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Explore the North and South Island with a New Zealand guided tour personalised to suit your group. Our private guided tours are hosted by one of New Zealand’s leading tour guides. Your guide will meet your group at the airport and chauffeur your group to explore the destinations and activities included in your personalised tour package. They will tend to your needs and share valuable local knowledge with your group to enhance your holiday experience. We can cater for groups between 1-40 people.
Our private New Zealand guided tour packages are flexible and are booked to suit your group’s travel dates and interests.
Read on for more details on the 21 Day New Zealand North to South Private Guided Tour.
Your New Zealand guided tour begins in Auckland. The “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city and is bordered by two stunning harbours. Your tour guide will meet you at the airport and take you to your Auckland City accommodation. In the afternoon explore Auckland City with your tour guide.
This evening, if you would like to dine with a spectacular view, you might like to visit the Sky Tower. You are spoilt for choice with three restaurants and cafés up the Sky Tower. These include the Orbit 360 degree dining revolving restaurant; The Sugar Club, which is superbly chic and elegant; or the Sky Café, where you can relax with a coffee, cheese board or ice cream. View Auckland from 328 metres above street level and take in the beautiful panoramas, up to 80 kilometres in every direction. Spot the key landmarks, including a number of volcanoes and historical locations within the greater Auckland area.
Stay 1 night in Auckland City.
Travel time Auckland to Bay of Islands – 3 hours
Travel to the Bay of Islands, renowned for its 144 islands and surreal maritime park. Here, an abundance of marine life includes whales, penguins and dolphins.
Stay 2 nights in Paihia, Bay of Islands.
You choose what you would like to do today.
Activity Option: Our top pick is to venture off-road to Cape Reinga via 90 Mile Beach! This full day tour takes you to one of the northernmost points of New Zealand where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collide. You also get to visit Gumdiggers park where ancient Kauri forest was buried thousands of years ago; experience a 4WD drive tour along 90 Mile Beach, the chance to climb the giant sand dunes and toboggan back down and to finish your day visit the world famous Mangonui Fish shop and grab the freshest fish and chips as the sea washes gently beneath your feet. For other options please ask.
Travel time Bay of Islands to Coromandel Peninsula – 6 hours
Renowned worldwide as a spectacular holiday destination, with warm white sandy beaches, misty rainforests and wilderness a-plenty, the Coromandel is the ideal place to relax and unwind.
Whitianga is the main settlement of Mercury Bay, an attractive township with a deep-water harbour. Now a vibrant coastal town, Whitianga is evolving into a delightful place to visit. Whitianga has an excellent selection of restaurants and cafés, and the thriving retail community provides an interesting collection of outlets.
In the afternoon explore the Coromandel Peninsula with your tour guide.
Stay 2 nights in Whitianga, Coromandel.
Today, discover the original Cathedral Cove Boat Tour to Hahei’s marine reserve and magnificent volcanic coastline. Departing 10 minutes from Hot Water Beach, the Explorer trip travels up to 14 kms. Along the way, visit coastal islands of the marine reserve, massive sea caves, and bays, including the world famous Cathedral Cove. The magnificence of this natural volcanic scenery is legendary and the approach by sea, combined with an insightful yet relaxed commentary, further enhances the experience.
In the afternoon, visit Hot Water Beach and dig your own hot pool. You also have the option to go for a picturesque walk along this stretch of coastline – the scenery is stunning.
Travel time Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua – 3 hours
Rotorua is distinguished by Maori culture and geothermal activity!
The Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park is Rotorua’s most active geothermal area featuring a walkway lined with unique geothermal wonders and interactive opportunities. Experience the geothermal features with a self-guided map to show you around or join a guided tour of the reserve to learn more about the history, features and uniqueness of the geothermal area.
See bubbling mud pools, steaming craters, mineral pools, learn about New Zealand’s history and culture, and even try Maori weaving and wood carving! After this, the geothermal waters of the Hell’s Gate Sulphur Spa will rejuvenate and refresh you, as you relax and take in the surreal surroundings of the wondrous geothermal landscape.
In the evening enjoy a traditional Maori Cultural Experience including a Hangi Dinner. Hear stories and learn how Maori traditions live on today. Experience an authentic Maori welcome. Watch a challenge by the Maori warriors, a karanga (call) from the Maori women welcoming you onto the marae, and a whaikorero (welcome speech). Relax and enjoy the beautiful waiata (songs), the world renowned haka (challenge), and the elegant poi dance. Learn Maori customs including Maori musical instruments, haka and poi. The dining experience is a culinary opportunity like no other. Following dessert, you will be transported down into the valley to conclude your evening beside the awe inspiring Pohutu geyser.
Stay 2 nights in Rotorua.
Explore Rotorua’s many attractions with your tour guide for the day. You have the option to visit the Redwoods Treewalk, which features 23 suspension bridges through 115-year-old redwood trees, or explore the Government Gardens and Museum, located on the waterfront of Lake Rotorua.
