This tour is ideal for a family with younger children. Driving distances are kept short, but you still will see most of the highlights of our country. Enjoy some great fun activities for the whole family.
Take some time to relax in beautiful locations or add additional excursions for the more adventurous families. Hold tight as you'll be travelling in one of our state-of-the-art jet boats at an incredible 80km an hour! It is extraordinary to be high up amongst the treetops while ziplining high on a mountain, taking in Queenstown and the surrounding lake views. Cruise along many waterfalls in the Fiordland National park.
Category: Culture, Active
Location: North & South Island
Departing/Finishing: Auckland to Queenstown (Itinerary can be reversed)
Accommodation: 4* or 5* quality Hotels, luxury serviced Apartments, Premium Lodges
Next Departure: Departs Daily
Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture, and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, our largest and most diverse city. Discover the diverse range of cafes and restaurants offering cuisine from around the globe, and check out the buzzing nightlife of the central city.
Or: Buckle up for an authentic race experience. For the ultimate sailing and thrill, join the crew and participate in a match race America’s Cup style. Feel the adrenalin as you tack and gybe across Auckland’s harbour.
Or: Go Behind the scenes of Auckland ZOO. Join two charismatic Cheetahs on their morning walk around the Zoo. Then, venture behind the scenes and enjoy a thrilling encounter with one of our Sumatran tigers. Bolivian squirrel monkeys are full of surprises! Meet these cheeky and intelligent omnivores up close when you go behind the scenes and treat them to their favourite lunch.
Experience the real Middle-earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set, where you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire. Your guide will then escort you around the set, showing the intricate detailing, pointing out the most famous locations and explaining how the movie magic was made.
Rotorua is known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, and showcasing our fascinating Māori culture. Sitting within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland. The city is surrounded by mountains, rivers, native forests and 18 freshwater lakes, making it the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Rotorua is a mountain biking mecca with world-class mountain bike trails. Walking, horse riding, swimming, or fishing in the lakes and rivers are some of the best ways to see the wildlife and breathtaking scenery and discover the region’s hidden gems.
Superman dives into a giant inflatable ball (Zorb) and rolls down Mt Ngongotaha with OGO Rotorua. Discover the world’s most extended zig-zag Sidewinder Track at 350m, the smooth and fast 250m double Straight Track, and the new MEGA Track – the longest, fastest and steepest track in all the land! Ride with water or without water – the choice is yours!
Te Puia houses the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. You will encounter bubbling mud, pools of boiling water still used for cooking, and stunning geysers. The show's star, the Pōhutu geyser, is the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere. She erupts once or twice every hour and sometimes reaches heights of 30 metres (100 feet).
At Te Puia, it's part of our culture to welcome, guide, feed, entertain, and treat you like a family. Our concerts and cultural performances will move and engage you, enabling you to 'get inside' our fascinating culture. Surrounded by the beautiful carvings of our ancestors, you will experience entertaining stories told through song and dance, with plenty of surprises thrown in.
Wai-O-Tapu is an area in which the landscape has been sculptured by geothermal activity and where unique volcanic features can be viewed from well-defined tracks. Thee world-famous Champagne Pool's naturally coloured springs, bubbling mud, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters and sinter terrace formation are unique features.
Lake Taupo, the largest Lake in this country and the world's largest volcanic crater was created in one giant explosion nearly two thousand years ago. It darkened the sky in Europe and China. Taupo is famous for its fishing and its trophy-sized trout. At Huka Falls, you can witness the phenomenon of natural hydropower - more than 220 000 litres of water per second.
In the evening, take a trout fishing charter and enjoy a private dinner, where you can take in the spectacular view of Lake Taupo and the majestic mountains of the Tongariro National Park as you cruise to the famous Māori Rock Carvings at Mine Bay.
Accommodation: Rotorua or Taupo
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. Contemporary art galleries, boutique shops and open-air markets add to Christchurch's creative vibe. Traditionally known as the Garden City, Christchurch's award-winning Botanic Gardens are over 150 years old and boast an enviable collection. The Avon River flows gently through the city centre.
