Reverse Traverse Tour

  • Christchurch or Queenstown
  • 14 or 15 days
  • Auckland
  • from NZD$2,420.00
Guaranteed departures

Flying Kiwi Local's Tip

Kim - Flying Kiwi Guide
"Take the time on the West Coast of the South Island to grab some stunning sunset photos as the sun sets on the horizon - it's hard to beat a sunset over the water"

Reverse Traverse Tour - Overview

The Reverse Traverse trip soaks up the best of Kiwiana on this great journey from the bottom of the South to, almost, the top of the North. This trip takes in some of the most diverse scenery in the world in 15 days where you can visit some of the best National Parks, explore glaciers, fiords, golden sand beaches, rugged coastlines, lush subtropical forests and dramatic mountain formations.

You get to enjoy two nights at the following places; Punakaiki to explore the Paparoa National Park, Marahau to explore the Abel Tasman National Park and in the Bay of Islands.

Perfect if you’re wanting to explore the South Island first before meeting up with the Flying Kiwi crew in Queenstown to head to the wild west coast, iconic Abel Tasman and then crossing to the North.

Before finishing in Auckland, you’ll have plenty of time to immerse yourself in sun and sand, try some sailing and sand-duning in the twin coast - you’ll also get to meet some pretty special trees, our ancient New Zealand native Kauri, the size will blow you away!

TRIP OPTIONS:

You can start this trip in Queenstown or Christchurch. The bus service from Christchurch to Queenstown runs daily (apart from Christmas day) so if you would like to have a few days to explore Queenstown before the tour departs contact us. The standard trip price and dates are for departures from Queenstown.

Customise Your Trip: It is possible to only do part of the route - maybe you want to start in Queenstown and finish in Wellington. Talk to our crew in the office about how we can create you the perfect trip

TOUR EXTENSIONS:

If you have a few days after your trip why not extend it with this great option:

Northern Light Tour - You can discover New Zealand's hot spots and the remarkable contrasting northern landscapes on this quick thermal blast! It's a short trip from Auckland to Wellington and is packed with some of the best parts of New Zealand.

REVERSE TRAVERSE TRAVEL DAYS

Starting at the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown and finishing in Auckland this trip takes you from the bottom to the top. You can have a look at the detailed day-to-day itinerary on our Flying Kiwi Detailed Itinerary page page.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE REVERSE TRAVERSE TOUR

We know the best of New Zealand which is why we have included the following in the Reverse Traverse tour:

  • Accommodation: Pitch your tent beside beaches, lakes, mountains and forests. A spacious, shared tent is included in the tour price (sharing with one other person of a similar age/same sex). There is the option to upgrade to a single tent if you prefer for a small cost.
  • Food: Our portable kitchen turns into a restaurant under the stars! Most meals are included (our detailed itinerary outlines exactly what is included on a day-to-day basis). We can also cater for a broad range of dietary requirements.
  • Wine Tasting Marlborough: The Sauvignon Blanc wines of Marlborough are internationally recognised for their beautiful crisp flavour and distinctive summer citrus aromas. The tastings are on us in our specially arranged wine tasting experience.
  • Cook Strait Ferry Crossing: The most scenic way to get from one island to the other is the Cook Strait ferry. You can sit back and relax on the 3 hour scenic crossing between the South and North islands through the stunning Marlborough Sounds - keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins on the way.
  • Sports Equipment: What a great way to spend time around camp, make use of sports equipment we’ve put on board for you, such as bodyboards, frisbee and more depending upon the bus.
  • Hikes: Marvel at the reflection on Mt Cook as you walk around Lake Matheson mirror lake, free walks are enjoyed every day and vary from 10mins to a few hours in length.
  • Bike Rides: If you have hired one of our bikes then let us point you in the direction of incredible daily rides.

OTHER FREEBEES:

Kiwis are a generous bunch and lots of museums and attractions are free of charge, as well as all access to National Parks. We take in many of these on the Reverse Traverse Tour including; Abel Tasman, Paparoa, Westland Tai Poutini and Mt Aspiring national parks.

