Trip Type : Small Group Tour
New Zealand North Island Explorer Southbound tour
Abel Tasman National Park Auckland New Zealand North Island Explorer Southbound Trip
Christchurch Nelson New Zealand North Island Explorer Southbound Trip

New Zealand North Island Explorer Southbound

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.7 . Excellent
98%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
12 days
From: $ 3,670 $ 306 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Discover Waitomo's incredible limestone cave system, with night walks to see the glow worms – or better yet, some underground black-water rafting
  • Watch geysers erupt on traditional Maori lands in Rotorua, and take the Maori experience to the next level with an optional cultural performance and traditional hangi feast
  • This trip has plenty of spectacular waterfalls, but Huka Falls is one you’ll want to pack the camera for. Get up close and personal with this foaming blue powerhouse en route to Taupo
  • The Tongariro Crossing is simply New Zealand’s greatest hike, with scenery that must be seen to be believed. And with a cosy mountain lodge as a base, there’s plenty of time to unwind before and after in the spa
  • Wellington is nirvana for epicureans, but the food and drink is only the start. Visit the world-class Te Papa Tongarewa museum for fascinating insight into Maori and Pacific cultures
  • Hit the trails of Abel Tasman National Park, the small but stunning coastal wilderness near sunny Nelson
  • Whales and dolphins watching in Kaikoura is sure to be a trip highlight for marine life enthusiasts, and the chances of sightings are high

Short Description

The South Island may have larger-than-life landscapes, but the North Island has a bit of everything. Discover the best of New Zealand’s North Island – with a taste of the South Island too – on this action-packed and well-rounded Kiwi adventure from Auckland to Christchurch. Soak up the summer vibes in the Bay of Islands with kayaking and stunning short walks; experience Waitomo’s glow worm-riddled caves; learn the ancient ways of the Maori people in geyser-rich Rotorua; hike the iconic Tongariro Crossing at Mt Ruapehu; visit Wellington’s superb Te Papa museum; explore Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park; and go dolphin and whale watching in Kaikoura. With so many options packed into this 12-day itinerary, this is the North Island at its finest.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Auckland
End City Christchurch
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Itinerary

Day 1 Auckland

Kia-ora! Welcome to New Zealand. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm – ask the hotel reception for the details. As soon as you arrive in this beautiful harbourside town you're surrounded by friendly locals, volcanoes and a strong sense of Maoritanga (the Maori way of life). There is a distinct Pacific flavour to the 'City of Sails' and this can be seen in the streets and the local markets. The waterfront region, built to its current state for the America's Cup sailing challenges, is now a well-frequented local bar and restaurant hub. If you have extra time you can take a day trip to one of the many outer islands in the Hauraki Gulf, hike to one of the 22 nearby volcanoes, or keep it simple with a stroll and a coffee (the lively Ponsonby area is just a short walk away).

Day 2 Bay of Islands

Departing Auckland this morning, head north to the beautiful Bay of Islands (approximately 4 hours; 225 kilometres). There's some beautiful scenery along the way, so sit back and enjoy the rolling green hills as your leader explains a bit about this part of New Zealand and what's coming on the journey ahead. There will be stops in small towns so you can stretch your legs and grab a snack. Arriving in Paihia, where we'll spend the night, settle into your accommodation and enjoy the sea breeze. This afternoon is a good time to get to know your fellow travellers – perhaps over one of New Zealand's many renowned white wines or small-batch craft beers. It's also a good time to peruse the list of Bay of Islands optional activities, as there are lots to choose from.

Day 3 Bay of Islands

In the morning you might get the chance to go kayaking under a waterfall, cruise in search of seabirds, take photos from stunning lookout points, or explore historic towns and sites, the Bay of Islands is a delight. The Bay of Islands is where the treaty of Waitangi was signed between 500 Maori chiefs and the British Crown, and a trip to the Treaty Grounds to learn more about this is well worth your time. This afternoon head out on a relaxing lunchtime cruise and see the stunning harbour scenery while eating some delicious local food.

Day 4 Bay of Islands-Rotorua

Embrace an early start as you make your way back down south, to Rototrua. We'll be travelling back through Auckland, crossing the harbour bridge for a fantastic view of the 'City of Sails'. After passing through Auckland, continue to Rotorua. In Rotorua we'll see geysers and boiling mud pools in an amazing display of mother earth's power. This evening……….We have the option of a Maori cultural show and traditional Hangi dinner. Maybe take in the redwoods tree-walk at night.

