You will visit: North Island & South Island, including Auckland, Waitomo, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Hanmer Springs, Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown, Dunedin & Lake Ohau
Feed your adrenaline cravings - relaxation is overrated! Blackwater raft in Waitomo before you hit Rotorua. 'Zorb' or luge then chill out in a Polynesian spa! Have a hāngi, cruise Lake Taupo then head to the adventure Capital of the World, Queenstown where you’ll take a spin on the Shotover Jet. Ever tried bungy jumping or canyon swinging? Now 's the time! Get into Queenstown's legendary nightlife before the good times end in Christchurch.
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Top Offers & Trip Notes
Itinerary + Inclusions & ME Time Optionals
ME Time Optionals
ME Time optionals will take your trip to a whole new level with unforgettable experiences unique to the places you visit. See more, do more, live more & go home completely regret-free. Costs for these aren’t included in your tour cost & are payable to your Trip Manager in local currency.
On our trips we don't just take you to the destinations, we make sure you get under the skin of every place you visit. From amazing food & accommodation, to exclusive access to incredible experiences, with Contiki you'll get unbeatable value & a completely unique travel experience.
Arrive in Auckland & check into the Mercure Hotel Auckland from 2:00pm. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore! Meet your fellow travelers & Tour Manager this evening.
Kia Ora! Meet up with your Contiki Crew in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Surrounded by volcanoes, islands and a stunning harbour, you’ll soon understand why this is the “City of Sails” and was once home to the America’s Cup.
We drive through the lush farmlands of Waikato – an area that produces many of New Zealand’s best rugby players for the All Blacks. On the way we'll stop off for an included visit at Otorohanga's Kiwi House to check out New Zealand's national bird. This shy creature only comes out at night - the nocturnal enclosures at the Kiwi House mean you're guaranteed to see one. If you're lucky you'll also get to spot a tuatara - a true 'living fossil' reptile that pre-dates the dinosaurs!
Next up is Waitomo and the Waitomo Caves. Famous for their incredible limestone formations and glowworms, the caves are a stunning subterranean world. You’ll see the Glowworm Grotto, where the cave roof is covered with twinkling insects. For adventure, you can head deeper into the caves in an optional activity and see them either on foot or by tubing down an underground river.
Tonight, it’s a true Kiwi BBQ dinner and a visit to a typical country pub. Kick back with your friends and some of the locals. Maybe try out the local beer – it’s good!
- Enjoy a traditional Kiwi BBQ or pub dinner (seasonal)
- Ruakuri Caves Tour NZ$65
- Black Water Rafting NZ$125
- Waitomo Caves Tour NZ$45
This morning, we stop at the Agrodome farm show for an interactive introduction into farming and agriculture, which is New Zealand’s main industry. You’ll see sheep-shearing and watch an impressive sheepdog demo. These dogs are highly-trained and skilled at controlling livestock.
For some crazy ‘Kiwi ingenuity’, try our zorbing optional. It’s an activity where you get inside a huge plastic ball and roll down a 200m hill, either by yourself or with a friend.
Later, we pull into Rotorua, famous for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and ‘interesting’ sulfur smell.
Rotorua is an important hub of Maori culture. To recognise this, we have an optional authentic cultural experience, complete with a fantastic Maori hāngi dinner and traditional dance concert. Some of the foods you can try from the hāngi are sweet potato and chicken cooked on hot rocks in an underground pit – just as they have been for centuries. Listen to stories, songs and chants while learning about ancient Maori mythology and beliefs.
- Guided tour of the 'Sulfur City', Rotorua
- Traditional Maori hāngi dinner & dance performance
- Ogo Ranges from NZ$35
- Skyline Gondola and Luge Rides NZ$29
- Rainbow Springs NZ$35
This morning, get an insider look at New Zealand’s unique Maori culture & history as we tour Rotorua’s famous Ohinemutu Village with our expert local guide. You’ll learn all about the history of the Maori people, their customs & traditions, plus have the opportunity to ask questions & learn as much as possible about this amazing spot – it’s the perfect way to get in the know.
With the rest of the day free to explore the way you want, you can advantage of the city's awesome thermal environment & treat yourself to a spa treatment or massage. Our tip: With so much buzz around the amazing thermal mud treatments found here, we love picking up some products to take home as a gift (or for ourselves!). There are loads of other ways to spend your time too if adrenalin is more your thing, like getting views of the city from a gondola, then speeding down a hill on a luge, or getting a splash as you raft the Kaituna River – the options for things to keep you busy in Rotorua are endless.