Our bike rides page and the hiking pages give you lots more detail into the rides and hikes our guides will show you along the way. We include printed maps and route notes for any of the hikes and rides you might want to do.

Our activities page above gives more detail on many of the free and optional activities that you might choose to do on your Reverse Traverse tour and how it all works.

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

Bush Camps:
Bush camps are part of our charm and are designed to get you away from the crowds and experiencing nature at its best. The two bush camps you will stay at during the Reverse Traverse tour have been especially selected for their amazing scenery. Due to their remote locations there are no cabin upgrade options and they also come with only basic toilet facilities but don’t worry a hot shower is just around the corner.

Hostels:
There are two nights where camping isn’t feasible and we stay in hostels (at your own cost). These are centrally located and ideal for exploring the regions. Hostel nights are in Wellington and Auckland. Your guide will make a booking 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 hostels on check-in.

For more useful information visit our How it works page here.

  1. Leaving at 2:30pm, after the thrills and spills of Queenstown we wind down with a beautiful campsite beside the tranquil lake with spectacular views of Mount Aspiring National Park.

    Boundary Creek is located on the shores of Lake Wanaka, just north of Queenstown. Surrounded by the mountains of Mt Aspiring Naitonal Park, this wilderness camp is refreshing change from the fast pace of Queenstown. The crystal clear waters reflect the snow capped peaks year round and it's the perfect place to absorb the beauty of another incredible National Park.

    • Bike Rides: You can make the most of the Queenstown bike trails before we leave at 2.30pm and you can ride into camp later in the day along the edge of Lake Wanaka
    • Walks and Hikes: Lakefront walks or other walks you may have missed yesterday when doing activities.
    • Available Upgrades: No - beautiful lakeside camp with National park views
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  2. Today we're heading to the wild west coast! Today is a substantial drive but the scenery we'll be travelling through is quite dramatic plus we'll be making stops along the way for walks, views, waterfalls, coastline and a couple of bike options! We start the day tracing the northern edge of Mt Aspiring National park crossing the Haast pass and the gateway to the Westland region before meeting the Tasman Sea. From here we travel north to the small township of Fox Glacier along the start of a road that has been voted one of the top 10 coastal journeys in the world!

    The wild "West Coast" refers to the beautiful and diverse area lodged between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. This area is home to arguably the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand and the the least number of people - a perfect combination for our tours. The region is dotted with towering mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, thundering rivers and rain forest. The national parks in this region have been designated as World Heritage Areas to help keep this area of supreme natural beauty intact. Residents of the region are known as "coasters" and known for their genuine friendliness. 

    • Bike Rides: The first of two options today is a downhill ride from the top of the Haast pass and finishing up at the mighty Thunder Creek Falls. Later that day you have an option of long ride into Fox Glaicer Township or ride roughly half the distance for a shorter r
    • Walks and Hikes: There are quite a number of short walks today as we make frequent stops on this epic journey to the West Coast
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3 hours
  3. Today is your chance to explore one of NZ’s most unique and spectacular natural wonders - Fox Glacier. This staggering beautiful work of nature is over 13 kilometres in length and plummets 2,600 metres from its peak in the Southern Alps. It is fed by four alpine glaciers that receive approximately 30 metres of snowfall each year. This snow compacts at the top to produce the wonderful blue ice hundreds of metres deep. To get on the ice you have to take a guided trip by helicopter!

    If you're not keen for a Heli hike it is still possible to see the glacier. From camp follow a walking track through beautiful native fern forests before the huge valley that holds the glacier opens up in front of you. Follow the walking track up the valley and you'll get to an impressive viewpoint where you can see the terminal face of this epic glacier! 

    Later that day we'll be heading down to Lake Matheson that has a nice, easy walking trail and, if conditions permit, the view of the southern alps gets reflected by the still waters of the lake. 

