24 Day Absolute New Zealand Private Tour
This 24 day, private and fully guided vacation takes in all New Zealand has to offer. We’ll explore golden sand beaches, geothermal activity, geysers and learn about the local Maori and their customs in the North, before crossing over the Cook Strait and into the South Island. Once in the South Island we will be covering everything from glacier hikes to whale watching and from wine tasting to visiting what some call the Eighth Wonder of the World, Milford Sound. This jam-packed itinerary will have you taking part in iconic activities and indulging in local produce and specialities. This all while riding in the comfort of your own vehicle with a very knowledgeable, experienced Driver/Guide.
Day 1 Arrive into Auckland Airport
Welcome to Aotearoa, New Zealand! You will be met at the airport by your Tour Driver/Guide and begin your New Zealand adventure. You will visit one of Auckland’s many extinct volcanoes for stunning views over Auckland, also known as the ‘City of Sails’. Other sights you’ll enjoy will be one of the city’s most popular beaches, historic cultural sites and the Auckland Harbour. This evening you will also visit the Skytower, the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, taking in the 360 degree views over the city and beyond.
Day 2 Auckland Sights and Waiheke Island
After breakfast you will be taken down to the Auckland Maritime building where you will board the scenic ferry that will take you to Waiheke Island. Once off the ferry you will have the opportunity to join one of the many tours available or walk around the island at your own pace. Upon your return your Guide will be waiting to transfer you back to your accommodation.
Day 3 Auckland to Paihia
Today we will travel north out of Auckland, heading into the Northland region. We will be stopping at the Kauri Museum, showcasing the magnificent native tree to New Zealand, before travelling through the Kauri forest where you will get to meet Tane Mahuta (God of the Forest), a 2000 year old Kauri tree. From there we will continue through the golden sand beachside village of Hokianga and into Paihia, the popular town and busy centre of the Bay of Islands.
Day 4 Paihia Sights
Today you have the option of joining a day tour which will take you to Cape Reinga, the northern most tip of New Zealand and where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean collide. This experience will take you along the famous 90 Mile Beach and will stop for a Fish and Chip lunch – a Kiwi favourite! If the day trip is not your style you can jump onboard the Hole In The Rock Dolphin cruise. This half day trip takes you out into the Bay of Islands and past Cape Brett, the last point of land before the vast Pacific Ocean. Weather permitting you will pass through the natural mad Hole in the Rock and hopefully have dolphins follow you on your travels. As an optional stop, on your return to Paihia you are able hop off in the village of Russell, originally the capital of New Zealand, on your way back to explore and have lunch (not included) before returning to Paihia at your leisure by a short ferry ride.
Day 5 Paihia to Rotorua
We will have an early start this morning, leaving soon after breakfast and traveling south back through Auckland and into the Waikato farming region. After a lunch break we will arrive at the world famous Hobbiton movie set where you will join a group tour through the movie set and finish with a cooling drink at the Green Dragon pub. Once completed, we will make the journey over to Rotorua where we will have an arrival city sights tour before checking into our accommodation.
Day 6 Rotorua Sights
Once we have fuelled up on a tasty breakfast we will be ready for an action packed day. First stop you will be visiting the Agrodome, a working farm which you will join one of the farm tours as well as enjoy the informative Sheep Show. Next up is the 1.5 hour Railcruising experience. This motorised rail car takes you through the Mamaku forest and out into Dansey Scenic Reserve cruising along at 20km/hr covering the 10kilometres. Along the way you can listen to the audio tour and discover a unique piece of New Zealand railway history. At the end of the journey we will go back to your accommodation to freshen up and then off to our last experience for the day, Tamaki Maori Cultural Evening. Here you will be taken back in time and receive a tradition Maori Haka (Welcome), tour of the village and a buffet Maori feast called a Hangi, the traditional way in which food is cooked in an earth oven.
