Explore roads less travelled on this special small group New Zealand tour and discover country hospitality and nature in the wild. In the North Island we discover authentic Maori culture around Rotorua and visit Tongariro National Park, in the South Island we tour the Mount Cook region and visit famous Milford Sound by land, sea and air. Meet the locals over private lunches at Lake Tarawera, a Marlborough vineyard and a mid-Canterbury farmhouse 

 

18 Night / 19 Day New Zealand Tour - Both Islands

Auckland
Rotorua
Tongariro National Park
Wellington
Nelson
Abel Tasman National Park
Kaikoura
Mount Cook
Queenstown
Milford Sound
Wanaka
Franz Josef Glacier
Punakaiki
Christchurch
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Tour Price

MoaTrek Kaka Icon

2018 / 2019 Season

$9590.00 pp twin
$12190.00 pp single
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Tour Map

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

Auckland panoramic view in the morning - NZ Tour both islands

Your tour starts from Auckland, New Zealand’s "City of Sails" and one of the friendly MoaTrek team will meet you at the airport today (or whenever you arrive) and will drop you off at your hotel. Your home for the night is just a short stroll away from the cafes and restaurants of Viaduct Harbour, Wynyard Quarter, Princes Wharf and the downtown shopping district. Can’t wait to get out into that New Zealand fresh air?  Ferries to Devonport or the Hauraki Gulf islands are right there too!

There’s no better way to get your bearings than to take the stunning view from the Sky Tower, or a short ride to the Auckland Museum, watching over the city from the Auckland Domain.

What you'll love today
  • One of the friendly MoaTrek family will meet you team at the airport for a short city orientation and drop you off at your waterfront accommodation.
  • Everything is right at your doorstep, easy walking distance to the viaduct, restaurants, ferries, shopping, theatres, museums, information and services.
Your accommodation tonight

Day 2: Auckland - Rotorua

Relaxing while sailing on Lake Rotoiti

From Auckland our tour continues to Rotorua, via the lush pastures of the Waikato and fruit basket of the Bay of Plenty. Our first stop is the dramatic Karangahake Gorge for a stroll alongside the Ohinemuri River through native bush to the relics and ruins of this region's gold-mining past.

We pass through Te Puke, the Kiwifruit capital of the world, where we'll visit a working Kiwifruit orchard before continuing on to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Along the way, at Okawa Bay, we board "Tiua", a 53ft catamaran for a relaxing sail on serene Lake Rotoiti to secluded coves and natural hot pools reached only by boat - a memorable end to an awesome day.

 

What you'll love today
  • The rich gold mining history of the stunning Karangahake Gorge
  • Sailing across Lake Rotoiti for a soak in secluded hot pools
Your accommodation tonight

Day 3: Rotorua tours and activities

Maori culture experience in Rotorua, Kaka Tour

We’ve got two nights in Rotorua, so take it easy this morning! Perhaps stroll down to the lakeside, just minutes from your hotel, or enjoy one of Rotorua's many guided tours and attractions. Don’t miss nearby Ohinemutu marae, one of only two living Maori villages left in New Zealand.  We'll head to the famous Lake Tarawera for a hosted lunch with our friends David and Karen, you’ll love them and their stories from their Maori and European histories.

 

What you'll love today
  • Explore the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua
  • Relax over a hosted lunch at Lake Tarawera
Your accommodation tonight

Day 4: Rotorua - Tongariro National Park

Guided tour at Waiotapu thermal wonderland near Rotorua

No Kiwi holiday would be complete without a visit to the surreal, geothermal reserve of Wai-O-Tapu. The bubbling mud pools and incredibly colourful silica terraces are unforgettable. We continue on our adventure to "Great Lake" Taupo and stroll to view the famous Huka Falls.

We’ll stop around the lake on our way to Tongariro National Park. You can either relax in your hotel, the Chateau Tongariro, and enjoy the close up views of the mountains - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu or walk to the Taranaki Falls. This is a classic North Island walking trail with gentle terrain, great views and unique native plants.

