This ultimate Kiwi adventure covers the best of New Zealand while also getting off the beaten path to visit a few hidden gems. From white sand beaches to year-round snowcapped peaks, you will experience the real New Zealand. Your local kiwi guides will give you the vacation of a lifetime with this incredible small group tour!
Start/Finish:Auckland or Queenstown
*tour runs in both directions
Visit Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Valley
A fantastic Lake Tawarewa day trip
Lake Taupo eco-sailing tour
Journey across the Cook Strait
Experience the Abel Tasman National Park
Unwind in the Maruia Hot Springs
Stargazing in Lake Tekapo
Visit New Zealand’s longest glacier
Plant a tree and see rare native birds
Return Scenic flights into Milford Sound
Hike part of the Milford Track
Enjoy a boat cruise in Milford Sound
We begin our journey south with a visit to Putaruru Blue Springs. Rainwater filters through the Mamaku Plateau for up to 100 years before welling up in the deep Blue Springs of Putaruru to fill the river with crystal clear freshwater. This environment provides a fantastic home for native birds, ducks, trout and other native wildlife that we may be lucky enough to see along the way. From here we will make the short trip into Rotorua for lunch, then to the jaw-dropping Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Valley. This wonderland has a plethora of geothermal attractions including the vivid champagne pool, silica terraces, neon sulfur lakes and more!
Today there is a bunch of amazing activities to choose from around Rotorua, explore the options below and see what catches your eye!
Stay: Rotorua, breakfast included. Check options for other included meals
A fantastic day trip spent on and around the stunning Lake Tarawera. In the morning enjoy a scenic boat journey, explore the geothermal area of Hot Water Beach, learn the fascinating Maori history and soak in a natural geothermal bush hot pool. In the afternoon experience a picnic lunch on the beach before a fully guided two-hour hike back to the starting point along the Tarawera Trail. Along the way, admire the stunning lake views, native birds and lush native forest!
Time: 6-8 hours, Includes Lunch
Rotorua Canopy Tours (+$129pp)
Join one of the most eco-conscious activities in Rotorua with an incredible Zipline Tour than takes you through a stunning virgin forest that has never been milled. It is an unforgettable and enlightening adventure, perfect for all ages. Journey deep into ancient New Zealand forest in small groups of up to 10 people. Experience New Zealand like it once was from the top of the forest canopy. Your amazing kiwi guides are highly trained to keep you safe, make you smile, teach you amazing things and create memories that last a lifetime. They will even hold your hand if required…
Total time: 3 hours
Polynesian Spa (+$30pp)
These beautiful lakeside springs are New Zealand's original bathing experience and offer the perfect environment to relax and unwind. Choose from a range of different bathing experiences or treat yourself to a massage, geothermal mud therapy and more. Open until late you can enjoy the Polynesian Spa before or after dinner.
Recommended time: 1-2 hours
OPTIONAL EVENING ACTIVITY - CAN BE COMBINED WITH ANY DAY TWO OPTION (+$129PP)
After the day's activities, there's an opportunity to immerse yourself in Maori culture with the Te Puia Evening Cultural Experience. This evening experience combines Maori culture, food and geothermal experiences all in one, enjoy a traditional welcome, an exclusive cultural performance, an authentic hangi for dinner and the geothermal valley under lights with this unforgettable evening tour! (The Te Puia Experience is in the evening and can be added to any of the above options)
Time: 3 hours, Includes Dinner
After breakfast, we'll travel to the picturesque lakefront town of Taupo to embark on a relaxing sailing journey. We'll visit the towering Maori Carvings in Mine Bay, these enormous carvings are one of the best examples of Maori craftsmanship in the country. We'll also have the opportunity to kayak, swim, relax or participate in sailing the vessel, which is one of the only fully electric yachts in New Zealand. After we return to shore, we'll enjoy a delicious lunch in Taupo before making the scenic drive around the lake edge to the Tongariro National Park. Tonight we’ll be staying at the iconic Chateau Tongariro in the foothills of Mount Ruapehu, the tallest mountain in the North Island! This evening there's an opportunity to explore the beautiful Tawhai Falls (Gollum’s Pool) to take in the scenery and stretch your legs.