Day 7 Rotorua to Taupo
This morning we will travel a short way to Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland, where you will see up close the geothermal grounds the Rotorua region is famous for. While you’re here you will see bubbling mud pools, the Lady Knox Geyser, multi-coloured lakes and silica formations. Once you have had lunch we will continue to Taupo stopping at the thunderous Huka Falls before checking into our accommodation. In the late afternoon we join a scenic cruise on Lake Taupo where you will see the Maori Rock Carvings, completed in 1980, they tower 14metres above the deep lake.
Day 8 Taupo Sights
Today is a day of leisure. You may wish to take part in many of the adrenalin fuelled activities such as bungy jumping or skydiving, walk the world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, get a massage at the local hot spring spa or just enjoy the town. Your Guide will be able to help organise anything that takes your fancy.
Day 9 Taupo to Wellington
We will load up this morning after day of leisure and adventure ready for more of what NZ has to offer. After winding around the edge of Lake Taupo we will travel over the Desert road where our three most prominent mountains of the North Island stand, across the central plateau. Continuing south we will make our way into New Zealand’s Capital City, Wellington. We will take a city tour which will include Mount Victoria, Oriental Parade, Cuba Street, Lambton Quay and Courtney Place before ending the day at our accommodation.
Day 10 Wellington Sights
After breakfast you will have the opportunity to visit Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand, Parliament House and Buildings, Weta Workshops Cave and have some shopping time in the busy CBD. In the afternoon we will take part in the Zealandia Wildlife Tour hosted by one of their knowledgeable local guides, learning about New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna. Later that evening there are many restaurants and eateries for dinner to suit any cuisine desire.
Day 11 Wellington to Kaikoura
This morning we farewell the North Island and we take the Interisland Ferry from Wellington to Picton, located at the top of the South Island. This scenic voyage takes us through the Cook Straight and into the Marlborough Sounds. Once on land we travel through world renowned wine region of Marlborough before winding our way down the coastline into Kaikoura. Hopefully we will get up close to some of the local seals that call the shores their home.
Day 12 Kaikoura to Christchurch
We are back out onto the water this morning, this time it is on one of the local Whale Watch Encounter boats. These fascinating sea mammals are in their natural environment on the Kaikoura coast and you’ll be amazed being up close to them. After lunch we will travel to Christchurch where we will have a city tour including the 185 White Chairs Earthquake Memorial, The Cathedral, The new Cardboard Cathedral and Botanical Gardens.
Day 13 Christchurch Sights
This morning we will join a tour of the Antarctic Centre, this museum houses injured penguins as well as experiencing the weather forces of Antarctica. Afterwards your Guide will take you into town where you can enjoy the city at your pace. Check out the container mall or you may like to try Punting on the River
Day 14 Christchurch to Punakaiki
Today we will travel over the Southern Alps stopping at the Alpine Village of Arthurs Pass. There are some short bushwalks that you might be interested in or we can have our morning tea stop in the village. Keep an eye on your food though, there are some natives that are cheeky enough to try and steal it from your plate. Our Alpine Parrot, the Kea is an amazing bird and very cleaver. After making our way down to the West Coast we will travel north to Punakaiki, home to the natural Pancake Rocks and blow holes.
Day 15 Punakaiki to Franz Josef
After a peaceful nights sleep we will make out way south into a once booming gold mining town of Hokitika. This is home to local Greenstone artists where from stone they carve by hand pendants, earrings and Maori cultural necklaces, just to name a few. Continuing south we make our way into Franz Josef, where this afternoon you will be joining a Heli Hike Tour. This trip will see you taken to and from the ice by helicopter, spend two hours walking amongst the ice formations and led by a professional ice guide.
Day 16 Franz Josef to Wanaka
This morning we travel to Lake Matheson for a short walk to the Mirror Lake where on a still day you can see the reflection of our highest mountain, Mount Cook. We will also travel through the majestic Haast Pass and around into the Southern Lakes District. These deep blue lakes are amazing in colour as we arrive into Wanaka. We will also take the time to have some fun at Puzzling World, great to keep the mind active and have some fun in the maze.
