Grand Traverse Start Auckland Finish in Queenstown Tour

Grand Traverse Start Auckland Finish in Queenstown Tour

  • Auckland
  • 15 days
  • Queenstown
  • from NZD$2,845.00
All Flying Kiwi New Zealand tour have guaranteed departures

Flying Kiwi Local's Tip

Magan- Flying Kiwi Guide
"The Tongariro Crossing is rated as one of the World’s best one day walks and 1 of only 3 world heritage sites in NZ – definitely give this one a go – the views are amazing!"

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Grand Traverse New Zealand Tour - Overview

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.

If you’re keen to tackle some of New Zealand’s great walks, the Grand Traverse won’t let you down! Traversing New Zealand’s greatest one day hike, the Tongariro Crossing as well as the Routeburn Track taking in dramatic vistas of Fiordland National Park are a must do! .
Perfect if you don’t have time for the Ultimate Explorer, this trip, in 15 days will provide you with a journey of grand experiences that you’ll never forget! Finish up in Queenstown, ready to either relax or combat those personal challenges, maybe a bungy or a skydive - Regardless of what you do, you’ll leave New Zealand on a high!

TRIP OPTIONS:

Starting in Auckland the Grand Traverse has you finishing your tour in Queenstown.

Customise Your Trip: If your arrival date into Auckland doesn’t match with our departure date, talk to our crew in the office about how we can make it work, perhaps you can start one or two days later in either Taupo or Rotorua, we will do our best to make it work for you.

TOUR EXTENSIONS:

If you have a few days after your trip why not extend it with one of these great options:

  • Beach It Tour - Take time to chill in the Bay of Islands and unwind on golden beaches and in turquoise water. This great 4 day trip can be added on before your Grand Traverse departure from Auckland.
  • Wild West Tour - After the thrills and spills of Queenstown continue your journey up the stunning west coast of the south island to finish in Nelson or Picton or contact us for options back to Christchurch/Wellington or Auckland. This 8 day trip continues on from the end of your Grand Traverse trip.
  • Fox Glacier - Add an extra 2 nights to your trip and continue with us through Mt Aspiring National Park and into glacier country, finishing in the alpine village of Fox Glacier. Enjoy time on the ice with Fox Glacier Guides before returning to Queenstown via by bus the following day.
  • Greymouth - Add an extra 3 nights to your trip and continue with us through Mt Aspiring National Park and up the west coast to Greymouth. From here you can take the Tranz Alpine scenic train ride through the Southern Alps to Christchurch.

GRAND TRAVERSE TRAVEL DAYS

You can have a look at the detailed day-to-day itinerary on our Flying Kiwi Detailed Itinerary page. The Grand Traverse starts in Auckland and finishes in the adventure capital of Queenstown.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE GRAND TRAVERSE TOUR

We have included the following must do experiences and essential trip requirements so you don’t need to worry about missing anything:

  • Accommodation: Included in the tour price is shared tent accommodation, two people per tent. You can upgrade to your own tent for a small additional cost.
  • Food: 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.
  • Seafood Feast:  Surrounded by the sea, us Kiwi’s love our seafood and we want to treat you to a fresh seafood feast from one of our premium seafood locations.
  • Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland: Labelled by Tripadvisor as “One of the 20 most surreal places in the world”, you be the judge!
  • Queenstown Gondola: A must do while in Queenstown, get a bird's eye view of this magnificent area.
  • Cook Strait Ferry Crossing: Connecting the North and South Islands, this 3 hour journey through the tranquil Marlborough Sounds is an experience on its own, complete with stunning views.
  • Sports Equipment: Dependent on the bus there will be a cricket set, bodyboards, frisbee and more.
  • Hikes: There are numerous free walks to choose from and we will show you some of our secret spots off the main tourist trails including glow worm caves, 1,000 year old Kauri trees and the roaring Huka Falls.
  • Bike Rides: If you have hired one of our bikes then our guides will point you in the direction of incredible daily rides, these will include cycling on roads, beside lakes, mountain bike tracks and cycle trails.

