Part of our new Travel with Confidence Plus Collection, this trip features a smaller group size, private transportation, en-suite bathrooms, and a discounted rate for My Own Room. See Middle Earth with your own eyes on this nine-day tour through the best of New Zealand. Explore the stunning North Island and its geothermal park, and cruise along fjords, cliff walls, and waterfalls in Doubtful Sound. Cross a few items off your bucket list by visiting the adventure capital of the world with pretty much every thrilling sport at your fingertips (paragliding, skydiving, jet boating). It is, after all, the birthplace of the bungee jump.
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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.
Your opportunity to meet your CEO and fellow travellers, and learn more about your tour. Opt to join the group for a local meal afterwards. Don't forget to see the notice in the lobby (or ask reception) for the official time and place to meet up with the group.
Visit the Waitomo Caves, famous for their glow-worms and adventure activities. Continue to Rotorua, notable for its geothermal activity and culture.
Walk through caverns covered with magical glowworms that are unique to New Zealand. Hundreds of thousands of these tiny creatures radiate luminescent light in underground caves carved by rivers and time. Take in more than 120 years of cultural and natural history on this unique excursion.
Take advantage of free time in the adrenaline capital of the North Island, and opt to go whitewater rafting, check out a geothermal park with technicolour pools, hit up a nearby spa, or journey to Middle-earth on an excursion to the Hobbiton Movie Set. This evening, learn more about Maori culture with a local experience and dinner.
Visit the Tamaki Maori Village. Receive the traditional Powhiri welcome ceremony followed by a captivating stage performance explaining Maori history, myths and culture. For dinner, enjoy a traditional Hangi meal, similar to the Hawaiian Luau, with dishes such as chicken, sweet potatoes (kumara), and lamb steamed over heated rocks.
Catch a flight to Christchurch on the South Island. Head out for an orientation walk with your CEO before enjoying a few hours to explore the city.
Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.
Drive to beautiful Lake Ohau with a stop at Lake Tekapo along the way. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and admire the stunning alpine scenery that surrounds this local landmark. Spend the afternoon hiking the region around Aoraki/Mt Cook. Learn more about mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary at the Aoraki/Mt Cook Visitor's Centre.
Aoraki/Mount Cook is both a village, a national park and the name of New Zealand's highest mountain. Located in central South Island, the park includes a mix of rocks and glaciers, as well as alpine plants including the world's largest buttercup, the Mount Cook lily. There are several short walks that reward with spectacular views.
Drive to Queenstown, with a stop at Wanaka and a local vineyard for a wine tasting.
Visit one of the vineyards in the beautiful Central Otago region, known for it's Pinot Noir. Learn about how this famous red wine is produced and, more importantly, sample some!
Take in the stunning scenery of Fiordland National Park and Doubtful Sound on a day cruise. Keep an eye out for the waterfalls and wildlife in this breathtaking area. Return to Queenstown in the evening.
Cruise through the stunning Doubtful Sound, one of the most untouched, remote places in the world. The only way to get here is by boat across Lake Manapouri, then bus across Wilmont Pass to Doubtful Sound. Marvel at the steep cliff walls and cascading waterfalls, and keep an eye out for area wildlife: dolphins, penguins, seals, and a variety of birds. This isolated part of New Zealand is truly a special place!
Opt to pre-book the "Queenstown Jet Boating" activity on the checkout page ahead of time, to include this optional on your tour.
Depart at any time.
Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.
The Travel with Confidence Plus Collection includes all of the new health and safety measures we’re now taking on all of our tours, PLUS: Our maximum group size has been reduced to 12 travellers on most tours to ensure even smaller groups, exclusive use of private transportation (except planes), My Own Room option is available for 50% off, and now includes extra space on all our private vehicles, and all rooms on tour will be either single or twin-share and have en-suite bathrooms.
Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your Foodie Moment: Winery Visit, Central Otago District Your Discover Moment: Queenstown. Waitomo Caves visit. Maori cultural experience. Orientation walk in Christchurch. Wine tasting. Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park visit with hiking opportunity (weather permitting). Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park Visitor's Centre visit. Fiordland National Park visit. Doubtful Sound day cruise. Free time in Rotorua and Queenstown. Internal flight. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Cruise through fjords, Spot glow-worms in the Waitomo Caves, Experience a traditional Maori dinner
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1) Please be aware that wifi and internet access is not as readily available in New Zealand as in other parts of the world. There are often additional charges to connect to the internet, and speeds may be slower than what you are used to.
