Rafting, glacier hiking, trekking, helicopter rides, sea kayaking – all this awaits you on this fantastic road trip. Along the way you stay in hostels and small cozy B & Bs – but the focus is on the experiences that are included! See history of New Zealand on Agooddir.
The coolest experiences await! You will try rafting, rappelling, kayaking, hiking on one of the country’s most beautiful hiking trails, see wild dolphins, fly in a helicopter and land on a glacier, experience the exceptional nature at Mount Cook and go boating in the most beautiful fjords.
The journey begins on the North Island of Auckland and you enjoy the adventure along the way; Tongariro National Park, the Waitomo Caves, and Weillington. On to the South Island and Abel Tasman National Park, Kaikora, Franz Josef with its glaciers, Wanaka, Milford Sound and ending in the coziest of New Zealand’s cities; Queenstown. We book accommodation and experiences for you along the way, so you do not have to think about anything other than looking forward to what the day has to offer!
Day 1: Scandinavia-Auckland
Departure from Scandinavia to New Zealand.
Day 2: Arrival in Auckland
You land at Auckland Airport and take you to your accommodation. Here you have two nights.
Day 3: On a voyage of discovery in Auckland
Auckland is also called the “City of Sails” because of the many boats that are always in the city’s marina. It is a modern city with everything you could wish for in terms of restaurants, cafes and not least good shopping opportunities. Auckland has a relatively small center, where Queen St forms the backbone. Most large chain stores, as well as well-known brand stores, are located along this street. From the top of Queen St you can walk towards Victoria Park Market and disappear between the many stalls and stalls selling everything from used clothes to branded goods. You can also go up in the Skytower for a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
Day 4: Auckland-Rotorua
Since it is nature and the experiences it is about, we suggest that you leave Auckland today and start exploring New Zealand. You pick up your rental car and head to Rotorua, which is a couple of hours drive east of Auckland.
Day 5: On a voyage of discovery in Rotorua
The highlights of the city are to go and experience a traditional Maori show, with a “Hangi” dinner, as well as the thermal areas. Wherever you are in the city, you will see signs of thermal activity in the underground. The city is famous and infamous for the stench of sulfur that hangs in the air. Outside the city you will find some of the country’s best mountain bike trails (bikes can be rented locally) and the coolest rafting.
Day 6: Rotorua-Waitomo
You can spend the morning in Rotorua before heading to Waitomo. Along the way to Waitomo you pass Matamata – better known as Hobbiton. The scene from the films The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit still remains, and it is possible to go on a guided tour of The Shire and The Green Dragon. Please note that you cannot explore Hobbiton on your own. You have to go on a guided tour between the movie scenes. If you want to explore Hobbiton, we therefore recommend that you contact the local tourist office in Rotorua and book a tour departing from Matamata. The tours are done several times a day. The trip takes about 2 hours. You spend the night in Waitamo, which is known for its many cave systems. A guided tour of the caves is the only option if you want to watch the famous firefly larvae, “Glow Worms”, which light up the darkness. This is going to be an exciting day!
Day 7: Waitomo-Tongariro National Park
The day begins with a real adrenaline rush as you seriously explore the Waitomo Caves. This is not a sightseeing tour for everyone. A 5-hour expedition combines rappelling, cave adventures, rafting and climbing. This is the ultimate tour in Waitomo! All equipment is included – but you must have your own towel with you. The tour ends with a hot whirlpool bath and a large portion of soup. From Waitomo you drive towards Tongariro National Park, where you have two nights.
Day 8: Tongariro Crossing
Here you go on one of New Zealand’s – if not one of the world’s most beautiful day hikes, Tongariro Crossing. You will first hike upwards between large rocks and solidified lava, until you reach the volcanic ridge. From here you have a view of 5 active volcanoes, and if you dig your hand into the sand you can feel the heat from the underground! You walk along the ridge and down into the volcanic crater itself – it almost feels like walking on the moon – here is totally barren! The end of the hike goes through rainforest-like vegetation, with large ferns and seeping streams – it feels like coming to another world after lava, volcanoes and lunar landscapes. ( F , L )
Day 9: Tongariro National Park-Wellington
From Tongariro, drive further south through farmland, to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. The car is left in Wellington and you have the rest of the day to explore the city. The city has many cozy restaurants and cafes and fascinating museums. For example, you can visit Te Papa, New Zealand’s interesting national museum. It is also possible to go on a guided tour of the Parliament buildings. ( F )
Day 10: Wellington-Motueka
Now it’s time to say goodbye to the North Island, and you cross the Cook Strait by ferry to the South Island. Arriving in Picton through Queen Charlotte Sound is a beautiful experience in clear weather. You spend the night in Motueka.
