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Grand Traverse - Auckland to Queenstown tour

Grand Traverse - Auckland to Queenstown tour

  • Auckland
  • Queenstown
  • 16 days
  • 4.8 / 5.0 (154 reviews)
  • from NZD$4,715.00

Main Highlights

  • Dolphin swimming
  • Visit Milford Sound
  • Cycle sections of the New Zealand Cycle trail
  • Camp out by beaches & lakes
  • Hike the amazing Tongariro Crossing
  • Mt Cook Hooker Valley Walk
  • Dig your own hot pool
  • Great food including fresh crayfish
  • Visit a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Discover the wild, rugged beauty of the West Coast
  • Enjoy stunning sunrises and sunsets
  • Lots of great inclusions

Grand Traverse New Zealand Tour - Top to Bottom:

If you are starting in Auckland and have around 2 weeks to tour the best of the country then this trip is for you.  Our Grand Traverse trip launches from Auckland and travels through the best bits of Aotearoa/New Zealand, finishing in Queenstown. This top rated full New Zealand adventure tour includes: 

- One of NZ's most spectacular great walks. Try the World's best one day walk, The Tongariro Crossing

- Adventure activities for everyone.  This tour offers a huge range of adventure activities to suit all tastes.  A few favourites include sea kayaking, Te Puia, hot pools, zipline canopy tour, luge, giant swing, skydive, bungy, whale watching, dolphin swimming, deep sea fishing, surfing and all the options of NZ's adventure capital, Queenstown.

- Stay in amazing locations: We stay at beautiful sites by beaches, lakes, mountains and forests. A spacious, shared tent is included in the tour price or upgrade and have the tent to yourself. For a taste of rural luxury you can also upgrades to cabins most nights.

- Experience beaches, mountains and lakes: New Zealand it totally unique for its vast diversity of landscapes - from towering snow capped mountains and turquoise lakes to golden beaches and bubbling geysers. On this tour you'll get to experience them all with staggering landscapes everyday.

- Cycle rides for all levels:  If you decide to hire a bike on this tour you'll find an excellent range of rides to enjoy.  From forest rides in Rotorua to wonderful coastlines stretches by the Pacific. You will fill your lungs with the freshest air and escape the crowds.


visiting the thermal geysers on tour

The thermal wonders of Rotorua by Tim Parkinson


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.

- 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.

A few other free inclusions are Wai-O-Tapu bubbling mud, Te Papa museum, dig your own thermal pool on Hot Water beach, plus much much more! 

views over queenstown on tour

Views over Queenstown by Matthias Gudath


Hostels: At the end of our trip we stay at a hostel in Queenstown, the rest of your trip includes tenting at campsites. 


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.

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

  1. Pickup location: 31 Wellesley Street West, 7:45am

    Welcome to the first day of your Flying Kiwi adventure! We’ll leave Auckland at 8am and drive south towards the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is a popular holiday spot for us Kiwi’s and it's not hard to see why. With stunning white sandy beaches, dense fern forests and a rich history of both Maori and European settlement, the Coromandel Peninsula is the perfect place to start your trip! 

    We’ll arrive at our Hot Water Beach campsite, where we’ll spend the next two nights. Go for a walk along the beach once we’ve set up camp, and this evening we’ll enjoy our very first group dinner together.

    • Meals: Dinner
    • Bike Rides: 8km scenic road cycling from Hahei Beach to Hot Water Beach camp
    • Walks and Hikes: Stunning coastal walk with views over the Pacific
    • Optional Activities: Sea Kayaking, Hahei Explorer
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  2. Today you have a full free day to spend relaxing or exploring. We’ll head to Hahei Beach where you can go for a walk along the shoreline or take a boat or kayak to see the iconic Cathedral Cove. Later, we’ll head back to Hot Water Beach, so-named because there is a unique geothermal reservoir of hot water under the sand. At low tide, we’ll grab our shovels and head down to dig our very own hot pools in the sand - the cheapest spa day ever!



