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Grand Traverse - 15 Days

Reiserute

Grand Traverse - 15 Days

Day 1: Auckland - Hot Water Beach

Pickup location: 31 Wellesley Street West, 07:45
We leave Auckland at 08:00 and drive south towards the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel as locals call it, is a popular holiday spot for us Kiwi’s and it's not hard to see why. With stunning white sandy beaches, dense fern forests and a rich history of both Maori and European settlement, the Coromandel Peninsula is the perfect place to start your trip! We’ll stop for lunch in the seaside town of Tairua before continuing on to Hahei Beach - the gateway to Cathedral Cove. You can either go for a walk along the coastline or take to the water on one of the best sea kayak activities in the country. Cathedral Cove has a limestone archway that featured as the gateway to Narnia in the movie 'Prince Caspian' and is a great place to take a dip in the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. Our camp this evening is very close to another iconic location, Hot Water Beach, so named because there is a unique geothermal reservoir of hot water under the sand. At low tide, we’ll grab our shovels and head down to dig our very own hot pools in the sand - the perfect way to start off our adventure!!

Meals included: Dinner
Walks: Stunning coastal walk with views over the Pacific
Bike rides: 8km scenic road cycling
Activities (own cost): Sea kayaking, Hahei Explorer

Day 2: Hot Water Beach - Rotorua

This morning after breakfast, we'll drive down to the historic gold mining town of Waihi, home to an awesome beach and 'Martha's Mine', an actual working gold mine. Afterwards, we’ll continue on our journey to Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland! There are heaps of optional activities in Rotorua and something for everyone. If you’re interested in adventure, go for the award winning Canopy Tours eco zipline tour, or go white water rafting down the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. If you’d prefer to relax, go for a healing soak at the Polynesia spa, or if you’d like to explore the natural geothermal features of the area, there's plenty of walks where you can see the activity for free. For a cultural immersion experience, we recommend heading to the incredible Mitai Maori Village where you'll learn about Maori culture, experience the breathtaking Haka and feast on a traditional Hangi meal. There’s a lot to pack into one day but we promise it will leave you wanting more!

There’s a lot to pack into one day but we promise it’ll leave you wanting more!
Meals included: Breakfast & lunch
Walks: Stroll through towering, ancient forests & unique thermal landscapes
Bike rides: Whakarewarewa Forest Loop (33 km)
Activities (own cost): Mitai Maori Village, Polynesia Spa, Zipline Canopy Tour, Kaitiaki Rafting, Te Puia

Day 3: Rotorua - National Park

We begin the day with a drive to visit a natural hot spring, wake up with a nice soak in the geothermally heated water and listen to the calming sounds of nature - the perfect way to start the day! Our next stop on the way into Taupo is the mighty Huka Falls, an impressive waterfall found along the Waikato river. This is also our drop off point for those wanting to go white water rafting or skydiving! If you’re not doing these activities there's a great walk or a bike ride into the city along the river's edge - be sure to stop off at the natural hot spring along the way or get an adrenaline buzz from the Taupo bungy which is conveniently located on your way into town. You’ll have some time in Taupo to grab some lunch and check out New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupo, before we make our way to Tongariro National Park, where we’ll be spending the night.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Walks of various distances past dramatic waterfalls and around Lake Taupo
Bike rides: Waikato River MTB Trail Huka Falls 6.4km, cycle on the lakefront - up to 10km
Activities (own cost): Skydiving, bungy, giant swing

Day 4: National Park - Kapiti Coast

Voted one of the best day hikes in the world, today's 19.4km walk takes in some of New Zealand’s most impressive and diverse landscapes. The challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike covers a small section of the country’s oldest national park and dual UNESCO world heritage area, the Tongariro National Park. On a fine day you’ll be able to see Mt Ruapehu, the North Island's highest peak which stands at a towering 2797 metres. You'll also be able to see Mt Ngauruhoe, which featured in Lord of the Rings as Mount Doom. If you'd prefer not to do this hike, your Guide will take you to see some lesser known but equally stunning views and offer up some cycle options for our bikers. When everyone is back together after the hike we'll start making our way to our camp, situated along the Kapiti Coast.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Walks: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro river track
Bike rides: Fishers track
Activities (own cost): Tongariro Alpine Crossing (transfer fee only), Mini Gold, Rock Climbing

Day 5: Kapiti Coast - Wellington - Picton

This morning it's a short drive to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand! We'll arrive before 09:00 giving you most of the day to explore. We recommend checking out the exhibits at the famous Te Papa Museum, getting some Lord of the Rings behind the scenes insight at Weta Workshop or take the iconic red cable car up to the Botanical Gardens. The capital also boasts a thriving café culture, as Wellington is renowned for serving NZ's best cup of coffee. Later on we’ll be travelling across the Cook Strait by ferry to the South Island. The journey takes around 3 hours and travels through the incredibly scenic Marlborough Sounds. The rolling green hills coupled with the deep blue waters make for a magical sight, especially on a clear day. If you can, make your way outside and try to spot dolphins playing in the sounds. As camping isn’t possible, we'll stay at a great hostel in Picton..