What you'll love today
  • Boiling mud and unbelievable colour at Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Area
  • A choice of spectacular short walks to New Zealand's beautiful waterfalls
Your accommodation tonight

Day 5: Tongariro National Park - Wellington

Aerial photo of Tongariro National Park peaks

After a relaxed breakfast at the historic Chateau Tongariro we drive up the mountain road to the Top of the Bruce to enjoy panoramic views over the volcanic plateau. We drive around the slopes of Mt Ruapehu before we make our way down the centre of the island to our capital Wellington. 

We stay two nights in Wellington as we reckon you can’t miss "the coolest little capital in the world". We’ll check out the city's sights and head up Mt Victoria for the stunning views over the harbour before getting settled for the night. We’re right in the heart of Wellington's vibrant hub of museums, theatres, galleries, boutiques and cafes. 

 

What you'll love today
  • Be wowed by the magnificent views of Mount Ngauruhoe
  • Experience the beating heart of Wellington
Your accommodation tonight

Day 6: Wellington

Wellington Cable Car and views - NZ Tour both islands

The day is yours to enjoy, you are at the heart of the action at The Bolton Hotel a short walk to the waterfront and Te Papa National Museum. Wellington is the food lovers' capital of New Zealand with a huge selection of cafes and boutique breweries to choose from. Ask your MoaTrek Kiwi guide his favourites.

Wellington is also the spiritual home of "The Lord of Rings" where you can visit Weta Workshop and see how all the props are made.

What you'll love today
  • The very best of Wellington at your door
  • Visit "our place" Te Papa National Museum
Your accommodation tonight

Day 7: Wellington - Cook Strait Crossing - Picton - Blenheim - Nelson

MoaTrek guide and guest on the Cook Strait ferry - NZ Tour both islands

We cruise on the Interislander ferry across Cook Strait and into beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton to plant our feet firmly on “Te Waka a Maui”, the South Island. Our first port of call is Forrest Wines for tasting and lunch with a local right in the heart of the world famous Marlborough sauvignon blanc region.

From wine country we head through the heart of Marlborough toward Nelson, the sunshine capital of New Zealand and gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Along the way we cross the Pelorus River bridge, scene of the Barrel Run from the Hobbit movies. In Nelson relax and unpack, this is home for two nights.

What you'll love today
  • Cruising the Marlborough Sounds on the Interislander 
  • Marlborough sauvignon blanc with lunch, delicious!
Your accommodation tonight

Day 8: Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park

Stunning Abel Tasman coastline - NZ Tour both islands

Today is a highlight of the tour for many people – everyone has seen stunning photos of Abel Tasman National Park and now you’re here. Take your pick from a full scenic cruise or a cruise/walk combo to walk a section of the coastal track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. 

The coast is dotted with islands just offshore, sheltered bays, estuaries and golden sand beaches. Lie on the beach, or go for a swim, keeping your eye out for dolphins who often make an appearance. After your magical day out we'll return to Nelson for another night.

What you'll love today
  • Cruising the crystal clear blue waters of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Walk a section of the coastal track, relax on the beach, jump in for a swim!
Your accommodation tonight

Day 9: Nelson - Kaikoura

Mountain and ocean photo at Kaikoura

Heading towards Kaikoura the road hugs the rugged coastline between the Pacific Ocean and the Kaikoura Ranges and the views are truly spectacular. Your afternoon is free to explore Kaikoura’s bountiful marine wildlife - a result of the ocean canyon close offshore. One of the many highlights is viewing the seal colony with a backdrop of the Kaikoura mountains and coastline.

There are many optional excursions including whale watching cruises and flights. For those keen on an easy walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway offers a chance to explore the headland and enjoy the Pacific Ocean views with some interesting Maori history along the way.

What you'll love today
  • First views of the Southern Alps, playground for the rest of our journey
  • Walking and wildlife discovery at Kaikoura
Your accommodation tonight

Day 10: Kaikoura - Akaunui Homestead - Aoraki / Mt Cook

Group enjoying a garden lunch in Canterbury

Leaving the coast we drive over the Hunderlee Hills to the Canterbury Plains. We stop for a special lunch at Akaunui, a 100-year-old homestead surrounded by large gardens and dine on wonderful fresh produce prepared by your warm hosts Di and Ian Mackenzie. Get a great insight into life on a working sheep and dairy farm.