    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: 8km scenic road cycling from Hahei Beach to Hot Water Beach camp
    • Walks and Hikes: Stunning coastal walk with views over the Pacific
    • Optional Activities: Sea kayaking, Hahei Explorer
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  3. This morning after breakfast, we'll make our way down to the southern end of the Coromandel Peninsula where we’ll stop at the historic Karangahake Gorge which offers great biking and hiking options through old mining relics. This stunning region combines the natural beauty of the area with some NZ history and is a must-see on the North Island. 

    Afterwards we’ll continue on to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity, adventure activities and cultural experiences. This evening we’ll set up camp and enjoy a group meal together. 

    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Karangahake Gorge
    • Walks and Hikes: Stroll through Karangahake Gorge & unique thermal landscapes in Rotorua
    • Optional Activities: Polynesian Spa
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  4. Today you have a full day to enjoy everything that Rotorua has to offer. There are heaps of optional activities in Rotorua and something for everyone. If you’re interested in adventure, we recommend the award winning Canopy Tours eco zipline tour, or go white water rafting down the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. If you’d prefer to relax, opt for a healing soak at the Polynesian spa, or if you’d like to explore the natural geothermal features of the area, there's plenty of walks where you can see the activity for free. This evening, we recommend heading to the incredible Te Puia where you'll learn about Maori culture, experience the breathtaking Haka and feast on a traditional Hangi meal. 



    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Whakarewarewa Forest Loop (33 km)
    • Walks and Hikes: Walk through Kuirau Park or the Whakarewarewa Forest to see the towering redwoods
    • Optional Activities: Zipline Canopy Tour, Rotorua Rafting, Te Puia
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  5. We begin the day with a drive to visit Wai-o-Tapu bubbling mud, a unique experience not to be missed. Next we’ll stop at the mighty Huka Falls, an impressive waterfall found along the Waikato river. This is also our drop off point for those wanting to go skydiving! If you’re not going skydiving there's a great bike ride to Spa Park along the river's edge - be sure to stop off at the natural hot spring along the way or get an adrenaline buzz from the Taupo bungy which is conveniently located on your way into town. You’ll have some time in Taupo to grab some lunch and check out New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupo, before we make our way to Tongariro National Park, where we’ll be spending the night.


    • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Huka Falls to Spa Park
    • Walks and Hikes: Walks of various distances past dramatic waterfalls and around Lake Taupo
    • Optional Activities: Skydiving, bungy, giant swing
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  6. Voted one of the best day hikes in the world, today's 19.4km walk takes in some of New Zealand’s most impressive and diverse landscapes. The challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike covers a small section of the country’s oldest national park and dual UNESCO world heritage area, the Tongariro National Park. On a fine day you’ll be able to see Mt Ruapehu, the North Island's highest peak which stands at a towering 2797 metres. You'll also be able to see Mt Ngauruhoe, which featured in the Lord of the Rings movies as Mount Doom.

    If you'd prefer not to do this hike, your Guide will take you to see some lesser known but equally stunning views and offer up some cycle options for our bikers. When everyone is back together after the hike we'll make our way to our camp, situated on the beach.


    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Marton Sash & Door (if not doing the Tongariro Crossing)
    • Walks and Hikes: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  7. This morning we’ll drive down to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand! We'll arrive early, giving you most of the morning to explore. We recommend checking out the exhibits at the famous Te Papa Museum, getting to some Lord of the Rings locations on Mt Victoria or taking the iconic red cable car up to the Botanical Gardens. The capital also boasts a thriving café culture, as Wellington is renowned for serving NZ's best cup of coffee.

    Later on we’ll be travelling across the Cook Strait by ferry to the South Island. The journey takes around 3.5 hours and travels through the incredibly scenic Marlborough Sounds. The rolling green hills coupled with the deep blue waters make for a magical sight, especially on a clear day. If you can, make your way outside and try to spot dolphins playing in the sounds. Tonight, we'll stay at a great campground in Picton. 



