22 Day New Zealand Nature Tour
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.
Participants: minimum 5 people, maximum 9 people
- Transfer from / to the airport
- Minibus from Auckland to Christchurch with a naturalist guide ( and driver)
- 19 nights in mid-range hotels and motels
- 1 night on a boat cruise in Doubtful Sound
- 1 night staying with rural hosts
- 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 (as stated above)
- Optional activities
- Travel insurance
Book Your Tour
Contact us today to secure your place on a Nature Tour!
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 - Rotorua (Maori 4WD tour) approx. 350km, 5hr
Today we drive through “King Country” towards Rotorua. In Rotorua we take a 3-hour cultural 4WD tour and get an insight into the local ways of life, the country and the heritage of the Māori tribe Ngāti-Pikiao. Here we get to know the myths, legends and the rich history of the tribe, visit the Marae of the Ngāti-Pikiao tribe and enjoy breathtaking views over the beautiful lake area around Rotorua. Today you have the opportunity to take part in a Maori singing and dance performance in a Maori village. Afterwards you will be served a “hangi”, the traditional Maori meal from the earth oven. (optional)
Day 3: Rotorua (Waiotapu entry) - Tongariro National Park approx. 200km, 3hr
Rotorua is known for the many hot springs, geysers and mud volcanoes that occur there. We leave Rotorua and visit the “Waiotapu Wonderland” to get an impression of this geothermally active zone. Then we drive towards Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's oldest national park. First we pass Lake Taupo. Depending on the weather, we start with our first natural history hike and circle the beautiful Lake Rotopounamu at the foot of the Tongariro volcano.
Day 4: Tongariro National Park (volcano expedition)
In the early morning we start New Zealand's most famous hike, the “Tongariro Alpine Crossing”, a demanding hike in a constantly changing, partly moon-like landscape. You cross several craters, pass fumaroles and hot springs and admire the bright turquoise “Emerald Lakes”. Optionally, you can take a flight over the mountains with spectacular views to Mt. Tongariro (1968 m) and sister volcanoes Mt. Ngauruhoe (2291 m) and Mt. Ruapehu (2797 m).
Meals: breakfast, dinner
Day 5: Tongariro National Park - Kapiti Coast approx. 280km, 4hr
We leave the mountains and drive towards Wellington through agricultural areas. On the Kapiti coast, we move into our accommodation near the beach. We can join a little beach hike.
Day 6: Kapiti Coast/Kapiti Island (Bird Sanctuary) - Wellington Approx. 50km, 45min
In the morning we go by boat to the nature reserve Kapiti Island. We have permission from the local conservation agency to enter the island and explore it on a nature walk. Special features of this island include the numerous forest parrots (cocoa) and the Takahe, which is almost extinct on the mainland, and other endemic birds. When the weather is good we can look from the viewpoint of the island to the south island. In the late afternoon we return to the mainland and drive to the capital of New Zealand. In the evening we get a guided tour of the Zealandia bird protection reserve. Here we see different animals that only become active in the evening. With a little luck, we will also see the kiwi bird, an endangered flightless bird that is also the national symbol of New Zealand.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Day 7: Wellington (free day guide)
Today you have the opportunity to see the ’Te Papa’ National Museum and take the cable car up to the botanical garden.
Day 8: Wellington - Picton - Nelson (Marlborough Sounds) approx. 110km, 1hr 35min (from Picton to Nelson)
In the early morning we leave Wellington by ferry and cross the Cook Strait to the South Island. The 3-hour boat trip through the drowned river valleys of the Marlborough Sounds brings us to the small port town of Picton. We reach the Pelorus Bridge via a particularly scenic road along the coast. After a hike in this area, we continue to Nelson, New Zealand's sunniest city. In the evening we are a guest in the home of a New Zealand family and experience their hospitality during a dinner together.
Day 9: Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson (beaches and bays) approx. 50km, 45min
Early in the morning we start a day trip to the Abel Tasman National Park with its golden yellow beaches. First, we take a catamaran boat ride along the park's numerous bays and peninsulas. Then we hike along the bays and back through the rainforest. There is the opportunity for a refreshing swim in the sea. This easy hike lasting several hours is one of the most popular in New Zealand. We stay in Nelson again.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Day 10: Nelson - Hokitika (fur seals) approx. 330km, 4hr 20min
After breakfast we continue towards the West Coast, crossing the spectacular Buller Gorge before reaching Westport. At Cape Foulwind we walk to a colony of New Zealand fur seals. We leave Westport behind and drive along the picturesque Paparoa National Park. A short walk takes us to the “Pancake Rocks” (pancake rocks: soft layers were washed out by the gnawing Tasman Sea). In the event of high water, the turbulent sea offers a spectacular sight. The West Coast is also known for its jade and greenstone deposits. In Hokitika, this precious stone is processed into beautiful jewellery. We spend the night in Hokitika.
Day 11: Hokitika - Fox glacier (NZ gold digging period) approx. 160km, 2hr
We 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 rain forest. Optionally, you can take a helicopter tour to enjoy the fascinating glacier world and Mt Cook from a bird's eye view.
