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.
Experience all of New Zealand in a fully guided group. With so much on offer over the two islands, it pays to spend a little longer exploring the two. New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the adrenaline and adventure activities are not to be missed. With this tour you really can do it all.
Epic New Zealand 24 Days: Trip Highlights
- 24 days of accommodation and transport.
- Kiwi tour guide with expert local knowledge.
- Guided tour of every location we visit.
- Evening´s entertainment and dinner at a ´marae´.
- Entrance to Wai-O-Tapu thermal reserve.
- Visit to the adrenaline capital of the world: Queens Town.
- Overnight boat trip in Abel Tasman National Park.
Epic New Zealand 24 Days Photos
Kia ora! Nau mai, haere mai ki Aotearoa! Hello and welcome to New Zealand –The Land of
the Long White Cloud!
After our 8am welcome breakfast, we’ll kick off our tour with a leisurely scenic drive to the
subtropical “Winterless North”.
The Northland region is home to some seriously ancient and impressive kauri forests. We’ll
stroll through the largest of these – the Waipoua Forest – to meet Tane Mahuta, the hugest of them all. At over 1,250 years old and over 51 metres tall, he’s looking pretty good for his age.
We’ll also visit Hokianga Harbour, unique for its 150 metre high sand dunes. When the weather’s fine and the tides are on our side, you’ve got the option of sandboarding down into the beautiful water – it’s an unforgettable experience worth the cheap and cheerful price!
We reach the town of Paihia, the jewel of the Bay of Islands, in the early evening. As the sun sets, we’ll treat you all to a fish and chips feast overlooking the water. It doesn’t get more Kiwi than that!
With more than 140 sub-tropical islands dotted around the coastline, how will you spend
your day in the Bay?
Hitting the water is the best way to enjoy the coves and beaches of this corner of paradise,
and the options are endless. Cruise through a natural rock archway, explore the ocean floor
on a scuba mission, sail in search of the local dolphins (or even swim with them!), or snorkel
your way around beautiful islands. Check out our awesome add-ons for ideas or hit up your
guide for inspiration.
For an epic day out, take a road trip to Cape Reinga – the northernmost tip of New Zealand
– to see where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean collide. It’s an unforgettable sight.
Thrill-seekers – you’ll have the chance to fly high above the ocean on a parasailing adventure. Or hire a kayak, sail boat or stand-up paddleboard and check out the Bay of Islands from sea level.
Whatever you choose, you’ll have epic stories to swap with your travel buddies tonight as
the sun sets on an awesome day.
Today, discover the Bay of Islands’ important role in New Zealand’s history with a trip to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. We love bringing you here, it’s a truly unforgettable insight into Māori culture. The 35-metre carved waka (ceremonial war canoe), the world’s biggest, is a must-see.
After lunch we say goodbye to the Bay. We make time for a very special rest stop in Kawakawa to check out the grass-roofed, mosaic-covered, cobblestoned Hundertwasser Toilets. There’s even a living tree in there.
There are some beautiful waterfalls around the area, if you know where to look – and we certainly do! So we’ll stop off at one of them, depending on the weather and what your Guide’s favourite spot is.
We head back to Auckland via Northland’s east coast, which boasts stunning beaches and
coastal walks. Be sure to have your swimwear handy – if time permits, your Guide willtake you to some of their top locations!
After an epic day, we reach the bright lights of the City of Sails in the early evening.
Have you noticed that Auckland is pretty hilly? Those aren’t just hills, they are actually 48 volcanic cones! Before we leave town we will walk up one of the most famous ones – Maungawhau, also known as Mount Eden – for 360 degree views of both city and sea.
The Coromandel Peninsula is a paradise of beautiful beaches and misty rainforests. The drive here is epic – the road twists and turns dramatically round the coastline and the ocean gets clearer and more pristine before your eyes. Cameras ready – the views are magnificent!
The Coromandel is home to the famous Hot Water Beach – thousands visit each year to dig
their own personal hot tub. If the tide times allow, we’ll definitely grab our buckets and spades and get busy!
