We recommend arriving the day before your trip starts, as we set off early on day 1 of the tour. This night is not included but can be added on at an additional fee.
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: 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.
PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary can be done in reverse too.
Amplified 16 Day New Zealand Tour Photos
This morning we’ll explore iconic downtown Christchurch and your guide will show you the cool and creative ways the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here.
Christchurch folk are an innovative and creative bunch – the Transitional Cathedral, created
from cardboard, is totally inspirational.
After lunch we leave the city behind and head for Lake Tekapo. The lake’s breathtaking
turquoise colour and mountain backdrop is a photographer’s dream come true. The tiny
Church of the Good Shepherd stands right at the water’s edge, proving that small is definitely beautiful.
Grab some confetti and congratulate any passing brides – couples travel from all over the
world for wedding shots in front of the chapel!
Tekapo has been declared an International Dark Sky Reserve and the super clear skies
make it the best place in New Zealand to see the stars and galaxies on a clear night. Sit
back, relax and enjoy.
This morning if you’re feeling energetic, hike up to the summit of Mt John. With awesome views of the Southern Alps, you’ll feel on top of the world. Speaking of views, today’s scenic drive to Queenstown is a show-stopper.
From the golden tussocklands of Mackenzie country – where epic battles of Return of the King were filmed – to the dramatic peaks of the Southern Alps, it’s like you’re driving into a postcard.
We’ll pause for lots of photo stops en route to give your camera a workout, including a stop
at the spectacular Kawarau Gorge. This also happens to be the World Home of Bungy, give it a go or enjoy watching the jumpers scream their way through the gorge!
Whether you’re an adrenalin junkie, an avid hiker, wine taster or scenery lover, Queenstown
has something for absolutely everyone. With two nights and plenty of daylight hours here,
get ready – this town certainly knows how to live life to the max!
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 an 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 Kaikōura.
Rugged snowcapped mountains drop right down to the beach in Kaikōura, making it an incredible backdrop to experience the famous sea life in the area.
There’s something for every traveler in Kaikōura: go giant whale watching, take a surf
lesson, go fishing, kayak, play mini-golf or swim with hundreds of friendly and curious wild
dolphins in the bright blue water; how often do you get to swim with dolphins in the wild?
Be sure to have your camera ready for a visit to the fur seal colonies (there may even be even baby seals!) and for all of the great sea life you’re going to spot.
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!
In the morning your tour guide will give you a tour of Wellington city and the surrounding bays. This can include a trip to Weta Workshop, 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 Taupō 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 Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount 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 arrive at the accommodation by evening. With a whole day to explore Taupō tomorrow, feel free to relax at the hostel or go out to experience some of the town’s best nightlife!
Lake Taupō is actually a giant volcanic crater created 70,000 years ago in one of the biggest
eruptions in history. Nowadays, it’s one of NZ’s best spots for a holiday escape. And being
New Zealand, there are plenty of adventure sports to be found there too!
If you’re looking for a thrill, we suggest skydiving over the lake or bungy jumping over New
Zealand’s longest river (and, for the really brave, getting dunked in). There are heaps of other activities on offer such as quad biking, cruising the lake to see Māori rock carvings, hiking along the shores, mountain biking and even the chance to soak in some of the local geothermal pools.
New Zealand’s most famous day hike is also in the area. The 19.4 km Tongariro Crossing is an alpine crossing around Tongariro, one of the country’s most famous and most beautiful volcanoes. It’s a serious leg workout, but but it’s worth every minute for the incredible views and landscape. Turquoise and green lakes greet you at the top, along with vistas that stretch all the way to the coast.
After our morning in Taupō we head to Kohutapu Lodge in Murupara – a living Māori village –
where you will be taken on a tribal tour by a village elder. Here you’ll also have a chance to learn the world-famous haka dance, and weave your own dinner plate using flax (a type of plant).
Tonight’s dinner is a traditional hāngi meal. Cooked in an underground earth oven you can
expect tender meat and delicious vegetables infused with a smoky, earthy fragrance – it will fill your puku (belly) right up! The best part about spending the evening at Kohutapu Lodge? The majority of proceeds from this activity go back to the local community.
While the majority of the North Island is volcanic in some way, Rotorua is exceptional for its
geothermal activity. With neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers, active volcanoes and
geysers galore, there are more unique natural wonders to be found in Rotorua than many
other places in the world.
On the way to Rotorua, we stop at what really makes the town famous, along with giving it its
unique smell: one of several extraordinary geyserlands and thermal parks.
There’s heaps of time to get amongst Rotorua’s diverse attractions while you're here. We’ll get you started with an orientation tour, including a stroll through the flower- filled
Government Gardens by the lakefront.
Lord of the Rings fans, channel your inner hobbit with an optional visit to picturesque Hobbiton – have a ginger beer at the Green Dragon pub for us!
If adrenalin’s your thing, the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world, on the Kaituna River, is begging to be conquered on an exhilarating rafting trip. Or let your guide coax you into thundering down grassy hills in a giant air-cushioned inflatable ball (or OGO) – you wont regret it!
We’ll start our day with a visit to Te Puia – a well-known Maori culture centre. At Te Puia you can explore Whakarewarewa geothermal valley, visit New Zealand’s native kiwi birds, and learn about Maori history & culture.
Waitomo 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.
Have you been caving in a place with twinkling glowworms on the ceiling? Now’s your chance!
