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22 Day Naturally New Zealand Nature Tour

22 Day Naturally New Zealand Nature Tour

per person



This small group tour is the best of New Zealand’s nature: discover fauna and flora, native bird life, rainforests, geysers, lonely mountain roads, river valleys, glaciers, and wild coasts as you travel from Auckland to Christchurch (or reverse) over three weeks.

The tour guide is German-speaking and you will travel in a comfortable all-terrain minibus, with a maximum of 9 guests. Choose from a selection of guaranteed departure dates.

Tour Information:

Participants: minimum 5 people, maximum 9 people

Tour Inclusions:

  • Transfer from / to the airport
  • Transportation in a modern, air-conditioned minibus from Auckland to Christchurch
  • Experienced German-speaking driver guide 
  • 19 nights accommodation in comfortable hotels and motels with ensuite bathrooms
  • 1 night on a boat cruise in Doubtful Sound (with ensuite bathroom)
  • 1 night staying with rural hosts (private room with shared bathrooms)
  • Participation in a cultural 4WD tour
  • Visit to the thermal areas and geysers of Rotorua
  • Excursion to Kapiti Island
  • Ferry crossing from the North to the South Island
  • Catamaran trip in Abel Tasman National Park followed by a hike
  • Guided evening hike in the Zealandia Bird Sanctuary
  • Monarch Wildlife Cruise with observation of royal albatrosses
  • 21 x breakfasts, 2 x light lunches and 4 x dinners 

Tour Exclusions: 

  • Optional activities
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in itinerary

Book Your Tour

Contact us today to secure your place on a Nature Tour!

Tour Guide Feedback

«Das Fazit der gesamten Reise war für uns nicht nur die Schönheit und der Erlebnisreichtum Neuseelands, sondern die von Herrn Kaeppler über die ganze Zeit hervorragende Betreuung. Er hat es vorbildlich verstanden, mit seinem Wissen und seiner Erfahrung die Gruppe zu führen und<br /> organisatorisch makellos zu arbeiten. Durch seine einzigartige organisatorische Fähigkeit hat er die Gruppe begeistert. Er war stets bemüht, alle anfallenden Probleme und Wünsche zu klären bzw. zu erfüllen. Wir möchten Herrn Kaeppler sehr, sehr herzlich danken und wünschen ihm von<br /> Herzen Gesundheit und alles nur erdenklich Gute.» `{```The conclusion of the whole trip was for us not only the beauty and the richness of experiences in New Zealand, but also the excellent care from Mr. Kaeppler during the whole trip. He understood in an exemplary way how to lead the group with his knowledge and experience and how to work flawlessly in terms of organisation. With his unique organisational skills he inspired our group. He was always anxious to clarify or fulfil any problems and requests that arose. We would like to thank Mr. Kaeppler very, very much and wish him all the best for the future.`` J&H Haeusler, Nature Tour guests 2019`}`

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Tour Plan

Day 1: Auckland - arrival

Welcome to New Zealand. In front of the airport, your shuttle is already waiting to take you to your accommodation. The rest of the day you can relax or explore Auckland on your own. Around 6:00 p.m. you will meet with your guide and the other participants to discuss the trip.

Day 2: Auckland - Paihia approx 235km / 3.5hr

Today we leave the big city of Auckland and travel along the Hibiscus Coast into the scenically diverse and charming Northland. The road is often lined with impressive New Zealand Christmas trees (Pohutukawa). Passing Whangarei, the heart of the Northland region, we reach the picturesque Bay of Islands in the subtropical north in the afternoon. Our destination for the day is Paihia, the perfect starting point to explore the Bay of Islands, an area of over 140 subtropical islands and known for pristine beaches and vibrant Māori culture. It is also home to the former whaling
station of Russell, which was New Zealand's first colonial capital. In the evening we enjoy a joint Welcome Dinner at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel overlooking the harbour, New Zealand's oldest hotel.

Meals: B, D

Day 3: Paihia - Hokianga approx 75 km / 1 hr

This morning you have the option to take a half-day trip to the famous Hole in the Rock (optional). We will then continue from Paihia to the west coast. A very popular destination in this area is the Waipoua Forest. In the evening a very special highlight awaits you, the Twilight Encounter tour. Your Māori guide will introduce you to all the important information about the Waipoua Forest. Once in the forest, you will encounter millennium-old trees on your walk. Among others, you will meet the
oldest Kauri tree in the world, Te Matua Ngahere, also known as the Father of the Forest, as well as the highlight of today's tour, the Lord of the Forest, the gigantic Tane Mahuta.

