If you like to walk, and hike and you love to try new adventures then you'll enjoy this tour - but you don't need to be a tri-athlete or have any experience in any of the activities you will undertake!
This tour is aimed at those sophisticated traveller's seeking an active New Zealand holiday, which includes all the highlights but also steps aside from the mainstream to explore the less visited New Zealand. You will undertake a range of awesome New Zealand adventure activities but be prepared to step outside your comfort zone to do so. We'll minimize the time spent in a vehicle and spend it on adventure and relaxation and New Zealand's most beautiful scenery! You will also stay in luxury accommodation in some fantastic locations.Plan Your Tour
Private guided tour itinerary - 13 nights
Day 1: Auckland arrival (Americas Cup sailing)
Day 2: Auckland - Waitomo Caves (Abseiling and caving into the Lost World)
Day 3: Waitomo Caves - Rotorua (Helicopter landing and hike at Volcanic White Island, Canopy forest Zip lining tour)
Day 4: Rotorua - Taupo (Te Puia art centre, Pohuto geyser, Jet boat ride and the squeeze at Hidden Valley, dining/cruise/trout fishing on a private yacht)
Day 5: Taupo - National Park - Rangitikei Valley (Grade 5 White Water Rafting in a remote canyon, farm-stay)
Day 6: Rangitikei Valley – Wellington Ferry to South Island – Marlborough Sounds - Nelson (Ferry Crossing, Winery visit)
Day 7: Abel Tasman (Kayak/Water taxi/hike in Abel Tasman Park)
Day 8: Abel Tasman – West coast - Punakaiki (Horse riding, Pancake Rocks)
Day 9: Punakaiki – Glaciers (Underwater caving and tubing, Hokitika Gorge)
Day 10: Glaciers–Lake Wanaka (Heli hike to Glacier, walk to remote waterfalls)
Day 11: Wanaka - Te Anau (4WD High country Hills tour, Relaxing afternoon)
Day 12: Te Anau - Doubtful Sound (Overnight cruise in Fiordland National Park)
Day 13: Te Anau – Southland - Queenstown (Wilderness Jet boat experience at Wairaurahiri River)
Day 14: Queenstown departure
Prices: We recommend the following guidelines for customized tour packages, excluding international flights:
4* (3* internationally) to 5*: From around NZ$ $400 - $1150+ per person per day. The customized package will include accommodation, airport transfers and other transportation within New Zealand, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip. Please enquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.
You will be met on arrival at Auckland International Airport by your Aroha NZ Tours Representative, and transferred to your accommodation in our luxurious vehicle. Explore the CBD and outer areas of the city, taking in the spectacular harbour views of the Waitemata from Auckland's illustrious waterfront. Here you can spend the day in the Inner City and near the America’s Cup Village and visit the nearby Viaduct Basin and its many lively bars and restaurants. Walk onto Queen Street and explore the new Britomart a vibrant shopping, entertainment and business precinct in the heart of downtown Auckland. Surrounded by beautiful heritage buildings, it’s a neighbourhood of buzzing restaurants and bars, world-class fashion boutiques and interesting art spaces. By late afternoon join others for an unforgettable two hours sailing. Here you have a unique opportunity to participate as crew on an actual America’s Cup yacht. Take the helm, exert energy on the grinders or simply sit back and enjoy the ride as you sail the beautiful Waitemata Harbour. The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest and most prestigious sporting trophy and ultimate yachting regatta. Usually the domain of billionaires and elite professional yachties, NZL 40 and NZL 41 offer the unique opportunity for everyone to participate in sailing on these Grand Prix racing machines.
