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Intrepid Travel

17 Day Intrepid Premium New Zealand Encompassed

Dramatic peaks, glittering glaciers and geothermal wonders await on a 17-day Premium adventure through New Zealand’s north and south islands. With a passionate local leader to guide the way, you’ll experience a landscape that has been shaped by the elements over thousands of years. Taste wine at picturesque cellar doors, set out in search of kiwis, explore the mythical world of Hobbiton and explore the volcanic landscapes of Tongariro. From the pure spectacle of Milford Sound to the simmering geysers of Rotorua, this adventure is sure to blow you away.

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Tour summary and feature

Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Small Group Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$14,215 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Queenstown

17 days/16 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 111 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes
Ahua Gallery and Kiwi Conservation Centre
Gibbston Valley Cheese & Wine Pairing
Guided Walk to the Blue Pools with a Local Ornithologist
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Milford Sound Overnight Boat Cruise
Monteiths Brewing Co. Tasting
Pounamu (Greenstone) Studio Visit
Return Ferry to Waiheke Island
Sky Waka Gondola Ride to Summit of Mt Ruapehu
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
Wellington Harbour Evening Cruise
West Coast Treetops Walkway
16 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
View over Auckland city

Welcome to the North Island! Your adventure begins in Auckland, New Zealand’s most populated city, fringed with beaches, harbours, volcanoes and farmland. You’ll be collected from the airport and transferred to your hotel. A welcome meeting will take place here at 6pm, where you’ll meet your local leader and the other travellers joining you on this adventure. If you arrive in Auckland with time to spare, you may like to uncover the story of New Zealand rugby during an interactive All Blacks experience where you’ll learn about the heritage of the sport and find out what it takes to wear the famous black jersey. After your meeting, get to know your group over dinner at an atmospheric local bistro in the heart of the city, championing New Zealand producers.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. The arrival transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 14 days prior to travel, as we may not be able to confirm a request made within 14 days of travel.

Activities:

  • Auckland - Welcome Dinner
  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer

Staying in:

  • M Social or similar (1 night)

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Long shadows on a Waiheke beach in the setting sun

Leave the bustle of the big city behind and head offshore to Waiheke Island, famed for its sandy beaches and glorious wine. Board a ferry from Auckland – if you’re really lucky you may even see dolphins or orcas along the way. The day will be spent sipping your way around the island, stopping off at three unique wineries to learn about their production methods, and of course tasting the goods yourself. You’ll also enjoy an included lunch on the island, not to mention a few scenic drives with plenty of opportunities for beautiful photos. Return to Auckland in the late afternoon with an evening free for your own discoveries of the city.

Activities:

  • Waiheke Island - Day Trip by Ferry
  • Waiheke Island - Winery Visits with Wine Tasting & Lunch

Staying in:

  • M Social or similar (1 night)

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Glowworms above the boat in the Waitomo Caves

After breakfast this morning, hit the road and drive to the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, an extensive underground network of tunnels and caverns decorated with stalactites, stalagmites and luminous glow worms. Join a local expert for an in-depth tour of the Ruakuri Cave, descending a spiral entrance to a magical world below. Discover fascinating limestone formations, hear the roar of subterranean waterfalls and learn about the glow worms that light up the caves. Continue to Hobbiton, where the epic Lord of the Rings movies were shot. Take a tour around the set with a local guide, hear stories about the production of these iconic films, explore Hobbit holes and enjoy a drink at the mythical Green Dragon Inn. Finally, travel to Rotorua, where you will spend the evening.

Activities:

  • Hobbiton - Visit to the Lord of the Rings Movie Set
  • Hobbiton - Drink at the Green Dragon
  • Waitomo - Ruakuri Glow Worm Cave Visit

Staying in:

  • Regent of Rotorua (or similar) (1 night)

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Rotorua Town Hall

Wake up in Rotorua to the unmistakable scent of sulphur coming off the town’s many geothermal pools. After breakfast, pay a visit to Te Puia, over 70 hectares of land within the Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, dotted with hot springs, mud pools and geysers. A local expert will take you on a walk to learn about these geothermal wonders, including Pohutu, the largest geyser in the southern hemisphere. Next experience the Kiwi Conservation Centre where you’ll have the chance to observe the beloved nocturnal bird in a darkened enclosure and learn about the sanctuary’s efforts to protect them. Swing by the Ahua Gallery and watch culturally significant Maori carving and weaving demonstrations. Lunch is a treat today - a traditional hangi feast cooked beneath the earth in traditional style. In the evening, perhaps consider an optional tour of the geysers by night.

You will be accompanied by a local guide today, while your trip leader has a rest day as per NZ legal requirements. Your trip leader will ensure you're ready to enjoy your time in Rotorua, before taking a 24 hour break. They will of course be available in case of emergencies.

