The Ultimate New Zealand Adventure Tour

We love our client feedback - an honest and open report everytime! This trip represents that feedback as 21 days of the most exhilarating and rewarding activities to do while in New Zealand. Designed by active outdoor enthusiasts, The Ultimate New Zealand Self Drive Adventure Tour is the sort of trip that you'll tell your friends about for years to come.

Sailing Expedition, Diving or Snorkeling, Epic Caving, Tongariro Crossing, Overnight Kayaking, Glacier Heli-hiking, Canyoning, Hollyford Track.

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Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand

Welcome to Auckland!. Today is a day to relax from your flight as the next three weeks will provide some of the most pristine landscapes and thrilling experiences imaginable on the Ultimate New Zealand Self Drive Adventure. Auckland City is situated amongst a cluster of extinct volcanic cones, next to a large harbour that bustles with life, both on water and on land. The Auckland isthmus straddles a slim piece of land with coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean, and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea. 

After checking into your hotel,relax, take a stroll around our beautiful city, explore the highly acclaimed Waterfront Restaurant Quarter or choose one of the many activities available to give a more in depth understanding of Auckland and the surrounding area.

Some activities and sightseeing options available are:

Explore Waiheke Island Island Kayaking Adventure America’s Cup Sailing
Auckland's Sky Tower Relax on the Beach Rangitoto Island Cruise & Walk
West Coast Wine Tour Whale and Dolphin Safari Muriwai Surf Beach

Accommodation Auckland - 1 night

Bay of Islands Sailing Safari

An early start today, travel north to connect with your sailing adventure. Northland’s Bay of Islands is a sailing paradise. A 2 night, 3 day nature cruise aboard the comfortable Manawanui is the perfect way to explore the emerald islands and thriving marine life of this subtropical paradise. Drive to the Bay of Islands before boarding the cruise in Paihia and experiencing three magical days of kayaking, snorkeling, fishing and exploring. Enjoy the diversity of the Bay of Islands first-hand and learn about the area’s fascinating history. It’s the perfect start to your New Zealand holiday. At the completion of the trip travel 2 hrs to Tutukaka.

Day 2) Approximate Distance: 243 kms | 150 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 40 mins
Day 4) Approximate Distance: 86 kms | 53 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 35 mins

Accommodation Day 2 & 3 The Sailing Ship Manawanui

Diving or Snorkelling in the Poor Knights Marine Reserve

A magical underwater wonderland - Rated as one of the top diving sites in the world, the Poor Knights Marine Reserve is the jewel in the crown of New Zealand diving and snorkelling. A marine reserve since 1981, caves, tunnels and archways are home to an abundance of friendly, curious marine life – a day of diving or snorkelling here is exhilarating and unforgettable.

NB: If you don’t have diving certification this can be done as a “Try Dive” – Diving with a private instructor

Accommodation Tutukaka - 2 nightS

muriwai beach and Waitomo

No back-tracking as you head south via the Wild West Coast to Auckland.  These beaches are unique with black volcanic sand and raging surf surrounded by lush native forest and large sand dunes. Muriwai Beach is your lunch stop today, not only a great place for a surf but you can stop and get a close look at a large gannet colony or take time out and go for a spectacular horse ride along the beach. The beauty of the Ultimate New Zealand Self Drive Adventure is you do have the freedom to choose your pace and if you want, add in some extra adventure activities along the way.

To the south of Hamilton, the small and pleasant town of Waitomo is the focal point of the region’s subterranean wonders. The caves at Waitomo are one of New Zealand's most commanding wonders – a celebration of nature's work over the last one hundred thousand years. There are hundreds of miles of labyrinthine caves, glow-worms, under ground lakes, stalactites and stalagmites, and all manner of limestone crustaceans - a lost world waiting to be discovered. Above ground, the area around Waitomo is also popular for horse riding and bush walking.

Approximate Distance: 379 kms | 235 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 50 mins

Accommodation Waitomo - 2 nights

The Lost World Caving and Abseiling Epic Journey

Today you will take on the Lost World Epic  which includes the world’s longest commercial caving abseil (30 mins) followed by the most surreal lunch stop ever.  The Lost World Caving and Abseiling Epic Journey is an expertly-guided, full-on experience – you need to be fit and you are going to get very wet. This adventure is sure to be one of the highlights of your time here and certainly was a must when designing the Ultimate New Zealand Adventure Tour. 

Travel to National Park Via Mighty Lake Taupo

Today gives you the opportunity to re-charge your batteries before the Tongariro Crossing. Enjoy a sleep in and a hearty breakfast before driving to National Park .  There are plenty of short walks available to give you a taste of the terrain in New Zealand's oldest National Park with dual World Heritage status (recognising both the cultural & spiritual importance to Maori along with its outstanding volcanic setting).

Approximate Distance: 144 kms | 89 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 50 mins

Accommodation National Park - 2 nights

Walk the Tongariro Crossing

Fancy a Walk on the Moon? The Tongariro Crossing - New Zealand's Best Day Walk
Often referred to as one of the best day walks in the world, the Tongariro Crossing winds its way through the otherworldly landscapes of Tongariro National Park. This National Park was New Zealand’s first, and was created in 1887 when its three spectacular volcanoes – Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe – were gifted to the people of New Zealand by the Tuwharetoa tribes. Today, the park covers a total area of 78,651 ha and its unique environment makes it the perfect setting for a hiking adventure.