Day 17 Wanaka to Queenstown
We are on the move again over the winding Crown Range and into the picturesque historic village of Arrowtown where we will stop for some shopping and lunch before we make the short trip into Queenstown. This busy lakeside town is bustling with people, activities, restaurants, shopping and much more. This afternoon you will be treated to the highly rated Shotover Jetboat ride. This trip was enjoyed by Prince William and Kate on their visit to New Zealand.
Day 18 Queenstown Sights
Today you are in for a treat; we are off to the Gibbston Valley for a Prestige Wine Tour with a two course lunch. Once we return to Queenstown we will take a ride in the Skyline Skyrides Gondola where you can enjoy awesome views over the city, Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Lake Wakatipu.
Day 19 Queenstown Sights
This morning and afternoon is at your leisure. There is plenty on offer and your Guide will be more than happy to help with any bookings or requirements you may have. This evening you will be onboard the oldest coal fired steamship operating in New Zealand. You will be cruising on Lake Wakatipu over to Walter Peak where you will enjoy a special evening meal.
Day 20 Queenstown to Milford Sound to Te Anau
Today is a day to sit back and take it all in. We will be travelling one of the finest alpine roads in the world. Fiordland National Park is a step back in time and is famous for its glacier carved fiords. Today we will join a scenic tour of Milford Sound, about 2 hours of stunning natural bush, wildlife and fiords. We will travel back to Te Anau and arrive late afternoon.
Day 21 Te Anau to Dunedin
After breakfast we make our way to Dunedin. We travel through the Country and Western Music Capital of New Zealand, Gore before getting to the second largest city in the South Island. This heavily Scottish influenced city has grand old buildings ready to explore and you may also choose to visit our only castle, Larnach Castle.
Day 22 Dunedin to Oamaru
Today you will take the Dunedin Heritage Railways journey to Middlemarch. This scenic journey will take you through countless tunnels and viaducts. Some carriages are open top and are a great viewing spot but the train will also slow and stop at points of interest on route. Your Guide will be waiting for you at Middlemarch Station where we will travel through to the old English settlement of Oamaru. This evening you will be treated to the Little Blue Penguin coming ashore after a day’s feeding. Local guides will provide commentary about these local treasures.
Day 23 Oamaru to Christchurch
Today is our last travel day together. We will make a couple of stops at famous Kiwi places and make our way into Christchurch by early afternoon. You will have some time for some last limit souvenir shopping before finding a great place for an evening meal.
Day 24 Christchurch Departure
Today your Guide will take you to Christchurch Airport for your departure flight. After an exciting and in-depth tour of New Zealand we hope you’ve loved New Zealand as much as we have loved showing it to you!
What is included in this tour?
23 Nights’ Accommodation (4 Star)
18 Breakfasts, cooked or continental
2 Special Dinners, one Traditional Maori Hangi and an evening farm meal.
Waiheke Island Fullers Return Ticket
Day trip to Cape Rianga OR Hole in The Rock Dolphin Cruise
Guided Tour of Hobbiton Movie Set
Agrodome Sheep Show and Farm Tour
Railcruising through the Mamaku forest
Maori Cultural Evening with Hangi meal
Scenic cruise on Lake Taupo to the Maori Rock Carvings
Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland Entry
Zealandia Ecosanctuary Entry
Interislander Ferry between Wellington and Picton
Kaikoura Whale Watching Ocean Cruise
International Antarctic Centre Entry
Franz Josef Heli Hike
Stuart and Jan Landsborough Puzzling World
Gibbston Valley Prestige Wine Tour with Two Course Lunch
Shot Over Jet Boat Ride
Milford Sound Scenic Cruise
Skyline Gondola Ride
Walter Peak Dinner Cruise
Taieri Gorge Scenic Railway Tour
Blue Penguin Evening with Premium Entry
Want to see more? Feel free to contact us and customise this itinerary to suit your needs! Add additional days, activities and more.
Want to upgrade to luxury travel and accommodation? Contact us for a quote to upgrade this trip to suit your tour needs.
Want to go budget? No worries! Contact us for a quote to change this trip to hostel accommodation without breakfasts.
All pricing is in New Zealand Dollars.
Airfares are not included.
Travel Insurance is not included.