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Total Aotearoa - 23 Days


Total Aotearoa - 23 Days

Day 1: Auckland - Hot Water Beach

Pickup location: 31 Wellesley Street West, 07:45
Welcome to the first day of your Flying Kiwi adventure! We’ll leave Auckland at 8am and drive south towards the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is a popular holiday spot for us Kiwi’s and it's not hard to see why. With stunning white sandy beaches, dense fern forests and a rich history of both Maori and European settlement, the Coromandel Peninsula is the perfect place to start your trip!

We’ll arrive at our Hot Water Beach campsite, where we’ll spend the next two nights. Go for a walk along the beach once we’ve set up camp, and this evening we’ll enjoy our very first group dinner together.

Meals included: Dinner
Walks: Stunning coastal walk with views over the Pacific
Bike rides: 8km scenic road cycling from Hahei Beach to Hot Water Beach camp

Day 2: Hot Water Beach

Today you have a full free day to spend relaxing or exploring. We’ll head to Hahei Beach where you can go for a walk along the shoreline or take a boat or kayak to see the iconic Cathedral Cove. Later, we’ll head back to Hot Water Beach, so-named because there is a unique geothermal reservoir of hot water under the sand. At low tide, we’ll grab our shovels and head down to dig our very own hot pools in the sand - the cheapest spa day ever!

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Stunning coastal walk with views over the Pacific
Bike rides: 8km scenic road cycling from Hahei Beach to Hot Water Beach camp
Activities (own cost): Sea kayaking, Hahei Explorer

Day 3: Hot Water Beach - Rotorua

This morning after breakfast, we'll make our way down to the southern end of the Coromandel Peninsula where we’ll stop at the historic Karangahake Gorge which offers great biking and hiking options through old mining relics. This stunning region combines the natural beauty of the area with some NZ history and is a must-see on the North Island.

Afterwards we’ll continue on to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity, adventure activities and cultural experiences. This evening we’ll set up camp and enjoy a group meal together.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Walks: Stroll through Karangahake Gorge & unique thermal landscapes in Rotorua
Bike rides: Karangahake Gorge
Activities (own cost): Polynesian Spa, Te Puia

Day 4: Rotorua

Today you have a full day to enjoy everything that Rotorua has to offer. There are heaps of optional activities in Rotorua and something for everyone. If you’re interested in adventure, we recommend the award winning Canopy Tours eco zipline tour, or go white water rafting down the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall. If you’d prefer to relax, opt for a healing soak at the Polynesian spa, or if you’d like to explore the natural geothermal features of the area, there's plenty of walks where you can see the activity for free. This evening, we recommend heading to the incredible Te Puia where you'll learn about Maori culture, experience the breathtaking Haka and feast on a traditional Hangi meal.

Meals included: Breakfast
Walks: Walk through Kuirau Park or the Whakarewarewa Forest to see the towering redwoods
Bike rides: Whakarewarewa Forest Loop (33 km)
Activities (own cost): Zipline Canopy Tour, Rotorua Rafting

Day 5: Rotorua to National Park

We begin the day with a drive to visit Wai-o-Tapu bubbling mud, a unique experience not to be missed. Next we’ll stop at the mighty Huka Falls, an impressive waterfall found along the Waikato river. This is also our drop off point for those wanting to go skydiving! If you’re not going skydiving there's a great bike ride to Spa Park along the river's edge - be sure to stop off at the natural hot spring along the way or get an adrenaline buzz from the Taupo bungy which is conveniently located on your way into town. You’ll have some time in Taupo to grab some lunch and check out New Zealand’s largest lake, Lake Taupo, before we make our way to Tongariro National Park, where we’ll be spending the night.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Walks of various distances past dramatic waterfalls and around Lake Taupo
Bike rides: Huka Falls to Spa Park
Activities (own cost): Skydiving, bungy, giant swing

Day 6: National Park to Foxton (Tongariro Crossing Day

Voted one of the best day hikes in the world, today's 19.4km walk takes in some of New Zealand’s most impressive and diverse landscapes. The challenging Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike covers a small section of the country’s oldest national park and dual UNESCO world heritage area, the Tongariro National Park. On a fine day you’ll be able to see Mt Ruapehu, the North Island's highest peak which stands at a towering 2797 metres. You'll also be able to see Mt Ngauruhoe, which featured in the Lord of the Rings movies as Mount Doom.

