New Zealand Encompassed
New Zealand Encompassed information and booking
Learn about Maori culture, explore the Bay of Islands, trek the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, get an adrenaline rush in Queenstown, weave through the remote fjords of the Doubtful Sound by sea kayak.
Tour description provided by G Adventures
It dosen’t look so big on the map, but New Zealand is positively massive once you’re there in person. This comprehensive 24-day trip—our longest in this part of the world—delivers the most immersive NZ experience possible. Get close to the land by exploring volcanoes, national parks, sustainable farms, and meet the water up-close on expert-led kayak excursions and during surf lessons. Best of all, you’ll get to explore the magnificent Bay of Islands, home to some of the world’s top fishing. 24 days? You’ll wish it was longer.
- Day 1 Auckland
- Arrive in Auckland at any time. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. Please try to arrive before 7pm for an important group welcome meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. If you arrive early enough, you'll have time to head into the city to visit the Maritime Museum, walk the waterfront, or even take the ferry to Waiheke Island. Please note: if you have pre-booked the Auckland Sailing and Queenstown Jet Boat your CEO will inform you when you will do the activity throughout your tour, days are subject to change: Sailing (Day 1 - Auckland) and Jet Boat (Day 16 - Queenstown). For more information on the Extra see the Optional Activities section. Make sure you book your accommodation and flights accordingly for Day 1.
- Day 2 Bay of Islands (1B,1L,1D)
- Depart early and travel to a local reserve with giant kauri trees, native to New Zealand these trees are some of the largest in the world. Learn about their importance to the European settlement in New Zealand. Continue to the Goat Island Marine Reserve where snorkelling amongst abundant sea life is an included activity. *Please note: during the winter months (late April - early Nov) Goat Island snorkling will be cancelled due to an earlier departure time on The Rock (the boat where you will be spending the night). As a result, there will be more time for activities on board The Rock. Continue on to the Bay of Islands and embark on the boat which will be your home for the night. All activities and meals on board are included. Activities include: fishing, kayaking, swimming, target shooting, shell fish gathering, dolphin spotting and walking on a remote island. The night is spent anchored at a secluded bay. Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 250 km
- Day 3 Paihia (1B,1D)
- Enjoy a morning of activities from our boat base. Then travel back to the mainland, walk around the small town of Paihia. An optional visit to the Treaty House in the nearby town of Waitangi is highly recommended. Waitangi is the location where on 6 February 1840, European settlers and local Moari signed an agreement on ownership of the land, and gave Māori the rights of British subjects. The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand. An optional visit to the treaty grounds with a guided tour is highly recommended. Overnight in a hostel in Paihia and savour an included barbecue dinner.
- Day 4 Auckland (1B)
- Take advantage of optional morning activities such as skydiving, dolphin watching, fishing or visiting the historic town of Russel. Travel back to Auckland. Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 250 km
- Day 5-6 Raglan (2B,1L,1D)
- Travel the backroads to a remote conservation farm where they are using natural means to boost the stocks of traditionally farmed marine life. They have created a balanced ecosystem to attract the native birds and animals back to the area. Kayak to a remote part of the harbour for a picnic lunch and boat cruise before heading to our lodge in the famous surf and arts town of Raglan for the night. Nestled in native bush overlooking the sea, the lodge is located near one of the most famous surf breaks in the world. They also have a vegetable garden where they use as much fresh produce as they can and they treat their own waste adding to the sustainability of the lodge On Day 6 head down to the beach for an included surf lesson. The instructor chooses a secluded and safe part of the beach and we use large boards to ensure that you stand up and ride a wave. The afternoon is open for optional activities such as bone carving with local maori, mountain biking or exploring the many walks. At night opt for a fish and chips dinner. Estimated travel time: 3 hours Travel distance: 160 km
- Day 7 Rotorua/Maori Village Visit (1B,1D)
