20 Day New Zealand Essential Tour
20 Day New Zealand Essenctial
The tour for the ultimate adrenaline seeker! New Zealand is world renowned for being an adventure playground and has invented some of the most unique adventure activities on the planet. We've compiled many of them in this once in a lifetime adventure. Skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, rafting, caving, wilderness kayaking, heli-hiking....it's all on the menu!
In between all of these adrenaline pumping activities, this tour still shows you the most breathtaking places in New Zealand at the same time, so you won't miss anything.
Are you ready?
HighlightsWaitomo Glowworm Caves. Heli-Flight and ice landing : Franz Josef - Mountain Scenic Spectacular . Heli Wine, Queenstown. Funyaks + Jet Boat. Milford Sound Cruise. Tram Restaurant. Whale Watch. Afternoon Wine tour. Float Plane- Mount Ruapehu Scenic. Tamaki Maori Village. Polynesia Spa.
Terms and Conditions
Prices are based on twin share occupancy in a double room, and are subject to availability. If anything comes back unavailable, we will endeavor to find you a suitable alternative.
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Day 1 : Auckland
Day 2 : Auckland- Waitomo-Taupo
Heading South through the lush farmlands of the Waikato region, your destination for today is Taupo. Along the way you'll pay a visit to the world famous Waitomo glowworm caves, where you will marvel at thousands of magical glowworms and become part of over 130 years of cultural and natural history.
About 2kms north of Taupo as you approach the town, a must see are the impressive Huka Falls. This is where the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river, enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock. The resulting sight is nothing but spectacular. More than 220,000 liters of water per second rushes by.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Description : World-renowned and a magnet for both local and overseas visitors, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves occupy a high placing in the New Zealand vacation wish-list.
The glowworm, Arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand. Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as our expert guides provide informative commentary on the Caves' historical and geological significance.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must-see for any traveller. Enjoy the world famous boat ride under thousands of magical glowworms and become a part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history.
The boat ride : Marvel at Mother Nature's light display as you glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto. Meander underground along the Waitomo River and gaze in silence at the myriad of glow-worm lights that make up the Glowworm Grotto. As you enter this galaxy of tiny living lights, you'll immediately experience a serene ambience and be fascinated and intrigued by tiny glowworms that light your way.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
B&B :@ Number 10 B&B
Diving Time: 3 Hours 33 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 278 Km.
Day 3 : Taupo -Welllington via Tongariro National Park
Today you make your way down to Wellington, the coolest little capital in the world. Find out yourself why Wellington was named the best liveable city in the world in 2016!
The drive to the capital will take you right through the Dual World Heritage Tongariro National Park with the mighty Mt Tongariro and Mt Ruapehu dominating the moon like landscapes and further along the Desert Road.
In Wellington, visit to the national museum Te Papa is a must-do. A trip on the iconic cable car gives you great views across the city and bay at the top. Stroll around in Cuba street, with its many funky bars known for their craft beers, cafes, and excellent restaurants.
Hotel : Citylife -Heritage
Day 4 : Wellington -Picton-Nelson
Today you will say goodbye to the North Island and cruise across the Cook Strait on the Interislander ferry, with great views of the Marlborough Sounds.
Upon your arrival in the small but picturesque fishing town of Picton, you will carry on your journey to creative Nelson, the sunniest place in New Zealand.
Ferry: 3 Hours 40 Minutes
Driving Time : 1 Hour 47 Minutes
Driving Distance : 133 Km.
Day 5 : Nelson- Punakaiki
The scenery changes dramatically driving through the Buller Gorge on the way to the wild West Coast Once past the gorge a recommended side trip and stop is Lake Rotoroa in the Nelson Lakes National Park.
Punakaiki on the West Coast lies in the smallest national park of New Zealand, Paparoa National Park, known for its famous pancake rocks, and where columns of water shoot skyward from rocks that resemble giant stacks of hotcakes.
Hotel : Punakaiki Resort
Driving Time : 3 Hours 44 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 265 Km.
Day 6 : Punakaiki - Franz Josef
It's a relatively short drive to Franz Josef in Westland National Park today, an area of magnificent primeval vistas – snow-capped mountains, glaciers, forests, tussock grasslands, lakes, rivers, wetlands and beaches.
The seaside town of Hokitika is well worth a stop along the route, a place to appreciate the fascinating history of the west coast. The Arahura River, which enters the sea just north of Hokitika, is a traditional source of pounamu (greenstone). There are a number of jewelry stores selling greenstone in town, and are well worth a look.
When you arrive in Franz Josef, you'll experience the Glaciers at their best, up close and personal!
Activity : Heli-Flight and ice landing : Franz Josef - Mountain Scenic Spectacular
Hotel : Scenic Franz Josef
Diving Time : 2 Hours 54 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 217 Km.
Day 7 : Franz Josef- Wanaka
The road between Frans Josef and Haast winds its way along the rugged West Coast with lush native bush and rainforest. Haast is located in the heart of Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Area, with national parks to the north, south and east. You'll head inland and into the Mt Aspiring National Park with its towering mountains and glaciel fed rivers with crystal clear waters. The road then takes you along Lake Hawea before arriving into Wanaka.
