December 2-11, 2019

November 19-28, 2020

10-day route through New Zealand's stunning North & South Islands

Come along to a small country that's jam-packed with mind-bogglingly diverse landscapes. A place where you can visit rugged fjords, see towering mountain ranges and subtropical forests, admire countless volcanoes, explore volcanic plateaus featuring geysers and boiling mud pools, and perhaps catch a glimpse of the southern lights at an International Dark Sky Reserve and marvel at turquoise seas fringed by white sand beaches. Learn about the traditional Maori worldview as honored guests of a Marae where you'll experience their customs and protocol, as well as enjoying a traditional Hangi cooked meal. Meet unique wildlife from the flightless Kiwi bird to a variety of amazing marine life such as the little blue penguin, fur seals, albatross and inquisitive dolphins. With its incredibly beautiful landscapes, unique flora and fauna, rich culture and activities to suit every traveler – this 10 day New Zealand adventure will leave you with breathtaking tales to tell for years to come!

$4395 per person


  • Accommodations

    • 7 nights accommodations in clean & comfortable 3-4 star hotels

    • Overnight at traditional Māori Marae

    • Traditional farm stay

  • Transportation

    • Transfer from Auckland airport and drop off to Queenstown airport

    • Ground transport between each destination in comfortable, private vehicles

    • Domestic flight from Rotorua to Christchurch

    • Scenic drives with freedom to stop for photos and bask in the stunning views

  • Activities

    • AWADS Whale & Dolphin Safari with our Community Partner Project Jonah + donation to their organization

    • Guided visit to Cathedral Cove

    • Nighttime visit under the stars at Hot Water Beach

    • Orientation walking tour of Mt Maunganui along with the opportunity to hike to the summit

    • Participate in a Māori whakatau (welcome) & opportunity to perform a traditional Māori greeting (Hongi)

    • Learn Māori weaving & create your own treasure

    • Evening of Māori storytelling

    • Urban Art Tour in Christchurch

    • Visit to Lake Tekapo & Wanaka town

    • Guided Hooker Valley hike

    • Milford Sound Nature Cruise and full day tour

  • Meals

    • Welcome drinks on arrival day

    • Daily breakfasts

    • Welcome & Farewell dinners

    • Traditional Hangi dinner with Māori kai (food)

    • Farm-style dinner cooked together as a group

    • Lunch on day 9

  • Additional

    • Dedicated New Zealand-native guide and Traverse host

    • Traverse representative assisting you from booking to departure

    • Small group experience, max 16 people

Day 1 - Auckland

Arrive to Auckland airport (AKL) this morning (or the previous day), and transportation to your centrally located hotel will be provided. Meet with your kiwi guide & Traverse host at 12p in the hotel lobby and head out for an orientation city tour followed by an afternoon boat tour with Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari, experiencing the diverse marine wildlife and stunning scenery of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. While you spot wild marine mammals and rare birds living in their natural habitat, representatives from our community partner -- Project Jonah -- will be on-hand to provide expert insight to New Zealand's marine life, alongside an overview of the integral conservation work that Project Jonah does to protect it all. After disembarking from the boat, we’ll enjoy an evening Welcome Drink on the waterfront together. Afterwards, you may dine and explore Auckland’s nightlife at your discretion or catch up on a good night’s sleep, before our exciting adventures continue.

MEALS: Welcome drink

day 2 - Cruising the Coromandel

You will enjoy an early morning breakfast before heading over to the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. One of the North Island's best-kept secrets, the Coromandel is known for its stunning white sand beaches, turquoise waters and secret coves, perfect for a swim or to explore on foot. You will have the opportunity to hike the coastlines, visit the iconic Cathedral Cove (made famous by the Chronicles of Narnia movies), kayak the pristine waters, carve your own traditional bone pendant or simply relax. In the early evening after checking in to our accommodations we’ll gather together for a proper Welcome Dinner at a unique local restaurant offering incredible local specialties. Following dinner, a visit to Hot Water Beach - a unique beach that offers the opportunity to dig your own spa pool in the natural thermal waters hidden beneath the sand - is offered as the tide is perfectly timed to line up with a late night visit under the stars. A true New Zealand must-see, especially away from the daytime crowds!

Meals: B, D

day 3 - Mountains & Sea

You’ll have breakfast and a relaxed morning before you get ready to make your way to Tauranga located on the Bay of Plenty of the North Island. As you arrive into Tauranga you will spot the famous “Mauao” or better known as “The Mount.” Mt Maunganui is a beautiful holiday spot due to its idyllic beaches and picturesque views from atop the mount’s peak. Your guide will provide an orientation walking tour of the town along with the opportunity to hike to the summit for some incredible photo opportunities. This afternoon and evening are free for you to explore Mt Maunganui at your own pace. Check out the boutique shops and galleries clustered along the high street, explore some more local walking tracks, relax on the beach, or perhaps take a surf lesson!

