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Kiwi Encounter

17 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,422

Experience the awesome side of New Zealand on this jam-packed adventure from Auckland to Christchurch. Spend over two weeks exploring the beautiful sights and cultural highlights of New Zealand, including Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown, and get your blood pumping with kayak adventures and bungee jumps.

This 17-day New Zealand vacation takes you from Auckland to Christchurch, visiting the geothermal pools of Rotorua, the capital Wellington, and the adventure hotspot of Queenstown along the way. It features budget accommodations, shared tours, and is full of adventure and excitement that is perfect for 18 to 30-somethings.

Your journey begins in New Zealand’s largest city Auckland, where you’ll catch a glimpse of the beautiful twin harbours as you join up with your crew. Then begin your journey south, stopping at the underground world of Waitomo Caves to explore the subterranean caverns illuminated by bioluminescent glowworms. Reach Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s centres of Maori culture, where you’ll learn some Haka moves, feast on a Hangi lunch, and tour the geothermal mud pools and geysers that make the landscape so famous. You’ll also have a chance to explore the nearby Hobbiton Movie Set if you’re a The Lord of the Rings fan.

Continue south and visit beautiful Lake Taupo before reaching Tongariro National Park, where you’ll hike Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a Mars-like landscape situated between three volcanic peaks. Head to the capital Wellington and spend a couple days exploring the city. You can visit Weta Workshop to go behind the scenes of The Lord of the Rings, learn about the nation’s history at the Te Papa Museum, or hit up some of the famous bars and restaurants on Cuba Street.

Leave the North Island behind and cross the Cook Strait to reach the Marlborough Sounds on the South Island. Visit the fjord town of Picton and try out some celebrated wines at a local cellar door before continuing to Nelson, where you’ll spend a day on the coast. Explore nearby bays by kayak or lounge along the beach. Connect onward to Kaikoura, another coastal town, where you can swim alongside dolphins, spot wild fur seals lounging on the sands, and feast on some delicious crayfish (Kaikoura means “to eat crayfish” in Maori).

Head onward to Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island, known for its beautiful gardens and distinctly-English culture. You’ll have a day in Christchurch to see the city at leisure and learn about the earthquake that devastated it in 2011. Next stop is Fox Glacier, the most famous ice cap in the country, where you can explore the ice field on a heli hike or opt for scenic flight high above to view it from the air.

Reach Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital, and enjoy an orientation tour of this lovely town on the banks of Lake Wakatipu. You’ll have several days to get your adventure fix in Queenstown. Go bungee jumping, jet boating, or sky diving, or keep things a bit tamer by riding the skyline gondola and hitting up a winery. While based in Queenstown, you’ll also head on a day excursion to Milford Sound, the most beautiful fjord in the country. Cruise up the fjord and admire waterfalls and cliffs on each side of the boat before reaching the main fjord and spotting towering Mitre Peak.

On the last leg of your adventure, you’ll swing by Arrowtown to cycle along the banks of the Arrow River and stop off at Lake Ohau and Lake Tekapo before returning to Christchurch, where your journey ends.


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17 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,422

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Auckland to Rotorua

Say kia ora to your new Topdeck trip mates in Auckland and get ready for an epic trip! En route to Rotorua we'll swing by the Waitomo Caves - a glowworm-studded labyrinth of underground caves and rivers. This place is like something out of a sci-fi movie! Choose to explore on foot, by boat or brave the cold on a unique blackwater rafting experience (trust us, it's awesome). Later, we'll learn some Haka moves and watch a Poi dance before tucking into a delicious dinner at a traditional marae (Maori meeting ground).

Meal Plan Dinner
Day 2


Are you ready for all the optional extras your free day has to offer? Take a walk through Tolkien's dreams at the Hobbiton movie set or head to a geothermal reserve for a relaxing mud spa. For the thrill - seekers, there's Zorbing on offer here too (think: rolling downhill in a giant inflatable ball) - or you could always hit the water for a spot of rafting. When in New Zealand!

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

Rotorua to Tongariro National Park

Crank the heat up to the max - today we're off to check out the area's famous geothermal activity on an included tour. This experience comes complete with a traditional Hangi lunch - a meal of roasted meat and veggies slowly cooked in an underground oven pit. After catching a glimpse of a Kiwi bird or two, we'll make tracks to Huka Falls (you'll hear the rumble before you see them). Finally, we'll swing by beautiful Lake Taupo before settling in at our accommodation near Tongariro National Park. Phew! What. A. Day.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Tongariro National Park

Rise and shine - we've got exploring to do! Known as one of the best one-day hikes in the world, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing sure lives up to its reputation - and you'll get the chance to complete it today (weather dependent). With three volcanic peaks dominating the horizon and terrain that'll make you feel like you're on Mars, this hike is 100% worth the sore legs the next day. Rather have yourself a four-wheeled adventure? There's an optional quad biking experience on offer, if you're interested. Let's do this!