Activities:

  • Rotorua - Visit to Te Puia Geothermal Area with Local Guide & Hangi Lunch
  • Rotorua - Ahua Gallery & Kiwi Conservation Centre

Staying in:

  • Regent of Rotorua (or similar) (1 night)

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Still Lake Taupo

Say goodbye to Rotorua and drive on to Taupo, sitting on the shores of Lake Taupo – the largest lake in New Zealand. On the way, visit Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland, where you will walk through thousands of years of geothermal history and volcanic features, including New Zealand's largest mud pool and bubbling basins bursting with vibrant colors. The rest of the day is yours to discover all that this picturesque part of the country has to offer. One of the best ways to enjoy the lake is to get on its waters – speak to your leader to find out about the sustainable sailing and cruising options available to you this afternoon. You may like to try your hand at fishing, or perhaps take a flight over the spectacular Tongariro National Park.

Activities:

  • Rotorua - Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland

Staying in:

  • Millenium Taupo or similar (1 night)

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Glacial Pools at the top of the Tongariro Crossing

Today will be spent uncovering the natural wonders of Tongariro National Park, as spiritually significant as it is spectacular. Your leader will guide you on a scenic two-hour walk to the Taranaki Falls, an impressive 20-metre cascade tumbling over volcanic cliffs. Later in the day, head to your Feature Stay accommodation at the Powderhorn Chateau and settle in. The chateau provides a stunning base for the evening, surrounded by the soaring peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro – the views are simply unbeatable.

Activities:

  • Tongariro National Park - Taranaki Falls

Staying in:

  • Powderhorn Chateau or similar (1 night)

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Wellington Cable Car

This morning, make tracks for Wellington, New Zealand’s trendy capital city. After settling in, hop aboard a private catamaran and get to know the city on an evening cruise around Wellington Harbour. Return to land after an hour and join your group for dinner at a fantastic waterfront restaurant – the perfect chance to reminisce about your North Island adventure.

Activities:

  • Wellington - Evening Cruise on Wellington Harbour

Staying in:

  • QT Wellington or similar (1 night)

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InterIslander cruising the Cook Strait

This morning, check out of your hotel after breakfast and head to the South Island. You'll take a 1 hour flight to Christchurch. Characterised by snow-capped peaks, giant glaciers and shimmering lakes, there’s no denying that the South Island is one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Once in Christchurch, settle into your accommodation. A meeting will take place in the evening at 6pm to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next leg of your adventure, followed by dinner at a local restaurant which encapsulates the culinary culture of the region. Learn about the ethos behind this unique dining spot and enjoy a delicious three course meal which celebrates local producers.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance and emergency contact details at this time. If you are going to be late, please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. A note will be placed in the hotel lobby for more information on where the welcome meeting will take place. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group will likely change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. We suggest you attend, as this is also a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers. It’s important that you attend the welcome meeting as your new group leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Activities:

  • Christchurch - Welcome Dinner

Staying in:

  • The Fable Christchurch or similar (1 night)

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Pancake rocks at Punakaiki

Take a morning stroll with your leader around some of the landmarks of Christchurch. Next set off for Punakaiki, driving through Arthur’s Pass and Castle Hill – the spectacular mountain scenery may look familiar, as parts of The Chronicles of Narnia movie were filmed against this dramatic backdrop. After lunch in Moana, enjoy a short stop at Lake Brunner, the largest lake in the northwestern South Island of New Zealand. Spend the afternoon in Greymouth, stopping into a boutique studio to learn about the prized west coast jade known locally as Pounamu (Greenstone). Then continue to Monteith's Brewery, considered the original home of New Zealand craft brewing, for a tour and tasting. Arrive at Punakaiki Resort by late afternoon. Situated in Paparoa National Park, the resort is adjacent to the beautiful Punakaiki beach and the magnificent Pancake Rocks and Blowholes - the perfect spot to reflect and relax.

Total driving time today is around 5 hours.

Activities:

  • Greymouth - Monteith's Brewery Tour & Tasting
  • Greymouth - Pounamu (Greenstone) Studio Visit
  • Christchurch - Leader-led Orientation Walk
  • Lake Brunner - Nature Walk

Staying in:

  • Scenic Hotel Punakaiki (previously called Ocean View Retreat) or similar (1 night)

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Glacial lake near Franz Josef

After breakfast, explore the Punakaiki Rocks and Blowhole before the drive to Franz Josef. Along the way, stretch your legs at the charming west coast town of Hokitika, and enjoy an exhilarating treetop adventure on a walk through the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. In the afternoon, take a private ranger-guided tour of the West Coast Wildlife Centre, home of the official breeding programme for the world's rarest kiwi, the Rowi. Also keep an eye out for tuatara, a reptile endemic to New Zealand. Arrive at your Franz Josef accommodation by evening.

Total driving time today is around 4 hours.

Activities:

  • Hokitika - West Coast Treetops Walk
  • Franz Josef - West Coast Wildlife Centre Visit with Ranger
  • Punakaiki - Rocks & Blowhole Visit

Staying in:

  • Rainforest Retreat Deluxe Tree Hut or similar (1 night)

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Franz Josef Glacier Valley

Begin your day with a self-guided walk to see the icy wonderland created by the Franz Josef Glacier, one of the steepest glaciers in New Zealand. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you may like to join an optional heli-hiking tour and get even closer to this incredible glacier. Other optional activities include kayaking, a scenic cruise on Lake Mapourika or a soak in the hot tubs at Franz Josef.