Accommodation: Auckland Viaduct (City Centre)
Driving distance 3h
Start off your private guided tour! As you depart Auckland your tour will take you through the Waikato region, one of New Zealand's greenest places, and richest agricultural regions. You will pass land with lush grass for raising cattle, thoroughbred horses and vast stands of exotic timber. The rich and fertile pastoral land of the Waikato is one of New Zealand’s major dairy producing and horse breeding areas, and host to incalculable stands of exotic timber. One of the major attractions of the Waikato/King Country region is the famous Waitomo Caves (translation: 'where the water disappears into a hole in the ground'). There we have organised a Trip into The Lost World. Abseil (rappel) 100m slowly into the Lost World, secured by your guide who abseils alongside. After the 30-minute descent, you embark on your journey back to the surface though another spectacular dry cavern. The abseil is at least twice the height of any other cave at Waitomo and the beauty of this iconic cavern is unsurpassed. Descend slowly bouncing and turning as the mist filtered light gives unreal qualities to the strange plants and formations. From Waitom,o your tour continues through to the geothermal Capital of Rotorua.
Here we have arranged a helicopter flight and landing on an active volcano “White Island. Situated 50 kilometres offshore, this active island volcano constantly emits a cloud of steam and periodically erupts to a greater extent expelling volcanic ash several thousand metres into the atmosphere. (This is the most active volcano in New Zealand) The main vent is below sea level and protected by crater walls. You can walk right inside its main crater just above sea level with a minimum of physical effort and without undue risk. This allows you to experience at first-hand nature's immense power as gas and steam burst up from far below the Earth's crust. An adventure tour you will not forget for a long time. In the afternoon enjoy a Canopy zip lining tour: This is the ONLY native forest zipline canopy tour in New Zealand and it is incredible - it’s high, it’s fun, it’s beautiful, it’s peaceful and you’ll remember it for the rest of your life!! And it’s suitable for almost everyone!! Embark on a magical journey through untouched native New Zealand forest from an unexplored perspective. High amongst ancient trees, this 3-hour adventure combines fun and excitement with pristine natural beauty.
Driving distance 2h
Visit Te Puia, the premier Māori cultural centre in New Zealand - a place of gushing waters, steaming vents, boiling mud pools and spectacular geysers. The Māori tradition lives on at Te Whakarewarewa, our Māori culture, and our National Carving and Weaving Schools of New Zealand. The environment alone is of enormous geological significance, with thermal activity ranging from boiling mud to the world famous 30-metre (100-foot) Pohutu geyser, erupting up to 20 times each day. The Kiwi Conservation Centre is a valuable part of a national Kiwi breeding programme. Here you can see our New Zealand native flightless bird and national icon in a specially lit purpose-built nocturnal house, with expert guides and information at hand. Watch a cultural performance and learn about the past of our native people, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art). Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat, coupled with the grace and beauty of the poi dance. You’ll be amazed by the spine-tingling haka finale. Your tour continues to the Waikato River. Here you join others on a scenic jet boat ride through Tutukau Gorge. Just when you thought you had an easy day ahead, your driver asks you to disembark the boat in knee deep warm water. You head towards a narrow gap in the cliff face ahead of you and start the challenge of The Squeeze. After manoeuvring your way through narrow crevasses, climbing boulders, and wading through warm waist deep water you emerge in stunning native New Zealand bush. Immerse yourself in the environment and take the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere while relaxing in the thermal waters of a naturally heated bathing pool. Today we stay at Lake Taupo, the largest Lake in this country and on the way we stop at the Huka Falls - these spectacular falls roar through a 15-m wide chasm before plunging a further 11-m. Lake Taupo is also the world’s largest volcanic crater, created in one giant explosion. The ash cloud floated all over the world - ice samples from as far apart as Antarctica and Alaska have determined the explosion to have occurred in 186AD. The effects of the ash were even recorded in China and Rome. Just about everywhere you look in the Lake Taupo region, you'll see a volcano. For dinner, we have organised a boat cruise on the Lake, where you can just relax and reflect on the day’s adventure or catch one of the many rainbow trout for your evening meal. The vessel is 60 foot long and the fish will be caught by downriggers. The average size of trout is 4 pounds and the flesh looks like Salomon.