We arrive in Whitianga with plenty of time for your guide to show you around. Sample the sandy beaches, take a surf lesson with the locals, or simply enjoy the vibes.
This morning we’ll walk out together along the cliffs and down to Cathedral Cove (which you
might recognize from the Chronicles of Narnia). With perfect beaches and massive rock arches and columns, it’s one of the most popular spots in the Coromandel.
Alternatively, take an optional guided Cathedral Cove kayak trip and check out this stunning
coastline from a different angle, accompanied by a local dolphin or two if you’re lucky!
Later today we say goodbye to the east coast and hello to the west as we head for the tiny town of Waitomo. If you can’t wait until tomorrow to meet the resident glow worms, tonight’s optional cave- walking tour is a must. Or kick back with a beer and admire the stars – they put on a great show here when the skies are clear.
Have you been caving in a place with twinkling glow worms 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 glow worms light your way. There are also excellent guided walking tours of the caves available if heights or wet feet aren’t your thing.
Later this afternoon we head to Rotorua (or Rotovegas as it is locally known). 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.
Here you will visit 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.
There’s heaps of time to get amongst Rotorua’s diverse attractions while you're here.
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 won't
regret it! Later this afternoon 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.
It’s only a short drive to our next destination, Taupō, and there’s plenty to discover along the
way. From mesmerising mud pools to the thundering rapids of the Huka Falls and Aratiatia Dam, your trusty Haka Guide will make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Taupō is a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. Lake Taupō is New
Zealand’s largest lake – believe it or not, it’s roughly the same size as Singapore!
This place is all about the thrills and spills, and there are plenty of options in store this afternoon. Get your hair wet with a water touch bungy jump, take an unforgettable skydive or a sunset lake cruise for amazing lake and mountain views.
Psst – bring your swimwear today, one of our favourite secret stops is on the cards!
A full day in Taupō… are you in the mood for peaceful lakeside tranquillity or unlimited adrenalin and adventure? Either way, Taupō’s got you covered. For many, the ultimate adventure on offer here is the hiking (or tramping, as we Kiwis know it). The Tongariro Crossing is among the top 10 full-day walks in the world. This 19.4-kilometre
mountain trek boasts emerald green lakes, venting steam, lava flows and craters. You’ll come back grinning from ear to ear before falling into bed and sleeping like a baby.
If you’d prefer to relax, jump on a boat for a sailing trip to view Māori rock carvings. Or head to Spa Park and soak until your fingers are wrinkly. However you choose to spend today we guarantee you won’t forget it.
It’s a big drive from Taupō to Wellington, but there’s some unmissable scenery on offer. Lord
of the Rings junkies, you’re in for a treat!
Our journey takes us through Tongariro National Park via the Rangipo Desert (bet you didn’t know New Zealand had one of those!). Some of your favourite Lord of the Rings battle scenes were filmed right here.
The Desert Road boasts incredible views of three active volcanic peaks – Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu. You may know Mount Ngauruhoe as Mount Doom, so be sure to snap a Mordor selfie!
We pass through two of the North Island’s quirkier towns – as ever, your Haka Guide has a couple of surprises up their sleeve…
We pull into Wellington in the afternoon, with just enough time for film buffs make a trip to Weta Workshop, where the special effects of Lord of the Rings and Avatar were produced.
New Zealand’s capital is famous for its bars and eateries, and is a paradise for lovers of craft
beer – you’ll be spoilt for choice tonight!
Packed with quirky cafes and beautiful street art, and famous for its wind, Wellington will
blow you away in more ways than one! Your guide will introduce you to some of our favourite spots this morning. We take a trip up Mount Victoria for the best views in town.
This afternoon we say farewell to the North Island with a scenic ferry journey across the Cook Strait. The South Island has a stunning welcome in store for us – gliding through the Marlborough Sounds as we approach Picton Harbour, you’ll feel like you’re in another world.
Our next destination, Kaikōura literally means “to eat crayfish”, and the area is teeming with them. The nutrient-rich waters of this area attract a wide variety of marine wildlife including the stars of the show – the whales and dolphins.