Meals: B

Day 4: Hokianga - Waikato approx 400 km / 5.5 hr

Today you will travel via Whangarei and Auckland to the Waikato region, the fertile heart of the North Island filled with lush pastures. Here you will stay with local rural hosts and experience true country life in New Zealand.

Meals: B, D

Day 5: Waikato - Tongariro National Park approx 200 km / 3 hr

This morning we explore the beautiful Hamilton Gardens together (time and weather permitting). The gardens are crisscrossed with walking paths between must-see themed gardens from different parts of the world - from colourful Italy to tranquil Asia. Our journey then continues south through the King Country region. The hilly landscape is reminiscent of European low mountain ranges with lush pastures and picturesque rivers. In Waitomo, if time permits, you have the optional opportunity
to explore the Waitomo Glowworm Caves (extra charge). A little later we approach Tongariro National Park, where three active volcanoes dominate the central plateau of the North Island: Ruapehu (2,796 m), Ngauruhoe (2,291 m) and Tongariro (1,978 m). This exciting natural landscape is protected: it is the oldest national park in New Zealand, one of the first in the world and is a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site.

Meals: B

Day 6: Tongariro National Park

On today's world-famous full-day hike, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, we cross several craters, pass fumaroles and hot springs, and admire the bright turquoise Emerald Lakes. The hike is challenging and through a constantly changing, partly moon-like landscape. It is a hike you certainly won’t forget!
Meals: B

Day 7: Wellington (free day guide)

Today's drive south crosses barren country, then takes us through lush green farmland to the west coast where, on a clear day, you can make out New Zealand's South Island across the Cook Strait. The day ends in Wellington, the country's elegant capital, nestled between a sparkling harbour and rolling green hills. In the evening we take a tour of the Zealandia Bird Sanctuary. Here we see various animals that only become active in the evening hours. With a bit of luck, we will also see the kiwi
bird, an endangered flightless bird that is also the national symbol of New Zealand.

Meals: B

Day 8: Wellington

Today you have the opportunity to explore the capital of New Zealand on your own. The city is known for its art, culture and natural beauty. Relax at Oriental Bay, a sandy beach near Wellington's city centre, and browse the many museums and art galleries that make up the city's vibrant cultural scene. If you're more in the mood for nature, Wellington offers beautiful walks around the harbour and surrounding hills. The compact city centre between the harbour and the hills is ideal for exploring on foot. It is teeming with delis, cafés and restaurants. The capital is famous for its hidden
bars, quirky cafés, award-winning restaurants and great coffee. Courtenay Place or Cuba Street are two of the best areas for delicious treats. Take the historic cable car from the city centre up to the Wellington Botanic Gardens for fantastic views over the city and harbour. The harbour is also home to Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, New Zealand's national museum. Te Papa, as it is colloquially known, means ‘our place’ and is one of the world's best interactive museums.

Meals: B

Day 9: Wellington - Picton - Wellington approx. 110km / 1hr 35mins (Picton to Nelson)

This morning we leave Wellington and a ferry crossing of about three and a half hours takes us across the Cook Strait to the South Island. Look out for pods of dolphins that like to accompany the ferry. Entering the Marlborough Sounds, we see a collection of ancient river valleys flooded by the Pacific Ocean. This has created a beautiful, rugged coastal landscape full of sheltered bays and sandy beaches between forested hills. We go ashore again in the friendly harbour town of Picton and take a particularly scenic road along the coast to the Pelorus Bridge. Here we take a short hike before
reaching Nelson in the evening, a place full of sunshine and golden beaches.

Meals: B

Day 10: Nelson - Abel Tasman - Nelson approx. 50k / 45mins

Early this morning we head out on a day trip into the Abel Tasman National Park. The coastal strip of the park is unmistakable. Rock formations of granite and marble line the headlands, which are hidden in dense forest. Between the forest and the waterline, fine sandy beaches invite you to relax. Crystal-clear streams meander through mossy valleys and finally flow into the sea. Flora and fauna enrich the scenery: the songs of tui ring through the forests; cormorants, boobies and little blue
penguins dive for food and seals bask on the rocks of Tonga Island. First, we take a trip on a catamaran along the coast before going on a hike through this coastal paradise. We return to Nelson in the late afternoon.

Meals: B, L

Day 11: Nelson - Kaikōura approx. 250km / 3.5hr

The drive south follows the Pacific coast. If you are lucky, you may see a seal or two on the rocks in the water off Kaikōura. The harbour town of Kaikōura is an ideal place for whale watching and in the afternoon we take part in a whale watch tour and have the opportunity to get to know the sea creatures of this area better. In particular, huge sperm whales are often seen in this area as they use the deep waters off Kaikōura’s coast on their passage from/to Antarctica and warm ocean currents provide rich food sources. Also look out for schools of Hector or Dusky dolphins, which like to
accompany the tour boats.

