Ultimate Explorer - from Christchurch
Why Choose Flying Kiwi...?
1. MORE EXPERIENCE = BETTER TRAVEL OPTIONS...
Flying Kiwi is the original New Zealand tour company. We are the experts with 30 years' experience in conducting tours of the highest quality and thousands of very, very satisfied customers. You can be guaranteed that our team will provide a professional and enjoyable experience of a lifetime.
2. MORE PEACE OF MIND WITH GUARANTEED DEPARTURES...
Once you are booked you are going! ALL our summer tours (Oct-Apr) are guaranteed departures. This gives you complete peace of mind and enables you to plan and look forward to your trip - trips do fill fast though so get in quick.
3. MORE NATIONAL PARKS....
We have a license with the Department of Conservation that enables us to visit, and stay in, places other tours can't access. We ensure our tours give you time to experience New Zealand's best national parks too, including Paparoa, Abel Tasman, Aoraki/Mount Cook, Tongariro and Fiordland.
4. MORE CHANCES TO GENUINELY GET OFF THE BEATEN TRACK...
There are a number of World famous highlights on any trip to New Zealand - Milford Sound, Queentown, Rotorua to name a few and we make sure to experience the best these spots have to offer. However, what makes our trips totally unique is exploring the lesser known spots that other tour groups don't visit. Whether it's a secret glow-worm walk at night, a lush rainforest-fringed pool for a dip, a bike ride along deserted roads hugging the coast or a local cafe that serves quite possibly the best muffins in New Zealand we have found the best secret spots - we know you will love them just try not to tell too many others!
5. MORE ACCOMMODATION BY LAKES, MOUNTAINS AND OCEANS...
Rather than wake up in a hostel dorm we wake up to amazing views, fresh air and away from the crowds. By staying in these carefully selected sites you get to experience amazing sunrises, spectacular sunsets, campfires, sleeping to the sound of the ocean, morning dips, lakeside dining to name a few. There are camping and cabin accommodation options (so something for everyone) and we do occasionally use hostels (3 on the entire 28-day trip) to give you access to the bustling city centres.
6. MORE TASTY AND HEALTHY MEALS...
Our trips involve a great deal of activity and we appreciate the importance of good food. We usually offer breakfast, lunch and dinner which saves you time and money. With an average meal out in NZ costing around $30 you'll save a fortune compared to other tour companies.
7. MORE CYCLE OPTIONS...
With bikes on board you have the chance to cycle as much, or as little, as you want. We cover a huge range of rides along the coast, by lakes, through mountain landscapes, downhill, uphill and even across hill - there is something for everyone and every fitness level.
8. MORE HIKES AND ACTIVITY OPTIONS (+LOADS OF FREE STUFF)...
We offer more hikes and activity options than any other tour company. That gives you more choice every day to try the hikes you fancy and the activities you have always wanted to try. Everything is optional and there are always free alternatives. We also include a number of the activities free of charge such as hot pools, Wai-O-Tapu thermals, gondola ride, wine tasting, scenic ferry crossing (both directions) and more.
9. MORE FLEXIBILITY...
Our tours are designed to fit around you. We aren't a traditional tour - you choose the activities you want to do, you choose the style of accommodation you want and you can even take extended breaks along the way - Flying Kiwi is the perfect combination of independent travel and touring convenience.
10. MORE VALUE FOR MONEY...
Quite simply our trips are unbeatable. With transport, accommodation, most meals and use of sports equipment included you won't find a better value tour. Our tours add up to around $160 NZD per day which is a great measure to compare with other options (don't forget a meal out in NZ averages around $30 for starters and bike hire starts at approx. $35 per day).
11. WE SPEND 2-3 NIGHTS IN THE BEST LOCATIONS....
Our main tour is longer than others for a reason - we want this to be the trip of a lifetime. Extra nights in the best locations ensure you can enjoy and relax - simple!
12. FREE HIGHLIGHTS...
Some operators may list these as free activities specific to their tour but as Kiwis are such a generous bunch all those listed below are free for everyone!
