DAY 1: Auckland to Rotorua
Haere Mai and Welcome! Your tour begins in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) the city of sails, the largest city in New Zealand and home to over 2 million people. We’re departing this morning for a short trip to Rotorua and, let’s just say, the ‘unusual’ sulphur smell will be a telltale sign that you’ve arrived! Known as the North Island’s geothermal hot spot and hub for all the very best adventure activities, Rotorua is 100% one of the best places to explore… even if your nostrils tell you otherwise! We’ll stop at the Whakarewarewa Forest for a walk amongst the giant California Redwoods planted over 100 years ago before checking in at our hostel.
Accommodation: Distinction Rotorua or similar Meal Options: Local eateries Free activities: Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest walk
DAY 2: Rotorua
You’re in luck because today is a free day for you to explore Rotorua! There’s heaps of cool activities to do here including white water rafting, ziplining, zorbing and even Hobbiton or just relaxing in a geothermal spa! If you want to see some geothermal activity for free, head to Kuirau Park to see boiling mud pools and steaming lakes. Accommodation: Distinction Rotorua or similar
Meals included: Breakfast Meal options: Local restaurants Free activities: Kuirau Park
DAY 3: Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua
After hanging out in a major tourist destination like Rotorua, you’ll probably feel ready to experience a more authentic slice of New Zealand culture. Today we venture off the beaten track to the shores of Lake Aniwhenua. Kohutapu Lodge is owned by a local Maori family who are passionate about showcasing their Maori tribal heritage. You’ll see sacred Maori rock carvings, play traditional stick games and watch the preparation of a ground cooked ‘hangi’, before tasting it for yourself! Prepare your tastebuds – this will probably be the best meal you eat in New Zealand, or maybe even in your lifetime!
Exclusive experience includes:
● Welcome to the tribal lands and a guided tour to sacred Maori rock carvings ● Introduction to to the Murupara area, its people, history and challenges ● Afternoon tea ● Mau Rakau (Maori stick games) ● Weaving Lesson ● Haka Lesson ● 1 night’s accommodation at the serene lakeside Kohutapu Lodge ● Full traditional hangi buffet dinner & dessert ● Storytelling around the fire pit ● Continental breakfast
Accommodation: Scenic lakefront cabins Meals included: Breakfast, full traditional hangi dinner and dessert Free activities: Maori rock carvings, volleyball
DAY 4: Lake Aniwhenua to Blue Duck Station
Rise and shine, strayers! Enjoy your buffet breakfast and get ready for a day of jam-packed adventure. Keep your togs (swimwear) handy, because our first stop is Kerosene Creek – a naturally hot river and the perfect place for a morning soak. Then it’s on to Taupo to see Australasia’s largest lake and the mighty Huka Falls before venturing about as far off the beaten track as you can get in the North Island! Blue Duck Station is a sprawling 7,200-acre high country farm that is both a working station and an eco-conservation pioneer dedicated to protecting the native environment for its namesake, the rare blue duck. On arrival, we will settle in to learn a little about daily life at Blue Duck, the station’s interesting settlement history and their sustainability efforts before cooking some dinner and chilling out around the bonfire.
Accommodation: Country station lodge Optional paid activities: Skydiving or bungy in Taupo Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner Meal options: Breakfast included. We’ll stop at a supermarket to stock up on supplies – Self-cater or join the optional group dinner Free activities: Huka Falls, Spa Park walk Taupo
DAY 5: Blue Duck Station
Good news – You have a full free day to explore this ruggedly charming destination. For entertainment, you have the option to go horseback riding over rolling green hills, or jump on a 4WD and travel through native bush to the ‘Top of the World’ where you can see the three peaks of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. If you’d prefer to explore on foot, hike to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall and see if you can spot a rare blue duck in the flesh. Whatever you decide, we have no doubt this will be the start of your love affair with this lush kiwi paradise. Those holiday romances, aye!