In the evening enjoy dinner at Rotorua’s most spectacular location – Skyline Restaurant. Sit back and relax as the views from the gondola unfold while you journey to the Skyline complex. The Skyline Restaurant will then serve you a mouthwatering taste of New Zealand, a buffet of legendary proportions.
Feast on mouth-watering fresh soups and salads and seafood specialties such as mussels, queen scallops, sushi and sashimi. Enjoy carvery roasts of beef, lamb or pork with specialty sauces to match, with live cooking from your friendly chefs. The legendary Art of the Grill menu will tempt your taste buds even further, with a selection of fillet steak, prawn and Morten Bay Bugs – all cooked on the grill to your liking. Add to that mouth-watering desserts, and you’ve got yourself a unique dining experience not to be missed. Tiered seating guarantees stunning views from every table! After dinner enjoy the scenic ride back down on the gondola.
Travel time Rotorua to Taupo – 1 hour
In the afternoon enjoy the Peek at the Lake Scenic Floatplane Flight as you take off from Taupo Bay, past Acacia Bay to Rangatira Point, viewing the crystal clear waters of Whakaipo Bay. Climb up through Mapara Valley, view red scoria quarries, then discover the headwaters of the Waikato River. Fly over the Craters of the Moon and over the Borefields of the Wairakei Power Station, followed by a circuit of the Huka Falls, over Taupo to land on the lakefront.
Stay 1 night in Taupo.
Travel time Taupo to Wellington – 4.5 hours
Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, has so much to offer. Set on the edge of a stunning harbour, surrounded by rolling hills, it’s a city rich in culture waiting to be explored. From shopping and picturesque walks, to live theatre, exhibitions, Te Papa Tongarewa the Museum of New Zealand and more – Wellington has something for everyone.
Relax and explore Wellington City with your tour guide this afternoon.
Stay 2 nights in Wellington.
Explore Wellington with your guide today. You may like to visit Zealandia, located a 10- minute drive from downtown Wellington. Hidden in a suburban valley, this project aims to return a 225-hectare section of bush to its pre-human state. Take a walk and hear the songs of the flourishing native bird population.
This afternoon you may like to try the visually stunning Makara Peak track, as well as the City to Sea walk where you can experience the best of Wellington’s waterfront. Ride the cable car up the hill to Kelburn for amazing views over the city and enjoy an ice cream at the top.
Activity Option: Lord of the Rings Tour.
Sailing time Wellington to Picton – 3 hours
Travel time Picton to Kaikoura – 2 hours
It’s all about the journey today as you board the Interislander Cook Strait Ferry, which will transport you on a scenic cruise to Picton. Your New Zealand guided tour continues on the South Island as you enjoy the coastal drive along the East Coast to Kaikoura. Drive through Marlborough, recognised internationally for its distinctive, Sauvignon Blanc. Option to stop at one or more cellar doors to buy some delicious Marlborough wines.
Kaikoura is a stunning coastal township offering a backdrop of majestic mountains. Kaikoura, being an important fishing port, is a mecca for seafood lovers. Local specialties include blue cod, paua (abalone) and of course crayfish (lobster).
Activity Option: Experience a once in a lifetime opportunity with a Whale Watch Scenic Flight to view the majestic Sperm Whales off the Kaikoura Coast.
Stay 1 night in Kaikoura.
Travel time Kaikoura to Christchurch – 2.5 hours
Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City awaits you.
Christchurch is a vibrant, energetic city where urban regeneration, creativity, and innovation thrive. Picture amazing street art, innovative projects, a booming hospitality scene and state-of-the-art architecture that is changing the way the city looks, feels and functions – all the while staying true to its heritage and traditional English feel.
In the afternoon explore Christchurch City, visiting unique attractions the Christchurch Gondola and Christchurch Tramway with your tour guide or relax in your accommodation.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Travel time Christchurch to Mt Cook Village – 4 hours
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains and inland towards the majestic Southern Alps. Cross the barren Mackenzie Country to reach the glacial lakes as you journey towards Mount Cook.
In the afternoon visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre offering a 2D and 3D theatre and world-class deﬁniti® Digital Dome Planetarium. You will also find a museum showcasing the history of the Mount Cook region through transport, climbing, and pioneer extraordinaire, Sir Edmund Hillary.
Activity Option: Add on a must do Scenic Helicopter Flight with snow landing to view Mount Cook and glaciers.
Stay 1 night in Mount Cook.
Travel time Mt Cook Village to Wanaka – 2.5 hours
Venture past Lake Pukaki a picturesque turquoise glacial lake, before you travel through the dramatic Lindis Pass which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. Wanaka awaits you boasting panoramic views, a relaxing atmosphere and a myriad of walking tracks.
In the afternoon you have many options, you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s iconic illusional attraction as well as the famous National Toy and Transport Museum. You may also want to take a look around Wanaka’s boutique shops, stroll around the lake’s edge, or indulge in one of the many activities on offer.