Tongariro Crossing (bus transfer not included), glow worm walks, Te Papa museum, Wellington Botanical Gardens, heaps of free hikes, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks walk, seal spotting, gum boot throwing, Abel Tasman National Park walk, Lake Matheson mirror lake, Tekapo Church of Good Shepherd, Kauri forest walks, Huka Falls, Waitomo museum, Hokitika greenstone factory, dig your own thermal pool on Hot Water beach (we provide the spades!), explore the Bay of Islands region and more.
13. PLACES WE VISIT ARE...
- Stunning Bay of Islands
- Golden beaches of Coromandel
- Thermal mud pools of Rotorua
- Cruise the Marlborough Sounds
- Character cities of Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland
- Infamous Mount Cook
- Adrenalin rush of Queenstown
- Chilling Glaciers
- Picturesque Abel Tasman National Park
- Natural beauty of Kaikoura
- The spectacular Milford Sound
- Real Lord of the Rings country
- The lush vineyards and hilly pastures of Picton and Marlborough
- Cultural and historical treasures
- New Zealand’s World Heritage Sites
- The nation's capital - Wellington
- The wild west coast of the South Island
- The wildlife spotting paradise of Otago Peninsula
- Numerous remote locations that other tours and tourists don't reach
14. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES TO CHOOSE FROM...
- Superb cycle rides (for all levels)
- Excellent hikes (for all levels)
- Sea kayaking
- Hobbiton Movie Set tour
- Maori Culture
- Hot pools
- Zipline tours
- Bungy jumping & giant swings
- White water rafting
- Whale watching (by air or boat)
- Deep sea fishing
- Dolphin swimming
- Horse riding
- Nature tours
- Brewery tours
- Milford Sound boat cruise
- Glow worm tours
- Glacier heli hiking
- Hang gliding
- Black water rafting
- Sand boarding
28 days, 27 nights
- Tasty meals - 25 x Breakfasts, 9 x Lunches, 18 x Dinners
- Bus/coach transport
- Shared tent accommodation, 2 people per tent
- Inflating camping mattress
- Numerous free walks
- Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland - NZ's most colourful geothermal attraction
- 2 x Scenic Ferry Crossings
- Wine Tasting - in the beautiful Marlborough region
- Queenstown 2 hostel nights accommodation
- Tongariro Crossing (bus transfer not included)
- Fresh Seafood Dinner - a Kaikoura fresh seafood feast - priceless!
- Use of sports equipment (bodyboards, cricket sets and more)
- 2 friendly & knowledgeable Flying Kiwi guides
This tour is recommended for persons 18 years and older however requests for younger participants will be considered on a case by case basis.
- Day 1 : CHRISTCHURCH - RANGITATALeaving Christchurch at 2:30pm we travel towards the Southern Alps with fantastic views across the Canterbury Plains – real Lord of the Rings country! Tonight’s unique camp is at the Shearer’s Headquarters (an actual operating farm) located at the foot of the Southern Alps.Meals :DinnerDay 2 : RANGITATA – LAKE TEKAPOWake up to mountain views and try white water rafting on the mighty Rangitata River! If rafting isn’t for you soak it all in with a morning cycle or walk through Peel forest. We then head through more jaw dropping landscapes (they don’t stop in the South Island) to the picture postcard, Lake Tekapo. Here you will view the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour brought down from the rivers flowing from glaciers high up in the mountains. Relax in the nearby hot pools or enjoy star gazing at the Mt John Observatory and make the most of staying in an International Dark Sky Reserve, plus there are plenty of hike and cycle options to choose from.Meals :Breakfast, LunchDay 3 : LAKE TEKAPO – MT COOK - MOERAKIImmerse yourself in the snow-capped mountain scenery that New Zealand is famous for and explore Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain following a trail up the Hooker valley where you’ll cross swing bridges and get stunning views of the mountains before finishing up at a glacial lake with views of the Hooker Valley glacier. We then travel back towards the Pacific coast for a quick stop in the historic town of Oamaru before continuing onwards to the small village of Moeraki. Walk to a great view point offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and try to spot a little Blue Penguin along the shore. If you have a bike it’s possible to visit a colony of extremely rare Yellow-eyed Penguins near to camp.Meals :Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerDay 4 : MOERAKI - DUNEDINBefore travelling south, we make a stop at the nearby Moeraki Boulders and then it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin, the South Island's second-largest city. This southern city is home to the world’s steepest