14 Day NATURAL NORTH/SOUTH New Zealand with Kiwi Dundee Adventures & Canterbury Trails

Optional 16 days to include spectular North Island Tongariro National Park -please inquire

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Explore the magnificent North and South Islands of New Zealand on our personally guided small group nature and scenic safari tours – Natural North’South New Zealand.

Your local guides will help you experience the natural wonders and heritage of this diverse and magical land. Meet the local people, walk along deserted beaches and through ancient rain forests, over an advancing glacier, and experience the stillness in magnificent Milford Sound. Visit national parks, walk on pristine beaches that Captain Cook walked on, and visit the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area in the shadow of the Southern Alps and their rugged snowcapped peaks.

Highlights include the Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua, the High Country, Arthur’s Pass, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, Lake Moeraki, Queenstown and Milford Sound.

Taking you “off the beaten track”, these adventures include guided walks, first class service, superb food and the finest lodges and luxurious accommodations. Maximum group size of these tours is six and exclusive private trips can be arranged.

14 days of scenic splendor

Get in touch with nature

Diverse Landscapes

A photographers dream

north and south island tours of new zealand

Your Itinerary

(B) : Full Breakfast (MT) : Picnic morning tea

(L) : Lunch (AT) : Picnic afternoon tea (D) : Dinner

Day 1… Auckland – Coromandel Peninsula

“Arrival, greeting and orientation”

Your nature-loving guide from the world-famous company, Kiwi Dundee Adventures, meets you in Auckland.

We escape from Auckland City in the air-conditioned luxury of Kiwi Dundee Adventures mini coach, travelling south through picturesque farmland and along the seabird coast to the beautiful, historic Coromandel Peninsula. You will enjoy a visit to the fascinating old gold mine town of Thames with its buildings and churches dating from the 1800’s.

After a delightful lunch, we will travel up the Thames coast, lined with ancient Pohutukawa, New Zealand’s Christmas tree, to visit a giant Kauri tree, over 30ft round, set amongst the world’s largest ferns and semitropical rainforest. We then travel over mountains, clad with dense rain forest, to the Pacific coast of the Peninsula with its many offshore islands. A short journey to a quiet coastal town takes you to your accommodation for the next two nights.

ACCOMMODATION: Deluxe Homestay or Lodge (L)

Day 2… On the Coromandel

“Glowworms, giant ferns, white sand beaches & fun!”

Highlights of your day will be a leisurely walk through beautiful regenerating Kauri forest full of fern trees, along the old tracks of Puketui, the 1890’s gold mining town. See glowworms in an historic old gold cave. Learn about the flora and fauna of this magic area.

Lunch will be at a delightful cafe, or a delicious picnic with a chance to view your guide’s spectacular collection of quartz, obsidian, minerals, old photos of the Coromandel and beautiful rocks full of gold.

From the panorama of mountains and forest, travel to the contrasting coastal scenery with beautiful beaches, offshore islands and magnificent cliffs decorated with ancient Pohutukawa trees. Visit Hot Water Beach (tide permitting) where you can dabble your feet in the natural hot springs on the beach.

Walk up onto the old Maori fortification to enjoy the spectacular panorama.

This day includes many of the ‘highlights’ of the Coromandel Peninsula.

ACCOMMODATION: Deluxe Homestay or Lodge (B,L)

Day 3…Coromandel – Bay of Plenty – Rotorua

“Coastline, orchards, craters & mud!”

This day is an ever-changing panorama of forests, mountains, beaches and islands, until we leave the Coromandel behind and enter the Bay of Plenty, home to plantations of kiwi fruit, citrus, avocados, flowers and deer farms to name a few.

Stop at New Zealand’s “Mural Town”, Katikati, with its open-air art on the history of the area. Continue south to visit a private working orchard, growing Kiwi fruit, avocados and export flowers.

After a delightful lunch, we tour on to Rotorua, the thermal city built in the crater of a huge volcano. Your guide will give you an overview of this fascinating region before arriving at your accommodation and wishes you well for the rest of the journey through our beautiful country.

