where we tour

Detailed Tour Itinerary - Ultimate Explorer

Tour the Best Parts of New Zealand

For almost 30 years we have been working on our touring route. We regularly change it taking in new things, better places to stay, further off the beaten track. Our goal it to get you into the unique parts of New Zealand, away from the madding crowds, while also ensuring you don't miss any of the must-do or must-see parts of our beautiful country.

The following is the complete itinerary for our Ultimate Explorer Tour. Your tour may only do the relevant parts depending on which tour you have purchased.

Auckland to Coromandel - from the buzzing city to beautiful beaches

Your New Zealand Road trip begins at 10am when we leave the city of sails and head for the Coast. The beautiful Coromandel Peninsula waits – Home to some of the finest beaches in NZ! Marvel at the gorgeous views on a beautiful coastal walk. Visit the unique and famous Hot Water Beach to dig, then relax, in your own thermal pool! Soak up the breath-taking scenery and cameras ready for spectacular sunsets at our beachside camp.

Even though the Coromandel Peninsula is just a short distance from Auckland, it feels like a different world! The endless golden beaches and lovely turquoise waters for swimming make this a popular weekend and holiday destinations for locals from all over the North Island.

  • Meals Included: Dinner
  • Bike option: Scenic cycle option to camp
  • Walk option: Enjoy a leisurely walk down to the iconic cathedral arches at Cathedral Cove. You won’t take notice of the exercise as you are captivated by your outlook to islands on the coast!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: Approx 4 hours

 

Coromandel to Rotorua - Heading to the cultural heart of Aotearoa

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 Included: Breakfast & Lunch
  • Bike option: 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.
  • Walk option: 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!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 3-4 hours

 

Rotorua to Tongariro - Stunning lakes and craters

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 area includes hot springs in numerous locations around the lake, which is an extinct volcanic crater.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
  • Bike option: Rise early and literally cycle out of a Volcanic crater along the Te Ara Ahi cycle trail. Peddle past a few geothermal features including a natural hot spring before finishing to see a geyser erupt!
  • Walk option: 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!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 2 hours

 

Tongariro to Kapiti Coast - The best walk in the World!

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.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Bike option: 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!
  • Walk option: The best one day hike in New Zealand! Traverse the Tongariro, steam vents, crater lakes and more!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 4 hours

 

Kapiti Coast to Picton - Boat cruises around the Capital

*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. Take a Lord of the Rings movie tour or simply savour the unique culture of New Zealand’s capital. 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 Included: Breakfast
  • Bike option: None today as you’ll be too sore from Tongariro and there’s lots to see in Wellington city!
  • Walk option: You’ll have plenty of time on your feet exploring the coolest capital, Wellington!
  • Driving distance: approx 1 hour + ferry crossing 3 hours

 

Ferry crossing of the Cook Strait

 

Picton to Kaikoura - Exploring the Pacific coast

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 Included: Breakfast & Dinner
  • Bike option: Entirely on the road but such a scenic road! Mountains on your right, and Kaikoura Coast to your left. Keep an eye out for the cute NZ fur seals and the surfers before riding through to the seaside town of Kaikoura.
  • Walk option: 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!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 2.5 hours

 

Kaikoura to Rangitata - From the coast to the Alps

*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 foot 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 Included: Breakfast & Dinner
  • Bike option: Challenge yourself by literally cycling away from the coast, over a hill and into the rural countryside. If you’re keen for a more sedate holiday ride, cycle into camp past lots of sheep, deer and more sheep!
  • Walk option: 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!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 3.5 hours

 

Rangitata to Lake Pukaki - Amazing mountain landscapes

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, alpine Lake Tekapo. Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour on the surrounding snow-capped peaks. From there we head to one of our best wilderness camps – sat on the shores of the lake you can set up your tent to nothing but views of lakes and mountains.

