Day 1 : Day 1 - Christchurch
Kia ora (hello!) and welcome to Aotearoa (New Zealand). Settle into your accommodation and be ready for the 6pm pre-tour meeting. Here you will get to know your Tour Manager and be introduced to your new roadtrip friends. Afterwards, the evening is yours to enjoy. We recommend a good night’s sleep to be ready for tomorrow’s early start, but you may want to experience Christchurch’s exciting nightlife - the choice is yours!
Day 2 : Day 2 - Christchurch to Kaikōura
This morning we’ll explore iconic downtown Christchurch and your guide will show you the cool and creative ways the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here. Christchurch folk are an innovative and creative bunch – the Transitional Cathedral, created from cardboard, is totally inspirational. Next it’s time to hit the road. Our destination is Kaikōura which literally means “to eat crayfish” – and the area is teeming with them. The nutrient-rich waters of this area attract a wide variety of marine wildlife including the stars of the show – the whales and dolphins. The chance to swim with dolphins in the wild is a massive New Zealand highlight for many travellers, and Kaikōura is one of the best places to find them, with pods of up to 300 of these playful creatures hanging out here at any one time. If you want to get up close to the giants of the ocean, a whale watching tour here is the way to do it. Humpbacks, sperm whales and orca all stop by at various times of year, so this is a great chance to meet some of them.
Day 3 : Day 3 - Kaikōura to Wellington
The first part of the day is the stunning drive up the coast to Marlborough, the region at the top of the South Island. One of the best ways to explore Marlborough is with your tastebuds. So before heading on to Picton, there’s a crucial stop for a wine tasting, to sample some of the best vineyards in the country. Today we say goodbye to the South Island and take one of the world’s most scenic ferry journeys as we cross the Cook Strait. It’s a stunning farewell – gliding through the Marlborough Sounds as we depart Picton Harbour, you’ll feel like you’re in another world. And then… Wellington! Perched on the edge of a spectacular harbour, encircled by green, towering hills, Wellington is a stunning and compact city. Vibrant, exciting and cultured, the nation’s capital combines the stimulation and sophistication of a big city with the quirkiness and personality of a much smaller town. This evening, the city lights are yours to enjoy. Discover why Wellington is celebrated for its foodie culture – you are truly spoilt for dining choices tonight. Wellington is also widely regarded as the craft beer capital of New Zealand. Want to test this for yourself? Talk to your Haka guide to find the hidden gems.
Day 4 : Day 4 - Wellington
Soak up the atmosphere of vibrant Wellington. Famous for being a bit on the windy side, be prepared to ditch the hairspray and go with the flow. As always, your guide will introduce you to the city with an orientation tour – including a drive around the bays through central Wellington to the Botanic Gardens and Parliament Buildings. You’ll also get the chance to head up Mount Victoria for some of the best views in town. You will also stop by Weta Workshop, most famous for its creative contribution to all things Lord of the Rings. Take an optional tour to see prop-makers in action and learn about the immersive world of filmmaking. Wellington has a feast of cultural attractions and its crowning glory is Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand. Situated on Wellington’s magnificent waterfront, this internationally acclaimed museum combines leading edge technology with traditional exhibits to tell the stories of New Zealand’s land and people. The museum is free for all. If being outdoors is more your thing, head off to Kapiti Island for an optional nature tour. Here you can see endangered birds up close and learn more about New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna.
Day 5 : Day 5 - Wellington to National Park
This morning is your last chance to soak up Wellington – hit Cuba Street for brunch or take a quick stroll around the City Gallery, perhaps? Then it’s time to hop on the bus again, for the drive up north to Tongariro National Park. Our drive will take us through all kinds of scenery, from rolling hills to the spectacular peaks of the North Island’s volcanic plateau – Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. If some of the mountains look familiar, it’s for good reason – Mount Ngauruhoe gained international fame as the real life version of Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. We finish our day nestled in the Tongariro National Park, where we’ll spend the next 2 nights, home to one of the 10 best one-day walks in the world – the Tongariro Crossing.
Day 6 : Day 6 - National Park
Decision time – is today the day you brave the Tongariro Crossing? Considered one of the world’s top 10 best one-day walks, this 19.4km mountain trek boasts emerald green lakes, venting steam, lava flows, craters and rich green bush. Not for the faint-hearted – it’s a challenging day! But every step of the way the views are spectacular. Our Haka guides highly recommend this activity, it’s definitely a highlight. If 19.4km is a little too far for you, there are plenty of shorter walks and hikes to enjoy. However you choose to spend today in this UNESCO World Heritage Area, we guarantee you won’t forget it.
