New Zealand Itinerary 3 Weeks
Everything you expect from a New Zealand 3 week itinerary and then some! Over 23 unforgettable days (and 23 nights) you’ll experience it all: secluded beaches, jaw-dropping scenery, Māori culture, mountainous ranges, lush rainforests and more adventure activities than you could ever tick off your bucket list.
From the idyllic Bay of Islands, through a geothermal wonderland of bubbling mud, traversing mighty mountains and then hiking the blue glacial ice of the wild West Coast, you’ll soon see that New Zealand is filled with many different landscapes and opportunities for adventure!
This small-group guided New Zealand land tour of the North and South Island will visit Coromandel, Rotorua, Taupō, Wellington, Kaikōura, Wanaka, Queenstown, Tekapo (an International Dark Sky Reserve), the Bay of Islands, 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 New Zealand land tours, we do include a few 'must-do' events, 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 encounters to jet boating and scenic flights. None of these are compulsory; just add the ones you want. Book this New Zealand itinerary for 3 weeks of pure adventure!
Epic 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.
Paddle a waka (Māori canoe) with your Haka group (Included)
Discover the waters in the same way our ancestors did for thousands of years.
Cross the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands (Included)
This ferry ride is one of the most scenic journeys in New Zealand.
Eat a traditional Māori hāngī (Included)
Cooked in an underground oven, this dinner of meat and vegetables is not to be missed.
Auckland to Paihia
We start the tour with a scenic drive to Northland, visiting ancient forests and giant sand dunes. At sunset, we’ll treat you to a Kiwi-as feast of fish & chips!
Spend your day exploring some of the 140 subtropical islands, or take a roadtrip to the northernmost tip of New Zealand where the Tasman sea and Pacific Ocean collide.
Paihia to Auckland
At the Waitangi Treaty Grounds you’ll get an unforgettable insight into Māori culture and the birth of our nation. We’ll explore some waterfalls and walks before returning to Auckland.
Auckland to Coromandel
Get your cameras and swimwear ready! The drive to the Coromandel – a paradise of beautiful beaches and rainforests – is epic! Tonight we soak in the beachy lifestyle.
Coromandel to Rotorua
Cathedral Cove is begging to be explored by foot or by kayak (look for dolphins!). You will get the chance to visit Hobbiton and we'll explore New Zealand's sulphur city: Rotorua!
Today is a free day to explore Rotorua's geothermal wonders or choose your own adventure and cross off some bucket-list activities!
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
A volcanic eruption 70,000 years ago created Lake Taupō which is a similar size to Singapore! Skydive over it, sail on it, or skim its surface from a bungy leap.
Get your pulses racing in Taupō! Or head to Spa Park and soak until your fingers are wrinkly. The impressive Tongariro Crossing day walk is an option today.
Taupō to Wellington
Today’s drive includes some unmissable mountain scenery. Film buffs can make a Weta Workshop pilgrimage and everyone will savour great food & drink in New Zealand’s capital city.
Wellington to Kaikōura
Famed for its coffee and infamous for its wind, we’ll explore Wellington before taking a ferry journey across Cook Strait, through the Marlborough Sounds to the South Island.
Kaikōura to Christchurch
Oh! The sea critters you’ll meet! Swim with playful dolphins, do a spot of whale watching and say g’day to some cute seals before we head to Christchurch.
Christchurch to MacKenzie Country
We check out Christchurch before heading to the turquoise lake and majestic mountains of Tekapo. The tiny Church of the Good Shepherd on the lakeshore is Instagram gold.
MacKenzie Country to Queenstown
After spending the night admiring the stars in an International Dark Sky Reserve, we head to the South Island’s adventure playground for some action-packed days.
Bungy-jumping, canyon swinging, jet boating, 4WD venturing: the question is what aren’t you going to do in Queenstown! A trip to Milford Sound is an option today.
Queenstown to Wanaka
Cross the mountains into the slightly quieter but no less beautiful, lakeside town of Wanaka. Take a hike, bike ride or scenic flight to enjoy the best of Wanaka.
Wanaka to Franz Josef
Wake up with uninterrupted views of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. Many Haka Guides rate today’s scenic drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Area as their favourite.
Get ready to be wowed! Heli-hike the glacier or kayak glassy waters with panoramic views. Today you’ll get to carve your own greenstone pendant.
Franz Josef to Punakaiki
Behold incredible coastal vistas as we road trip up the wild West Coast. Catch an epic sunset then settle in for a night at a hidden rainforest retreat.
Unplug and stroll through the rainforest to a chorus of birdsong. We’ll visit Punakaiki’s limestone Pancake Rocks, and you have the option of going on a glowworm adventure experience!
Punakaiki to Abel Tasman
Behold! More epic scenery is on show on the way to the golden Abel Tasman National Park! We’ll stop in artsy Nelson before our next remote hideaway.
Fair warning: you may just fall in love today as this idyllic region is ready to woo you! Kayak, hike, go canyoning, or just relax at a golden beach.
Abel Tasman to Wellington
Learn to paddle a traditional Māori canoe before we head to Picton. We’ll sample the wares (including New Zealand mussels!) in wine country, then catch the evening ferry.
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:
- 22 nights in high-end hostel accommodation (dorm share as standard) and 1 night shared cultural experience
- Discover NZ's most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas
- Journey through 7 National Parks
- Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the birthplace of New Zealand
- Sundowner Cruise aboard a catamaran in the Bay of Islands (summer only - we'll provide a surprise activity in winter)
- Feast on a fish and chips dinner with spectacular Bay of Islands views
- Explore Northland’s East Coast, peppered with stunning beaches and coastal walks
- Stunning walk to the spectacular arched cavern of Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove
- Dig your own hot tub at world famous Hot Water Beach
- 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 (greenstone/jade) pendant in Franz Josef
- Discover the beauty and history of pounamu in Hokitika, the greenstone capital of the country
- 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:
Epic 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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