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The Big Tiki

(Queenstown to Auckland - From Oct 2022)

4.8
219 reviews
00:00 / 00:00
River set between rocks and trees

The one that soaks it all up over 19 days, from mountains to mud pools

Travel Style

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  • Duration

    19 days

  • Places

    16 places

  • Meals

    18 Breakfasts, 5 Dinners

  • Transport Style

    Coach

  • Group Size

    Average 45 people

  • Team

    Expert Trip Manager, Driver and Local Guides

Queenstown, Franz Josef Glacier, Christchurch, Kaikoura, Wellington, Mount Ruapehu, Lake Taupo, Rotorua, Auckland, Paihia, Wanaka, Haast Pass, Hokitika, Arthurs Pass, Huka Falls, Parry Kauri Park

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About this trip

Waterfalls, glaciers, hobbits and hangi: if NZ doesn't impress you, best check your pulse. The Big Tiki from Queenstown to Auckland soaks it all up over 19 unforgettable days, with 60 optional activities to ramp up your trip. Anyone here brave enough for the Nevis swing?

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    Reserve your space now with a deposit of only $200, pay the rest 45 days before departure

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Trip Variation

Customize the itinerary of your trip depending on yours preferences

Compare Trips Variations
  • Auckland to Christchurch - From Oct 2022

    Option 1

    This is the full version of the trip, starting in Auckland and finishing in Christchurch during summer

  • Auckland to Queenstown - From Oct 2022

    Option 2

    This trip variation is two days shorter and will take you from Auckland to Queenstown in summer

  • Christchurch to Auckland - From Oct 2022

    Option 3

    This is the full version of the trip, starting in Christchurch and finishing in Auckland during summer

  • Queenstown to Auckland - From Oct 2022

    Option 4

    This trip variation is two days shorter and will take you from Queenstown to Auckland in summer

Map & Itinerary

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

DAY 1 - Queenstown

Queenstown

Kia Ora and welcome to Queenstown. After checking in to your hotel the rest of the afternoon is yours to start discovering why Queenstown is best known as the adventure capital of the world. Tonight you'll meet up with the rest of the crew, no doubt swapping notes on which thrill seeking activity to tick off first. Let the adventure commence...

DAY 2 - Queenstown

Queenstown

Today is yours to get acquainted with Queenstown and spend some time mulling over the activities up for grabs in the next two days. To get you warmed up, we'll be treating you to an exhilirating Shotover Jet experience (until Sep 2018), so throw those hands in the air as you fly through narrow Shotover canyons at speeds of up to 85 kph.

DAY 3 - Queenstown

Queenstown

With our last day in adrenalin city edging closer, this is the time to push yourself to the limits and jump over any mental barriers you've put up around yourself. Embrace the spirit of adventure and conquer those niggling fears once and for all. For those who did their dash yesterday, a day staying mellow and enjoying this beautiful region will prove more than sufficient.

DAY 4 - Queenstown

Queenstown

It's times like this that you really start to work out what sort of traveller you are. And human for that matter. You might be the one trailing through wine country and doing a spot of horse back riding, or you may be that guy that crams in a bungy jump, a skydive and a heliraft & still craves more. It's your holiday - run wild as you see fit.

DAY 5 - Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier via Wanaka & Haast Pass

Queenstown

Time to return our adrenalin levels to normal and make tracks to the wild (and often wet) West Coast and it's towering glaciers. But before we do, bridge bungy jump, anyone?

Wanaka

Enjoying our scenic drive we'll stop for lunch in Wanaka, a pretty ski resort town situated on a lake front and dwarfed by mountains. This town is fast becoming one of NZ's most popular spots, and a trip to the 'Dough Bin' for a luscious pie should be high on the list today.

Haast Pass

Our first piece of NZ eye-candy comes in the form of Hasast Pass, beautified by ancient rainforests, small glaciers and waterfalls. Note how the scenery changes as we roll away from Queenstown through the Southern Alps.

