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
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.
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.
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.