OTHER FREEBIES

Kiwis are a generous bunch and lots of attractions are free of charge, we take in many of these on the Grand Traverse tour such as the Rotorua Mountain Bike Park (bike hire not included), Otago Early Settlers museum, Te Papa museum, dig your own thermal pool on Hot Water beach, plus much much more!

Visit our bike rides page and the hiking pages for more details.

For more information on freebees offered during the Grand Traverse tour visit our activities page.

IMPORTANT THINGS WE WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE GRAND TRAVERSE TOUR

Bush Camp:
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.

Hostels:
There is one night where camping isn’t feasible and we stay in a hostel (at your own cost), this is in Picton. Your guide takes care of booking this for you and we have dorm beds reserved for everyone. If you would like a private room (subject to availability) please contact us to book this in advance. Payment is made direct to the hostel on check-in.

End of Trip Transport Options:
The Grand Traverse tour has you finishing in Queenstown where there are regular daily flights to Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland with either Air New Zealand or Jetstar. There are also bus and shuttle services travelling daily from Queenstown to Christchurch costing from $60 NZD.

For more useful information visit our How It Works page here.

  1. Departing Auckland at 10am we head to the Coromandel, renowned worldwide for its natural beauty, misty rainforests and pristine white, sandy beaches. The beautiful Coromandel Peninsula is just a short distance from Auckland but it feels like a different world! It only takes around two hours to reach the region but the volcanic hills, fern forests and stunning beaches make it an idyllic escape from the city. Locals and others are attracted by the endless white beaches, lovely turquoise waters and the great mix of architecture old and new.

    The peninsula is home to some of the most impressive coastlines in the country. We will be dropping you off at Hahei beach where you can make your way to Cathedral cove, here you will find an iconic limestone archway that sits right down at the beach. Take the coastal walkway or take in the coastline from the water while on one the best guided sea kayak trips in New Zealand.

    We will then travel a short distance to camp at Hot Water Beach. This beautiful beach offers a unique experience as geothermal water reservoirs under the ground bring hot water to the surface at low tide allowing you to dig your very own hot pool in the sand.

    • Meals: Dinner
    • Bike Rides: 8km road cycling
    • Walks and Hikes: Stunning coastal walk with views over the Pacific – distances vary
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx 4 hours
  2. Before heading south into the heart of the North Island (where you’ll be amazed by the natural wonderland that is Rotorua), we’ll drive the scenic route out of the Coromandel giving you an opportunity to explore by foot or pedals, the stunning Karagahake Gorge. If the sun is out, we’ll even have a delicious picnic lunch (kiwi styles) to break up the drive.Continuing south we drop off Hobbiton fans then it’s onto Rotorua where you can explore the city, the gardens, spas or take in some Maori Culture at the Tamaki Maori Village. Experience the only native forest zipline canopy tour in New Zealand, enjoy the thrills of OGO or the scenic gondola and luge. Take in the geothermal wonders with walks or relax in the hot pools. For cyclists there is the chance to enjoy a world class mountain bike park and the geothermal featured Te Ara Ahi cycle Trail.

    Bubbling mud pools, geysers and Maori culture are the main reasons that visitors head to the thermal resort of Rotorua. It is the oldest and most established thermal resort in the country and the ancestral home of the Te Arawa people who settled here over 600 years ago.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
    • Bike Rides: Peddle through subtropical forest, mining heritage and don’t forget your headlamp for the tunnels and bridges (trail ride)! In the afternoon, ride through Rotorua to a world class Mountain Bike Forest
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy an awesome little walk through Coromandel lush forest and explore early mining history through caves, tunnels and a pretty beautiful waterfall to complete a great walk!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3-4 hours
  3. Leave camp for Wai-O-Tapu geothermal Wonderland before continuing on to the impressive Huka Falls. We then head to Taupo, nestled next to one of the largest crater lakes in the World with some great hiking and cycling opportunities. Taupo is also a great place for adventure with heaps of optional activities to choose from. Tonight we enjoy a camp near Tongariro National Park.