Stay 1 night in Wanaka.
Travel time Wanaka to Te Anau – 2 hours
Drive over the beautiful Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire the vistas from fantastic viewing points. Be sure to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before
While you relax in Te Anau, you may wish to visit Fiordland Cinema and watch Ata Whenua – Shadowland, which was filmed by helicopters flying over the remote reaches of Fiordland National Park. You could also visit the Department of Conservation visitor centre for displays on the natural wonders of the region. Take a stroll along the lakefront to the Wildlife Park, where you can view endangered native birds, or visit the nearby Lake Manapouri for even more impressive views.
Te Anau is known as the walking capital of New Zealand, so the hiking options are endless! Enjoy the walk to the top of Key Summit for stunning views over Fiordland National Park, take a full day to explore the Kepler Track, or stroll along the lakefront esplanade.
Or, add on a fantastic glowworm tour!
Stay 2 nights in Te Anau.
Travel time Te Anau to Milford Sound – 2.5 hours (each way)
Embark on a scenic journey along the Milford Road, one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery is exceptional, ranging from broad, grassy flats, dense rainforest, and towering mountains through to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. No other road in Fiordland offers such a diverse glimpse into New Zealand’s alpine zone.
Upon reaching Milford Sound, a boat will take you on a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Make sure you keep a look out for dolphins, seals and penguins! Enjoy a new perspective of the Milford Highway as you travel back to Te Anau.
Travel time Te Anau to Dunedin via the Catlins – 5 hours
Enjoy vistas of rolling farmland, whilst travelling to Dunedin, one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the southern hemisphere. Dunedin offers a diverse range of experiences including the Speight’s Brewery, Larnach Castle and of course the stunning Otago Peninsula.
Explore Dunedin and visit attractions of interest with your tour guide this afternoon.
Stay 2 nights in Dunedin.
Today join the Taieri Gorge Railway – one of the world’s great train trips and an experience not to be missed. Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station the Taieri Gorge Railway begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s most ever-changing, spectacular and iconic scenery. The train travels into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep gorge carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River.
Negotiating the gorge with ease, the train travels through ten tunnels and over countless bridges and viaducts. The train will stop or slow down at various scenic points along the way for photos where you can disembark. Stand on the open
Travel time Dunedin to Queenstown – 3.5 hours
Drive through historic Central Otago, farm land, orchards and vineyards to reach Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital of the world.
Relax and explore Queenstown, with the option to visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park, the Underwater Observatory, or the Ivan Clarke Gallery; ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for panoramic views over the Wakatipu Basin; or simply enjoy a lakefront stroll or a bit of boutique shopping.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Today join Nomad Safaris for their Nomad Safaris Skippers Canyon adventure – a half-day 4WD heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. The Skippers Canyon 4WD tour departs from Queenstown heading out towards Coronet Peak. As you head up the mountainside towards the entrance to this spectacular canyon you will stop at The Plane Table, which gives a stunning panoramic view of the Wakatipu Basin. Follow in the footsteps of many adventurers and discoverers as this historical winding road brings you to the historic Skippers Bridge, which provides a stunning photo opportunity.
After carefully negotiating the bridge, the road continues into the historical township of Skippers. Indulge in morning tea at the Skippers Schoolhouse. On the return journey you will stop at Deep Creek where you can immerse yourself in the heritage of the local area by turning your hand to a spot of gold panning. Your trained guides will teach you techniques to successfully pan for gold on one of the richest gold bearing rivers in the world. Some may also recognise spots along the Skippers Road as being featured in The Lord of The Rings. British Automobile Association voted Skippers Canyon Road as one of the 25 most scenic roads in the world.
Today relax and explore Queenstown and its surrounding towns. Take the picturesque 30 min drive to historic Arrowtown, and enjoy a short walk around the Chinese miners village or along the historic cobble stone streets lined with tiny miner’s cottages. Or add on one of the must do activities in Queenstown.
In the evening relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, the only coal fired passenger carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Step aboard – watch the stokers fuelling the fireboxes and hear the hiss of the steam engines working as the TSS Earnslaw takes you on a nostalgic cruise over beautiful Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm where you will enjoy a stunning gourmet BBQ dinner. An entertaining after dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high country farming life. Then on your return cruise to Queenstown, relax with a drink from the bar or join a fun sing-along with the ship’s pianist and make a toast to a fantastic New Zealand guided tour!
Depart Queenstown. Your guide will personally deliver you to the airport ready for your departing flight.
Each New Zealand guided tour package is fully customisable and date flexible. The itinerary and inclusions will be tailored to suit your group. Suited for couples, families, and groups, each escorted tour package is all-inclusive for maximum convenience.
As you begin planning your New Zealand guided tour, your personal travel consultant will discuss any special interests, preferences, and must-see destinations.
We also offer a range of alternative tour packages through our New Zealand Guided Tours brand.
Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your tour.
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