Or, if chilling out is more of what you’re into, then or hit up a café for a flat white coffee or make tracks to the shops for a spending spree.
- 'The Incredible Race' Rotorua
- Hobbiton Movie Set Tours NZ $110
- Whakarewarewa Thermal Village NZ $35
- Te Puia (Maori Arts & Crafts Institute) NZ$39
- Kaitiaki Rafting NZ$99, NZ$109
- NZone Skydiving 9,000ft NZ$269, 12,000ft NZ$329, 15,000ft NZ$429
- Rotorua Canopy Tours NZ$139
- Mt. Tarawera Trek NZ$149
On the way to Taupo, a visit to the raging Huka Falls will impress. Tonnes of water surge over these falls at a rate of 220,000 litres (58 000 gallons) per second.
It’s only a short drive today to the popular low-key resort town of Taupo. Here, there’s some of the best trout fishing in the country and some of the most amazing long-distance views of Tongariro National Park’s three volcanic peaks.
Cap off your day with our optional dinner cruise out on New Zealand’s largest lake – Lake Taupo - where you can also have a go at fishing!
Later, back on land, play some pool at one of Taupo’s lakeside bars.
- See Rotorua's bubbling geothermic mud pools
- Visit the mighty Huka Falls
- View Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake
- Dinner / Party Cruise NZ$75
- Hukafalls Jet NZ$115
- Rock'n Ropes Adventure Course NZ$65
- Taupo Bungy Bungy NZ$169, Swing NZ$119
- Taupo Tandem Skydiving From NZ$249
Spot the dramatic volcanic landscapes that were used as backdrops in "The Lord of the Rings" films today, when we drive past World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park. The park is also home to the still active volcano, Mt. Ruapehu, which doubles as NZ’s biggest ski field.
Next stop – the capital city of Wellington. It’s the country’s political centre and cultural core with funky shops, fringe festivals, galleries, as well as a huge amount of cool café
s and bars.
The peak of Mt Victoria gives an amazing overview of the windy city. Take in the sweeping views of pretty beaches, narrow streets, and weather-worn Victorian houses.
Tonight, enjoy an optional dinner with the group in the heart of the downtown area, which has a great, lively atmosphere and plenty of cutting edge restaurants and bars.
- Dramatic drive along the Desert Road, through the volcanic landscape made famous in "The Lord of the Rings"
- See the active volcano Mt. Ruapehu
- Orientation tour of Wellington, including Mt. Victoria
- VIP entry to one of Wellington's hottest nightspots
- Optional Dinner NZ$29
You’ve got a full day to discover Wellington – its compact centre is perfect for exploring on foot.
Walk alongside the harbour or visit the innovative Te Papa Museum for a look into New Zealand history and culture.
You could take a walk around New Zealand’s political heart by visiting some of its government buildings. Take in the iconic ‘Beehive’ building & its distinctive shape, which was specially designed to cope in case of an earthquake.
You could hang out on alternative Cuba Street, watch street performers or rummage through some of the surrounding retro stores. If you’re hungry, try out some of the great ethnic foods you can find in this multi-cultural city, like sushi, Thai, kebabs and Italian gelatos.
For something different, learn about the age-old art of tattooing at the Tattoo Museum. From traditional Maori moko (face tattoos) through to colourful contemporary designs. There’s even a tattoo parlour on site if you’re game!
- See more of the sights made famous in the "The Lord of the Rings"
- Kapiti Quad Bikes NZ$165
- Seal Coast Safaris NZ$109
- Wairarapa Wine Escape NZ$189
- Lord of the Rings Tour(s) NZ$95/$189
Amazing views are at your fingertips this morning, so grab your camera for great pics as we cruise the iconic Marlborough Sounds. This world renowned spot is simply gorgeous, so keep your eyes peeled for tiny boats, traditional Kiwi ‘batches’ (holiday houses) as you cruise the water between the two islands. On arrival in cute seaside Picton, we’ll hit the road to Hanmer via Kaikoura (keep your eyes peeled for seals along the stunning coastline).
On arrival in Hanmer Springs it’s not hard to see why this little alpine hotspot is a New Zealand favourite. This tiny town is famous for its legendary hot pools – so we include it for you. A night at the pools is the perfect way to unwind & the views of the Southern Alps whilst you chill is truly relaxing at its best.
