Spend 12 days exploring the North and South Islands of this small country packed with wonders. Travelling by train, gondola, boat, and plane, sample local wine, walk through an ancient rainforest, and learn about local legends and cuisine from the Maori. Take a deep breath to fill your lungs with the impossibly clean air here — and fill your soul with the legendary Kiwi spirit.
National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Waiheke Island Wineries, Waiheke Island
National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Meet a Maori Elder, Rotorua. Waitomo Caves tour. Traditional Maori hangi feast and entertainment. Orientation walk in Christchurch. Scenic TranzAlpine train. Ride the Queenstown gondola. Wilderness day cruise (winter) or overnight cruise (summer) in Fiordland National Park. Internal flight. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Sample wine with local experts on Waiheke Island, learn about Maori myths and traditions, experience the geothermal mysteries of Rotorua, glide along the TranzAlpine railway, relax at a rainforest lodge, cruise through Fiordland National Park searching for wildlife and waterfalls
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Please note that due to seasonal weather the itinerary in Doubtful Sound varies from winter to summer months. The winter itinerary runs from approx mid-May to early Sept. The remaining departures will follow the summer itinerary.
1) Please be aware that wifi and internet access is not as readily available in New Zealand as in other parts of the world. There are often additional charges to connect to the internet, and speeds may be slower than what you are used to.
2) Over public holidays in Australia and New Zealand (such as Christmas, New Years Day, Easter, and Anzac Day) there may be some limitations of services and disruptions to schedules. In general our tours still operate effectively over public holidays, but there may be closures of optional activities and restaurants, and slight itinerary adjustments in order to provide all tour inclusions.
Group Leader Description
This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver – this person is experienced in the routes travelled and will organize and lead the meal preparations and has experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.
As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.
We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, Avg 12.
11 breakfasts, 2 dinners
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private vehicle, plane, train, boat, walking.
About our Transportation
Our vans are mini-coaches. Occasionally with smaller group sizes we will use smaller, equally comfortable 13-seater vehicles. All mini-coaches tow a trailer for luggage and camping equipment (when needed). All groups have one CEO/Driver.
The vehicles are factory built with comfortable seats and air-conditioning. It is mandatory to wear a seatbelt while riding in our vehicles.
A local flight is included in this trip – Your CEO will give you your ticket on the day of flight. The max luggage allowance on domestic flights within New Zealand is 1 checked bag (20 kgs) and 1 carry on (7 kgs) per person.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (10 nts), cruise boat (1 nt, seasonal).
My Own Room Exceptions
Night 10: Doubtful Sound
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
There are three main ways for visitors to get from The Auckland Airport to the centre of town.
The public bus (Skybus) will drop you off at the transit centre (stop 7018) on Customs St East (opposite Fort Lane) and takes approximately 1 hour. Tickets are $18 and can be bought in the airport or for cash on the bus. From there, the hotel is a short taxi ride away or a short 10-15min walk to the hotel.
To walk, continue East along Customs St East/Beach Road (for approx 500m), then turn left onto Mahuhu Crescent and the hotel is about 100m along on the left.
Super Shuttle is the main minivan service – you can book tickets online or pay the driver direct – the cost will vary between $30 and $80 depending on the group size – you will be dropped at the door of the hotel.
Taxis operate from right outside the door – the cost will be about $75 to be dropped right outside of your hotel.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our local office in Melbourne. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so we may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Melbourne)
During office hours, 9am-5pm Local Time
From outside Australia: +61 3 9413 5820
From within Australia: 03 9413 5820
After Hours Emergency Number (Australia) From outside Australia: +61 432 705 621
From within Australia: 0432 705 621
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local operations manager, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
The max luggage allowance on domestic flights within New Zealand is 1 checked bag (20 kgs) and 1 carry on (7 kgs) per person.
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible.
We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. Heavy luggage is not recommended for the health of the CEO, who will take a lead in loading the storage trailer. Due to space in the trailer, we will not be able to accommodate more than one piece of main luggage per person. A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential to carry your personal gear for the day, as access to luggage between destinations will be limited. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle.
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Smart outfit (For evenings out)
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: The weather in New Zealand varies depending on the season. Make sure to check the forecast for the time you will be visiting and pack weather appropriate clothing for your trip.
Laundry can be done at least once a week while on tour – most cities have laundromats where you can buy soap and wash your laundry in coin-operated machines. Your CEO will advise you along the trip where you will be able to do your laundry.
Visas and Entry Requirements
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
The New Zealand currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD).
Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in New Zealand and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of local currency (preferably smaller bills, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s) and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is easy to find in New Zealand in the gateway cities and most banks do accommodate.
Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
It is not customary in New Zealand or Australia to tip service providers, but if you do experience outstanding service it is good to do so. Such service would only usually be in places like quality restaurants and it would be very rare that you would tip more than 10%. Unless specifically asked to do so at the time (by your CEO) – do not tip your local guides. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, you may consider a small tip – but it certainly isn’t expected.
Please see the full itinerary for information on optional activities, descriptions and estimated pricing.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Trip Specific Safety
Heed the caution signs at all times in National Parks and other remote areas in New Zealand and Australia.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEO has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
Weather can change dramatically and without warning – we recommend layering.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/
Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra’s monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.
You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Max 16, avg 12
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
PRODUCT_LINE: ONENG, ID: 24948
Day 1 Auckland
Please make your own way to the joining hotel. Our CEO will have a welcome meeting this evening.
Auckland is a fantastic city with so much to see and do. Should you want more time to explore on your own, we recommend booking pre-nights.
Jump right into your adventure by adding the ‘Auckland Sailing: America’s Cup Experience’ extra to your tour. Work with a crew to sail around Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour on a competitive yacht, and take in the stunning views. PLEASE NOTE: If booking this extra, a pre-night in Auckland is highly recommended as this activity may start early in the morning on Day 1.
This tour departs Auckland early on Day 2. If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, like the Hobbiton Movie Set or local wineries, it is recommended you book additional pre-trip accommodation nights.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Auckland (1B)
Enjoy a morning orientation walk before catching a ferry to Waiheke Island. Visit two local wineries to learn more about New Zealand’s burgeoning wine industry and the history of wine production in the country while sampling some of the local blends, of course.
Waiheke Island Wineries
Day 3 Auckland/Rotorua (1B)
Rotorua sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools in different areas around the town. This is a fascinating region with Maori history and culture tied directly to the geothermal aspects of the land.
Waitomo Cave Excursion
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 300km)
Day 4 Rotorua (1B, 1D)
Enjoy a free day in Rotorua which sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools. Opt to visit one of the geothermal sites, or go whitewater rafting. This evening visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome and talk from a “Kaumātua” (an elder in Māori society). After, watch an extravagant performance about local myths and legends while dining on traditional Hangi cuisine.
Meet a Maori Elder
Tamaki Maori Village
Day 5 Rotorua/Christchurch (1B)
With free time in Rotorua this morning, opt to relax in one of the hot pools fed by water coming directly from the natural springs.
Plane (1.00-1.50 hours)
Day 6 Christchurch/Franz Josef (1B)
Train (2.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours, 240km)
Day 7 Franz Josef (1B)
Options are plentiful. Choose from a helicopter hike, ice walking on the glacier, or soaking in hot pools among stunning scenery.
Day 8 Franz Josef/Queenstown (1B)
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 short walks and waterfall visits.
Private Vehicle (8.00-9.00 hours, 365km)
Day 9 Queenstown/Fiordland National Park (1B, 1D)
In the evening, enjoy a delicious three course buffet dinner prepared by our onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, savour some of the fine wines at our licensed bar (additional price) and if the skies are clear in the evening, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars.
*Please note that the itinerary for this day varies in the winter:
Winter Schedule 18 May – 20 Sept Fiordland National Park/Te Anau
Drive the scenic route around Lake Wakatipu to the town of Manapouri. Travel by boat and bus to arrive at an eco cruise boat. Spend the afternoon cruising through Milford or Doubtful Sound, two of the most untouched, remote places in the world. Marvel at the steep cliff walls and cascading waterfalls. The boat offers excellent chances for wildlife viewing in the area. Dolphins, penguins, seals and a variety of birds are some examples of what you can hope to see. In the evening, head to Te Anau for the night. We take in a screening of the award winning ‘Ata Whenua – Shadowland‘ Fjordland on Film documentary at the local cinema before having a group meal.
Fiordland National Park Overnight Wilderness Cruise
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 250km)
Day 10 Fiordland National Park/Queenstown (1B)
Enjoy early morning wildlife viewing along the fiord as we cruise back to port, then return to Queenstown.
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 250km)
Day 11 Queenstown (1B)
Enjoy a free day to explore on your own, visit a winery, or cruise on a historic steamship. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Opt to go bungee jumping, jet boating, skydiving, paragliding, or mountain biking. This evening enjoy a gondola ride with spectacular views of the city and surrounding landscape.
Day 12 Queenstown (1B)
For more time to explore Queenstown, we recommend booking post nights with your agent if you are interested in the countless adrenaline-packed activities in the town known as the “adventure capital of the world.” Jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking, and sky diving are some of the activities available.