Punting is an iconic Christchurch activity not to be missed. Admire the beautiful Christchurch Botanic Gardens or the changing face of the city centre as you are expertly guided gently along the Avon River on our authentic Edwardian Punting tours.
Or: Experience amazing Antarctica without leaving Christchurch! A 'Must Do' experience and interactive fun for visitors of all ages. Journey through modern-day Antarctica and experience a taste of this unique and breathtaking continent. Learn about the human impact on the continent, the wildlife and plant systems and Antarctica's effect on the globe.
Optional: Situated 4kms from Lincoln township and University, only 30 minutes drive from Christchurch, Silverstream offers a warm Kiwi welcome. This boutique accommodation is set in a stunning rural landscape where guests will enjoy the peace and beauty of the surrounding countryside as they relax in luxury. Silverstream Lodge is the hidden gem of Christchurch's country.
Accommodation: Christchurch or Lincoln
An accessible drive southeast of Christchurch, Banks Peninsula is the South Island's most interesting volcanic feature. Initially, an island formed by two volcanic cones, the peninsula has two dominant craters, which form Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbours. The arm was named for botanist Joseph Banks, who sailed with Captain James Cook on the Endeavour.
Located on the southeast side of the deep, sheltered Akaroa Harbour, the charming township of Akaroa has a unique point of difference - it was the only French settlement in New Zealand.
Voted the number 1 wildlife activity in New Zealand, your award-winning cruise is packed with highlights, including the rare NZ native dolphin - the Hector's Dolphin, penguins, and other seabirds. And you'll see giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa's fascinating past. Cruises depart every day, weather permitting.
Or: Pohatu is the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. The best time for penguin viewing is the breeding season between the end of August to the end of December. Penguins moult through to mid-February. There are also small windows of excellent viewing opportunities from early April to September when the birds return periodically from the sea.
Accommodation: Christchurch or Lincoln
Lake Tekapo is about three hours' drive southwest of Christchurch in the Mackenzie Basin. The township faces north across the vast turquoise-coloured lake to the mountainous drama of the Southern Alps. Lake Tekapo gets its intense milky-turquoise colour from the fine rock flour (ground by glaciers) suspended in the water.
On the shores, on the lake, you'll see the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd, where the altar window frames a perfect view of the Southern Alps beyond the lake.
The southern hemisphere's equivalent of the Northern Lights, Lake Tekapo/Mt Cook, is one of the best places in New Zealand to see this symphony of colour come to life. Best seen between April and September, Lake Tekapo is known for its clear nights and lack of light pollution, making it a great viewing destination. Head to Mount John Observatory - perched high in the mountains and south-facing - for your best chance of experiencing this spectacular natural light show.
Or: Tekapo Hot Springs Pools offers three-tiered hot pools landscaped in local greywacke rock and surrounded by the region's native alpine plants to create a natural setting. Pool temperatures range from 37 - 39 degrees Celsius. The pools have benches so you can sit back, relax and soak.
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home to the highest mountains and the longest glaciers. It is alpine in the purest sense - with skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snowfields, all set under a star-studded sky.
Fly in a ski plane and a helicopter on the same day for an unforgettable experience of Aoraki/Mount Cook. Enjoy a scenic adventure that includes a glacier snow landing.
From take-off to landing, you will enjoy spectacular views! Fly up to the Tasman Valley over the breathtaking blue glacier lake. See the Hochstetter Icefall and the cloud-piercing Aoraki/Mount Cook before landing on the upper snowfields of the Tasman Glacier. Enjoy this unique alpine environment before swapping aircraft and returning to Mount Cook Airport.
Tasman Valley 4WD Tours are a unique mountain adventure to view New Zealand's longest glacier – The Tasman. This trip guarantees to be both memorable and very enjoyable. The 4WD travels through avalanche areas and alpine flats, where you will be amazed at the incredible mountain scenery. Stop for morning or afternoon tea (muffin and hot drink included) and admire this fascinating landscape.
Accommodation: Lake Tekapo or Mt Cook
The dramatic Lindis Pass links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. The actual pass crosses a saddle between the Lindis and Ahuriri Rivers valleys at an altitude of 971 metres above sea level. For many months of the year, you can expect snow in this mountainous area - often down to the roadside.