Stay: Whakapapa Village, Breakfast Included
After a delicious buffet breakfast, we'll set off on the two-hour hike to the towering Taranaki Falls. On the way to the thundering falls we'll pass through rolling Tussock Hills, lush stands of native Mountain Beech trees, ancient lava flows and views of Mounts Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro on a clear day. Afterwards, we'll get on the road and make our way south toward New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, stopping for lunch near Palmerton North. We'll also visit the Kapiti Coast with a stop at Paraparaumu Beach to take in the wild scenery!
After we arrive in Wellington, you'll have the opportunity to explore. It's a vibrant city crammed with delightful culture, food, art and so much more. We have a few top-notch dinner recommendations that we'll be sure to share with you!
Stay: Wellington, Breakfast Included
This morning we'll cross the Cook Strait to the South Island. As we cross the strait be sure to keep your eyes peeled for marine mammals and the first glimpse of the South Island. The real scenic part of the journey is the last hour when we enter the Marlborough Sounds. Here the lush tree-covered ranges drop right into the clear blue waters of the sounds, creating an imposing landscape that is broken up by sandy coves and sheltered inlets. After we disembark, we'll make our way west toward Nelson and the Abel Tasman National Park, stopping in at the Saint Claire Family Estate Vineyard for a tasty lunch. We'll also have the opportunity to taste some world-famous Marlborough Region wines. Our next stop is the Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve, where we will stretch our legs with a short 30-minute walk through the native forest or relax on the riverside and soak up the incredible views!
Stay: Nelson, Breakfast Included
Today we'll explore the incredible Abel Tasman National Park! After driving to Marahau Beach, we'll board a water taxi to enjoy a scenic boat journey to be dropped right in the heart of Abel Tasman at Torrent Bay/Anchorage. You'll have plenty of time to explore the stunning white sand beach, enjoy a swim or perhaps make the 40-minute return walk to the nearby Te Pukatea Bay. After a delicious picnic lunch, there are two options, either catch a water taxi back to Marahau or hike back along the famed Abel Tasman Coast trail! The hike generally takes around four hours and provides a perfect taste of the Park with serene views of the coast and Adele Island, lush native bush, flowing streams and beautiful golden sand beaches.
Stay: Nelson, Breakfast and Lunch Included
After breakfast, we'll continue our journey south, right into the heart of the Southern Alps. Along the way, we'll stop to take in the incredible views, then enjoy a morning tea/coffee break in Murchinson. Our next stop is both the main attraction of the day and our accommodation for the evening, Maruia Hot Springs. The property is surrounded by pristine primary native beech forest and rugged high mountains and has a rich Maori history. Nowadays Maruia Hot Springs include luxury accommodation, a delicious restaurant, thermal pools, steam rooms, saunas, a day spa, plunge pools, private spas and so much more. There are also several fantastic walking trails from the Springs, including a beautiful waterfall trek, so feel free to join one of your guides or strike out on your own and explore the beautiful surroundings. Later in the evening, the on-site restaurant provides delicious, locally sourced meals to top off the day.
Stay: Maruia Hot Springs, Breakfast Included
Today we have a little driving to reach the beautiful Mackenzie Region, home to Tekapo, Mount Cook, the Tasman Glacier and an international dark sky reserve. We'll travel through the scenic Southern Alps before winding down to the Canterbury Plains, stopping along the way at one of our favourite local cafes. In the afternoon we'll enjoy a short hike in Port Hills, on a clear day we'll enjoy stunning views of the Banks Peninsula and Christchurch City. Our destination for the evening, Lake Tekapo, is located in the heart of the Mackenzie Region, surrounded by rolling hills, idyllic lakes, mountain views and provides some of the best stargazing in the world on a clear night. There are fantastic short walks, and the nearby Tekapo Springs has an excellent range of hot pools and if it's a clear night we have a few stargazing tricks up our sleeves!
Stay: Lake Tekapo, Breakfast Included
This morning you’ll have a chance to explore the Tekapo lakefront and the Church of the Good Shepard before we depart for Mount Cook National Park after breakfast. The drive to Mount Cook is one of the most stunning in New Zealand with Lake Pukaki on one side, rolling golden hills on the other, and New Zealand's tallest snowcapped mountains directly in front!
After arriving in Mount Cook Village, we'll set off on the famous Hooker Valley Track. This three-hour return trail winds right into the Hooker Lake, formed by the terminal edge of the Hooker Glacier which can be seen at the far end of the lake. Towering high above is the impressive Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch right in the heart of the Southern Alps before returning to Mount Cook Village. This afternoon/evening, we have three options to choose from, have a look below!
