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Best of New Zealand: Maori Culture & Mountain Coastlines

Experience
Tour
Destination
New Zealand
Duration
21 days
Ages
18 to 39
Operated by
G Adventures
Book now, pay later. Cancel anytime.

Trip overview

Now's the time to explore New Zealand on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. They say good travel happens on small islands. Regardless of whether or not that's an actual saying, the small islands of New Zealand pack plenty of exploratory punch. Go from surfing in Raglan to hiking in Abel Tasman National Park to cruising remote fjords and taking in some Insta-worthy views. But if you’re short on travel dollars, fear not; this trip squeezes in the very best of both the North and South Islands into an affordable, action-packed 21-day itinerary where you'll move swiftly without feeling rushed.

Inclusions

Tour

  • Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group
  • Your First Night Out Moment: Connect With New Friends
  • Your Hands-On Moment: Surf Lesson, Raglan
  • Your Big Night Out Moment: Wellington
  • Your Discover Moment: Franz Josef, Queenstown, Wellington. Conservation farm visit (Raglan). Sea kayaking excursion (Raglan). Maori cultural experience. Visit to a seal colony. Walks in Franz Josef and Abel Tasman National Parks. Fiordland NP visit. Milford Sound nature cruise. Mountain biking excursion (Central Otago). Orientation walk in Wellington.
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Meals

19 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, kayak, boat, ferry

Accommodation

Hostels (11 nts, multi-share with 4-8 people), basic lodges (9 nts). Most nights are multi-share on this trip.

Global Emergency Line

Feel confident knowing we have a worldwide emergency team on standby, 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday. 

gWorld access

Stay organised with your personalised portal where you can keep all of your important documents and trip details in one spot and gain insider access to everything Global.

Global Academy

NEW

Gain access to an ever-growing range of skills & languages to learn before & whilst you travel.

Marketplace Deals

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Get exclusive access to deals and discounts through our online Marketplace. Save big on a huge range of products and services from our brand partners worldwide.

Ask a question

Chat with us online now, or we can call you back for free, 24 hours Mon-Fri.

Meet your very first travel buddy, gWorld

Trip itinerary

Day 1

Arrive at any time. It’s time to make some memories! Join your CEO and group for a night out in Auckland. Dinner, drinks, ice cream? You’ll mix and match these depending on the mood of the group to enjoy a wonderful evening. So what are you waiting for? Grab dinner somewhere tasty, or head to Giapo ice cream parlour—contributor to Planeterra for a sweet snack, or wander downtown to check out craft beer bars like Little Creatures and Habana Joe's. The options seem endless, so regardless of where the night takes you just make sure to snap loads of pictures because there’s no doubt you’ll want to remember this experience. Arrive in Auckland at any time. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. If you arrive early enough, opt to visit the Maritime Museum, walk the waterfront, or even take the ferry to Waiheke Island.

Day 2

Begin your journey along backroads to a remote eel farm (this might sound strange, but life’s more fun when you embrace the bizarre) where you will learn about sustainable aquaculture and the conservations farm’s methods regarding traditionally farmed marine life. After, get on the water for some sea kayaking; exploring remote parts of the harbour before indulging in a picnic lunch. With full stomachs and a relaxed atmosphere the group will head to our lodge just a few minutes drive from the famous surf and arts town of Raglan for the night. Travel backroads to a remote conservation farm where they are using natural means to boost the stocks of traditionally farmed marine life. Farmers have created a balanced ecosystem to attract native birds and animals back to the area. After, kayak to a remote part of the harbour for a boat cruise and lunch, before heading to our lodge a few minutes drive from the famous surf and arts town of Raglan for the night.

Day 3

Wake up amid the adventurous in the picturesque North Island town of Raglan. This laid-back place may well be New Zealand’s perfect surf town and you’ll get to enjoy an included surf lesson to get you out in the waves. The afternoon is yours for the taking; head on a hike around the Wainui Reserve, grab a kayak or stand up paddle board and traverse the harbour, or embrace the Indigenous art scene and shop from place to place finding the perfect memento for your trip. Your only job today is to get out, relax, and have fun! Head down to the beach for an included surf lesson. The afternoon is open for optional activities such as yoga, stand up paddle boarding or exploring the many trails in the area.

