Ultimate Explorer from Auckland - Heading North First

  • 27Day(s)
  • Trip Code: STAKLHNF

If you want to experience the true New Zealand, be prepared to hike, bike, trek, even fly, through its stunning scenery, and love every second of it! For 27 days, get out in the great outdoors on world famous trails, sip fruity wines on sprawling wineries, and skydive or bungy through the crisp, clean air. You'll swim with dolphins, explore the country's most famous towns and cities, kayak through pristine lakes, and see caves lit up at night by their glowworm inhabitants. Every experience is a new one, and an unforgettable one at that! Keep those fingers on those camera shutters - you're not going to want to miss a second.

FROM NZ$3650

Call 6737 7188

Itinerary

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Day 1-2 Auckland / Bay of Islands / Paihia

Leave Auckland behind at 10am for the golden beaches of the Bay of Islands. Stop off at Uretiti beach for a relaxing sunbathe or grab one of the free boogie boards and hit the waves. Next, visit Paihia, a bustling seaside town right in the heart of the Bay of Islands, and wander down the mangrove boardwalk to the thundering Haruru waterfalls. Enjoy a scenic bike ride to your riverside camp for the night and opt for a traditional Maori concert and Haka performance for a music-filled night! On your second day, it's time to fully appreciate the Bay of Islands. Swim the day away with a host of optional activities, from a Cape Reinga day trip, sailing, swimming with dolphins or diving the Rainbow Warrior. If there's any chance you do get bored of the water, there's plenty of walking and cycling to do in the area.

Day 3 Opononi / Waipoua

Head to the west coast for the dunes of Opononi to lounge on the beach or try your hand at sandboarding. Cycle or bus to Waipoua Forest, an ancient world of huge trees and rare birds. Its natural gateways are framed by huge kauri trees but don't miss out on the main attraction - Tane Mahuta, the country's largest kauri tree, which is approximately 2,000 years old and still growing. After travelling the Hibiscus coast, camp near the Waiwera and take advantage of its steamy hot pools and many water slides.

Day 4 Coromandel Peninsula

On Day 4, the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula awaits. Meander over scenic coasts or kayak to the famous Cathedral Cove. Ever wished you could make a hot tub appear with a click of your fingers? With perhaps a little more effort, grab a shovel and simmer in your very own thermal pool at Hot Water beach!

Day 5 Whiritoa / Rotorua / Whakarewarea Forest / Lake Rerewhakaaitu

This whirlwind day will keep you on your toes! Spend the morning on the stunning Whiritoa beach - go for a swim or a walk amongst the massive Pohutukawa trees. Continue on to Rotorua, grab a mountain bike and head to the hilly playground of Whakarewarewa Forest for an exhilarating ride. For something a little off-the-wall, there's plenty to choose from. Roll down a hill in an inflatable Zorb? Sure. Fly around high octane rides? That's there too. Race down Mt Ngongotaha on the world famous Luge? Why not? Then it's just a cycle to camp around Lake Rerewhakaaitu nestled below the dramatic Mount Tarawera - a serene end to an edge-of-your-seat type of day!

Day 6 Waikato

Your next destination is the Wai-O-Tapu mud pools before driving onwards to the impressive Huka Falls, which blasts out more than 220,000 litres of water every second. Walk or cycle to the beautiful lakeside setting of Taupo and choose to skydive, bungy jump or kayak through New Zealand's largest lake - there's never a dull moment! Spend the night camping in Tokaanu and unwinding in its thermal hot pools.

Day 7 Tongariro National Park / Kapiti Coast

Grab your walking shoes and hit one of the world's greatest trails, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. After some serious exploring, head to the stunning Kapiti Coast for pristine beaches, dramatic hillscapes and lush forests.

Day 8-9 Wellington / Malborough Sounds / Kaikoura

It's on to the capital of Wellington today - while away the afternoon in quirky cafes, burning some cash in the many shops, and saving time for the celebrated Te Papa museum and the beautiful Wellington Botanic garden. Catch a ferry south to the picturesque Marlborough Sounds and have the morning of Day 9 to explore this extensive network of sea-drowned valleys. Next, travel the Pacific coast to Kaikoura and cycle stunning routes past adorable fur seals and a myriad of sea birds. Opt for whale watching, deep sea fishing or a sea kayak and spectacular evening peninsula walk before camping out on the beach for the night.

Day 10-12 Canterbury / Aoraki National Park / Oamaru

Spend your last morning in Kaikoura with an optional early morning dolphin swim then head for New Zealand's Canterbury region. Cycle across the Canterbury plains to the Rangitata Gorge and stay the night at the unique Shearer's Headquarters, an actual operating farm, at the foot of the Southern Alps. Optional white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River. Morning cycle or walks in Peel Forest. Travel through Geraldine and Mackenzie Basin with views of the Main Divide. Arrive at the amazing Lake Tekapo and view the historic church. A thrilling cycle to our amazing camp at Lake Pukaki (great spot for swimming), with great views of Mt. Cook Wake up for an amazing lakeside drive or cycle to Aoraki National Park and hike around the basin of Mt Cook before making your way to the east coast. Stop off in Oamaru before arriving at your next great coastal camp. Finish off the day with a spectacular coastal ride and option penguin viewing before toasting marshmallows on the beach.