Meals: B

Day 12: Kaikōura - Hokitika approx. 365km / 5hr

Continue into the hinterland, along little-used forest roads and over the alpine Lewis Pass and dense southern beech forests to the west coast. On the way, we pass through the harbour town of Greymouth and a landscape characterised by grazing and forestry, as well as historic gold mining areas. We then reach our destination for the day, Hokitika, situated at the mouth of the river of the same name. The town is mainly the centre of the processing of greenstone, the very hard, New Zealand jade (Pounamu), which is made into beautiful pieces of jewellery here.

Meals: B

Day 13: Hokitika - Fox Glacier approx 160km / 2hr

In the morning you have the opportunity to explore Hokitika a little more. Here you will find galleries specialising in jewellery and handicrafts made from pounamu. These stones are only found in a few rivers on the west coast of the South Island. The colour and grain vary depending on the river in which the stone was found. Pounamu was so important to the Māori that they named the South Island after it: Te Waipounamu, The Waters of Green Stone. Some galleries in Hokitika offer tours where you can discover the artwork of talented Pounamu artists from all over New Zealand and learn more about the history of Greenstone. Some shops also offer 1–2-hour classes where you can create your own piece of jewellery! We then continue along the west coast and reach the Southern Alps. The Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are among the few on earth whose glacier tongues reach down to the rainforest. Here, you can take a helicopter flight to enjoy the fascinating glacier world from the air (extra charge).

Meals: B

Day 14: Fox Glacier - Lake Moeraki - Wanaka approx. 265km / 3hr 45mins

We continue to Westland National Park, where we will do an approx. 2-hour hike in the rainforest. Depending on the season, we may also see Fiordland Crested Penguins. Then we continue to Haast. We cross the Haast Pass, the water and climate divide of the Southern Alps. Surrounded by gigantic mountains, we drive along Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka to the small holiday resort of Wanaka. If time permits, we can do another short hike in the area.

Meals: B

Day 15: Wanaka

Wanaka's diverse landscape attracts visitors all year round with a range of activities including fishing, hiking, canyoning, climbing and skydiving. Hiking trails of all kinds criss-cross the Wanaka region. The choices range from short, easy walks to multi-day hiking adventures. Today you have the option of exploring on your own, taking a bike ride, or spending the day in the small town. Your tour guide will be happy to help you choose your activities - you are spoilt for choice!

Meals: B

Day 16: Wanaka - Queenstown - Te Anau approx. 240km / 3hr 30mins

This morning, we continue to Queenstown. The famous resort town is situated on the shores of the crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by dramatic alpine scenery. You will have the opportunity to explore the town. In the afternoon we continue to Te Anau, the gateway to the Fiordland National Park. Here you have the opportunity to see the glow worms at Lake Te Anau on a boat trip (extra charge).

Meals: B

Day 17: Te Anau - Doubtful Sound 120km / 2hrs

Today another highlight awaits you, an excursion into Fiordland National Park. Hardly any landscape better embodies the concept of wilderness. To the west, 14 fjords penetrate deep into the primeval forests of a rugged alpine world like overlong ocean tongues. Not far away, snow-capped mountain peaks rise above alpine grasslands to 2700 metres. Doubtful Sound is a real insider tip, as it is not directly accessible by car like Milford Sound. First, we cross Lake Manapouri by boat and continue by
bus over the 670m high Wilmot Pass to reach Deep Cove and thus Doubtful Sound. In this seclusion we take an excursion into the animal kingdom of New Zealand and, surrounded by steep mountains and lush green vegetation, get to know the flora and fauna of the national park. Bottlenose dolphins and seals are often encountered. We will spend the night on board a comfortable ship and end the eventful day with a joint dinner.

Meals: B, D

Day 18: Doubtful Sound - Otago Peninsula - Dunedin approx. 420km / 5hr 20

After breakfast we disembark and continue towards Dunedin. The Otago Peninsula, flanking the southern edge of Dunedin's extensive harbour, is high and rugged on the ocean side; warm and sheltered on the harbour side. The peninsula is very well known for its rich wildlife. In the afternoon we take a cruise to observe Royal Albatrosses, at the only mainland colony in the world. We often see seals and cormorants here as well. We spend the night in Dunedin, also known as the ‘Scottish
Capital’ of New Zealand, and a highlight of the South Island.