Day 4

Another day another chance to explore! Today the group will begin journeying to Rotorua with a stop along the way in Waitomo. Here you can choose to go caving in the famous Waitomo caves, where you will see glow worms light up the cave’s ceiling just like stars in the night sky (sounds like a pretty unforgettable experience to us.) Next stop is Rotorua, notable for its geothermal activity (think hot springs galore) and culture. Once the group arrives here you will visit a local village for an engaging cultural experience to help you better understand the Maori way of life. Stop en route at Waitomo. Enjoy free time to visit the Waitomo Caves, famous for their glow-worms and adventure activities, or explore this scenic area by foot. Continue to Rotorua for an engaging cultural experience on the grounds of a historic Maori village.

Day 5

Make the most of your morning in Rotorua. There's lots to see and do! Opt to go whitewater rafting or mountain biking for an adrenaline rush, try your hand at zorbing, or relax at a hot spring. Later, continue to Taupo.

Day 6

Hit the road to the nation’s capital at the southern end of the North Island. Take in the ever-changing scenery, swap travel stories with your group, and simply reflect on your journey. The group will arrive early enough to visit the National Museum, Te Papa — home to displays of historical Maori artifacts and modern exhibits. Then the choice is yours, so take that cable car ride to the hills overlooking the city, or make that stroll along the Oriental Parade happen because you're here now and you might as well take advantage of everything around you. The group will finish the day off with an optional night out on the town together in the central business district. Travel to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. Arrive early enough for a visit to the National Museum, Te Papa. Take a short walk from our accommodation to see the sights of the central business district. Finish the day off with an optional night on the town.

Day 7

Don't forget those cameras before hopping on the morning ferry to cross the Cook Strait. Pro tip: make sure you stand outside and marvel at the views of the Marlborough Sounds at the tip of the South Island. Then drive past lush native forests, beautiful clear waters, blue skies, and golden sands as the group travels to Abel Tasman National Park. Catch a morning ferry and cross the scenic Cook Strait. Make sure to stand outside and enjoy the views of the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island. Disembark and transfer to Abel Tasman National Park, well-known for its stunning white sand beaches.

Day 8

Picture this: birdsong ringing from the treetops as you wander through the undergrowth stumbling upon occasional waterfalls nestled in the midst of the forest. You take a dip in one of the refreshing pools before finding your way to pristine coastline and turquoise bays where you can soak up the sun and relax in the sand. This is the kind of day that awaits you in Abel Tasman NP, you are free to explore the golden beaches and winding waterways any way you’d like! So have fun, build a sand castle for us, and let the adventures continue!

Day 9

It’s off to Westport today! Breathe in the fresh air and soak in the beautiful views as the group heads south down the coast of black-sand beaches. Make a (very cool) pit stop to a seal colony in Cape Fouldwind and watch these majestic animals in their habitat before continuing on to Westport for the evening. Once you arrive grab a beer, talk to some locals, and discover the true charm of this coal mining town.

Day 10

Continue on a scenic drive south along the coast to Punakaiki; think pancake rocks and blowholes (man, those are two random things we never thought would be in the same sentence). As a special spot full of local secrets Punakaiki is a great place to hop out of the bus, stretch those legs, and appreciate the strange beauty nature can create. Continue following the coastal road towards Franz Josef arriving at a unique wilderness lodge set in the rainforest for the night.

Day 11

Enjoy a free day in Franz Josef. Today is all yours to spend as you please! From hiking to kayaking and walking on a glacier, there’s bound to be something you’ll want to check off that bucket list. If your goal is to make actual contact with the glacier then try a heli-hike or guided ice walk. Or you could let nature be your guide and lose yourself in the rainforests, lakes, and waterfalls that surround Franz Josef. If you’d rather stay in town, then grab a bite to eat before booking a spa treatment at the Glacier Hot Pools... the choice is yours!

Day 12

Hit the road to the adventure capital of the world — Queenstown. Sit back, relax and gaze out the window as you drive away from Glacier Country and wind through lush forests back to the coast and into the mountains over Haast Pass. The photo opportunities will seem endless (make sure those cameras are charged.) Then gear up and get ready because the adrenaline is going to be pumping the next few days.

Day 13

Let’s put it this way, if you’re the sort of person that loves adventure mixed with adrenaline all while exploring one of the most scenic places in the country, then Queenstown is for you! Gear up for two days that are sure to leave you breathless. Free time in Queenstown is no joke, so be a dare devil and get ready to have those hearts pumping with some adrenaline-filled options like jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking or skydiving.

