Get your adrenaline pumping on this 11-day adventure tour of New Zealand. You'll travel from the North Island to the South, stopping to admire Auckland's black-sand beaches, Rotorua's geothermal pools, and Mount Tarawera's craters. Along the way, bounce down hillsides in an inflatable Zorb, hike and kayak across the South Island, and enjoy high-octane quad biking and jet-boating tours in New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown.


  • Tour Auckland's city sights and nearby beaches
  • Bounce down steep tracks in an inflatable Zorb
  • Discover geothermal landscapes and Maori culture in Rotorua
  • Hike and kayak through the South Island 
  • Go quad biking and jet boating in Queenstown

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Auckland  Auckland
Day 2 Auckland City & Nature Tour  Auckland
Day 3 Rotorua's Geysers, Lakes & Māori Heritage Tour  Rotorua
Day 4 Go Zorbing & Ziplining Rotorua
Day 5 Half-Day Mount Tarawera Crater Walk Experience  Rotorua
Day 6 Fly to Nelson, Explore Nelson
Day 7 Marahau Kayak & Hiking Trip Nelson
Day 8 Transfer to Queenstown Queenstown (NZ)
Day 9 Half-Day Quad Safari  Queenstown (NZ)
Day 10 Jet-Boat Adventure & Funyak River Safari  Queenstown (NZ)
Day 11 Depart Queenstown  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland 

Auckland's skyline
Arrive in Auckland and explore New Zealand's largest city

Welcome to New Zealand! Your driver will be waiting at Auckland Airport to transfer you to your hotel. Take some time to relax before heading out to explore New Zealand's largest city, which sits on a narrow strip of land surrounded by the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. With two bustling harbors, it's not hard to see why Auckland is nicknamed the "City of Sails." 

For supreme views of Auckland, scale the 1,075-foot-tall (328 m) Sky Tower with its dizzying observation deck, or make your way to the top of Mount Eden, one of the city's 48 volcanic cones. Stroll around the flower-filled Wintergardens and learn about the city's Polynesian and European roots at the Auckland Museum. For dinner, delve into Auckland's world-class dining scene.

Day 2: Auckland City & Nature Tour

Immerse yourself in nature in the Waitakere Ranges

Today you'll experience Auckland's urban and natural wonders. Start with a city tour that'll take you through bustling Queen Street and the central business district, passing parks and Auckland University. Explore the trendy suburb of Ponsonby before heading over the Harbour Bridge to Auckland's North Shore, where you'll walk along a white-sand beach, pausing for coffee. Finally, admire panoramic views of Auckland and historic Devonport from the summit of Mount Victoria

After lunch, make the 18-mile (30 km) journey to Auckland's largest regional park, the Waitakere Ranges. Stop at the Arataki Centre, perched high on the Waitakere Ranges, for sweeping views over the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Admire traditional Māori carvings and continue to the rainforest, where you'll trek among giant tree ferns and New Zealand's famous kauri trees. The tour ends on the wild west coast, where you'll walk on volcanic, black-sand beaches. 

Day 3: Rotorua's Geysers, Lakes & Māori Heritage Tour 

Check out Rotorua's geysers and mud pools
Check out Rotorua's geysers and mud pools

Today, travel south from Auckland over the Bombay Hills, through Waikato farmland and the heritage town of Cambridge to Rotorua. This geothermal area is famed for its otherworldly green and orange sulfur pools, bubbling mud baths, and spurting geysers. Led by a Māori guide, you'll see all of this at Te Puia Springs, home to Pohutu Geyser, which erupts up to 20 times a day, shooting a plume of scalding water up to 100 feet (30 m) into the sky.

Next, you'll visit the Kiwi Conservation Centre, a refuge for native birds, including New Zealand's national emblem, the flightless kiwi. Move on to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, where you'll learn about carving and weaving techniques from the artists. Rotorua is a revered Māori region and the ideal place to explore this ancient culture.

Day 4: Go Zorbing & Ziplining

Get your adrenaline pumping as you experience zorbing
Plan your trip to New Zealand
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

This morning, discover the home of zorb, an adrenaline-pumping experience invented by Kiwis. You'll enter a giant inflatable ball partially filled with water to bounce and roll down hilly tracks. Choose to ride any two of the site's four: the Straight, Sidewinder, Mega, and Big Air. You can ride wet or dry, and some tracks allow multiple riders in one ball. The park also has hot tubs for relaxing after your adventure. 

The adrenaline-pumping adventure continues with a three-hour zipline tour through the forest this afternoon. Strap into your harness to travel the 4,000-foot (1,200 m) course with a network of ziplines, swing bridges, treetop platforms, and walking trails. Whizzing from the canopy of a 500-year-old rimu tree above a forested valley is a highlight. The park also offers the chance to hand-feed wild native birds and learn about ecology from Kiwi guides. A portion of each ticket price is invested in conservation. 