ACCOMMODATION: Quality hotel, Deluxe Homestay or Lodge (B,L)

N.B. The 16 Day tour includes two nights at National Park in the North Island – Perfect for those that enjoy dramatic volcanic mountains & walking.

Day 4… Rotorua – Christchurch

A free morning to explore Rotorua before flying south to the Garden City of Christchurch. After transferring to your Christchurch accommodation, you can enjoy the ambiance of this very “English” city.

ACCOMMODATION: Quality Hotel or Bed & Breakfast (B)

Day 5… Christchurch

Today is a day on your own to explore this city, which is sometimes said to be “more English than England”. Founded by English settlers in 1850, Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter in 1856, which makes it the oldest officially established city in New Zealand.

The peace. The open spaces. The lush colours and rich textures of a city, where a leisurely pace still prevails, never fail to capture the imagination. Located on the east coast of the South Island, Christchurch – just like the rest of New Zealand – is a city of contrast. A place where residents continue to enjoy a health, active lifestyle amidst a natural environment.

Officially known as the “Garden City”, Christchurch has over 3000 hectares of parklands, which include Hagley Park and the famous Botanic Gardens. Located next to these gardens is the Christchurch Arts Centre, which is the hub of Christchurch art and the headquarters of many art, craft and recreation associations and groups.

Christchurch is perfect for exploring on foot because it is attractive, fascinating – and flat! The central city is a particularly dynamic place, offering numerous opportunities to shop, sightsee and socialise. And it’s surprisingly easy to get about. You can hop aboard one of the beautifully restored vintage trams, hire a bicycle, enjoy a punt on the Avon river or simply stroll about on foot.

Christchurch has a special relationship with Antarctica – for almost a century, Christchurch has been the stepping-off point for numerous Antarctic activities. The International Antarctic Centre is a working campus and home to Antarctica New Zealand and various other international Antarctic groups. The Visitor’s Centre, which opened in 1992, provides a fun and interactive Antarctic experience.

The great variety of cafes and bars offer an excellent street-side vantage point from which to enjoy a glass or two of local wine, freshly brewed coffee or an amazing array of international cuisine. And then there are many fine restaurants to experience, too, perhaps as a prelude to a night’s entertainment at the theatre, cinema, nightclub or the casino.

This is Christchurch……..

ACCOMMODATION: Quality Hotel or Bed & Breakfast (B)

Day 6… Christchurch – Arthur’s Pass

Your personal guide will meet you and take you through the “Garden City” and up onto the Port Hills, the flanks of one of the ancient extinct volcanoes that form the Banks Peninsula. From the hills there are spectacular views of the city and the Kaikoura Range can be seen far to the north, while the Pacific Ocean sparkles to the east. To the south and west the vast Canterbury Plains stretch to the horizon, and in the distance the Southern Alps beckon you to discover them. This is an opportunity to talk about where we are going and what we will see on the tour.

Having orientated ourselves in Christchurch, we then escape the city and start our journey west across the Canterbury Plains. As the distant mountains become closer, we wonder, like the Maori and the early settlers before us, how we shall find a way through. Crossing Porter’s Pass, a dramatic landscape change occurs as we enter the highcountry, a high tussock grass basin bounded by the Torlesse Mountains to the east and the Craigieburn Mountains to the west. Travelling through this region we pass glacial formed lakes and the limestone formations of Castle Hill, which dominate the landscape, and the wide expanse of the Waimakariri River.

ACCOMMODATION: Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass (B,AT,D)

Day 7… A Day in the Mountains

“High country, sheep, valleys & Keas”

This is a day to discover the real high country – a day where you can explore and learn about the alpine landscape and plants, the animals and take in the spectacular Southern Alps.

A tour of the high country sheep farm which is part of the lodge will enable you to visit the woolshed and see a sheepdog demonstration. From the lodge we will head into the heart of the Southern Alps – Arthur’s Pass National Park which has an incredible diversity of flora and terrain. They range from the eastern beech-clad hills and tussock grass valleys to the luxuriant rain forest in the west.