residential street and the coastline is home to some fantastic and rare wildlife. It’s possible to take a tour onto the Otago Peninsula to view some of this diverse wildlife which includes Albatross and Fur Seals. For the adventurous why not try surfing at one of Dunedin’s best breaks! Our camp is a short distance from the beach with a variety of restaurants close by to choose from.Meals :BreakfastDay 5 : DUNEDIN – FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARKToday is one of our longer travel days as we drive through some of New Zealand’s most dramatic natural scenery on our way to Fiordland. Large parts of the landscape have been carved out over thousands of years to leave stunning paths that weave through snow-capped mountains. We stop briefly in Te Anau, the hub and gateway town for Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound and your last chance to get supplies for those doing the Routeburn Track tomorrow. From Te Anau we make our way into the gigantic Fiordland National Park, encompassing some 12,500km2 it is New Zealand’s largest National Park. Tonight’s camp is a pretty special place in the heart of the Hollyford Valley, established in the 1930s. You can learn more about the history of the camp at the onsite museum. Cyclists have the chance to cycle to camp through some great native bush and walkers can do some nice short walks from camp (ask your guide about the secret glow worm trails).Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 6 : FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK – MILFORD SOUND - TE ANAUTravel one of the world’s most scenic routes into Milford Sound! Described as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. We highly recommend taking in the boat trip on Milford Sound with dramatic waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and possible wildlife spotting of dolphins, penguins and seals! As it’s just the one road in and out, we head back along the same breath-taking route to our lakeside camp in Te Anau. Along the way, we drop off those doing the 3-day Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. This 3-day hike passes through two National Parks and is a haven for native bird life. Charge up your camera as this hike offers everything from mountainous peaks and sheer rock faces to pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls and dense, luxuriant forest.Meals :Breakfast, LunchDay 7 : TE ANAU - QUEENSTOWNToday we journey to Queenstown along the shores of the photogenic Lake Wakatipu. Once we arrive at the adventure capital of New Zealand you have a huge selection of activities to choose from. There is everything here, from adrenalin pumping bungy, canyon swing and skydiving to a relaxing horse trek or boat cruise – this place has it all. There are great tracks around the lake ideal for bikers and hikers and all with wonderful views of this alpine region. Camping isn’t feasible in this bustling alpine village, for the next two nights we stay in dorm-share accommodation in a centrally located hostel. Perfect for making the most of all Queenstown as to offer.Meals :BreakfastDay 8 : QUEENSTOWNWith so much to do we spend the full day in fantastic Queenstown with the opportunity to enjoy those once in a lifetime experiences (don’t forget to try the legendary and very tasty Fergburger!). Routeburn Track walkers re-join the group here at midday with time to try some of the many exciting activities this vibrant city has to offer. Tonight, we dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a true kiwi feast (own cost).Meals :BreakfastDay 9 : QUEENSTOWN- LAKE WANAKAOur final morning in Queenstown and your last chance to indulge in the Queenstown’s action before we farewell those finishing their tour and welcome new travellers joining us here. Leaving at 2:30pm, after the thrills and spills of Queenstown we travel through more mountains and on towards more stunning glacial lakes. On the final stretch to camp we start getting views of Mt Aspiring National Park in the distance. Lake Wanaka is just over the next ridge and it’s on the edge of this glacial lake that we find our next wilderness camp. Enjoy great views of Lake Wanaka and the mountains beyond as we absorb the beauty of the area.