Best of New Zealand: Maori Culture & Mountain Coastlines

Best of New Zealand: Maori Culture & Mountain Coastlines
Best of New Zealand: Maori Culture & Mountain Coastlines
Best of New Zealand: Maori Culture & Mountain Coastlines
Best of New Zealand: Maori Culture & Mountain Coastlines
Best of New Zealand: Maori Culture & Mountain Coastlines
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • G Adventures

Now's the time to explore New Zealand on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. They say good travel happens on small islands. Regardless of whether or not that's an actual saying, the small islands of New Zealand pack plenty of exploratory punch. Go from surfing in Raglan to hiking in Abel Tasman National Park to cruising remote fjords and taking in some Insta-worthy views. But if you’re short on travel dollars, fear not; this trip squeezes in the very best of both the North and South Islands into an affordable, action-packed 21-day itinerary where you'll move swiftly without feeling rushed.

Highlights
  • Learn about Maori culture
  • surf some waves
  • get an adrenaline rush in Rotorua and Queenstown
  • discover Abel Tasman National Park by foot
  • cycle a historic rail trail
Raglan Your Big Night Out Moment: Wellington Your Discover Moment: Franz Josef Your Discover Moment: Queenstown Your Big Night Out Moment: Wellington. Conservation farm visit (Raglan). Sea kayaking excursion (Raglan). Maori cultural experience. Visit to a seal colony. Walks in Franz Josef and Abel Tasman National Parks. Fiordland NP visit. Milford Sound nature cruise. Mountain biking excursion (Central Otago). Orientation walk in Wellington. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Your Big Night Out Moment: Wellington
Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your First Night Out Moment: Connect With New Friends Your Hands-On Moment: Surf Lesson
Accommodation
Hostels (11 nts, multi-share with 4-8 people), basic lodges (9 nts). Most nights are multi-share on this trip.
Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group
Transport
Private vehicle, kayak, boat, ferry
Your Discover Moment: Franz Josef
Your Hands-On Moment: Surf Lesson, Raglan
Your First Night Out Moment: Connect With New Friends
Your Discover Moment: Queenstown
Meals Included
19 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners
Your Big Night Out Moment: Wellington. Conservation farm visit (Raglan). Sea kayaking excursion (Raglan). Maori cultural experience. Visit to a seal colony. Walks in Franz Josef and Abel Tasman National Parks. Fiordland NP visit. Milford Sound nature cruise. Mountain biking excursion (Central Otago). Orientation walk in Wellington. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Destinations
  • New Zealand
  • Australasia
Tour Types
  • Adventure
  • 18-to-Thirtysomethings
  • Basic
  • 3 - Average
  • Small Group
  • Planeterra Project
Day 1: Auckland

Arrive at any time. It’s time to make some memories! Join your CEO and group for a night out in Auckland. Dinner, drinks, ice cream? You’ll mix and match these depending on the mood of the group to enjoy a wonderful evening. So what are you waiting for? Grab dinner somewhere tasty, or head to Giapo ice cream parlour—contributor to Planeterra for a sweet snack, or wander downtown to check out craft beer bars like Little Creatures and Habana Joe's. The options seem endless, so regardless of where the night takes you just make sure to snap loads of pictures because there’s no doubt you’ll want to remember this experience.

Arrive in Auckland at any time. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. If you arrive early enough, opt to visit the Maritime Museum, walk the waterfront, or even take the ferry to Waiheke Island.

Day 2: Auckland/Raglan

Begin your journey along backroads to a remote eel farm (this might sound strange, but life’s more fun when you embrace the bizarre) where you will learn about sustainable aquaculture and the conservations farm’s methods regarding traditionally farmed marine life. After, get on the water for some sea kayaking; exploring remote parts of the harbour before indulging in a picnic lunch. With full stomachs and a relaxed atmosphere the group will head to our lodge just a few minutes drive from the famous surf and arts town of Raglan for the night.

Travel backroads to a remote conservation farm where they are using natural means to boost the stocks of traditionally farmed marine life. Farmers have created a balanced ecosystem to attract native birds and animals back to the area. After, kayak to a remote part of the harbour for a boat cruise and lunch, before heading to our lodge a few minutes drive from the famous surf and arts town of Raglan for the night.