Day 13 Moeraki / Dunedin

40 kilometres south of Oamaru sits Moeraki. Its coast is scattered with huge spherical boulders - definitely worth a second look! Your next destination is the historic town of Dunedin, at the foot of a long harbour and surrounded by dramatic hills. Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, it's also home to the world's steepest street! Bite into delicious chocolate at the Cadbury factory or go for a pint (or three!) at the Speights Brewery. After a spectacular coastal ride to Nugget Point lighthouse you'll sleep amongst the natural beauty of the rugged and wildlife-rich Otago Peninsula.

Day 14 Lake Manapouri / Te Anau / Fiordland National Park

Journey through scenic southern pastures before tucking into a delicious lunch on the shores of the magnificent Lake Manapouri. Visit the lakeside town of Te Anau then head into the stunning Fiordland National Park and set up camp in the historic, unspoilt landscapes of Hollyford Valley.

Day 15 Milford Sound

Carved by glaciers during the ice ages, Milford Sound is breathtaking - cliffs tower over valleys, mountain peaks scrape the sky, and cascading waterfalls fill valleys with the sounds of rushing water. Opt for a boat cruise to see all of the fiord's beauty up close! Today, Routeburn Track walkers depart for their three day adventure in the Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Park while the others settle into their lakeside camp.

Day 16 Te Anau

Alongside a stunning lake and bordered by leafy forests, Te Anau also boasts a gorgeous backdrop of Mt Luxmore and the Murchison mountains. Tour the area on foot or bike and go for a hike on the famous Kepler Track for panoramic views from Mt Luxmore. Spend the rest of your day jet boating or fishing, and don't overlook the fantastic Te Anau wildlife centre! In the evening, light your night up with a trip to see the enchanting glow worm caves.

Day 17-18 Queenstown

Drive along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the adventure capital of the world - Queenstown! There's plenty of things to occupy your time in this bustling city, from chic cafes, quirky art galleries and a host of atmospheric restaurants. Head out for dinner and grab your dancing shoes - Queenstown's nightlife is worth experiencing. On Day 18, test yourself with height-defying bungy jumps, canyon swings, skydives, and paragliding, to name a few. A horse trek, sail or gondola ride through spectacular scenery are there for people who aren't particularly fond of free falling through the air.

Day 19-20 Haast Pass / Fox Glacier

Spend the morning relaxing at camp or jet boat into Mt Aspiring National Park. Next, it's time to travel through the dramatic Haast Pass with amazing views of the Southern Alps. Stretch your legs through leafy rainforests, past trickling pools and waterfalls, to the wild West Coast. After a picnic lunch, head to Glacier country and camp at Fox Glacier. Opt for a guided walk, heli hike or ice climb on the spectacular glacier followed by an optional coastal walk through the native forest - the views are so amazing you won't even notice you're exercising. Travel up the coast to Okarito beach and set up camp alongside the majestic Southern Alps. Not a bad day for views at all.

Day 21-22 Pukekura/ Hokitika / Paparoa National Park

Magnificent early morning walk with a chance to spot a Kiwi in the wild, visit Bushman's Museum then head over to Hokitika and its famous Greenstone factories for beautiful jade jewellery. After, travel to the Paparoa National Park, home to Punakaiki's must-see Pancake Rocks and Blowholes! Take in the beautiful sunset before exploring the Punakaiki cavern for glow worms. The next day is dedicated to exploring Paparoa National Park. Here's a tip for extra happy travellers - high tide is the best time to view the blow holes and low tide is perfect for seeing the secret wave rock

Day 23-24 Buller Gorge / Marahau / Abel Tasman National Park

Every place you've seen so far has been breathtaking but the Abel Tasman region takes the cake. Get a bird's view of the scenery on an optional skydive, hang glide or even fly an aerobatic plane! Cycle the golden bays to Marahau which will be your camp for the next two days. Kayaking, sailing or walking trips through the park are all available but to really get a feel for its inner wonders, canyoning is a must!

Day 25-26 Nelson / Malborough / Wellington / Kapiti Coast

Travel to Nelson, with the option to cycle across the Tasman's Great Taste trail, then it's time for some wine tasting in Malborough, one of the best wine regions in the country. Catch a scenic ferry through the Malborough Sounds over to Wellington where you'll stay the night. Cram in as much city sightseeing as you can as you'll be travelling to the Kapiti Coast at 11am. Go for an optional coastal cycle or walk on the magnificent Mt Taranaki. Spend the night on the coast, overlooking the Tasman Sea and breathing in the salty air.

Day 27 Waitomo Caves / Auckland

Spend your last day at Waitomo Caves - a limestone wonderland created by erosion over millions of years, and home to thousands of magical glowworms. Arrive early evening into Auckland for a final taste of Kiwi city life before saying your final farewells and heading home. Please note, there is the option to do this tour heading south first.

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6737 7188

6737 7188

  • TRIP NAME: ULTIMATE EXPLORER FROM AUCKLAND - HEADING NORTH FIRST
  • DURATION: 27 DAYS
  • FROM PRICE: NZ$3650
  • TRIP CODE: STAKLHNF
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You will visit

  • New Zealand

Is this for me?

  • Trip Style: Small Group Adventures
  • Physical Demands: You'll have to walk around on your own, climb some stairs and carry your own bag. Easy does it.

What's included?

  • Transport
  • Ferry crossing between north and south island
  • All national park fees
  • Use of sports equipment on board
  • 22 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 21 dinners
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