If you'd prefer not to do this hike, your Guide will take you to see some lesser known but equally stunning views and offer up some cycle options for our bikers. When everyone is back together after the hike we'll make our way to our camp, situated on the beach.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Walks: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Bike rides: Marton Sash & Door (if not doing the Tongariro Crossing)
Included activities: Tongariro Alpine Crossing transfers

Day 7: Foxton to Picton via Wellington

This morning we’ll drive down to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand! We'll arrive early, giving you most of the morning to explore. We recommend checking out the exhibits at the famous Te Papa Museum, getting to some Lord of the Rings locations on Mt Victoria or taking the iconic red cable car up to the Botanical Gardens. The capital also boasts a thriving café culture, as Wellington is renowned for serving NZ's best cup of coffee.

Later on we’ll be travelling across the Cook Strait by ferry to the South Island. The journey takes around 3.5 hours and travels through the incredibly scenic Marlborough Sounds. The rolling green hills coupled with the deep blue waters make for a magical sight, especially on a clear day. If you can, make your way outside and try to spot dolphins playing in the sounds. Tonight, we'll stay at a great campground in Picton.

Meals included: Breakfast
Included activities: Inter-Island ferry across the Cook Strait
Activities (own cost): Te Papa National Museum of NZ (free), Cable car

Day 8: Picton - Kaikoura

This morning we'll depart Picton and travel through the Marlborough region towards the coast where we’ll see amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and mountains in the distance. We’ll make a stop for lunch along this stretch of coastline and try to spot the native Fur Seals that often relax on the rocks in front of the ocean.

When we arrive in Kaikoura, there are some great optional activities that all involve the ocean! Go whale watching, sea kayaking or fishing, or if you’d prefer to stay on dry land, there’s a great walk around the peninsula or you can hop on your bike and take in the views on two wheels. Our camp tonight is down at the beach and we’ll be preparing a fresh seafood meal, perfect for Kaikoura (unless of course you don't eat seafood, in which case we'll prepare something equally delicious for you).

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Kaikoura peninsula walk
Activities (own cost): Whale watching by boat or by plane, deep sea fishing

Day 9: Kaikoura to Lake Tekapo via Christchurch

This morning you'll have the opportunity to take part in one of the most popular activities in New Zealand: swimming with dusky dolphins! It’s an early start but it’s a great way to begin your day from the epic sunrise to getting to spend time with wild dolphins - this is the kind of once in a lifetime experience you won't soon forget. For those of us who aren't swimming, we’ll have a leisurely breakfast and the chance to explore Kaikoura before heading south to Christchurch.

Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s most famous destinations. Still on the mend after two major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, you can see evidence of rebuilding happening all over the city. With the chance to rebuild, comes new opportunities and Christchurch has seized the opportunity to become NZ’s coolest city, rivalling Wellington in terms of laneway bars and amazing eateries. We won’t overnight here, as campers we’re averse to big cities, so after we’ve welcomed some new travellers, we’ll continue on down to the stunning Lake Tekapo where we’ll spend the next two nights!

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Take an early walk around our coastal camp
Bike rides: HLake Tekapo Lake Front
Activities (own cost): Dolphin swimming, dolphin viewing

Day 10: Lake Tekapo and trip to Aoraki/Mt Cook

This morning, we’ll wake up in arguably the most beautiful part of the South Island. Lake Tekapo is incredibly scenic, and home to the most spectacular turquoise waters which get their colour from the glacial flour brought down from the rivers flowing from glaciers high up in the mountains.

We’ll go and see some incredible sights today, heading for Aoraki/Mt Cook where we’ll hike to the base of NZ’s highest mountain following a trail up the Hooker valley where you’ll cross swing bridges and experience stunning views of the mountains before finishing up at a glacial lake with some awe inspiring views of the Hooker Valley glacier - trust us, you’ll want to bring your camera for this! This evening, we recommend going for a soak in the nearby hot pools or enjoying some world famous star gazing at the Mt John Observatory - you are staying in an International Dark Sky Reserve, after all!

