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16 Day - Active North & South Island Tour

16 Day - Active North & South Island Tour

This tour suits people of a wide range of fitness levels and outdoor experience, particularly if you enjoy hiking and a variety of other activities.

In the North Island explore a marine reserve along white sandy beaches, hike in unique volcanic terrain and geothermal areas and experience Maori culture. On the South Island, you explore undisturbed and inspiring scenery that has remained largely untouched for thousands of years. From the snow-capped mountains of the majestic Southern Alps, ancient native rainforest, pristine rivers and lakes to the remote sand dunes, reef and surf of the rugged West Coast

Plan Your Tour

Highlights

Private, exclusive tour - 16 nights 5* in luxury lodges/hotels (Private guided tour or private driver-guide)

Day 1: Auckland City (Airport concierge service and private transfer, day to your own leisure)
Day 2: Auckland – Coromandel (walk the golden and white sand beaches)
Day 3: Coromandel/Whitianga (Hahei beach, half day sea kayaking to Cathedral Cove)
Day 4: Coromandel – Lake Taupo (Walk at geothermal Hidden Valley, Huka Falls)
Day 5: Taupo – Day-trip into National Park (Full day hike at Tongariro Alpine Crossing)
Day 6: Taupo – domestic flight to Blenheim/over Wellington (Water Taxi, afternoon to your own leisure)
Day 7: Marlborough Sounds (Hiking in Queen Charlotte Sound)
Day 8: Marlborough - Nelson (Full day private winery tour by bike)
Day 9: Nelson (Full day private charter boat in Abel Tasman)
Day 10: Nelson – West Coast (Underwater caving and tubing in Glow-worm Caves)
Day 11: West Coast - Punakaiki - Franz Josef Glacier (Pancake Rocks, Helicopter hike)
Day 12: Franz Josef Glacier - Wanaka (Wilderness River Jet Boat Safari)
Day 13: Lake Wanaka - Te Anau/Fiordland National Park (Private winery and area tour)
Day 14: Te Anau – Day trip to Milford Sound (Guided walk Fiordland, Encounter Cruise)
Day 15: Te Anau - Queenstown (Last Shopping, afternoon for relaxing)
Day 16: Queenstown departure (Private airport transfer)

Prices: We recommend the following guidelines for customized tour packages, excluding international flights: ◦5* and 5*Plus from NZ$ $750 - $1650+ 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.

Day 1: Auckland City (Airport concierge service and private transfer, day to your own leisure)

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. Here you can spend the day in the Inner City and near the America’s Cup Village and visit the nearby Viaduct Basin with its many lively bars and restaurants. Walk onto Queen Sreet and explore the new Britomart with superb shopping and dining.

Accommodation: Auckland City Sofitel, Hilton Hotel (Luxury)

Day 2: Auckland – Coromandel (Walk the golden and white sand beaches)

Driving distance 3h
Your tour today takes you to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is one of New Zealand’s most popular and best-loved holiday destinations. When you visit it you will see why. A binocular’s view across the gulf from Auckland, it is everything that a big city isn't. First, we pass through the historic gold mining town of Thames. From Thames, your drive takes you out along the beautiful winding coastline of the western side of the peninsula to Tapu. We take you further to the top of beautiful Coromandel Peninsula and the same named township. Fabulous golden and white sand beaches with magnificent coastal scenery, a rugged forest cloaked interior waiting to be explored, are just some of the natural attractions that have people returning to The Coromandel time after time. The Coromandel is where Kiwis go on holiday! Renowned worldwide for its natural beauty - misty rainforests and pristine golden beaches, the Coromandel is blessed with hundreds of natural hideaways, making it an ideal place to slow down, relax and unwind.