Accommodation: Lake Taupo
Driving distance 3 hrs
This day of your tour takes you through what is regarded as the Volcanic Loop to view New Zealand's most accessible active volcano, magnificent Mt. Ruapehu The magnificent views across the valleys to snow-capped peaks will create the perfect setting for a great photo opportunity. Afterwards, we drive deep into farming country to the remote Mokai Valley, where the picturesque Rangitikei River meets the rugged Ruahine Ranges. Not far from your accommodation, we take you to the edges of the crystal clear waters of the Rangitikei River set amongst the beautiful native flora and fauna, which provides a stunning backdrop that, can be variably appreciated. If it is a half day trip that you are after, then the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River could be just what you are looking for. Often recognised as one of the top half day Grade 5 Rafting Trips in the world, your trip on the Rangitikei starts off easier, with sections of fun Grade 2 and Grade 3 rapids, great practice for what lies ahead! Over a two to three hour period, and 12 km of river, you will experience rapids that start at the easy end and culminate in the gorge, a section of the river where 10 major rapids, from Grade 3+ to Grade 5, line up one after the other to thrill and excite you. Some of these rapids are short and sharp, while others carry on for several hundred meters. Recommend (Optional) For some extra excitement you can fly the largest flying fox: Offering 1.1 Kilometers of high-speed exhilaration at 160kp/h (or 100mp/h) and 175 metres above the river is a custom design that is the first one of it's kind in the world! Come try it out and fly like you've always dreamt of! Or Bungy jump: New Zealand's highest bridge bungy & New Zealand's Highest tandem bungy, from 80 metres there's no turning back 3,2,1 and you're gone. After your jump, there is no walking involved getting out of that canyon. The Gravity crew load each jumper onto a water-powered chairlift so you can experience the full 80m all over again in reverse and at much slower speed. We then take you on to your accommodation where your host provides a typical New Zealand farm environment. He will be happy to show you around the farm where you will experience an upfront encounter with the many farm animals on the property. There is plenty for the whole family to enjoy. They are always looking for help to collect the eggs, feed the chickens, pigs, deer, goats, cow, dogs, rabbits, possums, sheep, llama, alpaca and turtles. Plus any extras especially in spring when they are bottle feeding the orphan lambs. In the evening unwind and relax with a home cooked dinner at this magic place. The host of your accommodation can take you for an evening possum hunt near the lodge (Optional). Just before settling back in your retreat, take a soak in a hot pool, which overlooks this remote valley.
Accommodation: Rangitikai Valley
Driving distance 4.5h
Today you head along the Kapiti Coast en-route to Wellington and your ferry departure to the South Island. In the afternoon we encroach on New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. After midday, we board a ferry to cross the Cook Strait and encounter a glorious world as the ferry enters the Marlborough Sounds, from the Tory Channel into the Queen Charlotte Sound. You will discover a myriad of inlets and bays with dramatic hills that plunge steeply into the sea. The 92 km, just over three-hour journey between Wellington and Picton is one of New Zealand's most iconic tourist experiences and acknowledged as one of the most spectacular cruises in the world. You will never forget Cook Strait. It is so spectacular, it was named after the guy who discovered us! The steep, wooded hills and small quiet bays of the sounds are sparsely populated, as access is difficult. Many of the small settlements and isolated houses are only accessible by boat. The main large port is Picton on the mainland, at the head of The Queen Charlotte Sounds. As you disembark the ferry you leave the dramatic Pacific Coastline and travel along the East Coast of New Zealand. We pass over the arid rolling foothills of South Marlborough, we drop down to enter the sun-drenched wine region, New Zealand’s pre-eminent grape-growing area. Blenheim at the entrance of the Marlborough Sounds is the main town. Its lovely sunny climate makes this area an ideal wine growing region. For lunch, we visit one of the many wineries and get a chance to taste world-renowned wine. (Optional). From here we travel to the city of Nelson, known for its vibrant arts and handicrafts scene. Nelson is known for its irresistible blend of lifestyle and stunning landscape at the top northwest corner of the South Island. One of the sunniest cities in New Zealand, Nelson buzzes with creative energy. Enjoy the local art and discover culinary talent at the restaurants. 300 Artisans are based in the Nelson area, so it is no wonder that the “One Ring” was created by one of the local jewellers in City Centre. Visit the World of Wearable Art Museum, a memorable museum experience like no other, and unique to Nelson. In Richmond you find the Harrington Brewery that brews a special beer for Hobbiton. Apples, cherries and classic wine varietal grapes are well suited to the mild climate around the Nelson areas. On the doorstep of Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson is a place of sunshine and golden beaches. We take you to the entrance of the Abel Tasman Park. So it is no wonder that the “One Ring” was created by one of the local jewellers in City Centre.