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 5

Tongariro to Wellington

Next up: Wellington. Get your bearings as we head to Mt Victoria for 360-degree city, harbour and ocean views. Lord of the Rings fan? Pro tip: check out the Weta Workshop for maximum Middle Earth vibes this afternoon.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 6


Free days are the best days. Get lost in the awesome Te Papa museum or hit up Cuba Street for some quirky stores and cafes. Don't miss the nightlife in the capital either! With more bars and restaurants per capita than New York, there's no excuse not to hit the town with the crew tonight...

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 7

Wellington to Nelson

Today we'll wave goodbye to the North Island as we take a ferry across Cook Strait and into the blue waters of Marlborough Sound. Hop off in picturesque Picton, then get ready to find out why the Marlborough region is so famous for its wine. We'll stop by a Cellar Door for an included tasting of the sweet stuff before digging into a delicious BBQ dinner in Nelson tonight.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 8


Did someone say coastal paradise? Today is yours to explore this vibrant region. Hop from bay to bay via boat, sea kayak, on foot or see it all from above with an epic skydive. Whatever you choose, we know you're going to love it!

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 9

Nelson to Kaikoura

From one coastal town to another. Spot the wild fur seals getting their tan on as we roll into Kaikoura today. And this afternoon? Channel all those mermaid/man vibes on an optional dolphin swim, or take in the wild acrobatics from above deck - these little critters love to put on a show! Then: soak up the laid back atmosphere, take a short stroll to the beach for sunset and maybe visit a local bayside vendor for the freshest of crayfish (Kaikoura literally translates to 'eat crayfish'). This is livin'.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 10

Kaikoura to Christchurch

Next stop: the South Island's largest city. After being hit by an earthquake in 2011, resilient Christchuch is rebuilding in a creative way. Tonight, the city is yours. Why not get out there and check out the vibrant restaurant scene?

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 11

Christchurch to Fox Glacier

One minute you're sipping lattes in the city, nek minnit you're off to visit New Zealand's most famous glacier. But first: a photo stop at Lake Matheson that will make all your friends back home totally jealous. Sorry, not sorry.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 12

Fox Glacier to Queenstown

Who's ready to hit the ice? If the weather is good, you'll have the chance to explore this chilly playground on a heli hike. Alternatively, you could go all-out and get a bird's eye view on a scenic flight. Then: the adventuring continues as we roll into the adrenalin capital of NZ - Queenstown. Get your bearings on an orientation tour, then be free! The nightlife here is on a whole other level. Ice Bar, anyone?

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 13


Ready. Set. GO! Queenstown is loaded with adventure activities - and you've got two days to cram them all in! For the thrill seekers: choose from bungy jumping, jet boating, canyon swinging, skydiving or zip lining. Doesn't sound like your thing? Take the skyline gondola for some incred views over Lake Wakatipu. There's even a sky-high luge track to challenge your Topdeck buddies on. It's on! Tonight, why not hit up Fergburger for a meal that will haunt your dreams? Yep, it's that good!

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 14

Queenstown (Milford Sound Trip)

Plaster your face to the window as we take the scenic route to Milford Sound for today's main event: a cruise on the fjord, complete with thundering waterfalls and towering cliffs that will just blow your mind. Keep your eyes peeled for the resident seals and dolphins, too!

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 15


Quick! It's your last day here. Our hot tip: sign up for some whitewater rafting on the Shotover River, or jump in a funyak (like kayaking, but better). Hungry after all of that adventuring? You're in luck. We have an included dinner tonight at one of Queenstown's most popular hangouts!

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 16

Queenstown to Lake Ohau

We've got an epic two - wheeled excursion in Arrowtown on the agenda today - so get ready to tone those thighs as we cycle along the banks of the Arrow River, crossing some OMG - worthy suspension bridges along the way. Later, take in all the pretty window views before hunkering down at our lodge for the night. Nestled between towering mountains and overlooking the sparkling lake, this is the perfect place to relax and recharge after a hectic few days. Clink glasses with your Topdeckfam tonight over one last group dinner. It's going to get emosh...

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 17

Lake Ohau to Christchurch

It may be our last day, but there's still plenty of time to squeeze in one last pano at Lake Tekapo before we head back to Christchurch. We'll say our goodbyes after an orientation tour of the city. With so much to see here, we wouldn't blame you for wanting to stick around, though!

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information


From Auckland

2020: Jun 26; Jul 9, 30; Aug 12; Sep 2, 15; Oct 6, 19; Nov 9, 23; Dec 13, 26
Jan 16, 29; Feb 19; Mar 4, 25

From Christchurch

2020: May 2, 23; Jun 5, 26; Jul 9, 30; Aug 12; Sep 2, 15; Oct 6, 19; Nov 9, 22; Dec 13, 26
Jan 16, 29; Feb 19; Mar 4, 25


  • Accomodation as per itinerary
  • Modern air-conditioned vehicle with free Wi-Fi
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Visit Waitomo Caves
  • Overnight stay in a traditional Maori marae
  • Traditional Hangi lunch
  • Visit Lake Taupo and Huka Falls
  • Wine tasting in the Marlborough region
  • Visit Lake Matheson
  • Stay in the Fox Glacier region
  • Cruise Milford Sound
  • Mountain biking in Arrowtown


  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.


25 Mar 2021
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