Day 1 : Auckland to Coromandel
After breakfast, we begin our tour in the country’s largest city: Auckland. It is unsurprising that a quarter of the population reside here when you consider it is a region of stunning beaches, enchanted holiday islands, a sunny climate, with a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping. Depending on the season and weather for that day, your guide will take you on an orientation tour to let you get acquainted with the city. We then hit the road together on our way south to the North Island’s best-kept secret: the Coromandel. Beautiful remote beaches, dense wooded forest and clear blue waters make the Coromandel one of New Zealand’s favorite getaways. Together, at low tide, we’ll make our way to the world-famous Hot Water Beach. When the tide’s out, you can dig a hole in the sand where natural hot springs bubble up to create your own personal hot tub! You’ll also carve your own tiki pendant from bone here, a very special and unique Kiwi experience. What a better souvenir to take home than one you made yourself in a traditional activity?
Day 2 : Coromandel to Waitomo
It’s no secret that many blockbuster hits have been filmed in New Zealand due to its incredible landscapes. We’ll walk together out along the cliffs down to Cathedral Cove (which you might recognize from the Chronicles of Narnia). Beautiful in its own right, with perfect beaches and massive rock arches and columns, it’s one of the most popular spots in the Coromandel and for a good reason: It doesn’t look real. From the Coromandel, we’ll head west through some beautiful lush green hills dotted with New Zealand’s iconic sheep before making our way to Waitomo, home of the one of a kind glowworm caves
Day 3 : Waitomo to Rotorua
Waitomo has become famous around the world thanks to its magnificent glowworm caves. How many chances do you get to go caving in a place with blue glowworms twinkling on the ceiling? There are many different ways to explore the caves, but if you are open to adventure and getting your feet wet, the best way to experience Waitomo is by black water rafting. (Optional Add-on) After lunch we’ll hop on over to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. Nicknamed the "Vegas" of New Zealand, Rotorua has heaps of activities and things to do for everyone.
Day 4 : Rotorua to Murupara
While the majority of the North Island is volcanic in some way, Rotorua is exceptional for its geothermal activity. With neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers, active volcanoes and geysers galore, there are more unique natural wonders to be found in Rotorua than many other places in the world. Later this afternoon we head to Kohutapu Lodge in Murupara - a living Māori village - where you will be taken on a tribal tour by a village elder. Here you’ll also have a chance to learn the world-famous haka dance, and weave your own dinner plate using flax (a type of plant). Tonight’s dinner is a traditional hāngi meal. Cooked in an underground earth oven you can expect tender meat and delicious vegetables infused with a smoky, earthy fragrance – it will fill your puku (belly) right up! The best part about spending the evening at Kohutapu Lodge. The majority of proceeds from this activity go back to the local community. Please note: Private accommodation upgrades are not available for this night of the tour due to the limited availability of accommodation in the area. In special circumstances other arrangements may be possible - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 : Murupara to Taupo
This morning you will visit Te Puia - a well-known Maori culture centre. At Te Puia you can explore Whakarewarewa geothermal valley, visit New Zealand’s native kiwi birds, and learn about Maori history & culture.. It’s only a short drive to our next destination, Taupō, and there’s plenty to discover along the way. From mesmerising mud pools to the thundering rapids of the Huka Falls and Aratiatia Dam, your trusty Haka Guide will make sure you don’t miss a thing. This place is all about the thrills and spills, and there are plenty of options in store this afternoon. Get your hair wet with a water touch bungy jump, take an unforgettable skydive or a sunset lake cruise for amazing lake and mountain views.
Day 6 : Taupo
A full day in Taupō... are you in the mood for peaceful lakeside tranquillity or unlimited adrenalin and adventure? Either way, Taupō’s got you covered. For many, the ultimate adventure on offer here is the hiking (or tramping, as we Kiwis know it). The Tongariro Crossing is among the top 10 full-day walks in the world. This 19.4-kilometre mountain trek boasts emerald green lakes, venting steam, lava flows and craters. You’ll come back grinning from ear to ear before falling into bed and sleeping like a baby. If you’d prefer to relax, jump on a boat for a sailing trip to view Māori rock carvings. Or head to Spa Park and soak until your fingers are wrinkly. However you choose to spend today we guarantee you won’t forget it.
