27 Day Walks and Wonders
27 Day Walks and Wonders
What would you do if you had a month dedicated to pursuing the wonderful, beautiful and unmissable? - Don't skip over a single corner of New Zealand with this 27-day tour.
|Tour Type:||Self Drive Tours|
|From:||Auckland to Christchurch|
|Departures:||Jan 2020 - March 2021|
|Price:||From (NZD) $11113 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|26 nights accommodation|
|Rental vehicle of your choice|
|Coast and Rainforest Walk|
|Nature and Coast guided tour|
|Evening Maori culture experience and ‘Hangi’ (feast)|
|Mt Tarawera 4WD guided walk|
|Craters of the Moon walk|
|Walking gourmet tour of Wellington|
|Scenic cruise from Wellington to Picton|
|Queen Charlotte cruise & walk|
|Whale watch cruise|
|Franz Josef Glacier Heli-hike|
|Franz Josef Glacier hot pools|
|Dart River Wilderness Safari|
|Milford Track guided walk|
|Doubtful Sound wilderness crusie|
|2 day Otago Rail Trail cycle tour|
|Half day Otago Peninsula cruise and walk|
Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2020 – March 2021. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at time of booking.
Click here for our full terms and conditions.
Click on the prices below to enquire.
* Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling).
* 2 Bedroom Motel pricing also available with Exclusive Specials. Please request a quote for prices.
Day by Day Tour Itinerary
Welcome to Auckland! Pass through customs, collect any baggage and be met by one of our friendly representatives, ready to whisk you away to your city accommodation via an executive sedan.
After checking in and getting yourself settled, turn your roving eye outside and enjoy a free afternoon in the City of Sails. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with plenty of sights, shopping and street appeal for even the pickiest of travellers. (2 nights)
Rise and shine. It’s time for your all-day tour of Auckland, a city surrounded by breath-taking views and packed with things to do – and that’s exactly where you’re going today. Out of the city.
Our first stop will take you to the sweeping decks of the Arataki Centre in the Waitakere Ranges, where you can absorb a sense of pristine serenity and admire the Maori carvings guarding the buildings. Feeling calm and collected? Great. It’s time to go west.
Your guide will lead you through Auckland’s coastal rainforest, where the local flora and fauna kisses a rugged coastline and the green ferns grow large. Pick a path along a bubbling stream, breathing in the fresh, isolated air, before writing your name on the black sand beach close by. Tuck into a kiwi-style lunch and watch the waves come in.
Your post-lunch journey encourages you to explore an untouched, ancient rainforest, where mature 1000-year-old kauri trees tower over the thriving canopy, shading the forest floor from natural threats. Let your guide quietly set the scene, sharing histories and facts about the native animal species, increasing your appreciation for this beautiful and unseen part of Auckland.
Take delivery of your rental car this morning and head to the Coromandel along the Pacific Coast Highway, traversing the spectacular east coast of the North Island, this is one of the great touring routes in the world.
The Pacific Coast Highway is well signposted along the entire route, giving a safe and easy way to navigate through some of the most spectacular coastal scenery New Zealand has to offer. (2 nights)
Take a moderately challenging guided walk with Kiwi Dundee and explore a pristine rainforest surrounded by giant rock faces, rugged volcanic peaks, ancient Kauri, Rimu and Rata trees. Wonder at the world’s largest tree ferns and capture crystal clear rivers on camera.
Visit old historic gold caves, home to hundreds of glittering glowworms and learn more about forest biodiversity. Enjoy your picnic lunch by the rock pools or in the mountains, letting the world go by, one bird call at a time.
Head south along the East Coast of the North Island. Potential stops include the isolated Whiritoa beach and the mining town of Waihi; stretch your legs at Mt Mauganui, walking around the base of the mountain, before getting back in the car and passing some spectacular gorges on the way to the thermal capital of New Zealand, the much beloved Rotorua.
As the evening settles in and the stars brighten the sky, you’ll be treated to a Maori feast, as Te Po’s cultural experience promises hours of fun, thought and Maori kai (indigenous food). After a formal Maori welcome, relax and enjoy a captivating performance by the local people, including traditional songs and the renowned haka. Following a truly delectable dinner, you will be transported by people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. (2 nights)
Today, you’ll discover just how volatile this region used to be, when Rotorua fell victim to an expected pyroclastic event. On June 10th, 1886, Mt Tarawera erupted, putting the world’s youngest geothermal valley of Waimangu on the global radar, destroying the legendary Pink and White Terraces in a devastating surge of lava.
You’ll be guided through this historic entry moment by moment, as Rotorua’s landscape comes to life through stories and commentary. With unmatched scenic vistas and 360 panoramic views this experience is ideal for all ages and includes an optional run in to the heart of the volcanic crater.