Daredevils can abseil 100 metres into the caverns on an epic 4-hour caving adventure. Or float along on an underground river on an optional Cave Tubing trip as the glowworms light your way. There are also excellent guided walking tours of the caves available if heights or wet feet aren’t your thing.
It’s no secret that many blockbuster hits have been filmed in New Zealand due to our
incredible landscapes. Around lunchtime, we head of to the Coromandel to discover them
We’ll walk together out along the cliffs down to Cathedral Cove (which you might recognise
from the Chronicles of Narnia films). Beautiful in its own right, with perfect beaches and massive rock arches and columns it’s one of the most popular spots in the Coromandel and for good reason!
Beautiful remote beaches, dense wooded forest and clear blue waters make the
Coromandel one of New Zealand’s favourite getaways. At low tide, we’ll make our way out to the world-famous Hot Water Beach.
When the tide’s out, you can dig a hole in the sand where natural hot springs bubble up to create your own personal hot tub!
Finally, we head to Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city. Auckland sits on the narrow sliver of land where the Northland peninsula tapers south to meet the rest of the North Island. So the sea is always nearby, and it isn’t difficult to guess the origin of its nickname ‘City of Sails’.
We arrive around 5pm, where we’ll say our final farewells before a final night of accommodation – you don’t want to pass up the chance to sleep in! Or if you have a few spare days, why not hop on our three day Bay of Islands tour?
Your tour ends after breakfast on Day 17. We’re sure you’ll have a whole lot of incredible memories to take home with you.
We’ve shown you our New Zealand – we hope we will see you again.
Haere tū atu, hoki tū mai.
PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary can be done in reverse too
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.
- Accommodation in adventure lodges, hostels & motels
- Continental breakfast every day
- Transportation (tour bus / van & inter-island ferry)
- Experienced & enthusiastic tour guides
- An evening´s entertainment at a traditional Maori meeting ground and the chance to taste a Hangi and witness a haka performance
- Views of the Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers
- Gondola ride to the top of Queenstown
- Entrance to the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park Reserve
- Exploration of natural rainforests, hidden canyons & waterfalls
- The spectacular ´Tranz Alpine Crossing´ train journey between Greymouth and Christchurch
- Visit the Mokai Gravity Canyon an extreme adventure park
- 2 nights in Queenstown adventure capital of the world!
- Blockbuster views of Mount Doom from the ´Lord of the Rings´ movies
- Swimming in turquoise lakes, canyon pools and clear mountain rivers
- Heaps of unique adventures along the way!
- 24 hour emergency helpline
- Travel insurance
- Airport transfers
- Lunches, dinners and drinks
- Adrenaline Packs (see below)
- Upgrade your accommodation to double/twin with en-suite.
- Extra accommodation before or after your tour.
Frequently Asked Questions
All though this is a 16 day trip, we include accommodation in the package for you for the last night (day 16) of the tour. We get back to Auckland around 5:0 pm on Day 16, so a flight out late that night is fine,but we recommend flying out on Day 17.
All details will be sent in your pre departure pack
Tours that start in Auckland end in Christchurch CBD or Haka Lodge, depending on preference. Tours that start in Christchurch end in Auckland – at YHA International, 5 Turner St – but you can ask your guide to drop you elsewhere in the city.
There is no rule to this some people will choose lots, others will be content with the tour itself and the free or low cost activities that your tour guide will find for you along the road. For the 16 day tour we would suggest no more than one activity per location, with the exception of Rotorua, Taupo, Queenstown and Franz Josef – all places where two activities can be fitted in. Sometimes you can even fit three into Queenstown!
Everyone has their own favourites, but in general we find that these are the most popular:
- Skydiving – Taupo
- Nevis – Queenstown
- Canyoning – Auckland
- Black Water Rafting – Waitomo
- Rafting – Rotorua
- Dolphin Swim – Kaikoura
- Glacier Hike – Franz Josef
No. The tour inclusions are exactly the same and you get to see all the same places. We offer both options so that we do not have to relocate our vehicle after every tour.
Amplified 16 Day New Zealand Tour Trip Dates
2019 Start Dates
2 Dec to 17 Dec Auckland to Christchurch
9 Dec to 24 Dec Auckland to Christchurch
12 Dec to 27 Dec Auckland to Christchurch
16 Dec to 31 Dec Auckland to Christchurch
21 Dec to 5 Jan Auckland to Christchurch
23 Dec to 7 Jan Auckland to Christchurch
28 Dec to 12 Jan Auckland to Christchurch
30 Dec to 14 Jan Auckland to Christchurch
2020 Start Dates:
6 Jan to 22 Jan
11 Jan to 27 Jan
13 Jan to 29 Jan
17 Jan to 2 Feb
20 Jan to 5 Feb
27 Jan to 12 Feb
1 Feb to 17 Feb
03 Feb to 19 Feb
04 Feb to 20 Feb
06 Feb to 22 Feb
07 Feb to 23 Feb
10 Feb to 26 Feb
17 Feb to 04 March
22 Feb to 09 March
24 Feb to 11 March
27 Feb to 14 March
2 March to 18 March
9 March to 25 March
14 March to 30 March
16 March to 1 April
19 March to 4 April
20 March to 5 April
23 April to 8 April
10 March to 15 April
6 April to 22 April
If you want to start from Christchurch please contact us for dates.