Day 1: Arrive Auckland
This morning you will arrive in Auckland. You will be transferred to your centrally located hotel accommodation. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Accommodation: 1 night
Day 2: Auckland: Hike Rangitoto / Auckland - Coromandel
This morning we recommend hiking Rangitoto Island. You are a short walk to Auckland city’s downtown waterfront, where you can take the 25-minute ferry ride to Rangitoto Island.
Rangitoto is the most recent and largest - 2311 hectares and 5.5 km wide - of the approximately 50 volcanoes of the Auckland volcanic field. The island is an iconic and widely visible landmark of Auckland with its distinctive symmetrical shield volcano cone rising 260 metres (850 ft) high over the Hauraki Gulf. A 2hr return hike will take you through lava fields and forest to the island’s peak at 260m above sea level. From the summit of this dormant volcano, you will enjoy panoramic views of Auckland City. Note: This is a self-guided excursion and does not include ferry tickets.
Length: 2 hours return for hike
Altitude: Highest - 260m
Difficulty: Easy – Medium
Upon your return collect your rental car and drive to Coromandel.
With 250 miles of coastline to explore, the Coromandel is a rustic, laid back and unspoiled coastal playground renowned for its misty rainforests. With superb beaches, quaint coastal towns, and thriving art communities, it is a hugely popular area to visit.
Don't miss the spectacular Cathedral Cove, the jewel of a protected marine reserve. On the water Kayaking is a highlight, take a surf lesson or try paddleboarding. You could wander among the coolness of the pristine bush; take a beach stroll or hike down to Cathedral Cove - the Coromandel is a walker’s paradise. Or simply sit and relax in a warm bubbling pool at Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own spa two hours either side of low tide. The Coromandel is also home to many artists and craftspeople. Pop into their studios – you’re welcome to visit – and pick up a unique piece of art or pottery to take home with you.
Accommodation: 2 nights
Day 3: Coromandel: Bike Hauraki Rail Trail
Today you will drive south along the Coromandel Peninsula to Waihi and the Waikino Café to collect your rental bikes for a 16 mile self-guided ride on the Hauraki Rail Trail through the Karangahake Gorge to Paeroa return (approx. 8 miles each way). This is considered one of the most picturesque parts of trail.
Carved through solid rock, the 1.1Km Karangahake Rail tunnels are a labyrinth of glow worm lit historic mining tunnels. The Karangahake Gorge, one of the “fourteen wonders of New Zealand” and packed with gold mining history. The rewarding Windows Walk is a “must do”. The loop meanders through old mining relics and historical tunnels. Four “windows” expose the spectacular gorge scenery – the bush, cliffs and the dynamic river below. There are a few places to stop and eat in the Karangahake Gorge so you may like to buy lunch from the café before departing.
Your comfort Bike hire includes Helmet, Lock and Carrier Bag. You will need to take a flashlights for use in the tunnels. The Hauraki Rail Trail is all Grade 1 (easiest) making it suitable for riders of all ages and abilities. The trail is wide and smooth with gentle gradients.
Hauraki Rail Trail
Length: 16 miles
Day 4: Coromandel: Hike Cathedral Cove / Coromandel - Auckland Airport - Nelson
Today you have time to enjoy a beach walk, hike or kayaking before you drive to Auckland Airport and connect with a late afternoon flight to Nelson.
Cathedral Cove Hike
Length: 1hr 30 minutes return
Difficulty: Easy / moderate (return hike)
Depart Auckland to Nelson (fllght not included). Upon arrival you will collect a new rental car.
Nelson's diverse geography captures everything from the long golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains. Nelson has long been a magnet for creative people. There are more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson. Visit their studios and find a unique piece to take home with you. Sip some of Nelson’s wonderful wines or linger over a winery lunch on a fun bike tour. Walk the sun drenched sands of Golden Bay or head inland to Takaka and see the impossibly clear waters of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs. Spend a day walking on the Abel Tasman track (it’s a three to five day walk for those with time) – or, for a different view, take a sea kayaking tour around the coast and beautiful secluded coves to see a seal colony and little blue penguins bobbing in the water.
Accommodation: 3 nights
Day 5: Nelson: Hike Abel Tasman National Park
Today you will spend independently exploring Abel Tasman National Park. Your day pass includes a scenic cruise which hugs the shore, travelling in close to idyllic, golden beaches with walk options from 30 minutes to 6 hours and a picnic lunch.
Abel Tasman National Park
New Zealand’s smallest national park, this popular park has numerous tidal inlets and beaches of golden sand and sandy coves along the shores of Tasman Bay. Hikers can enjoy one day hikes by catching a water taxi or cruise into the park or for those with time, spend 3-5 days hiking the entire track. Kayaking is also a wonderful way to experience this stunning park.
