All details will be sent in your pre departure pack
Amplified 16 Day New Zealand Tour. Short on time but big on adventure then this is for you. Both islands in 16 days in a small adventure group. Fully guided to get you to some of the best locations in this stunning country.
Amplified 16 Day New Zealand Tour Photos
Amplified 16 Day New Zealand Tour: Trip Highlights
THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME
New Zealand is an adventure bomb. Ticking away waiting to exploded onto your travel itinerary. Many travellers overlook New Zealand on their round the world trip putting it down to time constraints, but that is just silly, because the Amplified tour, blasts you through the country in just 16 days of pure adrenaline. Our adventure tour takes you on an unforgettable tour between the international cities of Auckland or Christchurch. You can start in either Auckland or Christchurch.
- Explore places off the beaten track.
- Travelling in an adventure group of like minded people.
- Visit to Queenstown, adrenaline capital of the world.
- See the volcano used as Mount Doom in the movie Lord of the Rings.
- 16 days of accommodation and every day continental breakfast.
- Swimming in lakes, canyon pools and mountain rivers.
- And more heaps of adventure along the way.
Welcome to New Zealand! As the internationally famed ‘Garden City’, Christchurch’s well-established expansive parks and public gardens are guaranteed to impress. Wide tree lined avenues, beautifully maintained gardens, ambling inner city rivers and restored heritage buildings make this a picture perfect city with a definite English feel.
Your day begins with an orientation tour of Christchurch´s surrounding area. Unfortunately the earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011 have damaged many buildings, including the iconic cathedral – but the city is in the re-build stage and things look optimistic for its future.
After lunch we leave New Zealand´s ´Garden City´ and head south. The jewel of the Mackenzie Country, Lake Tekapo is an alpine village in the heart of the South Island high country. A ski resort in winter and aquatic playground in summer, it sits at the edge of its 20 kilometre glacial lake namesake, completely surrounded by the impressive Southern Alps.
The landscape is outstanding, sculpted by successive Ice Age glaciers, the remnants of which continue to discharge fine ´rock flour´ giving the lake its intense turquoise hue. The sky is huge and of extraordinary clarity, making this one of the world´s best locations to probe the heavens from its observatories atop Mount John. Weather permitting we take a trip up to the top to admire the view.
Throughout your tour your tour guide will be on hand to help you plan your time and ensure things are as hassle-free as possible.
We have time to enjoy Lake Tekapo before leaving for Queenstown in the mid-morning. Consider experiencing the region on a one hour scenic flight, including spectacular views of Mount Cook!
Your guide will take a break at one of the many salmon farms along the drive to allow you to feed the salmon and taste some sashimi. After heading past Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook (the highest in New Zealand at 3,764 metres) and through the village of Omarama there is a chance to experience some wine tasting just outside of Queenstown. In particular the Otago region is known for its excellent Pinot Noir.
Queenstown, named in honour of Queen Victoria, is well-established as the “jewel in NZ’s tourism crown”, with more adventure options per square metre than any other similarly-sized town across the globe by far. It is also one of the most beautiful settings on earth, nestled beside Lake Wakatipu in the Southern Lakes district.
Your guide will begin by giving you an orientation tour around the town centre, before checking into our accommodation. We are situated a five minute walk from the centre of town allowing great accessibility but also a quiet night´s sleep.
In the evening we may take the Queenstown gondola (included in tour price) to view our spectacular surroundings. There is also an awesome luge track and restaurant. Something that shouldn´t be missed, however, is a visit to the infamous Fergburger cafÃ© where you can try one of the numerous different delicious burgers. The nightlife in the town is also second to none and there is always something going on no matter what day it is.
You have a whole day to spend in Queenstown and you are spoilt for choice! Skydiving, paragliding, rafting, the Shotover Canyon swing, Nevis and Kawarau Bridge bungees, quad biking and boat trips are all on the cards!
For a more relaxed day, your guide may take you to Glenorcy where there are multiple half and full day walks. Another awesome and world famous experience that we fully recommend is a day trip to Milford Sound absolutely gorgeous.