In winters skiers from all over the world flock to Wanaka for its great skiing, and in summer the impressive mountains provide for a range of adventure activities.
We recommend a one of the many short day walks in the Matukituki Valley about 40km west of Wanaka.
Lodge : Wanaka Alpine Lodge
Diving Time : 3 Hours 51 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 286 Km.
Day 8 : Wanaka -Queenstown
Today you will not be traveling far. The road over the Crown Range between Wanaka and Queenstown only takes a little over an hour, so you'll have plenty of time to spend the day in Queenstown.
The day is entirely yours, the question is, will you be able to decide what to do? Queenstown is synonymous with adventure, it is dubbed the "adventure capital of the world". Regardless of the season, Queenstown gets your adrenaline flowing year round, and the options are endlesss. Want to throw yourself out of a plane in amazing scenery, jump off a bridge in the birthplace of Bungy, jetboat, raft down a river, you name it...Queenstown has it all.
The town itself sits on the shore of Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges, and the scenic drive to Glenorchy is one of our favourites in New Zealand. Another way to enjoy the beautiful scenery is a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw.
Because Kiwis are nocturnal birds, chances are slim you will see one in the wild, so a good place to meet the New Zealand icon is the Kiwi Birdlife Park.
Activity : Heli Wine - Queenstown
Hotel : Heritage Queenstown
Driving Time : 1 Hour 4 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 67.2 Km.
Day 9 : Queenstown
Queenstown is a place with so many things to do, so you'll stay here for an additional day.
As appetites differ from person to person, just let us know if you would like to do something else during this day that we can help you with.
Activity : Funyak + Jet Boat
Hotel : Heritage Queenstown
Day 10 : Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau
Visit Milford Sound today and experience a world of cascading waterfalls, sheer rock faces and dense rainforest. Your journey along the shores of Lake Wakatipu takes you further south to Te Anau first, gateway to the Fiordland National Park.
You will travel along the Milford Road – one of the world's most scenic roads – and through the Homer Tunnel, before arriving for your Milford Sound Cruise. Enjoy striking views of iconic Mitre Peak from the head of the Sound – it rises 1,692 metres from the south shore and is named for its resemblance to a bishop’s mitre.
The pristine Milford Sound is part of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, in the south west of the South Island, and is famed for its pristine natural beauty and remote atmosphere. It is New Zealand’s best known fiord and the only one that can be reached by road. The fiord extends 15km inland from the wild Tasman Sea and is regularly visited by wildlife including penguins, seals and dolphins.
You will return to Te Anau where you will spend the night.
Activity : Milford Sound Cruise
Hotel : Distinction Te Anau
Driving Distance : 5 Hours 26 Minutes.
Driving Time: 405 Km.
Day 11 : Te Anau - Dunedin
Crossing back from west to east today, your journey will take you off the beaten track to the Catlins in the southwest of the South Island. This regions is blessed with some spectacular waterfalls as well as the abundance of marine wildlife. New Zealand fur seals, hooker sea lions, yellow-eyed penguins and seabirds all live here. The Curio Bay area is also a protected nesting ground for yellow-eyed penguins. You'll need to arrive at low tide and the best viewing position is from the purpose-built platform.
Make sure you also visit Nugget Point, one of the most distinctive landforms along the Otago coast. A five minute walk takes you to the lighthouse, where you'll enjoy amazing views along the coastline in both directions.
You will spend your night in Dunedin. Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin is the country's city of the south, wearing its Scottish heritage with pride. Surrounded by dramatic hills and at the foot of a long, picturesque harbour, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.
B&B : The Birches
Driving Time: 3 Hours 25 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 289 Km.
Day 12 : Dunedin - Lake Tekapo
This morning travel through the towns of Omarama and Twizel before driving up the western side of Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo, that is very close to Mt Cook that is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3724 metres. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery and is also home to the Tasman Glacier, the longest in the Southern hemisphere.
Enjoy the afternoon off to explore at your leisure. The Hooker Valley walk starting at the DOC campground is an unmissable walk, getting you up close with New Zealand's most impressive mountain.
Hotel : Peppers Bluewater Resort - Lake Tekapo
Driving Time : 3 Hours 42 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 309 Km.
Day 13 : Lake Tekapo- Christchurch
Drive through the MacKenzie Country to Lake Tekapo, where you can stop to view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, built of local stone and oak in 1935. You will be leaving the Southern Alps behind you as you approach Christchurch across the vast Canterbury plains.
In the afternoon/evening we've scheduled you in for a combined tramride/dinner across the garden City.
Activity : The Tram Restaurant - Christchurch
Hotel : Heritage Christchurch
Driving Time : 4 Hours 4 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 323 Km.
