving down the incredibly scenic ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its untamed beaches and spectacular rainforest. Through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road named one of the top drives in the world by Lonely Planet, there’s not much cell phone reception but you are NOT gonna need it – we dare you to peel your eyes away from the window for even a second. We’ll stop at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes to explore this unique part of the coastline before continuing on to the vibrant, artistic township of Hokitika. (B)

      Day 11: Hokitika to Franz Josef Glacier

      It’s a short drive today towards the quaint village of Franz Josef. The scenery will change from a serene coastline to dramatic, lush rainforest. We’ll get to Franz Josef around lunchtime so you’ll have the rest of the day to explore the town or relax at your accommodation. (B)

      Day 12: Franz Josef Glacier

      Ice, ice baby! Get ready to experience Fox Glacier, an iconic highlight of the West Coast. Take a short drive to the beginning of the track. Hike through native bush and across glacial streams to the terminal face of the glacier for spectacular photos or just relax in the township and enjoy the views. (B)

      Day 13: Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

      Mid-morning we’ll make our way to Queenstown, known in New Zealand as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ and the spiritual home of bungy jumping. We stop at Kawarau Bridge on our way into town a.k.a. the first commercial bungy jumping site in the world. If you’re feeling brave you can tick the bungy off your bucket list or if you’d prefer to just watch then you can cheer your mates on from the viewing platform! (B)

      Day 14: Queenstown

      Today you’ll hop aboard a Coach which will take you to the stunning Milford Sound. You’ll take a Cruise across this impressive Sound and see towering Mitre Peak, plus rainforests and waterfalls as well as spotting some amazing wildlife like Fur Seals, Penguins and Dolphins. Once you’ve snapped as many pics as you possibly can, it’s back to Queenstown. We recommend checking out the buzzy nightlife and many restaurants Queenstown has to offer. (B)

      Day 15: Queenstown

      Yaaaasssss Queen(stown)! You’ve got a full day in the adventure capital today. With beautiful mountain scenery and plenty of outdoor activities, it’s easy to understand why so many backpackers refuse to leave this place.

      Dqy 16: Queenstown to Mount Cook

      Depart Queenstown early to drive over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past the vivid blue waters of Lake Pukaki on the way to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. We arrive in the early afternoon with time to do an optional experience like a 4WD & Argo Tour or a boat tour on a glacial lake surrounded by snow capped alps and views of the gigantic Tasman Glacier Ice wall. Alternatively, you can check out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre or do one of the many great short walks in the park. If it’s a clear night, make sure you head outside to experience one of the best stargazing spots in the country. There are some incredible longer walks to do if you want to hop off the bus for a few days (we’d recommend you leave climbing Mt Cook to the experienced mountaineers though). (B)

      Dy 17: Mount Cook to Christchurch

      Leaving Mount 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 (winter only) 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 Christchurch, a city where old meets new, as the rebuild continues following the devastating 2011 earthquake. Spend your afternoon wandering the city streets and laneways to discover creative street art intended to bring cheer and colour to a city once buried in the rubble. On arrival in Christchurch, we’ll make our way to the Ibis hotel which is our accommodation for the evening. (B)

      Day 18: Depart Christchurch

      Today your adventure comes to an end. We hope you had a blast! Say goodbye to your guide and group. If you have some time at the end of your trip, why not stay a few extra days in Christchurch and explore the city. (B)

      What To Bring
      Booking Info
      • Spend time with a small group of like-minded travelers
      • Experienced and fun guide
      • Experience a Hangi the traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food
      • Twin share comfortbale 3-4 star accomodation
      • Free time to explore Queenstown or book some adrenaline activities
      • Cruise the New Zealand’s most stunning natural attraction, Milford Sound
      • Camera,
      • Sturdy walking shoes/boots,
      • Warm clothing,
      • Waterproof jacket,
      • Hat & Sunscreen,
      • Bathers/towel,
      • Water bottle,
      • Toiletries,
      • Motion sickness tablets,
      • Insect repellent
      • Luggage is limited to one piece per person with a maximum weight of 20kg plus a day pack
      • A basic level of fitness is required for medium-length walks
      • Accommodation at Lake Aniwhenua, Blue Duck Station and Marahau (Abel Tasman) is specialist. All cabins are private, but facilities are shared.
      • Thiss itinerary is a guide. Given the spontaneous nature of our trips and lack of control over New Zealand’s weather, what we do each day might occasionally vary.
      Where will I sleep on tour?

      Accommodation: High-quality twin share rooms are included. You’ll stay in comfy 3-4 star hotels for most of the nights and high country farms or scenic lodges close to the waterfront or national parks in our unique destinations. Hotel rooms are ensuite, while shared facilities are in Strademark places.

      Accommodation Upgrade

      You can choose to upgrade your accommodation to a solo-occupied private room (subject to availability).

      Single Room: +$2000

      Why stay at Lake Aniwhenua?

      Lake Aniwhenua – Strademark Experience

      This experience is an introduction to modern-day Maori culture. You’ll be hosted by a local Maori family, taken on a guided tour to a sacred archaeological site, be introduced to the local Maori stories and games and be treated to a delicious hangi dinner, cooked under the ground!

      What food is included on tour?

      Meals: A mixture of cooked and continental breakfasts are included for every morning of your tour. We’ve also included other meals here and there, be sure to check your itinerary for details. Meals are indicated as B, L and D for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

      How do we travel around New Zealand?

      Private Coach Transport. You’ll travel by private, air-conditioned bus.

      What is the tour guide like?

      Expect entertaining anecdotes, great recommendations, extra support and local insider knowledge from your charismatic guide. They know every inch of this country. You can’t get this from a google search!


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