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 10 : LAKE WANAKA - GLACIER COUNTRYEnjoy a relaxed morning at our lakeside camp then it's northward bound through Mt Aspiring National Park. Just before we reach the West Coast we stop for a walk to the amazing Blue Pools, and then head over the dramatic Haast Pass. As we travel towards the wild West Coast, the road follows braided rivers and huge glacier carved valleys. There are two more great walk options along the way, one through lush and ancient forests and the other through swampy vegetation, ending on the beach where it is possible to spot Hector dolphins. Tonight, we will be staying beside the beautiful Lake Paringa enjoying a true West Coast wilderness experience.Meals :Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerDay 11 : GLACIER COUNTRY - OKARITOToday is your chance to explore one of NZ’s most unique and spectacular natural wonders – Franz Josef Glacier. This staggering beautiful work of nature is 12 kilometres and descends from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres above sea level. To get on the ice you must go up by helicopter but it’s possible to view the glacier with a stunning walk through the main valley up to the terminal face. Before arriving at Franz Josef, we take a highly recommended walk around Lake Matheson where crystal clear reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman make the perfect photo opportunity. Late afternoon, we have a short drive up the coast to our beautiful beachside campsite next to the Okarito lagoon – one of the very few places where there are still rare sightings of our native kiwi bird and the home to NZ’s only colony of the White Heron (kotuku). Enjoy a fire down on the beach taking in the rugged coast and epic mountain views.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 12 : OKARITO - PUNAKAIKIEnjoy an early morning walk, with a view of the sunrise over the Southern Alps as a reward. We then continue up this spectacular coastal road to the quirky town of Hokitika, home to the Greenstone factories and a great place to pick up a traditional souvenir of your visit. Passing through Greymouth we keep following the coast to Punakaiki where you’ll notice a change in the landscape and vegetation with huge limestone cliffs appearing and Nikau Palm trees become abundant. Our beach camp has great sunsets, a beautiful river and incredible views of Paparoa National Park. The pancake rocks and blowholes are the main attraction in Punakaiki where limestones rocks are stacked on top of each other and ocean swells are forced through gaps in the rock creating a whale’s blowhole effect. In the evening, explore a cavern with some glow worms hanging out in the dark then relax at the local tavern.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 13 : PUNAKAIKI – ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARKBefore leaving Punakaiki we take time to explore part of the Paparoa National Park with a walk along the Porarari river or cycle up Bullock creek road to visit a cave resurgence. Leaving mid-morning we travel inland through the majestic Buller gorge and onto our favourite National Park, Abel Tasman. In one of the sunniest areas of the country you will discover beautiful secluded bays and stunning golden sand beaches. On arrival, you have the option to skydive or hang glide and then we look forward to spending 3 nights at our perfectly located campground, close to the park entrance which makes it the idea place to explore all corners of the park.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 14 : ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARKTaking time to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand - there are excellent options for everyone here.You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal-clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chances for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) Explore the heart of the park on one of our most highly rated optional activities - canyoning high flow waterfalls and rapids!Meals :Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerDay 15 : ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARKWe spend another full day at the doorstep to New Zealand’s smallest but most visited national park and our personal favourite, the Abel Tasman.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 16 : ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK - WELLINGTONLeaving early, we make our way towards Wellington stopping for a brief visit in sunny Nelson, the home of Flying Kiwi. Before leaving Nelson be sure to farewell your Tour Assistant as a new Tour Assistant will join you here for the remainder of your tour. Your Tour Leader will say farewell in Picton. On route to Picton we’ll make a stop at Pelorus bridge, a Hobbit film location and great place for a quick dip on a warm day. Finish this fantastic day with a scenic ferry (cost included) through the picturesque Marlborough sounds to Wellington - our base for the evening. Camping isn’t feasible in the heart of the nation’s capital, so we will be staying at a great hostel giving you the best access to explore the city. We