    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Walks and Hikes: Explore Wellington!
    • Optional Activities: Te Papa National Museum of NZ (free), Cable car
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  8. This morning we'll depart Picton and travel through the Marlborough region towards the coast where we’ll see amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and mountains in the distance. We’ll make a stop for lunch along this stretch of coastline and try to spot the native Fur Seals that often relax on the rocks in front of the ocean.

    When we arrive in Kaikoura, there are some great optional activities that all involve the ocean! Go whale watching, sea kayaking or fishing, or if you’d prefer to stay on dry land, there’s a great walk around the peninsula or you can hop on your bike and take in the views on two wheels. Our camp tonight is down at the beach and we’ll be preparing a fresh seafood meal, perfect for Kaikoura (unless of course you don't eat seafood, in which case we'll prepare something equally delicious for you). 

    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Walks and Hikes: Kaikoura peninsula walk
    • Optional Activities: Whale watching by boat or by plane, deep sea fishing
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  9. This morning you'll have the opportunity to take part in one of the most popular activities in New Zealand: swimming with dusky dolphins! It’s an early start but it’s a great way to begin your day and is the kind of once in a lifetime experience you won't soon forget. For those of us who aren't swimming, we’ll have a leisurely breakfast and the chance to explore Kaikoura before heading south to Christchurch.

    Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s most famous destinations. Still on the mend after two major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, you can see evidence of rebuilding happening all over the city. With the chance to rebuild, comes new opportunities and Christchurch has seized the opportunity to become NZ’s coolest city, rivalling Wellington in terms of laneway bars and amazing eateries. We won’t overnight here, as campers we’re averse to big cities, so after we’ve welcomed some new travellers, we’ll continue on down to the stunning Lake Tekapo where we’ll spend the next two nights!


    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Lake Tekapo Lake Front
    • Walks and Hikes: Take an early walk around our coastal camp
    • Optional Activities: Dolphin swimming, dolphin viewing
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  10. This morning, we’ll wake up in arguably the most beautiful part of the South Island. Lake Tekapo is incredibly scenic, and home to the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour brought down from the rivers flowing from glaciers high up in the mountains.

    We’ll go and see some incredible sights today, heading for Aoraki/Mt Cook where we’ll hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain following a trail up the Hooker valley where you’ll cross swing bridges and experience stunning views of the mountains before finishing up at a glacial lake with some awe inspiring views of the Hooker Valley glacier - trust us, you’ll want to bring your camera for this! This evening, we recommend going for a soak in the nearby hot pools or enjoying some world famous star gazing at the Mt John Observatory - you are staying in an International Dark Sky Reserve, after all! 

    • Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
    • Bike Rides: Lake Tekapo Regional Park, A2O Cycle
    • Walks and Hikes: Mt John walkway, Hike to the base of Mount Cook & Hooker Valley
    • Optional Activities: Scenic Flight, Tekapo Hot Pools, Star Gazing
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  11. Today we’ll spend the morning in Lake Tekapo before departing this afternoon to travel back towards the Pacific coast. We'll camp in the historic town of Oamaru this evening, close to the unique Moeraki Boulders and the Scottish city of Dunedin. Go for a walk this evening to a great view point offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and try to spot a little Blue Penguin along the shore. 


    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: 13 km Alps2Ocean trail ride
    • Walks and Hikes: Explore the Moeraki Heritage Trail
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  12. If the tide is low this morning, we’ll go for a walk along the beach to see the mysterious Moeraki boulders. These perfectly round spheres of rock have formed over millions of years and have found their way onto the beach near Moeraki and make for some fun photo opportunities.

    Next it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin, the South Island's second-largest city and home to NZ’s only castle. Dunedin is home to the world’s steepest residential street and the coastline is home to some fantastic and rare wildlife. Afterwards, we’ll continue down to the gateway to the Milford Sound, situated on the edge of Lake Te Anau.  Tonight’s camp is on the lakeside in Te Anau, which is the South Island's largest lake.  The bikers can go for a ride on the lake to lake Te Anau trail and the rest of us can enjoy a leisurely walk along the lakefront or head up to the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary where we can see the endangered native Takahē. If you’d like to do an activity, we recommend the incredible glowworm caves tour and boat ride.


    • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
    • Bike Rides: Lake Te Anau Lakefront Cycle Upukerora Trail (5km+)
    • Walks and Hikes: World’s steepest street, explore Dunedin city
    • Optional Activities: Te Anau glowworm caves tour & boat ride
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  13. Today we’ll travel along one of the world’s most scenic roads and into Milford Sound! Described as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. We highly recommend boarding a cruise, where you'll see dramatic waterfalls and snow-capped peaks and if you’re lucky, some wildlife! At different times of year, penguins, dolphins, seals and even whales have been spotted at Milford. As it’s just the one road in and out, we head back along the same breath-taking route to our lakeside camp in Te Anau. Along the way, we drop off those doing the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. This hike 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. 



    • Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
    • Bike Rides: Lake to Lake Te Anau trail, Lakefront Upukerora trail (5 km+)
    • Walks and Hikes: Plenty of short walks from camp
    • Optional Activities: Milford Sound Cruise, Te Anau glowworm caves tour & boat ride
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  14. After a chance for a morning bike ride on the Lake to Lake Trail, if not done already, we will make our way along the Devil’s Staircase, and catch our first glimpses of Queenstown.  The Adventure Capital of NZ,  Queenstown is located on the shores of the South Islands second largest lake, Lake Wakatipu.  There are many cycle trails & walks for everyone to enjoy.  




    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Walks and Hikes: Routeburn Track (must be pre-booked and hikers will rejoin the group in Queenstown)
    • Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, skydiving, horse-riding, white water rafting, jet boating & the list goes on! You are in the adventure capital of the world!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
    • Drive Distance: No Driving today
  15. With so much to do we’ll spend another full day in the fantastic Queenstown, so everyone has the opportunity to have those once in a lifetime experiences. Speaking of experiences, may we suggest trying the legendary Fergburger! Tonight, we dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a feast at an iconic Queenstown eatery (own cost).  





    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Lake Wakatipu trail (16km), Queenstown trail (48 km)
    • Walks and Hikes: Queenstown walks, Ben Lomond
    • Optional Activities: Bungy jumping, skydiving, horse-riding, white water rafting, jet boating & the list goes on!
    • Available Upgrades: Yes
  16. A last chance to indulge in the Queenstown action before finishing your tour with us here and saying farewell to your fellow Flying Kiwi travellers!

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Bike Rides: Road cycling around town or on one of the many Queenstown trails


Prices are in New Zealand Dollars

TOUR PRICE  $4715  




OCTOBER 2024 17TH, 31ST 
NOVEMBER 2024 14TH, 28TH
JANUARY 2025 16TH, 30TH
FEBRUARY 2025 13TH, 27TH
MARCH 2025 13TH, 27TH
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Trip Reviews

  • Tara and Aaron were excellent and worked hard to ensure everyone had a great trip. Nothing was too much for Tara and I appreciated her consistently upbeat attitude while she helped with everyone's needs. A really spectacular trip - thanks Flying Kiwi.

    , travelled Grand Traverse - Auckland to Queenstown tour on 30/12/2019

  • One of my best trips filled with lots of activities and beautiful hikes. So happy with the Flying Kiwi staff that provided useful information and made my holiday free of stress, and making sure I got to experience everything New Zealand has to offer without planning anything myself!

    , travelled Grand Traverse - Auckland to Queenstown tour on 17/12/2019

  • Best outdoor trip you can do in New Zealand!

    , travelled Grand Traverse - Auckland to Queenstown tour on 23/10/2019

  • Fascinating. It's a trip with incredible contrasts!!! and wonderful people

    , travelled Grand Traverse - Auckland to Queenstown tour on 23/10/2019

  • I really enjoyed seeing so many stunning landscapes around New Zealand as well as the opportunity to try some adventurous pursuits I've not done before. NZ people were so friendly everywhere I went.

    , travelled Grand Traverse - Auckland to Queenstown tour on 14/11/2019