Meals included: Breakfast & lunch
Walks: Mt John walkway, Hike to the base of Mount Cook & Hooker Valley
Bike rides: Lake Tekapo Regional Park, A2O Cycle
Activities (own cost): Scenic Flight, Tekapo Hot Pools, Star Gazing

Day 11: Lake Tekapo to Oamaru

Today we’ll spend the morning in Lake Tekapo before departing this afternoon to travel back towards the Pacific coast. We'll camp in the historic town of Oamaru this evening, close to the unique Moeraki Boulders and the Scottish city of Dunedin. Go for a walk this evening to a great view point offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and try to spot a little Blue Penguin along the shore.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Explore the Moeraki Heritage Trail
Bike rides: 13km Alps2Ocean trail ride

Day 12: Oamaru to Te Anau

If the tide is low this morning, we’ll go for a walk along the beach to see the mysterious Moeraki boulders. These perfectly round spheres of rock have formed over millions of years and have found their way onto the beach near Moeraki and make for some fun photo opportunities.

Next it’s onto the historic Scottish city of Dunedin, the South Island's second-largest city and home to NZ’s only castle. Dunedin is home to the world’s steepest residential street and the coastline is home to some fantastic and rare wildlife. Afterwards, we’ll continue down to the gateway to the Milford Sound, situated on the edge of Lake Te Anau. Tonight’s camp is on the lakeside in Te Anau, which is the South Island's largest lake. The bikers can go for a ride on the lake to lake Te Anau trail and the rest of us can enjoy a leisurely walk along the lakefront or head up to the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary where we can see the endangered native Takahē. If you’d like to do an activity, we recommend the incredible glowworm caves tour and boat ride.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: World’s steepest street, explore Dunedin city
Bike rides: Lake Te Anau Lakefront Cycle Upukerora Trail (5km+)
Activities (own cost): Te Anau glowworm caves tour & boat ride

Day 13: Fiordland National Park

Today we’ll travel along one of the world’s most scenic roads and into Milford Sound! Described as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. We highly recommend boarding a cruise, where you'll see dramatic waterfalls and snow-capped peaks and if you’re lucky, some wildlife! At different times of year, penguins, dolphins, seals and even whales have been spotted at Milford. As it’s just the one road in and out, we head back along the same breath-taking route to our lakeside camp in Te Anau. Along the way, we drop off those doing the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. This hike is a haven for native birdlife. Charge up your camera as this hike offers everything from mountainous peaks and sheer rock faces to pristine lakes, cascading waterfalls and dense, luxuriant forest.

Meals included: Breakfast & lunch
Walks: Plenty of short walks from camp
Bike rides: Lake to Lake Te Anau trail, Lakefront Upukerora trail (5 km+)
Activities (own cost): Milford Sound Cruise, Te Anau glowworm caves tour & boat ride

Day 14: Te Anau - Queenstown

After a chance for a morning bike ride on the Lake to Lake Trail, if not done already, we will make our way along the Devil’s Staircase, and catch our first glimpses of Queenstown. The Adventure Capital of NZ, Queenstown is located on the shores of the South Islands second largest lake, Lake Wakatipu. There are many cycle trails & walks for everyone to enjoy.

Meals included: Breakfast
Walks: Routeburn Track (must be pre-booked and hikers will rejoin the group in Queenstown)
Activities (own cost): Too many to list - something for everyone (check out Flying Kiwi's website or ask them for details)

Day 15: Queenstown

With so much to do we’ll spend another full day in the fantastic Queenstown, so everyone has the opportunity to have those once in a lifetime experiences. Speaking of experiences, may we suggest trying the legendary Fergburger! For those on the Routeburn Track, you will rejoin the group here today and this evening you’ll be able to experience everything this vibrant resort town has to offer. Tonight, we dine out at one of Queenstown’s many delicious eateries - a great chance for your group to enjoy a feast at an iconic Queenstown eatery (own cost).

