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20 Day Nature & Wildlife Tour of New Zealand

20 Day Nature & Wildlife Tour of New Zealand

per person

New Zealand’s wildlife is equally as stunning and unique as New Zealand itself. Discover a land of infinite variety from birds that cannot fly to New Zealand’s living dinosaur.

Tour Inclusions:

  • Safari-style tour from Christchurch to Auckland in comfortable minibus 
  • Accommodation in 3 – 3.5 star hotels
  • Maori guided walk
  • Guided short walks with qualified guide
  • Maori concert and hangi feast in Rotorua
  • Visit to Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  • Visits to geysers and other thermal Areas in Rotorua
  • Boat trip and bush walk on Kapiti Island Reserve
  • Ferry crossing from North to South Island
  • Boat trip and walk in Abel Tasman Nat. Park
  • Guided glacier walk, Fox Glacier
  • Visits to fur seal and penguin colonies and to view Royal Albatrosses
  • Milford Sound Cruise
  • 19 x breakfasts (B), 4 x light lunches (L), 8 x dinners (D)

Tour Exclusions: 

  • Optional activities
  • Airport departure tax

Book Your Tour

Contact us today to book your special interest group tour.

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Tour Plan

Day 1: Christchurch

Arrival and Transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day at your own leisure.

Accommodation: Latimer Hotel

Day 2: Christchurch – Mt. Cook (B, D)

We pick you up from your hotel in Christchurch at 9 a.m. and drive from the ‘most English City outside England’ through New Zealand’s most intensive cropping district, the Canterbury Plains. After a while we reach the McKenzie Country Region, a high-country basin with steppe character, with native New Zealand tussock grasses blowing in the wind as far as the eye can see. There, we visit the glacial Lake Tekapo and enter the Southern Alps. On the way to Mt. Cook (3,754m), in Maori called ‘Aorangi’ (‘cloud-piercer’), there might be an opportunity for a short walk to give you a first impression of this imposing region. The alpine plants are not only of great botanical interest, but also delightful in their unique diversity of form.

Accommodation: Aoraki/ Mt Cook Alpine Lodge

Day 3: Mt Cook (Southern Alps) (B, L)

Today, we’ll set off on a half-day walk in the alpine Hooker Valley. Additionally, there will also be a choice of short walks in the National Park with different grades of difficulty. Here, the famous Mt. Cook Lily, the world’s largest buttercup, blooms everywhere in early summer. Interspersed are the giant yellow-gold flower heads of the Spaniard (or Spear grass), a member of the carrot family of plants, with its stiff spiny leaves. In good weather you’ll have a breathtaking view of the snow-covered mountain peaks that rise up beside the Hooker Valley. Here, once again, we take the group’s fitness into account and always orientate ourselves towards the less-experienced walkers.

Accommodation: Aoraki/ Mt Cook Alpine Lodge

Day 4: Mt. Cook – Otago Peninsula (B, D)

A long drive is planned for today, this time leading from the highest parts of the Southern Alps to the South Island’s East Coast. There, we will stop at the Moeraki Boulders, large spherical boulders cast on to the beach, which fascinate many visitors. In the afternoon, you will view the Royal Albatrosses from the world’s only mainland albatross colony, followed by a visit to a conservationist on his farm. He has established a reserve to protect the Yellow-eyed Penguin, one of the most endangered species of penguin in the world. Accompanied by the farmer, you can enter the reserve and observe the penguins at very close range without disturbing them.

Accommodation: Dunedin City Hotel

Day 5: Otago Peninsula – Te Anau (B)

First, we’ll go on a walk through Dunedin, then through the high country of the province of Otago. Then we take you into Fiordland, one of New Zealand’s biggest and most unexploited national parks. Hardly any other landscape represents wilderness as truly as Fiordland. In the western part, 14 fjords advance like long drawn-out water hooks deeply into the forests of a cliffy Alpine scenery. Not far from that snow covered mountain peaks rise just above from grassland up to 2700m.

Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

Day 6: Te Anau – Milford Sound – Queenstown (B, L)

Today, a major highlight is scheduled for the tour. From Te Anau, the gate to Milford Sound, we will start our ride along the spectacular Milford Road. At Homer tunnel you can see the cheeky Keas, the only mountain parrots in the world. We cast off for the Scenic Cruise in Milford Sound and float out almost to the Tasman Sea. Enjoy the romantic scenery of wilderness, which is determined by almost vertical mountain walls like the Mitre Peak. Back through Te Anau, we head towards the ‘St. Moritz of the South Pacific’, Queenstown. In the evening you can also experience something of Queenstown’s nightlife.

Day 7: Queenstown – Wanaka (B)

Since we leave Queenstown around mid-day, the morning will be free for activities at your own leisure. Your tour guide will gladly be of assistance should you be interested in additional outings and activities. In the afternoon, a drive takes us into Aspiring National Park. There are many walks in Aspiring National Park to suit all fitness levels. Depending on the group’s overall fitness level, we will choose a walk that leads deeper into the National Park. One option might be to take a varied walk to Diamond Lakes. Overnight in Wanaka.

Accommodation: Mount Aspiring Hotel

Day 8: Wanaka – Lake Moeraki – Glaciers (B)

The route leads alongside the glacial lakes Wanaka and Hawea, surrounded by towering snowy peaks. We continue and cross the Haast Pass, the main climatic and catchment divide of the Southern Alps. If you like, there will be an opportunity for a short walk. Entering Westland National Park, you’ll set off on a two-hour nature-study trek through dense rainforest. Finally reaching the wild Tasman Sea, you might be able to spot Fiordland Crested Penguins, depending on the season. Overnight in a tiny township near the glaciers.