    This region is centred around Lake Taupo, NZ's largest lake at 619sq km - about the size of Singapore! The Lake is in a caldera created by the Taupo supervolcano some 26000 years ago and the area is still considered dormant today with moderate geothermal activity in the area such as the mud pools, hot springs and vents.  

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Ride an awesome single track from Huka Falls stopping in for a quick soak in a natural hot stream on your way into Taupo or grab the bike in the city for a cruisey ride around the edge of the lake.
    • Walks and Hikes: Follow the trail from an iconic waterfall alongside the mighty Waikato River winding past a natural hot spring that you can soak in followed by walking past a bungy jump watching adrenaline junkies dive into the river!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2 hours
  4. Experience one of NZ’s great walks, The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, rated as the best one day walk in the World . This dual listed World heritage area is set to inspire with towering mountains, turquoise lakes, sparkling rivers, lush rainforests and lunar landscapes. For those that don’t fancy the hike, take on some grade 3 whitewater rafting rapids, cycle, enjoy short walks or relax in this beautiful area with an awe-inspiring mountain backdrop. We then head south to our wonderful stunning beach camp – home to amazing coastal sunsets.

    The 80,000 hectare Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage Area, with its centrepiece Mount Ruapehu rising dramatically 2797m from the surrounding area. Next to Mt. Ruapehu are two smaller volcanic mountains - Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings) and Mount Tongariro, which is where you be hiking!

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: If you’re not doing the Tongariro Crossing, leave camp on a bike and head towards to the Tongariro River Trail. Cycle this loop, over bridges and past huts or a trout centre, keep an eye out for trout fishermen as this is the capital for trout fishing!
    • Walks and Hikes: The best one day hike in New Zealand! Traverse the Tongariro, steam vents, crater lakes and more!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours
  5. *If your tour finishes in Wellington you will leave us here on arrival by 9am. If you are doing the Hot Rocks tour you will have 3 hours to explore Wellington city before joining another crew travelling north, leaving at 11am.

    Our early arrival into Wellington by 9am gives us the opportunity to see such great attractions as the celebrated Te Papa museum, Zealandia and the gorgeous Botanical Gardens. Wellington has a wonderful harbour, café culture and a thriving central district so there is plenty to suit all tastes. We enjoy a ferry crossing (cost included) through stunning Cook Strait to the picturesque Marlborough Sounds with our final stop in Picton. Camping isn’t feasible tonight so we will be staying at a great hostel with various room options. This is payable locally and we have dorm beds reserved for everyone on board (prices from $31).

    Wellington is New Zealand's capital with a population of approximately 490,000. It is an amazingly compact city surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of spectacular hills and wonderful waterfront. It has long been established as the entertainment centre of the country and its restaurant, cafe and theatre industry is thriving. With the highest ratio of eating options in the country it’s easy to see why Wellington is labelled the "cafe capital".

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: None today as you’ll be too sore from Tongariro and there’s lots to see in Wellington city!
    • Walks and Hikes: You’ll have plenty of time on your feet exploring the coolest capital, Wellington!
    • Drive Distance: approx 1 hour + ferry crossing 3 hours
  6. Today we travel the scenic Pacific coast to Kaikoura where close encounters with seals and seabirds are common. This picturesque town sits right on the ocean at the foot of the mountains – a spectacular spot. Stretch your legs with a recommended evening peninsula walk and build up an appetite for a tasty feast of locally caught fresh seafood. Tonight we camp with the sound of the waves – perfect!

    The waters off this stretch of coast are home to a variety of marine and bird life - it’s the perfect spot to get 'close to nature'. Kaikoura has an interesting Maori history and legend - Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself while he 'fished-up' the North Island from the sea. Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai - food, koura - crayfish) which is extremely appropriate with plenty to go around.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Walks and Hikes: Walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway where you’ll see a vast coastline, the Kaikoura Ranges, and some pretty cute seals - expect to take lots of snaps!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  7. *If your tour starts/finishes in Christchurch you will leave/join us at 2:30pm.