Day 7 : Taupo to Wellington
It’s a big drive from Taupō to Wellington, but there’s some unmissable scenery on offer. Lord of the Rings junkies, you’re in for a treat! Our journey takes us through Tongariro National Park via the Rangipo Desert (bet you didn’t know New Zealand had one of those!). Some of your favourite Lord of the Rings battle scenes were filmed right here. The Desert Road boasts incredible views of three active volcanic peaks – Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu. You may know Mount Ngauruhoe as Mount Doom, so be sure to snap a Mordor selfie! We pass through two of the North Island’s quirkier towns – as ever, your Haka Guide has a couple of surprises up their sleeve... We pull into Wellington in the afternoon, with just enough time for film buffs make a trip to Weta Workshop, where the special effects of Lord of the Rings and Avatar were produced. New Zealand’s capital is famous for its bars and eateries, and is a paradise for lovers of craft beer – you’ll be spoilt for choice tonight!
Day 8 : Wellington to Kaikoura
One of the most iconic and classic New Zealand activities is sailing the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands. From the decks of the ferry, the city lights of Wellington fade but before long we’ll be greeted with views of the vast ocean. Keep a look out for the occasional dolphin leaping alongside the boat; as if the views couldn’t be more perfect! After taking in a vineyard or two, soon the sweeping mountains around the Marlborough Sounds rise up, welcoming us to the South Island. Road tripping along the rugged coast to Kaikoura offers views of tremendous mountains that crash down to the turquoise ocean, with seal colonies and waterfalls dotted here and there. Be sure to have your camera ready for a visit to the fur seal colonies (there may even be even baby seals!) and for all of the great sea life you’re going to spot. If it’s warm enough, we’ll even have a bonfire on the beach together and cook up a Haka family BBQ.
Day 9 : Kaikoura to Christchurch
Rugged snowcapped mountains drop right down to the beach in Kaikoura, making it an incredible backdrop to experience the famous sea life in the area. There’s something for every traveler in Kaikoura: go giant whale watching, take a surf lesson, go fishing, kayak, play mini-golf or swim with hundreds of friendly and curious wild dolphins in the bright blue water; how often do you get to swim with dolphins in the wild? Eventually we’ll make our way down to Christchurch, a beautiful garden-filled city with lazy rivers and heritage buildings. We finish the day by coming home to our very own Haka Lodge. Having a family BBQ together, while hanging out with new friends as the sun goes down, makes for a perfect way to end an epic day on the South Island.
Day 10 : Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
This morning we’ll explore iconic downtown Christchurch and your guide will show you the cool and creative ways the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here. Christchurch folk are an innovative and creative bunch – the Transitional Cathedral, created from cardboard, is totally inspirational. After lunch we leave the city behind and head for Lake Tekapo. The lake’s breathtaking turquoise colour and mountain backdrop is a photographer’s dream come true. The tiny Church of the Good Shepherd stands right at the water’s edge, proving that small is definitely beautiful. Grab some confetti and congratulate any passing brides – couples travel from all over the world for wedding shots in front of the chapel! Tekapo has been declared an International Dark Sky Reserve and the super clear skies make it the best place in New Zealand to see the stars and galaxies on a clear night. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Day 11 : Lake Tekapo to Queenstown
The road to Queenstown (scattered with dozens of glacial blue lakes, soaring mountains and lush valleys) is almost as beautiful as the town itself. Between wine tasting in the famous Otago region, to exploring some of the local salmon farms, we’ll have the chance to see a more diverse side of the South Island. The undisputed adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown is always at the top of the list of any trip around the South Island. Surrounded by the stunning Remarkables, some of the most beautiful mountains in NZ, and sprawling along the banks of the dazzling Lake Wakatipu, its location is straight from a postcard. Together we’ll hop on up the gondola and see Queenstown from above. There is nothing like watching the sunset over New Zealand’s prettiest town with new friends before experiencing the famous Queenstown nightlife.