Meals: breakfast, dinner
Day 12: Fox Glacier - Lake Moeraki - Wanaka (rainforest & glacier lakes) approx. 265km, 3hr 45min
The journey continues into Westland National Park, where we take a 2-hour hike in the rainforest until we reach the roaring Tasman Lake at the end of the path. Depending on the season, we can observe Fiordland Crested Penguins. Then it goes on to Haast. We cross the Haast Pass, the water and climate divide of the Southern Alps. Surrounded by gigantic mountains, we drive along the lakes Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka to Wanaka. If time permits, we can take a short hike.
Day 13: Wanaka (Aspiring National Park) (free day guide)
In Wanaka and Mount Aspiring National Park there are numerous hiking trails of all levels of difficulty. Today you have the opportunity to explore them on your own. You are spoiled for choice. Your guide will be happy to assist you in choosing your activities.
Day 14: Wanaka - Queenstown - Te Anau approx. 240km, 3hr 30min
In the morning we drive to Queenstown, a small town, wonderfully located on Lake Wakatipu, a long Z-shaped lake, which was created by glacial processes. The place offers spectacular views of nearby mountains such as the Remarkables, Cecil and Walter Peak, Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill. You have the opportunity to explore. In the afternoon we continue to Te Anau. There you have the opportunity to see the fireflies on Lake Te Anau on a boat trip (optional).
Day 15: Te Anau - Doubtful Sound (Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise) approx. 120km, 2hrs
Today is another highlight. We drive to Lake Manapouri in the Fiordland National Park, hardly any landscape embodies the term wilderness better than Fiordland. In the west, 14 fjords penetrate deep into the primeval forests of a rugged alpine world like long tongues of sea. Not far from there, snow-capped mountain peaks rise over alpine grass mats up to 2700 meters. The Doubtful Sound is a real insider tip, as it is not directly accessible by car like the Milford Sound. First we cross the Manapouri Lake by boat and continue by bus over the 670m high and steep Wilmot Pass to reach Deep Cove and the Doubtful Sound. In this seclusion we take a trip to the animal kingdom of New Zealand and get to know the flora and fauna of the Fiordland, surrounded by steep mountains, lush green vegetation and in the midst of a spectacular play of colors. Bottlenose Dolphins and seals are often encountered. We spend the night on board a comfortable ship and end the eventful day with a dinner together.
Meals: breakfast, dinner
Day 16: Doubtful Sound - Otago Peninsula - Dunedin (Albatross) Approx. 420 km / 5 hr 20 min
After breakfast we leave the ship and head towards Dunedin. We cross the highlands of Central Otago and switch to the east coast of the South Island. The Otago peninsula is very well known for its rich animal life and therefore also interesting for our excursions. In the afternoon we take a boat trip to observe royal albatrosses, the only mainland albatross colony in the world. We often see seals and cormorants here.
We spend the night in Dunedin, also known as the “Scottish capital” of New Zealand.
Meals: breakfast, dinner
Day 17: Dunedin - Mt Cook (Southern Alps) approx. 330km, 4hr 45min
First we take a walk through Dunedin. Then we drive to the Moeraki Boulders, spherical rocks on the beach, which amaze many visitors. On the way to Mount Cook, with New Zealand's highest mountain range at 3724m, we have another opportunity for a short hike. We get a first impression of this impressive area. The alpine flora is not only of great botanical interest, but also of great aesthetics in its peculiar variety of forms. We spend the night in the village of Mount Cook near Lake Pukaki.
Day 18: Mount Cook (Southern Alps)
Today we take a half-day hike in the Alpine Hooker Valley. There are several hikes with different levels of difficulty to choose from. In early summer, the famous Mount Cook Lily, the world's largest buttercup, blooms everywhere. In between are the huge golden yellow inflorescences of the “Wild Spaniards”, which are related to our carrot. If the weather gods are merciful to us, we have a breathtaking view of the snow-capped mountain peaks that frame the Hooker Valley.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Day 19: Mount Cook - Christchurch (farm lands & sheep!) approx. 330km, 4hr 45min
Before we leave the Southern Alps, we drive to Lake Tekapo. We are now in McKenzie Country, a landscape with a steppe character. As far as the eye can see, the New Zealand Bültengras (Tussock grass) sways in the wind. The journey continues through the extensive farmlands of the Canterbury Plain. In the afternoon we reach Christchurch, the “garden city” that is constantly changing.
Day 20: Christchurch
After breakfast we take a short city tour, visit the Arts Center and the Botanical Garden. The round trip in New Zealand ends around noon. Airport transfers will take you onwards.
Travel no: NATURE1022A1
Dates: 06/10/22 – 27/10/22
Travel no: NATURE1121A1 +
Dates: 08/11/22 – 29/11/22
Travel no: NATURE1222A1
Dates: 02/12/22 – 23/12/22
Travel no: NATURE1222A2
Dates: 18/12/22 – 08/01/23
Travel no: NATURE0123A1
Dates: 05/01/23 – 26/01/23
Travel no: NATURE0123A2
Dates: 27/01/23 – 17/02/23
Travel no: NATURE0223A1 +
Dates: 02/02/23 – 23/02/23
Travel no: NATURE0223A2
Dates: 22/02/23 – 15/03/23
Travel no: NATURE0323A1
Dates: 17/03/23 – 7/04/23
Departures marked with a + are guaranteed
All other departures are guaranteed from 5 people
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.
The vacancies can be reviewed via the agent login in the Agent Zone.