Pack a lunch and strap yourself in for a short drive to Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake and popular hotspot for sight-seeing, picnicking and camera-snapping moments. Begin your trip at the Aratiatia Rapids, pausing to learn more about the unique power generation system, and continue onwards to the mighty Huka Falls on the Waikato River, before reaching the banks of Lake Taupo.
Have a nibble and take a walk before continuing onto Tongariro National Park, centred around the volcanoes of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. The park is only one of a handful of sites in the world that has dual World Heritage status in recognition of both its natural and cultural values.
Travel from Taupo to Turangi, before driving over the Desert Road, stopping every so often to capture the mountainous skyline, as Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro stand tall, eventually arriving at the small town of Taihape. Continue south through lush farmland to reach the city of Palmerston North, famous for its agricultural University, before arriving in the capital city of Wellington. (2 nights)
Over a relaxed four and a half hour walking gourmet tour around Wellington’s best food places, your personal guide will introduce you to new as well as New Zealand’s favourite flavours. Tour content can vary seasonally, and your tour may include a visit to a boutique coffee roaster and stylish café, renowned specialist fresh produce and gourmet food stores, as well as a unique contemporary chocolatier.
And during the day, your guide can also introduce you to many other aspects of the Capital, ranging from iconic city architecture, sculptures and fantastic places to shop and eat.
Today you will travel across Cook Strait, the stretch of water that separates the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Pass the time with some wildlife spotting and see if you can spy seabirds, dolphins, seals, whales and even orca.
On arrival in Picton, join the water taxi for a short cruise to Kenepuru Sound where a warm welcome at your resort awaits you in this remote, picture-perfect bay. (2 nights)
A scenic cruise takes you to the historic Ship Cove, marking the beginning of the Queen Charlotte Track. Spoil yourself with a view or two as your climb over the saddle of Resolution Bay and through to Endeavour inlet where you will meet your boat for the cruise back to your accommodation. Walking time today approximately 5 hours, distance 14 kms.
Return to Picton by water taxi this morning and collect your rental car. Today is another day of exciting and beautiful scenery as you drive through vineyards, rolling hillsides and along the Kaikoura Coast. Around 15 minutes north of Kaikoura, stop at the Ohau Stream for a short bush walk to a small waterfall. In winter months, watch out for frolicking baby seals!
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!
Make your way south to Christchurch. Around 15 minutes north of Kaikoura, stop at the Ohau Stream for a short bush walk alongside the stream to a small waterfall. If it’s cold, watch out for baby seals in the stream – they travel in from the ocean during winter. The road north is dominated by the awesome beauty of the Pacific Coast.
Quinnat salmon are known to run in the Clarence River and just north of the Ure River is a road that leads to the walking trails of the Sawcut Gorge. After the small town of Ward you’ll come to the Lake Grassmere saltworks – an interesting stop, particularly in late summer when the ponds turn coral pink. The short drive from Blenheim to Picton takes you across the Wairau Plains past vineyards and wineries.
It’s time to get glacial at Franz Josef. Turn inland to travel through the Canterbury Plains and over the resplendent Arthur’s Pass, spotting the awesome engineering feat of the Otira Viaduct and Tunnel. You’ll have time to stop and look around before descending through some fantastic alpine scenery and down the coast to the Franz Josef Glacier, amidst the greenery of a temperate rainforest. (2 nights)
Thrills and chills abound, as we combine a scenic helicopter flight over the Franz Josef Glacier, with a guided walk amongst the ice caves, pinnacles and crevices – this is alpine country as you’ve never seen it. You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains with plenty of snap-happy opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier.
Your guide chooses the route, ensuring you see only the most spectacular ice formations, leading you into icefall terrain that is usually seen only by experienced mountaineers. With a spotless safety record, rigid assessments, and using exclusive quality equipment, your safety and enjoyment is taken seriously by the folks at Heli-Hike.
After your trek is complete, bathe under a rainforest canopy and climb into the Franz Josef Glacier hot pools for some warm R&R.
Farewell Franz Josef and travel down the West Coast, alongside braided riverbeds, native forests and roadside waterfalls before climbing up over the Haast Pass and through Mount Aspiring National Park. Stop the car, stretch your legs and drink in the scenery, as impressive mountains touch the sky, remnants of the Ice Age glacial valley.
Take your time and drive along the shores of Lakes Hawea, stopping in Makarora for an essential, short walk along the Blue Pools Track nearby. After getting back to your car it is a short drive to arrive at the water-side playground of destination of Wanaka. (2 nights)
Wanaka spoils every traveller with walks, hikes and marked paths for every level of fitness. Loosen those limbs and try the Mount Iron track, a half hour walk that finishes with 360 degree views – beware though, the 250m ascension may have you tired before your time if you’re not already fit.
If nothing short of epic will suffice, we suggest the Rob Roy Glacier Trek, lined with waterfalls and sheer drops; or the Outlet Track, an easy amble that follows the Clutha River. Relax, go for a stroll and get to know the Otago landscape personally.