    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 through Christchurch to collect and drop off those starting /ending here. Now regarded as the Shaky Isles, you’ll have time to explore Christchurch city area as well as buy your lunch from one of the many of the quirky container cafes at the ‘Restart Mall’. Since the earthquakes, Christchurch and the residents are doing lots of cool things as well as restoring its heritage which is making the city stand out as a place to explore! Enjoy the tasteful street art, artwork from the earthquake and local crafts to purchase in the city.

    Say farewell to your friends leaving and hello to new Flying Kiwis because at 2:30pm we head out 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 foothills of the Southern Alps.

    The Rangitata River flows for over 120 kms from the Southern Alps to the Pacific ocean. This is the river where you can try white water raft tomorrow morning -- highly recommended!

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Cycle into camp along a quite country road through fields of cows, sheep and deer with a mountainous backdrop
    • Walks and Hikes: The Peninsula Walkway is a must if you missed it yesterday! You’ll also have plenty of time on your feet when we stop through Christchurch to check out the awesome rebuild of Christchurch city!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours
  8. Wake up to mountain views and refresh yourself even more with the chance to try white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River, grade 5 rapids! This thrilling ride takes you through the heart of the mountains with amazing scenery and a few splashes and spills on the way! If rafting isn’t for you then no problem - soak it all in with a morning cycle ride or walk through the forest. We then head through more jaw dropping landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) through the open and vast Mackenzie Country to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo. Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour that comes all the way down from glaciers high up in the mountains and is deposited in the lake.

    From there we head to one of our best wilderness camps – sat on the shores of Lake Pukaki, a similar glacial lake with turquoise waters, you can set up your tent to nothing but views of lakes and mountains. Cross your fingers for a clear night sky as this area is part of New Zealand's dark sky reserve, an incredible place to star gaze!

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: If you're not rafting in the morning hop on your bike and head to the Peel Forest walks. In the afternoon you can follow a canal before cycling around the edge of Lake Pukaki and into camp
    • Walks and Hikes: A variety of walk options today including the protected conifers of Peel Forest and then this afternoon you'll have some time to walk along the edge of two incredible glacial lakes
    • Available Upgrades: Not tonight - Beautiful lakeside wilderness camp
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours
  9. Today is a real chance to immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for. We will be exploring Aoraki National Park and hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain - Mount Cook. We then head back to the Pacific coast with a short stop in the historic town of Oamaru. From there it’s a short drive down the coast to the small village of Moeraki. Go for a walk to a view point and take in the views of the Pacific Ocean and try and 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.

    Mount Cook (Maori name - Aoraki meaning 'cloud piercer') dominates the skyline at 3,724m and is New Zealand's highest mountain. Nestled in between the other 18 peaks above 3000m within Aoraki/Mt Cook national, Mt Cook dominates the skyline and is the main feature in the backdrop of our hike to the bottom of the Hooker valley glacier.

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: An early morning ride along the edge of Lake Pukaki takes you to one of the most impressive viewpoints in the area. During the afternoon you can ride a short section of the Alps2ocean trail followed by a ride out to Katiki Point Lighthouse where you may s
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy walking into the start of Mt Cook National Park in Hooker Valley. A three hour return hike, you’ll be blown away by the mountainous landscape not to mention a glacier during the hike. Enjoy boardwalk terrain as well as crossing numerous swing bridge
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours
  10. Before heading south, we make a stop at the nearby Moeraki Boulders - a collection of perfectly round rocks each weighing up to 4 tonnes that sit down on the beach, and then it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin - the South Island's second-largest city. Its name is the Scots Gaelic word for Edinburgh, a testament to the mostly Scottish settlers who came here. This southern city is also home to the world’s steepest residential street and the famous Speight’s brewery which offers an interactive and informative guided tour through the historic working brewery.

    The Otago Coast stretches along the South Island's eastern side and Dunedin marks the halfway point along this coast which has a few decent surf breaks. Our camp is a short walk from the beach and you walk the short distance to St.Clair to grab some food at one of the laid back water front restaurants. 