We drive over the Crown Range along the highest inland road in the country. Get your cameras out at the ready for spectacular views! Time permitting, our first stop for the day is for coffee in the oldest pub in New Zealand, the Cardrona Hotel. Our second is Cardrona Adventure Park, where everyone is invited to drive monster trucks and eight-wheeled argos!
At the end of our journey we are greeted by the shores of picturesque lakes Wanaka and Hawea. Over 1,300 feet deep and an incredible blue, both lakes are fringed by breathtaking mountain ranges. Wanaka is situated on the lake of the same name, facing north and blessed with an incomparable alpine panorama.
During summer, wake-boarding, water-skiing, stunning lake cruises and swimming are always high on the agenda but in the winter Wanaka is a complete snow sports destination. Four alpine resorts (Cardrona, Treble Cone, Snow Park and Snow Farm) cater for everyone´s ski and snowboarding needs, from well-groomed beginner slopes to thrilling off piste chutes & powder bowls; adrenaline-pumping pipes to tranquil cross country skiing trails.
Wake up with uninterrupted views of the stunning Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps. Anyone is welcome to begin their day with a mind-blowing skydive with views of both Fox Glacier and Mount Cook in the distance!
There are heaps to see and do along our drive today so we set off as early as possible, passing along the shores of Lake Hawea, and back around to Lake Wanaka for the second time. Your guide will stop to allow you to take photos as the scenery here is beautiful.
The road that we travel across is that of the Haast Pass, the lowest crossing of the Southern Alps at 536 metres. The east to west transition of climate is strongly marked by the changes of landscape from the alpine surrounding of Wanaka to the luxuriant rainforest of the West Coast. The prevailing moisture-laden westerly winds that impinge on the sharp mountain barrier of the Southern Alps result in heavy rainfall for which the whole West Coast is well known. Hence there are many stunning waterfalls on this journey and your tour manager will take you to one of our favourites, the Roaring Billy Falls.
The town of Haast signifies our arrival at the coast and we take our first look at the ocean from the Ships Creek viewing point. Between September and December it is whitebait season and so we will try to find a place to buy some. Whitebait (small fish) are considered a rare delicacy in New Zealand and is best cooked in a fritter with eggs great for breakfast!
The climate and subsequent rainforest accounts for why this region is so desolate and unpopulated. Between the mountains and the almost unbroken stretch of surf beaches are low hills and broad terraces among which are beautiful forest-fringed lakes, and a surprising number of places of historical interest. Knights Point is another beautiful look out, offering the chance to view the beautiful forest along this coastline.
We reach Franz Josef by the early evening and check in to our accommodation a cosy motel with a native bush backdrop.
You cannot visit Franz Josef without paying your respects to the glacier. Both the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are world-renowned on account of their relative accessibility and the low level to which they descend, although they no longer extend far enough down their valleys to reach the forest. The most popular way of visiting the glacier is with a half day guided trek, but there are also full day or heli-hike options available.
The Franz Josef glacier is unique in that whereas most glaciers are retreating, Franz still flows almost to sea level. Surrounding the glacier is a stunning landscape of temperate rainforest of ancient podocarp trees and other evergreen species. The combination of ice and temperate rainforest is a unique feature of New Zealand’s glacier country and is an ecosystem found nowhere else on the planet.
If you can afford it, we highly recommend reaching the bluest ice via helicopter with a heli-hike. Trekking on the glacier is nowhere as strenuous as it sounds, but if it doesn´t sound like your thing, then your guide will take you as close to the bottom of the glacier as possible. There is some awesome quad biking for the afternoon, horse trekking, or otherwise relax in the hostel´s spa pool, TV lounge or have a drink in one of the cafÃ©s or bars.
We head to the beautiful west coast on one of the most spectacular drives in the world. A rugged, primeval landscape of luxuriant rainforest juxtaposed against breathtaking beach and ocean waves.
Along the way from Franz Josef we pass through Ross, a town that arose from gold mining. The gold rush days of the second half of the 19th century were largely responsible for opening up the West Coast for settlement. Before this there was a small number of Maori who searched for greenstone, or Jade. We take a break at Hokitika to visit a Jade factory. This place experienced a massive gold rush in the late 1860s and today remnants can be seen everywhere: in original buildings and in the landscape, altered by excavations and vast mounds of tailings.