- Cruise the scenic Marlborough & Queen Charlotte Sounds
- Spectacular drive along the Kaikoura Coast & visit to a seal colony
- Drive through New Zealand's largest wine growing region
- Take a relaxing plunge in Hanmer Springs' famous hot pools
Today we begin our journey west through stunning Arthurs Pass, via Christchurch.
We stop by "The Garden City" for a sightseeing tour before heading over Arthurs Pass, following an old trade route. The dense native forest, alpine atmosphere and crystal clear rivers give the area its pioneer feel.
We’ll stop in at the former gold rush town of Hokitika on the West Coast. It’s great for a look into a traditional Maori art. Watch authentic carvers work with New Zealand greenstone (jade) and learn about the importance of this stone. You could even pick up a piece to take home.
Sticking to the untamed coastline, we arrive in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef is our stop for the night, a town where lush bush land and glaciers almost reach the sea.
- Scenic drive across the Southern Alps
- Stop at Arthurs Pass
- See a demonstration of traditional Maori greenstone carving
- Chill out at our legendary theme party
This morning, get physical and pull on your crampons, grab an ice-pick and head out onto the ice of either the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier. On this optional activity, you’ll learn about how these glaciers came about with our professional Local Guides.
Otherwise, you can get a bird’s eye view over these icy formations and sweeping vistas in an optional helicopter ride.
- Helihike NZ$409
- Valley Walk NZ$75
- Franz Josef Glacier Heli NZ$195
- Franz Josef / Fox Glacier Heli NZ$280
- Mt. Cook / Franz / Fox Heli - Grand Tour NZ$390
- Mt. Cook (western face) / Fox and Franz Heli NZ$340
- Ice Explorer NZ$305
- Across Country Quad Bikes Riders NZ$159 / Passengers NZ$69
- Glacier Country Kayaks NZ$115
Relax on the coach, chat with friends and take in the stunning scenery of the Haast Pass & Thunder Creek Falls as we head down to Queenstown.
Cruise past remote beaches and the coastal dunes of the west coast before hitting Haast Pass. Ancient rainforests, small glaciers and waterfalls give this area its unique atmosphere. There’s even more scenery changes when we cross the Southern Alps and enter the region of Otago, with its golden grasslands, cliffs and hills.
Next up: Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. This is one high-energy destination that has something for everyone. From jet boat rides to fantastic local food, gorgeous countryside and the world’s most southern wineries, the list really is endless.
- Drive through Haast Pass & see Thunder Creek Falls
- Explore tiny Arrowtown
This morning, you’ll take a ride on ‘The world’s most exciting jetboat’ the iconic Shotover Jet! Hold on tight - speeding down the Shotover River on a jetboat amongst the fierce canyon walls (so close you could probably touch them) is a thrilling experience & getting a pic to take home of the group in action is a must. Next up, legendary Queenstown! This traveller favourite is world renowned as the home of action & adrenalin & needs no introduction – your time here is guaranteed to be epic, no matter what you choose to do.
The nightlife here is equally as awesome as its adrenalin fixes & with VIP entry to one of the town’s hottest nightspots you're sure the start the night out right.
- Set your pulse racing with a hair-raising ride on the Shotover Jet
- VIP entry to one of Queenstown's hottest nightspots
- Group Photograph NZ$18
With two more days here, you’ve got time to try out adrenaline-pumping activities, to take it easy with a glass of local wine or beer and of course, to party – something Queenstown is known for.
There’s also the option to take advantage of our explore more highlight optional – your chance to experience the stunning Milford Sound.
Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s gems. This slice of paradise has been voted one of the world’s top destinations & is known around the world for its gorgeous waters & stunning scenery. Set in Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site so get ready for the epic scenery – high mountains rise straight out of the sea and waterfalls pour down sheer cliffs into the deep, dark waters of the fiord.
You’ll get the ultimate angle on this natural wonder from the water when we cruise – you’ll learn about this jaw-droppingly beautiful region from the on-board nature specialist. You’ll get a really good look around the area and up close to its more hidden spots.
You can chill out and enjoy the scenery on deck & hopefully you’ll get a chance to spot seals, dolphins, whales and penguins.
Choose to take a coach over, then jump on a boat & cruise this stunning spot then head back to Queenstown on the coach. Or, if you’re feeling up for it, there’s the option to fly back to Queenstown too.