Accommodation: Whitianga - Bayview 91 and Lonely Bay Lodge (Luxury)

Day 3: Coromandel/Whitinaga (Hahei beach, half day sea kayaking to Cathedral Cove)

Whitianga has attracted visitors for more than a thousand years since Maori explorer Kupe first settled here around 950AD, but it was Captain James Cook who gave the area its name when he anchored in the bay in 1769 to observe the transit of Mercury. Now an established tourist resort, the Bay's spectacular coastline is dotted with islands and its relatively sheltered waters are perfect for all water sports. You will have the opportunity to explore the picturesque Hahei Beach with its white beaches and stunning shoreline to Cathedral Cove and its marine reserve. A fantastic view from the lookout point will give you spectacular photo opportunities and a fabulous view of the coastline. Kayaking to Cathedral Cove is rated by New Zealand's leading tour companies as one of the best sea kayaking trips in the country. The Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve opens up a sea kayaking paradise full of beaches, islands and rock gardens that are just waiting to be explored. Paddle through sea caves, interact with the local marine life and discover the thrill of kayak sailing with the wind on your back. To top it off we land at Cathedral Cove where you will be treated to our world famous cappuccinos and hot chocolates on the beach! The Coromandel is the home of many artists and craftspeople. Pop into their studios – you’re welcome to visit – and pick up a unique piece of art or pottery to take home with you.

Accommodation: Whitianga - Bayview 91 and Lonely Bay Lodge (Luxury)

Day 4: Coromandel – Lake Taupo (Walk at geothermal Hidden Valley, Huka Falls)

Driving distance 4h
Today you leave the Coromandel and continue your journey to Taupo. You drive through the Waikato region known for farming and thoroughbred horses. Lake Taupo is 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. You can gather your own free volcanic souvenir from the shoreline in the form of very light pumice stones (great for cleaning off rough skin) which were spewed out in that eruption. Just about everywhere you look in the Lake Taupo region, you'll see a volcano. Come and explore a world of gushing geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and some of the largest and most amazing silica terraces in the world. Wander through the Hidden Valley and visit the thermal Ruatapu Cave which extends more than 36m down to the 'Waiwhakaata' or 'Pool of Mirrors' hot pool at the bottom. Orakei Korako boasts the most active geysers of any geothermal park in New Zealand. Up to 23 active natural geysers play freely through the area, which is constantly changing. Marvel at the number of boiling hot springs and the vibrant colours all around you, or take a native bushwalk through this untouched geothermal paradise. The Lonely Planet Guide describes Orakei Korako as "arguably the best thermal area left in New Zealand". The highlight for many visitors to Orakei Korako is the thermal Ruatapu Cave (Sacred Hole). The cave extends more than 35m down to a hot pool at the bottom named 'Waiwhakaata' (Pool of Mirrors). It's one of only two known caves in the world located in a geothermal field. Access to the pool is prohibited, but the viewing platform provides a safe location for viewing the cave. The beautifully clear pool contains warm acid water.

Accommodation: Taupo – Acacia Cliffs Lodge, Taupo Lodge (Luxury) or Huka Lodge (Deluxe)

Day 5: Taupo – Day-trip into National Park (Full day hike at Tongariro Alpine Crossing)

Driving distance 1h each way
New Zealand's oldest national park and a dual World Heritage Site, the Tongariro National Park is rich in both cultural identity and dramatic, awe-inspiring natural scenery. Unique landforms, including the volcanic peaks of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu ensure the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered a world-renowned trek. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is heralded as the best one-day trek available in New Zealand, while others say it ranks among the top ten single-day treks in the world. Many who complete the 19.4-kilometre journey will tell you the climbs can be steep and the weather unpredictable, though worth it in every aspect. In the evening relax in your own hot pool with spectacular views into a large gorge, surrounded by pure nature.

Accommodation: Taupo – Acacia Cliffs Lodge, Taupo Lodge (Luxury) or Huka Lodge (Deluxe)

Day 6: Taupo – domestic flight to Blenheim/over Wellington (Water Taxi, afternoon to your own leisure)

In the morning take a domestic flight from Taupo, over Wellington to the South Island. Within the Sounds you will discover steep, wooded hills and small quiet bays as the Sounds are sparsely populated, as access is difficult. From here you travel by a water taxi to a small unique remote beach in the Marlborough Sounds. Or: (extra charges) take a float plane!