    We'll leave Fox Glacier mid afternoon and head towards our camp in a small town called Okarito. This has become a favourite on the tour as the tranquil little town is right on the coast and view across the Tasman sea are often accompanied by awesome sunsets. Okarito is also famous for its bird life and remains one of New Zealand's largest unmodified wetlands reserves! It is also possible to see other birds in the surrounding woodlands such as the rarest species of kiwi, the Rowi, that only lives in the small area that surrounds this quiet little settlement. 

    • Bike Rides: Ride along the walk/cycleway to the Glacier viewpoint and then ride to Lake Matheson later in the day. There is also a beautiful ride on the quiet road that leads to Okarito
    • Walks and Hikes: If you're not hiking on the ice then definitely head up to the terminal face viewpoint and then in the afternoon a walk around Lake Matheson is a must do!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited options)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 2.5 hours
  4. If you're feeling up to it then you can head out on an early morning walk to watch the sunrise before we continue up this spectacular coastal stretch to Hokitika – home to the Greenstone factories where you can see these skilled craftsmen at work and a great place for a traditional souvenir of your visit. We travel on through pristine native forest to Paparoa National Park where giant columns of water shoot skywards at Pancake Rocks! This beach camp has great sunsets, a beautiful river and incredible views of Paparoa National Park. The pancake rocks and blowholes are the main attraction in Punakaiki where limestones rocks are stacked on top of each other and ocean swells are forced through gaps in the rock creating a whale’s blowhole effect. In the evening we can relax at the local tavern and explore a cavern with some glow worms hanging out in the dark.

    Hokitika and the surrounding area is a traditional source of greenstone (pounamu) - several stores and outlets offer a variety of jewellery and other items in this thriving arts and crafts scene. Paparoa National Park is home to a plethora of luxuriant coastal forests, limestone cliffs, canyons, caves and underground streams, and an absolutely spectacular coastline, all packed into one national park.

    • Bike Rides: Road ride on a stretch of highway that has been voted one of the most scenic roads in the world! Expect some hills but extensive views of coastline, totally rewarding!
    • Walks and Hikes: If you're up for an early start then head out to the okarito trig for fantastic views of the Southern Alps as the sun comes up. Once we reach Punakaiki there are a number of different trails you can explore to get the best out of our visit to Paparoa Nati
    • Available Upgrades: Yes (limited)
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3.5 hours
  5. Leaving Punakaiki mid-morning we make our way inland through the majestic Buller Gorge to one of our favourite National Parks, Abel Tasman. In one of the sunniest areas of the country you will discover beautiful secluded bays and stunning golden sands. There are all kinds of options to experience the park but on the day we arrive it's all about getting a birds eye view by skydiving over the area. If you're not keen for this adrenaline activity we'll take you to camp and you can explore from there. Our campsite is located near the entrance to the park and we will be staying here for 3 nights to give you every chance to explore all corners of the park.

    New Zealand has a range of fantastic national parks but this is our favourite - maybe it's because this little gem lies on the doorstep of Flying Kiwi HQ but mainly it's due to the the golden sandy beaches, twisting rocky outcrops, turquoise clear waters and beautiful hidden bays. The park is also home to a range of life from dolphins and orcas to tuis and bellbirds. Whether from the ground, water or air the Abel Tasman never fails to disappoint aspiring photographers looking for the perfect beach shot!

    • Bike Rides: Trail, biking past a local beer brewer, local fruit and vegetable roadside stands, a hill to get those legs pumping, a brilliant mountain bike park and views of golden sand and invitingly warm waters, what more can you ask for?! Riding the Great Taste Tra
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy an afternoon or evening walk into Abel Tasman National Park from camp (yes that rights, it’s on your backdoor step).
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 5 hours
  6. *If finishing your tour today you can leave us on arrival into Nelson at 10:30am or into Picton at 5pm.