Around 300 million years ago this area and Lake Tekapo were part of a seafloor valley. The continual movement between 2 tectonic plates has pushed the horizontal seabed to rock and upwards to create the amazing spectacle you see today.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Bike option: Ride a section of the Mackenzie Country highway into Lake Tekapo. An absolutely stunning stretch of road where you’re surrounded by the high country yet strikingly obvious, the mighty Southern Alps in front. You’ll catch a glimpse of the bright and beautiful, glacier fed, Lake Tekapo before you get there, such a scenic ride! If you’re here in November - January, you’ll love the colourful lupin plant following you on your ride all the way to the finish!
  • Walk option: A variety of walks today including protected NZ conifer forest and trails wrapping around two stunning lakes in the Mackenzie country!
  • Upgrades Available: Not tonight - beautiful lakeside camp
  • Driving distance: approx 3 hours

 

Lake Pukaki to Aoraki National Park - towering mountains and snow capped peaks

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) dominates the skyline at 3,754m and is New Zealand's highest mountain. It sits atop the numerous peaks of Mount Cook national park next to the 30km giant Tasman Glacier - one of the longest outside of the Himalayas. You can view this during your morning hike.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Bike option: The rides today (road and trail) are dictated by views of lakes, Mt Cook National Park and countryside.. Not too bad eh? Keep an eye out for the New Zealand harrier hawk and millions of sheep!
  • Walk option: 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 bridges, you’ll have plenty of viewpoints for photos and listen out to the sound of avalanches breaking further in the park!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 3 hours

 

Aoraki National Park to Dunedin

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. Dunedin marks the halfway point along this coast and shortly on from there lies the mysterious Moeraki Boulders - a collection of perfectly round rocks each weighing up to 4 tonnes.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Bike option: 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.
  • Walk option: You’ll feel your heart pumping through your chest as you take a stroll up the world’s steepest residential street!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 2.5 hours

 

Dunedin to Fiordland National Park - Natural wonders all around

Journey through scenic southern pastures to Te Anau, the hub and jumping-off point for Fiordland National Park and the 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 Included: Breakfast & Dinner
  • Bike option: 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!)
  • Walk option: Short walks today as we’re on a mission to get to Fiordland National Park!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes (limited options)
  • Driving distance: approx 4.5 hours

 

Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound - The eighth wonder of the World

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.

In any weather Milford Sound is an incredible spectacle. The sheer cliffs, dramatic waterfalls (which cascade from heights of up to 100 metres) lead along a spectacular 16km journey to the open ocean.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch
  • Bike option: 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.
  • Walk option: 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 The Rings feel as well as endless waterfalls!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 2.5 hours

 

Fiordland National Park to Queenstown - Adrenalin capital of the World

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 sail – 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 alpine region.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Bike option: Jump on a section of the ‘Around the Mountains’ cycle trail this morning before we continue through to Queenstown. Enjoy mountain and rural vistas during your trail adventure.
  • Walk option: 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!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes (limited options)
  • Driving distance: 2.5hrs

 

SouthernAlps

Striking a pose in the Southern Alps

 

Queenstown - something for everyone

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 slopes -it was recently voted one of the top 25 cities in the World by a top travel magazine and we know why!

  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Bike option: 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!
  • Walk option: Plenty of mountains you can hike to enjoy inspirational views of Lake Wakatipu and the alpine surrounds!
  • Upgrades Available: yes
  • Driving distance: 0 - a non driving day!

 

Queenstown to Mount Aspiring National Park - Lakeside towns

*If your tour starts/finishes in Queenstown you will leave/join us at 2:30pm.

Our last morning in Queenstown and your last chance to indulge in the Queenstown’s action before we farewell those that finish their tour here. 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.

Wanaka is located on the shores of Lake Wanaka, just north of Queenstown. Surrounded by the Southern Alps, this is a spectacular location and another popular alpine resort. The crystal clear waters reflect the snow capped peaks year round and it's the perfect place to absorb the beauty of Mount Aspiring National Park.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
  • Bike option: Follow the Queenstown Trail all the way out to Gibbston Valley where you’ll have plenty of chance for Central Otago scenery shots. If you leave early enough, go try red Pinot Noir at Gibbston Valley Winery (world class wine is produced in this area of NZ) before finishing at the world’s first commercial bungy jump!
  • Walk option: Lakefront walks or other walks you may have missed yesterday when doing activities.
  • Upgrades Available: No - beautiful lakeside camp with National park views
  • Driving distance: approx 2.5 hours

 

Mount Aspiring National Park to Fox Glacier - Alpine country

Start your day with a scenic optional jet boat ride in Mount Aspiring National Park. We then begin heading up the West Coast – this region was rated by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 drives in the World. A great scenic drive taking in panoramic views of the Southern Alps. This area is home to majestic rainforest, thundering waterfalls and tranquil pools - the wild West Coast. Tonight we will be staying in glacier country at the picturesque village of Fox Glacier – ask your guide about our secret glow-worm walks.

