Active New Zealand
Get outside and get active as you hike, swim, raft, bungee jump and skydive your way through New Zealand’s spectacular mountain scenery.
You’ll sail an America’s Cup yacht in Auckland’s harbour, tube your way through glow worm-filled caves in Waitomo, hike the Tongariro Crossing in Ruapehu, swim with dolphins in Kaikoura and skydive from 12,000 feet over Lake Wanaka, all in one incredible Journey. Phew!
Some of the highlights included are:
- Take the helm of an America’s Cup yacht and sail Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour
- Enter the darkness and blackwater raft the waters of Waitomo’s TumuTumu Cave
- Spend the night immersed in the peace and quiet of Doubtful Sound
- Face your fears and leap out of a plane at 12,000ft with a skydive over Wanaka
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- International flights
- 20 nights in 4-4.5* hotels
- 17 days' car hire
- Ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton
- America’s Cup Sailing in Auckland
- Dune Rider & Cape Reinga tour
- Blackwater rafting TumuTumu Toobing tour
- Tongariro Crossing Exclusive Guide Service
- Dolphin Encounter Swim in Kaikoura
- Rangitata Rafting
- 12,000ft Tandem Skydive
- Nevis Bungee Jump
- Doubtful Sound overnight cruise
- Airport transfers
Need to know+
- Arrives: Auckland Airport (AKL)
- Time difference: GMT+13
- Visa requirements: British passport holders do not require a visa
- Language: English and Maori
- Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)
- Flying time from UK: around 27 hours
- Plug type: 3-prong flat blade plug
- Voltage: 240 volts/50 cycles
Fly from UK to Auckland
Start your New Zealand adventure in sunny Auckland, a vibrant and modern city that’s home to about a third of New Zealand’s population. Take some time to browse the museums and galleries, sample the many restaurants or stop for coffee and cake in the cafés. While you’ll here, you’ll take to the high seas as you set sail across Waitemata Harbour on an America’s Cup yacht. Take the helm yourself, get involved with steering and sailing, or simply sit back and enjoy the view.
Bay of Islands
Head for the beautiful Bay of Islands and the pretty town of Pahia, surrounded by turquoise seas. Explore the countryside in a specially designed Dune Rider, climb the sand dunes and, if you wish, boogie board back down again. Afterwards, you’ll drive along 90 Mile Beach to pretty Cape Reinga and its lovely lighthouse. This is the meeting point of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, and you can see the waves from opposing sides crashing together to create tidal swells.
Return to Auckland for the night and tick off the attractions you missed the first time – perhaps take a look around the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and it’s impressive clock tower, learn some recent Kiwi history at the Auckland War Memorial Museum or ascend to the top of the 328 metre-high Sky Tower and take in a bird’s eye view of the city. If you have some extra time, perhaps drive or walk up one of the city’s many volcanic cones and soak up the views.
Leaving Auckland, don your wetsuit and prepare to get wet as you spend the day tubing, climbing, swimming and walking through the remarkable TumuTumu Cave in Waitomo, keeping an eye out for glow worms. After your caving adventure, continue on to the geysers, natural hot springs and thermal pools of Rotorua, a fascinating geological playground and a great place to learn more about New Zealand’s Maori culture.
Drive on to Mount Ruapehu, an active volcano in Tongariro National Park. Here you’ll join your very own exclusive guide and hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a popular 12-mile tramping track through mountains, past hot springs and along the lakeshores of this World Heritage-listed area. Although steep in parts, this is one of New Zealand’s most popular one day hikes and affords some wonderfully photogenic vistas. The walk takes between seven and nine hours to complete depending on your ability and fitness level.
Learn more about Maori Culture in New Zealand’s scenic capital, home to the excellent (and free) Te Papa National Museum. Wellington is a lovely, relaxing city, perfect for a picnic among the mountain and seaside scenery. Try walking or taking the Cable Car (which is actually a funicular railway) to the hilltop Botanic Garden for lovely city views from among the flowers and fountains – on clear days you can see all the way to the snow-dusted Rimutaka Range in the northeast.
Leaving Wellington behind, you’ll take the ferry to Picton in New Zealand’s South Island. From here, you’ll drive on to Blenheim, the largest town in the Marlborough region and famous for its many top notch vineyards. So what are you waiting for? Hire a bike, cycle to a winery or two and taste your way around the fine wines, including the world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re hungry, tuck in to the tasty local artisan foods and cheeses, with wines to match of course.
Arrive in the wildlife haven of Kaikoura, which is well known for its fabulously fresh seafood and its variety of marine mammals. To see them up close, set sail on a whale watching cruise and look out for sperm whales and seals. Included in your Journey is a Dolphin Encounter Swim – you’ll look out for dusky dolphins along the coast and if you’re lucky enough to spot a pod of these inquisitive marine mammals, you’ll have the rare opportunity to jump in and swim with them.
The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch retains a small-town feel with its leafy streets, endless network of bicycle paths, wide open spaces and the pretty Avon River. Spend a couple of days exploring the art galleries and museums and check out the unusual Cardboard Cathedral, built to replace the stone-built version that was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake. While you’re here, up the excitement factor with a rafting trip to the grade five rapids of the Southern Alps, about two hours’ drive from Christchurch.
Aoraki Mount Cook
Explore Aoraki Mount Cook, a beautiful wilderness region home to New Zealand’s highest mountain, 3,724m Mount Cook. There are many ways to soak up the scenery – try hiking the trails, cruising the lakes, skiing the slopes (winter only) or even kayaking on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. This fun-filled excursion gives you the unique opportunity to get closer to the icebergs that float on these tranquil waters, as well as the face of the glacier itself.
The pretty lakeside town of Wanaka is a must for mountain lovers. Not only do the town and its lake offer fabulous mountain views, but the town is filled with quirky attractions, including the intriguing Puzzling World and its mystifying maze, and the retro-style Cinema Paradiso, where you can watch films while sitting on a sofa or in a car. For perfect panoramas, hike or ski the mountains or, for the best view of all take to the skies and face your fears as you leap out of a plane at 12,000ft. With a parachute, of course.
Your next stop is the Kiwi adrenaline capital of Queenstown, a scenic settlement on the edge of Lake Wakatipu with the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps as a backdrop. There are plenty of white knuckle adventures on offer here, with jetboating and luging just two examples. Following on from your skydive in Wanaka, you’ll continue the thrill-seeking with the 134m Nevis Bungee jump, experiencing 8.5 seconds of freefall – get ready to scream!
Set sail on a relaxing cruise on beautiful Doubtful Sound, spending the night among the cliffs, mountains and waterfalls of this pristine wildernessa. If you’re lucky you might spot the resident pod of dolphins, and fur seals and penguins are often sighted too. Once the ship drops anchor, you’ll have the chance to explore the shoreline’s coves by kayak, and if you’re feeling really brave you can jump in for an invigorating swim.
Return to Queenstown for another night. Perhaps take a walk along the lakeshore and admire the scenery or treat yourself to an epic burger at the ever popular Fergberger, something of a local institution. For the more active you could try fishing or horseback riding, or perhaps ride the Shotover Jet down the winding Shotover River, a hair-raising ride where you’ll reach speeds of up to 85 kilometres per hour.
Depart Queenstown and return to the UK
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