After lunch we continue through Burke's Pass to the spectacular Mackenzie Country for sweeping vistas of tussock lands and the Southern Alps. We’ll make plenty of stops en route, we can’t miss the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo and the unreal turquoise blue of glacier fed Lake Pukaki.

What you'll love today
  • A hosted country lunch with friends at Akaunui homestead
  • Watching the sun set on ‘the Cloud Piercer’, from the famous Hermitage Hotel
Your accommodation tonight

Day 11: Aoraki/Mt Cook - Queenstown

Mt Cook from the shores of Lake Pukaki

Always a memorable time on tour, your day in Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain and ‘home ground’ of the most famous Kiwi of all, Sir Edmund Hillary. Take your pick from exploring the dramatic landscape on one of the many easy walking tracks around the village. Kea Point is our favourite, a gentle undulating track with incredible close up views of the valley and the mountain itself. Alternatively take a boat cruise on a glacier lake, scenic flight or heli-hike on the Tasman glacier!

After lunch we head over the Lindis Pass and through the rugged Kawarau Gorge onto Queenstown - the adventure capital of New Zealand and our home for three nights. 

What you'll love today
  • Surround yourself in New Zealand’s most stunning alpine scenery - there’s nowhere like ‘Aoraki Mt Cook and the Tasman Glacier
  • Settle in for three nights in Queenstown and enjoy the vibrant mountain scene
Your accommodation tonight

Day 12: Queenstown - Milford Sound

Selfie on the Milford Road at the Hollyford River

Today is all about the one and only Milford Sound. From Queenstown we follow the shores of the great southern lakes Wakatipu and Te Anau before heading into the heart of Fiordland National Park on the spectacular Milford Road.  

On arrival at Milford cruise by launch out onto the sound dominated by iconic Mitre Peak and home to birdlife, seal colonies and pods of dolphins. A magical flight over the Southern Alps returns us to Queenstown at the end of a fantastic day of touring by land, sea and air. 

 

What you'll love today
  • Milford Sound cruise and scenic flight, no better way to experience Fiordland
  • New Zealand’s most stunning road, through the heart of Fiordland National Park
Your accommodation tonight

Day 13: Queenstown Activities and Day Tours

Enjoying Queenstown Jetboating - NZ Tour both islands

Today is yours to make the most of the infinite choice of day tours and activities Queenstown has to offer, your "Kiwi Guide" will be right there to help.  

What do we love in Queenstown?  A jet boat ride on the remote and beautiful Dart River in "The Lord of the Rings" scenery, walking along the lakeshore and the Botanic Gardens or take a thrilling raft ride on the Kawarau River. Other favourites are wine tasting in the celebrated boutique vineyards of Central Otago, golf on one of New Zealand’s best courses, a day walk on the famous Routeburn Track or cruising Lake Wakatipu on the 1912 Steamship, the TSS "Earnslaw".

What you'll love today
  • Take your pick from literally hundreds of activities and tours on offer in Queenstown
  • Enjoy dinner at one of the many award winning restaurants on the lakefront
Your accommodation tonight

Day 14: Queenstown - Arrowtown - Wanaka

Cadrona Hotel

Our day starts with a short hop to leafy Arrowtown, where gold mining history comes alive beside the Arrow River. Then we head into tussock country for the climb up the Crown Range and our last views of the beautiful Wakatipu basin. We call into picture perfect Cardrona Hotel, its history dates back to the colonial era, then continue on to Wanaka. 

Our hotel this evening is right on the lake edge, you’ve got plenty of time after lunch to discover this lovely lakeside town for yourself. Bike the waterfront trail, get out on the lake in a kayak or head next door to Rippon Vineyard for wine tasting with a view!

What you'll love today
  • Gold mining history comes to life in Arrowtown
  • Stroll along the lake edge at Wanaka, it’s right outside your door
Your accommodation tonight

Day 15: Wanaka - Haast Pass - Franz Josef Glacier

Rock stacks at the Blue Pools near Wanaka

Today is a quintessential kiwi day, where else in the world can you visit the seaside, a rainforest and a glacier all in the same day?  In New Zealand, no worries!  We start off following the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea before reaching the pristine mountain and river scenery of the Mount Aspiring National Park. Then it’s up and over the Haast Pass through beech forests, past cascading waterfalls and clear blue pools before following the Haast River out to the sea. There’s plenty of time for short walks and photo stops on the way, we’re in no hurry.