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 the the least number of people - a perfect combination for our tours) The region is dotted with towering mountain peaks, glaciers, turquoise lakes, thundering rivers and rainforest. 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 Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Bike option: Enjoy a variety of coastal and inland road rides today as we make our way through the wild West Coast. You’ll never be bored as you cycle through trees growing sideways, past wild beaches and scenery fit for hobbits, it’s all beautiful and green!
  • Walk option: Walk up above the tree canopies or out overlooking Lake Wanaka. You’ll have lots of short walks today, we’ll be stopping all the time for waterfalls, beaches and crystal clear blue waters.
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 2.5 hours

 

Fox Glacier to Okarito Lagoon - Chilling on the glaciers

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. You have the chance to hike or ice climb on the glacier, but if glaciers aren’t your thing then the area itself is a wonderland to explore. We would also recommend a cycle or hike around Lake Matheson where crystal clear reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman make the perfect photo opportunity. We then have a short drive up the coast to our beautiful beachside campsite next to the Okarito lagoon – one of the very few places where there are still rare sightings of our native kiwi bird.

Maori legend tells the story of the glacier named Te Moeka o Tuawe. When Tu Awe fell to his death exploring the area his lover, Hine Hukatere wept, the valley filled with her everlasting tears of ice Fox glacier if the largest and longest glacier on the West Coast.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Bike option: Enjoy an easy ride down to Lake Matheson (Reflection lake) or take on a grind and bike up and over to the next town where you can explore or visit the hot pools to recover.
  • Walk option: You may be doing glacier activities today, if not, we recommend walking around New Zealand’s most photographed lake! If you get there early, Mt Cook might be reflecting in the backdrop.
  • Upgrades Available: Yes - limited options
  • Driving distance: approx 2.5 hours

 

Okarito Lagoon to Paparoa National Park - top 10 drives in the World

Enjoy an early morning walk with a chance to spot a Kiwi in the wild. We then 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 Included: Breakfast & Dinner
  • Bike option: 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!
  • Walk option: Multiple walking adventures today with a sunrise hill walk to begin with, it’s a must! Enjoy your hike as it climbs up into a scenic reserve where New Zealand native subtropical forest has been regenerated! Once you begin walking across the ridgeline, you’ll be captivated by the panoramic views of coastline before your walk declining and finishing outside a local West Coast pub!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes (limited options)
  • Driving distance: approx 2.5 hours

 

Paparoa National Park to Abel Tasman National Park - Golden sand and inviting warm water

Before leaving Punakaiki we will have a couple of hours to explore part of the Paparoa National Park. Take a walk along the Porarari river or cycle up Bullock creek road to visit a cave resurgence.

Leaving Punakaiki mid-morning we make our way inland through the majestic Buller Gorge to our favourite National Park (and NZ’s only coastal park) – 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 including skydiving, hang gliding or take a microlight flight - all of which give you the perfect bird’s eye view with varying levels of adrenalin. Our campsite is located at the entrance to the park – perfect for exploring. We will be staying here for 2 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 Included: Breakfast
  • Bike option: 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 Trail is not to be missed!
  • Walk option: Enjoy an afternoon or evening walk into Abel Tasman National Park from camp (yes that rights, it’s on your backdoor step).
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: 3 hours

 

Abel Tasman National Park - NZ’s only coastal park

Taking time to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand - there are excellent options for everyone here. You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chances for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) Explore the heart of the park by canyoning high flow waterfalls and rapids! Enjoy a fantastic group dinner (own cost).