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: An epic short yet sweet, downhill ride into the city of Dunedin. Ensure you use your brakes or you’ll miss out on the view of Otago Peninsula! Ride out to Otago Peninsula later in the day if you’re not doing anything else.
    • Walks and Hikes: You’ll feel your heart pumping through your chest as you take a stroll up the world’s steepest residential street!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  11. Journey through scenic southern pastures to Te Anau, the hub and jumping-off point for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Our accommodation tonight is a unique and historic site hidden in the unspoilt Hollyford Valley - a true wilderness escape. There is even an onsite museum to learn more about the region and history. For cyclists there is the chance to cycle into camp and for the hikers this camp offers some great short treks (ask your guide about secret glow worm trails).

    The south west corner of New Zealand is home to Fiordland - home to wild, dramatic and rugged landscapes. The main town for access to the Fiordland National park region is Te Anau, the park is a World Heritage Area over 1.2 million hectares in size. In this area everything is oversized - gigantic waterfalls, towering mountains and forested valleys meet you around every corner.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Enjoy riding through the isolated and moody Fiordland National Park into Hollyford Valley where you’ll finish at our camp (literally away from all civilisation, it’s great!)
    • Walks and Hikes: Short walks today as we’re on a mission to get to Fiordland National Park!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours
  12. 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. The fiord's cliffs rise dramatically from the dark waters (home to seals and dolphins) whilst waterfalls as high as 1000 metres cascade downwards. Board the optional boat cruise to explore the fiord up close. Afterwards those who love hiking are in for a treat with the start of the Routeburn Track. This 3 day walk passes through 2 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. After dropping off our brave Routeburn hikers the rest of us will head back to Te Anau for the night where you can explore more of this small town with the awesome lake front and great mountain views. 

    In any weather Milford Sound is an incredible spectacle. The sheer cliffs and dramatic waterfalls lead along a spectacular 16km journey to the Tasman sea and back again. The boat cruise lasts for 1 hour 30 minutes and is a great way to see the fiord and get a feel for the scale of this awe-inspiring place!  

    • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
    • Bike Rides: Leisurely ride along the lakefront of Lake Te Anau and up alongside a river before looping back to camp. Go as little or as far as you please.
    • Walks and Hikes: Explore the lakefront of Te Anau in the afternoon once we are out of Fiordland National Park. Routeburn three day hike for those who have pre-booked! Routeburn hike is absolutely unforgettable, expect lush earthy forests, mountainous landscapes, Lord Of T
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  13. In the morning 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 or skydive to a more relaxed horse trek or boat trip – this place has it all. There are some great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this mountainous region.

     

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Queenstown offers a variety of different trails, so head out on your bike once we arrive in town
    • Walks and Hikes: Plenty of walks we can recommend once we have arrived in Queenstown. If you’re into taking on a hill for views or leisure lakefront strolling, Queenstown won’t disappoint!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  14. With so much to do we spend another 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 with time to try the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight you get the opportunity to dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost).

    Rightfully regarded as the adrenalin capital of New Zealand (if not, the World) Queenstown has something for every taste. It is also a spectacular location, nestled beside the deep blue of Lake Wakatipu by the foot of the Remarkables Range. Queenstown thrives year round with its superb alpine facilities and ski slopes - it was recently voted one of the top 25 cities in the World by a top travel magazine and we know why!

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Awesome bike options if you have a free day you can choose short or longer cycling experiences that will take you past jaw dropping landscapes, vineyards, great cafes and more!
    • Walks and Hikes: Plenty of mountains you can hike to enjoy inspirational views of Lake Wakatipu and the alpine surrounds!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: No driving today

2017-18 TOUR PRICES:

Tour price $2,845     
Bike hire $295
Bring your own bike       $115
Single tent upgrade $130
Sleeping bag hire $60

 

2017-2018 DEPARTURES FROM AUCKLAND - (15 DAYS)

MonthDeparture Dates
October '17     19th 28th
November '17   6th - fully booked   15th                          24th                           
December '17                3rd                           12th                21st                30th               
January '18   8th 17th 26th
February '18 4th 13th 22nd  
March '18 3rd 12th 21st 30th
April '18   8th    
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