- Depending on the weather conditions and the desires of the group, we have an option to visit the Waitomo caves, famous for their glow worms. The glow worm is unique to New Zealand. Hundreds of thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their luminescent light in underground caves calved by rivers and time. Enjoy the tranquil boat ride under magical glowworms and become a part of over 120 years of cultural and natural history. For the adventurous, there is the option of ‘black water rafting’ (floating in an inner tube along the river, approximate cost NZD$120). Please note that if you choose to go to the Waitomo caves there is not enough time to go either skydiving or rafting in Rotorua. Your CEO will explain the pros and cons of these choices upon arrival. Continue to Rotorua for an engaging cultural experience on the grounds of a historic Maori village. Dine this evening in picnic fashion on traditional maori food (Hangi). Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 250 km
- Day 8 National Park (1B,1D)
- An early start to walk across the Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand's top-rated 1-day trek. Collecting supplies before the trek, the transfer will drop the group off for the self-guided trek and collect eveyone at the other end. Experience spectacular views while traversing across the volcanic range, one volcano is currently active. We ensure that you are prepared by going through a safety checklist and taking you to buy the supplies you might not have for the 19.4 km trek. The elements can consistently be changing, remember to dress accordingly and bring snacks. If the weather is too bad for the trek there will be alternative options such as smaller walks in the area or a visit to remote hot springs. Additionally, if you do not wish to do the Tongariro Crossing other activities can be arranged. *Please note: In the winter months (usually between June and October) when there is snow on the mountains the crossing can only be done with special equipment and a guide. If you still wish to do the crossing your CEO can arrange it and there will be an extra cost of around $100 for equipment, guidance and additional transportation. If you do not wish to do the walk in such conditions we include a couple of shorter walks and visit the Volcanic Information Centre as an alternative activity during these months. After finishing the trek travel to a ski lodge on the side of a mountain for the night. A spa and sauna on site will help ease those tired muscles. Estimated travel time: 3 hours driving time, walking time depending on group speed and size. Travel distance: 180 km driving, 19.4 km walking
- Day 9 Wellington (1B)
- Travel to the capital city, Wellington. Arrive early enough for a visit to New Zealand's National Museum called Te Papa, a must-see with great displays of historical Maori artifacts and relatively modern exhibits such as the motorbike that was built in a shed and won the world championships. A short walk from our accommodation displays the sights of the coastal central business district. Finish the day off with an optional night on the town. A suggested activity is to take a taxi to the nearby suburb of Miramar, and visit Weta Workshops. Here, marvel at the creative team behind the Lord Of The Rings, and many other feature films. Entrance is free. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 400 km
- Day 10-11 Abel Tasman National Park (2B,2D)
- The itinerary for Abel Tasman National Park varies in summer and winter months. SUMMER (MID NOV - MID APRIL): 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 our home in the middle of the National Park. Depending on weather conditions the night will be spent on a floating boat hostel or in a local campsite. Spend Day 11 exploring Abel Tasman National Park by following the various walks throughout the park. Walk along a coastline track to one of the world's most scenic golden sand beaches. The walk from Anchorage to Marahau is approx 12.4km (4 hours). Optional activity: sailing in the Abel Tasman. Overnight in a floating boat hostel or in a local campsite. *Please note that due to operational reasons, the following departure will be adhering to the winter itinerary: 2014: March 9 WINTER (LATE APRIL - EARLY NOV) 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 our bus for a journey to the Abel Tasman National Park, well-known for its stunning white-sand beaches. For the next two nights we overnight in cabins in a true rural setting on the edge of the park. Day 11 starts with an accelerating water taxi ride into the Abel Tasman National Park. Walk along a coastline track to one of the world's most scenic golden sand beaches. The walk from Anchorage to Marahau is approx 12.4km (4 hours). Share stories about your day over a group meal as you complete your experience in the Abel Tasman. Optional activities: sailing and kayaking day trips in the Abel Tasman. Overnight in Cabins in a true rural setting on the edge of the park. Estimated travel time: 3 hours drive, 3 hour ferry, 30 min boat Travel distance: 200 km drive
- Day 12 Punakaiki (1B,1D)
- Morning drive through the stunning Buller Gorge to the West Coast of the South Island. Visit the Cape Foulwind seal colony, then follow the stunning coastal road down to our beach camp in Punakaiki for the night. Opt to kayak the river into the Paparoa National Park or stick to the local trails for some day hikes. The evening offers an opportunity to express our cooking skills and create a group meal together! Estimated travel time: 4 hour drive, 30 min boat trip Travel distance: 250 km