Accommodation: Marlborough Sounds – Bat of Many Coves Resort or The Sounds Retreat (Luxury)

Day 7: Marlborough Sounds (Explore - Hiking in Queen Charlotte Sound)

Many of the small settlements and isolated houses in the Sounds are only accessible by boat. The main large port is Picton on the mainland, at the head of The Queen Charlotte Sound. The Queen Charlotte Track runs almost the entire length of The Queen Charlotte Sounds. The track offers a spectacular journey through the Marlborough Sounds. Walk through lush bush, around historic bays and along skyline ridges. You will be rewarded with unsurpassed views of both Queen Charlotte and Kenepuru Sounds and encounters with native birds such as the inquisitive weka.

Accommodation: Marlborough Sounds – Bay of Many Coves Resort or The Sounds Retreat (Luxury)

Day 8: Marlborough - Nelson (Full day private winery tour by bike)

Driving distance 2.5h
In the morning take a water taxi back to Picton from where you will be collected for a winery tour. Blenheim is at the entrance of the Marlborough Sounds and is the main town in the region. Its lovely sunny climate makes this area an ideal wine growing region. Take a gentle wine tour by bike through Marlborough vineyards, learning from our expert guides about the how our landscape, climate and people forge the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc, along with stunning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris. In the afternoon we take you to Nelson. The Nelson/Tasman region of New Zealand is known for its sheltered cerulean bays, its superb produce, its winemakers and its artists, its wild mountains, its trout-fishing rivers, and the golden, postcard beaches of The Abel Tasman National Park.

Accommodation: Nelson – Eden House, Split Apple Retreat (Deluxe) or Resurgence Lodge (Luxury)

Day 9: Nelson (Full day Private charter boat in Abel Tasman)

The Abel Tasman is our smallest national park yet it consistently ranks as one of the top 5 tourist attractions in New Zealand. Its golden beaches, turquoise waters, native bush and pristine marine reserves make this world-renowned park a “must-do” experience. Join a scenic cruise for the most special day trip, exploring along the Abel Tasman National Park's coastline; past Split Apple Rock, Kaiteriteri, Marahau, round golden sandy bays, Adele and Fishermans Islands, and on to Tonga Island seal colony. After boarding your cruise boat at Stephens Bay, we cruise around the headland to Split Apple Rock, taking our time to enable you to get the best views and photo's during your scenic cruise. Here you may see several shags drying their wings above the warm rocks after their early morning fishing. Your cruise itinerary is flexible, so if there is something to see on your day trip, like dolphins riding the bow wave or New Zealand fur seals fishing, then we'll go take a look. Similarly, if there's a particular bay you want to visit or Abel Tasman National Park feature you want to see, then please do let the skipper know and he'll try to accommodate your wishes. After we've said goodbye to the seals we find a sheltered bay for a light lunch. You can swim, sea kayak, go ashore for a bush walk, or just relax on board while we prepare your lunch. We have plenty of snorkelling equipment if you are keen to work up an appetite, and sea kayaks on board for your enjoyment.

Accommodation: Nelson – Eden House, Split Apple Retreat (Deluxe) or Resurgence Lodge Luxury)

Day 10: Nelson – West Coast (Buller Gorge, Wild West, Underwater caving and tubing in Glow-worm Caves)

Driving distance 4h
Depart Golden Bay for the start of your 'Wilderness Tour'. Your tour takes you deep into the heartland of the south. The northernmost of the three main passes across the Southern Alps, you traverse the pass on its route between north Canterbury and the West Coast. On your way, you pass through extensive unmodified beech forest, alpine scenery and crystal clear rivers. You drive through the Buller Valley, contained within steep-sided, bush-clad gorges. The twisting road that has been carved through this gorge is often the only man-made structure you'll see for some time. On arriving in Westport, your driver/guide will take you along the West Coast. 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. You will have the opportunity to join others at an Underworld Rafting trip. Visitors are fitted out with designer wet suits, wet suit socks, boots, gloves and helmet at the NWA Ltd Charleston Base. A courtesy coach takes you to The Nile River Rainforest Train for transport through the primaeval rain forest and towering limestone cliffs of the Nile River Canyon. Once changed, a short climb is required to enter the enormous Nile River Cave System where you meander through a calcitic paradise of stalactites and stalagmites in the upper dry levels of the cave. Down 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. You emerge from the cave into a remote and untouched world before leaving its tranquillity for the rushing bubbling waters of the low-grade Nile River Rapids. We stop and stay near Punakaiki the jewel of the West Coast. Punakaiki is world renowned for its pancake rock formation and blowholes. Walk along some of the stunning and remote beach treks, though a dense rainforest with Nikau Palms and large ferns.