Just a short drive today through the historic goldfields of Central Otago to Queenstown, a beautiful alpine resort and regarded as one of New Zealand’s premier holiday destinations.
The capital of adrenaline, beauty and local foodie culture, you can pick and choose from a long list of adventures. From thrilling funyak tours along the Dart River and horse-riding in Glenorchy, to panning for gold in Arrowtown or taking a tour of Lake Wakatipu via the TSS Earnslaw, there is certainly something for every speed.
Or, if you’re not ready to break the spell of the last few days a scenic walk may do the trick, exploring the diverse range of stunning trails the region delivers in troves. (2 nights)
Wear something waterproof and comfortable, you’re about to go on a jetboat ride. Our chosen service provider will collect you from your hotel and travel to Glenorchy in time for your Dart River Wilderness Safari. Speed on crystal clear waters, watching the wild and scenic landscape of Mt Aspiring National Park pass you by with twist, turns and impressive acceleration. Don’t be fooled by the jet-boat classification – thrills aside, you’ll be afforded a rare chance to glimpse the enchanted wilderness of a World Heritage area.
This afternoon is free for further sightseeing.
Famously described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘finest walk in the world’, the Milford Track is internationally acclaimed for its spectacular scenery – expect dramatic alpine views, busy rivers and ancient beech forests to steal your breath and your camera battery.
The 11km return guided tour begins with a one-hour lake cruise to the head of Lake Te Anau and the start of the Milford Track. From Glade Wharf, the track follows the Clinton River to Glade House for lunch. Enjoy a 4 – 5 hour leisurely wander on a gentle gradient through forest, grassy flats and wetlands. (2 nights)
Your Doubtful Sound Wilderness Excursion begins as you cruise the crystal clear waters of Lake Manapouri, a stunning lake renowned for its numerous islands and deserted beaches. Then it’s over Wilmot Pass, on one of New Zealand’s remotest and prettiest sub-alpine roads, stopping along the way to experience some of Fiordland’s densest rainforest and to view Doubtful Sound glistening far below.
On reaching Deep Cove, you will board the Patea Explorer, for a three-hour cruise that takes in the most exciting scenery of Doubtful Sound. Nature guides provide an engaging commentary and point out all the sights. Keep a look out for wildlife as bottlenose dolphins frequently swim alongside the vessel, fur seals bask on the rocks around the fiord and rare penguins can at times be observed playing in the water.
After your cruise, reboard your coach and travel back to Te Anau.
Make your way back to Queenstown today and from there it’s a short drive to the historic town of Clyde, located at the foot of a river gorge. Nearby is the impressive Clyde Dam, New Zealand’s largest concrete gravity dam.
Controversy surrounded the building of the dam, which saw a number of orchards and houses removed from the Cromwell Gorge to allow the flooding of the river valley. Relax in one of the town’s cafés or visit any of the three museums. There are many lovely short walks near Clyde or you could take a self-guided walk around the town visiting the many historic buildings.
Safety first – this morning you will be fitted with a helmet and matched to a bike, before being transferred to Omakau where you will begin your ride on the most scenic part of the Otago Rail Trail. The Poolburn Gorge section of the track features two tunnels and viaducts set in a secluded rocky gorge.
Pass through the township of Oturehua, where you can visit the Historic Hayes Engineering Works and the enchanting Gilchrists Store. Wedderburn marks the highest part of the trail and from there it’s a downhill ride to Wedderburn Cottages, your accommodation for tonight.
From Wedderburn, it’s mostly a downhill ride to Ranfurly, the Art Deco Capital of Otago. Today’s highlight is the lovely train section between Daisybank and Hyde, with the Taieri River close by. Capburn and Prices creek bridges are followed by the last tunnel.
Rest and enjoy a snack at the spectacular Otago Central Hotel in Hyde before the shuttle takes you back to Clyde to collect your rental car. Less than 2 hours’ drive brings you to Dunedin, a vibrant university city with a proud Scottish legacy. (2 nights)
The Otago Harbour deserves to be on every bucket list. Board a Monarch Cruises vessel and savour an unrivalled view of Taiaroa Head, the only mainland nesting place for Northern Royal Albatross in the world and the home to New Zealand fur seals. Don’t be surprised if you spot dolphins, sea lions and countless ocean birds, including penguins!
This afternoon is at your leisure. If you’re still feeling energetic, there are two self-guided heritage walks available that will show you the highlights of Dunedin’s architecture.
Head north along the coastal highway to Moeraki Beach, stopping to view its mysterious, spherical, 60 million year old boulders. On to the town of Oamaru, famous for its white limestone buildings. Continue your journey north through the towns of Timaru, Geraldine and Ashburton as you make you way back to Christchurch.
Sadly, your holiday has finished. Today you return your rental car to the airport and connect with your onward flight.
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What would you do if you had a month dedicated to pursuing the wonderful, beautiful and unmissable? - Don't skip over a single corner of New Zealand w... Read More
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