We may also make a quick stop at the Bushman´s centre where you can taste a Possum pie or sink a drink in the Puke Pub (us Kiwis are classy folks!).
We reach Greymouth Train Station by lunchtime, where you board the Tranz Alpine train. The crossing takes four and a half hours and travels through the absolutely stunning Arthur´s Pass.
Tonight you are privileged to be staying at Haka Lodge, situated on the outskirts of the city centre. Dinner is provided on us and we invite you to make yourselves feel at home
You can have a lie in this morning if you want! Alternatively there is another opportunity for hot air ballooning, surf lessons and tank driving. There is also a chance to explore the city and do some shopping before we leave for Kaikoura.
Kaikoura is the Maori word for â€œto eat crayfishâ€, and this coastal settlement is rich in marine activity, with its deep sea trench allowing sea creatures such as whales, dolphins and seals to come up close and personal. The water here is as deep as the mountains surrounding it are high, a concept some find hard to get their heads around!
We introduce you to the town with a walk over the peninsula from South Bay to the northern seal colony, where many fur seals choose to bask lazily along the rocks. If the conditions permit, there may be a chance to go snorkelling along this area and your guide may catch something for dinner!
In the evening we cook and have a bonfire on the beach, when the conditions permit us.
This morning is for activities and you have the chance to swim with dolphins, watch for whales, learn to surf or even play mini golf. Dolphin swimming is incredibly popular, with groups often seeing hundreds of dolphins at a time!
We have lunch from a seafood cart along the esplanade, allowing you to admire the stunning view of turquoise ocean met with snow-capped mountains. This is the true New Zealand living that we love!
After lunch we head north. Upon arriving into Picton there is a short break to explore the port and get something to eat before catching the Inter-islander Ferry. The ferry crossing is one of the most beautiful in the world, and passes through the Cook Strait from the Marlborough Sounds towards Wellington.
The ferry gets to the capital at 9pm and the rest of the evening if up to you!
After breakfast, we begin our tour of Wellington. Perched on the edge of a spectacular harbour, encircled by green, towering hills, Wellington is a stunning and compact city. Vibrant, exciting and cultured, the nation´s capital combines the stimulation and sophistication of a big city with the quirkiness of a charming village. Extending just two kilometres in diameter, the capital is a truly ‘walking city´. As always your tour guide will introduce you to the city with an orientation tour including a drive around the bays, a visit to Weta Studios, up to the lookout point at Mount Victoria and then through central Wellington, up the cable car, through the Botanic Gardens and to the Parliament Buildings.
Wellington has a feast of cultural attractions and its crowning glory is Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand. Situated on Wellington´s magnificent waterfront, this internationally acclaimed museum combines leading edge technology with traditional exhibits to tell the stories of New Zealand´s land and people. The museum is free for all.
For those of you still seeking their adrenaline kick, during summer there is some great windsurfing here (Wellington is in fact named â€œWindy Wellington!), some great mountain bike tracks and â€œAdrenaline Forestâ€ an adventure high ropes course which is heaps of fun plus loads more activities. As per usual, your tour guide will advise of the best additional options available.
This evening will go out for dinner in the Courtney District, famous for funky cafÃ©´s and bars
In the morning your tour guide will give you a tour of Wellington city and the surrounding bays. This includes a trip to Weta Studios, where films like Lord of the Rings have been made. We also may visit the parliament buildings, cable car and Mount Victoria.
On the way to Taupo we drive along the Desert Road that divides the Rangipo Desert, an area with poor vegetation because of bad soil conditions and drying winds. The climate is harsh and in winter it is not unusual to see snow. However, the biggest attractions on this road are that of Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe, the volcano better known as Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. On the other side of the road is the lesser noticed Kaimanawa Range, home to a breed of wild horses that can be spotted on rare occasions.
We make a stop at Mokai Gravity Canyon, an extreme adventure park including the world´s most extreme flying fox and New Zealand´s second largest bungee. Tour members are welcome to do the bungee, flying fox or canyon swing and do not have pre-book.
By the evening we arrive at the hostel. With a whole day to explore Taupo tomorrow, feel free to relax at the hostel or experience some of the town´s best nightlife in the evening.