Accommodation: Country station lodge Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included activities: 4WD farm eco-tour Free activities: Hike to Kaiwhakauka waterfall
DAY 6: Blue Duck Station to Ohakune
Rise and shine this morning for your trip to Ohakune. We’ll head straight there after breakfast for your scenic bike ride along the Old Coach Road. You’ll be fitted for your Bike and then shuttled to Horopito where your easy but epic 4-hour unguided bike trail begins. Download the free app before you start if you’d like to get some info along the way about your route. You’ll cycle on a unique cobbled road, past historic Viaducts and limestone cliffs and there’ll be plenty of stops along the way to take photos for the ‘gram. Once you’ve finished the tour you’ll head to your accommodation at Powderhorn Chateau for a relaxing evening.
Accommodation: Powderhorn Chateau or similar Meals included: Breakfast Meal options: Local restaurants Included activity: Electric bike along the Old Coach Road Free activities: Walk Oriental Parade, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, visit Te Papa National Museum
DAY 7: Ohakune to Wellington
Onwards to Wellington, the ‘coolest little capital in the world’! Wellington packs a lot of character into its downtown district, with funky restaurants and bars along Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. Fill your afternoon by browsing through the exhibits at Te Papa National Museum, grab a craft beer at an edgy brewery, climb to the top of Mt Victoria for panoramic views or take a stroll along the waterfront and Oriental Parade. Oh and, most importantly for those who seek 24/7 caffeination, you’ll be glad to know that Wellington’s coffee culture and cafe scene is considered one of the best in NZ.
Accommodation: Ibis Wellington or similar Meals included: Breakfast Meal options: Local restaurants Free activities: Walk Oriental Parade, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, visit Te Papa National Museum
DAY 8: Wellington to Marahau (Abel Tasman)
We catch an early Bluebridge Ferry across the Cook Strait and through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds to the South Island. If the weather’s good, head out to the viewing deck to witness some incredible scenes before arriving in Picton and setting off through the picturesque Marlborough region. Then we continue to Marahau, situated right on the edge of the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park.
Accommodation: The Barn or similar Meals included: Breakfast Optional paid activities: Wine tasting (usually $5-10) Meal options: We’ll stop at a supermarket to stock up on supplies – Self-cater or join the optional group dinner Free activities: Stargazing
DAY 9: Marahau (Abel Tasman)
Count yourself lucky – you have a full day to explore New Zealand’s most popular national park. From our accommodation you can hike straight into the park (no water taxi required!). It’s a cool 12kms to Anchorage and you’ll see the park’s natural golden sand beaches and brilliant blue waters along the way. The walk is approx. 4 hours each way but there’s enough photo stops en-route to spend an entire day exploring. Enjoy a picnic on the beach before checking out Cleopatra’s Pools, moss lined fresh water pools with a natural water slide. Accommodation: The Barn or similar
Meals included: Breakfast Optional paid activities: Kayaking, water taxi, canyoning Meal options: Pack a picnic lunch and lots of snacks for your hike, Self-cater in the kitchen or use the BBQs Free activities: Hike in the national park, relax on the golden sand beaches, see Cleopatra’s Pools
DAY 10: Marahau (Abel Tasman) to Christchurch
Buckle up for an awesome day driving down the incredibly scenic ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its untamed beaches and spectacular rainforest. Through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road named one of the top drives in the world by Lonely Planet, there’s not much cell phone reception but you are NOT gonna need it – we dare you to peel your eyes away from the window for even a second. We’ll stop at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes to explore this unique part of coastline before continuing on to Greymouth where you’ll board the TranzAlpine scenic train down to Christchurch. A city where old meets new, Christchurch is home to cool laneways and creative street art intended to bring cheer and colour to a city once buried in rubble. On arrival in Christchurch, make your way to the Ibis hotel which is your accommodation for the evening.
Accommodation: Ibis Christchurch or similar Meals included: Breakfast Meal options: Local eateries Included activities: TranzAlpine Train experience Free activities: Explore Christchurch
DAY 11: Depart Christchurch
Today your adventure comes to an end. We hope you had a blast! If you have some time at the end of your trip, why not stay a few extra days in Christchurch and explore the city. Meals included: Breakfast