Length: Your choice
Difficulty: Easy - moderate
Day 6: Nelson: Bike Great Taste Trail
Today you will ride a section of one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. The trail is a dedicated cycle route which showcases much of what the Tasman region offers, by way of scenery, produce and skilled craftspeople. Riding a bike along the trail gives you a chance to see how people live, work and play. Local seasonal produce, real fruit ice-creams, cafes, galleries, breweries and wineries can all be found along the trail. A one way route helps you see more of the trail during the course of a day. This is a self-guided ride. Our local bike tour operator will help you select a suitable section of the trail. Hybrid bike hire, helmet, pannier day bag, water bottle (local spring water), route maps included. Guided and Premium Guided options available at additional cost. Premium Guided includes guide and support vehicle. Great for couples who have different activity level preferences.
Length: 1 day ride
Distance: 6 – 27 miles
Trail Grade: Easy to Moderate
Day 7: Nelson - Queenstown - Te Anau
This morning you will return your rental car to Nelson airport and fly to Queenstown (flight not included). Upon arrival you will collect a new rental car and drive to Te Anau - gateway to the Fiordland National Park.
Te Anau lies on the edge of Lake Te Anau and is the base for exploring both the fiords of Milford Sound region and Fiordland National Park. Soaring forest-clad cliffs and roaring waterfalls surround Milford Sound – one of New Zealand’s top visitor destinations. Fiordland is New Zealand’s largest National Park with 1.2 million hectares of snow-capped mountains, spectacular waterfalls, dramatic fiords and rainforests to explore. Three of New Zealand’s Great Walks can be found in this region. The most famous is the Milford Track, which takes five days to complete, while the Kepler Track can be walked in four days and the Routeburn takes around three.
Fiordland National Park:
The largest national park in New Zealand and one of the largest in the world, the park covers the South Island’s southwest corner. The grandeur of its scenery, with its deep fiords, glacial lakes, mountains and waterfalls, make it a popular destination. Ancient rainforest clings impossibly to the mountains; waterfalls tumble hundreds of meters into massive fiords; shimmering lakes and granite peaks look the same today as they did a thousand years ago.
Accommodation: 2 nights
Day 8: Te Anau - Hike & Cruise Milford
This morning, get ready to experience Fiordland by land and water - on the Milford Walk and Cruise. Travel along the spectacular Milford Road with your local nature guide. Upon reaching Milford Sound, join a Nature Cruise for an extended cruise of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time to view waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. On completion of the cruise, rejoin your small group and guide for an afternoon walk. Choose from a range of short walks (5-40 minutes in length) through the spectacular alpine area and Hollyford Valley or a longer 2 ½ hour unguided walk to Key Summit on the renowned Routeburn Track. This walk ascends through lush beech rainforest and into the alpine environment with panoramic views of the surrounding Fiordland Mountains, alpine lakes and deep bush clad valleys. Note: This tour only operates Oct -Apr.
Length: Up to 2.5 hours walking time
Difficulty: Easy - Medium
Day 9: Te Anau - Queenstown
Today you will drive to Queenstown and have the day free. See Queenstown experiences.
Queenstown offers incredible adventure activities and spectacular terrain, white water rafting, ziplining, snowboarding, heli-skiing, bungy jumping, mountain biking and jet boating - all taking place against a stunning backdrop of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu and majestic mountains! If adventure isn’t your thing, don’t worry. There are lots of great hiking, leisurely bike rides, top golf courses, spas, great shopping and vineyards you will be in the perfect location for some relaxation. You may like to ride the gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak, try the fun luge, ziplining or tandem paragliding from the top of the gondola, or simply enjoy the spectacular views. Take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Farm. Queenstown produces one of New Zealand’s best Pinot Noirs, so make sure you sample a taste or two at one of the many pubs or wineries in the region.
Accommodation: 3 nights
Day 10: Queenstown: Bike Queenstown Trail
Today you will enjoy a full day supported but self guided biking adventure to experience the stunning surround of the Queenstown Trails and Wakatipu Basin and it’s magnificent scenery.
With thorough directions, a map and trail tips you will set off on your ride following the shore of Lake Wakatipu to the Frankton Marina. A after a morning tea stop at the historic Boatshed Cafe you are driven you to the heart of the Wakatipu Basin for more scenic riding. Pause for a picnic lunch in historic Arrowtown, then set off biking along the beautiful Arrow and Kawarau Rivers to the Historic Kawarau Suspension Bridge - home of the famous Kawarau Bungy. Finish with a short ride through to Gibbston Valley and enjoy a relaxing wine tasting and cheesery visit. Sit back and relax on your return to your accommodation. This trip can be catered to any level of rider and is well supported along the way. Distances can be tailored to your needs with vehicle support at designated points along the trail allowing you to hitch a ride if required.
