A New Zealand vacation is bucket list for so many. Deservedly so. It may be a long ways to go, but holidays here offer diversity that few others come close to. From the bustling city of Auckland to the breathtaking South Island, the country is blessed with sublime forests, awesome mountains, crystal-clear lakes, beaches and fjords. The adventure holiday of a lifetime!
It’s perhaps one of the best hiking (or 'tramping', to locals) locations on Earth. And whether you’re strolling along a beach or walking on a glacier, on New Zealand tours there’s always something to marvel at.
Women travelling alone - New Zealand is one of the safest destinations you can pick.
Vegan travelers - in the larger cities you will find many great options. In more remote areas you will not likely find purely vegetarian/vegan restaurants but should be able to find menu options.
WHEN TO VISIT
The seasons in New Zealand are directly opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere. When to visit depends entirely on your personal interests (hiking, skiing, sunning on a beach, etc.) as New Zealand has something special to offer every month of the year. I am happy to help you pinpoint exactly when you should go. Know that overall the weather is unpredictable, and it's likely to rain at least a little bit at any time of year.
New Zealand Dollar
Three official languages: English, Maori, New Zealand Sign Language
18 DAYS TRAILS OF NEW ZEALAND ITINERARY - AUCKLAND > CHRISTCHURCH
DAY 1 - VISIT RANGITOTO ISLAND
Auckland is the City of Sails, so what better way to start your holiday than to take a cruise across the Gulf to the beautiful Rangitoto Island; which at only 600 years old, is the youngest volcano in New Zealand. The island has undergone a significant restoration programme and is entirely pest-free which encourages the native flora and fauna to thrive. Walk through lava fields and forests to the summit of the island which stands 259m above sea level and has some stunning panoramic views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf.
Walk Profile- Rangitoto Island: Distance- 8.5 km/5 miles, total ascent 249m and descent 245m, approx. 2-3 hours.
Stay - Hotel DeBrett
This stylish boutique hotel in the heart of Auckland CBD (Central Business District) is a short walk from the Viaduct Harbour and the Sky Tower. It offers free Wi-Fi and an off-site modern fitness centre. Guests enjoy free continental breakfast.
All rooms at the Hotel DeBrett have air conditioning, satellite TV and a DVD player. Each room is individually designed, and features New Zealand art and photography. The bathroom includes free EcoStore toiletries.
Guests can enjoy cocktails and local beers and wines at the Housebar.
DAY 2 - TO ROTORUA
Leaving the city behind and head south to Rotorua (approx. 3.5 hours drive). On arrival stretch your legs with a hike around the redwood forest followed by an optional afternoon at leisure in town or a hike at Blue Lake. The evening highlight is the Marae (ceremonial ground) visit. Our Maori hosts welcome us in their traditional manner before entertaining us with a concert and hangi (traditional meal).
Walk Profile- Blue Lakes Circuit: Distance- 6 km/3.7 miles, total ascent 125m and descent 117m, approx. 1.5 hours
Stay - Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel
Eco-friendly and as its name suggests, Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel is a place to indulge in a bit of luxury while embracing some of the finest natural features of Rotorua’s lakeside. Guests can choose from a selection of stylish lakefront, lake view, pool view and garden suite retreat rooms; each offers wonderful vistas and world-class furnishings to match. A day spa and gourmet restaurant also make this boutique hotel a perfect match for travellers yearning to take some time out for a bit of pampering.
DAY 3 - TO TONGARIRO N.P
Explore one of New Zealand's most colourful thermal areas with boiling mud pools, hot streams and silica terraces. The natural wonders that first attracted the Maori in the 14th century, and later the European's, still draw large numbers of tourists every year. Rotorua is a unique natural wonder and a must see destination. Leaving Rotorua, drive south (approx. 3 hours) to Tongariro National Park. On the way visit the steaming Wai-O-Tapu geothermal valley and impressive Huka Falls.
Walk Profile- Wai-O-Tapu: Distance- 8.5 km/5 miles, total ascent 109m and descent 152m, approx up to 3 hours.
Stay - Tongariro at Makotuku B&B
Overlooking Tongariro National Park, Tongariro at Makotuku B&B offers accommodation in Horopito, just 10-minutes’ drive from Ohakune.
Located in a separate wing of the main house, every room at Tongariro at Makotuku B&B boasts stunning views of Mount Ruapehu. There is a private bathroom free toiletries and a hair dryer.
Eat - Eat Takeaway Diner
An environmentally aware takeaway food joint that serves fresh, healthy, sustainable food with a strong focus on vegan and vegetarian fare. Free range animal products, organic milk and all packaging is %100 compostable. Amazingly tasty, fresh to order healthy food & serving up 5 Star Havanna coffee made to perfection; a local favourite!