Best of New Zealand
Compared with their enormous neighbour to the left, the islands of New Zealand don’t look especially big on the map, but don’t let their small stature deceive you. There is much to do here, be it biking to old gold mining sites, kayaking remote coves or hiking some of the most breathtaking routes in the whole world. But if you’re short on travel dollars, fear not; this trip squeezes in the very best of both the North and South Islands into an affordable, action-packed 21-day itinerary that moves swiftly without ever seeming rushed.
Arrive at any time.
Day 2Auckland/Raglan(1B, 1L)
Visit a special conservation farm to learn about their methods before sea kayaking to a harbour for a picnic lunch.
Day 3Raglan(1B, 1D)
Enjoy an included surf lesson in one of the world's most famous surf areas, then opt to take a bone carving lesson with local Maori.
Day 4Raglan/Rotorua(1B, 1D)
Opt to go caving before heading to Rotorua, notable for its geothermal activity and culture. Visit a local village to gain insight into Maori culture. Enjoy a traditional 'Hangi' experience.
Day 5Rotorua/National Park(1B, 1D)
Travel around Lake Taupo and explore the volcanic World Heritage-listed national parks in the area. Conquer the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand's top-rated 1-day trek (seasonal).
Day 6National Park/Wellington(1B)
Hit the nation's capital and visit the national museum, Te Papa, or stroll along Oriental Parade. Check out some of the area's great bars and cafés.
Day 7Wellington/Abel Tasman National Park(1B, 1D)
Take a ferry over to the South Island and transfer to Abel Tasman National Park.
Day 8Abel Tasman National Park(1B, 1D)
Hike and explore Abel Tasman's golden beaches and waterways.
Day 9Abel Tasman National Park/Punakaiki(1B, 1D)
Head south down the coast of black-sand beaches. Visit a seal colony and take in the pancake rock formations at Punakaiki.
Day 10Punakaiki/Franz Josef(1B, 1D)
Stay in a lodge surrounded by rainforest and explore this UNESCO World Heritage Area.
Day 11Franz Josef(1B)
Free day for optional activities. Options include various hikes, horseback riding and quad biking.
Day 12Franz Josef/Queenstown(1B)
Visit the adventure capital of the world—Queenstown.
Free time in Queenstown. Get the heart pumping with some adrenaline-filled options, such as jet boating, bungy jumping, mountain biking or skydiving.
Day 15Queenstown/Doubtful Sound(1B, 1L, 1D)
Visit Fiordland National Park en route to Doubtful Sound.
Day 16Doubtful Sound/Wedderburn(1B, 1D)
Enjoy a guided kayak excursion through jaw-dropping scenery. Travel to Central Otago.
Bike 35 km of the Otago Rail Trail, passing through one historic town to the next. Along the way sample some local food and drink.
A free afternoon to explore Christchurch.
Day 19Christchurch/Kaikoura(1B, 1D)
Opt to go whale watching, swim with seals or take a walk along the coast.
Morning visit to a seal colony before catching the ferry back to Wellington. Opt for a final night out with the group.
Depart at any time.
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