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. 

16 Night / 17 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

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2019/20 Season

$9390.00 pp twin
$11690.00 pp single
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Day 1: Auckland - Rotorua

MoaTrek Lake Rotoiti Thermal Hot Pools

After connecting with your travel companions in 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 2: 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 3: Rotorua - Tongariro National Park

The spectacular Artists Palette in the geothermal wonderland of Wai-O-Tapu, 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 4: Tongariro National Park - Wellington

MoaTrek, Mt Ruapehu

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 5: Wellington

Wellington Lord of the Rings Weta Studios

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
  • Explore New Zealand's National Museum Te Papa
Your accommodation tonight

Day 6: Wellington - Cook Strait Crossing - Picton - Blenheim - Nelson

MoaTrek Interislander Ferry Queen Charlotte Sound

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 7: Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park

MoaTrek Abel Tasman National Park Beach

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 8: Nelson - Kaikoura

MoaTrek Kaikoura Fur Seals

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
  • Kaikoura's famous marine life
Your accommodation tonight

Day 9: Kaikoura - Akaunui Homestead - Aoraki / Mt Cook

MoaTrek Akaunui Homestead, 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 Aoraki/Mt Cook "the Cloud Piercer"
Your accommodation tonight

Day 10: Aoraki/Mt Cook - Queenstown

MoaTrek Kea Point Walk, Aoraki Mt Cook

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 11: Queenstown - Milford Sound

MoaTrek Milford Sound Scenic Flight Southern Alps

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
  • Take New Zealand’s most stunning road through the heart of Fiordland National Park
Your accommodation tonight

Day 12: Queenstown Activities and Day Tours

MoaTrek Queenstown Gondola Aerial View

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 13: Queenstown - Arrowtown - Wanaka

MoaTrek Lake Wanaka Al Fresco Lunch

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 14: Wanaka - Haast Pass - Franz Josef Glacier

MoaTrek Wanaka Blue Pools Walk Suspension Bridge

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 Josefpu
Your accommodation tonight

Day 15: Franz Josef Glacier - Hokitika - Punakaiki

MoaTrek Franz Josef

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 16: Punakaiki and Paparoa National Park

MoaTrek Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

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
  • Discover the lost world of Paparoa National Park
  • Toast your last Kiwi sunset with your friends on the beach at Punakaiki
Your accommodation tonight

Day 17: Punakaiki - Arthur’s Pass - Christchurch

MoaTrek Castle Hill

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. 

Highlights include the Otira Viaduct, a spectacular cantilevered road through towering mountains to Arthur’s Pass National Park 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 at Castle Hill before we reach Christchurch in the late afternoon. We'll say our goodbyes with drop offs at Christchurch Airport or your city accommodation.

What you'll love today
  • Wake up by the beach, cross the mountains and be in Christchurch by the afternoon
  • Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill) on the Great Alpine Highway, a great short walk to finish your tour

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