Accommodation: Abel Tasman Area
Day free for the guide! Take a guided kayak trip with guides that will take you along a stunning stretch of coastline for a fantastic sea kayaking experience. Enjoy panoramic views of Abel Tasman National Park, check out nesting cormorants, sea caves, islands and the world famous Split Apple Rock. Kayak along the southern stretches of the Abel Tasman taking in beaches, caves and tidal lagoons, these delights all nestled in the sheltered waters between Marahau and Watering Cove. A water taxi links you through to the heart of the park where a walk between Bark Bay and Torrent Bay allows you to enjoy wicked views, lush native bush and Falls River swing bridge. This idyllic track links a myriad of crescent-shaped coves of glittering golden sand, washed by the crystal-clear waters. You’ll wander along beaches that constantly invite you in for a swim; hike through scented forest and around headlands with commanding views of the coast; and feel the delicious squelch of mud between your toes as you wade across tidal flats.
Accommodation: Abel Tasman Area
Driving distance 4h
Today you depart for the start of your 'Wilderness Tour' which takes you deep into the heartland of the south. Your first encounter will be through the Buller Gorge for a short stopover at the Buller Department of Conservation Centre. We take a spectacular drive through the Gorge to Westport before continuing on to the jewel of the west coast. Your day has an interesting flavour of mountains and native flora and fauna as you travel through the rugged terrain that divides the east from the west. From Westport, your journey winds its way through the western slopes of the West Coast which displays a series of magnificent mountain ranges, and native New Zealand vegetation. We follow the windy road along one of the most stunning coastlines in the country. We stop and stay at Punakaiki the jewel of the West Coast. Punakaiki is world renowned for its pancake rock formation and blowholes. Today we have organised a ride on horseback through verdant West Coast native bush, as you gaze up at 300-foot-high limestone cliffs, or stroll your horse through the fresh West Coast surf to view the magnificence of the Pancake Rocks. In the beginning, you ford the Punakaiki River and take the scenic route to view the stunning scenery of the Paparoa National Park. You ride through native bush to view huge limestone bluffs capped with lush temperate rainforest. Native Kereru wood pigeons can sometimes be seen swooping low through forest corridors. Paradise duck, the nosy weka and gorgeous-plumaged pukeko are common onlookers, and oystercatchers, spur-winged plovers and harrier hawks are also visible. Birdlife is a stunning feature of the New Zealand native rainforest and riders can quietly observe their lives from horseback. You make a stop on the river flat at a bush hut for a stretch and photographs, before wending our way back to the coast. This scenic feast is rounded off with a stroll down Punakaiki beach. Riders can experience the powerful sea rolling onto the famous Pancake Rocks, as they sit on horseback with the horses snorting at the salt spray from the waves.