Day 3: Raglan

Wake up amid the adventurous in the picturesque North Island town of Raglan. This laid-back place may well be New Zealand’s perfect surf town and you’ll get to enjoy an included surf lesson to get you out in the waves. The afternoon is yours for the taking; head on a hike around the Wainui Reserve, grab a kayak or stand up paddle board and traverse the harbour, or embrace the Indigenous art scene and shop from place to place finding the perfect memento for your trip. Your only job today is to get out, relax, and have fun!

Head down to the beach for an included surf lesson. The afternoon is open for optional activities such as yoga, stand up paddle boarding or exploring the many trails in the area.

Day 4: Raglan/Rotorua

Another day another chance to explore! Today the group will begin journeying to Rotorua with a stop along the way in Waitomo. Here you can choose to go caving in the famous Waitomo caves, where you will see glow worms light up the cave’s ceiling just like stars in the night sky (sounds like a pretty unforgettable experience to us.) Next stop is Rotorua, notable for its geothermal activity (think hot springs galore) and culture. Once the group arrives here you will visit a local village for an engaging cultural experience to help you better understand the Maori way of life.

Stop en route at Waitomo. Enjoy free time to visit the Waitomo Caves, famous for their glow-worms and adventure activities, or explore this scenic area by foot. Continue to Rotorua for an engaging cultural experience on the grounds of a historic Maori village.

Day 5: Rotorua/Taupo

Travelling to Taupo on a clear day is nothing short of breathtaking. From the shores of the lake to the snow capped peaks of Tongariro National Park in the distance, there will be no shortage of photo opportunities. Then, once again, the day is yours so take advantage of the adrenaline capital of the North Island and book some fun activities with your fellow adrenaline junkie friends. Get sprayed with water as you whitewater raft, soak in serenity in thermally heated pools, or stroll downtown in search of something tasty to try. The day is yours and you can spend it as adventurous or as relaxing as you’d like. The group will continue on to spend the night near the shores of Lake Taupo.

Day 6: Taupo/Wellington

Hit the road to the nation’s capital at the southern end of the North Island. Take in the ever-changing scenery, swap travel stories with your group, and simply reflect on your journey. The group will arrive early enough to visit the National Museum, Te Papa — home to displays of historical Maori artifacts and modern exhibits. Then the choice is yours, so take that cable car ride to the hills overlooking the city, or make that stroll along the Oriental Parade happen because you're here now and you might as well take advantage of everything around you. The group will finish the day off with an optional night out on the town together in the central business district.

Travel to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. Arrive early enough for a visit to the National Museum, Te Papa. Take a short walk from our accommodation to see the sights of the central business district. Finish the day off with an optional night on the town.

Day 7: Wellington/Abel Tasman National Park

Don't forget those cameras before hopping on the morning ferry to cross the Cook Strait. Pro tip: make sure you stand outside and marvel at the views of the Marlborough Sounds at the tip of the South Island. Then drive past lush native forests, beautiful clear waters, blue skies, and golden sands as the group travels to Abel Tasman National Park. Spend the night on a floating boat hostel under the stars.

Catch a morning ferry and cross the scenic Cook Strait. Make sure to stand outside and enjoy the views of the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. Disembark and transfer to Abel Tasman National Park, well-known for its stunning white sand beaches. Board a water taxi to transfer to the middle of the National Park for the night. The night will be spent on a floating boat hostel.

Day 8: Abel Tasman National Park

Picture this: birdsong ringing from the treetops as you wander through the undergrowth stumbling upon occasional waterfalls nestled in the midst of the forest. You take a dip in one of the refreshing pools before finding your way to pristine coastline and turquoise bays where you can soak up the sun and relax in the sand. This is the kind of day that awaits you in Abel Tasman NP, you are free to explore the golden beaches and winding waterways any way you’d like! So have fun, build a sand castle for us, and let the adventures continue!

Day 9: Abel Tasman National Park/Westport

It’s off to Westport today! Breathe in the fresh air and soak in the beautiful views as the group heads south down the coast of black-sand beaches. Make a (very cool) pit stop to a seal colony in Cape Fouldwind and watch these majestic animals in their habitat before continuing on to Westport for the evening. Once you arrive grab a beer, talk to some locals, and discover the true charm of this coal mining town.