The chance to swim with dolphins in the wild is a massive New Zealand highlight for many
travellers, and Kaikōura is one of the best places to find them, with pods of up to 300 of these playful creatures hanging out here at any one time.
If you want to get up close to the giants of the ocean, a whale watching tour here is the way
to do it. Humpbacks, sperm whales and orca all stop by at various times of year, so this is a great chance to meet some of them.
After visiting the local seals on our way out of town, our road trip continues to our home for the night – Christchurch, known as the “Garden City” for its peaceful parklands and lazy rivers.
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. Sitvback, relax and enjoy.
Please note: Private accommodation upgrades are not available for this night of the tour due to the limited availability of accommodation in the area. In special circumstances other
arrangements may be possible – please contact [email protected] for more information.
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!
With a full day in Queenstown, let’s work on that bucket list! There are heaps of options to
choose from: paragliding over the lake, mountain bike parks and trails to die for, bungy jumping while your Haka friends cheer you on, horse riding through Lord of the Rings scenery, and swinging through a canyon are just a few of our favourites.
Hikers: the Ben Lomond day walk (not for the faint- hearted) will be right up your alley. This is a firm tour guide favourite, and they can recommend great shorter walks too.
For scenery lovers, Milford Sound is a must-see. Whether you fly or drive, the scenery en route is as awesome as the destination. Once on the Sound, sailing beneath thundering waterfalls and towering cliff faces, you’ll understand why some call it the “8th Wonder of the World”
Tonight you have around 40 bars to choose from – your guide will fill you in on their favourites – to share your adventures with your travel buddies, and party the night away.
After the excitement of Queenstown, today is a chance to chill. Wanaka is Queenstown’s
slightly quieter little sister, a mere one hour drive away. On the way we’ll stop in at charming Arrowtown, a historic gold rush village with heaps of old world character.
Blessed with towering peaks and a glacial blue lake, you’ll soon see why Wanaka’s considered to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful mountain towns. There are stunning hikes and bike rides all around for a welcome chance to chill. One of the best ways to admire Wanaka is from the air. Treat yourself to a skydive or a
scenic flight in a vintage plane – you can even take a flying lesson, or if you prefer to keep your feet closer to the ground, stroll or bike around the lake and check out the famous Wanaka Tree, standing all alone in the water. As always, it’s your trip and your choice: you
After a relaxing morning in Wanaka, the journey to Franz is another stunner – many of our
Haka Guides rate it as their favourite drive in New Zealand.
As we hit the road, we’ll stop at one of our favourite lakeside lookout points at Lake Hawea or Lake Wanaka. Your guide will keep an eye on the weather and pick the best option.
From the cascading waterfalls of Haast Pass to classic Kiwi coastal views, you won’t want to nap on the bus in case you miss anything. Your guide will have some epic surprise photo stops and short walks along the way.
Between September and December it’s whitebait season (a small fish that’s a delicacy in New Zealand). Fried up with eggs and served on toast, it’s a local treat and shouldn’t be missed. We’ll stop at one of the local spots for a taste during the season.
We roll into Franz Josef around late afternoon/early evening. This UNESCO World Heritage area is famous for its spectacular glacier, just 5 kilometres from town, which is begging to be explored tomorrow.
With Aoraki/Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain) twinkling behind the glaciers,
Franz Josef is about as beautiful a setting as you can find in New Zealand.
Te Wahi Pounamu (which means ‘the place of greenstone’ in Māori) is the name given to the this part of the West Coast because of the abundance of pounamu/ greenstone/jade) to be found here. Included in your tour today is a special opportunity to carve your very own pounamu pendant at a local gallery.
There are heaps of ways to enjoy Franz Josef Glacier; weather permitting, to get up onto the
bluest ice you can take a scenic helicopter flight and hike onto the glaciers. Maybe you’d prefer to kayak on a glacial lake; or just relax in the steamy hot springs down below.
As well as the awesome glacier activities you could also try out quad biking, horseback riding and even a bit of group karaoke tonight in Franz Josef!
