You will visit: South Island & North Island, including Queenstown, Franz Josef Glacier, Hanmer Springs, Wellington, Taupo, Rotorua, Waitomo & Auckland
Feed your adrenaline cravings - relaxation is overrated! Kick it off in Queenstown, the adventure-adrenaline Capital of the World. Ride the Shotover Jet & get a slice of the action! Ever tried bungy jumping, or luging? Now's the time! As you head North, see stunning glaciers, visit Christchurch, try a Maori 'hangi', cruise Lake Taupo & hit Rotorua to try the 'Zorb' or luge! Catch a classic farm show & try black water rafting in the underground caves of Waitomo.
Top Offers & Tour Notes
Early Payment Discounts apply to this tour. Select a Green departure to see pay by date and savings.
Itinerary + Backstage Pass & 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 Tour Manager in local currency.
Your Backstage Pass gives you incredible exclusive experiences you’ll only get with Contiki. From food to accommodation to exclusive access to the best sights, your Backstage Pass gives you unbeatable value & a completely unique travel experience.
Kia Ora! Arrive in Queenstown & check into the Tanoa Aspen Hotel, then the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore. 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.
Tonight, meet up with your Contiki Crew & fellow travel buddies!
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
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 Breakfast, Breakfast, Dinner
- NZone Skydiving 9,000 ft. NZ$269 / 12,000 ft. NZ$329 / 15,000 ft. NZ$429
- Milford Sound Discovery NZ$159
- AJ Hackett Bungy - Thrillogy NZ$399
- AJ Hackett Bungy - Nevis NZ$260
- AJ Hackett Bungy - The Ledge NZ$180
- AJ Hackett Skyswing - Nevis Arc NZ$180
- AJ Hackett Skyswing - The Ledge NZ$150
- Kawarau or Shotover Rafting NZ$189
- Heliraft NZ$269
- Walter Peak Horse Riding NZ$110
- Dart River Wilderness Safari NZ$209
- Paradise Safari Scenic Adventure NZ$139
- Routeburn Trail Hike NZ$229
- Skippers Gold 4WD & Jetboat $179
- Minus 5 Ice Bar NZ $25
- Funyaks NZ$289
Relax on the coach, chat with friends and take in the stunning scenery as we head to the rugged West Coast. Leaving the golden grasslands, cliffs and hills of the Otago region behind us, we travel through Haast Pass. See the ancient rainforests and small glaciers that give this area its unique atmosphere - we also make stop at the majestic Thunder Creek Falls. Then cruise past remote beaches and the coastal dunes of the West Coast before arriving in the Westland National Park, where lush bush land and glaciers almost reach the sea.
We overnight in Franz Josef, a cute alpine township.
Lodge Breakfast, Dinner
- Explore tiny Arrowtown
- Get cerebral with a visit to Wanaka's Puzzling World!
- Drive through Haast Pass & see Thunder Creek Falls
- 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.
- Glacier Hike 'Fox Trot' (Fox Glacier) NZ$115
- Helihike 'Flying Fox' (Fox Glacier) NZ$384
- Franz Josef Glacier Heli NZ$195
- Mt. Cook & Franz Josef Glacier Heli NZ$325
Sticking to the untamed coastline, we 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.
We travel east through stunning Arthur’s Pass, following an old trade route. The dense native forest, alpine atmosphere and crystal clear rivers give the area its pioneer feel.
We travel via "The Garden City", Christchurch, for a sightseeing tour. Then it’s up to Hanmer Springs for a chilled out evening.
- See a demonstration of traditional Maori greenstone carving
- Scenic drive across the Southern Alps
- Stop at Arthurs Pass
- Take a relaxing plunge in Hanmer Springs' famous hot pools
It’s another jaw-dropping drive up to the top of the South Island today. The coach cuts across the Canterbury Plains to Kaikoura. This seaside settlement is known for whales, dolphins and delicious, fresh crayfish sold from roadside vans. We’ll stop at a seal colony before travelling up the wild, rugged east coast and the wine country of Marlborough.
Jump on the Inter-Island ferry and leave the South Island behind. Cruise through the gorgeous Marlborough Sounds, where thick forested peaks rise straight up from the sea. It’s a camera-friendly spot with picturesque inlets, remote coves and tiny beaches that dot the islands. You’ll also see some old wooden baches (New Zealand holiday houses) and boat jetties.
We dock in the capital city of Wellington - the country’s political centre and cultural core with funky shops, fringe festivals, galleries, as well as a huge amount of cool cafés 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.
- Spectacular drive along the Kaikoura Coast & visit to a seal colony
- Drive through New Zealand's largest wine growing region
- Cruise the scenic Marlborough & Queen Charlotte Sounds
- 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$179
- Wellington Rover Rings Tours NZ$95/$169
Spot the dramatic volcanic landscapes today that were used as backdrops in "The Lord of the Rings", 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.
Continue on 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 have a go at fishing!
Later, back on land, play some pool at one of Taupo’s lakeside 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
- View Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake
- Taupo Bungy NZ $139
- Rock'n Ropes Adventure Course NZ$65
- Dinner / Party Cruise NZ$69
On the way out of 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 a short drive to Rotorua, famous for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools, hot springs and ‘interesting’ sulfur smell.
For some crazy ‘Kiwi ingenuity’, try an optional called zorbing. 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.
Rotorua is an important hub of Maori culture. To recognise this, we have an optional authentic cultural experience, complete with a fantastic Maori hangi 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.
Hotel Breakfast, Dinner
- Visit the mighty Huka Falls
- Guided tour of the 'Sulfur City', Rotorua
- See Rotorua's bubbling geothermic mud pools
- Traditional Maori hāngi dinner & dance performance
- Huka Jet NZ$105
- Ogo Ranges from NZ$25
- Skyline Gondola and Luge Rides NZ$29
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.
- Locally guided tour of Ohinemutu Village
- Hobbiton NZ $99
- Whakarewarewa Thermal Village NZ $29
- Te Puia (Maori Arts & Crafts Institute) NZ$39
- Kaitiaki Rafting NZ$95, NZ$109
- NZone Skydiving 9,000ft NZ$269, 12,000dt NZ$329, 15,000ft NZ$429
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.
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 traditional Kiwi BBQ dinner and a visit to a typical country pub. Kick back with your new friends and some of the locals. Maybe try out the local beer – it’s good!
Lodge Breakfast, Dinner
- Visit the Agrodome to see the world-renowned Sheep Show
- Entry to the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park
- Enjoy a traditional Kiwi BBQ or pub dinner (seasonal)
- Waitomo Caves Tour NZ$45
- Black Water Rafting NZ$115
- Ruakuri Caves Tour NZ$62
Today we drive through the lush farmlands of Waikato – an area that produces many of New Zealand’s best rugby players for the All Blacks – before arriving in Auckland.
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!
We then continue on north to Auckland.
- Entry to the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park
- See the 'City of Sails' harbour made famous by the America's Cup
Say a final farewell to your new friends as your trip ends this morning after breakfast.
Ready to book?