Day 7 : Day 7 - National Park to Rotorua (via Taupō)
We wave goodbye to National Park as we continue northwards – first stop, Taupō. It’s a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. There are options here to get your bungy on, or to skydive! Then, we head onward to Rotorua. It’s a short drive but we’ll take our time, checking out bubbling mud pools and thundering waterfalls en route. One not-to-be-missed highlight is Huka Falls – the most visited natural attraction in New Zealand! With its roaring rapids and turquoise colour, it’s not hard to see why. To make an awesome evening even more incredible, tonight we take on the Redwood Forest Canopy Walk – the ultimate way to get amongst these giants of the forest.
Day 8 : Day 8 - Rotorua
Rotorua has it all: natural beauty, unique geothermal landscapes, iconic Lord of The Rings destinations, and heaps of adventure activities. We stay here a full day to make the very most of it. This area is world-renowned for its geothermal activity, with neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers, violent geysers, and bubbling mud pools galore. A visit to the picturesque Hobbiton movie set is a must-do activity for many. Even if you haven’t seen the films, it’s impossible not to be charmed by this gorgeous hobbit village set amongst the lush green hills of Matamata. For a truly epic brush with nature, fly high through through the lush ancient forest canopy on a zipline tour complete with swing bridges crossings and treetop platforms. What better way to get to know the native plants and birds –many of which unique to New Zealand? This evening we are welcomed to a Māori village for an unmissable cultural experience featuring combat demonstrations and – of course – the breathtaking haka. This experience extends beyond the performance – you’ll have the chance to see magnificent geothermal activity and get to spot kiwi birds.
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 : Day 9 - Rotorua to Raglan (via Waitomo)
Rotorua is a spectacular whitewater rafting destination, and with expert guidance it can be experienced by first timers and pro-paddlers alike. For the ultimate thrill this morning you can raft the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world – the 7-metre Tutea Falls, on the Kaituna River. If that’s not your cup of tea, spend the morning exploring Rotorua’s many attractions such as the ultra-relaxing Polynesian Spa, or perhaps the naturally-impressive Kuirau Park full of steaming, hissing, and boiling geothermal pools. There are also some fantastic cafes and bakeries in the area. Why not grab a sweet treat for the road – a ginger slice is as Kiwi as it gets! Once we’ve departed Rotorua, we head to Raglan, via Waitomo – famous for its glow worms. There are a number of ways to enjoy these twinkling cave-dwellers up close – here are some of our favourites: For the ultimate adrenaline rush, join an epic 4-hour caving adventure, beginning with a 100-metre abseil into the caverns. Or how about an cave tubing trip? Also known as black water rafting, this awesome activity will see you grabbing your inflatable tube and float along an underground river as glowworms twinkle above. Alternatively, there are fantastic and informative walking tours of the caves where you can learn more about the history, geology and Māori mythology of this unique area of New Zealand. For those who prefer to stay above ground, we highly recommend exploring the tree-studded gorges and limestone arches of the nearby Ruakuri Forest Walk; definitely a favourite amongst the Haka guides. For dinner tonight, once we’ve arrived in Raglan you’ll have a chance to tuck into New Zealand’s unofficial dish – fish and chips (or fush and chups, as it tends to sound in a Kiwi accent). And what better way to enjoy a tasty meal than on a sunset cruise of Raglan Harbour?
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 : Day 10 - Raglan to Coromandel
Welcome to the arty surf mecca of Raglan! If you have always wanted to try surfing, or if you’re dying to get back on your board, Raglan is the perfect destination both for beginners and experienced surfers. Its world famous surf breaks are unmissable and your Haka guide will take care of everything you need to get in the water – whether it’s your first or fiftieth time. Not keen on surfing? There’s plenty to enjoy in this laid-back township. With an awesome blend of cafes, bars, surf shops and galleries, the streets here ooze character and creativity. Relax on the beach, or enjoy a variety of bush and coastal scenery on Raglan’s walking trails. As you make the trip across the North Island to the Coromandel Peninsula, your Haka guide has some great sights to show you en route, including the 55-metre high Bridal Veil Falls. The Coromandel Peninsula is a paradise of beautiful beaches and misty rainforests. The drive here takes in plenty of quintessential North Island rolling farmland. It’s also home to famous Hot Water Beach – thousands visit each year to dig their own personal hot tub. If the tide times allow, we’ll grab our buckets and spades and get busy.
Day 11 : Day 11 - Coromandel to Auckland
In beautiful Whitianga, you’ll have plenty of time for your guide to show you around. Sample the sandy beaches, take a surf lesson with the locals, or simply enjoy the vibes. There are all sorts of ways to enjoy the Coromandel, whether you want one last adrenaline kick or some wind-down time on this, the last full day of your tour! Then, we hit the road for the final stretch of our journey together. The drive to Auckland is truly spectacular – the road twists and turns dramatically round the coastline as the skyline of New Zealand’s largest city gradually comes into view.
Day 12 : Day 12 - Auckland
Today is the final day of tour, where we exchange photos and stories over breakfast before saying our goodbyes and parting ways.