New Zealand Three Week Itinerary
We’re often asked what’s the difference between the North and South Islands of New Zealand – well, here’s your chance to find out! We’ll visit all the highlights: secluded beaches, glacier-fed lakes, Māori villages, mountainous ranges, lush rainforests and more adventure activities than you can imagine!
The North Island is filled with surprising contrasts: from the idyllic Coromandel where you can soak in a hot pool dug in the sand, venture through a geothermal wonderland of geysers, take a side-trip to Middle Earth-esque countryside, have underground adventures in caves lit by glow worms, and admire lush rainforests and even a volcanic desert – you’ll be amazed by it all.
But wait! There’s still the South Island to explore! Sailing between islands, you’ll get a grand entrance into this magnificent part of the world where you’ll get to enjoy marine wildlife, an epic adventure playground, visit the home of bungy, traverse mighty mountain passes, explore glacier country and then forge golden memories in the Abel Tasman area.
This small-group guided New Zealand itinerary covers three weeks of adventure across the North and South Islands, visiting the Coromandel, Rotorua, Taupō, Wellington, Kaikōura, Wanaka, Queenstown, Tekapo (an International Dark Sky Reserve), Abel Tasman National Park, Punakaiki and Franz Josef Glacier, with the option to visit Hobbiton, Waitomo, The Tongariro Crossing and Milford Sound along the way.
As with all our tours, we do include a few 'must-do' events across this New Zealand three week itinerary, ranging from a Māori cultural night to learning to paddle a waka (Māori war canoe), and even a greenstone carving experience.
You’ ll see a massive range of optional activities available to add, from bungy jumping and dolphin encounter to jet boating and scenic flights. None of these are compulsory; just add the ones you want.
Accommodation is included on the last night of your tour, but we can also book a few extra nights for you if you would like to extend your stay.
Legendary Tour Tips:
Activities can also be purchased on the road – just let your tour guide know. We can't always guarantee availability when booking on the road, so we suggest pre-booking any activities you especially want to do.
As the tour starts early in the morning, you can opt to book accommodation in Auckland with us the night before the tour – only having to walk downstairs on the day the tour starts makes for a stress-free morning!
The tour price includes dorm share accommodation but if you would prefer your own space you have the option to upgrade to a private room for the duration of your tour. You can select this upgrade when you start building your tour online.
Please note: private room upgrades are not available for one night on this tour: the cultural experience at Kohutapu Lodge in Murupara.
Auckland to Coromandel
Let’s start as we mean to go on: with epic scenery on the way to even more epic destinations! Tonight we soak in the beachy lifestyle of the Coromandel.
Coromandel to Rotorua
Explore Cathedral Cove by foot or by kayak (look for dolphins!), then we’ll wend our way to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua via Matamata AKA Hobbiton.
Today is a free day to explore Rotorua's geothermal wonders, or you can cross off some bucket-list activities like skydiving or rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball!
Rotorua to Murupara
Today you will discover why Rotorua is so unique to the world with its geothermal wonders and Māori culture, before our visit to a living Māori village.
Murupara to Taupō
Taupō is ours for the day! Skydive over the great lake, sail on it and view the famous rock carving, or touch a river’s surface from a bungy leap.
Today you can take a guided walk of the Tongariro Crossing, relax in a thermal hot spring or tick off some more bucket-list items like bungy jumping.
Taupō to Wellington
We’ll drive across a volcanic plateau and head to Wellington where film buffs can make a pilgrimage to Weta Workshop, and everyone will savour great food & drink.
Wellington to Kaikōura
We’ll explore New Zealand’s capital city – famed for its coffee and infamous for its wind – before taking a scenic ferry journey to the South Island.
Kaikōura to Christchurch
This coast is teeming with marine wildlife! Take the opportunity to encounter the world’s most playful dolphins, or go on a whale watching encounter before we venture to Christchurch.
