Haka Plus Wanderer Tour - 12 Day Auckland to Christchurch
- Duration: 12 Days (approx.)
- Location: Auuckland, New Zealand
- Product code: Haka Plus Wanderer Tour - 12 Day Auckland to Christchurch
A sample platter of North and the South Island highlights – you’ll get a great overview of New Zealand’s scenic wonders on this tour. From Auckland, we’ll visit beautiful Coromandel and Raglan beaches; the thermal wonderland of Rotorua and Taupō; stop in at Tongariro National Park; enjoy vibrant Wellington before crossing the Cook Strait from the North Island and on to the South Island wine region of Marlborough; then to the whale-watching mecca of Kaikōura before ending in Christchurch. Or – vice versa! – you can also take this tour from Christchurch to Auckland.
Created for travellers in their mid-thirties and upwards, Haka Plus Tours are the best, most relaxed way to see Aotearoa New Zealand. We always like to showcase the indigenous Māori culture, so we include a cultural performance at a living Māori village within this tour. You can also learn about Māori traditions at an optional bone pendant carving session.
This tour includes special activities such as walking to the spectacular and photogenic Cathedral Cove, a traditional Māori meal, and a walk amidst towering – and magically lit – treetops and the ‘most scenic ferry crossing in the world’. You can also choose to select some tour add-ons such as hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – otherwise known as Mordor, kayaking to a natural hot pool, visiting an offshore eco-sanctuary, visiting Hobbiton, or viewing whales on a whale watching flight!
New Zealand is known for being home to many different adventures, so be sure to make the most of your chance to swim, kayak, skydive, hike, see kiwis (and whales, dolphins, seals and albatrosses), relax in hot pools, and even fly over snow-capped mountains!
Pack in as many or as few of the activities on offer – this is your tour, and we want you to have a great time! The tour includes some must-dos, but when it comes to things like bungy jumping and mountain hiking, we leave the choice up to you.
At the end of the day, you can relax in comfortable 3–4 star accommodation to ensure you have a great night’s sleep ready for the following day’s activities.
WHAT’S INCLUDED ON THIS TOUR
Stay 11 nights in twin-share 3–4 star accommodation: a mix of hotels, motels and lodges.
Feast on daily continental breakfasts and 2 dinners, including a traditional Māori hāngī cooked in an underground oven.
Walk a stunning coastal track to Cathedral Cove (as seen in the Chronicles of Narnia movies).
Ride one of the most scenic ferry journeys in the world, over the Cook Strait.
Watch a Māori cultural performance and check out a geothermal valley of bubbling mud pools including the famous Pōhutu Geyser in Rotorua.
See endangered kiwi birds up close and personal.
Soak up a sunset boat cruise in the West Coast surf town of Raglan – the fish and chips are on us!
Brave the Redwoods Treewalk, crossing 23 raised suspension bridges.
Hike through the forested gorge of Ruakuri (45 minutes) – bring your camera for this one.
Stay in Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Area.
Taste some of the world’s best sauvignon blanc at a Marlborough wine tasting.
Plus, many more surprise stops along the way!
ALL HAKA TOURS INCLUDE
Passionate and knowledgeable local Kiwi guide
Comfortable and air-conditioned bus transport
Orientation tour of each and every location
Small groups of maximum 16 people
Experiences to teach you about our unique Māori culture
DAY 1: AUCKLAND
Welcome to Auckland! Settle into your accommodation and be ready for the 6pm pre-tour meeting. Here you will get to know your Tour Manager and be introduced to your new roadtrip friends. Afterwards, the evening is yours to enjoy. We recommend checking out the Auckland Sky Tower, this is the tallest building in New Zealand. If you are feeling extra daring you can jump off the Sky Tower, attached to a harness of course! Or how about checking out the Auckland War Memorial Museum, located in the middle of the beautiful Auckland Domain. Get a good night’s rest ready for tomorrow’s adventure where you’ll meet your Tour Manager and group for breakfast.