Day 5: Half-Day Mount Tarawera Crater Walk Experience 

Discover the unique landscape of Mount Tarawera

Experience the unique landscape and history of Mount Tarawera today. Famous for its eruption on June 10, 1886, Mount Tarawera created the world's youngest geothermal valley, Waimangu, while destroying the legendary Pink and White Terraces. Learn about the unique landscape and history of the area on a guided walk. With 360-degree panoramic views, this experience is ideal for all ages and includes an optional trip into the heart of the volcanic crater. 

Next, relax on the tranquil shores of Lake Rotorua at the Polynesian Spa. Soak in 27 mineral pools fed by two natural springs whose waters are thought to nourish the skin and relieve aches and pains. The Māori people have used these alkaline and acidic pools for generations. Hop from pools that range in temperature from 97°F (36°C) to 108°F (42°C), surrounded by peaceful New Zealand scenery, including waterfalls and a grotto. 

Day 6: Fly to Nelson, Explore

Explore Nelson and the surrounding area

Head to the airport this morning for your flight to Nelson on the South Island, where a driver will take you to your hotel. Settle in and then spend the rest of the day exploring independently. Nelson faces Tasman Bay and is renowned for its diverse geography, from long golden beaches to untouched forests and rugged mountains. The town is a popular base for exploring nearby caving sites, vineyards, and Abel Tasman National Park. 

It could be the sun or the location, but Nelson has long been a magnet for creative people. With one of the country's largest numbers of working artists and galleries, you'll find an array of craftspeople living in the region: traditional, contemporary, and Māori. Visit their studios, wander the weekend craft markets, sample the locally-made products, and perhaps pick up a souvenir or two. 

Day 7: Marahau Kayak & Hiking Trip

Take a guided kayaking tour to stunning beaches

Get out in nature today with a kayaking and hiking adventure. Board your kayak from Marahau and take a guided paddle over to Observation Beach. Along the way, you'll enjoy views of the scenic coastal track and drift alongside the magical Astrolabe Islands. Dock on the beach for lunch, then swap your paddle for walking shoes. Hike back to Marahau, passing through native bush and alongside streams, taking in views over Anchorage and the Astrolabe. 

Day 8: Transfer to Queenstown

Welcome to Queenstown!
Head south for Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital

Today you'll journey south to New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown. The town is the birthplace of AJ Hackett Bungy, the world's first commercial bungy-jumping company. Other adrenaline-pumping activities in Queenstown include sky diving, jet boating, and whitewater rafting, but if you prefer something tamer, there are plenty of hiking and cycling paths. Set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown boasts a backdrop of The Remarkables.

Take an optional scenic ride on the Skyline Gondola, one of the steepest cable car lifts in the Southern Hemisphere. You'll climb over 1,400 feet (450 m) to Bob's Peak for panoramic views of The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, and sparkling Lake Wakatipu. After admiring the views, ride the peak's two hilltop luge tracks. The gondola will take you back down the mountain, or you can hike or even mountain bike. 

Day 9: Half-Day Quad Safari 

Half Day Quad Safari
Ride around Queenstown Hill on a quad bike
Explore Queenstown today on an exciting quad safari. You'll ride around Queenstown Hill, a high-country sheep station with more than 15 miles (25 km) of varied trails to play on. Go off-road and explore the terrain with your expert guide. At the summit, stop to enjoy a hot drink as you take in the awe-inspiring views over the surrounding lakes and mountains. The fully automatic quad bikes are fun and easy to ride, whether you're a complete beginner or an experienced rider, and full training is provided before you begin. 

Day 10: Jet-Boat Adventure & Funyak River Safari 

Enjoy an exhilarating jet-boat ride

Embark upon a unique outdoor adventure today: jet boating. This full-day tour begins with a transfer north into the wilds of Mount Aspiring National Park. Hop in a jet boat for a ride down the glacier-fed Dart River, zipping along at high speeds while your daredevil captain performs exhilarating spins. After the thrills, you'll stop on the riverbank for a stroll among the unspoiled wilderness, which features views of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and alpine lakes. 

Next, continue downriver at a more leisurely pace in an inflatable canoe. Along the way, your guide will share the Dart River's history and geology. Take a break at an ancient beech forest for a picnic lunch and a chance to hike to hidden streams and granite river gorges like the dramatic Rockburn Chasm. Continue paddling to the settlement of Paradise, a "The Lord of the Rings" and "Chronicles of Narnia" filming location, where you'll board a bus back to Queenstown. 

Day 11: Depart Queenstown

Say goodbye to Queenstown as you catch your onward flight

Today your New Zealand adventure comes to an end. You'll hop on a shuttle to the airport for your homebound flight. Safe travels!

More Great New Zealand Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to New Zealand? Check out these other New Zealand itineraries, explore different ways to spend 11 days in New Zealand, or discover the best time to visit New Zealand.


Map of Active Adventure in New Zealand – 11 Days
Map of Active Adventure in New Zealand – 11 Days