New Zealand Encompassed: Harbours & Houseboats

18-to-Thirtysomethings, Auckland to Wellington

Image by G Adventures

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 glaciers, national parks, a sustainable farm, 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.

What’s included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Resourceful Ōtautahi 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
  • Overnight houseboat excursion with onboard activities including snorkelling, fishing, and kayaking (Bay of Islands)
  • Conservation farm visit (Raglan)
  • Sea kayaking excursion (Raglan)
  • Maori cultural experience
  • Seal colony visit
  • Walks in Franz Josef and Abel Tasman National Parks
  • Fiordland NP visit
  • Milford Sound nature cruise
  • Mountain biking excursion (Central Otago)
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Explore the bay of islands on a houseboat
  • Sea kayak to a harbour for a picnic lunch
  • Hike abel tasman national park
  • Get your heart pumping in the adventure capital of the world
  • Bike along the historic otago rail trail

Itinerary

Auckland Arrive at any time. It’s time to make some memories! Join your CEO and group for a night out in Auckland. Choose to enjoy dinner somewhere tasty as a group before heading to Giapo Ice Cream Parlour — contributor to Planeterra. Afterwards, check out craft beer bars downtown like, Little Creatures and Habana Jones. Make sure you take loads of pictures because you’ll want to remember this special night.
Auckland/Bay of Islands Travel north via backroads, stopping to see giant kauri trees, and go for an included snorkel at Goat Island Marine Reserve (seasonal). Board a large houseboat for an overnight trip through the beautiful Bay of Islands.
Bay of Islands/Paihia Enjoy free time in the morning on the boat. Choose to do a number of included water activities like kayaking, snorkelling, fishing or visiting nearby islands. Disembark and explore Paihia before enjoying dinner with the group.
Paihia/Auckland Enjoy a free morning to relax, or opt to go skydiving or check out the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
Auckland/Raglan Visit an eel farm which focuses on developing sustainable aquaculture to learn about their methods before sea kayaking to a harbour for a picnic lunch.
Raglan Enjoy an included surf lesson in one of the world's most famous surf areas, then opt to go hiking or rent a stand up paddle board.
Raglan/Rotorua Opt to go caving in world famous Waitomo before heading to Rotorua, notable for its geothermal activity and culture. Visit a local village to gain insight into Maori culture.
Rotorua/Taupo Take advantage of free time in the adrenaline capital of the North Island, and opt to go whitewater rafting, check out a geothermal park with technicolour pools, or hit up a nearby spa. Continue on to spend the night near the shores of Lake Taupo.
Taupo/Wellington Take in the ever-changing scenery on the drive down to the nation's capital at the southern end of the North Island. Opt to take the cable car to the hills overlooking the city, visit the national museum, Te Papa, or stroll along Oriental Parade. Enjoy a Big Night Out with the group.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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