DAY 2: AUCKLAND TO COROMANDEL
After a hearty breakfast, it’s time to board our comfortable air-conditioned vehicle and leave the big city behind. The Coromandel Peninsula is a paradise of beautiful beaches and misty rainforests. The drive here is truly spectacular – the road twists and turns dramatically round the coastline and the ocean gets clearer and more pristine before your eyes. Cameras ready – the views are magnificent. The Coromandel is home to the famous Hot Water Beach – thousands visit each year to dig their own personal hot tub. If the tide times allow, we’ll grab our buckets and spades and get busy. We arrive in the Coromandel with plenty of time for your guide to show you around. Sample the sandy beaches, kayak, soak in hot pools or simply enjoy the vibes.
DAY 3: COROMANDEL TO RAGLAN
Today’s road trip to the arty mecca of Raglan will give you a first glimpse of the North Island’s rolling tree-lined hills and valleys. Your Haka guide has some great sights to show you en route, including the 55-metre high Bridal Veil Falls. If you have always wanted to try surfing, or if you’re dying to get back on your board, Raglan is the perfect destination both for beginners and experienced surfers. Not keen on surfing? There’s plenty to enjoy in this laid-back township. With an awesome blend of cafes, bars, surf shops and galleries, the streets here ooze character and creativity. Relax on the beach, try kayaking or enjoy a variety of bush and coastal scenery on Raglan’s walking trails. For dinner tonight, tuck into New Zealand’s unofficial dish – fish and chips (or fush and chups, as it tends to sound in a Kiwi accent). And what better way to enjoy a tasty meal than on a sunset boat cruise of Raglan Harbour?
DAY 4: RAGLAN TO ROTORUA (via WAITOMO and MATAMATA)
Our first stop of the day is the Waitomo Caves famous for its glow worms. There are fantastic and informative walking tours of the caves where you can learn more about the history, geology and Māori mythology of this unique area of New Zealand. For those who prefer to stay above ground, we highly recommend exploring the tree-studded gorges and limestone arches of the nearby Ruakuri Forest Walk; definitely a favourite amongst the Haka guides. We also have the option to stop in at the picturesque Hobbiton movie set - a must-do activity for many. Even if you haven’t seen the films, it’s impossible not to be charmed by this gorgeous hobbit village set amongst the lush green hills of Matamata. This afternoon we’ll make our way to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity and Māori culture. We start our time in Rotorua with The Redwoods Treewalk. This amazing included activity allows you to experience the majestic Redwood Forest from a series of suspension bridges and living decks (platforms), elevated from 9-metres to 12-metres at the highest point.
DAY 5: ROTORUA
Rotorua has it all: natural beauty, unique geothermal landscapes, and Māori culture. We stay here a full day to make the very most of it. This area is world-renowned for its geothermal activity, with neon blue and red lakes, steaming rivers, violent geysers, and bubbling mud pools galore. For a truly epic brush with nature, fly high through the lush ancient forest canopy on a zipline tour complete with swing bridges, crossings and treetop platforms. What better way to get to know the native plants and birds –many of which are unique to New Zealand. This evening we are welcomed to a Māori village for an unmissable cultural experience featuring combat demonstrations and – of course – the breathtaking haka. This experience extends beyond the performance – you’ll have the chance to see magnificent geothermal activity and get to spot kiwi birds.
DAY 6: ROTORUA TO NATIONAL PARK (VIA TAUPŌ)
Rotorua is a spectacular whitewater rafting destination, and with expert guidance it can be experienced by first timers and pro-paddlers alike. For the ultimate thrill this morning you can raft the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world – the 7-metre Tutea Falls, on the Kaituna River. If that’s not your cup of tea, spend the morning exploring Rotorua’s many attractions such as the naturally-impressive Kuirau Park full of steaming, hissing, and boiling geothermal pools. There are also some fantastic cafes and bakeries in the area. Why not grab a treat for the road – a ginger slice and a pie is as Kiwi as it gets! From Rotorua it’s a quick drive to Taupō; a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. It’s a short drive but we’ll take our time, checking out bubbling mud pools and thundering waterfalls en route. We finish our day nestled in Tongariro National Park, where we’ll spend the next 2 nights, home to one of the 10 best one-day walks in the world – the Tongariro Crossing.
