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Northern Choice

(Christchurch to Auckland Summer)

4.6
127 reviews
00:00 / 00:00
people white water rafting in New Zealand
See full itinerary

The one that takes you on an adrenaline-filled journey from the South Island to the North

Travel Style

In-Depth Explorer

Take your time and explore in-detail each destination on this trip. Find out more

  • Duration

    10 days

  • Places

    11 places

  • Meals

    9 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners

  • Transport Style

    Coach

  • Group Size

    Average 45 people

  • Team

    Expert Trip Manager, Driver and Local Guides

Christchurch, Wellington, Mount Ruapehu, Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Auckland, Paihia, Kaikoura, Picton, Huka Falls, Parry Kauri Park

Northern Choice (Christchurch to Auckland Summer)

14 Inclusions

Experiences that are included with your trip

  • Spectacular drive along the Kaikoura Coast & visit to a seal colony
  • Tuck into coffee and cake in one of Wellington's cafes, including a 'Heart parcels' brownie with proceeds going towards supporting the homeless
  • Join our 2019 Changemaker Parris Quinn in handing out 'Heart Parcels' food to Wellington's homeless (from Oct 2020 - selected departures)
  • Check out the cafe & restaurant scene in Wellington, voted the coolest little capital in the world
  • See more of the sights made famous in the "The Lord of the Rings"
  • See an active stratovolcano with Mt Ruapehu
  • Take a behind the scenes tour of the of a Kiwi conservation project at the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter
  • See (and smell) Rotorua's bubbling geothermic mud pools
  • Experience a traditional Maori cultural performance and feast on a ground-smoked hangi dinner
  • Visit Hobbiton and take a guided tour of the set made famous by the "Lord of the Rings & Hobbit" movies
  • See the 'City of Sails' harbour made famous by the America's Cup
  • Check out Whangarei & Kawakawa's famous Hundertwasser toilets
  • Get a dose of history with a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds Tour
  • Tuck into a true Kiwiana fish'n'chips dinner, seafood chowder or NZ Lamb salad overlooking the Bay of Islands in Paihia

13 Free Time Add-Ons

Optional experiences that you can choose from and pay for on your trip

  • Wellington Dinner NZ$49
  • OGO Ball From NZ$35
  • Experience the rush of a Huka Falls Jet boat ride NZ$115
  • Go white water rafting down the crashing Kaituna River NZ$99
  • Hike the unique volcanic landscape of Mt Tarawera, Rotorua NZ$149
  • Explore native rainforest at dawn with breakfast & coffee followed by ziplining on a Contiki Exclusive Rotorua Rainforest Canopy tour NZ$149
  • Cook your kai (food) the traditional way over an active steam vent at Te Puia Maori Village, followed by a guided tour & hands-on weaving experience NZ$84
  • Get a multi-sensory icecream extravaganza with a Giapo Chef's Table icecream experience NZ$45
  • Take a day trip to Cape Reinga at the very top of New Zealand's North Island NZ$117
  • Carino Day Sailing NZ$130
  • Discover the Bay NZ$149
  • Island Adventure Fast Boat NZ$78
  • Glide through NZ's Bay of Islands on a Parasailing experience in Paihia From NZ$95

Where I'll Stay?

Learn more about the accommodation available on this trip

  • 9 nights

    All accommodation is included on this trip

    8 nights in Hotel, 1 night in Contiki Special Stay

    Throughout your trip you’ll be getting your beauty sleep in comfy beds in cosy multi-share rooms. Your accommodation will always be located in the heart of the action, with communal areas for you and your new best friends to relax and socialise.

About this trip

Just how much mind-boggling can be packed into a 10-day holiday? Quite a lot when you're prancing around New Zealand. We'll sojourn our way from Auckland to Christchurch, chowing fish'n'chips and Maori hāngi meals, watching geothermic mud pools boil & signing up for adrenalin rushes that will buzz on in our minds 'til we're old and grey.

Buy With Confidence

  • Only $99 deposit to book*

    For a limited time, reserve your space now with a deposit of only $99, pay the rest 45 days before departure

  • Pay over time, interest free

    Can't pay in full? We've got you covered with our Part Pay Program

  • No booking fee, no change fees

    Change your travel dates or even your trip for free

  • Financing available with UpLift

    Book now, pay later when you're eligible for Uplift

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Financing available through Uplift


Flexible monthly payments, with low rates, instant decision and easy autopay repayment plans. To find out more, click here.