Walk around the quaint town, hit the shops or head down to the lake for beautiful views of the surrounding mountain ranges, fittingly called The Remarkables. Board the old steam boat, the TSS Earnslaw, for a lake cruise and see it all from the water.
For adrenaline junkies, there’s bungy jumpy, sky diving, jet boating, canyon swinging and quad biking. In fact there are so many adventure activities in Queenstown that you couldn’t do them all in the 2 days if you tried. For those who like to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground, take an easy-going hike or push yourself with a tougher trail.
Pumping at night, Queenstown is the place to hit some of New Zealand’s best bars and clubs. With cool cocktail bars, old-style pubs and plenty of clubs, there is so much to choose from.
Hotel Hotel Breakfast,Breakfast,Dinner
- NZone Skydiving 9,000 ft. NZ$299/ 12,000 ft. NZ$339/ 15,000 ft. NZ$439
- Milford Sound NZ$159
- AJ Hackett Bungy - Thrillogy NZ$399
- AJ Hackett Bungy - Nevis NZ$275
- AJ Hackett Bungy - The Ledge NZ$195
- AJ Hackett Skyswing - Nevis Arc NZ$195
- AJ Hackett Skyswing - The Ledge NZ$160
- Kawarau or Shotover Rafting NZ$199
- Heliraft NZ$289
- Walter Peak Horse Riding NZ$115
- Dart River Wilderness Safari NZ$209
- Paradise Safari Scenic Adventure NZ$139
- Routeburn Trail Hike NZ$259
- Skippers Gold 4WD & Jetboat $179
- Minus 5 Ice Bar NZ $25
- Funyaks NZ$309
- Skyline Restaurant NZ$79
- Nomad Safaris: Safari of the Scenes NZ$175
- Canyon Swing NZ$199
- Ziptrek Ecotours From NZ$135
- Queenstown Wine Trail NZ$139
It’s time to jump on the coach as we head to New Zealand’s student hub, Dunedin. This really is the city that looks old, but definitely thinks young! Originally a Scottish settlement, you’ll see references to the city’s past dotted throughout the city.
This afternoon arrival we’ll visit the iconic Speight’s Brewery for a look at how this iconic Kiwi brew is made. As you tour the brewery with our guide, learn about the brewing process of this much loved Southern Ale. You’ll finish up with a few tasters so you’ll discover for yourself why the locals love it so much!
Dunedin night life goes off, so later, why not take it up a level & head to some of the local night spots for a taste of how partying is really done! Ask your Tour Manager for some tips on where’s hot to head, or make your way to one of the local favourites around the Octagon – there’s a huge variety of places to head for a fun night out.
- Stop at AJ Hackett's Kawarau Bridge
- Stop in Alexandra in Central Otago
- Tour & tasting at the iconic Speight's Brewery
- AJ Hackett Bungy - Kawarau Bridge NZ$195
- Speight's Ale House Dinner NZ $31
- Death Rattle Ghost Walk NZ $27
Before we farewell Dunedin we’ll head to the base of Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street, for a look at the sheer angle.
It’s time to hit the road, via Moeraki for a look at these massive boulders located right on the beach. It’s hard to believe these impressive structures really are natural & they make for some pretty cool pics to show off to your mates.
We jump back on the coach & head to historic Oamaru, with its cute old buildings, many of which are made out of it’s own stunning white Oamaru stone. We’ll stop at Benmore Dam for a look at this impressive structure & maybe spot some gliders – it’s one of the world’s premier spots for this pretty cool sport. Later we reach our overnight stop – a lodge by one of the South Islands stunning lakes, Lake Ohau.
- See Baldwin Street, the world's steepest street
- Visit the impressive Moeraki Boulders
- Stop at Oamaru & Benmore Dam
- See Mt. Cook across the beautiful blue glacial Lake Ohau
Kick start the day with a spectacular optional glacier flight over Mt Cook. Later, we’ll stop off to see the intense milky blue waters of glacially-fed Lake Tekapo, before travelling back through the MacKenzie country to Christchurch.
Make your last night on tour one to remember and enjoy a fun night out with your friends!
- Stop at Lake Pukaki, Lake Tekapo & Geraldine
- See the historic Church of the Good Shephard
- Pick up a treat at NZ's famous Cookie Time factory
- Air Safaris NZ$310
Say a final farewell to your new friends as your trip ends this morning after breakfast.
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