Day 10: Westport/Franz Josef

Continue on a scenic drive south along the coast to Punakaiki; think pancake rocks and blowholes (man, those are two random things we never thought would be in the same sentence). As a special spot full of local secrets Punakaiki is a great place to hop out of the bus, stretch those legs, and appreciate the strange beauty nature can create. Then it’s forever onward to Franz Josef where you can, and should, take advantage of free time to enjoy optional activities like hiking, horseback riding, and sea kayaking. As the day winds down follow coastal roads to arrive at a unique wilderness lodge set in the rainforest for the night.

Continue following the coastal road towards Franz Josef arriving at a unique wilderness lodge set in the rainforest for the night.

Day 11: Franz Josef

The adventures are far from over! Remember all those activities you missed out on yesterday? Today is all yours to tackle them as you please. From helicopter hikes to walking on the Franz Josef glacier there’s bound to be something you’ll want to check off that bucket-list. If your goal is to make actual contact with the glacier then try a heli-hike or guided ice walk. Or you could let nature be your guide and lose yourself in the rainforests, lakes, and waterfalls that surround Franz Josef. If you’d rather stay in town, then grab a bite to eat before booking a spa treatment at the Glacier Hot Pools... the choice is yours!

Day 12: Franz Josef/Queenstown

Hit the road to the adventure capital of the world — Queenstown. Sit back, relax and gaze out the window as you drive away from Glacier Country and wind through lush forests back to the coast and into the mountains over Haast Pass. The photo opportunities will seem endless (make sure those cameras are charged.) Then gear up and get ready because the adrenaline is going to be pumping the next few days.

Day 13: Queenstown

Let’s put it this way, if you’re the sort of person that loves adventure mixed with adrenaline all while exploring one of the most scenic places in the country, then Queenstown is for you! Gear up for two days that are sure to leave you breathless. Free time in Queenstown is no joke, so be a dare devil and get ready to have those hearts pumping with some adrenaline-filled options like jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking or skydiving.

Day 14: Queenstown

Let’s put it this way, if you’re the sort of person that loves adventure mixed with adrenaline all while exploring one of the most scenic places in the country, then Queenstown is for you! Gear up for two days that are sure to leave you breathless. Free time in Queenstown is no joke, so be a dare devil and get ready to have those hearts pumping with some adrenaline-filled options like jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking or skydiving.

Day 15: Queenstown/Te Anau

Let your breathing finally return to normal as the group departs Queenstown to visit Fiordland National Park. After arriving, soak up the chill vibes on a boat cruise through one of the most iconic places in New Zealand — Milford Sound. Marvel at the views of one of the wettest places on Earth and then if you are feeling up to it, book a cruise across Lake Te Anau to visit a cave that is home to thousands of glowworms.

Day 16: Te Anau/Central Otago

It’s time to discover the natural beauty of Te Anau with a morning of free time. Head out to hike on one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, visit the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, and try a savoury pie from Miles Better Pies. Then, it’s time to transfer to Wedderburn in Central Otago to give the eastern part of the South Island some love.

Day 17: Central Otago

Enjoy the unique landscape of Central Otago while biking 35 km on the Otago Rail Trail. Pass through this powerful landscape of weathered ancient mountains, alpine herb fields, and fast flowing rivers. Cycle through one historic town after another and sample some local food and drink as you go (Pinot Noir lovers rejoice).

Day 18: Wedderburn/Christchurch

Scoot on up to Christchurch to explore the South Island’s largest city and one of the places in New Zealand with the strongest English influences. Wander around Christchurch in the afternoon and learn how it was rebuilt following two major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Enjoy some free time this evening to see what the nightlife is all about with your travel tribe and grab some shut eye in a converted jailhouse to finish the evening.

Overnight in the very unique converted jail house.

Day 19: Christchurch/Kaikoura

Mountains, marine life, and magic! Kaikoura is pretty darn special, so special in fact, that it may be the South Island’s best kept secret. The best way to experience it is to get out there and witness what this rugged coastal town does best. Book a whale watching cruise, swim with seals, or just take a walk along the coast admiring the scenery. In the afternoon try bird watching, swim with dolphins or splurge on flight over the peninsula.

Spend the afternoon swimming with dolphins or taking a scenic flight over the peninsula. Bird watchers will be pleased to know that big ocean birds such as albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters frequent the area.