DAY 7: NATIONAL PARK
Decision time – is today the day you brave the Tongariro Crossing? Considered one of the world’s top 10 best one-day walks, this 19.4km mountain trek boasts emerald green lakes, venting steam, lava flows, craters and rich green bush. Not for the faint-hearted – it’s a challenging day! But every step of the way the views are spectacular. Our Haka guides highly recommend this activity, it’s definitely a highlight. If 19.4km is a little too far for you, there are plenty of shorter walks and hikes to enjoy. However you choose to spend today in this UNESCO World Heritage Area, we guarantee you won’t forget it.
DAY 8: NATIONAL PARK TO WELLINGTON
Today we head to the coolest little capital city in the world, the hip and happening Wellington. Perched on the edge of a spectacular harbour, encircled by green, towering hills, Wellington is a stunning and compact city. Vibrant, exciting and cultured, the nation’s capital combines the stimulation and sophistication of a big city with the quirkiness and personality of a much smaller town. After a quick afternoon orientation from your guide, head up Mount Victoria for some of the best views in town. This evening, the city lights are yours to enjoy. Discover why Wellington is celebrated for its foodie culture – you are truly spoilt for dining choices tonight. Wellington is also widely regarded as the craft beer capital of New Zealand. Want to test this for yourself? Talk to your Haka guide to find the hidden gems.
DAY 9: WELLINGTON
Soak up the atmosphere of vibrant Wellington. famous for being a bit on the windy side, be prepared to ditch the hairspray and go with the flow. As always, your guide will introduce you to the city with an orientation tour – including a drive around the bays through central Wellington to the Botanic Gardens and Parliament Buildings. You will also stop by Weta Workshop, most famous for its creative contribution to all things Lord of the Rings. Take an optional tour to see prop-makers in action and learn about the immersive world of filmmaking. Wellington has a feast of cultural attractions and its crowning glory is Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand. Situated on Wellington’s magnificent waterfront, this internationally acclaimed museum combines leading edge technology with traditional exhibits to tell the stories of New Zealand’s land and people. The museum is free for all. If being outdoors is more your thing, head off to Kapiti Island for an optional nature tour. Here you can see endangered birds up close and learn more about New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna.
Day 10: WELLINGTON TO KAIKŌURA
This morning we say farewell to the North Island and take one of the world’s most scenic ferry journeys as we cross the Cook Strait. The South Island has a stunning welcome in store for us – gliding through the Marlborough Sounds as we approach Picton Harbour, you’ll feel like you’re in another world. One of the best ways to explore Marlborough, the region at the top of the South Island, is with your tastebuds. That’s why we jump straight on a wine tasting, to sample some of the best vineyards in the country. After lunch, our next destination is Kaikōura which literally means “to eat crayfish” – and the area is teeming with them. The nutrient-rich waters of this area attract a wide variety of marine wildlife including the stars of the show – the whales and dolphins.
DAY 11: KAIKŌURA TO CHRISTCHURCH
The chance to encounter dolphins in the wild is a massive New Zealand highlight for many travellers, and Kaikōura is one of the best places to find them, with pods of up to 300 of these playful creatures hanging out here at any one time. If you want to get up close to the giants of the ocean, a whale watching tour here is the way to do it. Humpbacks, sperm whales and orca all stop by at various times of year, so this is a great chance to meet some of them. After visiting the local seals on our way out of town, our road trip continues to our home for the night – Christchurch, known as the “Garden City” for its peaceful parklands and lazy rivers.
DAY 12: CHRISTCHURCH