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21 Day - Intrepid Journey Tour

21 Day - Intrepid Journey Tour

Intrepid travellers explore the world's most amazing places - discovering real people, real cultures and having incredible life experiences along the way.

This tour takes you to the hidden treasures and allows you to spend time with the local people of this country. We experience the human side of New Zealand. We meet sheep and dairy farmers, learn about Maori culture, and find a bit of Scottish heritage in the South Pacific. Three weeks in New Zealand offers more excitement and diversity than two years in most other parts of the world!

Plan Your Tour

Highlights

Private guided tour itinerary - 20 nights

Day 1: Auckland (many flights arrive early morning) - Waipoua Forest-Hokianga Harbour (Footprint to Kauri Trees)
Day 2: Hokianga Harbour - Bay of Islands (Hokinaga Sandtrails, Historic Russell)
Day 3: Bay of Islands (Boat trip to Hole in the Rock)
Day 4: Bay of Islands – Auckland - Waitomo (Farm-stay)
Day 5: Waitomo – Taupo (Glow-worm caves)
Day 6: Rotorua - Taupo (Maori culture, Pohuto Geyser, Kiwi house, geothermal area and Huka Falls)
Day 7: Taupo - Volcanic National Park - Rangitikei Valley (Soft rafting trip through a deep gorge/Lord of the Rings scenery)
Day 8: Rangitikei Valley - Wellington (Capital, Te Papa Museum)
Day 9: Wellington – Picton/South Island (Ferry Crossing Cooks Straight)
Day 10: Marlborough Sounds – Nelson – Golden Bay (Abel Tasman National Park, Pupu Springs)
Day 11: Golden Bay (Remote kayak trip at Wanganui Inlet, remote walking treks)
Day 12: Golden Bay – West Coast - Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks)
Day 13: Punakaiki - Franz Josef Glacier - Lake Moeraki (Glaciers, Tawaki Penguins on Wilderness Beaches)
Day 14: Lake Moeraki - Mt Aspiring National Park - Wanaka (Rainforest walks, wetlands, and remote water-falls)
Day 15: Wanaka (Half day hike to Rob Roy Glacier)
Day 16: Wanaka - Queenstown - Te Anau (Kawarau Gorge, Arrowtown, Fiordland)
Day 17: Te Anau – Day trip to Milford Sound (Encounter Cruise)
Day 18: Te Anau - Catlin’s (Wilderness Jet boat experience at Wairaurahiri River)
Day 19: Catlins – Dunedin – Oamaru (Historical town, Seal colonies)
Day 20: Oamaru - Twizel (Clay cliffs, Mt Cook area)
Day 21: Twizel - Lake Tekapo – Christchurch airport (Afternoon 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.

Day 1: Auckland (many flights arrive early morning) - Waipoua Forest-Hokianga Harbour (Footprint to Kauri Trees)

Driving distance 3h
Start off your private guided tour! On our first day, we drive north of Auckland to the Waipoua Forest and a local guide will take you on a memorable journey through nature's stages of evolution, whilst providing a mythological and interactive interpretation of life in the forest. Meet our ancestors; the mighty Te Matua Ngahere ('The Father of the Forest') estimated to be between 3,000 and 4,000 years old, his mighty girth is over 5 metres (15ft) in diameter. 'The Four Sisters' are a graceful collection of kauri trees that have grown close together in sibling harmony and finally, Tane Mahuta ('The Lord of the Forest') who stands an impressive 51 metres (150ft) tall. Join a tour for an intimate encounter to learn how these trees are intertwined with the lives of local Maori and the important role they play in the eco-system that is the Waipoua Forest. Your journey on the road continues further north and you will have time to explore the historic townships of Kohukohu and Rawene connected by vehicle ferry across the upper Hokianga Harbour. You stay tonight at Mitimiti, (one of Northlands best-kept secrets), which is a small rural/coastal contemporary Maori community. Enjoy a home-cooked meal at your Homestay and learn more about the significant history of this area from your native host.