Map & Itinerary

  • Start location
  • End location
  • Trip day
  • Via location
  • River route
  • Plane route

Nights spent per location

  1. Christchurch

  2. via via

    Kaikoura

  3. via via

    Picton

  4. 2 2 nights

    Wellington

  5. 1 1 night

    Mount Ruapehu

  6. 1 1 night

    Lake Taupo

  7. via via

    Huka Falls

  8. 2 2 nights

    Rotorua

  9. 1 1 night

    Auckland

  10. via via

    Parry Kauri Park

  11. 2 2 nights

    Paihia

  12. Auckland

+2 more

DAY 1 - Christchurch to Wellington via Kaikoura & Picton

Christchurch

It’s another jaw-dropping drive up to the top of the South Island today. The coach cuts across the Canterbury Plains to Kaikoura.

Kaikoura

Arriving in Kaikoura will see us amongst a seaside settlement known for whales & dolphins, so have those cameras at the ready as we roll around the coast. We'll stop at a seal colony, where you'll struggle not to break into a collective 'cuuuute' as you watch these guys sunning themselves on the rocks.

Picton

Our next drive takes us 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.

Wellington

We dock in the capital city of Wellington, where no doubt New Zealand's well-cultured capital will prove an utter delight. After an orientation through the narrow streets a night on the town will be on the cards, plus an optional dinner to start the night off as we mean to go on.

Stay

Mercure Abel Tasman Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Spectacular drive along the Kaikoura Coast and visit to a seal colony

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Wellington Dinner

    NZ$49

DAY 2 - Wellington

Wellington

The day is yours to explore Wellington! In the early evening we'll head to a local cafe and try the famed flat white coffee in its city of origin (sorry Australians). Then you'll have a free afternoon, or (from Oct 2020) we'll meet Parris Quinn our 2019 changemaker, and try some of her Heart Parcels brownies. Heart Parcels is a charity that Parris started to ensure Wellington's homeless have enough food to eat. Buy a delicious brownie here and the proceeds go straight towards feeding people living on the streets of Wellington. If it's a Monday night, you're welcome to join Paris as she hands out donations. It's inspiring stuff.

Stay

Mercure Abel Tasman Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Tuck into coffee and cake in one of Wellington's cafes, including a 'Heart parcels' brownie with proceeds going towards supporting the homeless

  • Join our 2019 Changemaker Parris Quinn in handing out 'Heart Parcels' food to Wellington's homeless (from Oct 2020 - selected departures)

  • Check out the cafe & restaurant scene in Wellington, voted the coolest little capital in the world

DAY 3 - Wellington to Mount Ruapehu

Wellington

We wave goodbye to Wellington and its beautiful scenery and we prepare ourselves for our next adventure – and trust us, this one is bucket-list worthy.

Mount Ruapehu

Known as the après-ski capital of the North island, Ohakune is a tranquil town with stupendous view.  Today you have the option to go mountain biking along one of NZ's most picturesque track, "the Old Coach Rd" or spend the day bettering your skills on the slopes or generally treating yourself to all the snowy based activities on offer, then tonight snuggle down in our Special Stay ski lodge, located in prime position at the base of Mt. Ruapehu.

Stay

Kings Hotel Ohakune

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • See more of the sights made famous in the The Lord of the Rings

  • See an active stratovolcano with Mt Ruapehu

DAY 4 - Mount Ruapehu to Lake Taupo

Mount Ruapehu

Wake up in the spectacular surroundings of Mt. Ruapehu with the epic views of the volcano, and you have the option this morning to go mountain biking along one of NZ's most picturesque track, "the Old Coach Rd" before we head to Taupo. 

Lake Taupo

Volcanic peak views & trout fishing will seamlessly slip us into quaint lake life. But don't be fooled by the seemingly still scenery - a bungy jump or skydive are both on the menu if that adrenaline itch needs scratching. 

Stay

Lakeland Hotel (or similar)

DAY 5 - Lake Taupo to Rotorua via Huka Falls

Lake Taupo

As we leave Lake Taupo keep an eye out for even more recognisable ‘The Lord of the Rings’ backdrops.

Huka Falls

220,000 litres (58 000 gallons) of water gush over Huka Falls per second. Just let that sink in for a minute. Wild, right? Even wilder still is the Huka Falls Jet experience – a thrilling ride that will get you experiencing the full force of the falls and leave you with even more of a taste for adventure. 

Rotorua

When you catch your first whiff of that… ‘unusual’ sulphur smell, you’ll know we’ve arrived in Rotorua. Upon arrival in Rotorua we get to learn some fascinating info on NZ's national birds, as well as watch new lives hatch right in front of our eyes! How impressed are you right now? Soak in a hotspring, go skydiving or take a canopy tour - there's plenty of time for you to make the best of this town.  Tonight we enjoy a Maori dance performance and feast on a Hāngi dinner that is sweetly roasted in the ground. 