Duration: Full Day
Distance: 18 miles
Grade: Easy - Intermediate
Day 11: Queenstown: Hike Routeburn Track
Today you will join your nature guide for a stunning scenic drive to the head of Lake Wakatipu where you’ll begin your walk among towering ancient beech, as you climb gradually through blankets of forest moss and fern. Thundering below, the Routeburn River runs through the gorge it’s carved over the last millennia. Further on the woodland parts to reveal the rich grassland of Routeburn Flats, surrounded by cloud-scraping mountain stacks. Routeburn Falls is just a short stride through more alpine forest. The walk continues to climb through a vast alpine meadow to the Harris Saddle, some 1300 metres above sea level. High in the clear mountain air a 360-degree view looks out along the Hollyford Valley to the Tasman Sea, and inland. Note: Due to the nature of the terrain, altitude and alpine conditions, the duration of this walk is entirely flexible and dependent on the group's fitness levels. You can enjoy anything from 4 to 14 miles return journey. Note: This tour operates year round, except on Christmas Day.
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Distance: 4-14 miles
Mt Aspiring National Park:
A complex of impressively glaciated mountain scenery centered on Mount Aspiring/Tititea (3,036 m), New Zealand's highest peak outside of the main divide. Hikers love this dreamland of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lakes.
Day 12: Queenstown - Kokonga, Central Otago
Today you are headed for New Zealand’s most inland region, Central Otago, affectionately called ‘Central’ by those that know it well. Located in the southern half of the South Island it is breathtakingly different with vast undulating landscapes, rugged snow-capped mountains, clear blue rivers, deep gorges and tussock-clad hills. Stop in one of the friendly townships along the way, visit local artisans dotted along country roads, taste fresh fruit from local orchards and linger over a cafe or pub lunch before arriving at Kokonga which translates from Maori as ‘Bend in the River’. This lovely lodge sits on an elevated 10-acres with extensive views over the heart of the Maniototo region of Central Otago. Your three-course dinner at the lodge tonight will utilize fresh and home-grown produce. Your wonderful New Zealand hosts, Dorothy and Malcolm will ensure you get the most from your stay.
Accommodation: 2 nights
Day 13: Kokonga: Bike Central Otago Rail Trail
After breakfast you can explore the Otago Central Rail Trail (Kokonga Lodge is located on the rail trail). Steeped in a sense of history and remoteness, the trail provides a chance to view scenery not able to be seen from the highway. It also has preserved an important part of Otago's history as it was once a vital link between Dunedin and Central Otago. Dorothy & Malcolm will assist in planning your ride today. Bikes included. Transfer costs to/from the lodge may be required depending on how far you wish to ride. At the end of your day you will return to the lodge to relax and enjoy dinner.
Day 14: Kokonga - Dunedin / Albatross and Penguins
Today you will depart Kokonga and drive to Dunedin. The day is free to expore before you join an early evening tour to see the Royal Albatross and Little Blue Penguins on the Otago Peninsula.
This very Scottish city is affectionately known as the Edinburgh of the south. It is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere and boasts New Zealand’s only castle – Larnach Castle. The gardens at Larnach Castle are stunning and rated 'Garden of International Significance'. Dunedin is the gateway to the unique wildlife experiences on the Otago Peninsula, featuring the world’s only mainland breeding colony of albatross, penguins, seals and sea lions.
Nowhere else in the world can you enjoy the priviledge of viewing these majestic seabirds in their natural environment! The Royal Albatross Centre operates viewing tours for it Taiaroa Head facility using a modern, purpose built indoor viewing area. This 1hr guided wildlife tour tells the story of the Northern Royal Albatross and a visit to potential viewing areas on Taiaroa Head. Witness the fascinating social and family life of the breeding colony, devoted parents guarding their chicks; adolescents posturing and displaying as only juveniles can, courtship proceedings, nest building and interplay.
Little Blue Penguins
Discover Kororā, the Little Blue Penguin, the world’s smallest penguin. See them in their natural habitat – scurrying up to their cliff-face burrows at Pilots Beach on the Otago Peninsula. After a day at sea, the penguins congregate in groups known as “rafts” not far offshore where they often can be heard vocalizing – usually short, loud squaw. You will join your guide at dusk to enter a conservation area. From a purpose built viewing platform you are able to watch the penguins.
Depending on time of year tours can end quite late. There is time between tours to enjoy a casual dinner at the Albatross Café.
Accommodation: 1 night
Day 15: Dunedin
Return rental car to Dunedin Airport.