Travel to Geothermal Rotorua

Your drive from National Park to Rotorua skirts Lake Taupo - the result of a supervolanic eruption twenty six thousand years ago. Sitting squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland. Giant geysers rocket into the air and colourful sulphur terraces hiss and boil. Enjoy a day soaking up this magical place. There’s so much to see and do - experience the geothermal attractions up close, mountain bike on tracks that wind through giant stands of Redwoods, take a boat cruise on Lake Rotoiti or simply relax in the naturally heated mineral pools on the shores of Lake Rotorua.

Recommended excursions in and around Rotorua:

See Geysers & Boiling Mud Polynesian Hot Springs Whirinaki Forest Walk
Thermally Active Golf Biking the Mighty Forests Flight to Volcanic Island
Museum of Art & History Evening Cultural Experience White Water Rafting

Approximate Distance: 185 kms | 115 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 20 mins

Accommodation Rotorua - 1 night

Fly to Nelson

Nelson receives some of the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand, making it the perfect destination to visit year round. Located in the North-West corner of New Zealand, the Nelson region is surrounded by sheltered mountain ranges, golden beaches, national parks and boutique wineries and breweries.On arrival in the sunshine capital of the country, stroll the art galleries and soak up Nelson’s buzzing creative vibe. Enjoy a Nelson craft beer or a glass of local wine before heading out for dinner.

Accommodation Nelson - 1 night

Overnight Kayaking and Beach Camping

Pristine coastline by land and sea...

Explore the beauty of Abel Tasman National Park – one of New Zealand’s iconic adventure tourism destinations – with an overnight sea kayaking and beach camping experience. Enjoy two days exploring sheltered waters, golden sand beaches, near-shore islands and pretty estuaries. This marine reserve is home to a New Zealand Fur seal colony and both marine and terrestrial birds are abundant along the coastline.

Approximate Distance: 64 kms | 40 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour

Accommodation Abel Tasman National Park - 1 night

Overnight in Marahau

Your kayaking adventure will end around 4.30pm returning you to Marahau at the beginning of the Park. We wholeheartedly recommend tonight you try a burger at The Fat Tui in Marahau.

Drive the Wild West Coast to Fox Glacier

Wild and rugged, yet immensely beautiful, the South Island's West Coast region evokes a string of superlatives. Wave-pounded coastlines, lush temperate rainforests, the island's highest mountains and most accessible glaciers all feature. The region's first settlers came in search of gold and the coast has its share of ghost towns, but there are also thriving communities like Westport, Greymouth and the seaside town of Hokitikia, now dependent on coal mining and increasingly, tourism. Fur seals and colonies of rare black petrels, white herons and blue penguins breed along the coast, whose national parks offer some of New Zealand's best and quietest hiking trails. 

Approximate Distance: 505 kms | 314 miles  Total Driving Time: 6 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Fox Glacier - 1 night

Heli-hiking on Fox Glacier | Lake Wanaka

Experience awe-inspiring glacial scenery by air, then by foot

Fox Glacier is an impressive puzzle of snow and ice, extending well below the snow line and almost to sea level. An exciting helicopter flight combined with a guided, two-hour glacier hike amongst pristine icy scenery is the best way to experience this icy wonderland. Your guide will choose the route, seeking out the most spectacular ice formations, towering pinnacles and brilliantly blue ice. Panoramic views of the surrounding mountains form a beautiful backdrop for stellar photo opportunities. Before you continue on to Wanaka have a picnic lunch next to Lake Matheson, considered New Zealand's most beautiful lake.

Approximate Distance: 262 kms | 163 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 40 mins

Accommodation Wanaka - 1 night

The Niger Stream Canyon

World-class canyoning action

Ready for a day of adrenaline pumping action in New Zealand’s spectacular outdoors? Located in the Matukituki Valley, the Niger Stream is a world-class canyon – the perfect place for a day of high energy fun. You’ll abseil and slide your way down picturesque waterfalls and climb and jump over rocks, splashing into pools of crystal-clear water. An exhausting, highly rewarding day in the great outdoors, this is one of the most wonderful back-to-nature experiences you can have here and a must when we where designing the The Ultimate New Zealand Adventure Tour. After your canyoning head to Queenstown.

Approximate Distance: 70 kms | 43 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 10 mins

Accommodation Queenstown  - 2 nights

Queenstown at Leisure

Enjoy a day relaxing in Queenstown, a pretty town nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Here, there’s something for everyone – from easy walks to cafe culture, gold panning, wine tasting or adrenaline activities; it’s impossible to run out of things to do. Today, make the most of Queenstown’s scenic beauty and endless opportunities to kick back and relax.

Recommended excursions in and around Queenstown:

Routeburn Track Guided Day Walk Explore Historic Arrowtown Highest Bungy Jump
Wine Tasting Tour Central Otago Biking Skippers Canyon Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise Dart River Jetboat Safari Gibbston Valley Wine Trail
Hollyford Track (3 Days - 2 Nights)

Hike into the heart of New Zealand and explore an ancient wilderness valley on the Hollyford Track. In this 3 day 2 night all-inclusive guided wilderness adventure, you will experience the Hollyford Valley by land, water and air. Your expert guide will bring the diverse landscapes and history of this special place to life – learn about local vegetation, wildlife and the early Maori and Pioneers that eked out a living here.

Hollyford Track - Full 3 Day Itinerary

Return to Queenstown

On the last day of your Hollyford Guided walk you will be flown by helicopter back through Milford Sound to meet your return coach to Queenstown.

Homeward Bound

Enjoy a relaxed morning in Queenstown reflecting on your adventure-packed New Zealand holiday before heading to the airport to begin your journey home.

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We are sure you will enjoy the Ultimate New Zealand Self Drive Adventure Tour and our promise is to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 

Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about 'The Ultimate New Zealand Self Drive Adventure Tour'  - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!