Day 11-13: Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman is New Zealand’s smallest – but perhaps most beautiful – national park, and is best experienced from the water. The beautiful beaches, the dense vegetation, the turquoise sea with seal colonies – everything is best seen from a kayak. Therefore, we suggest that you spend the next few days exploring Abel Tasman on a guided kayak trip. On the way, you spend the night in a tent in the national park. The tour departs about four times a day and there is plenty of time to relax on the road and enjoy the beautiful nature and the lovely beaches. All meals and all equipment included ( F , L , M )
Day 14: Motueka-Franz Josef Glacier
Today you drive from Nelson to Punakaiki, which has one of the west coast’s most interesting sights: Pancake Rocks, with its “blowholes”. Pancake Rocks is the result of a natural process that has been going on for thousands of years, where the sea has continuously hit the rocks and turned them into what looks like a giant pile of pancakes. In addition, over time, the sea has formed tunnel systems that cause seawater to be sprayed up between the rocks, like a kind of geyser. From Punakaiki, the journey continues south to Greymouth. From Greymouth you continue through farmland and lush rainforests to Franz Josef Glacier.
Day 15: Franz Josef Glacier Heli-hike
Today a really great experience awaits! In a helicopter, you fly up along the glacier – it’s amazing how big it is! High up, the helicopter lands on the ice and you will be equipped with spiked shoes and an ice ax, and embark on a guided hike on the ice. Maybe you think ice is white? It’s not. Up here where the ice is completely clean, the glacier radiates in the most incredible blue-purple colors, and whether you look up or down, there is ice as far as the eye can see. The nail shoes are indispensable – with them you stand firmly and can go through ice tunnels and over cracks. The hike lasts for a few hours, after which the helicopter picks you up again and flies you back to Franz Josef.
Day 16: Franz Josef Glacier-Wanaka
This morning the journey continues south, again through fantastic landscapes, over the Haast Pass, past the lakes Hawea and Wanaka, to the city of Wanaka. Possibly make a stop at the Haast Pass, where there are several shorter hiking trails, or drive straight to Jackson Bay, where you can go “jetboat”. After the Haast Pass, the green, lush and hilly landscape changes to a more open landscape with fields and more brownish colors, as most of the rain falls on the western side of the mountain range.
Day 17: On a voyage of discovery in Wanaka
The day is free to explore Wanaka. There are a large number of hiking trails around the city, which you can easily explore on your own. You can also rent a bike or mountain bike and get a little further out – the local tourist office (i-Site) can help with route suggestions.
Day 18: Wanaka-Te Anau
Enjoy the morning in Wanaka before heading south, to Te Anau.
Day 19: Milford Sound-Queenstown
Early up and on a boat trip with one of today’s first boats at Milford Sound. Since you have spent the night in Te Anau, you can reach the fjord before all the day tourists come from Queenstown – and even if you have to get up early (it is just over 1 ½ hour drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound), it is definitely worth it ! Milford is a fjord created by the giant glaciers that once existed in this area. Large waterfalls fall from the steep cliffs and there are good chances to see both seals and dolphins. Be prepared for rain, as it rains on average 300 days a year at Milford Sound – it only makes the waterfalls even more spectacular. When the boat trip is over, set course for Queenstown.
Day 20: On a voyage of discovery in Queenstown
Queenstown is beautifully situated between the mountain range “The Remarkables” and Lake Wakatipu. It is a city for all ages and souls. It has a cozy promenade and a plethora of different restaurants, cafes, casinos and a lot of shops, within a relatively small area. Queenstown is also the world’s adrenaline capital, where you can bungee jump, kite flying, gliding, rafting, jet boating and much more. Just outside the town at Glenorchy, you will find some of the places where The Lord of the Rings was filmed. A horseback ride in the picturesque surroundings is also recommended. The next two days can be spent taking a closer look at Queenstown’s many exciting activities.
Day 21: Queenstown-Mount Cook Village
From Queenstown, the tour goes to Mount Cook Village, along one of the most beautiful stretches in New Zealand. Take plenty of time, because there are many photo opportunities along the way.
Day 22: On a discovery trip in Mount Cook National Park
You can spend the whole day hiking or cycling around the national park, overlooking New Zealand’s highest mountains and largest glaciers. In the evening you can enjoy the beautiful starry sky.
Day 23: Mount Cook Village-Kaikoura
Today you have another beautiful drive in front of you, to Kaikoura. The road goes via the beautiful glacial lake Lake Tekapo. In the late afternoon you will reach the coastal community of Kaikoura which is known for its huge flocks of dolphins and whales.
Day 24: Dolphin Scouting-Christchurch
Enjoy the day, when you will have a unique chance to see Kaikoura’s wild dolphins. The small “dusky” dolphins are the most playful and acrobatic of all dolphin species, and on this tour you get a unique opportunity to get an insight into their world of ultimate freedom and play, where they jump and dance across the water. In New Zealand, “dusky” dolphins are often seen along the west coast of the South Island, and they live in the waters around Kaikoura all year round. During the summer months from November to April, they are usually closer to the coast than in winter, when they swim further out to sea. “Dusky” dolphins are social creatures that live in groups that can count on as many as several hundred members. Then you set course for Christchurch.
Day 25: Departure Christchurch
From Christchurch you fly back to Sweden. Of course, you can also choose to extend your trip – for example, with a visit to Fiji or the Cook Islands, where the beaches are a little whiter and the sand a little smoother than in many other places in the world. Or how about a diving course at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef?
Day 26: Arrival in Scandinavia
Twenty-one nights in a motel, B&B, hostel in a double room
Two nights in a tent in Abel Tasman National Park