Day 14 : Christchurch - Kaikoura
This morning head north out of Christchurch. It’s two hours direct to Kaikoura or you may like to take a more scenic inland route via Hanmer Springs to bathe in the mineral pools in their alpine setting. This afternoon we have included a Whale Watch Cruise. Board your boat and prepare your camera finger – you’re about to meet New Zealand’s resident sperm whales on a 3-hour whale watching excursion, sure to inspire awe, affection and a touch of giddiness. Spot cheeky fur seals, pods of Dusky dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross among the waves, and if you’re lucky (and it’s the right season) migrating humpback whales, pilot whales, blue whales and southern right whales may appear!
Kaikoura is also known for some of the best seafood of the country, escpecially crayfish, so we highly recommend you try to sample some while you are here.
Activity : Whale Watch - Kaikoura
Hotel : The White Morph - Heritage
Driving Time : 2 Hours 35 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 181 Km.
Day 15 : Kaikoura -Wellington
As you travel to Picton to catch your ferry ride back to the North Island, the journey continues on Blenheim and wine country Marlborough, world famous for its Sauvignon Blanc wines.
You will be returning to Wellington the same day to continue your journey on the North Island.
Hotel : Citylife -Heritage
Ferry : 3 Hours 40 Minutes.
Driving Time : 2 Hours 10 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 156 Km.
Day 16 : Wellington - Napier
Leaving Wellington, make your way through the farming towns of Masterton, Carterton and Greytown before arriving in the boutique wine-village of Martinborough.
As you continue north, you'll be driving through some of New Zealand’s rural heartland with a mixture of sheep, dairy and crop farming. Stop at Pukaha Mount Bruce Nature and Wildlife Reserve where you’ll experience some of New Zealand’s endangered wildlife up close and in the wild
Another famous wine region of New Zealand is the Hawke's Bay, and here we've organised a wine tour in the afternoon, where you'll sample some of New Zealand's best wine.
You'll spend the night in the Art Deco town of Napier,widely regarded as one of the best Art Deco cities of the world, the result of a thorough rebuilding after a massive earthquake destroyed the town in 1931.
Activity : Napier afternoon Wine Tour
Hotel : Hotel Art Deco Masonic
Diving Time : 4 Hours 14 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 321 Km.
Day 17 : Napier -Rotorua, via Taupo
Heading back inland today, make sure you stop at the Waipunga waterfall about halfway on the Napier-Taupo highway. You destination for the day will be Rotorua, but an incredible experience awaits you before continuing to Rotorua, the Taupo floatplane.
After your flight, it's a short distance to Rotorua, and as you approach, you may marvel at the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland. The loop walk takes about 1 hour return.You destination, Rotorua, has been known for its geothermal activity for over 150 years and today you are able to see, feel, smell and hear some of this wonder of nature.
Activities : Float Plane- Mount Ruapehu Taupo
Wai - O- Tapu , Rotorua
Hotel : Millennium Rotorua
Driving Time : 2 Hours 57 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 223 Km.
Day 18 : Rotorua
Day 19 : Rotorua - Coromandel
On the road to the Coromandel, you'll pass the small town of Matamata, also known as the home of Hobbiton.
The Coromandel Peninsula is relatively small, but the roads are very windy, so traveling times are slow. The Coromandel offers some of the country's most exquisite beaches, and its well worth exploring the region at a relaxed pace.
The drive to and in the Coromandel will take you through a number of relaxed beach towns such as Waihi, Whangamata and Tairua. You will continue to head north until you reach Hahei, where you will find the famous Hot Water Beach and can dig your own spa at low tide. A little bit further up the road is the equally famous Cathedral Cove,
Just past Whitianga,,your final destination for the day, make sure you stop at the lesser known New Chums Beach. This beach is regarded as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world, so well worth the little side trip!
B&B : B&B Bayview @91
Driving Time : 3 Hours 2 Minutes
Driving Distance : 208 Km.
Day 20 : Coromandel - Auckland
Today your tour will conclude, and you will be returning to Auckland to drop off your rental vehicle.
You will pass through Coromandel town, a town full of history from New Zealand's early gold mining and logging days and return to Auckland via the Hauraki trail road before it connects to the main highway which takes you to the airport.
Driving Time : 2 Hours 22 Minutes.
Driving Distance : 156 Km.
- Complimentary airport transfers
- Detailed tour pack upon arrival at first night's accommodation.
- 20 day car rental with unlimited daily kilometers
- Standard insurance with zero excess reduction option.
- 19 Nights Accommodation.
- Auckland Bridge Climb
- Waitomo Tumu Tumu Toobing
- Cathedral Cove Kayaking.
- Rafting Rotorua
- Taupo Skydiving
- Tongariro Alpine Crossing
- Interislander Ferry
- Tongariro Alpine Crossing
- Abel Tasman Great Walk
- Franz Josef Heli Hike
- Queenstown Bungy
- Doubtful Sound Kayaking
- Wildwire Wanaka
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 45 days or more before the start of the tour, the cancellation fee will be equivalent to the deposit paid
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 30 to 45 days before the start of the tour the cancellation fee shall be 25% of the contract price
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 7 to 30 days before the start of the tour the cancellation fee shall be 50% of the contract price
- Where the date of cancellation is a date 7 days or less before the start of the tour the cancellation fee shall be 100% of the contract price
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