Stay

The Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Take a behind the scenes tour of the of a Kiwi conservation project at the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter

  • See (and smell) Rotorua's bubbling geothermic mud pools

  • Experience a traditional Maori cultural performance and feast on a ground-smoked hangi dinner

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Ogo Ball

    From NZ$35

  • Experience the rush of a Huka Falls Jet boat ride

    NZ$115

DAY 6 - Rotorua

Rotorua

The day is yours to roam free in this geothermal paradise. Soak in a hot spring, go white water rafting or hike up a volcano. The options are limitless and the decisions are yours. If you're travelling after October 2020, we recommend the Rotorua Dawn Canopy Tour, exclusive to Contiki, where you'll watch the sun rise, eat some breakfast and drink coffee up in the towering trees as the birds make start their morning calls. Then, you'll get to soar 1200m through the forest on the ultimate zipline adventure.

Stay

The Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua (or similar)

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Go white water rafting down the crashing Kaituna River

    NZ$99

  • Hike the unique volcanic landscape of Mt Tarawera, Rotorua

    NZ$149

  • Explore native rainforest at dawn with breakfast & coffee followed by ziplining on a Contiki Exclusive Rotorua Rainforest Canopy tour

    NZ$149

  • Cook your kai (food) the traditional way over an active steam vent at Te Puia Maori Village, followed by a guided tour & hands-on weaving experience

    NZ$84

DAY 7 - Rotorua to Auckland

Rotorua

Famed for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools & hot springs, gondola and speeding luge rides, Rotorua is a natural wonderland and then some. But don't let the allure of this place consume you, for there's a fun stop at Hobbiton village we must complete. Join us at our short visit at the land of 'Lord of the Rings',  before we head to Auckland. That's right, it wouldn't be a complete experience without a stop at the "Shire". 

Auckland

Stay

President Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • Visit Hobbiton and take a guided tour of the set made famous by the "Lord of the Rings & Hobbit" movies

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Get a multi-sensory icecream extravaganza with a Giapo Chef's Table icecream experience

    NZ$45

DAY 8 - Auckland to Paihia via Parry Kauri Park

Auckland

We'll cross Aucklands Harbour Bridge admiring the 'City of Sails' harbour before starting our journey north to Paihia.

Parry Kauri Park

We'll waste no time exploring what this country is famed for - unfathomable nature. Ancient Kauri trees that stand up to 50 metres high and hold over 1000-years of history will delight a walk through the reserve of Parry Kauri Park.
-Walk through native Kauri Forest

Paihia

On arrival to the Bay of Island we're starting off with a dose of Kiwi history  on a guided tour at Waitangi Treaty grounds where in 1840 New Zealand officially became a nation of two communities. And because we like to give you that something extra, how about a free admission at the Treaty museum, in case  you  seek a bit more detail on Kiwi history. 

Stay

The Kingsgate Hotel (or similar)

INCLUDED EXPERIENCES

  • See the City of Sails harbour made famous by the Americas Cup

  • Check out Whangarei and Kawakawas famous Hundertwasser toilets

  • Get a dose of history with a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds Tour

  • Tuck into a true Kiwiana fish'n'chips dinner, seafood chowder or NZ Lamb salad overlooking the Bay of Islands in Paihia

DAY 9 - Paihia

Paihia

Whether it's parasailing or a fast boat ride - today's (idyllic) list of optionals reads like a who's who of adventure. This area is filled with natural beauty and is sure to inspire your inner wild child. Make the most of the Free Time Add-On experiences on offer - tomorrow we head back to the big city vibes.

Stay

The Kingsgate Hotel (or similar)

FREE TIME ADD-ONS

  • Take a day trip to Cape Reinga at the very top of New Zealand's North Island

    NZ$117

  • Carino Day Sailing

    NZ$130

  • Discover the Bay

    NZ$149

  • Island Adventure Fast Boat

    NZ$78

  • Glide through NZ's Bay of Islands on a Parasailing experience in Paihia

    From NZ$95

DAY 10 - Paihia to End Auckland

Paihia

Feeling salty and sun-kissed we wave goodbye to beautiful Paihia & sashay our way back down NZ in the direction of Auckland.

Auckland

Time to say adios to the wolf pack and re-live the dream that was the land of the long white cloud, no doubt also dreaming of what might be next in store on an upcoming Contiki adventure, Asia, adventure?

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