Highlights of New Zealand

New Zealand · about Escorted or Guided Tour

Two weeks is barely enough time to thoroughly explore your hometown, let alone a place as fascinating as New Zealand. For adventurers on a tight time-budget, this 15-day trip wraps up the must-sees of both islands with a nice little bow. Check out the Coromandel’s gorgeous beaches, hang with the Maori in a traditional village, walk the beaches of Kaikoura and get your adrenaline fix in Queenstown. Consider this your New Zealand starter’s kit.

What's Included

Coromandel Peninsula visit. Cathedral Cove visit. Hot Water Beach stop. Traditional Maori ceremony and Hangi dinner. Overnight in Maori village. Orientation walk in Wellington. Scenic train journey. Beach time in Kaikoura. Arthurs Pass. Fiordland National Park visit. Milford Sound overnight boat excursion (Seasonal; May through September will have a day cruise). Visit to Mt Cook NP with hiking opportunity (weather permitting). Visit to Mt Cook NP Visitor’s Centre. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.


Check out a Hot Water Beach, feast on a hangi in a Maori village, let loose in Queenstown, cruise around the fjords of Milford Sound, travel a scenic rail route

Dossier Disclaimer

Itinerary Disclaimer

Important Notes

Please note that the train on the south island is seasonal and does not run from May to September. Day 6 and 7 transportation will be a public bus during this time period instead of a train.

For the following departures, slight changes have been made to the itinerary:

Feb 14, 2016: Spending one night in Wellington and two in Hanmer Springs due to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Feb 21, 2016: Overnight in Rotorua following the Maori Village Visit & dinner on Day 3
Mar 13, 2016: Overnight in Rotorua following the Maori Village Visit & dinner on Day 3
Apr 10, 2016: Enjoy a day cruise in Milford Sound before returning to Queenstown for the night on Day 12

Group Leader Description

This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders, otherwise known as a Chief Experience Officer (CEO). The CEO will be the group manager, leader and driver – this person is experienced in the routes travelled and will organize and lead the meal preparations and has experience in cooking a variety of local and international dishes for large groups.

As the group coordinator and manager, the aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. They will also offer suggestions for things to do and to see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.

We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 16, avg 12


Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. On truck trips in Africa, aboard the M/S Expedition or our Galapagos yachts, while trekking in remote regions etc. food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.


Private van/bus, walking, ferry, train, boat.

About our Transportation

Our vans are mini-coaches. Occasionally with smaller group sizes we will use smaller, equally comfortable 13-seater vehicles. All mini-coaches tow a trailer for luggage. All groups have one CEO, who is also the driver.

The vehicles are factory built with comfortable seats and air-conditioning. It is mandatory to wear a seatbelt while riding in our vehicles.

Solo Travellers


Hotels (12 nts), Maori village (1 nt, multi-share), boat (1 nt, seasonal).

My Own Room Exceptions

Night 3 at Maori Village

NOTE: If you have booked the My Own Room option, on Night 2 there may be shared facilities (cottage style accommodation), but you will have your own room.

About Accommodation

Accommodation will be varied throughout your adventure. Bathroom and showering facilities are often shared and may not be en-suite.

Joining Hotel

Ibis Styles Auckland
20 Wyndam St
New Zealand
+64 9-308 9140

Please note that all the departures from April 01st 2016 onward will start at the following hotel:

Kiwi International Auckland
411 Queen St.
New Zealand

  • Please always check your vouchers

Joining Instructions

By Taxi: $70-80, approximately 30 minutes.

By Shuttle Bus: $33 for 1 person, $8 per additional. The “Super Shuttle” is a 24-hour service that takes approximately 1 hour. The shuttle waits outside of the terminal and provides door-to-door service.

By Air Bus: $16 per person. Leaves from outside the airport terminal every 10-15 minutes and takes approximately 1 hour.

Arrival Complications

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our local office in Melbourne. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so we may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

G Adventures Local Office (Melbourne)
During office hours, 9am-5pm Local Time: +61 3 9413 5820 (if dialing from outside Australia) or 03 9413 5820 (if dialing from within Australia)

After Hours Emergency Number
From outside Australia: +61 432 705 621
From within Australia: 0432 705 621

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local operations manager, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We recommend the use of a well-labeled duffel bag, soft bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). Suitcases or heavy luggage are not recommended for the health of the CEO, who will be loading and unloading the luggage trailer! A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential as you will have the chance to walk and hike in different national parks during these trips. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle.

For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days spent hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet.

New Zealand weather can be quite variable, even in summer, and layers are recommended throughout the year.


•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•NZD cash
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required

-Weather-appropriate clothing
•Light fleece top
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Sun hat
•Sturdy walking shoes
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Water bottle
•Money belt
•Flashlight or headlamp
•Camera, memory card(s) and battery/charger
•Electricity plug adapter (220-240V, 2 flat, inverted v-shaped pins)
•First-aid kit

-Day pack
-Personal Entertainment
-Waterproof backpack cover
-Insect Repellent


All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.

Spending Money

Money Exchange

The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD).

Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in New Zealand and can be used to purchase small and large items. When purchasing products or services with a foreign credit card you may be charged additional fees by your credit card company for foreign purchases.

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. Both Visa and Master Cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work check with your bank before you travel. A visit to an ATM can be arranged on Day 1 and other days of the trip.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of local currency (preferably smaller bills, 5’s, 10’s and 20’s), traveller’s cheques and credit cards is best. Currency exchange is best obtained prior to travel or at the airport, currency exchange is easy to find in New Zealand in the gateway cities and most banks do accommodate.

Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund


It is not customary in New Zealand or Australia to tip service providers, but if you do experience outstanding service it is good to do so.  Such service would only usually be in places like quality restaurants and it would be very rare that you would tip more than 10%.  Unless specifically asked to do so at the time (by your CEO) – do not tip your local guides. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer did an outstanding job, you may consider a small tip – but it certainly isn’t expected.

Optional Activities

All prices are per person, in NZD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators. Please note there may be weight restrictions on certain activities (eg skydiving 100 – 110 kg).

Zorb $45
Luge $46
White Water Rafting $95
Polynesian Spa $25+

Heli-Ice Explorer Guided Hike (Heli transfer) $310
Heli Hike $414

Bungy Jumping $175-$225
Canyon Swing $199
Jet Boat $129
Ziptrek $129-$179
Lord of the Rings Horse Riding Tour $195
Sky Diving $299 (9000ft) $339 (12000ft) $439 (15000ft)

Whale Watch $145
Dolphin Swimming $170
Seal Swim $80-$110

Please note: Usually there is time for one activity in each location (except Queenstown where there are two free days for activities).

Safety and Security

Trip Specific Safety

*Please note: In the winter months (usually between June and October) when there is snow on the mountains the Tongariro Crossing can only be done with special equipment and a guide. If you still wish to do the crossing your CEO can arrange it and there will be an extra cost of around $100 for the equipment and guidance. If you do not wish to do the walk in such conditions we include a couple of shorter walks and visit the Volcanic Information Centre as an alternative activity during these months.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:


A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation



Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Max Pax

Max pax 18

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

Meal Budget

Allow USD455-595 for meals not included.

Meals Included

13 breakfasts, 3 dinners



Day 1: Auckland

There are no activities until an evening welcome meeting, so head out and enjoy the city.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2: Auckland/Hahei (1B, 1D)

Depart early for the stunning Coromandel Peninsula. Take a walk to Cathedral Cove or opt out in favour of sea kayaking. If the tide is right, grab a shovel and dig a natural jacuzzi in the sand on Hot Water Beach.

Included Activities:
Coromandel Peninsula Visit
Cathedral Cove Scenic Walk
Hot Water Beach Excursion

Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))

Day 3: Hahei/Rotorua (1B, 1D)

Rotorua sits over an active volcano with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools in different areas around the town. Opt to visit one of the sites, like Hell’s Gate, or go whitewater rafting nearby.

In the evening visit a Maori village for traditional ceremonies, a Hangi meal and entertainment. After dinner, lounge by the bonfire and have some time to get to know the Maori hosts.

Additional Notes:
Accommodation is in a Maori wharepuni (sleeping house). Groups will often stay together in one sleeping house (multi-share, mixed gender), staying in line with Maori traditions.

Included Activities:
Maori Village Visit with Overnight

Private Vehicle (3.50-4.00 hours)

Day 4: Rotorua/Wellington (1B)

Enjoy the ever-changing scenery of the central North Island as you travel to the capital, Wellington.

Private Vehicle (7.00-8.00 hours, 452km)

Day 5: Wellington (1B)

Enjoy the atmosphere in this relaxed but lively city. After an orientation walk, enjoy a free day to explore. Opt to visit the Te Papa Museum or take the cable car up to the botanical gardens.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

Day 6: Wellington/Kaikoura

For dinner, opt to chow down on the national dish – fish and chips – near the beach.

Ferry (3.50 hour(s))
Train (2.50 hour(s))

Day 7: Kaikoura/Hanmer Springs (1B)

Opt to swim with dolphins or go whale watching during a free morning in Kaikoura before travelling to Hanmer Springs, a charming alpine village. Take a soak in the hot springs.

Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))

Day 8: Hanmer Springs/Franz Josef (1B)

Travel across the Southern Alps via the stunningly scenic Arthur’s Pass. Stretch your legs with a mountain or rainforest walk. Enjoy staying in the rainforest near the world’s fastest moving glacier.

Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle. Driving time includes stops.
Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s))

Day 9: Franz Josef (1B)

There are dozens of optional activities in the area to suit just about any budget and preference. Try heli hiking, scenic helicopter flights, horse trekking, quad biking, skydiving, glacier valley walk, lake kayaking or a hot pools visit.

Day 10: Franz Josef/Queenstown (1B)

Continue to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. With beautiful scenery and tons of activities, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy the great night life.

Private Vehicle (6.00 hour(s), 365km)

Day 11: Queenstown (1B)

With free time here, opt to go bungy jumping (in its birthplace), jet boating (also born here!), skydiving, paragliding, hiking or mountain biking. Opt to take it a little slower and travel by gondola to the top of a local peak.

Day 12: Queenstown/Fiordland National Park (1B, 1D)

Enjoy the stunning scenery of Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound from the deck of a boat. Take in the waterfalls and wildlife before an overnight on board.

Included Activities:
Milford Sound Overnight Boat Excursion

Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle. Driving time includes stops.
Private Vehicle (7.00 hour(s))

Day 13: Fiordland National Park/Twizel (1B)

Head through the centre of the South Island to Twizel, near New Zealand’s highest peak, Mt Cook.

Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle. Drive time includes stops.
Private Vehicle (7.00-9.00 hours)

Day 14: Twizel/Christchurch (1B)

Travel to the Garden City of Christchurch, a little piece of England in New Zealand, still recovering from a devastating earthquake.

Included Activities:
Mount Cook Visit
Visitor’s Centre

Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle. Drive time includes stops throughout the day, including a couple of hours to visit Mt Cook (weather permitting).
Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 380km)

Day 15: Christchurch (1B)

Depart at any time.

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