Meals included: Breakfast
Walks: Queenstown walks, Ben Lomond
Bike rides: Lake Wakatipu trail (16km), Queenstown trail (48 km)
Activities (own cost): Too many to list - something for everyone (check out Flying Kiwi's website or ask them for details)

Day 16: Queenstown - Lake Hawea

This is our final morning in Queenstown and your last chance to indulge in one more walk or bike ride before we wave farewell to those finishing their tour and welcome new travellers joining us here. Leaving at 10:00, after the thrills and spills of Queenstown we’ll travel past mountains and on towards stunning glacial lakes and calmer shores.

On the final stretch to camp we’ll get views of Mt Aspiring National Park in the distance. Lake Hawea is just over the next ridge and it’s on the edge of this glacial lake that we find our next wilderness camp at Lake Hawea where we can enjoy great views of the lake and the mountains beyond as we absorb the beauty of the area.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Multiple walking options
Bike rides: Hawea River Track (12 km), Lake Wanaka to Lake Hawea (30km)
Activities (own cost): Too many to list - something for everyone (check out Flying Kiwi's website or ask them for details)

Day 17: Lake Hawea - Fox Glacier

We’ll enjoy a relaxed morning at our lakeside camp and then we’re continuing north through Mt Aspiring National Park. Before we reach the West Coast, we’ll stop for a walk to the amazing Blue Pools, then head through the dramatic Haast Pass, on roads woven over braided rivers and huge glacier carved valleys. There are two more great walk options along the way, one through lush and ancient forests and the other through swampy vegetation, ending on the beach where it’s possible to spot Hector dolphins. Tonight, we’ll stay in the iconic Fox Glacier on the wild West Coast.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Walks: Blue Pools, Ship Creek
Bike rides: Gladstone Track (13kms Return from Lake Hawea Camp), Fox Glacier Cycle Way (12kms Return from Fox Glacier Holiday Park)

Day 18: Glacier Country - Okarito

Today is your chance to explore one of NZ’s most unique and spectacular natural wonders - the Franz Josef Glacier. This staggeringly beautiful work of nature descends from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres above sea level. To get on the ice you must go up by helicopter but it’s possible to view the glacier via a stunning walk through the main valley. We also recommend taking a walk to Peter’s Pool for another incredibly scenic view. Before arriving at Franz Josef, we’ll take a highly recommended walk around Lake Matheson where crystal clear reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman make the perfect photo opportunity. Next, we’ll board the bus and continue up this spectacular coastal road to the quirky town of Hokitika, home of the Greenstone and a great place to pick up a traditional souvenir. Passing through Greymouth we’ll keep following the coast to Punakaiki where you’ll notice a change in the landscape as huge limestone cliffs appear and Nikau Palm trees become abundant. Our beach camp for tonight offers great sunsets, a beautiful river and incredible views of Paparoa National Park. The pancake rocks and blowholes are the main attraction in Punakaiki where limestone rocks are stacked on top of each other and ocean swells are forced through gaps in the rock creating a whale’s blowhole effect. This evening, explore a cavern with some glow worms hanging out in the dark and then enjoy a beverage at the local tavern.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Sunrise Lake Matheson
Bike rides: Trail to Lake Matheson (4.3kms one way), Bullock Creek trail (15 km)
Optional activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks & blowholes (free)

Day 19: Punakaiki - Abel Tasman National Park

Before leaving Punakaiki we’ll take some time to explore part of the Paparoa National Park, walking along the Pororari river or cycling up Bullock Creek Road to visit a cave resurgence. Leaving mid-morning we’ll travel inland through the majestic Buller gorge and onto the famous Abel Tasman National Park. Situated in one of the sunniest areas of the country and home to heaps of beautiful secluded bays and stunning golden sand beaches. We look forward to spending 2 nights at our perfectly located camp, close to the park entrance which makes it the ideal place to explore all corners of the stunning Abel Tasman.

Meals included: Breakfast & dinner
Walks: Truman track
Bike rides: Bullock Creek, Coastal ride to camp and Kaiteriteri bike park, Great Taste Trail
Activities (own cost): Skydiving

Day 20: Abel Tasman National Park

Take time today to explore arguably the best beaches and clearest waters in New Zealand - there are excellent options for everyone here. You can walk, sail or kayak around the numerous golden bays and dive into the crystal-clear waters along the way. There will be plenty of chances for wildlife spotting (dolphins, seals and even Orcas!) and for those seeking a thrill, join the one in a lifetime canyoning experience!