Accommodation: West Coast
Driving distance 3.5h
The West Coast – New Zealand’s longest region – is a narrow 600km stretch of wild coastline, mountain peaks, glaciers, clear lakes and sparsely populated towns. This immense untamed natural environment is New Zealand’s most protected region. Today you can take an exciting half-day underworld rafting trip into remote caves. In the lower active levels of the Cave, you meet up with a slow-moving underground river on which you float in your tube using only the natural light of a simply awe-inspiring display of glow worms for navigation. Before midday, we visit the historical gold mining town of Hokitika. Nearby take a walk over a swing bridge to the Hokitika Gorge, this is truly one of the beautiful places in New Zealand! The beautiful turquoise waters are quite breathtaking as is the gorge itself. After your underwater adventure, you can enjoy an exhilarating treetop adventure on New Zealand's first treetop walk among temperate rainforest giants as you experience life with the native birds, high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. There is easy access for all to enjoy along a steel platform 20 meters high and over 450 meters long. We take a leisurely and scenic drive to the famous glacier region and your day’s itinerary will end in the tiny settlement of Franz Josef. Two glaciers are located only 25 km from each other and are unique in the world as they seem to nearly reach the ocean.
Accommodation: Franz Josef Glacier Area
Driving distance 4h
Discover the gigantic expanse of the Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier snowfields with a landing at high altitude. Step out of your helicopter and experience how it feels to stand in snow. By flying in you are able to access and explore a part of the glacier where its forces work hardest and often create spectacular ice caves and arches. Equipped with sturdy leather boots and other equipment, you board the helicopter for your first flight over the pinnacles of the lower icefall. Here, the ice is in constant motion. You then circle the upper icefall and Victoria Falls before landing. Your landing site on the ice is a remote and exceptionally beautiful part of the glacier. At this stage, your guide outfits you with crampons, specially designed for these ice conditions and you follow the ice steps cut by your guide as you explore the amazing formations and ice caves which are only seen here. Each departure is a true voyage of exploration. There are so many changing features that the guides always find something new. Your driving tour then continues along a spectacular and scenic road that links Haast and Wanaka. It reaches beyond wind-whipped Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, through golden tussock-covered hills, to wind among steep mountains cloaked in lush rainforest and across tumbling rivers. Just 20 min from Haast, take a 20 min walk to the Roaring Billy Waterfall, an easy fern line walk that takes you to the shores of the Haast River. Later make a short stop at the 28m drop Thunder Creek falls. Another short walk and stop along the way is a 30 return walk to the Blue Pools. It features a carefully maintained gravel path and boardwalks that wind through a native silver beech forest and lead to a swing bridge strung high above the Makarora River. The views back to the mountains of the Main Divide are absolutely breath-taking. The glacier-fed water in these deep pools is the colour of deep azure blue, and so clear that you can see right to the bottom, making the resident brown trout look like they are suspended in the air. As you exit Mt Aspiring National Park you will travel through what is known as “The Neck” a formation of land that separates two of our great South Island lakes, Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka. Wanaka is a new and modern Alpine resort and mostly visited by us New Zealanders. A year-round destination set against the pristine alpine backdrop of Mount Aspiring National Park, you can still discover that totally relaxed Kiwi way of life at Lake Wanaka. Optional - Heli-White Water Rafting: Experience the best whitewater rafting in New Zealand - Flowing from the southern alps – the largest mountain range in NZ, through rainforest to the ocean, our rivers are very remote and secluded, you will see no other people on this trip.- unique small group tours - a more personal tour, no big crowds, take your time. This is an owner operated and guided tour where the team put more effort into making your trip extra special. The Scenery is Deep limestone and schist canyons, rainforest, emerald green and turquoise blue water.