Accommodation: Hokianga Harbour

Day 2: Hokianga Harbour - Bay of Islands (Hokianga Sanddunes, Historic Russell)

Driving distance 5h
The beach, like so much of this coastline, can be walked uninterrupted for kilometres. In the morning take a water taxi to the Opounui sand dunes including the unique ‘Sand sculptures’, and ‘Sand canyon’. Enjoy the panoramic views of the harbour and its entrance from this unique location. Ride along the stunning West Coast and hear local stories and legends of this area. Return along the beach and buggy over the dunes. We take you East and our first major destination point Paihia, the first European settlement in New Zealand. Dotted with 144 islands and a myriad of secluded beaches, the entire region offers a fantastic opportunity to fish in waters that are rich with an abundance of sea-life! We take you on a walk along the spectacular Paihia waterfront and Waitangi beach to the historic Waitangi Treaty grounds, the location of the signing of the peace treaty between the Maori and the British Crown in 1840. In Opua, you board the ferry to Russell, where you will experience New Zealand’s volatile colonial history. Take time out to have lunch in one of the historic buildings, enjoying glorious views out over the idyllic wharf. Settle into your accommodation for the evening, and enjoy a leisurely dinner in the Russell township.

Accommodation: Bay of Islands

Day 3: Bay of Islands (Boat trip to Hole in the Rock)

Day free for the guide! In the morning you will go on a 5-hour boat cruise around the many islands that make up the Bay of Islands, passing through the famous “Hole in the Rock” at Cape Brett, a fascinating natural geological attraction. Dolphin watching tours can also be arranged. If you just want to relax you can spend the afternoon strolling the beach, and the shops for local arts and crafts, enjoy a game of golf or maybe take to the waters of one of the world's most renowned game fishing regains and lunch at one of the areas wonderful vineyards... there are many excursions available. Highly recommended: (Optional) A fly/drive tour to Cape Reinga: The initial stage of the tour consists of a flight up to Cape Reinga via Northlands spectacular harbours, such as the Whangaroa Harbour and the Rangaunu Harbour. You also pass across some beautiful beaches such as Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and of course the famous Ninety Mile Beach. From Ninety Mile Beach you then fly inland and land at an airfield, which is only 20km from the Cape Reinga lighthouse. Once on the ground, a comfortable air-conditioned mini-bus will meet the aircraft. It will take you on a 2½ hour tour around the top of New Zealand. After a 20 minute drive, you reach the Cape Reinga Lighthouse where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. The local guide will accompany you on your walk to the lighthouse, sharing the myths and legends of this very spiritual area. The return flight to the Bay of Islands includes some of the most spectacular coastal scenery Northland has to offer.

Accommodation: Bay of Islands

Day 4: Bay of Island – Auckland - Waitomo (Farm-stay)

Driving distance 5h
On our way, we can take you South to Matakana, famous for the numerous award-winning wineries and their restaurants in the area. Stops en route may include stunning Orewa Beach and Wenderholm Regional Park. We take you on a relaxing sightseeing tour of Auckland, a chance to explore the CBD and outer areas of the city, taking in the spectacular harbour views of the Waitemata from Auckland's illustrious waterfront, and through some of the most expensive real estate in NZ. We take you south through the lush green rural farmland of the Waikato region, the rich and fertile pastoral land of the Waikato is one of New Zealand’s major dairy producing and horse breeding areas. Tonight you stay at a working farm. Nestled in the foothills of Mt. Pirongia the farm covers 200 acres of fertile soils and rolling paddocks. It was once a dairy farm but now the owners organically farm dairy heifers, fatten beef cattle, and have a small flock of Angora goats. They are very friendly and look forward to our guests feeding them their favourite nuts. Lots of other wildlife also enjoy the farm and the views – including pheasants, the native Tui, Kingfisher birds, rabbits, hares, ducks and you may even get lucky and see a NZ native Falcon! There is a beautiful stand of native bush and lovely clear streams flowing down the mountain. Hairy feet tour/Hobbiton film: In the afternoon visit the stunning farm location at Mangaotaki Rocks Piopio, near Waitomo, where the troll and campfire scenes in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" were filmed. Towering limestone cliffs, massive rock formations and a primaeval forest on the Denize family farm became the location for Staddle Farm and Trollshaws... and the home of “Sting”.

Accommodation: Waitomo

Day 5: Waitomo – Rotorua (Glow-worm caves)