have dorm beds reserved for everyone on board (payable locally).Meals :BreakfastDay 17 : WELLINGTON – NEW PLYMOUTHEnjoy a leisurely breakfast (own cost) before checking out the sights of New Zealand’s beautiful capital before we hit the road for our 11am departure. We travel up the scenic Kapiti Coast towards the Taranaki region – home to wonderful beaches, crashing waves and the spectacular Mount Taranaki, one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world. Our campsite is beside the Taranaki coastline offering a short scenic walk or cycle to camp at the end of the day.Meals :DinnerDay 18 : NEW PLYMOUTH - AUCKLANDWe depart early towards the limestone wonderland of Waitomo Caves, home to an endemic species of glow-worms that inhabit the vast cave systems. Black water rafting is a unique way to experience the caves as you float through the underground maze with the radiant light of the glow-worms to lead the way. We take time to enjoy a picnic lunch before heading to “the city of sails”, New Zealand’s largest city for a taste of big city life “kiwi style” and a great chance to join your group for a taste of the harbour bars and restaurants. Camping isn’t feasible in the heart of the country’s largest city, so we will be staying in a great hostel giving you the best access to explore the city. This is payable locally and we have dorm beds reserved for everyone on board.Meals :Breakfast, LunchDay 19 : AUCKLAND – BAY OF ISLANDSLeaving Auckland at 10am we head to the "winterless north" and the pristine beaches of the Bay of Islands. We stop at the incredible Uretiti beach for a swim and a walk along the sand. Grab a rugby ball and frisbee off the bus and brush up on your passing skills at this picturesque beach spot. On arrival into Paihia, the gateway town to the Bay of Islands, choose from the Mangrove walk or a beautiful cycle to the thundering Haruru waterfall.Meals :DinnerDay 20 : BAY OF ISLANDSExperience a full day exploring the Bay of Islands and its turquoise waters. This subtropical region is the perfect playground for water lovers and a great place to soak up the sunshine. With a staggering 144 islands, the Bay of Islands offers diving, sailing, swimming and fishing along with some excellent walks in the native forests leading to quiet beaches and special views. This region is also home to some of the oldest European settlement in New Zealand and many historic buildings.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 21 : BAY OF ISLANDS - OREWAThere is a day full of adventure ahead as we travel to the rugged and soulful West Coast. Our first stop comes with a chance to try your skills sand boarding or if you don’t fancy heading down the sandy slopes there’s a nice coastal walk. Then it’s back on board as we head south towards the Waipoua Forest, travelling through the largest remaining tract of native kauri forests in northland. We leave the West Coast and cross back over to the East towards our final destination and camp for tonight, Orewa. Home to one of the Auckland regions longest and safest beaches it’s a great place for a stroll and a swim, or relax at the local hot pools.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 22 : OREWA - AUCKLAND - HOT WATER BEACHOrewa is often blessed with a beautiful sunrise over sea which is well worth an early start to check out. We make our way back through Auckland for a quick stop to drop off or pickup those leaving/starting their trip in Auckland before we travel to the Coromandel, renowned for its natural beauty, misty rain-forests and pristine white, sandy beaches. Marvel at the views on a beautiful coastal walk or take in the coastline from the water by kayak. Visit the unique and famous Hot Water Beach to dig, then relax, in your own thermal pool! Soak up the breath-taking scenery and cameras ready for spectacular sunrises at our beach-side camp.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 23 : HOT WATER BEACH - ROTORUAThe morning is filled with activity as we make our way south into the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. On the way, those visiting Hobbiton leave us in Matamata as we continue to the cultural and geological heart of the North Island and the perfect place to experience and learn about Maori culture and the dramatic natural thermals, Rotorua. There is plenty of action to choose from such as Zip Lining, OGO and the Luge or go biking in the Whakarewarewa forest. We recommend finishing your day with a Maori cultural experience at the Tamaki Maori Village, there really is something for everyone!Meals :Breakfast, LunchDay 24 : ROTORUA - TURANGIEnjoy a relaxed start to the day before we check out the geysers & mud pools at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (included free). First, we visit the Lady Knox Geyser before exploring one of New Zealand’s most extensive geothermal networks, a unique landscape with colourful sulphur lakes and diverse volcanic vistas. We then take time to explore the impressive Huka Falls before arriving into Taupo, considered the North Island's adrenalin capital. Test your fear of heights on the giant swing, bungy or go skydiving, the scenery is well worth it! We finish the day with a beautiful drive around the edge of Lake Taupo on our way into camp at Turangi.