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Shelley Ryder

I am a true blue, jandal-wearing, BBQ-loving kiwi. My favourite spot in New Zealand (after the beautiful Wanaka where I live of course) would have to be the small coastal town of Akaroa. I grew up in the city of Christchurch and just one hour away was Akaroa. My family still has a good old kiwi summer house there and spending time with them in bare feet, enjoying BBQ dinners, wading in the sea, and soaking up the extraordinary landscapes is what life and New Zealand are all about for me. There are so many spots still like this in New Zealand - untouched pieces of paradise. Getting the chance to share these secret spots with visitors and hearing about them afterwards is what initially drew me to travel and still gives me a buzz today. I believe the best holidays are created together so I will spend time really understanding what you want our of your New Zealand adventure, how you like to travel, the sorts of experiences you are looking for and of course any places in New Zealand you have heard about and are on your wish list. Once I have a good handle on that and how long you plan to visit for I will draw on all my experience to craft an initial itinerary and then together we can evolve it until it is perfect. I firmly believe that New Zealand is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday and as such, I take great care in ensuring it is perfect and tailor-made just for you.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I am a New Zealand specialist and have in-depth knowledge of all activities, places to visit, points of interest, driving routes, etc in New Zealand. Touring holidays are the best way to really immerse yourself in an authentic New Zealand experience and I am an expert on both self-drive and independent coach touring (using the national bus network to tour around rather than a car). "

How did you get involved in travel?

"I became involved in travel very early on in my career with many years in hospitality working all over New Zealand and then overseas. After a while overseas it became clear to me that there really is just nowhere like home and it was time to return. We are spoilt with so much diversity on our backdoor step here that sharing my beautiful country with visitors and giving them an authentic “local experience” became my calling and I've been doing it ever since. There are so many hidden gems here and as a passionate kiwi, I just love to get my customers “off the beaten trail” and show them my New Zealand."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Seeing New Zealand through locals' eyes can lead to some unbelievable experiences and recently I had the pleasure of joining a small team of South Island locals and going on an unbelievable walk through the lush rain-forest of our West Coast. It is like stepping back in time with only our native birds as companions along the way. It was filled with extraordinary smells, beautiful colours, and a coolness that New Zealand rain forests cloak themselves in. It was strange but the silence was like nothing I have ever heard before. Reaching a windswept, desolate beach without a single footstep on it was magical. As was being collected by helicopter from that very same beach and experiencing a birds-eye view of the vast and majestic Southern Alp Mountains landing on one of the highest points for a beverage with a fantastic view! It is experiences like this that stay with me always. That to me is what travel is all about. "

Shelley is part of the following groups: New Zealand Travel Agents
Tongariro National Park
10 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

You can comfortably explore four to five different destinations with ten days in New Zealand. Spend up to two days in each city, including the "Big Little City" of Auckland, geothermal Rotorua, and scenic Wanaka. There are also several opportunities to discover settings from the Lord of the Rings films in Matamata, Tongariro National Park, and Wellington. The itineraries below cover the North and South Islands with ideas for every traveler—from family-friendly excursions to hardcore outdoor adventures.

Lake Wanaka
7 Days in New Zealand - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

In one week, you can discover just the North Island, just the South Island, or cross over into both. By landing and departing in major cities (like Christchurch, Auckland, and Wellington), each trip ensures you can do some standard sightseeing. In the North Island, hit scenic stops like geothermal Rotorua and Tongariro National Park, while the South Island is home to Aoraki/Mt Cook, Wanaka, and Akaroa. Learn more with our trip ideas below.

Fiordland National Park
Best of New Zealand’s South Island - 10 Days

This 10-day road trip in the South Island combines the best New Zealand has to offer. Discover jaw-dropping scenery here, including Lake Tekapo and its turquoise waters, Mt. Cook and the surrounding glaciers, the peaks of Mt. Aspiring National Park and the magnificent fjords. You will also enjoy more intimate and off-the-beaten-path experiences, including the exploration of the Banks Peninsula, with its active wildlife setting, as well as immersing yourself in the historical gold rush of the small town of Clyde.

Wai-O-Tapu in Rotorua
New Zealand: North to South - 14 Days

Discover the best of New Zealand on this 14-day road trip, covering highlights from north to south, as well as the lesser-known regions. Immerse yourself in varied landscapes, including the spectacular surfing spots of Raglan, geothermal areas of Rotorua, and glacial fjords in Te Anau. Along the way, you will also visit vineyards and encounter native wildlife as you hike, paddle, and fly your way across the country.

Check out the thermal lakes in Rotorua
New Zealand's North Island Adventure - 7 Days

This self-drive itinerary hits the highlights of New Zealand's North Island with a wide array of activities and landscapes. Along the way, you'll explore Auckland's best neighborhoods, sip pours from local wineries, go swimming and kayaking, and take part in Rotorua's geothermal treatments and Maori culture—all within the span of a week.

Fiordland National Park
Highlights of New Zealand - 10 Days

This action-packed itinerary dives into New Zealand's South and North Islands for a wide variety of landscapes and attractions. Kicking off in the adrenaline capital of the world, you'll kayak through the Milford Sound, explore the scenic capital (Wellington), take part in Rotorua's geothermal treatments, tour Hobbiton, and finish the adventure in the cosmopolitan city of Auckland.