From the Lodge, we will again travel on New Zealand’s transalpine highway and head into Arthur’s Pass National Park, where we will take walks to see waterfalls, learn about the forests and alpine plants of this area, and experience the alpine environment. Your guide will tell you of the history of Arthur’s Pass, as you explore the glacial landscape and learn about the features that the Ice Age left behind. Seek out and hopefully find a unique South Island personality who is mischievous, inquisitive, comical and rowdy; the cheeky kea – the world’s only alpine parrot. You may have to defend your mini coach as they have been known to try and remove aerials and door trims with their beaks!

For those who might be escaping from a busy lifestyle and are seeking some quiet relaxation at the beginning of their tour, the lodge is just the place to relax in the lounge and gaze at the surrounding peaks and perhaps take a short nature walk. For the more adventurous, help out with the day to day activities such as feeding out, mustering or working with the station dogs. Walking, canoeing and mountain bike riding are all available.

ACCOMMODATION: Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass (B,MT,L,AT,D)

Day 8… Arthur’s Pass – Hokitika – Franz Josef Glacier

“Mountains, pioneers, greenstone and ice”

After breakfast, we will travel through the Arthur’s Pass National Park and depart Canterbury province for Westland (“The West Coast”). Originally used by the Maori to move greenstone from the West Coast and later as a link to the gold rush fields, this route will reveal great mountain valleys and we will marvel at the road as it winds its way down the spectacular Otira Gorge – a geographer’s dream.

We follow rivers that flow to the West Coast and observe the changes to the rainforest and the many varieties of ferns that contribute to their character. Travel on a backcountry road, walk through old gold miners’ tunnels and marvel at the tenacity of the miners in their quest for gold. Visit Hokitika, once the capital of Westland, a roaring gold mining town and also a place where the Maori sought their treasured greenstone (jade). Greenstone is a feature in the town’s bustling centre of art and craft shops. As we journey south we will be able to visit the Bushman’s Centre, where we can meet some “Coasters” in a village with a population of 2!

Heading farther south, we see the West Coast bush and further evidence of the last Ice Age in the kettle lakes created by the melting ice sheets. We then arrive at Franz Josef for our overnight stay, and view the Franz Josef Glacier pushing into rainforest – truly incredible!

ACCOMMODATION: Westwood Lodge or similar (B,MT,L,AT,D)

Day 9… Franz Josef Glacier – Fox Glacier – Lake Moeraki

“Geology, Ice Age and podocarps”

Depart Franz Josef Glacier for a dramatic drive through the glaciated landscape to Fox Glacier. Here you can enjoy a highlight of the tour, a hike with an alpine guide up on to the ice. For this experience, you are provided with the necessary equipment and instruction. For those who would like something a little more passive, alternative walks are available to the terminal face of the Fox Glacier, or to a glacier viewpoint to witness the glacier’s descent down the mountain into the rainforest. An exciting helicopter ride to view the Southern Alps with a snow landing on the upper reaches of the glacier is also available. (Please note that the optional helicopter trips are not included in the tour cost and are subject to the weather.)

After lunch, a beautiful and tranquil walk can be taken around the edge of Lake Matheson. It is here that incredible reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman towering on the horizon above the lake can often be seen. Alternatively, a drive through the lush rainforest to a remote beach on the Tasman Sea for views of the Alps and where we can look for the rare Hectors Dolphins.

From Fox Glacier, travel south to the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, set in the heart of Te Wahi Pounamu – the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage area. This lodge is a Tourism Award winner, providing a first class wilderness experience.

ACCOMMODATION: Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge (B,MT,AT,D)

Day 10… Lake Moeraki

“Wilderness, wildlife and rain forests”

Another opportunity to spend a day at a Wilderness Lodge with its own special attractions. Untouched lowland rain forests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snowcapped Southern Alps. Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting of Lake Moeraki in the heart of the 2.7 million hectare Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area.

This special place is home to breeding colonies of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin (seasonal), a seal colony, the world’s smallest dolphin, the Hectors Dolphins and numerous native birds.

Lake Moeraki is a nature lover’s paradise. Visits can be made to spectacular beaches that are home to crested penguins (seasonal) and fur seals that were hunted in the nineteenth century.