Head north through the lush, prehistoric Gondwanaland forest of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, stopping at Ship Creek to stroll the beach, keep your eye out for dolphins feeding in the shallows. Get your camera ready for Lake Matheson’s famous reflections and our first glimpse of Fox Glacier descending from Aoraki/Mt Cook. Our home for the night is Franz Josef.

What you'll love today
  • Where else in the world can you see a glacier, rainforest and the beach all in the same day?
  • Wake up by the lakeshore in Wanaka, go to sleep surrounded by rainforest in Franz Josef
Your accommodation tonight

Day 16: Franz Josef Glacier - Hokitika - Punakaiki

Visitors at Franz Josef Glacier lookout

Your morning is free to discover Glacier Country and Westland, right in the heart of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. Walk to the Franz Josef Glacier Valley lookout or cruise out on Okarito lagoon on an optional kayak or boat trip in search of the Kotuku - White Heron.

We head north through countryside dotted with little lakes and boulder strewn rivers. Hokitika is the Pounamu (greenstone) capital of the country and you’ll have the chance to visit the carvers as well as glass blowing, wood and copper artisans. We arrive at our home for two nights in Punakaiki, right on the beach in the perfect spot to enjoy your last few sunsets in New Zealand.

What you'll love today
  • Franz Josef Glacier walks, heli hiking or glacier landing
  • There’s nowhere more ‘off the beaten track’ than secluded Okarito, breeding ground of the graceful White Heron
Your accommodation tonight

Day 17: Punakaiki and Paparoa National Park

Views on the West Coast near Punakaiki

The surrounding Paparoa National Park is very different to any other area on the trip, towering limestone cliffs and karst rock formations with beautiful river valleys draped in subtropical forest.

You’ll have plenty of time to discover the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. There are also some great optional activities here, our favourite is the Glowworm Caves at Charleston but there are also exceptional walking tracks including the Truman track to an isolated beach and the coastal walkway at Cape Foulwind.

What you'll love today
  • Walking, glowworms and wildlife in Paparoa National Park
  • A special beachside toast with all your new friends
Your accommodation tonight

Day 18: Punakaiki - Arthur’s Pass Christchurch

Small tour group at Castle Hill rocks in Canterbury

Wake up to the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach, cross New Zealand’s main divide, traverse the stunning Canterbury High Country and cross the plains into the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch.  To do this in most countries would take days or weeks, in New Zealand it’s easy, we’ve even got plenty of time on the way for short walks and photo stops.  Nice one, New Zealand!

Highlights will be the Otira Viaduct, a spectacular cantilevered road through towering mountains to Arthur’s Pass National Park, with dramatic views from the lookout at the top of the Gorge and one of the best places in the country to see the hilarious antics of our alpine parrot, the Kea.  Stretch your legs in the beech forests at Arthur’s Pass National Park and again at the massive limestone rocks rising out of bare pasture at Castle Hill before we descend Porter’s Pass to the Canterbury Plains reaching Christchurch in the late afternoon. 

What you'll love today
  • Wake up by the beach, cross the mountains and be in Christchurch by dinner time!
  • Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill) on the Great Alpine Highway, a real ‘power spot’
Your accommodation tonight

Day 19: Depart Christchurch

Punting on the river in beautiful Christchurch - NZ Tour both islands

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the last day of your tour in Christchurch, we'll drop you off at the airport for your flight home after your New Zealand ’Trip of a Lifetime'.

We’re right on the edge of Hagley Park, so take the time for one last walk through the botanical gardens, a scenic tram ride through the streets or even a punt on the treelined Avon River.  We call Christchurch the most English city outside England, and it’s easy to see why. Catch up on last minute shopping for New Zealand favourites such as merino clothing or manuka honey, it’s all right here. Thank you for choosing to travel with MoaTrek New Zealand Tours. Ka kite ano – “See you again”. 

What you'll love today
  • Check out the new Christchurch, the rebuild mall and cardboard cathedral
  • Swapping addresses and saying goodbye to the new friends you’ve made (a few tears are normal!)

The friendly team at MoaTrek would love to chat

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