    Today we head to sunny Nelson – the headquarters for Flying Kiwi and you will soon find out why. In addition to being one of the sunniest areas of NZ its home to more than 350 working artists and craftspeople creating traditional, contemporary and Maori arts – a visit to their studios is highly recommended. Alternatively sit back, relax and enjoy the sunshine and café culture of our hometown. We leave Nelson for wine country – Marlborough, home to some of the World’s best known grapes and we will be treating you to a free tasting in one of their best vineyards. Finish this fantastic day with a scenic ferry (cost included) through the Marlborough sounds to Wellington - our base for the evening. Camping isn’t feasible in the heart of the nation’s capital so we will be staying a great hostel with various room options giving you the best access to explore. This is payable locally and we have dorm beds reserved for everyone on board (prices from $31).

    The Nelson region is situated at the top of the south island and surrounded by mountain ranges. This provides a perfect Mediterranean-type climate and is the reason Nelson is known for its year-round sun (and the home to Flying kiwi HQ). There is a thriving community here with over 350 working artists, boutique wineries, countless cafes, fresh seafood, and a generally relaxed lifestyle. Blenheim is the main town of the Marlborough wine region - a name you will see on most leading New Zealand wine bottles. The sunniest part of NZ it’s renowned for vineyards, tasty food and boat cruising. The lovely waterside village of Picton is an ideal base to explore this marine playground of pristine beaches and secret coves.

    • Bike Rides: Hit another section of the Great Taste Trail this morning enroute to sunshine capital, Nelson. Ride over well established boardwalks through the Tasman Estuary, keep an eye out for local birdlife, this is a really easy and relaxing ride to finish your las
    • Walks and Hikes: Walking around Nelson town in the morning before jumping back on the bus and continuing towards Picton for the ferry that will take you to the North Island.
    • Available Upgrades:
    • Drive Distance: 3.5 hours plus ferry crossing
  7. *If starting your tour in Wellington (or you are doing the Hot Rocks tour) you will join us at 11am.

    Enjoy a leisurely breakfast by the waterfront (own cost) and check out the sights of beautiful Wellington before we hit the road for our 11am departure. We travel up the scenic Kapiti Coast to the Taranaki region – home to wonderful beaches, crashing waves and spectacular Mount Taranaki – a perfectly formed snow-capped peak.
    Wellington is the nation's capital and from Maori legend its earliest name is Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui, meaning ‘the head of Maui's fish’. This relates to the legend when a giant fish was pulled to the surface by Maui, the fish became the North Island. Half way between Wellington and Auckland we find Taranaki.

    • Bike Rides: A leisurely coastal ride following the New Plymouth Walkway. Plenty of local artwork and sculptures along the ride to keep an eye out for. If it’s a clear evening, don’t miss this ride as all going well you’ll get to experience an amazing sunset.
    • Walks and Hikes: Walk some of the New Plymouth walkway in the evening from camp to capture some of the best sunsets!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 6 hours
  8. *If finishing your tour today you will leave us on arrival into Auckland at 6pm.

    Early departure to the limestone wonderland of Waitomo Caves. The glow-worm (Arachnocampa luminosa) is unique to our shores and thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light through this network of caves. The black water rafting is a totally unique experience – sitting in your rubber ring, your experienced and knowledgeable guides will take you through a maze of underground caves and streams whose ceilings are coated in glow-worms that produce a radiant light to lead you through. There are a range of options to explore the caves, from walks to rafting, dependent upon your adrenalin levels. We take time to enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking farmland before heading to Auckland and a taste of big city life “kiwi style”. Auckland nightlife is second to none and it’s a great chance to join your group for a taste of the harbour bars and restaurants. Camping isn’t feasible in the heart of the country’s largest city so we will be staying in a great hostel with various room options giving you the best access to explore. This is payable locally and we have twin rooms reserved for everyone on board (twin / triple share from $39pp). If you would prefer a private room (from $72 - subject to availability) please contact us prior to your trip. For those that started their loop on the Auckland - Bay of Islands day this will be the last leg of your tour.