Franz Josef Glacier

Playing host tonight is the town of Franz Josef, home to some of NZ's finest natural beauty with bushlands and glaciers that almost reach the sea. Tomorrow we'll be out and about making the most of it - who's excited?

DAY 6 - Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

This morning will be another big ol' tick off the list as we take to the ice of Franz Josef Glacier. We've got a heli ride over the glacier up for grabs, or the opportunity to carve your own Pounamu (jade) pendant, under the tuition of a Maori mastercraftsman. Pounamu is sacred to the Māori people, and this is a great way to learn about its cultural significance, while also creating a beautiful please of jewellery. An optional highlight today is a boat cruise across Lake Mapourika. But this ain't your ordinary boat cruise. You'll cruise up the glassy lake, framed by glaciers and mountains, before switching to a stand up paddle board and gliding along a narrow estuary. This takes you to your journey's destination, the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary, where you'll get to meet New Zealand's adorable but vulnerable national bird.

DAY 7 - Franz Josef Glacier to Christchurch via Hokitika & Arther's Pass

Franz Josef Glacier

Armed with a new found appreciation for frozen water, we hop back on the coach & start making our way back to Christchurch.

Hokitika

In the gold rush town of Hokitika we'll watch authentic carvers get to work on green jade and take a look at traditional Maori art. Back on the coach we're coastline bound to one of the islands most jaw-droppingly beautiful spots...

Arthurs Pass

Take in the beautiful scenery as we wind our way across the highest and most spectacular mountain pass across the Southern Alps.

Christchurch

Tonight we'll sleep well in Christchurch, drifting off to the pleasant memories of NZ's natural beauty that seasoned our day.

DAY 8 - Christchurch to Kaikoura

Christchurch

We'll set off on an inspiring tour of Christchurch this morning, the city that was totally rebuilt after the Christchurch earthquake. Look out for the Cardboard Cathedral, which as the name suggests, is the only cathedral in the world to be built mostly from plain old cardboard!

After that, it's another jaw-dropping drive up to the top of the South Island. 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.

Next up, we'll visit Kaikoura Wildlife Rescue to meet a local wildlife biologist, Sabrina Leucht, who has been working to build a dedicated wildlife hospital in Kaikoura. We'll learn about the types of wildlife we might encounter here, which threats they face, and what we can all do to make a difference - locally and in our own hometowns.

After a busy day of wildlife wonders, we'll check into our seafront hotel, before heading out for a spot of dinner. Did you know that Kaikoura literally translates into 'eat (kai) crayfish (koura)'? So, no prizes for guessing what type of local cuisine we'll be trying!

DAY 9 - Kaikoura

Kaikoura

We all love a free day - especially one spent in beautiful Kaikoura! We recommend taking a whale watching tour, where you'll have the opportunity to see giant sperm whales in action, as well cute seas, dusky dolphins, and the endangered wandering albatross. Other free time add-ons include a thrilling helicopter ride over the Kaikoura Peninsula, a kayak trip across the coastline, and more. We'll stay another night in Kaikoura after an action-packed day, before heading to Christchurch tomorrow morning.

DAY 10 - Kaikoura to Wellington

Kaikoura

After breakfast, we'll head back on the Contiki coach, destination Wellington: the capital of NZ since 1865, when it replaced Auckland. Almost thirty years later, Wellington parliament was the first in the world to allow women the right to vote. A pretty cool city all in all.

Wellington

By the afternoon, we'll have reached Wellington, just in time for a tour of the city. After our 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.

DAY 11 - Wellington

Wellington

Ready to explore Wellington in all its glory? Today, we'll head to a local cafe and try the famed flat white coffee in its city of origin (sorry Australians). Caffeinated and refreshed, we'll take a trip to Zealandia, a 225-hectare (basically massive) eco-sanctuary that protects over 40 rare native wildlife species. Because Zealandia is fully fenced, you'll be able to walk alongside incredibly rare birds like the hihi and the takahē. Look out for the tuatara, a prehistoric reptile known as a 'living fossil', which can only be found in New Zealand!