Driving distance 3h
As braided river valleys, native beech forests and lush alpine meadows give way to the dramatic glaciated Southern Alps, the pure beauty of the scenery pushes daily pressures a million miles away. Part of Te Wahipounamu - southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, Mt Aspiring National Park is an area of unrivalled natural beauty and host to hundreds of hiking tracks, rock climbing routes and trout fishing rivers all within easy reach of Lake Wanaka. Experience the real Wanaka and go off the beaten track to places inaccessible to the public on a 4WD high country tour. View Wanaka's spectacular rugged high country, snow-capped mountains and lake vistas, all whilst experiencing sheer solitude. Visit a private sheep, cattle and deer farm, steeped in local history, breathe in pure mountain air and wonder at the scenery. Enjoy a stroll through alpine meadows and ancient forests. This journey offers a unique insight into Wanaka's rich history, heritage and modern-day farming life. In the afternoon you will have some time to relax before we take the scenic drive to Te Anau. (Optional and extra charge) Siberia Experience: Join a 4-hour wilderness adventure tour in Mt Aspiring National Park. Departing from Makaroa take a 25-minute unforgettable scenic flight with views of the Southern Alps, capturing the rugged beauty of this world heritage park. See glaciers, ice, snow, mountain lakes, hanging valleys, vast rain forests and dramatic unspoiled beauty. You land in the glacially carved Siberia Valley in the middle of the Southern Alps and begin a 3hr walk through valleys and native beech forest on a well-marked track linking the remote Siberia Valley with the wilderness of the Wilkin Valley. What an adventure! You then rendezvous with the jet boat for a thrilling 30-minute mountain river journey back to Makarora.
Accommodation: Te Anau
Driving distance 3h
Here you will be visiting one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. The extraordinary scenic beauty has earned this region a reputation as a significant sightseeing and walking destination, and a 'Must See' for anyone travelling to New Zealand. On reaching Lake Manapouri you join an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound which is located in a World Heritage Area. It is an overwhelming place! You can feel the power of nature here - the remoteness, the wildness and the peace. Known for its wilderness and wildlife, Doubtful Sound is the second largest of the 14 fiords in Fiordland National Park and it is three times longer and 10 times larger than Milford Sound. Following a short cruise across beautiful Lake Manapouri and a coach trip over Wilmot Pass, you will board the Fiordland Navigator at Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound. There is plenty of time on your overnight cruise to enjoy the stunning views and to discover the hidden arms of Doubtful Sound. Fur seals and bottlenose dolphins are often seen and at times, rare penguins can be observed. Try to catch your blue cod for your evening meal or there is also time for you to kayak around the shoreline or go exploring in the tender craft with the nature guide. As the shadows lengthen the boat drops anchor at a favourite mooring for the night. After the day's activities, enjoy a delicious evening buffet meal in the spacious dining saloon.
Accommodation: Doubtful Sound
Driving distance 4h
Today you take part in the longest, most daring and exhilarating jet boat trip in New Zealand. Humpridge Jet services the South Coast of Fiordland National Park including Lake Hauroko and the Wairaurahiri River. Lake Hauroko is the deepest lake in New Zealand and is drained by the Wairaurahiri River, which falls 200meters to sea level and is 27 kilometres of grade 3 white water rapids. The river is commonly described as New Zealand's longest waterfall. www.wildernessjet.co.nz Take a short walk to explore the Wild South Coast Line (lovely beach walk with views of Stewart Island and the Solander Islands) as well as a short walk to Waitutu Virgin Podocarp Forest (Oldest Podocarp Forest in NZ). On this journey, you experience wonders of the Wild South Coast and can be still and hear the call of the wild (Native Bird Song). For lunch enjoy a bush style Venison BBQ Lunch. In the late afternoon, we take you to the Catlins. The Catlins is where the native forest meets the sea fostering waterfalls and river valleys along the way. There are rocky coastal bays, inlets and estuaries along the seashore. We then take you on to Queenstown at the shore of Lake Wakatipu. Last day with private guide!. Or (Optional) We travel to Queenstown in the morning. Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four season lake and alpine resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown’s stunning scenery is inspiring and revitalising. The region is renowned for incredible adventure activities and spectacular outdoor terrain. You could try skiing, snowboarding, bungy jumping, paragliding, sky diving and more! Or, if you want something a little more relaxed, you can choose from numerous family activities, nature experiences, tours and beauty spas. Queenstown has transformed into a sophisticated cosmopolitan town with a permanent buzz, where you’ll find a fantastic choice of restaurants, a lively bar scene and excellent shopping.
A taxi will take you to the airport in Queenstown.