2) Over public holidays in Australia and New Zealand (such as Christmas, New Years Day, Easter, and Anzac Day) there may be some limitations of services and disruptions to schedules. In general our tours still operate effectively over public holidays, but there may be closures of optional activities and restaurants, and slight itinerary adjustments in order to provide all tour inclusions.
3) Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.
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.
Max 12, avg 10
8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
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 vehicle, walking, plane, boat.
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.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (8 nts)
My Own Room - Now 50% Off
If you’re travelling solo and would prefer to have your own private room throughout the trip, select this option during the online booking process. For tours in the Travel with Confidence Plus Collection, it’s now 50% off and includes free space next to you on our private vehicles
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
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 Skybus: $18 per person. Leaves from outside the airport terminal every 10-15 minutes and takes approximately 1 hour.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
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.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office and after office 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
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible.
We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. Heavy luggage is not recommended for the health of the CEO, who will take a lead in loading the storage trailer. Due to space in the trailer, we will not be able to accommodate more than one piece of main luggage per person. A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential to carry your personal gear for the day, as access to luggage between destinations will be limited. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle.
New Zealand weather can be quite variable, even in summer, and layers are recommended throughout the year.
Cold Weather: • Long-sleeved shirts or sweater • Scarf • Warm gloves • Warm hat • Warm layers Documents: • Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border) • Insurance info (required) (With photocopies) • Passport (required) (With photocopies) • Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies) • Vouchers and pre-departure information (required) Essentials: • Binoculars (optional) • Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries) • Cash, credit and debit cards • Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights) • Ear plugs • First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking) • Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal) • Fleece top/sweater • Footwear • Hat • Locks for bags • Long pants/jeans • Moneybelt • Outlet adapter • Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.) • Reusable water bottle • Shirts/t-shirts • Sleepwear • Small travel towel • Sunglasses • Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable) • Watch and alarm clock • Waterproof backpack cover • Windproof rain jacket Warm Weather: • Sandals/flip-flops • Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended) • Sun hat/bandana • Swimwear Note: The weather in New Zealand varies depending on the season. Make sure to check the forecast for the time you will be visiting and pack weather appropriate clothing for your trip.
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.
Important notice for passport holders from 60 visa waiver countries, including the UK, Canada, USA, and EU:
Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)
From 1 October 2019, passport holders from 60 visa waiver countries travelling by air or cruise and entering New Zealand without a visa (tourists) will need to hold an ETA before travelling to New Zealand. You will be able to apply for an ETA from July 2019.
For more information and full list of eligible countries please visit https://www.immigration.govt.nz/nzeta
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
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
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
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.
Auckland - Maritime Museum Visit (20NZD per person) - Auckland Sailing: America's Cup Experience (Pre Tour) Waiheke Island - Waiheke Island Excursion (45-130NZD per person) Rotorua - Hobbiton Tour (112NZD per person) - Mountain Biking (35-130NZD per person) - Whitewater Rafting (89NZD per person) - Hot Springs (30-50NZD per person) - Rotorua Canopy Tours (149-249NZD per person) Queenstown - Bungee Jumping (165-205NZD per person) - Gondola Ride (35-56NZD per person) - Paragliding (210NZD per person) - Earnslaw Steamship Cruise (55-95NZD per person) - Vineyard Tour (185-230NZD per person) - Shotover Canyon Swing/Shotover Canyon Fox (169-299NZD per person) - Scenic Horse Riding Tour (165-325NZD per person) - Queenstown Jet Boating - Skydiving (299-459NZD per person)
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
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 is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra International Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. Planeterra connects underserved local communities to the benefits of tourism by developing and supporting small community-owned businesses. These businesses support Indigenous people, empower women, grant youth access to employment opportunities, and protect the environment. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating their projects into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs, so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures Dollar-a-day Program - Make Every Day Count - Turn your travel into impact with Planeterra Foundation.
Did you know? Most communities around the world do not benefit from tourism. Give back to the places you visit on your travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn an income, and protect the environment.
Make every day count by donating $1/day for the length of your trip, and join us in empowering the communities you will visit when you travel. 100% of your donation goes directly to Planeterra projects.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.