Currently, some walking paths around the Franz Josef Glacier are currently closed due to recent heavy rains. Check in with your Trip Leader or Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre in Franz Joseph for the most up to date information.

Activities:

  • Franz Josef - Glacier View Walk

Staying in:

  • Rainforest Retreat Deluxe Tree Hut or similar (1 night)

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The Wanaka Tree

Depart Franz Josef for the picturesque resort town of Wanaka, the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, located in the Otago region. Stop along the way at Makorora and visit the Aspiring Biodiversity Trust, an organisation which strives to protect and restore indigenous biodiversity. After lunch, take a guided walk with a local ornithologist and ecologist to enjoy the vibrant hue of the aptly named Blue Pools that feed the Makarora River. Keep an eye out for endangered birds as you learn about how the Aspiring Biodiversity Trust is working to reduce predators and save some of New Zealand’s rarest species. Arrive in Wanaka by later afternoon, and settle in to your home for the next two nights - a homestead built on the site of a former sheep station. Located next to the resplendent Wanaka Station Park on the shores of Lake Wanaka, and a short stroll from Wanaka township, you'll be perfectly placed to enjoy all this charming town has to offer.

Total driving time today is around 4.5 hours.

Activities:

  • Makaroa - Aspiring Biodiversity Trust Lunch
  • Makaroa - Guided Flora and Fauna Walk with Local Ornithologist

Staying in:

  • Wanaka Homestead (Feature Stay) or similar (1 night)

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Lake Wanaka Foreshore

Enjoy a sleep in or perhaps start your day with a hike up Mt Iron for a view over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding peaks. Today's experience is one of the real highlight's of your trip. Central Otago is a region well known for food and wine, and today you will visit the spectacular Criffel Station for a chef-guided tasting and foraging tour, followed by a delicious lunch, washed down with some excellent Central Otago wines.

Activities:

  • Wanaka - Criffel Station Foraging & Lunch Experience with Local Chef

Staying in:

  • Wanaka Homestead (Feature Stay) or similar (1 night)

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Milford Sound reflective waters

Depart Wanaka for the drive to Te Anau. Along the way, take in a spectacular scenic drive across the Crown Range and by the shores of Lake Wakatipu. After lunch, continue on to your embarkation point for your Feature Stay, an overnight cruise surrounded by the spectacular beauty of Milford Sound, also known by its Te Reo (Maori) name Piopiotahi. Aboard your purpose-built vessel, enjoy a full length journey of the fjord out to the Tasman Sea, with the possibility to see wildlife such as seals, penguins and dolphins. You will also have access to a specialist guide with information on the fjord's history and natural environment. For those who are keen, kayaking and/or small boat tours allow a truly immersive experience of this special place. Finish your day with a delicious three-course dinner before settling down in your cosy cabin.

Total driving time today is around 5 hours + stops along the way. If you have booked a single supplement please be advised that tonight's accommodation aboard the cruise ship is a single supplement exception and you will be accommodated in twin share cabins.

Activities:

  • Milford Sound - Overnight Boat Cruise

Staying in:

  • Milford Sound Overnight Cruise (1 night)

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Queenstown Lakefront

After a leisurely onboard breakfast surrounded by some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery, you’ll disembark and travel to Queenstown with plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs along the way. After another stop in pretty Te Anau for lunch, you’ll arrive in plenty of time to check into your boutique hotel in Queenstown.

Total driving time today is around 3.5 hours.

Staying in:

  • Ramada Queenstown Central or similar (1 night)

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Queenstown Wharf

Today is the grand finale of your trip. In the morning, take an exhilarating jetboat ride on the Kimi Akau (Shotover River), deep into the spectacular Shotover Canyons. Speeding over water as shallow as 10cm, this is an amazing white water experience, operated by the Ngai Tahu, Maori people who have a centuries-old connection with this land. Continue on for a leader-led walk through historical Arrowtown, then enjoy a wine tasting at Gibbston Valley. Perhaps toast the end of your journey with a New Zealand-inspired gin & tonic or glass of Otago wine at a bar & restaurant with arguably the most spectacular views in all of Queenstown.

Total driving time is 1.5 hours.

Activities:

  • Queenstown - Shotover River Jetboat Experience
  • Gibbston Valley - Wine Cave Tour
  • Arrowtown - Leader-led walk
  • Queenstown - Farewell Aperitivo

Staying in:

  • Ramada Queenstown Central or similar (1 night)

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Skyline Queenstown

Your New Zealand adventure ends this morning after breakfast. As this trip spends very little time in Queenstown, we recommend you spend an extra day or two here if you want to experience all the town has to offer. Your booking agent will be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

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Mar 14, 2024
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