Day 5 Rotorua

Today you have the chance to explore Rotorua and all its surroundings. There is alot to do in this busy adventure town. This all happens at Te Puia, site of the New Zealand Arts and Crafts Institute. The geysers here erupt regularly, and the Maori guides will show you around, explaining the significance of this land to their ancestors. You can view a rare Kiwi bird at Paradise Springs and learn more about New Zealand's great efforts to conserve them. Before you leave Rotorua, consider going zip-lining through the nearby virgin native forest. It's a great chance to not only get some thrills from up high out in nature, but learn the ins and outs of local efforts to save the Kiwi bird.

Day 6 Taupo - Mt Ruapehu

Today we visit Te Puia, site of the New Zealand Arts and Crafts Institute before heading south to Taupo, home of extreme sports on the North Island. On the way we visit the spectacular Huka Falls, a lush stream that cascades powerfully underneath a viewing bridge. This is one for the photographers. In Taupo there's the opportunity to go jet-boating, or simply relax by the world's biggest crater lake. We then drive on to Mt Ruapehu to get ready for our next day's activities. You're situated in the heart of the wilderness up here, in cosy lodgings with a spa and an excellent restaurant on site. It's a nice opportunity to relax before some hiking tomorrow. Those doing the Tongariro Crossing tomorrow will want to get a good rest.

Day 7 Mt Ruapehu

There are several options for today, the major one being the Tongariro Crossing. If you'd rather do something less rigorous, however, there are many shorter and easily accessible hikes on offer (see the reception at your lodge for more infomation). Those hiking the Tongariro Crossing – brace yourself for adventure. This is a full day hike and people should have a decent level of fitness to take it on. It's well worth the labour – it's considered NZ´s best one day hike and has fantastic views along the way, with crater lakes and majestic mountain landscapes to admire. It's quite strenuous though, and 20 kilometres long, so it's best to prepare for all kinds of weather and eat a solid breakfast first!

Day 8 Wellington

Departing the National Park, we head through the central north island to the capital city, Wellington. With more eateries per capita than New York City, Wellington is a fantastic place for foodies. It's also home to the world-class Te Papa Tongarewa museum, which we'll visit while we're here. As well as stunning Maori artifacts and contemporary art collections, the museum boasts the largest specimen of colossal squid. Captured in 2007, it weighs in around 495 kg. In your free time, perhaps jump in the cable car to the Botanic Gardens for some spectacular views of Wellington city and harbour. Be sure to take a walk down Cuba Street, hip strip of cafes, boutiques and bars that has something for everyone. Notes: Total driving time is around four and a half hours (approximately 330kms).

Day 9 Nelson

Today we cross to the South Island on the inter island ferry and enjoy the incredible scenery of the Marlborough Sounds. While the Bay of Islands enjoys its 'Winterless North' tag, it's actually Nelson that enjoys the sunniest weather in all of New Zealand. We have a huge variety of activities to choose from here, including kayaking, boating and sailing around Abel Tasman National Park. Nelson is very picturesque, but also has plenty of great dining options and art galleries, so don't be afraid to kick back and relax if you want to take a break from outdoor activities. Notes: Total driving time is around two hours (approximately 130kms).

Day 10 Nelson

Today is a great opportunity to visit Abel Tasman National Park (optional). Its bushwalking tracks, weaving among the gorgeous inlets and coves, are just begging to be explored, and a ride in a water taxi is a must-do. Have plenty of space left on your memory card, because the photo opportunities are many. Abel Tasman National Park is actually New Zealand's smallest national park, but that's one of the great things about it. It's easy to relax on the beach, go kayaking among the seabirds (gannets, blue penguins, cormorants), or dive straight into a brisk walk in the forest. There's an interesting old Maori fortress to visit also.

Day 11 Kaikoura

Leaving Nelson, head for the beautiful coastline of Kaikoura where many adventures await. Perhaps best of all is the whale and dolphin watching. For many travellers this will be a highlight of the trip, and the chances of making sightings are quite high. Also keep an eye out for petrels, New Zealand fur seals, and dolphins. Other optional activities include swimming with dolphins, fishing, and albatross-viewing tours. If you want to really take the adventure up a notch, scenic flights are also possible. In the evening, consider trying the excellent local seafood, such as crayfish. After all, you're in the town named after it ('kai' means food and 'koura' means crayfish). Notes: Total driving time is around four hours (approximately 240kms).