Day 20: Kaikoura/Wellington

Reminisce and reflect as you and the group travel to Picton to catch a ferry back to Wellington. Watch the majestic scenery of this country unfold before you and simply appreciate the moment (we know you’re probably already making plans to return.) Once back in the city grab some grub with your travel crew and let the good times roll for one last night out together.

Day 21: Wellington

Depart at any time. Or... if you aren't ready to leave extend your trip a bit because let's face it, you'll probably never regret staying a bit longer.

We highly recommend post-accommodation to fully explore this vibrant city. Looking for a lift back to Auckland? Add on the "Auckland Express" and ride with your CEO back north. Ask your sales CEO or agent about this Extra. What is the Auckland Express Extra? Depart Wellington at 6am and return to the Nomads Auckland hostel for around 5pm (8-9 hours driving time). If you have booked this transfer NOT on the last day of your tour, you must book post-accommodation through G Adventures. All services must be connected.

  • Your G for Good Moment: Resourceful Otautahi Walking Tour, Christchurch Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your First Night Out Moment: Connect With New Friends Your Hands-On Moment: Surf Lessons, Raglan Your Big Night Out Moment: Wellington Your Discover Moment: Franz Josef Your Discover Moment: Queenstown Your Big Night Out Moment: in Wellington, Wellington
  • Conservation farm visit (Raglan)
  • Sea kayaking excursion (Raglan)
  • Maori cultural experience
  • Visit to a seal colony
  • Walks in Franz Josef and Abel Tasman National Parks
  • Fiordland NP visit
  • Milford Sound nature cruise
  • Mountain biking excursion (Central Otago)
  • Orientation walks in Wellington and Christchurch
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Dates Price Single Availability
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Touring Holidays with G Adventures

Founded in 1990 by Bruce Poon Tip, G Adventures is proud to offer the most awe-inspiring selection of affordable small-group tours, safaris and expeditions, all carefully created to appeal to adventure-craving travellers. G Adventures started as a one-man business and is now an award-winning escorted tour operator and the world’s largest adventure travel company of more than 2,200 people in 28 offices around the globe. The team is made up of people who believe in responsible travel and have a desire to create memorable trips that embrace authentic accommodation, exotic cuisine and local transport to ensure travellers get behind the scenes and experience the real world in an authentic and sustainable manner.

As the small group adventure travel experts, G Adventures is well-known for offering impressive escorted tours in the most fabulous destinations, such as Italy, Spain, Greece, Norway, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Kenya, South Africa, Antarctica, Canada and Australia. More than 150,000 keen travellers choose a G Adventures tour year on year, resulting from the overabundance of tours and destinations on offer to suit each individual style. You can pretty much travel anywhere with G Adventures and, no matter what kind of traveller you are, the company promises you a tour and a life-changing experience that you will never forget.

Travel styles include active tours, national geographic journeys, marine tours, rail tours, classic tours and family tours. G Adventures also offers wellness tours, 18-to-thirtysomethings tours and local living tours. This means you can enjoy yoga sessions in Thailand, get to know the quirky capital of Iceland or explore the sunny beaches and lush jungles of Central America. Alternatively, you can see southern India by rail, go on an Amazon riverboat adventure or climb the world’s tallest free-standing mountain on a Kilimanjaro escorted tour.

One of the nice things about booking a tour with G Adventures is that you don’t lose your deposit if you cancel or delay your trip. Your deposit remains valid until you’re ready to start your adventure, and you can even pass it on to a friend if you wish. Also, G Adventures offers escorted tours under ABTA protection, guarantees every single departure and has staff available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about a tour. On top of all of that, the company can deliver the tour of a lifetime at a fraction of the cost and will pair up single travellers with a roommate of the same sex to avoid charging a single supplement fee.

G Adventures has won numerous awards to date, including Best Escorted Tour Operator, Best Adventure Travel Company and Best Sustainable Tour Operator, to name just a few. You can also rest assured that G Adventures is committed to doing the right thing all the time for not just the staff and travellers but also the people and the places that the team help you to visit. This includes working with small local businesses and entrepreneurs to strengthen their communities and to ensure your travel money stays where you have spent it.

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tour details

This tour is operated by G Adventures

20 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Group Size:1 - 20
Suitable For: Minimum age of 18 years for this trip.
Accommodation:Hostels (11 nts, multi-share with 4-8 people), basic lodges (9 nts). Most nights are multi-share on this trip.
Difficulty:3 - Average
Meals:19 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners
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