Start in Auckland’s bars, restaurants and cafes before travelling north to the sub-tropical Bay of Islands. Board a boat to cruise around the islands, snorkelling in the deep blue water, walking deserted beaches and exploring ancient Maori site, including Cape Reinga, where Maoris believe dead spirits come to rest. Fly to Christchurch on the south island and transfer to Hokitika on New Zealand’s wild west coast. Hike the West Coast Treetop Walk through ancient rainforest to the sound of birdsong, stargaze at night and visit Hokitika Gorge. Next, get adventurous in Queenstown by taking a helicopter tour over the city to Milford Sound for a cruise around waterfalls and rainforests. End your trip with the quintessential Queenstown experience – a bungy jump.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Queenstown, Milford Sound, Northland, Auckland, Hokitika, Christchurch
Activity Activity Beach, Nature & Wildlife, Culture, Active
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Explore scenic Auckland

Explore scenic Auckland

Day 1 in 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.

See ancient forests and empty beaches in Northland

See ancient forests and empty beaches in Northland

Day 2–3 in 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.

See regeneration in action in Christchurch

See regeneration in action in Christchurch

Day 4 in Christchurch

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.

Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail from Hokitika

Cycle the West Coast Wilderness Trail from Hokitika

Day 5–7 in 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.

Stopover in Queenstown

Stopover in Queenstown

Day 8 in Queenstown

Make the 3.5-hour drive from Kaikoura to Christchurch airport, and fly on to Queenstown. Spend the evening enjoying the vibrant restaurants and bars.

Cruise Milford Sound

Cruise Milford Sound

Day 9 in 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.

Explore the adventure capital of the world

Explore the adventure capital of the world

Day 10–11 in 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.

Don't miss

Skydive high above the Glenorchy mountain range

Skydive high above the Glenorchy mountain range

The blue lakes and snow-capped mountains in and around Glenorchy are so stunning that they were used as locations for The Lord of the Rings films, and, for those who dare, skydiving is an incredible way to take in this amazing scenery.

Where to stay

Classic

Fletcher Lodge

Situated just minutes from the heart of Dunedin, this property is a registered Historic Places Trust building and has been beautifully refurbished with elegant styling and modern amenities, surrounded by beautiful manicured gardens.

The four luxury rooms in the original house are richly furnished with antique, hand-carved furniture, cast-iron claw foot baths, underfloor heating, and French doors leading out to sunny private balconies overlooking the gardens and valley below.

Superior

Lochmara Lodge

This unique hideaway in the Marlborough Sounds is the perfect place to disconnect and soak up the breathtaking natural beauty of the region.

Surrounded by pristine bushland, Lochmara Lodge has no road access, with guests arriving via the private Lochmara Bay on a 15 minute boat ride from Picton. You can also hike or cycle in through the Queen Charlotte Track.

It offers spacious, comfortable units that are perfect for families, while couples can retreat to the romantic chalets with balconies overlooking the bay.

Deluxe

Greenhill Lodge

Greenhill Lodge is a historic homestead located in the heart of Hawke’s Bay, a stretch of beautiful coastline on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

The region’s rolling hills and winding rivers are perfect for fishing, swimming, golfing and canoeing, among other outdoor activities. This is also an agricultural region and you’ll be treated to local produce and wines from the vineyards here during your stay.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators would cost from £4,500pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

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