Driving distance 2h
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'). Enjoy a short shuttle ride to the cave while your experienced guide reveals the rich history of Waitomo. Then, take a short walk through breath taking New Zealand native bush to the cave entrance. There, your guide lights the candles setting the scene for an intimate cave experience, where you will see glow-worms and cave formations up close and appreciate the beauty of Footwhistle Cave (also known to local Maori as Te Anaroa Cave). The solar-powered lights are kept low so you can appreciate the magnificent glow worm displays at their best, only inches away. Around a corner lie the bones of one of New Zealand's lost treasures, the ancient Moa. The soothing sound of Footwhistle cave stream flows in the darkness below. Formation lights are especially turned on to cast a warm glow over stunning cave formations. The guide tells the stories of the insect life that live here - titiwai, the glow-worm, and tuna, the eel. After enjoying a relaxed stroll through the cave, you'll be seated in Footwhistle's Cathedral to see it lit up by a dazzling magnesium torch. Although the display only lasts a few seconds, your memories of the Footwhistle Cave will last a lifetime. Highly recommended: (Optional) Blackwater rafting or Tubing experience: We can book for you a Cave tubing experience. Drift through our beautiful cave on an inner tyre tube and float under the most amazing displays of glow-worms! Jump off a waterfall, ZOOM down the hydro slide and for those of you who are keen to get their 'cave crawl on' - crawl up to the hidden waterfall which for many of our customers is the highlight of their trip.

Accommodation: Rotorua

Day 6: Rotorua - Taupo (Maori culture, Pohuto Geyser, Kiwi house, geothermal area and Huka Falls)

Driving distance 1h
Today you visit Te Puia the premier Māori cultural centre in New Zealand - a place of gushing waters, steaming vents, boiling mud pools and spectacular geysers. Situated in the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, Te Puia's 60-hectare site is home to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institue, a live kiwi enclosure, the world famous Pohutu Geyser and more than 500 geothermal wonders. 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. Following on from this you take another journey through a world of unique thermal formations at Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland. View the fascinating 'Champagne Pool' and experience the panorama of vividly colourful hot and cold pools, steaming fumaroles and hot boiling mud pools. We continue 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. 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.

Accommodation: Lake Taupo

Day 7: Taupo - Volcanic National Park - Rangatikai Valley (Soft rafting trip through a deep gorge/Lord of the Rings scenery)

Driving distance 3h
After Breakfast, we travel around the edges of the Lake and stop at the remote Lake Rotoaira to get our first spectacular view of the Volcanic Plateau and Mount Tongariro. We pass the park ranges, which include wildly differing landscape and scenery: from deserts to vast areas of tussock land, mountain beech forests and wetlands, all with a mix of native flora and fauna. You will see active volcanic craters, natural springs, and valleys filled with jagged lava flows. Driving through the National Park area, which is a World Heritage Site, you will get superb views the volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. We then drive deeper into farming country to the remote Mokai Valley, where the picturesque Rangitikei River meets the rugged Ruahine Ranges. The location is set at the edges of the crystal clear waters of the Rangitikei River amongst the beautiful native flora and fauna, which provides a stunning and picturesque backdrop. Here we have organised a rafting trip through the gentle rapids and the crystal clear waters of the River. We pass secret waterfalls and unbelievable scenery as you float quietly through Middle Earth and pass scenes from the Movie. Here you can stop to fish, swim or have a picnic. For our thrill seekers! We can organize a grade 5 rafting adventure ride through the same valley. In the evening unwind and relax with a home cooked dinner at this magical place. Just before you settle back in your Tree House, take a soak in a hot pool, which overlooks this remote valley.

Accommodation: Mokai Valley

Day 8: Rangitikei Valley - Wellington (Capital, Te Papa Museum)

Driving distance 3h
Relax in the morning, swim in the pool or take a 4 wheel drive tour with your hosts through their farm property. Not far from your accommodation we can organise a bungy jump or try the largest flying fox in the world (Optional). By late afternoon we reach Wellington. New Zealand’s capital city is nestled between rolling hills and a stunning harbour and has a vibrant and compact downtown area that's best explored on foot. Get your city bearings and some of Wellington’s best views at the Mount Victoria Lookout. The city is home to Te Papa, the national museum, which tells the story of New Zealand’s history through bold and interactive exhibits. In Wellington, you’ll discover an amazing range of cafes, art galleries, theatres, attractions and a humming nightlife. You can ride the historic Wellington Cable Car to the Botanic Gardens. Or head to Cuba Street for a slice of bohemia, boutique shopping and some of the best coffee in town. Your B&B is located in the heart of the City, and this evening you can walk to some of the best restaurants in Wellington.

Accommodation: Wellington City

Day 9: Wellington – Picton/South Island (Ferry Crossing Cooks Straight)

Ferry crossing 3.5h, Driving distance 1h
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. “It must be one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world” Commented a Wine Spectator recently. Another option is to take a short domestic flight from Wellington to Picton. (Optional) If you hit one of those magic days of great weather it will be one of the most wonderful panoramas of an introduction to an area one could hope for. Even under the worst scenario, the middle part through the Straits is the only really bad area even on the hardest of days. As you enter the sounds you will discover a myriad of inlets and bays with dramatic hills that plunge steeply into the sea. 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 Queen Charlotte Sound.