Christchurch to MacKenzie Country
We check out creative Christchurch before admiring the turquoise lake and majestic mountains of Tekapo and staying the night beneath the stars of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
MacKenzie Country to Queenstown
After a quick hike up a small mountain to admire the Southern Alps, we’ll visit the home of bungy before making our way to action-packed Queenstown.
Today’s your day to amp up the adrenalin! Try bungy-jumping or canyon swinging, take the Shotover jet boat ride, or take a day trip to Milford Sound.
Queenstown to Wanaka
Blessed with towering peaks and a glacial blue lake, you’ll soon see why Wanaka’s considered to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain towns.
Wanaka to Franz Josef
Will you take an acrobatic flight over Lake Wanaka or just chill and enjoy the panoramic views? We’ll cross Haast Pass on our way to the West Coast.
Today we’ll carve our own greenstone pendants and you’ll have the opportunity to take a helicopter to Franz Josef Glacier for a hike on blue ice.
Franz Josef to Punakaiki
Behold incredible coastal vistas as we road trip up the West Coast passing through some old gold mining towns. Unplug and watch the sun set over the ocean.
Wake to a chorus of birdsong. Today we’ll see a giant stack of (rock) pancakes and some impressive blowholes – watch out for that spray!
Punakaiki to Abel Tasman
On the way to Abel Tasman National Park, we’ll see epic coastline giving way to rivers and gorges before we reach our next idyllic hideaway.
It’s a dreamscape, but it’s your reality today. Go kayaking or take a short hike to discover seal colonies, little blue penguins, bottlenose dolphins and secluded beaches.
Abel Tasman to Wellington
We’ll learn to paddle a Māori war canoe before heading to Picton via a stop at a vineyard – Cheers! We’ll take the evening ferry to Wellington.
What's included on every adventure tour:
- Small groups, up to 16 people
- Passionate Kiwi guides
- Comfortable bus transport
- High-end hostel accommodation
- Tasty continental breakfasts every day
- Experiences to teach you about our unique Māori culture
What's also included on this tour:
- 19 nights in high-end hostel accommodation (dorm share as standard) and 1 night shared cultural experience
- Stunning walk to the spectacular arched cavern of Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove
- A guided visit to the filming location of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hobbiton (available on tours starting from 1 September 2023).
- Learn a haka and learn to weave flax with a local iwi (tribe)
- Visit Te Puia - a local cultural centre - to learn more about traditional Māori culture and discover Rotorua’s geothermal wonders
- See kiwi birds up close and personal
- Eat a traditional Māori hāngī meal cooked in an underground oven
- Follow your nose to Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools
- Discover what makes Huka Falls the most visited natural attraction in NZ
- Check out the views from Matairangi/Mount Victoria, Wellington
- Fall in love with Wellington’s cafe and craft beer culture
- Iconic ferry ride between the North and South Islands across the Cook Strait
- Get up close to Kaikōura’s cutest residents at a local seal colony
- Explore downtown Christchurch and see its inspiring regeneration since the 2011 quake
- Visit the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, nestled by the shores of Lake Tekapo
- Unparalleled stargazing opportunities in Tekapo’s Dark Sky Reserve
- Visit the charming, historic gold rush village of Arrowtown
- Carve your own pounamu (jade) pendant in Franz Josef
- Visit the Mountain Jade Factory in Hokitika
- Visit the famous Pancake Rocks of Punakaiki
- Two nights and a full day to play in the coastal paradise of Abel Tasman National Park
- Learn to paddle a waka (Māori war canoe) along the Abel Tasman coastline
- Plus many surprise stops along the way
ENHANCE YOUR TRIP WITH ADD-ON ACTIVITIES AND UPGRADES
Your tour includes all the essentials but you can add extra wow-factor to your tour by adding on the activities and accommodation upgrades that suit you best.
Optional activities you can add to this trip at checkout:
Optional accommodation upgrades and add-ons for this trip:
Legendary NZ Tour
- Price from (NZD)
- Deposit only
Only $99 to secure your seat unless you book within 45 days of departure. Once your spot is booked, you can log in and customise your tour with any extra experiences or activities up to 45 days before departure.
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