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Dorm bed
Activities (own cost): Te Papa National Museum of NZ (free), Weta Workshop, Cable car

Day 6: Picton - Kaikoura

This morning we'll depart Picton and travel through the Marlborough region towards the coast where we’ll see amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and mountains in the distance. We’ll make a stop for lunch along this stretch of coastline and try to spot the native Fur Seals that often relax on the rocks in front of the ocean.

When we arrive in Kaikoura, there are some great optional activities that all involve the ocean! Go whale watching, sea kayaking or fishing, or if you’d prefer to stay on dry land, there’s a great walk around the peninsula or you can hop on your bike and take in the views on two wheels. Our camp tonight is down at the beach and we’ll be preparing a fresh seafood meal, perfect for Kaikoura (unless of course you don't eat seafood, in which case we'll prepare something equally delicious for you).

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Kaikoura peninsula walk
Activities (own cost): Whale watching by boat or by plane, deep sea fishing

Day 7: Kaikoura - Christchurch

This morning you'll have the opportunity to take part in one of the most popular activities in New Zealand: swimming with dusky dolphins! It’s an early start but it’s a great way to begin your day from the epic sunrise to getting to spend time with wild dolphins - this is the kind of once in a lifetime experience you won't soon forget. For those of us who aren't swimming, we’ll have a leisurely breakfast and the chance to explore Kaikoura before heading south to Christchurch.

Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s most famous destinations, and there is so much to see and explore. Still on the mend after two major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, you can see evidence of rebuilding happening all over the city. With the chance to rebuild, comes new opportunities and Christchurch has
seized the opportunity to become NZ’s coolest city, rivalling Wellington in terms of laneway bars and amazing eateries. Christchurch is also known locally as the Garden City, thanks to the vast Hagley park and the Avon River which runs through it. Jump on a scooter or take the tourist tram and explore that
Christchurch has to offer this afternoon. This evening, we’ll be staying in some great accommodation just outside the city centre.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Take an early walk around our coastal camp
Bike rides: Hagley Park Bike Ride
Activities (own cost): Dolphin swimming, dolphin viewing
Accommodation: Dorm

Day 8: Christchurch - Lake Tekapo

This morning, we’ll wake up after a great night’s sleep and hit the road towards arguably the most beautiful part of the South Island. We’ll take an incredibly scenic journey to the breathtaking Lake Tekapo, where you will see the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour brought down from the rivers flowing from glaciers high up in the mountains. Today, go for a hike, a bike ride, or just relax at camp. If you’d like to see some if the amazing sights of Tekapo from the skies, go for an epic scenic flight this afternoon, and this evening, you can go for a soak in the nearby hot pools or enjoy some world famous star gazing at the Mt John Observatory - you are staying in an International Dark Sky Reserve, after all!

Meals included: Breakfast & lunch
Walks: Mt John walkway
Bike rides: Lake Tekapo Regional Park
Activities (own cost): Scenic Flight, Tekapo Hot Pools, Star Gazing

Day 9: Lake Tekapo - Mt Cook - Moeraki Village

Today you get to immerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for. This morning we’ll explore the spectacular Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. We’ll hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain following a trail up the Hooker valley where you’ll cross swing bridges and experience stunning views of the mountains before finishing up at a glacial lake with some awe inspiring views of the Hooker Valley glacier - trust us, you’ll want to bring your camera for this! Next, we’ll travel back towards the Pacific coast and make a quick stop in the historic town of Oamaru before getting to the small village of Moeraki, where we’ll camp for the night. Go for a walk this evening to a great view point offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and try to spot a little Blue Penguin along the shore.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Walks: To the base of Mount Cook & Hooker Valley, explore the Moeraki Heritage Trail
Bike rides: 13km Alps2Ocean trail ride

Day 10: Moeraki Village - Dunedin

If the tide is low this morning, we’ll go for a walk along the beach to see the mysterious Moeraki boulders. These perfectly round spheres of rock have formed over millions of years and have found their way onto the beach near Moeraki and make for some fun photo opportunities. Afterwards it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin, the South Island's second-largest city and home to NZ’s only castle. Dunedin is home to the world’s steepest residential street and the coastline is home to some fantastic and rare wildlife. Take a tour onto the Otago Peninsula to view some of the diverse wildlife which includes Albatross and Fur Seals, or for the adventurous, why not try surfing at one of Dunedin’s best breaks! Our camp is a short distance from St. Kilda beach with a variety of restaurants close by to choose from.