Meals: B

day 4 - Adventure & Traditional Welcome in Rotorua

We’ll hit the road and continue to Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland and cultural hub of New Zealand. Upon arrival in Rotorua, you can choose between two unique offerings. First up is Canopy Tours, an award winning activity in the heart of New Zealand Native forest where you’ll be led by awesome guides, swing through the trees on lengthy zip-lines, have the chance to feed wild native birds and learn about how this company gives back to the protection of New Zealand Wildlife. Alternatively, if swinging through the trees isn’t for you, you may join your guide for a visit to the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal park, described as “one of the most surreal places on earth,” with mud pools, sulphur pools and geysers leaving you marveling at nature’s beauty.

After these morning activities and lunch, we will journey to a traditional Maori village where our group will be privately welcomed and hosted. You’ll experience an incredibly array of cultural immersion during your overnight stay in the Marae including a whakatau (welcome) and traditional Māori greeting (Hongi), and learn more customs and protocols the Māori follow. Discover why this area is so important to their culture, and see how the local people use the hot pools and steam for daily living – as they have done for centuries. Learn about the native plants that grow within the village, and how Rotorua city utilized our natural resources, as well as the importance of weaving with the opportunity to create your own treasure out of flax. In the evening you’ll enjoy hearty Māori kai (food), cooked using traditional geothermal techniques, followed by time for storytelling where you will learn about local myths and legends.

Meals: B, D

day 5 - French Frontiers in Akaroa

Saying goodbye to Rotorua after breakfast, you will head south via an early morning domestic flight to the Garden City of New Zealand. Your new local guide will provide an orientation tour of the South Islands premier city today. Take advantage of a brief window in time in which you can bear witness to the rebuild of a major Western city from red-zone demolitions and experience the true nature of the spirit of the Canterbury people. Once arriving into the city centre you will have time for lunch and an ‘Urban Art Tour’ to soak in the uniquely artistic aspect of Christchurch’s rebuild.

After you have had your city-fix we will head to your next destination, the Akaroa Peninsula. Located just south of Christchurch, this French settlement town is known for its quaint cafes, quirky shops and the dramatic bays that surround it. Just a short drive away from the town centre is New Zealand's largest blue penguin colony and the surrounding waters are home to the smallest marine dolphin - both of which you’ll have the opportunity to see up close and personal. This evening is the best option to visit the local penguin colony, full of surprises and natural beauty as well as the little blue friends.

Meals: B

day 6 - Beauty of the earth & stars

Following breakfast, you have choices for your morning in Akaroa - either spend the hours at your leisure around the town or opt to indulge in one of the marine activities available. Akaroa Harbor is the only place on the entire planet where you can get up close and personal with New Zealand’s playful Hector’s dolphin – the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin species. You can choose from an adventurous swim in the water with them (operated responsibly of course) or stay dry aboard the delights of the harbor sailing cruise.

We’ll leave mid-afternoon today headed inland for Mackenzie Country, stopping at the iconic Lake Tekapo with its beautiful turquoise waters that have to be seen to be believed, surrounded by the breathtaking Southern Alps. Arriving at our countryside hotel, this evening you may choose to stargaze with a local guide. The Mackenzie Country International Dark Sky Reserve is one of the best places in New Zealand for stargazing as the sky is often astonishingly clear!

Meals: B

day 7 - From Aoraki Adventures to Farmland vistas

Departing early we’ll head to Aoraki/Mt Cook Village, the base of NZ’s highest mountain. From the village, a range of easy walks ranging from 1-3 hours are at your disposal including the 3hr Hooker Valley Track. Being one of the most well-known walks in New Zealand, this track gets quite busy around midday/early afternoon so you’re lucky to experience this walk without so many travelers surrounding you - allowing you to take in the serenity and the incredible views of the towering mountains. After your walk, we’ll travel further South to Wanaka, a small town situated North of Queenstown and famous for its stunning lakefront cafe views, surrounding mountains and friendly locals.

This afternoon we’ll arrive at Criffel Farm. Previously known as a sheep farm, it was converted to one of New Zealand’s largest deer breeding and stud farms in 1993 and showcases hundreds of acres of rolling farmland, natural creeks, tracks and beautiful homestead cottages. Here, you’ll marvel at the incredible views on a sustainable farm tour and enjoy a farm-style dinner which we’ll all cook together as a group. Relax and enjoy your surroundings before heading to bed on the farm.

Meals: B, D

day 8 - picture perfect wanaka & te Anau

Enjoy a hearty farm-style breakfast provided at Criffel Farm before heading to the town centre of quaint Wanaka. Stroll down to the lake where you can keep an eye out for the famous tree (#thatwanakatree), and snap a pic while enjoying the bright colors of nature that surround you. A bike tour or wine tour is a great way to explore the rest of the surrounding areas of Wanaka and get some history from an experienced guide, or the more adventurous traveler may opt for ‘waterfall climbs’ - not for the faint hearted!

After your free time in Wanaka, your guide will meet you in the town centre before continuing our journey. Next stop: Te Anau! - a town that’s known as the gateway to Fiordland National Park. Upon arrival to Te Anau enjoy down time for dinner and a wander around the picturesque town that’s set on another pristine lake which often lights up in the eve as the sun sets behind the mountains.

