Haka Plus Wanderer Tour - 12 Days Christchurch to Auckland
- Duration: 12 Days (approx.)
- Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
- Product code: Haka Plus Wanderer Tour - 12 Days Christchurch to Auckland
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 Christchurch we head to the whale-watching mecca of Kaikōura, then on to tasting delicious wine in Marlborough before crossing the Cook Strait from the South Island to the North Island. Here we’ll visit Wellington; the thermal wonderland of Rotorua and Taupō; beautiful Coromandel and Raglan before ending in 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 and seals), 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.
Ride one of the most scenic ferry journeys in the world, over the Cook Strait.
Taste some of the world’s best sauvignon blanc at a Marlborough wine tasting.
Stay in Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Area.
Hike through the forested gorge of Ruakuri (45 minutes) – bring your camera for this one.
Brave the Redwoods Treewalk, crossing 23 raised suspension bridges.
Soak up a sunset boat cruise in the West Coast surf town of Raglan – the fish and chips are on us!
See endangered kiwi birds up close and personal.
Watch a Māori cultural performance and check out a geothermal valley of bubbling mud pools including the famous Pōhutu Geyser in Rotorua.
Walk a stunning coastal track to Cathedral Cove (as seen in the Chronicles of Narnia movies).
Plus, many more surprise stops along the way!
ALL HAKA TOURS INCLUDE
Passionate and knowledgeable local Kiwi guides
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: CHRISTCHURCH
Kia ora (hello!) and welcome to Aotearoa (New Zealand). Settle into your accommodation and be ready for the 7.30pm 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 a good night’s sleep to be ready for tomorrow’s early start, but you may want to experience Christchurch’s exciting nightlife - the choice is yours!
DAY 2: CHRISTCHURCH TO KAIKŌURA
This morning we’ll explore iconic downtown Christchurch and your guide will show you the cool and creative ways the city is being rebuilt after the life-changing 2011 earthquake here. Christchurch folk are an innovative and creative bunch – the Transitional Cathedral, created from cardboard, is totally inspirational. Next it’s time to hit the road. Our 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. 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.
DAY 3: KAIKŌURA TO WELLINGTON
The first part of the day is the stunning drive up the coast to Marlborough, the region at the top of the South Island. One of the best ways to explore Marlborough is with your tastebuds. So before heading on to Picton, there’s a crucial stop for a wine tasting, to sample some of the best vineyards in the country. Today we say goodbye to the South Island and take one of the world’s most scenic ferry journeys as we cross the Cook Strait. It’s a stunning farewell – gliding through the Marlborough Sounds as we depart Picton Harbour, you’ll feel like you’re in another world. And then… 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. 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 4: 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’ll also get the chance to head up Mount Victoria for some of the best views in town. 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 5: WELLINGTON TO NATIONAL PARK
This morning is your last chance to soak up Wellington – hit Cuba Street for brunch or take a quick stroll around the City Gallery, perhaps? Then it’s time to hop on the bus again, for the drive up north to Tongariro National Park. Our drive will take us through all kinds of scenery, from rolling hills to the spectacular peaks of the North Island’s volcanic plateau – Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro. If some of the mountains look familiar, it’s for good reason – Mount Ngauruhoe gained international fame as the real life version of Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. 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 6: 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 7: NATIONAL PARK TO ROTORUA (VIA TAUPŌ)
We wave goodbye to National Park as we continue northwards – first stop, Taupō. It’s a beautiful lakeside town with a stunning mountain backdrop. There are options here for a lake cruise or to skydive! Then, we head onward to Rotorua. It’s a short drive but we’ll take our time, checking out bubbling mud pools and thundering waterfalls en route. One not-to-be-missed highlight is Huka Falls – the most visited natural attraction in New Zealand! With its roaring rapids and turquoise colour, it’s not hard to see why. To make an awesome evening even more incredible, tonight we take on the Redwood Forest Canopy Walk – the ultimate way to get amongst these giants of the forest.
DAY 8: 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 9: ROTORUA TO RAGLAN (VIA WAITOMO and MATAMATA)
Once we’ve departed Rotorua, we head to Raglan, via Waitomo – 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. For dinner tonight, once we’ve arrived in Raglan you’ll have a chance to 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 cruise of Raglan Harbour?
DAY 10: RAGLAN TO COROMANDEL
Welcome to the arty mecca of Raglan! 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. As you make the trip across the North Island to the Coromandel Peninsula, your Haka guide has some great sights to show you en route, including the 55-metre high Bridal Veil Falls.
DAY 11: COROMANDEL TO AUCKLAND
In the beautiful Coromandel, you’ll have plenty of time for your guide to show you around. Sample the sandy beaches or simply enjoy the vibes. There are all sorts of ways to enjoy the Coromandel, including kayaking at iconic Cathedral Cove and soaking in hot pools. The Coromandel Peninsula is a paradise of beautiful beaches and misty rainforests. The drive here takes in plenty of quintessential North Island rolling farmland. It’s also 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. Then, we hit the road for the final stretch of our journey together. The drive to Auckland is truly spectacular – the road twists and turns dramatically round the coastline as the skyline of New Zealand’s largest city gradually comes into view.
DAY 12: AUCKLAND