Meals: B

Day 19: Dunedin - Mount Cook approx. 330km. / 4hr 45mins

A walk through Dunedin this morning gives you an idea of how rich the city was during the gold rush in the second half of the 19th century, with many stately buildings dating from this period. The city sits enthroned in the long harbour basin at the foot of dramatic mountain formations. Its well-preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture makes the city a pearl of the Southern Hemisphere. Our journey then follows the east coast north to take in mysterious stone spheres on the beach at Moeraki. The formation of the Moeraki Boulders remains a mystery to this day. Walk to the water's
edge to get a closer look at the ‘giant marbles’! At Oamaru, once an important harbour town, the journey turns inland. On the way to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, home to the highest mountains and the largest glaciers, we have another opportunity for a short hike. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is a wildly beautiful region sculpted by ice and rock. On both sides, the New Zealand Alps reach high into the sky. We stay overnight at Mount Cook Village, at the foot of New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki (3,724m).

Meals: B

Day 20: Mount Cook

Today we do a half-day hike in the alpine Hooker Valley, one of the most popular hikes in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. The track leads up the namesake Hooker Valley, always along the Hooker River. The end of the trail is possibly its greatest highlight: from the glacial lake, there is a fantastic view of Aoraki on a clear day. Along the way, hikers will cross three suspension bridges and observe icebergs floating in the glacial lake. The majestic views of glaciers and snow-capped mountain peaks are
made for photography - don't forget your camera! There are also other hikes to choose from with varying degrees of difficulty. In early summer, the famous Mount Cook lily, the world's largest buttercup, is in bloom everywhere. Scenic flights, tours to the Tasman Glacier and stargazing tours are other ways to explore the area.

Meals: B, L

Day 21: Mount Cook - Christchurch approx. 330km / 4hr 45mins

Before we leave the Southern Alps, we drive to the glacial Lake Tekapo. We are now in Mackenzie Country. As far as the eye can see, New Zealand flowering grass (tussock grass) sways in the wind. The drive continues through the vast farmlands of the Canterbury Plain. We reach Christchurch in the afternoon, the Garden City of New Zealand, which is in a constant state of change. Tonight is the last evening of your trip and we invite you to a dinner together, where you can review the exciting last few weeks with your fellow travellers.

Meals: B, D

Day 22: Christchurch

After the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, Christchurch is back with innovative new attractions and some much-loved classics. Its energy can be felt at every turn. Contemporary art galleries, boutiques and open-air markets are all part of Christchurch's creative atmosphere. After breakfast, we take a short city tour, visit the Arts Centre as well as the Botanical Gardens. Your New Zealand tour ends around noon and a shuttle will take you to the airport.

Meals: B

November 2022

Travel no: NATURE1121A1 +

Dates: 08/11/22 – 29/11/22 
Route: Auckland-Christchurch


December 2022

Travel no: NATURE1222A1

Dates: 02/12/22 – 23/12/22 
Route: Auckland-Christchurch


Travel no: NATURE1222A2

Dates: 18/12/22 – 08/01/23

Route: Auckland-Christchurch


January 2023

Travel no: NATURE0123A1

Dates: 05/01/23 – 26/01/23

Route: Auckland-Christchurch


Travel no: NATURE0123A2

Dates: 27/01/23 – 17/02/23

Route: Auckland-Christchurch


February 2023

Travel no: NATURE0223A1 +

Dates: 02/02/23 – 23/02/23

Route: Auckland-Christchurch


Travel no: NATURE0223A2

Dates: 22/02/23 – 15/03/23

Route: Auckland-Christchurch


March 2023

Travel no: NATURE0323A1

Dates: 17/03/23 – 7/04/23

Route: Auckland-Christchurch


Departures marked with a + are guaranteed
All other departures are guaranteed from 5 people

Tour Map:














Guest Information:

Shell cases are allowed. For practical reasons, however, we recommend soft travel bags.

Each travel participant should only take luggage to a limited extent (20kg).

We recommend the following equipment: sturdy hiking shoes + second pair of shoes, weather-proof rainwear, small daypack, camera.

Most of the accommodations have washers and dryers!

Double rooms or residential units are available, suitable for two single travellers or a couple. The accommodations contain bathroom and bedroom and often a separate kitchen.

Program changes may be necessary due to local conditions or weather conditions. Should planned activities, which are canceled by the local service provider due to local weather conditions, fail, an alternative equivalent activity will be organised elsewhere. Financial reimbursements are therefore excluded.

This tour is aimed at travellers interested in nature in a small group. We have combined the tour with the element “hiking” and are thus addressing the active traveler. Special physical fitness is not required. At the request of a jointly planned activity, the travel participant can stay away and / or choose the alternative specified in the itinerary. The small group makes it possible for the tour guide to cater to the special needs of individual customers and thus expertly offer a special travel and study experience.

Download a German-version of our Naturally New Zealand Tour itinerary here

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