Kiwi Encounter

16 day Adventure - from £1799

This 16 day Kiwi Encounter is a memorable trip taking in the highlights of New Zealand, from thermal grounds, soaring volcanoes and towering mountains to mirror-like lakes.


  • Explore Tongariro National Park
  • Wine tasting in Marlborough
  • Cruise Milford Sound
  • Kaikoura marine life
  • Adventure capital Queenstown
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Your Itinerary

Day 1: Auckland to Marae Stay

First up, a visit to Waitomo Caves, then it’s on to our Marae stay. Maori legends and mythology have been passed down orally for thousands of years. You have one night in this sacred meeting house, so pay attention. After learning the tongue-thrusting Haka dance moves of the All Blacks and the finesse of the ladies’ Poi dance, you’ll polish off a traditional maori dinner and end the night feeling like a local.

Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Marae to Rotorua

Mud, Middle Earth and massages are the order of the day in the bubbling, sulphur-soaked town of Rotorua. If you’re starting to resemble a muddy prune, flush out the mud by rafting over the waterfalls, hit the spa for a massage, or jump into the real-life landscapes of Tolkien’s dreams on the Hobbiton Shire escape (all optional).

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3: Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

Geothermal activity gets turned up to 11 with bubbling mud pools, and if that’s not enough, you can bungy jump off a ledge as we pass by the largest lake in New Zealand. Lake Taupo was formed by an explosion that extended the Ice Age, so yeah, it’s pretty big. It’s also time to meet the dessert that’s caused a battle between NZ and Australia since someone whipped an egg white: the pavlova.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 4: Tongariro National Park

With dual cultural and natural heritage status, and often described as the most epic hike in NZ, Tongariro NP is home to two active volcanoes that will hopefully keep a lid on things. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing will quickly top your list of favourites if you don’t mind heights and the odd dormant lava chamber (and walks from 20 mins to 8 hours). Hike, raft or mountain bike then hit the spa and warm your feet by the fire in an alpine lodge overlooking Mt Doom.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 5: Tongariro to Wellington

From hiking over lava to readjusting to city life, today we hit the nation’s capital, Wellington (no, it’s not Auckland!). After you conquer the six floors of the Te Papa museum, you’ll probably be ready for a big city nightlife hit. With more bars and restaurants per capita than New York and a well-earned spot as the sporting capital of NZ, you can’t go wrong with a craft beer and some local rugby action.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 6: Wellington to Nelson

Ferry across the Cook Strait through Marlborough Sounds and into the arms of the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc for a private tasting in a family-owned vineyard. Work out how many bottles you can fit in your suitcase without breaking your back. With postcard-perfect vistas and 35,000 hectares under vines, it’s a slice of heaven.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 7: Nelson

Dense forest, snow-capped mountains and acres of pinot noir grapes. Green, white and red… no wonder Nelson has been referred to as the Naples of the southern hemisphere. Throw clay or wield a paintbrush in the creative artist hub. Skydive, kayak or go treasure hunting in Nelson’s galleries. Round out the day with a traditional Kiwi BBQ dinner catered by yours truly.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 8: Nelson to Kaikoura

Today we head back through the Rai Valley and Marlborough Wine Region to spy New Zealand fur seals at Ohau Point before reaching our destination at Kaikoura. This afternoon we can tackle the elements on the very scenic Kaikoura Peninsula Walk. Seafood fans can settle in for a crayfish bonanza.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 9: Kaikoura to Christchurch

Make some marine mates and brace yourself for the optional triple threat of dolphin swimming, seal swimming or whale watching. Then on to Christchurch, which has recovered from the 2011 Earthquake and bounced back with new pop-up bars and a shopping precinct, with still more to come.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 10: Christchurch to Fox Glacier

Roll across the pastoral patchwork quilt that forms the Canterbury Plains and watch 50 shades of green melt into snow-topped peaks. Hang out in Hokitika for whitebait fritters and pounamu (Jade) shopping, then take your best photography shot of NZ’s two tallest mountain peaks reflected in Lake Matheson for the #picoftheday. Excited? You should be.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 11: Fox Glacier to Queenstown

Today’s your chance to walk on water. Well, frozen glacial water to be precise. Scale a mountain in minutes to get amongst ethereal ice caves and formations. With barely enough time to let your heart rate slow, we journey back through the mountains past Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. Feel your pulse start to quicken as we roll into Queenstown.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 12: Queenstown

Here’s some basic math: Queenstown has over 220 activities. You have two days. No rush. This lakeside city has adrenaline on tap and will match any adventure you had in mind and then throw a Fergburger (amazing Queenstown burger place) in there for good measure. Get your fix with bungee, a narrow canyon swing, Shotover Jet, or paragliding, hiking or horse riding. If you’re bored here, there’s something wrong.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 13: Queenstown

It’s a free day – jump off more stuff or chill out and let your pulse drop. Your call.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 14: Queenstown (Milford Sound)

By now you might be becoming a little desensitised to the otherworldly beauty of NZ but when you see the Fjords for the first time, it’s okay to enter a total Instagram meltdown! Carved by glaciers during the ice age, the Milford Sound comes complete with seals, dolphins and thundering waterfalls. Steeped in Maori myth, this is a history and geology lesson rolled into one, minus the homework.

Meals: Breakfast

Day 15: Te Anau to Lake Ohau

Back in the heyday of Arrowtown, everyone was here for the gold. Recharge your batteries with venison burgers and a central Otago pinot noir in Arrowtown then zigzag across the five bridges that span the ever-changing Arrow River. Test your nerves on the suspension bridge then chill out by the crystal clear river waters while you catch your breath. Cue relaxation and a chance to practice your stone-skimming skills in Lake Ohau.

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 16: Lake Ohau to Christchurch

Lap up Lake Pukaki under the shadow of Mt Cook. It’s about as Kiwi as ‘fush and chups’ (fish and chips with a local accent). Then shift into sheep country, where these furry things outnumber humans 12:1. It makes sense that today includes the Church of the Good Shepherd, a monument to the faithful sheep dog. Then back to into the city of Churches as our trip winds to a close.

Meals: Breakfast

16 day Adventure - from £1799

With flights from £2749

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All prices are per person based on multi share accommodation and include meals specified. Single, double and twin room prices are available on request. Prices are seasonal and subject to change.

Kiwi Encounter Map

18-39 Adventures

Adventure touring at its very best; hassle free travel, freedom to explore and a group of like minded fellow travellers.

Your Guided Tour includes:

  • 15 nights accommodation
  • Transport and sightseeing
  • Daily breakfast and meals shown
  • Awesome driver / guide
  • Interislander ferry crossing

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