Day 12 : Queenstown
There are many different options to choose from: paragliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping while your Haka friends cheer you on, horse riding through some stunning Lord of the Rings locations in Glenorchy and swinging through a canyon Tarzan-style with a new friend. Queenstown is definitely a highlight of any trip to New Zealand. f you’re into hiking, you might even be able to hop on one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and tackle part of the Routeburn track. One of the most beautiful places in New Zealand, Milford Sound, is not to be missed. Driving into the park is stunning in and of itself, but just wait ‘til you get on the water! Sailing around the fiords beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular spots in New Zealand. Beautiful in rain or shine, Milford is universally loved by all, and takes the biscuit as one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful areas of the South Island. With the occasional sea lion or dolphin popping up to say hello, it makes the journey there and around even more special.
Day 13 : Queenstown to Wanaka
The drive to Wanaka from Queenstown is spectacular, filled with great views, beautiful stops and plenty of surprises. We’ll stop in the stunning and historic Arrowtown for a bit of exploring. En route to Wanaka, we stop in at New Zealand’s oldest pub for a drink or two in Cardrona before arriving at the lakeside holiday town of Wanaka. A year round destination, Wanaka is surrounded by towering mountains and a glacial blue lake with plenty of things to do and with a thriving young vibe in town. In the warmer months, there are tons of lake activities to choose from, such as swimming, waterskiing, kayaking and wakeboarding. There are beautiful hikes and bike rides all around the lake and plenty of adventure activities to get stuck into.
Day 14 : Wanaka to Franz Josef
You’ll have the chance to mountain bike along the lake, climb up the iconic Mt. Iron in town for some sweet views or hit up the iconic Puzzling World for a bit of fun and games. We’ll then make our way towards the wild west coast of the South Island, traversing the beautiful mountains in Haast and getting a good look towards the sea. Get excited, this is one of the most scenic and iconic road trips around New Zealand. Apart from the sick west coast views, there are plenty of surprises and secret spots in store today.
Day 15 : Franz Josef
Another New Zealand favorite: Franz Josef Glacier. You’ll marvel at the sight of bright blue ice fields, surrounded by luscious green mountains, dropping down into a temperate rainforest (the only kind in the world). Relatively easy to access, hiking on or around the glaciers is a must-do. There are plenty of different ways to enjoy Franz Josef; you can take a scenic helicopter flight and hike on the glaciers, try ice-climbing for the first time, or relax in the hot springs down below. You can even carve your own Greenstone necklace in town. Apart from the beautiful glaciers, there are also plenty of opportunities for kayaking, quad biking, horseback riding and even a bit of group karaoke in Franz Josef! With Mt. Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) twinkling behind the glaciers, Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand.
Day 16 : Franz Josef to Christchurch
Before you know it, it’s your last day! After breakfast we head further along the beautiful west coast on another of the most spectacular drives in the country (and, some would say, the world): a rugged, primeval landscape of luxuriant rainforest juxtaposed against breathtaking beach and ocean waves. We stop at Hokitika and visit a greenstone factory, a great place to stock up on souvenirs for your friends and family back home. Time permitting, we may also visit the National Kiwi Centre where there is guaranteed viewing of rare kiwi birds in their nocturnal house. On the way back to Christchurch, you'll traverse the South Island on the stunning TranzAlpine Train Crossing. Travelling across the Southern Alps through Arthur’s Pass, you'll arrive in Christchurch around 6.30pm before transferring to your accommodation. Your tour officially ends in Christchurch, so feel free to party on with your new travel buddies for as long as you like – your accommodation tonight is included so you can treat yourself to a lie-in in the morning!
Day 17 : Christchurch
Your tour ends after breakfast on Day 17. We're sure you'll have a whole lot of incredible memories to take home with you. We've shown you our New Zealand – we hope we will see you again. Haere tū atu, hoki tū mai.