Driving along the incredible coastal road and exploring the lush forests around Punakaiki, it
almost feels like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s a rare treat to experience such remote prehistoric landscapes, so make the most of this awesome opportunity to unplug from the outside world.
Get excited; our trusty guides always have some surprises up their sleeves for this part of
the trip, including a spot or two to get your feet wet. We’ll visit one of the famous artisan greenstone factories in Hokitika as we make our way north, as well as passing through some old gold mining towns before arriving in Punakaiki.
One of Punakaiki’s many natural wonders is the subtropical rain-forest – and we are staying
in the heart of it for the next two nights!
Cook up a group dinner in this rainforest paradise, and be sure to end the day watching the sun set over the ocean tonight.
Whether you decide to soak up the sun on the unspoiled beaches or stroll through the rain-forest to a chorus of birdsong, you’ll shed your cares in this magical place.
A short walk to see a giant stack of pancakes is a must-do today: Punakaiki’s limestone Pancake Rocks developed over 30 million years ago. You’ll see what water pressure can do when the waves power through some seriously impressive blowholes – watch out for that spray!
Today you could try your hand at kayaking or exploring the region’s underground caves by tube. There are also opportunities for horseback riding in Paparoa National Park. Or simply chill by the beach near your rain-forest home.
On a clear night, head to the beach with your buddies and watch the stars come out to play
– seriously, is there a better way to end the day?
Cruising up north from Punakaiki, the scenery gets better and better. The powerful, untouched coastline gives way to rivers and gorges before we drive over the hills and down towards the bayside town of Nelson, to stock up on supplies before our next remote
Marahau, the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, boasts golden beaches, tranquil lagoons and crystal clear waters. Abel Tasman is the perfect contrast to the wildness of the rain-forests and mountains.
Why will you fall in love with Abel Tasman? Lush forests, sandy beaches, sheltered bays, and jaw-dropping views… not to mention the resident wildlife. Get ready to lose your heart to the most popular National Park in New Zealand.
Abel Tasman… you beauty. Lush forests, golden sandy beaches, sheltered bays, and jaw-
dropping views… not to mention the local seals, dolphins and bird life..
You might like to hike part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track – one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks – or paddle a kayak to Split Apple Rock. You could jump, slide, abseil, float and zipline your way through the park on an awesome canyoning adventure.
Fancy a relaxing day instead? Choose yourself a golden beach and make yourself at home.
In the warmer months we’ll stay another night at the edge of the national park. In winter we’ll
drive a little further and stay in quirky Nelson with its cosy pubs, cool craft beers and artsy vibes.
Today you’ll start things off by learning to paddle a traditional waka (a Māori war canoe).
Experience a karakia (blessing for protection), and learn tikanga (waka etiquette) all while getting out on the water to enjoy this unique included activity. Our road trip continues along the northern edge of the South Island this afternoon. We’ll stop for tasting at a local winery, and there’s a chance to taste some famous New Zealand
mussels in Havelock as we wind our way towards Picton to catch the evening ferry to Wellington.
As the lights of Picton Harbour fade into the night, relax on board together for a chilled evening.
The tour has come to an end, it’s time to say goodbye to your new roadtrip mates and prepare to part ways.
If your plan is to stay in Wellington there is still plenty to see and do. Perhaps a self-guided tour of Te Papa Museum, or visit the famous Weta Workshop where a lot of Lord of the Rings props were designed.
For those heading back to Auckland we highly recommend the Northern Explorer train where
you’ll get to experience the extremes of New Zealand’s scenery, from the fertile farmlands of Waikato to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the sparkling Kapiti coast.
The journey covers 680km of New Zealand’s finest scenery as it travels between Auckland and Wellington. The train has three scheduled departures a week leaving early morning and arriving in Auckland in the early evening.
Alternatively, for those who just can’t get enough of their Haka Tour Manager, you’re welcome to hitch a ride back to Auckland in the Haka Tour Bus.
Your tour ends after breakfast on Day 25.
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.
Accommodation on the tour is shared dorms in selected hostels.