    Auckland is bordered by 2 harbours, Waitemata and Manukau and lies at the southern end of the Auckland Peninsula. Auckland is NZs largest city and the main gateway for all elements of commerce, tourism and industry. Although this is the largest urban area its also has great beaches, excellent shopping and the buzzing nightlife and culture you'd hope for in a large city. Auckland is also known as the City of Sails and this has been added to with the America’s Cup event regularly held here.

    • Bike Rides: If you’re not doing any Waitomo activities, jump on a bike and enjoy a countryside road ride into Waitomo. You’ll be riding through the Waikato District, home to many four legged wooly friends, sheep!
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy a trail walk taking you through forest in Waitomo to caves and a lookout overlooking the Waitomo district.
    • Available Upgrades:
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4-5 hours
  9. We leave the City of Sails (Auckland) at 10am heading north to the golden beaches and warm waters of the Bay of Islands. On route we take time for a break, and a quick swim for those that are keen, at beautiful Uretiti beach. It’s a great place to relax and make use of the Frisbee, football and rugby ball on board. We then head to the historically significant town of Paihia, the main gateway for the Bay of Islands before doing a highly recommend mangrove walk to the thundering Haruru waterfalls. Our campsite is nestled next to the river and we will be spending 2 nights here giving you time to explore the best of the Bay.

    • Bike Rides: Forest trail rides that will give you views of the Bay of Islands, good exercise and go past the Haruru Waterfalls.
    • Walks and Hikes: A great afternoon walk taking you past mangroves, over boardwalks, through forest before ending at the Haruru Waterfalls. A beautiful walk and highly recommended!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4 hours
  10. Today we cross the top of the north to the giant sand dunes of Opononi for beach fun and optional sand boarding (boat crossing included). After time on the dunes we head to Waipoua Forest, home to the giant Kauri trees and a variety of scenic short walks and bike rides. We end the day heading down the Hibiscus Coast to our beachside camp at Orewa. Enjoy a tasty evening meal with a sea view before a spot of star gazing in the crystal-clear skies.

    The roads around this region pass through forest dominated by huge kauri trees. These tower above you at heights of up to 60 metres with a trunk five or more in diameter. These trees are slow growing and some are over 2000 years old. Beautiful Opononi is an excellent stop with its endless dunes lined by beautiful pohutakawa trees (the New Zealand Christmas tree).

    • Bike Rides: Ride through the Waipoua forest and the historic settlement of Donnelleys crossing and later on in the day there's a short casual ride around quiet estuary walkway
    • Walks and Hikes: Enjoy getting up close and personal as you walk through one of New Zealand’s largest remaining protected Kauri tree forests.
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 3-4 hours
  11. Orewa is often blessed with a beautiful sunrise over the sea which is well worth an early start before we travel the short distance to Auckland arriving by 9:30am where we say our final farewells.

    • Bike Rides: 8km – Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway
    • Walks and Hikes:
    • Available Upgrades:
    • Drive Distance: Approx 50 minutes

2017-2018 TOUR PRICES:

Tour price departing Christchurch (15 days)          $2,575       
Tour price departing Queenstown (14 days) $2,420
Bike hire $240
Bring your own bike $115
Single tent upgrade $130
Sleeping bag hire $60

 

2017-2018 DEPARTURES FROM QUEENSTOWN - (14 DAYS)

MonthDeparture Dates
November '17                 2nd                 11th                20th                29th                   
December '17   8th 17th 26th
January '18  4th 13th 22nd 31st
February '18   9th 18th 27th
March '18   8th 17th 26th
April '18  4th      
         

2017-2018 DEPARTURES FROM CHRISTCHURCH - (15 DAYS)

MonthDeparture Dates
November '17                1st                   10th                19th                 28th                  
December '17   7th 16th                 
January '18 3rd 12th 21st 30th               
February '18   8th 17th 26th
March '18   7th 16th 25th 
April '18 3rd       
         

 

 

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