Stay: Mount Cook Village, Breakfast and Lunch Included
Join one of your Sole Ventures guides for a short hike to a stunning viewpoint of the lower reaches of the Tasman Glacier, and it’s the terminal glacier lake. Often there will be several icebergs drifting across the lake. As the sun gets lower, the valley truly has a magical feel too it. If you're a keen photographer, then this is a fantastic opportunity to spend time at one of New Zealand's most photogenic locations.
Duration: 1h30m | 1h walk
The only place in the world where you'll get to fly in a ski plane and a helicopter during one experience. Fly up the Tasman Valley over the breathtaking blue glacier lake. See the Hochstetter Icefall, the Grand Plateau and the cloud-piercing Aoraki/Mount Cook before landing on the upper snowfields of New Zealand’s longest glacier, the Tasman Glacier. Take time to enjoy this unique alpine environment before swapping aircraft and returning to Mount Cook Airport. These mountains are covered in snow and ice all year round, and the aircraft shuts down on landing so you can enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.
Duration: 1h30m | 45m flight/glacier landing time
Departing from our accommodation, enjoy a fantastic encounter with Tasman Glacier and its terminal lake. The bus will take you to the Tasman Valley, followed by a 30-minute alpine walk through the moraine and beautiful National Park. From here board your custom-built MAC boat, and cruise the rapidly growing terminal lake taking in spectacular mountain views and scenery. Icebergs of every shape and size periodically tear away from the glacier, allowing you to touch and taste the 300-500-year-old glacial crystals.
Duration: 2h30m (45m – 1h on the lake)
After a leisurely breakfast spent enjoying the panoramic views, we'll get on the road for Wanaka, taking in the beautifully scenic high country along the way. In Wanaka, we'll join an eco-cruise across the Picturesque Lake Wanaka to the remote and magical Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve. This predator-free island is home to the rare flightless Buff Weka and a host of other unique birds and wildlife. We'll explore with a guided walk to the top of the island, where we'll have afternoon tea, enjoy the panoramic views and learn about the fascinating environment. You'll also have the opportunity to plant a tree as part of the eco-experience to give back to New Zealand's pristine environment! After returning to Wanaka, we'll settle into our lakefront accommodation and enjoy the sun setting over the Southern Alps and stunning Lake Wanaka.
Stay: Lake Wanaka, Breakfast Included
Today we'll kick the morning off with one of our favourite hikes, The Rob Roy Glacier Track. This hike winds through an ancient glacial valley, following the gurgling river through the lush native bush until we break free of the tree line to a truly spectacular view. The Rob Roy Glacier tumbles over thousand-foot-high cliffs into the valley floor, making for an impressive sight! On some days, we may even be lucky enough to see massive chunks of ice falling over the cliff face. After returning to the luxury coach, we'll travel to Queenstown, stopping at the historic Cardrona Hotel to enjoy a drink together. Once we arrive at our Queenstown accommodation, you'll have time to explore the iconic lakefront town and take in the surroundings.
Stay: Queenstown, Breakfast Included
Today we discover the breathtaking Milford Sound in several different ways. Today is an absolute highlight for many guests as we fit so many Milford Sound highlights in one day. We start with a beautiful scenic flight over the Southern Alps into Fiordland, before taking a short boat ride to hike part of the famous Milford Track to Giant Gate Falls. Next, we join a scenic Mitre Peak boat cruise across the idyllic Milford Sounds before a scenic return flight to Queenstown. On the return flight, we'll pass by the spectacular Sutherland falls standing over 1,900ft (580m) tall. All in one day!
Stay: Queenstown, Breakfast and Lunch Included
Being the last day of the tour, we'll enjoy a delicious group brunch together and reminisce over the incredible sights of the previous two weeks. Your two guides will be in Queenstown all day, so if you have a later flight back to Auckland, they would love to spend some more time together. Additionally, we can organize another fantastic activity for you to enjoy. You'll leave with life-long memories and a bunch of fabulous new friends after spending two weeks exploring our stunning country, enjoying delicious meals, unwinding and feeling reinvigorated for your return home. We don't do goodbyes but instead say 'see you next time!'.
Activities and Entrance Fees:
Optional Activities (additional cost)