Meals included: Breakfast
Walks: World’s steepest street, explore Dunedin city
Bike rides: West harbour cycle trail (11 km)
Activities (own cost): Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour, Otago Early Settlers Museum

Day 11: Dunedin - Fiordland National Park

Today is one of our longer travel days as we drive through some of New Zealand’s most dramatic natural scenery on our way to Fiordland. Make sure you have some snacks, and that all your devices are fully charged, particularly your camera! Large parts of the landscape along the drive today have been carved out over thousands of years, leaving stunning paths weaving through snow-capped mountains. Tonight’s camp is on the lakeside in Te Anau. The bikers can go for a ride on the lake to lake Te Anau trail and the rest of us can enjoy a leisurely walk along the lakefront or head up to the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary where we can see the endangered native Takahē. If you’d like to do an activity, we recommend the incredible glowworm caves tour and boat ride.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Plenty of short walks from camp
Bike rides: Lake to Lake Te Anau trail, lakefront Te Anau trail (5 km)
Activities (own cost): Te Anau glowworm caves tour & boat ride

Day 12: Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau

Today we’ll travel along one of the world’s most scenic roads and into Milford Sound! Described as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. We highly recommend boarding a cruise, where you'll see dramatic waterfalls and snow-capped peaks and if you’re
lucky, some wildlife! At different times of year, penguins, dolphins, seals and even whales have been spotted at Milford. As it’s just the one road in and out, we head back along the same breath-taking route to our lakeside camp in Te Anau. Along the way, we drop off those doing the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. This hike is a haven for native birdlife. Charge up your camera as this hike offers everything from mountainous peaks and sheer rock faces to pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls and dense, luxuriant forest.

Meals included: Breakfast & lunch
Walks: Routeburn Track (must be pre-booked and hikers will rejoin the group in Queenstown)
Activities (own cost): Milford Sound Cruise, Te Anau glowworm caves tour & boat ride

Day 13: Te Anau - Queenstown

After breakfast this morning, we’ll make our way to Queenstown, the adventure capital of NZ that sits along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. There’s a huge selection of activities to choose from here, from an adrenaline pumping bungy, canyon swing and skydive to a relaxing steam boat cruise or gondola ride - this place has it all. There are great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this alpine region. Camping isn’t feasible in this bustling alpine village, for the next two nights we stay in dorm-share accommodation in a centrally located hostel. Perfect for making the most of all Queenstown has to offer!

Meals included: Breakfast
Walks: Queenstown walks, Queenstown hill
Activities (own cost): Too many to list - something for everyone (check out Flying Kiwi's website or ask them for details)

Day 14: Queenstown

With so much to do we’ll spend another full day in the fantastic Queenstown, so everyone has the opportunity to have those once in a lifetime experiences. Speaking of experiences, may we suggest trying the legendary Fergburger! For those on the Routeburn Track, you will rejoin the group here today and this evening you’ll be able to experience everything this vibrant resort town has to offer. Tonight, we dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a feast at an iconic Queenstown eatery (own cost).

Meals included: Breakfast
Walks: Queenstown walks, Ben Lomond
Bike rides: Lake Wakatipu trail (16km), Queenstown trail (48 km)
Activities (own cost): Too many to list - something for everyone (check out Flying Kiwi's website or ask them for details)

Day 15: Queenstown

A last chance to indulge in the Queenstown action before finishing your tour with us here and saying farewell to your fellow Flying Kiwi travellers!

Meals included: Breakfast

What’s Included

- Experienced tour guide
- All local transportation. If you have chosen the bike rental option, then it is also included.
- 14 night's accommodation (tents and dorm)
- Meals as specified in itinerary
Oversikt

Hva er inkludert?

Ekstra utgifter på reisen
Please check the itinerary for optional paid activities.

Aktiviteter

Please see the different activities (either free/included or requiring an extra payment) in the itinerary.

Overnatting

You can choose between Shared Tent with two people, or a Single Tent. There is one night in shared dorm accommodation. If you travel alone and want a shared tent, you will be paired with another traveller of the same gender.

Lokal transport

All local transport is included. If you have chosen the bike rental option, then it is also included.

Måltider

Some meals are included (please see itinerary). Evening meals are prepared on a relaxed and informal rota system. Your great guides will lead things but every 4 or so nights, you will be with a team of other budding chefs preparing some great feasts for your fellow travellers - generally one person chops, another looks after veges, another cooks and someone needs to check the wine!!!

Tilleggsinformasjon

What footwear do we need?
You’ll need to bring a decent pair of comfortable footwear, that you can walk in comfortably, trainers are ideal. Hiking boots are good but not essential. It is also good to bring a pair of flip-flops, sandals or thongs (depending on whether you speak NZ English, Oz English or just English) for the camp showers.

It's summer. Do I really need thermals and a fleece?
Yes! We can experience extreme weather even in the summer.

Do I need a backpack, or is a suitcase okay?
Suitcases are fine - you don’t need to walk great distances with them just between your tent and the bus. The majority of the time while you’re doing activities they will be stored away in the trailer or under the bus. Please try to limit the weight of your main bag to 20kg. A good day pack (small rucksack) or bag you can carry easily is recommended for water bottles, towels, cameras etc.

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