Accommodation: Marlborough Sounds

Day 10: Marlborough Sounds – Nelson – Golden Bay (Abel Tasman Park, Pupu Springs)

Driving distances 4h
From Picton, we enter the sun-drenched wine region, New Zealand’s pre-eminent grape-growing area. Here you can taste some of the country’s best wines and visit wineries world famous for their sauvignon blanc’s and chardonnays. We lunch at one of the wineries and enjoy the local delicacies and relax in the convivial atmosphere. The Nelson district is known for its irresistible blend of lifestyle and stunning landscape at the top northwest corner of the South Island. Apples, cherries and classic wine varietal grapes are well suited to the mild climate around the area. From there we take you over Takaka Hill and drive to the “Golden Bay” New Zealand's best-kept secret because there is only one road in. On the drive over the Takaka Hill, you catch your first sight of Golden Bay and it takes your breath away. The idyllic charm and lifestyle of Golden Bay attract an interesting variety of artists and crafts-folk.

Accommodation: Golden Bay

Day 11: Golden Bay (Kayak trip to remote area of Westhaven Inlet, remote walking treks)

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the Whanganui Inlet while kayaking. This kayaking trip is for the young and old, to one of the most secluded and beautiful areas of the Estuary. Why not enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at one of the secluded bays. The 1000 acre peninsula is a wonderful area to take short or long walks. Some wind through lush rainforest and Nikau groves while others wind through beautiful rock formations. An easy walk leads to the highest hill of Westhaven, which rewards you with an amazing 360-degree view. Another is through the second largest Nikau Palm Forest in New Zealand. You will be astounded by the ancient ruggedness of this unique paradise

Accommodation: Golden Bay

Day 12: Golden Bay – West Coast - Punakaiki (Pancake Rocks)

Driving distance 4.5h
Depart Golden Bay for the start of your 'Wilderness Tour'. Your tour takes you deep into the heartland of the south. Your first encounter will be through the Buller Gorge. 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. 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 magnificent mountain ranges, and native New Zealand vegetation. Nearing the coast it passes through typical West Coast coastal flax flats before emerging onto a coastal headland with stunning views up and down the local coastline. You will have the opportunity to walk the Truman track. The track begins in the beautiful sub-tropical rainforest of ferns, nikau palms, and rimu. We stop and stay at 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, through a dense rainforest with Nikau Palms and large ferns.

Accommodation: West Coast

Day 13: Punakaiki - Franz Josef Glacier - Lake Moeraki (Glaciers, Tawaki Penguins on Wilderness Beaches)

Driving distance 4.5h
We take a leisurely and scenic drive to the famous glacier region. 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. Your destination for the day is Lake Moeraki for a penguin encounter. Tawaki, or Fiordland Crested Penguins, Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, are the second rarest penguin species on the planet (behind the Galapagos penguin). Only in the southwest corner of New Zealand's South Island, particularly along the Moeraki coastline, can you see these special birds. Their total population is estimated at 2,000 pairs with about 10% of these found around Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki. While they spend much of their lives navigating the oceans, far from land, they return each year to breed in dense coastal rainforest between July and December. The rainforests, lakes and rivers surrounding the Lodge provide a glimpse of what New Zealand would have looked like when the first Polynesians stepped ashore 800 years ago. The short twice-daily nature activities are led by ecologist guides, offer a wonderful opportunity to sample the delights Moeraki has to offer. Recommended: (Optional) Helicopter flight and landing on ice: 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. The flight includes fantastic views of the Tasman Glacier and Mount Cook.

Accommodation: Lake Moeraki

Day 14: Lake Moeraki - Mt Aspiring National Park - Wanaka (Rainforest walks, wetlands, and remote water-falls)

Driving distance 3h
In the morning visit nearby Lake Matheson. The forested path skirts the shores of the mist-shrouded lake and on a clear day, New Zealand’s highest peaks are spectacularly reflected in the mirror-like waters. 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 short 20-minute walk to the Roaring Billy Waterfall, an easy fern line walk take you to the shores of the Haast River. Later you make a short stop at the 28m drop Thunder Creek falls followed by another stop to take a 30-minute 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.