Accommodation: West Coast- Birdsferry Lodge (Luxury)

Day 11: West Coast - Punakaiki - Franz Josef Glacier (Pancake Rocks, Helicopter hike on Glacier)

Driving distance 3.5h
In the morning we stop at Punakaiki to view the pancake rock formations and blow-holes. Walk along some of the stunning and remote beach treks, through a dense rainforest with Nikau Palms and large ferns. From Greymouth, your journey winds its way through the western slopes of the West Coast which displays a series of magnificent mountain ranges, and native fauna. Hokitika is a small town known both for gold and coal mining. 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. In the afternoon experience awe-inspiring views of Mt Cook and Tasman, breath-taking views of the glaciers and neves. The rugged West Coast is hemmed between the Tasman Sea and the imposing Southern Alps, making for spectacular contrasts in the surrounding scenery. Two glaciers are located only 25 km from each other and are unique in the world as they seem to nearly reach the ocean. At Franz Joseph you take an exciting scenic flight, you land high up on the glacier and undertake a two hour guided hike amongst some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery available. Your guide chooses the route as you go and with an eye for the most spectacular ice formations, you'll soon be making your way through a wonderland of towering pinnacles and brilliantly blue ice. You'll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and with plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier, this will almost certainly be your most memorable experience whilst in New Zealand.

Accommodation: Glacier area – Te Waonui Retreat or Westwood Lodge (Luxury)

Day 12: Franz Josef Glacier - Haast - Mt Aspiring National Park - Wanaka (Rainforest walks, Wilderness River Jet Boat Safari)

Driving distance 4h
You leave the glacier region and go as far south as the township of Haast. Nearby take a gentle walk following the slow flowing Ship Creek Tauparikaka. A creek-side viewpoint allows easy observation of the forest plants and wildlife. Deep in the swamp forest, are views of New Zealand's tallest tree, the Kahikatea. Explore a part of New Zealand that's splendidly isolated - there are more resident seals and penguins than people. South of Haast, the coastline turns westward along a 24 kilometre, gently curving bay to Jackson Head. This headland provides shelter from the prevailing wind direction, and here a fishing harbour has survived since the early pioneer days of seal hunting. Jackson Head also marks the southern end of the west coast's narrow river plains. Beyond this point, the steep mountain ranges plunge directly into the sea - the first of the deep glacial fiords is just 60 kilometres away. Discover the world’s first and only ocean to Alps river jet boating tour, exploring Te-Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. In the afternoon we continue on our journey and a spectacular and scenic road 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 minutes from Haast take a 20-minute walk to the Roaring Billy Waterfall, an easy fern line walk will take you to the shores of the Haast River. Later on, you can make a short stop at the 28m drop Thunder Creek falls and then take a 30 minute return walk to the Blue pools. It features a carefully maintained gravel path and board-walks 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.

Accommodation: Wanaka – Riverrun Lodge, Limetree Lodge and Silverpine Lodge (Luxury)

Day 13: Lake Wanaka - Te Anau/Fiordland National Park (Private winery and area tour)

Driving distance 3h
Central Otago is New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region and also its most scenic. Take the time to explore these incredible vineyards set in small micro-climates in a landscape dominated by high snow-capped mountains, and tussock clad slopes. At some stage of the wine tour, we suggest a stop for relaxing lunch at one of the wineries. Drive through the famous Kawarau valley and gorge. Stop at, what is widely regarded as a safe spectator attraction the famous Kawarau Gorge Bungy Jumping exhibition (this is free for spectators, however, if you desire to make a jump the charge is additional to your tour package). You will stop in Arrowtown, a historic colonial village that takes you back into the Gold Mining days of the Otago region. In the afternoon your journey takes you past the Eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau. 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. The scenery is spectacular and the track passes through many landscapes of the Fiordland National Park ranging from rocky mountain ridges to tall mossy forests along the lake shores. The township of Te Anau was originally established as a service community to the rural pasture-lands on the eastern side of the lake.