DAY 12 - 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.

DAY 13 - 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. 

DAY 14 - 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. 

DAY 15 - 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. 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.

DAY 16 - Rotorua to Auckland

Rotorua

Ta-ra, Rotorua! We head to Auckland for lunchtime, where there's an array of awesome Free-Time Add-Ons to choose from.

Auckland

Adrenaline junkies, get ready for a bungee jump, climb over the iconic harbour bridge or sky jump off the Skywalk. For those who prefer to keep two feet on the ground, why not get your taste buds tingling with a multi-sensory icecream experience at Giapo Chef's Table?

DAY 17 - 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. 

DAY 18 - 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.

DAY 19 - Paihia to Auckland

Paihia

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

Auckland

Our adventure comes to an end in Auckland today. Make sure you swap contact deets and start planning the next adventure. Anyone for 'Straya?

Top Experiences

10 included & 31 free time add-ons available to add later

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

    From NZ$95

    Paihia

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

    Included

    Rotorua

  • Funyaks

    NZ$359

    Queenstown

  • Jump off the third highest bungy platform in the world at AJ Hackett's Nevis Bungy in Queenstown

    NZ$275

    Queenstown

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

    NZ$117

    Paihia

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

    Included

    Rotorua

The Big Tiki (Queenstown to Auckland - From Oct 2022)

10 Inclusions

Experiences that are included with your trip

  • Drive through Haast Pass and see Thunder Creek Falls (until Sep 2018)
  • Take a guided city tour of a city in transition: Christchurch
  • View a native greenstone carving demonstration in the goldrush town of Hokitika
  • 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
  • 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 overlooking the Bay of Islands in Paihia

31 Free Time Add-Ons

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

  • Group Photograph NZ$19
  • Swing through the tree tops on a Ziptrek Zipline tour in Queenstown NZ$189
  • Enjoy dinner with unparallelled views at Queenstown's Skyline restaurant NZ$85
  • Canyon Swing NZ$215
  • Funyaks NZ$359
  • Take your happy hour in sub-zero temperatures at Queenstown's Ice Bar experience NZ$20
  • Canyon Fox NZ$150
  • Take the plunge on the world's OG bungy at Kawarau Bridge, Queenstown NZ$205
  • Jump off the third highest bungy platform in the world at AJ Hackett's Nevis Bungy in Queenstown NZ$275
  • Get a thrilling perspective of Queenstown's skyline with the famous AJ Hackett Ledge bungy NZ$205
  • Go all out with Thrillogy - 3 of Queenstown's world class bungy jumps including the historic Kawarau Bungy, the freestyle Ledge Bungy, and the hair-raising Nevis Bungy NZ$420
  • Take the swing of your life on the 300m Nevis Swing, one of the world's biggest canyon swings in Queenstown NZ$210
  • Get your adrenalin pumping with AJ Hackett's Ledge Swing with sweeping views of Queenstown NZ$165
  • Queenstown Adventurer Canyoning NZ$199
  • Cruise the glassy waters of the Milford Sound on a day trip from Queenstown NZ$139
  • Take the plunge on the world's OG bungy at Kawarau Bridge, Queenstown NZ$205
  • Glacier Country Kayaks NZ$115
  • Across Country Quad Bikes NZ$160
  • Scenic Helicopter Flight and Glacier Landing From NZ$245
  • Helihike NZ$439
  • 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
  • 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 You'll Stay

Learn more about the accommodation available on this trip

  • 18 nights

    All accommodation is included on this trip

    6 nights in Lodge, 11 nights in Hotel, 1 night in Contiki Special Stay

    Throughout your trip you’ll be getting your beauty sleep in cosy, warm beds in multi-share rooms, plus the chance to stay in funky sleeping pods that can be completely enclosed for sleeping and chilling out. 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.

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