- Day 13-14 Franz Josef (2B,1D)
- Trek the famous Punakaiki 'Pancake Rocks' walk and continue following the coastal road towards Franz Josef arriving at a unique wilderness lodge set in the rainforest for the night. Day 14 is a free day for optional activities. Options include various hikes, horseback riding and quad biking. Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 220 km
- Day 15-17 Queenstown (3B)
- Early start to travel to the picturesque Lake Matheson. When the weather is right you can get a great photo of the Southern Alps reflected in the lake. Follow the wild West Coast Road, through the rainforest before stopping for some small walks and waterfall visits. Adrenaline junkies will be happy with a stop at the world's original commercial bungee site. Opt to take the plunge or simply observe the site where it all started while getting some great pictures of those who do decide to jump. Days 16 and 17 are free days to maximize time for all the optional activities in the area. Opt for a jet boating outing, bungee jumping, mountain biking, sky diving, or a vineyard tour. The options in this adventure capital are endless. Three nights at a centrally-located hostel means that fitting everything in won't be too hard. *Please note - in the winter months (late April - early Nov) skiing and snowboarding in the Southern Alps is a highlight for any visitor. Most of the aforementioned activities are also available, ask your CEO which ones are in season. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 365 km
- Day 18 Doubtful Sound (1B,1L,1D)
- Travel to Fiordland National Park, one of the most stunningly rugged places on earth - think 'Lord of the Rings' country. Take a boat across Lake Manapouri to meet the local kayaking guides. Spend the afternoon on a guided 3 hour interpretive bush walk in deep cove with a visit to Helena Falls. The night is spent in a lodge on the edge of Doubtful Sound. The following day we engage in a 4-5 hour kayaking trip through the national park below towering cliffs and waterfalls while admiring the wild rainforest terrain. Spot dolphins, seals and penguins as the abundant birdlife surrounds you. Note: Depending on weather the walk and kayak may be reversed to fall on different days. Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 250 km
- Day 19-20 Central Otago (2B,1D)
- Spend the morning paddling back to the wharf, then transfer by bus to the historic central Otago mining counry. Overnight in a historic miners hotel. Day 20 drive to one of the best starting points of the Historic Otago Rail Trail. Spend the better part of the day cycling (easy gradient) through stunning scenery along 35km of the old rail trail. In the evening opt to try your hand at luging and/or curling at the only year-round curling facility in Australasia. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 350 km
- Day 21 Christchurch (1B)
- Drive through breathtaking central Otago, stopping at historic towns to buy supplies for a picnic lunch. Arrive to Christchurch in the early afternoon, stretch the legs with a short walk through Hagley park to the downtown district. Get to know sights around the central business district and witness the rebuilding that is going on in this recently devastated city. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distance: 400 km
- Day 22 Kaikoura (1B,1D)
- Early start to drive the scenic coastal road up to Kaikoua. The views are breathtaking in this small town where the mountains meet the ocean. The just off shore deep water Hikurangi Trench brings an abundance of marine life very close to the shoreline. This is one of the premier spots in the world for whale watching. A free afternoon can also be spent swimming with dolphins, visiting a colony of Southern Fur seals, 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. Hikers can opt to go on several day hikes in the Seaward Kaikoura mountains, part of the Southern Alps range, that provide an excellent backdrop to the town's picturesque landscape. One of the most popular routes is the Kaikoura peninsula walkway that starts at a seal colony and provides excellent sea and mountain views. In Maori, “Kai” means food, and “Koura” means crayfish. Be sure to sample the delicious offerings from the sea. Estimated travel time: 3 hours Travel distance: 180 km
- Day 23 Wellington (1B)
- Visit the seal colony before embarking on the ferry from Picton back to the North Island. Arrive into Wellington in the evening, and enjoy a final night out with the group. Estimated travel time: 2 hours Travel distance: 150 km
- Day 24 Wellington (1B)
- Depart at any time. 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 6am and return to the Nomads Auckland hostel for around 5pm (8-9 hours driving time). If you have booked a transfer that is NOT on the last day of your tour, you must book post-accommodation through G Adventures. All services must be connected.