Meals included: Breakfast
Walks: Abel Tasman National Park track
Bike rides: Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park
Activities (own cost): Kayaking, canyoning, sailing, water taxi / walk

Day 21: Abel Tasman National Park - Paekakariki

Today we’re heading back to the North Island, but first we’ll take a trip to Marlborough, home to some of the World’s best known grapes and where we’ll treat you to a free tasting in one of their best vineyards. Finish this fantastic day with a scenic ferry back through the Marlborough Sounds to Wellington and onto the stunning Paekakariki situated along the Kapiti Coast

Meals included: Breakfast
Activities (included): Wine tasting in Marlborough, Ferry back to Wellington

Day 22: Paekakariki to Waitomo

This morning we’re travelling up the scenic Kapiti Coast, back through the Tongariro National Park to Waitomo, famous for its incredible caves filled with magical glow worms. There will be a chance to go for some walks or bike rides before we settle into our campground for the night where we’ll enjoy our final dinner together as a group.

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Walks: Forest and Cave trail
Bike rides: Ride through Waitomo

Day 23: Waitomo to Auckland

This morning there are plenty of options to explore the caves, from an adventurous exploration involving abseiling and climbing through the vast cave systems, to black water rafting or a nice dry, relaxing boat experience. If you’re not heading into the caves we’ll send you on a great walk through some awesome limestone cliffs and native bush.

Once we re-group, we’re heading to Auckland where your tour ends. We’ll arrive in the city in the late afternoon where we’ll say goodbye to all the friends we’ve made along the way.

Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
Walks: Forest and Cave trail
Bike rides: Ride through Waitomo if you’re not going to see the Caves
Activities (own cost): Waitomo caving adventures, Glow worm cave tour, Blackwater rafting

What’s Included

- Experienced tour guide
- All local transportation. If you have chosen the bike rental option, then it is also included.
- 22 night's accommodation (tents and dorm)
- Meals as specified in itinerary

What’s included?

Extra expenses at the destination
Please check the itinerary for optional paid activities.


Please see the different activities (either free/included or requiring an extra payment) in the itinerary.


You can choose between Shared Tent with two people, or a Single Tent. There are three nights in shared dorm accommodation. If you travel alone and want a shared tent, you will be paired with another traveller of the same gender.

Local transport

All local transport is included. If you have chosen the bike rental option, then it is also included.


Some meals are included (please see itinerary). Evening meals are prepared on a relaxed and informal rota system. Your great guides will lead things but every 4 or so nights, you will be with a team of other budding chefs preparing some great feasts for your fellow travellers - generally one person chops, another looks after veges, another cooks and someone needs to check the wine!!!

Additional info

What to bring
- Swimming costume/bikini/togs
- Long sleeved shirts & long pants (for mosquito/sandfly protection & for cooler nights at camp)
- Waterproof jacket/raincoat with hood
- Hat/Sunscreen
- Comfortable trainers
- Flip Flops/Sandals
- A small day pack
- Head torch/Headlamp
- Small Travel Pillow (as we provide a mattress for your tent only)
- 1-2 towels (for showering and swimming)
- Personal toiletries (shower gel etc)
- Insect repellent
- Drink Bottle
- Adapter for electrical appliances
- Portable charger/power pack
- Reusable shopping bag (for grocery shopping etc)

What footwear do we need?
You’ll need to bring a decent pair of comfortable footwear, that you can walk in comfortably, trainers are ideal. Hiking boots are good but not essential. It is also good to bring a pair of flip-flops, sandals or thongs (depending on whether you speak NZ English, Oz English or just English) for the camp showers.

It's summer. Do I really need thermals and a fleece?
Yes! We can experience extreme weather even in the summer.

Do I need a backpack, or is a suitcase okay?
Suitcases are fine - you don’t need to walk great distances with them just between your tent and the bus. The majority of the time while you’re doing activities they will be stored away in the trailer or under the bus. Please try to limit the weight of your main bag to 20kg. A good day pack (small rucksack) or bag you can carry easily is recommended for water bottles, towels, cameras etc.

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