Accommodation: Lake Matheson Motel

Day 9: Fox Glacier & Franz Josef Glacier (B)

Fox Glacier is the largest of the mighty West Coast glaciers. Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are one of the few ones on earth whose glacier tongues reach down to the rim of the rain forest. Here, you’ll go on a guided glacier walk (with suitable footwear and walking gear provided). The local guide will lead you beside the riverbed to a track, which leads to the glacier. From high on the track, you can enjoy fantastic views down to the ice. You’ll have ample time to appreciate the views and surroundings before returning via the same route. An option would be a helicopter flight to Mt Cook.

Accommodation: Lake Matheson Motel

Day 10: Glaciers – Hokitika – Greymouth (B)

We continue our journey along the West Coast and reach the historic gold-mining area. The West Coast is also well known for its Greenstone sources. In Hokitika this precious stone is processed and changed into beautiful pieces of jewellery. Near Greymouth there will be the opportunity of a walk in the coastal rainforest (optional).

Accommodation: Ashley Hotel

Day 11: Greymouth – Nelson (B, D)

After breakfast, our route takes us further north towards the impressive pancake rocks and then to the coastal town of Westport. We’ll visit Cape Foulwind and walk to a New Zealand fur seal colony. We now have to leave the rugged, green and wild West Coast, that was once one of the busiest and richest regions of nineteenth-century New Zealand, when gold drew prospectors from all over the world. Crossing the spectacular Buller Gorge, we reach the northern coast of the South Island and continue to Nelson, New Zealand’s sunniest town.

Accommodation: Harbourside Motor Lodge

Day 12: Nelson – Abel Tasman Nat. Park – Nelson (B, L)

Early in the morning, you’ll set off on a day trip to Abel Tasman National Park, with its golden bays and beaches. First, a boat trip will take you past the many bays and peninsulas of the Park. Afterwards, we’ll walk along the bays and through native bush back to the eastern park entrance, and also have the opportunity for a refreshing swim in the sea. This walk, the Abel Tasman Track, is one of New Zealand’s most popular.

Accommodation: Harbourside Motor Lodge

Day 13: Nelson – Picton – Wellington (B)

A scenic drive along the coast brings us to Pelorus Bridge. After a walk in this area, we carry on past the beautiful drowned river valleys “Marlborough Sounds” to finally arrive in the small harbour town of Picton. From there the comfortable Interislander ferry will take us across Cook Strait to the North Island.

Accommodation: West Plaza Hotel

Day 14: Wellington – Kapiti Coast – Kapiti Island (B, L)

Today, on a day trip, you will explore a bird island sanctuary, situated off the west coast about 50 km north of Wellington. In the morning, you will travel by boat to the highly protected and mammal-free Kapiti Island, where we have obtained a permit from the Department of Conservation for a nature walk. Here you can watch birds such as the kaka (a New Zealand native parrot), the rare takahe (a large native rail species, now almost entirely absent from the mainland), the weka and other endemic birds. In good weather, you’ll be able to enjoy fabulous views of the South Island and Kapiti Coast from a viewpoint high on the island. Return to Kapiti Coast in the afternoon.

Accommodation: Wrights by the Sea

Day 15: Kapiti Coast – Tongariro Nat. Park (B, D)

You can take a walk along the beach before we head through a landscape of green pasture and farm districts on our way to the volcanic landscape of Tongariro National Park. The area offers a wide variety of scenery, from open steppe country in the south-east to dense forest and ferns in the south-west. You will have magnificent views of all three volcanoes in the Park.

Accommodation: Skotel Alpine Resort

Day 16: Tongariro National Park (B, D)

Today you have the opportunity to walk the Tongariro Crossing, one of New Zealand’s most popular treks, owing to the diverse, at times moon-like landscapes encountered, with spectacular views. A climb up Mt. Tongariro (1,968 m) offers breathtaking views over the neighbouring volcanoes Mt. Ngauruhoe (2,291 m) and Mt. Ruapehu (2,797 m). The track crosses several craters, passing by fumaroles and hot springs, and also the luminous-turquoise Emerald Lakes. It is possible to undertake an easier walk in the closer vicinity.

Accommodation: Skotel Alpine Resort

Day 17: Tongariro National Park – Rotorua (B, D)

Before midday we will drive “off the beaten track” through the picturesque Pureora Forest Park to get the experience of rich Maori culture and take a maori guided walk through Pureora Forest Park. We drive to Rotorua, the sulphur town with its smelly air! But you get used to it after a while. You can bathe in hot mineral pools, relax your tied legs or enjoy a massage. We stay in a hotel not far from the lake edge. Dinner is either in the hotel or in one of the good restaurants.

Accommodation: Park Heritage Rotorua

Day 18: Rotorua (B, D)

Rotorua is well known for its abundance of hot springs, steaming lakes and streams, geysers, multicoloured silica terraces and bubbling mud pools. You will enjoy a visit to Whakarewarewa Thermal Park, in order to gain an impression of this geothermal active zone. In the evening, we drive to a marae where you will enjoy a performance of a local Maori culture group, with dancing and singing. Afterwards you will be served a hangi, a traditional Maori meal prepared in an earth oven.

Accommodation: Park Heritage Rotorua

Day 19: Rotorua – Auckland (B, D)

Through the lush forests and farmlands of the King Country, we journey north towards the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. These caves are lit by thousands of glowworms clinging to the cave walls. Along the district’s east coast, we arrive in the country’s largest city, Auckland. Here, we’ll spend the final evening together in a restaurant, where there will surely be much to talk and reminisce about, providing a fitting end to the tour.

Accommodation: Grand Chancellor Auckland City

Day 20: Auckland (B)

Transfer to the airport with check-in assistance.

Tour Map:


20 Day Nature & Wildlife Tour of New Zealand

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