Accommodation: Wanaka

Day 15: Wanaka (Half day hike to Rob Roy Glacier)

Driving distance 2h return
Day free for the guide! 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, New Zealand. At its heart is Mt Aspiring, the park’s highest mountain at 3,027m and known to early Maori as ‘Tititea’ or ‘glistening peak’. Since the age of mountaineering began in New Zealand it’s been a drawcard for climbers the world over. Today you hike to the majestic Rob Roy Glacier and picnic by a cascading waterfall with native alpine parrots for company while listening to the cracks of the hanging glacier high overhead. The track is an ideal entry point to Mt Aspiring National Park - an area of spectacular alpine scenery, snowfields, glaciers, sheer rock cliffs and waterfalls. A one hour drive from Wanaka brings you to the Raspberry Flat car-park. After a 15-minute valley walk you cross the West Matukituki River into beech forest as the track climbs through a small gorge along the Rob Roy Stream, then into alpine vegetation at the head of the valley, with good views of the Rob Roy Glacier. Highly recommended: (Optional) Small scenic plane flight into Siberia Valley, hike and Jet boat on the local river. Join us for a 4-hour wilderness adventure tour in Mount Aspiring World Heritage National Park. Take a 25-minute unforgettable scenic flight with views of Southern Alps, capturing the rugged beauty of New Zealand's World Heritage National Park. See glaciers, ice, snow, mountain lakes, hanging valleys, vast rainforests, and dramatic unspoiled beauty. Land in the glacially carved Siberia Valley in the middle of the Southern Alps and to begin a 2hr walk through valleys and native beech forest on a well-marked track linking the remote Siberia Valley with the wilderness of the Wilkin Valley! And join a 30 minute exciting Jet Boat ride. Your Siberia Experience leaves from Makarora at the head of Lake Wanaka and allows you to enjoy some of New Zealand's untouched scenery from the air, on land and from the water.

Accommodation: Wanaka

Day 16: Wanaka - Queenstown - Te Anau (Kawarau Gorge, Arrowtown, Fiordland)

Driving distance 4h
Central Otago is New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region and also it’s most scenic. As you leave Wanaka you travel to Queenstown via Cromwell and can take some time to explore these incredible vineyards set in small micro-climates in a landscape dominated by high snow-capped mountains, and tussock clad slopes. As you head towards Arrowtown you can make a short stop at what is widely regarded as a safe spectator attraction the famous Kawarau Gorge Bungy Jumping exhibition (If you wish to make a jump this will be an additional cost). Your next stop is Arrowtown, a historic colonial village that takes you back into the Gold Mining days of the Otago region. Then if time permits it's on to Coronet Peak for more spectacular views of Queenstown. Queenstown has transformed into a sophisticated cosmopolitan town, tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, beneath majestic mountains. There’s a permanent buzz and you will find a fantastic choice of restaurants, a lively bar scene and excellent shopping. In the afternoon you leave Queenstown and the 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 Kepler Track is located just 1km from Dock Bay Lodge. 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 walking track is constructed to a very high standard, most streams are bridged, boardwalks cover boggy areas and the very steep sections have steps. It is a moderate walking track.

Accommodation: Te Anau

Day 17: Te Anau – Day trip to Milford Sound (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, pass staggeringly beautiful valleys, lakes and creeks. If the time allows we will stop at the” Mirror Lakes”, before entering the narrow and dark 1km long Homer Tunnel. When you arrive in Milford you board your cruise boat and head into the magnificent wonder-world of the Milford Sound. Your cruise on the Fiord takes you 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 drive back to Te Anau we will stop and take a boardwalk into the “Chasm” to see surreal, water-hewn rock sculptures. Also recommended (Optional) Doubtful Sound: Doubtful Sound 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.

Accommodation: Te Anau

Day 18: Te Anau - Catlin’s (Wilderness Jet boat experience at Wairaurahiri River)

Driving Distance 4hr
Today you take part in the longest, most daring and exhilarating Jet Boat Trip In New Zealand.Hump Ridge 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. Take a short walk to explore the Wild South coast (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 you can still hear the call of the Wild (Native Bird Song). For lunch enjoy a bush style Venison BBQ Lunch. Your driving tour continues in the late afternoon and we take you to the Catlins. The Catlin’s is an area of untamed beauty, forests, farmland, remote beaches and splendid isolation. Only recently has it been discovered by national and international tourists. The “Southern Scenic Route” winds through the Catlins from Nugget Point to Curio Bay.