Day 12 Christchurch

Travel on to Christchurch, where the adventure finishes at approximately 6 pm. Notes: Total driving time is around three hours (approximately 160kms).

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 3,670
Price Per Day: $ 306 per day
Check Availability
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Oct-05-2019Oct-16-2019$ 3,670Yes8 spots left Reserve
Oct-29-2019Nov-09-2019$ 3,670Yes13 spots left Reserve
Nov-23-2019Dec-04-2019$ 3,670Yes10 spots left Reserve
Dec-17-2019Dec-28-2019$ 3,670Yes14 spots left Reserve
Jan-11-2020Jan-22-2020$ 3,670Yes12 spots left Reserve
Feb-04-2020Feb-15-2020$ 3,670Yes15 spots left Reserve
Feb-29-2020Mar-11-2020$ 3,670Yes14 spots left Reserve
Apr-18-2020Apr-29-2020$ 3,670Yes15 spots left Reserve

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel.

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3,163 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

98%
4.7 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 2,356
Great 625
Average 101
Disappointing 37
Terrible 39
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
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4.7
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4.7
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4.7
Meals
4.7

New Zealand North Island Explorer Southbound

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Highly recommend intrepid

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Recently went on the USA western highlights trek, had the most amazing experience ever, well organised, our guides Jenn and Tyler were amazing, friendly & helpful, can’t wait to book another trip, highly recommend intrepid
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Amazing local knowledge!!

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At the airport in Chang Mai at the end of my tour with the amazing Gung. I can’t wait to travel Intrepid again! I was able to still be independent with just the addition of amazing local knowledge!! Gung you are family now xo I also made new friends that I think I will visit over the next couple of years. Thinking Africa on some back to back tours in a couple of years.
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Just finished a brilliant tour

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Just finished a brilliant food tour of Japan with Intrepid. It was extremely well organised, brillant from start to finish.Our Intrepid guide was very knowledgeable and really made our trip extra special. We are now looking at the next tour!
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Amazing beyond any expectation

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I've sadly just finished the Serengeti Trail. Words cannot describe how amazing this was. We had 13 awesome people in the group and the 3 crew - Benson, Kioko and Kennedy were amazing beyond any expectation. Everything was smooth, no hiccups, campsites and lodgings were fantastic. We saw 4 of the Big 5 and even experienced some things that the crew hadn't seen before. I've learnt so much and now enjoying some downtime in Zanzibar.
If I could suggest 1 thing, would be another electric fridge for our drinks, there is one for the meat. After drinking warm everything for 3 days, we were dying for a cold drink and you couldn't get ice.
Im glad the tour wasn't full too so we could spread out a bit on the truck.
If you are lucky enough to get our crew, you are in good hands.
Recommend single supplement for solo travelers, just makes it a little less awkward and more comfy
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Great first class

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Great first class professional staff - great local guides exceptional- the group sizes and mix perfect. We are traveling again soon with intrepid.

What an amazing group, one big happy

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This was our 6th adventure with Intrepid and equally as brilliant as our previous 5.
A fantastic 17 day basic tour "Maya encounter".
What an amazing group, one big happy Intrepid family. Our tour leader Jason Atilano was a dream, a truly wonderful man who organised everything and made dreams come true, from arranging local transport, amazing and affordable restaurants, hidden adventures and even a tarantula visit in Tikal.
I love Intrepid tours, simply because they take you into the heart of the community and allow you to absorb the real atmosphere of these beautiful countries in a responsible way. They allow you to step out of your "comfort zones" should you so choose, but it's optional. A home stay with a local family was an absolute honor and a privilage. A night camping under the stars in rain Forrest was a definite highlight. Looking up at the Milky way and an early wake up alarm from the howler monkeys, not something you get to experience every
night.
This is why I always choose Intrepid, every new trip is another new and very memorable adventure. Just like life, you get out of it what you choose to put in.
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Details

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 15

Accomodations

Lodge (11 nts)

Guides

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. In New Zealand your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish in a coaster vehicle. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Our crew are chosen for their driving skills, their knowledge of the country, their personality, and of course their leadership abilities. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting - we think it's the best of both worlds.

Additional Information:

Finish point

  • Breakfree Christchurch
  • 165 Cashel St
  • Christchurch
  • Christchurch
  • 8011
  • NEW ZEALAND
  • Phone: +64 800 448 891

Trip ID#:

intrepid-PTONU

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