NZ Christchurch Hagley Park
NZ Christchurch sunset
NZ Christchurch Aerial view of Lyttelton port from the top of Christchurch Gondola Station at Port Hills

Most travellers use Christchurch as a base for exploring the south island, but there is plenty to see in this upwardly-mobile city. Hit by a series of earthquakes between 2010-13 that destroyed many of its buildings, Christchurch is now an intriguing mix of cutting-edge architecture and historic buildings.

14 days

New Zealand wildlife and waterways

New Zealand in two weeks
Auckland (1 days) Lake Taupo (2) Marlborough Sounds (3) Kaikoura (3) Queenstown (1) Milford Sound (1) Queenstown (3)
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11 days

Bay of Islands and South Island escape

Off-the-beaten path New Zealand
Auckland (1 days) Northland (2) Christchurch (1) Hokitika (3) Queenstown (1) Milford Sound (1) Queenstown (2)
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13 days

South Island wildlife route

Whale-watching, birding and wildlife on New Zealand’s south island
Christchurch (1 days) Milford Sound (2) Stewart Island (3) Dunedin (2) Kaikoura (2) Nelson (3)
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14 days

New Zealand self drive

Wine, wildlife and winding roads
Auckland (2 days) Lake Taupo (3) Hawke’s Bay (2) Christchurch (1) Arthur’s Pass National Park (1) Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (1) Queenstown (4)
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10 days

Southern adventure loop

Thrill seeking around South Island
Christchurch (1 days) Lake Tekapo (1) Queenstown (2) Wanaka (2) Franz Josef Glacier (2) Christchurch (2)
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20 days

North to south white knuckle

Epic adventures from North to South Island
Auckland (1 days) Coromandel (1) Raglan (1) Rotorua (2) Lake Taupo (2) Wellington (2) Kaikoura (1) Christchurch (1) Lake Tekapo (1) Queenstown (2) Wanaka (2) Franz Josef Glacier (2) Christchurch (2)
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  • Queenstown

    Queenstown

    The self-described ‘adventure capital of the world’, Queenstown is a playground for adrenaline junkies...
  • Milford Sound

    Milford Sound

    Even by New Zealand’s standards, Milford Sound is a truly spectacular sight...
  • Lake Tekapo

    Lake Tekapo

    A highland lake in the middle of New Zealand’s south island, Lake Tekapo is best known for its incredibly clear skies that are perfect for stargazing...
  • Rotorua

    Rotorua

    An eggy scent hangs over sulphuric Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island, which is home to spectacular geothermal springs, mud pools and geysers...
  • Coromandel

    Coromandel

    Visible across the Hauraki Gulf from Auckland, the Coromandel offers pristine beaches, thick rainforest and plenty of adventure...
  • Kaikoura

    Kaikoura

    Kaikoura is the place to see wildlife in New Zealand...
  • Wanaka

    Wanaka

    Laidback Wanaka has a claim to be Queenstown’s cooler sibling...
  • Northland

    Northland

    The site of New Zealand’s earliest Maori settlement, Northland is the birthplace of New Zealand and home to its best beaches...
  • Auckland

    Auckland

    Forget the city’s high-rise centre; the beauty of Auckland is the scenery surrounding it...
  • Hawke’s Bay

    Hawke’s Bay

    Hawke’s Bay is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail and is a great place to try cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay wines...
  • Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

    Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

    Aoraki Mount Cook National Park includes the majority of New Zealand’s only International Dark Sky Reserve, so head into the hills – or just Mount Cook Village near Lake Pukaki – and marvel at the light show in the sky...
  • Stewart Island

    Stewart Island

    Sparsely populated Stewart Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most interesting wildlife, including penguins, dolphins and albatross...
  • Franz Josef Glacier

    Franz Josef Glacier

    Franz Josef’s icy mass once flowed all the way into the sea, but after decades of global warming, the glacier has retreated inland and is now only accessible by helicopter...
  • Marlborough Sounds

    Marlborough Sounds

    A huge maze of beaches, bays and hills formed after the last ice age, the Marlborough Sounds are the perfect place to hike, bike or boat...
  • Lake Taupo

    Lake Taupo

    Vast Lake Taupo is as big as Singapore and was created 2,000 years ago from a volcanic eruption so huge it would have been seen from China...
  • Hokitika

    Hokitika

    New Zealand’s wild west coast is linked by a single track through Greymouth, Kumara, Cowboy Paradise, Hokitika and Ross...
  • Arthur’s Pass National Park

    Arthur’s Pass National Park

    Head into Arthur’s Pass National Park by road and you’ll encounter some of New Zealand’s most spectacular engineering, including viaducts, precipitous bridges and redirected waterfalls...
  • Dunedin

    Dunedin

    Little Dunedin is full of pretty gardens and boutique cafes, making a lovely stop on routes on the south island...
  • Raglan

    Raglan

    The surfing town of Raglan on the Waikato coast is the perfect place to spend a few days lazing by the sea...
  • Nelson

    Nelson

    Nelson Tasman is known as one of New Zealand’s most artistic places, with painters, sculptor and jewellery makers are living here...
  • Lake Heron

    Lake Heron

    Lake Heron Station is an authentic working sheep farm, making it the perfect place to experience high-country New Zealand life...
  • Wellington

    Wellington

    Creative Wellington has a claim to be New Zealand’s most cultural city...