Accommodation: Kaka Point

Day 19: Catlins – Dunedin – Oamaru (Historical town, Seal colonies)

Driving distance 4h
Natural curiosities and beauty combine to make this corner of the South Island a scenic treasure. Fossilized trees, beautiful waterfalls, golden beaches, high cliffs and secret caves are all part of a unique mix of attractions in this area (McLean Falls and Cathedral Caves). A varied coastline provides a home to a wide range of wildlife, view sea-lions at Waipapa Point Lighthouse. Visit the unique fossil forest at Curio Bay. Take with us a short walk to the Purakaunui Falls through beech and podocarp forest to a viewing platform overlooking these attractive waterfalls. Your driving journey then continues and you reach Dunedin, the smallest of the 4 major New Zealand cities and displays a wealth of pioneering history within the city. The splendour of many of its public buildings reflects Dunedin's economic and cultural pre-eminence in Victorian New Zealand. Today, Dunedin has a rightly deserved reputation as one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. As you leave Dunedin you make a stop at Shag Point's Matakaea Reserve, home to fur seals. Two minutes walk from the first car park and you're at the edge of the land. This is the seals' place. They glide beneath the waves, sleek, smooth, beautiful as mermaids. They shuffle up the rocks, shaking themselves dry like puppies. They roll in the sun, flippers flopping, not a care in the world. Your road journey then continues onto Oamaru. It has a very proud heritage which is told through the Victorian Precinct and tours at a variety of locations in town and the best-preserved collection of historic and commercial buildings in New Zealand.

Accommodation: Oamaru

Day 20: Oamaru - Twizel (Clay cliffs, Mt Cook area)

Driving distance 2h
Today you travel through the Mackenzie Basin and deep into the heart of the Southern Alps and to the southern slopes of Mt Cook National Park. En route you may like to stop in Omarama and visit the Clay Cliffs a natural rock formation of sharp pinnacles and ridges with deep, narrow ravines separating them. They are made of layers of gravel and silt deposited by rivers flowing from glaciers existing 1-2 million years ago. As you head towards Twizel, the region is renowned for its incredibly clear starry nights, brilliant sunny days, and remarkable turquoise blue lakes, valleys of emerald green and snow-capped mountains. Shaped by the giant forces of nature, massive glaciers have scoured the land leaving a trail of lakes and rivers across the landscape. Today you will see awesome mountain ranges - the snow-capped Southern Alps stretching across the western horizon. Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain at 3,754 metres above sea level, towers over the expansive countryside. Highly recommended: (Optional) Glacier Lakes Explorer cruise: In the afternoon we can take you on a small boat trip to the bottom of Tasman Glacier. The only tour of its kind in New Zealand, and one of three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of these are accessible to the average person.

Accommodation: Twizel

Day 21: Twizel - Lake Tekapo – Christchurch airport (Afternoon departure) Last day with guide!

Driving distance 4.5h
As you leave Twizel you head towards the small township of Lake Tekapo. The Lake is an unusual beautiful turquoise colour and reflects the surrounding mountains. Relax at this mystical, tranquil place and take a stroll along the lake’s shores. Our trip will take us through some of the most evocative hill country in New Zealand. Speckled with small agricultural outposts, the Canterbury Plains are an area of serene, rural beauty. We drive you through Canterbury and back to your starting point in Christchurch. Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. Described by Lonely Planet as a "vibrant city in transition, coping resiliently and creatively,” Christchurch's energy is evident wherever you go. The city has bounced back after the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 with innovative new attractions, as well as some old favourites. Visit the Re:Start container mall, the transitional Cardboard Cathedral, and some of the many pop-up restaurants and bars. Contemporary art galleries, boutique shops and open-air markets add to Christchurch’s creative vibe. There’s plenty to do in and around this rapidly changing city. Your guide will drop you at Christchurch 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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Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

Take a journey along the Twin Coast Discovery Highway to the iconic Bay of Islands. The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s favourite travel destinations.
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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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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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Rotorua

Rotorua

Cultural tourism is at it’s finest in the City of Rotorua. A city alive with music, storytelling, performance and more. Rotorua is the core of all things geothermal and is also known as the adventurer's playground.
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Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and its world-famous coast track. Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest national park- but it's perfectly formed for relaxation and adventure.
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West Coast

West Coast

A wild place of rivers and rainforests, glaciers and geological treasures, The West Coast of New Zealand is an untamed natural wilderness, with scenery so stunning it takes your breath away.
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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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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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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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Christchurch

Christchurch

The South Island's biggest city - Christchurch, is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity.
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Tekapo

Tekapo

Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.
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