Meals: B

day 9 - Misty mountains of milford sound

This morning, you will depart from your accommodation with your guide for an incredible experience as you venture into Milford Sound. Fiordland National Park is breathtaking with its towering mountains, native New Zealand trees, glacier carved valleys, hundreds and thousands of cascading waterfalls + cheeky NZ wildlife — this might just be the best travel day of your life! You will stop for some short walks before arriving into Milford Sound and boarding your shared vessel for a nature cruise through the Sound. Experience and explore the natural wonders and beauty of the fiord on board a small vessel nature cruise. This is an interactive cruise where specialist nature guides share their local knowledge with lively and informative commentary while roaming the vessel delving into the history, geology and wildlife of the fiord. There is excellent wildlife viewing including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. With raincoats available on board, there's even a chance to get up close & underneath the waterfalls!

After an incredible day of exploration, we’ll return to Te Anau’s peaceful streets and head out together for our final group dinner. Rehash your favorite memories from the trip and revel in the bonds we’ve created together — both of which can last a lifetime!

Meals: B, L, D

day 10 - Hei konā mai (Goodbye for now!)

Today is your last day on tour with us. You will be transferred on one final journey through the stunning landscapes from Te Anau to Queenstown airport (ZQN) in time for your departing international flight (departures should be after 11a).

You may also add on post-tour days in Queenstown to take in and enjoy the plethora of adventurous or leisurely activities on offer as well as the beautiful surroundings.

Meals: B

10-day Trip Price

You'll be paired with a roommate of your same gender unless you request your own room.

$4395 per person - double occupancy

+$800 'My own room' option

Trip Does Not Include:

  • International airfare

  • Additional meals, excursions and activities not listed

  • Alcohol, unless specified

  • Required travel insurance

About your host:

Your Traverse Host:   As a dedicated international adventurer for 15 years, Laura has traveled in almost 40 countries on 5 continents, living abroad in 7 different countries including New Zealand.  Her love affair with New Zealand began in 2007, spending a full year exploring as much of the beauty there as possible.  Throughout the trip, as well as in the planning stages leading up to your departure, take comfort in knowing that your #1 job is simply to show up and enjoy yourself. Laura will help to take care of all your arrangements, and help you navigate each destination to make the most out of every day.

Your Traverse Host:

As a dedicated international adventurer for 15 years, Laura has traveled in almost 40 countries on 5 continents, living abroad in 7 different countries including New Zealand.

Her love affair with New Zealand began in 2007, spending a full year exploring as much of the beauty there as possible.

Throughout the trip, as well as in the planning stages leading up to your departure, take comfort in knowing that your #1 job is simply to show up and enjoy yourself. Laura will help to take care of all your arrangements, and help you navigate each destination to make the most out of every day.

Terms & Conditions

Please refer to registration for complete terms.

Deposit & Payment
A $250 - $500 non-refundable deposit is required for each traveler to secure the booking (varies by trip). 50% remainder due 30 days from booking. Balance due 60 days prior to trip start

Payments can be made either by 1) full payment on booking 2) $250 - $500 deposit on booking + payment schedule in registration. Payments will be invoiced via e-mail for credit card or Paypal payment online. To pay by check, please indicate on registration and make check payable to Traverse Journeys and send to PO Box 40516, Austin, TX 78704.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations, less the trip deposit ($250), are refundable until 90 days from departure. Please refer to the full Payment Plan for details. We do allow for last minute transfers of the same gender for a $150 admin fee. Please notify us immediately in the case of a transfer.

Travel Insurance
Trip protection-style travel insurance that includes travel medical coverage is required for all trips with Traverse. The coverage must have a minimum $200,000 of medical coverage and include injury, medical, evacuation, and repatriation. Most domestic US health insurance plans do not cover international travel claims or provide a global network of contracted doctors and facilities. We want to make sure you are covered in case of an emergency or non-emergency illness or injury while abroad. Trip protection coverage protects the investment of your trip, including benefits for items such as trip interruption, trip cancellation, delays, baggage and personal effects, and more. We do not have a required coverage amount, but typically coverage is based on your trip costs. We partner with Wanderwell, a B-Corp Certified provider who can offer both Travel Medical and Trip Protection. If you choose to purchase through Wanderwell, you can buy the trip protection directly from our Traverse Journeys partner page provided in your Welcome Pack, and a portion of your purchase will be donated to WeForest through 1% For the Planet to aid with carbon offset for your trip. With Wanderwell, the TripProtector Classic and TripProtector Preferred plans meet our minimum requirements for coverage. Once insurance is obtained, a copy must be sent to Traverse. Failure to provide proof of insurance within 30 days of booking will result in trip booking suspension until proof of insurance has been provided.

Documents, Personal Identification, Vaccinations
Traveler is responsible for all required travel documents including passport, visas, entry or exit fees, and vaccinations. Traverse does not cover the cost or assist in obtaining any of the above, and reserves the right to collect information on all.