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 25 : TURANGI - PAEKAKARIKIToday you have the chance to experience the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - considered NZ's best day hike, offering a remarkable journey across volcanic landscapes. Lava flows, emerald-coloured lakes, magnificent views and steaming vents combine to make this an unforgettable hike. For those who aren't keen on hiking you can enjoy short local walks or cycle the Tongariro river track. After the hike, we make our way south and stay on the Kapiti coast in a quiet little place called Paekakariki.Meals :Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerDay 26 : PAEKAKARIKI – WELLINGTON - PICTONHeading south to "the coolest little capital in the World" (as recently named by Lonely Planet), our early arrival by 9am gives you time to experience some of Wellington’s attractions or simply soak up the culture and buzz of our capital city. There are plenty for all tastes including the highly recommend Te Papa Museum. Check out some of New Zealand’s rare birds at Zealandia or take a walk-up Mt Victoria for great views across the city and harbour. Later that day, it’s time to say goodbye to the North Island as the South Island welcomes us with picturesque scenery of the Marlborough sounds as we cross the Cook Strait by ferry. Camping isn’t feasible tonight, so we stay at a great friendly hostel where we have dorm beds reserved for everyone on board (payable locally).Meals :BreakfastDay 27 : PICTON - KAIKOURAToday we travel the scenic Pacific coast to Kaikoura where close encounters with seals and sea birds are common. Kaikoura translates to 'meal of crayfish' (Kai - food, koura - crayfish) a reference to the abundance of seafood and sea life in the area. The town has transformed from a sleepy fishing village into a hot spot for whale watching, dolphin swimming and seal spotting. This picturesque town sits right on the ocean at the foot of the mountains – a spectacular spot. Stretch your legs with a recommended afternoon peninsula walk and build up an appetite for a tasty feast of locally caught fresh seafood.Meals :Breakfast, DinnerDay 28 : KAIKOURA – CHRISTCHURCHFor those that are keen there is the chance to rise early for a wonderful sunrise and then enjoy one of our most highly rated optional activities – dolphin swimming. The resident dusky dolphins are amongst the most interactive and entertaining in the World and it’s not unusual to swim with pods of 50 or more in their natural habitat, the ocean! For those not dolphin swimming you have the chance to explore this quaint seaside town before we travel south to Christchurch where we say our farewells at 12:30pm.Meals :Breakfast
Christchurch pickup: 2:30pm Outside the Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Central Christchurch city.
TOUR STARTING CHRISTCHURCH - (28 days)
2019 TOUR DEPARTURE DATES:
November: 3, 12, 21, 30
December: 9, 18, 27
2020 TOUR DEPARTURE DATES:
January: 5, 14, 23
February: 1, 10, 19, 28
March: 9, 3, 18
Optional hires: You can hire any of the following equipment from us for the duration of your trip or bring your own gear. We charge a small handling fee for those who bring their own bikes but there are no charges for your own tent etc.
$485 Cycle hire for entire trip
$200 Bring your own bike
$270 Single tent upgrade
$75 Sleeping bag hire
Hostel nights: There are 3 nights where camping isn't feasible, and we stay in hostels, payable on arrival. We have dorm beds reserved for everyone on board. Contact us prior to travel if you would like to pre-book a private room (subject to availability).
Cabin upgrades (optional): Are available most nights for a small fee, payable on the day (subject to availability). During the peak travel months of Dec, Jan, Feb we recommend pre-booking upgrades prior to travel through the Flying Kiwi office. Pre-booking upgrades incur a 10% pre-booking service fee of the total upgrade cost.
Optional Activities: Most days there are a selection of optional activities you can choose to do (i.e. skydiving, heli hiking etc). Payment for optional activities are made direct to the operator on the day.