Abel Tasman is world renowned for its beautiful beaches and amazing coastal hikes. It has a very mild climate making it a popular destination year round. The Maori lived along the Abel Tasman coast for over 5000 years with a rich supply of food from the water and forest. On 18th Dec 1642, the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman, anchored at Golden Bay and was the 1st European to visit New Zealand. He was met by the resident Ngati Tumatakokiri people and after losing 4 crew in a skirmish with the Maori he soon moved on.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Bike option: Feel free to explore by bike although no riding in Abel Tasman National Park. You can head back to Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park or to more secluded swimming spots however walking in the park is highly recommended.
  • Walk option: Any walk in Abel Tasman National Park will not disappoint! Miles of coastline, golden sand and intimate coves..don’t forget your swimwear.
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: 0 - just relax

 

Abel Tasman National Park - NZ’s only coastal park

With so much to see and do in this fabulous corner of New Zealand we spend another day to enjoy, go on get among-st it!

  • Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
  • Bike option: Feel free to explore by bike although no riding in Abel Tasman National Park. You can head back to Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park or to more secluded swimming spots however walking in the park is highly recommended.
  • Walk option: Any walk in Abel Tasman National Park will not disappoint! Miles of coastline, golden sand and intimate coves..don’t forget your swimwear.
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: 0 - just relax

 

Abel Tasman National Park to Wellington - Cafes, wine & the capital

*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 370 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 Included: Breakfast
  • Bike option: 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 last day in the South Island!
  • Walk option: 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.
  • Driving distance: 3.5 hours + ferry crossing

 

Chrys Tremththanmor

Stunning beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park

 

Wellington to Heart of the North Island - Capital to coast

*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 Included: Dinner
  • Bike option: 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 you’ll get to experience amazing sunsets as well as views of the symmetrical and spiritual, Mt Taranaki!
  • Walk option: Walk some of the New Plymouth walkway in the evening from camp to capture some of the best sunsets!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: 6 hours

 

Waikato Region to Auckland - From caves to the the city

*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 Included: Breakfast & Lunch
  • Bike option: 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!
  • Walk option: Enjoy a trail walk taking you through forest in Waitomo to caves and a lookout overlooking the Waitomo district.
  • Driving distance: 4.5 hours

 

Auckland to Bay of Islands - Head to the winterless north

*If your tour starts today you will join us at 10am.

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 free sports gear we have on board – frisbees, body boards and volleyballs. 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.

  • Meals Included: Dinner
  • Bike option: Forest trail rides that will give you views of the Bay of Islands, good exercise and go past the Haruru Waterfalls.
  • Walk option: A great afternoon walk taking you past mangroves, over boardwalks, through forest before ending at the Haruru Waterfalls. A beautiful walk and highly recommended!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes (we will be staying in the same great camp for 2 nights)
  • Driving distance: approx 3 hours

 

Bay of Islands - Explore the ultimate maritime playground

Experience a full day exploring the Bay of Islands and its turquoise waters. This subtropical region is known for its great beaches and history and with 144 islands to explore we have got some great options to get out and view the best of them. Whether it’s dolphin swimming , sailing or fishing this is a heaven for water activities. Alternatively there are plenty of walk and cycle options around the region. Relax and enjoy a second night at the same great riverside camp.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
  • Bike option: Explore the Waitangi forest trails which will get you from camp into town.
  • Walk option: Spend a day over at Russel where there are endless walks and sights to enjoy!
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: 0 - just relax and enjoy

 

Bay of Islands to Orewa - 144 islands and so many choices

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 Included: Breakfast & Dinner
  • Bike option: What better way to see Northland’s protected Kauri tree forest than to ride around it?! Enjoy a leisurely road ride that wraps around and through the forest in a gradual climb where the bus will meet you at the top.
  • Walk option: Enjoy getting up close and personal as you walk through one of New Zealand’s largest remaining protected Kauri tree forests.
  • Upgrades Available: Yes
  • Driving distance: approx 3-4 hours

 

Waiwera to Auckland - Bay to the City of Sails

Take a beachside morning stroll and enjoy breakfast with a view before we hit the road back to Auckland. We head through scenic landscapes before crossing the harbour bridge arriving back into Auckland by 9:30am.

For those that started their trip on day 1 from Auckland this is the end of your tour.

For those that started their trip on day 7 in Christchurch your itinerary now continues from day 1.

For those that started their trip on day 25 in Auckland your itinerary now continues from day 1.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Bike option: None this morning as your trip finishes early in Auckland
  • Walk option: None this morning as your trip finishes early in Auckland
  • Upgrades Available: na
  • Driving distance: approx 40 mins

 

 

Auckland

Auckland
Auckland Auckland, our largest city, it’s the perfect place to start or finish one of our tours with absolutely loads of goodies to explore. From art precincts, amazing eateries, museums, shows and wa...

Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands The Bay of Islands is a superb inclusion to a tour of New Zealand. Arrive into Paihia (gateway town to the Bay of Islands) and you will instantly feel completely absorbed in holiday mod...

Kauri Coast

Kauri Coast
Kauri Coast - the top of the north At the top of the North Island, this region offers some great walks and ancient forest to explore. For those who are keen we enjoy a fresh morning cycle and there's ...

Coromandel

Coromandel
Coromandel Many of our trips pass through the Coromandel region and enjoy some of the finest beach scenery you will ever enjoy. For those joining a tour passing through Coromandel heres a taste of wha...

Waitomo

Waitomo
Waitomo Many of our trips pass through the Waitomo region and enjoy some unique natural wonders. For those joining a tour passing through Waitomo here's a taste of what you will be up to. About the Wa...

Rotorua

Rotorua
Rotorua Many of our trips pass through the Rotorua region and enjoy genuine Maori culture and some thermal wonders.. For those joining a tour passing through Rotorua heres a taste of what you will be ...

Taupo

Taupo
Taupo Many of our trips pass through the Taupo region and enjoy an area fast becoming known as the new adrenalin capital of New Zealand. For those joining a tour passing through Taupo heres a taste of...

Wellington

Wellington
Wellington - trips around the Wellington region Many of our trips pass through the Wellington region and enjoy the nations capital. For those joining a tour passing through Wellington heres a taste of...

Picton

Picton
Picton This part of  the trip enjoys the Picton region and much, much more. After spending a few hours exploring the streets of Nelson before heading to Picton where it’s all change for many as we hea...

Kaikoura

Kaikoura
Kaikoura Many of our trips pass through the Kaikoura region and enjoy the amazing wildlife often viewed with a stunning mountain backdrop reaching right to the coast. For those joining a tour passing ...

Christchurch

Christchurch
Christchurch Many of our trips pass through the Christchurch region and enjoy this classic piece of NZ that reminds many of old England with punting, great gardens and lovely shops. For those joining ...

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo
Lake Tekapo Many of our trips pass through the Lake Tekapo region and enjoy stunning mountain and lake vistas. For those joining a tour passing through Lake Tekapo here's a taste of what you will be u...

Mount Cook

Mount Cook
Mount Cook Many of our trips pass through the Mount Cook region and enjoy the stunning alpine settings around New Zealand's largest mountain. For those joining a tour passing through Mount cook here's...

Dunedin

Dunedin
Dunedin Many of our trips pass through the Dunedin region and enjoy New Zealand's mini Edinburgh. For those joining a tour passing through Dunedin heres a taste of what you will be up to. About the Du...

Milford Sound

Milford Sound
Milford Sound Many of our trips pass through the Milford Sound region and enjoy one of New Zealand's finest natural wonders.. For those joining a tour passing through Milford Sound here's a taste of w...

Te Anau

Te Anau
Te Anau Many of our trips pass through the Te Anau region and enjoy the amazing beauty of Fiordland. For those joining a tour passing through Te Anau heres a taste of what you will be up to. About th...

Queenstown

Queenstown
Queenstown This part of  the trip enjoys the Queenstown region and much, much more. Today is a last chance to throw yourself off a bridge before we head towads Wanaka. There’s the chance again to try ...

Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier This part of  the trip enjoys the Fox Glacier region and much, much more. There's some fine walks and rides round the area and you will find the fresh air just keeps you going! You might e...

Punakaiki

Punakaiki
Punakaiki Many of our trips pass through the rugged and wild Punakaiki region and enjoy a taste of real ol' New Zealand. For those joining a tour passing through Punakaiki here is a taste of what you ...

Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman Many of our trips pass through the Abel Tasman region and enjoy one of New Zealand's most beautiful national parks.. For those joining a tour passing through Abel Tasman heres a taste of w...

Nelson

Nelson
Nelson Many of our trips pass through the nelson region and enjoy the artistic delights of this wonderful town. For those joining a tour passing through Nelson heres a taste of what you will be up to....