Ultimate Explorer All New Zealand Adventure Tour

Ultimate Explorer All New Zealand Adventure Tour

  • Auckland or Christchurch (can start loop anywhere)
  • 27 / 28 days
  • where you started
  • from NZD$4,395.00
All Flying Kiwi New Zealand tour have guaranteed departures

Flying Kiwi Local's Tip

Dennis Christian - Owner Flying Kiwi
"If you feel like a bit of a leg stretch by bike or on foot, the “Coastal Walkway” starts right by our camp’s doorstep and can take you all the way into New Plymouth. To me, there is nothing like the sights and sounds of the sea to end or start the day wit"

THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL ALL OF NEW ZEALAND

Our Ultimate Explorer trip is the most popular all New Zealand tour and, quite possibly the best way you can see the real NZ. This trip will give you both action and relaxation while including the main cities and ensuring an unforgettable adventure experience.  Imagine digging your own hot pool at the famous Hot Water Beach, hiking into rainforests and/or over coastal trails away from the crowds, enjoying stunning sunrises from lakeside campgrounds, having the option to Swim with the Dolphins in picturesque Kaikoura or just relaxing and enjoying the ever changing panoramic views of our countryside.  Also imagine the fun time you’ll have with your new friends while making use of our on-board sports toys (e.g. footballs, cricket bats and frisbees).  These are just a few of the hundreds of memories (#flyingkiwimemories) that you will take away from this once in a lifetime trip.

Taking in both the North and South Island you will visit the spectacular National Parks of Tongariro, Mount Cook, Mount Aspiring and the Abel Tasman. You will stay in extra-ordinary camp settings and friendly, personal hostels (in the main centres).  Experience the enormity of New Zealand’s landscapes that have been made so popular by movies such as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Throughout the country we have included some of the best activities as well as giving you more than enough time to experience some of the optional activities you can do throughout New Zealand that has made it the adventure playground of the world - including Bungy Jumping, natural thermal hot pools, Sea-Kayaking, and Black Water Rafting.  You can also alternate travelling in our purpose built vehicles with optional bike riding and hiking on some of New Zealand’s best trails

TRIP OPTIONS:

The Ultimate Explorer adventure tour is a complete loop of New Zealand. This means you can actually start and finish your trip anywhere. Your trip will then finish where you started. The 3 most popular loops are:

    • Start and finish in Auckland (New Zealand’s biggest city and main international port): heading south first you will come across the beautiful beaches of the Coromandel and then onto the thermal wonderland of Rotorua and beyond. The complete loop will take you 28 days;
    • Start and finish in Christchurch: Christchurch is the biggest city in the South Island and holds our second largest international airport. This route heads south first to the rugged countryside of Rangitata and the stunning optional Grade 5 rafting adventure;
    • Heading north from Auckland first: It is possible to complete our normal 28 day loop in 27 by starting your trip in Auckland and heading north to the beaches and harbour playground of the Bay of Islands. You will then return to Auckland and head south on the normal itinerary.

Customise your trip: It is possible to only do part of the route - maybe you want to start in Auckland and finish in Christchurch to connect your flights, or maybe you want to break your trip and spend longer in somewhere like Queenstown to do the world-renowned Milford Sound hiking trail. Talk to our crew in the office about how we can create you the perfect trip.

ULTIMATE EXPLORER TRAVEL DAYS

You can have a look at the detailed day-to-day itinerary on our Flying Kiwi Detailed Itinerary page. The Ultimate Explorer Tour takes in everything, does everything, and doesn’t miss a beat.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE ULTIMATE EXPLORER TOUR

We know New Zealand, and we are very proud of it, and we want you to have the best possible experience. So, we have included the following in the Ultimate Explorer New Zealand adventure tour which we think shows off the very best:

  • Accommodation: Usually 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: 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.
  • Seafood Feast:  We enjoy great food on our trips but in Kaikoura we treat you all to a fresh seafood feast (priceless!) from one of the best seafood locations in New Zealand!  This is a meal not to be missed!
  • Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland: Wai-o-tapu is New Zealand’s most colourful geo-thermal area featuring unique volcanic activity, bubbling mud pools, and steaming geysers. Explore the park either on your own or with your newfound travel family.
  • Queenstown Gondola: Marvel at the stunning views as you ride the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown! The Gondola carries you 450 metres above Queenstown and offers spectacular 220 degree panorama views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and Queenstown.
  • 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 North and South islands through the stunning Marlborough Sounds - keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins on the way.
  • Use of Sports Equipment on Board: Body boards, frisbee and more depending upon the bus.
  • Hikes and Bikes: If you have hired one of our bikes then our guides will point you in the direction of incredible daily rides as well as numerous free hikes. 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.

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.

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 Ultimate Explorer Tour including:

  • Tongariro, Abel Tasman, Paparoa, Westland Tai Poutini, Aoraki Mt Cook, Mt Aspiring, Fiordland National Parks
  • Dig your own thermal pool on Hot Water beach (we provide the spades!)
  • Rotorua Mountain Bike Park (bike hire not included)
  • The full-day Tongariro Crossing hike (bus transfer not included)
  • Te Papa museum
  • Wellington Botanical Gardens
  • Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo
  • Otago Early Settlers museum
  • Hollyford camp quirky museum
  • Lake Matheson mirror lake
  • Hokitika greenstone factory
  • Punakaiki Pancake rocks and blowholes
  • Amazing sunrises and sunsets at beautiful beachside campsites

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

IMPORTANT THINGS WE WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE ULTIMATE EXPLORER NEW ZEALAND TOUR

Bush camps: During the Ultimate Explorer NZ tour we stay at 4 bush camps all in the South Island. Bush camps are part of our charm, especially the ones we have selected for their amazing scenery and often our bush camps are what travellers have fondest memories of. Due to their remote locations there are no cabin upgrade options available and they also come with only basic toilet facilities.

Hostels: Depending where you start your trip there will either be two or three nights where camping isn’t feasible and we stay in hostels (at your own cost).  Hostel nights are in Picton, Wellington and Auckland. 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 hostels on check-in.

For more useful information visit our How It Works page.

  1. 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
  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. 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
  4. *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
  5. 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
  6. *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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • 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
  15. 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. 

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • 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
  16. 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. 

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • 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
  17. 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.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • 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
  18. 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!

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • 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
  19. *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.

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • 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.
    • Drive Distance: 3.5 hours plus ferry crossing
  20. *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.

    • Meals: Dinner
    • 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
  21. *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.

    • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
    • 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.
    • Drive Distance: Approx. 4-5 hours
  22. 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
  23. 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
    • Optional Activities: Hobbiton, Tamaki Maori Village, OGO, Luge, hot pools, Zipline Canopy Tour
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: Approx 4 hours
  24. 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.

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: 8km – Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway
    • Drive Distance: Approx 50 minutes
  25. 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).

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • 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

2017-2018 TOUR PRICES:

Tour Price $4,395  
Bike hire $465
Single tent upgrade  $225
Bring your own bike     $180
Sleeping bag hire $60

 

 

 

 

 2017-2018 DEPARTURES FROM AUCKLAND - (HEADING NORTH FIRST - 27 DAYS)  

Month              Departure Dates
October '17                            16th 25th
November '17 3rd                       12th                         21st                          30th                             
December '16   9th 18th 27th 
January '18 5th 14th 23rd  
February '18 1st 10th 19th 28th
March '18   9th 18th *27th
April '18 *5th      
         

 * these trips will finish in Nelson/Picton & are discounted accordingly. Transfers after trip can be easily arranged.

2017-2018 DEPARTURES FROM AUCKLAND - (HEADING SOUTH FIRST - 28 DAYS)

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

 2017-2018 DEPARTURES FROM CHRISTCHURCH (28 DAYS)

MonthDeparture Dates
October '17       25th
November '17                    3rd                                   12th                               21st                             30th                         
December '17   9th 18th 27th
January '18 5th 14th 23rd  
February '18 1st 10th  19th 28th
March '18   9th 18th  
         
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