Day 14

Let’s put it this way, if you’re the sort of person that loves adventure mixed with adrenaline all while exploring one of the most scenic places in the country, then Queenstown is for you! Gear up for two days that are sure to leave you breathless. Free time in Queenstown is no joke, so be a dare devil and get ready to have those hearts pumping with some adrenaline-filled options like jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking or skydiving.

Day 15

Let your breathing finally return to normal as the group departs Queenstown to visit Fiordland National Park. After arriving, soak up the chill vibes on a boat cruise through one of the most iconic places in New Zealand — Milford Sound. Marvel at the views of one of the wettest places on Earth and then if you are feeling up to it, book a cruise across Lake Te Anau to visit a cave that is home to thousands of glowworms.

Day 16

It’s time to discover the natural beauty of Te Anau with a morning of free time. Head out to hike on one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, visit the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, and try a savoury pie from Miles Better Pies. Then, it’s time to transfer to Wedderburn in Central Otago to give the eastern part of the South Island some love.

Day 17

Enjoy the unique landscape of Central Otago while biking 35 km on the Otago Rail Trail. Cycle through one historic town after another and sample some local food and drink as you go.

Day 18

Scoot on up to Christchurch to explore the South Island’s largest city and one of the places in New Zealand with the strongest English influences. Enjoy free time to explore and see what the nightlife is all about with your travel tribe, and grab some shut eye in a converted jailhouse to finish the evening.

Day 19

Mountains, marine life, and magic! Kaikoura is pretty darn special, so special in fact, that it may be the South Island’s best kept secret. The best way to experience it is to get out there and witness what this rugged coastal town does best. Book a whale watching cruise, swim with seals, or just take a walk along the coast admiring the scenery. In the afternoon try bird watching, swim with dolphins or splurge on flight over the peninsula. Spend the afternoon swimming with dolphins or taking a scenic flight over the peninsula. Bird watchers will be pleased to know that big ocean birds such as albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters frequent the area.

Day 20

Reminisce and reflect as you and the group travel to Picton to catch a ferry back to Wellington. Watch the majestic scenery of this country unfold before you and simply appreciate the moment (we know you’re probably already making plans to return.) Once back in the city grab some grub with your travel crew and let the good times roll for one last night out together.

Day 21

Depart at any time.

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Frequently asked questions

Why are you the best company to choose?

As the world’s leading gap-year and "work & travel" company, we pride ourselves on providing a premium service for Global Travellers. Choose from a variety of awesome experiences worldwide, and let us assist you with visas, pre-departure preparations, flights, insurance, and tours. Throughout your journey, our cool tech features will support you every step of the way. As a Global Traveller, gain access to gWorld, our personalised app designed to enhance your travel experience. Keep important documents and trip details handy, and take advantage of exclusive Marketplace deals, a vibrant social network, language learning resources, side trips, meet-ups, and more. It's like having all your favorite travel apps merged into one, but even better! But our support doesn't end there. With four international offices, over 100 dedicated staff members, a 24/5 emergency team, and the backing of over 90,000 Global Travellers who have turned their travel dreams into reality with us, rest assured you're in good hands. We also proudly boast the most and best reviews in the biz, and maintain a massive following on our social channels including Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. Embark on your next adventure with confidence and ease. Join us and discover the world in a meaningful way!

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Can I bring my pet along?

At Global Work & Travel, we share a deep love for animals and fully understand the special bond you have with your pet. We recognise the challenges of embarking on a trip without them. Due to travel restrictions, requirements, and limited pet-friendly accommodations among our host organisations, we regretfully cannot facilitate their inclusion in the journey. However, many of our customers choose to entrust their pets to a family member or friend, embark on their adventure, and return home to wagging tails and furry cuddles.

What happens if I need to cancel my trip?

We know that life can get in the way of travel, so all our trips come with a great deal of flexibility. In most cases, if you cannot travel on your selected date, you can place your trip on hold to deal with whatever is holding you back, and continue in the future without incurring any penalty. You may also have the option of transferring to an entirely different trip and destination as well, or even transferring your trip to a friend or family member. In the event that you need to outright cancel your trip, if you give us 84* days notice you can do so with only a 50% cancellation fee. Your refund of the balance will come in the form of a Store Credit which you can put toward any other trip that we offer, including tours through third-party providers, as well as holidays through DealsAway.com, and is valid for 2 years from date of issue. As international travel can be complex, your options are based on the progress of your trip organisation and our support team can assist you in finding the best solution for your needs.

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