Located in the spectacular Alps of the South Island, New Zealand, visitors Worldwide are drawn to the Wanaka region's outstanding beauty. The stunning mountain and lakeside setting and proximity to Mt. Aspiring National Park make it the ultimate base for outdoor activities.
Or: Queenstown sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges; it’s rumoured that gold prospectors - captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers - gave this now cosmopolitan town its name.
Summer is perfect for jet-boating, kayaking, and rafting, and in winter, the snow-covered mountains attract skiers and snowboarders from around the globe to three world-class ski fields. Stroll the streets, be inspired by galleries and stylish shops, and be spoilt for choice with a great selection of cool cafes, excellent restaurants, craft breweries, award-winning wineries, and an artisan distillery.
Puzzling World offers The Great Maze, Illusion Rooms, Roman Toilets, Leaning Tower, Puzzle Centre & Gift Shop/Café; Puzzling World has 'weirdness' covered and is a must-see option for all ages!
Accommodation: Wanaka (or Queenstown)
Come with us on the most exciting half-day Jet Boating adventure in New Zealand beneath the spectacular scenery of Glaciers & Lord of the Rings film locations, into Mount Aspiring National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.
Flowing from Glaciers, the pristine waters of the Matukituki River are perfect for experiencing river jet boating on the most extended and adventurous jet boat tour in New Zealand. Travel at speed over shallow braids drift into turns, and, yes… experience thrilling spins, stopping in deep pools to breathe in the magic of the landscape & hear stories of our land from your local guides.
Named for Mt Aspiring, one of New Zealand's highest peaks, this park is a dreamland of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes. Mount Aspiring National Park offers a hiker's paradise, with many short walks mainly concentrated at the end of the park's access roads.
Accommodation: Wanaka or Queenstown
Fly to Milford Sound through two of New Zealand’s most picturesque national parks. View alpine lakes nestled amongst soaring snowcapped mountain peaks and pristine glaciers, with vast rainforest and cascading waterfalls visible from every seat! Witness what the power of nature has created over the years as you journey over two remarkable National Parks; Mt Aspiring and the world heritage-listed Fiordland National Park.
Upon landing at Milford Sound Airport, you are welcomed to a view of Mitre Peak, standing tall at the head of the inlet. Surrounded by some of the most magnificent scenery in the world, you’ll board your Cruise vessel and begin your voyage cruising the length of the 16km fiord out to the Tasman Sea. Listen to the informative commentary, and interact with our hosts while enjoying the complimentary tea, coffee and water on-board.
Central Otago is the home of pinot Noir New Zealand. Visit the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown or the stone fruit capital of Cromwell.
Accommodation: Wanaka or Queenstown
Family Adventures raft the upper reaches of the famous Shotover River, Queenstown. The trip is suitable for everyone from 3 years old as we only raft on gentle grade 1 & 2 rapids. Water confidence is not necessary. They offer a unique sightseeing trip by bus into the famous Skippers Canyon - possibly the most spectacular drive in New Zealand! The views are astounding, and the area is jam-packed with history. We get even further into the backcountry as we float by raft on the Upper Shotover River. You may recognise our put-in-point as "The Ford of Bruinen" from the Lord of The Rings movie!
Or: An multi-award-winning company offers a spectacular and fun zipline eco-adventure through the forest canopy high above Queenstown on Skyline Gondola. Delivering an eco-adventure that combines a personally guided zipline journey offering sustainable education in a receptive and engaging environment creating lasting memories.
Or: Sit back and relax and take in the stunning views as you ride the Skyline Queenstown Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown! You'll be carried 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob's Peak, where you'll enjoy the best views in the region unfolding before your eyes. You get to experience a spectacular 220-degree panorama with breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter and Cecil Peak, and Queenstown. Take the driving seat with the gravity-fueled Skyline Luge, the global thrill ride for all ages.
Accommodation: Wanaka or Queenstown
Your private chauffeur will take you to your departing flight at Queenstown airport.