Trip SummarySee full itinerary
From sprawling glaciers, snow-capped mountains and spectacular fjords on the South Island, to the secluded beaches, volcanic craters and cosmopolitan cities of the North Island, this three-week NZ tour has it all - including Franz Joseph Glacier, Milford Sound, Kaikoura, Mt Ruapehu, the Bay of Islands and so much more. This trip is packed with adrenaline activities for those with an adventurous streak including sea kayaking, snorkelling, blackwater rafting, bungee jumping, jet boating, mountain biking and kayaking. Travellers after a slower pace will enjoy walking trails, picture-postcard scenery plus galleries, shops and restaurants. With a perfect combination of sights and activities, the New Zealand Explorer has something for everyone.
New Zealand has two main islands – North Island and South Island – which are very different in landscape and climate. Your adventure tour will give you the opportunity to explore both.
The North Island is where the major cities are - the capital Wellington and Auckland – ‘the city of sails’. It’s mainly volcanic in origin with lots of seismic features such as geysers and hot springs.
The South Island is separated down its length by the Southern Alps, the highest point of which is Mount Cook (Aoraki in Maori).
The country has a landmass a little larger than the UK with a population of some four million. With 10 sheep to every person it's no surprise their major export is lamb! Despite the huge number of visitors travelling there every year, it’s never crowded.
Day 1 Auckland
Arrive early to make the most of the distinctive Pacific flavour of Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Enjoy a cosmopolitan vibe and a wide variety of well positioned cafes that bask in the lively atmosphere.
Days 2-3 Bay of Islands
A secluded marine area of amazing beauty, the Bay of Islands boasts stunning coral reefs, fascinating marine life and excellent beaches.
Day 4 Waitomo
One of New Zealand's most awe-inspiring destinations, Waitomo is famous for its limestone caves, glow worms and black-water rafting.
Day 5 Rotorua
Renowned as a geothermal wonderland, Rotorua's bubbling geysers and steaming mud pools provide an amazing display of mother earth's power.
Days 6-7 Taupo/Mt Ruapehu
Located in the beautiful surrounds of Tongariro National Park, Mt Ruapehu is one of the world's most active volcanoes and a majestic sight to behold. The North Island's home of extreme sports, Taupo sits on the shore of New Zealand's largest lake - the water-filled crater of an ancient volcano.
Day 8 Wellington
New Zealand's vibrant capital, Wellington has something for everyone - a picturesque harbour, fascinating museums and a great restaurant/bar scene.
Days 9-10 Nelson
A pleasant, sunny place in the heart of a wine-producing region, Nelson is home to some of the most beautiful sea kayaking in the world.
Day 11 Kaikoura
Set on a beautiful stretch of coastline where towering mountains fall into the Pacific Ocean, Kaikoura is famous for its seafood and marine life.
Day 12 Christchurch
Arrive early and discover Christchurch, the south islands remerging city. Explore pop up bars, cafes and restaurants in the exciting new development dubbed RE:start. Relax with a coffee in a converted shipping container and see what’s happening in funky Christchurch.
Day 13 Punakaiki
Nestled in the foothills of Paparoa National Park, Punakaiki has a magnificent oceanfront location with spectacular views of the wild West Coast beaches.
Days 14-15 Franz Josef Glacier
The magnificent Franz Josef Glacier offers many hiking opportunities to explore this spectacular area of mountains, valleys and glaciers.
Days 16-19 Queenstown
The adrenaline sports capital of the world, Queenstown is a lively alpine resort on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with an incredible array of year-round activities on offer.
Day 20 Milford Sound
An area of breathtaking scenery, Milford Sound offers a stunning combination of tall mountain peaks, crystal clear water and marine life, including dolphins, seals and penguin.
Day 21 Mt Cook
Home to New Zealand's highest peak, Mt Cook National Park has spectacular vistas.
Day 22 Christchurch
To get a detailed PDF of information for this trip including full itinerary, country guides and travel advice on visas, money, insurance and the local weather, download our trip notes. By doing so you’ll also be kept updated on all the latest news, offers and stories on this particular trip. Happy reading!
Minimum age 18 years old.
Hostel, Lodge, Overnight boat
Maximum of 15 travellers per group
This tour is operated by Intrepid Travel.