You may be lucky to stay at some of our favourite accommodation places whilst on tour! These include Aquapackers – an ex navy marine boat in Abel Tasman, Te Nikau Retreat – cosy cottages set in the lush west coast rainforest, Dusky Lodge – complete with swimming pool and hot tub, and our very own Haka Lodge.
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.
24 Days -Book Now
- Accommodation (max 6 share, upgrades available)
- Kiwi tour guide with expert local knowledge
- Guided tour of every location we visit
- Carve your own traditional ´tiki´ pendant
- Evening´s entertainment and dinner at a ´marae´
- Entrance to Wai-O-Tapu thermal reserve
- Gondola ride in Queenstown
- Overnight boat trip in Abel Tasman National Park
- Airport Transfers
- Lunch and Dinner
Frequently Asked Questions
All though this is a 24 day trip, we include accommodation in the package for you for the last night (day 24) of the tour. On day 24 you have the option to transfer back to Auckland or stay in Wellington. You can fly out from either and recommend flying out on day 25.
Think more “road trip with your mates” than “tiring coach ride with 30 strangers”. Our New Zealand tours are made up of like-minded travellers from all corners of the world. Having an average size of 8-12 (max 16) allows us to make your tour personal, flexible and unforgettable. Over 70% of our tour members are solo travellers and it’s a great way of making new friends.
No vaccinations are required for visiting New Zealand.
Other than any activities you are thinking of doing, you will need to take into consideration lunch and dinner. We appreciate food budgeting is quite a personal thing and varies between individuals but we suggest $20-80 NZD per day. There is also the occasional low cost sightseeing activity that you might wish to partake in. We have no local tour payments… although if you think your guide has done a good job we don’t discourage tipping!
You have the choice of eating out or cooking for yourself. Every place we stay at has full kitchen facilities and your tour guide is more than happy to make stops at the supermarket if needed.
Epic New Zealand 24 Days Trip Dates
Start time: 8am
Finish time: approx 7pm
Start Dates 2018
21 Sep to 14 Oct Auckland Auckland
5 Oct to 28 Oct Auckland Auckland
12 Oct to 4 Nov Auckland Auckland
19 Oct to 11 Nov Auckland Auckland
26 Oct to 18 Nov Auckland Auckland
2 Nov to 25 Nov Auckland Auckland
9 Nov to 2 Dec Auckland Auckland
16 Nov to 9 Dec Auckland Auckland
23 Nov to 16 Dec Auckland Auckland
30 Nov to 23 Dec Auckland Auckland
7 Dec to 30 Dec Auckland Auckland
14 Dec to 6 Jan Auckland Auckland
21 Dec to 13 Jan Auckland Auckland
28 Dec to 20 Jan Auckland Auckland
Start Dates 2019
5 Apr to 28 Apr Auckland to Auckland
12 Apr to 5 May Auckland to Auckland
19 Apr to 12 May Auckland to Auckland
10 May to 2 Jun Auckland to Auckland
31 May to 23 Jun Auckland to Auckland
21 Jun to 14 Jul Auckland to Auckland
12 Jul to 4 Aug Auckland to Auckland
2 Aug to 25 Aug Auckland to Auckland
23 Aug to 15 Sep Auckland to Auckland
13 Sep to 6 Oct Auckland to Auckland
4 Oct to 27 Oct Auckland to Auckland
11 Oct to 3 Nov Auckland to Auckland
18 Oct to 10 Nov Auckland to Auckland
25 Oct to 17 Nov Auckland to Auckland
1 Nov to 24 Nov Auckland to Auckland
4 Nov to 27 Nov Auckland to Auckland
8 Nov to 1 Dec Auckland to Auckland
15 Nov to 8 Dec Auckland to Auckland
22 Nov to 15 Dec Auckland to Auckland
25 Nov to 18 Dec Auckland to Auckland
29 Nov to 22 Dec Auckland to Auckland
6 Dec to 29 Dec Auckland to Auckland
13 Dec to 5 Jan Auckland to Auckland
20 Dec to 12 Jan Auckland to Auckland
27 Dec to 19 Jan Auckland to Auckland