Activities include guided walks to get close to the wildlife, learning about the forest and experiencing amazing scenery. If you prefer to have a restful day, then you can take a canoe out on the tranquil lake, or just relax in the lodge.

ACCOMMODATION: Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge (B,MT,L,AT,D)

Day 11… Lake Moeraki – Wanaka – Queenstown

“Estuaries, explorers, tussocks and gold”

From Moeraki we travel to nearby Ship Creek. From a viewing tower on the beach, there is a good chance of seeing the rare Hectors Dolphin playing beyond the surf. We walk through a primeval swamp forest to see ancient “dinosaur” trees, view a coastal lagoon and fossick for greenstone on the remote beach.

After a little while, the road turns east, following the Haast Highway. We can now observe how the landscape again changes dramatically as the road climbs over the Haast Pass from the dense rain forest of the West Coast to the drier tussock lands of Otago. On the way, there are short walks to see waterfalls and if there has been recent rainfall, the Haast River passing through the gorge known as the Gates of Haast can be truly spectacular. A while after the Haast Pass the road skirts first along the banks of the headwaters of Lake Wanaka, and then making a slight turn and rising over a ridge, Lake Wanaka is left behind and Lake Hawea is before us. The road follows the shoreline of this lake and then we reach Wanaka. This is a quiet mountain resort on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka.

From Wanaka, we head over the rugged and remote Crown Range, the site of gold diggings in the 1860’s. We arrive in Arrowtown and visit the old Chinese gold miners’ settlement and view this quaint old village tied into the history of gold. It is then a short drive to your Queenstown accommodation.

ACCOMMODATION: Millbrook Resort or quality lodge (B,MT,AT,D)

Day 12… Queenstown

“Adventure and relaxing in the mountains”

A “free” day for you to experience and enjoy some of the many activities which Queenstown has to offer. Your guide is available to transfer you to the venues and activities in the Queenstown area of your choice.

You might like to enjoy a relaxing cruise on the old steamship Earnslaw, the lady of the Lake. For those wanting more excitement, try an exhilarating jetboat trip through the Shotover Canyon. Another New Zealand experience is a bungy jump at the Kawarau Bridge, the first bungy jumping site in the world. There are many wineries to visit and also an art and craft trail around the district to visit some of the many artists and craft studios. Golf and horse trekking are other possibilities available in Queenstown.

For some this is an ideal opportunity to do some shopping. A ride up the gondola offers spectacular views across to the mountains known as the Remarkables. For those who wish to hike, a climb up Queenstown Hill offers spectacular views or perhaps a walk around a remote and beautiful glacial lake.

Your guide will be available to advise and assist with transfers as required.

ACCOMMODATION: Millbrook Resort or quality lodge (B)

Day 13… Queenstown – Milford Sound Excursion

“Milford Sound, glacial lakes, Alps and fiords”

The road to Milford Sound through the Fiordland National Park is absolutely breathtaking, with sheer U-shaped glaciated valleys and waterfalls everywhere. The rain forests are Jurassic Park and the Homer Tunnel, entry to the Cleddau Valley and Milford Sound, is tribute to the engineers’ skills in the 1930’s. Explore the fiord on a cruise before heading back to Queenstown. Catch a glimpse of the extremely rare Takahe, a flightless bird, at a sanctuary in Te Anau, and we can take short walks to see waterfalls, alpine views and lakes. Optionals (not included in tour cost) for the day are a return flight from Milford to Queenstown by plane or perhaps a private helicopter charter which can include a snow landing on the mountains.

ACCOMMODATION: Millbrook Resort or quality lodge (B,MT,L,AT,D)

Day 14… Queenstown & Farewell

After breakfast, perhaps relax and indulge in the odd bit of pampering with some of the many health and beauty facilities. A range of products designed to revitalise and relax weary bodies are available, and we all need a little care and attention sometime! Time for that last minute shopping or to experience that last piece of adventure before it is time for your guide to bid you farewell. Your guide will transfer you to the airport, car rental office or coach depot, as required. (B)

Please note: This trip does not include airfares.