Where to go in New Zealand

Our recommended places

Queenstown

Queenstown

The self-described ‘adventure capital of the world’, Queenstown is a playground for adrenaline junkies. Famously the birthplace of bungy jumping, you can also try zip lining, heli-skiing and any other number of activities that will get your pulse racing. However, if you’re after something less strenuous, it’s worth noting that Queenstown also has excellent vineyards and an exciting food scene.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Even by New Zealand’s standards, Milford Sound is a truly spectacular sight. Located in the southwest of the South Island, the beautiful fjord is packed with jaw-droppingly beautiful natural features, including Mitre Peak, rainforests and stunning waterfalls, such as Stirling and Bowen Falls.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

A highland lake in the middle of New Zealand’s south island, Lake Tekapo is best known for its incredibly clear skies that are perfect for stargazing. However, visitors also come for hiking, boating, mountain biking and windsurfing on the water.

Rotorua

Rotorua

An eggy scent hangs over sulphuric Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island, which is home to spectacular geothermal springs, mud pools and geysers. However, it’s not just the landscapes that attract visitors – 34% of Rotorua’s population is Maori, and cultural performances and banquets are worth seeing.

Coromandel

Coromandel

Visible across the Hauraki Gulf from Auckland, the Coromandel offers pristine beaches, thick rainforest and plenty of adventure. Head to secluded Cathedral Cove for a picnic and swim, sea kayak around the coast or try canyoning at the 300m high Sleeping God Canyon.

Kaikoura

Kaikoura

Kaikoura is the place to see wildlife in New Zealand. This small town on the south island is home to whales, dolphins, seals, penguins and sea birds who come for the nutrient-rich waters that are perfect for feeding in. Set against the might of the Seaward Kaikoura mountain range, this is a stunningly beautiful stop.

Wanaka

Wanaka

Laidback Wanaka has a claim to be Queenstown’s cooler sibling. Offering similar adventure activities, but a less hectic, frenzied centre, Wanaka is an excellent place to get your day-time adventure thrills before an evening relaxing in quirky bars and modern restaurants.

Northland

Northland

The site of New Zealand’s earliest Maori settlement, Northland is the birthplace of New Zealand and home to its best beaches. Head to the Bay of Islands for dolphins and marine life, or Cape Reinga – the most spiritually significant site for Maoris – to learn more about the Maori afterlife.

Auckland

Auckland

Forget the city’s high-rise centre; the beauty of Auckland is the scenery surrounding it. From surf beaches to the islands of Hauraki Gulf, volcanic peaks to fertile farmland, it’s no surprise that the greater Auckland region features high in lists of the world’s most liveable places. This is the perfect introduction to New Zealand.

Hawke’s Bay

Hawke’s Bay

Hawke’s Bay is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail and is a great place to try cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay wines. From here, you can visit numerous wineries all connected by more than 200km of biking trails.

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park includes the majority of New Zealand’s only International Dark Sky Reserve, so head into the hills – or just Mount Cook Village near Lake Pukaki – and marvel at the light show in the sky.

Stewart Island

Stewart Island

Sparsely populated Stewart Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most interesting wildlife, including penguins, dolphins and albatross. Head to tiny Ulva Island for birdwatching.

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef’s icy mass once flowed all the way into the sea, but after decades of global warming, the glacier has retreated inland and is now only accessible by helicopter. Try hiking trails, glacier experiences and adventure sports.

Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds

A huge maze of beaches, bays and hills formed after the last ice age, the Marlborough Sounds are the perfect place to hike, bike or boat. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even dive a shipwreck in Port Gore.

Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo

Vast Lake Taupo is as big as Singapore and was created 2,000 years ago from a volcanic eruption so huge it would have been seen from China. Today, visitors come for the magnificent Huka Falls, Maori rock carvings and watersports. Lake Taupo is also an excellent base for exploring nearby Tongariro National Park, including the Tongariro Alpine Crossing day hike and skiing at Whakapapa.

Hokitika

Hokitika

New Zealand’s wild west coast is linked by a single track through Greymouth, Kumara, Cowboy Paradise, Hokitika and Ross. The Hokitika to Ross section takes in wetlands, forests and old mills, before ending with views over Totara lagoon as you ride into Ross. The one-way trip takes about four hours.

Arthur’s Pass National Park

Arthur’s Pass National Park

Head into Arthur’s Pass National Park by road and you’ll encounter some of New Zealand’s most spectacular engineering, including viaducts, precipitous bridges and redirected waterfalls. Crossing the Pass offers beautiful views of rainforest and deep gorges.

Dunedin

Dunedin

Little Dunedin is full of pretty gardens and boutique cafes, making a lovely stop on routes on the south island. Head out to the bays and coves of the nearby Otago Peninsula to see yellow-eyed penguins and fur seals.

Raglan

Raglan

The surfing town of Raglan on the Waikato coast is the perfect place to spend a few days lazing by the sea. Look for the black sand Ngarunui beach and the impossibly long surf breaks at Manu Bay, then spend evening enjoying its beach bars and restaurants.

Nelson

Nelson

Nelson Tasman is known as one of New Zealand’s most artistic places, with painters, sculptor and jewellery makers are living here. Head to the local art market to discover what makes this such a creative place.

Lake Heron

Lake Heron

Lake Heron Station is an authentic working sheep farm, making it the perfect place to experience high-country New Zealand life. This is a great place to stargaze in quiet farmland surrounded by mountain peaks.

Wellington

Wellington

Creative Wellington has a claim to be New Zealand’s most cultural city. From art galleries to theatre, craft beer to coffee, Wellington is a compact city packing a powerful punch. If you’re still looking for outdoor activities, try mountain biking or sea-water kayaking, or take a walk on the Makara Peak track for views across the west coast beach.

Why Horizon Guides?

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