Lake Taupo was created a few thousand years ago in what was the largest volcanic eruption in 5,000 years. The eruption was so dramatic that records report the sun became hazy in places as far as China. What is left today is a fresh-water lake the size of Singapore and the largest in Australasia.
You can start off the morning with an epic skydive over the lake, and on a clear day you can see both the west and east coast of the North Island. Skydiving is the ultimate thrill and never fails to get great feedback from all those who do it!
Alternatively, go quad biking, play golf or bungee jump over New Zealand´s longest river, the mighty Waikato. In the afternoon we offer the option to take a cruise on a sailing boat to see Maori rock carvings alongside Lake Taupo at Mine Bay. Or you can find a secluded beach, indulge in boutique shopping, or enjoy a good feed at one of the many restaurants or cafes.
In the evening your guide will treat you to a soak in some naturally-heated thermal rock pools situated in a local park. It will keep you warm for hours!
It is an early start for white-water rafting and sledging on the Kaituna River, including the seven metre Tutua Falls! This activity is a definite highlight for many of our tour members, but if it doesn’t sound like your thing then your tour guide will show you around Rotorua, or you can visit one of the rather inexpensive geothermal hot spring baths in the area.
After lunch in town we may take a trip up the Rotorua gondola (cable car) to another stunning panoramic view and the chance to ride down on the luge (like go-karts with no engine) heaps of fun!
At Waitomo there is a distinctive limestone region where surface water and underground streams have dissolved the rock over tens of thousands of years, creating an amazing system of underground caves. As the small town is only two hours from Rotorua, we reach our accommodation by late afternoon.
Dinner is usually in Curly´s Bar, a very typical Kiwi pub (and about the only place you can eat in the village!).
You cannot visit Waitomo without experiencing its main attraction the glow-worm caves, which have attracted people for over 100 years. The moment you enter this subterranean wonderland you’ll discover an ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos, with its amazing stalactites and stalagmites – mother nature’s decorations.
There is a choice of various ways to journey underground through the caves and limestone chambers and passages our particular favourites are black-water rafting and a wicked four hour caving trip which starts with an awesome abseil!
If the caves really don´t appeal, then there is a choice of walks around the area before we set off at lunchtime for the Coromandel.
Volcanoes dominate much of the land around the Coromandel. Remnants of this volcanic activity can be found in the form of natural hot pools and one of the highlights of the region is Hot Water Beach, where around low tide you can dig in the sand and make your own hot tub! Conditions permitting, the surf can also be pretty good in this area.
Experience the gorgeous coastal scenery of the area with a walk along the cliff top to Cathedral Cove, a bay made famous by films such as The Chronicles of Narnia. Pure New Zealand!
Included in the tour whilst at Whitianga is the opportunity to carve your very own Kiwi pendant from bone a souvenir that many of our group members choose to give away as gifts to friends or family. This may happen this morning if there has been no chance on day 14.
We leave for Auckland in the afternoon.
We end our tour in the country´s largest city Auckland. It is unsurprising that a quarter of the population reside here when you consider a region of stunning beaches, enchanted holiday islands, a sunny climate, and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping!
The metropolitan area of Auckland sits on the narrow sliver of land where the Northland peninsula tapers south to meet the rest of the North Island. Therefore the sea is ever present, and it isn’t difficult to guess the origin of its nickname ´City of Sails´!
This morning we set off for an orientation tour to let you get acquainted with all that the city has to offer. Alternatively, this morning you can go shark diving, canyoning in Piha or climb Auckland´s iconic Sky Tower – with the added option of jumping off! If you are not taking part in any activities you can escape the city with your guide and admire the beautiful surroundings with a walk at Piha on the west coast.
After a stop for lunch, you can choose to sail an America´s Cup yacht, climb or bungee jump off Auckland´s Harbour Bridge, take advantage of the city´s shopping, or relax along the Viaduct quayside with a drink in one of the bars.
The tour ends this afternoon around 4-5pm.
Accommodation on the tour is shared dorms in select hostels. You can upgrade to single person supplement, or shared rooms for couples please ask us.
A Rough Idea of Price
All of our gap year holidays are completely customised to your needs and prices will therefore vary based on things like the time of year and level of accommodation; but we want to give you as good an idea of how much this itinerary will cost.
16 Days - April - October travel
16 Days - Untill 31 Oct 2017