Accommodation: Te Anau – Dockbay Lodge or Fiordland Lodge (Luxury)

Day 14: Te Anau – Day trip to Milford Sounds (Guided walk Fiordland, Encounter cruise)

Driving distance 4h return
We are heading for the spectacular Milford Sound, described by Rudyard Kipling as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” which was carved out during successive ice ages and, at its deepest point off Mitre Peak, plunges to a depth of 265 meters. The awesome splendour of this region is unsurpassed anywhere else in the world, a daring claim in a country which offers extraordinary beauty around every corner. Getting there is half of the experience; we take you through the Fiordland National Park, past staggeringly beautiful valleys, lakes and creeks. We begin with a short boat ride across Milford Sound’s deep water basin to Sandfly Point, adeptly named as you will see! This is the end point of the Milford Track, but the start of our Milford hike. From there we begin our guided walk, meandering alongside the cascading Arthur River then Lake Ada, on a well-formed track. Our destination and half way point is Giants Gate waterfall. This spectacular waterfall is best viewed and photographed from the large swing bridge spanning the river. You may encounter Kea’s, New Zealand’s cheeky alpine parrots and we stop and explore some of nature’s wonders on the way. At Milford, we board a vessel and cruise on the Fiord through sheer cliffs covered with vegetation that plunges into the sea. View the Bowen Falls, hurtling 165 meters into the sea, and the Stirling Falls further down the Sound, set amidst the towering cliffs and dwarfed by Mitre Peak. On the way back we take a board walk into the “Chasm” to see surreal, water-hewn rock sculptures. If the time allows we will stop at the “Mirror Lakes”, before entering the narrow and dark 1km long Homer Tunnel.

Accommodation: Te Anau – Dockbay Lodge or Fiordland Lodge (Luxury)

Day 15: Te Anau - Queenstown (Last day for shopping, afternoon for relaxing)

Driving distance 2h
In the morning drive back to the Queenstown, 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. Queenstown has transformed into a sophisticated cosmopolitan town, where’s a permanent buzz downtown and you’ll find a fantastic choice of restaurants, a lively bar scene and excellent shopping. In the afternoon you will be taken into the tiny settlement of Glenorchy. This is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand and used for a favourite location in several Hollywood film productions and commercials around the world.

Accommodation: Queenstown – The Dairy Hotel, Sofitel (Luxury) or Azur Villas, Matakauri Lodge or Blanket Bay (Deluxe)

Day 16: Queenstown departure (Private transfer)

A taxi will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to the airport.

Experiences in this tour

Auckland City

Auckland City

There’s always something happening in Auckland, cultural experiences, restaurants, inner-city hot spots or beautiful beaches and island escapes; from major sporting events, concerts and festivals to outdoor adventures.
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Taupo

Taupo

The Great Lake Taupo region is 'Nature's Ultimate Playground’, Taupo has something for everyone. Taupo is home to the majestic Huka Falls, the most visited natural attraction in New Zealand.
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Wanaka

Wanaka

Located in the stunning alps of the South Island in New Zealand, visitors from around the world are drawn to the Wanaka region by its outstanding natural beauty.
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Northland

Northland

Northland boasts some of the most authentic, spectacular New Zealand adventures and experiences. The ‘winterless North’, known for its subtropical climate is the destination to create meaningful stories.
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Franz Joseph

Franz Joseph

The Franz Josef Glacier offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacial environment. There is something truly spectacular about the sight of the blue glacier set against the backdrop of snow-covered peaks.
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Queenstown

Queenstown

Queenstown like any great love is easy to fall for and difficult to get over. Queenstown’s natural beauty can rarely be competed with, but there is more to Queenstown than just a pretty face.
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