Two weeks is barely enough time to thoroughly explore your hometown, let alone a place as fascinating as New Zealand. For adventurers on a tight time-budget, this 15-day trip wraps up the must-sees of both islands with a nice little bow. Check out the Coromandel Peninsula’s gorgeous beaches, hang with the Maori in a traditional village, and get your adrenaline fix in Queenstown. Consider this your New Zealand starter kit.
The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.
Check the notice boards or ask at reception for the exact time and location of the group meeting, typically 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. After the meeting, you might like to take the option of heading out for a meal in a nearby local restaurant to further get to know your tour leader and traveling companions.
Please make every effort to arrive on time for this welcome meeting. If you are delayed and will arrive late, please inform us. Your tour leader will then leave you a message at the front desk informing you of where and when to meet up.
Depart early for the stunning Coromandel Peninsula. Take a walk to Cathedral Cove or opt out in favor of sea kayaking. If the tide is right, grab a shovel and dig a natural jacuzzi in the sand on Hot Water Beach.
The Coromandel is one of many scenic regions of New Zealand. Set off into the mountain forest in search of the elusive “Hairy Moehau” monster. Check out the beaches and cliffs and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales. Make friends with the locals, including “hippies” who arrived in the 1970s and never left.
Pack your swimsuit and walk from the north end of Hahei Beach along a cliff-top path that leads down to Cathedral Cove. A giant arch formed into the headland separates two secluded coves. Swim, lay in the shade, and enjoy the beauty of this idyllic spot. Hot Water Beach is a unique spot on the Coromandel Peninsula. If the tide is right, you can dig into the sand to create a natural jacuzzi.
Rotorua sits over an active volcano with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools in different areas around the town. Opt to visit one of the sites, like Hell’s Gate, or go whitewater rafting nearby.
Receive the traditional Powhiri welcome ceremony followed by a captivating stage performance explaining Maori history and culture. For dinner, enjoy a traditional Hangi meal, similar to the Hawaiian Luau, with dishes cooked in the ground. After, enjoy some quiet time with our Maori hosts by a fire.
Pack a book and download your favorite podcasts in preparation for a long travel day on the North Island to the capital, Wellington.
Approximate travel time: 7-8 hrs by private vehicle
Enjoy the atmosphere in this relaxed but lively city. Enjoy a brief walk with your tour leader. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.
After the orientation walk, enjoy a free day to explore. Opt to visit the Te Papa Museum or take the cable car up to the botanical gardens.
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… yup, it is a plane, actually. Fly to the South Island, then travel by bus from Christchurch to Kaikoura.
Approximate travel time: 3 hours by local bus
Opt to swim with dolphins or go whale watching during a free morning in Kaikoura before traveling to Hanmer Springs, stopping en route for a wine tasting at a local winery. Opt to take a soak in the hot springs.
Approximate travel time: 3 hours by private vehicle
Take in the stunning scenery while traveling across the Southern Alps to the rugged and remote West Coast, before staying in the rainforest near the world’s fastest moving glacier. Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.
Approximate travel time: 8 hours by private vehicle (driving time includes stops)
There are dozens of optional activities in the area to suit just about any budget and preference, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like heli hiking, scenic helicopter flights, horse trekking, quad biking, skydiving, glacier valley walk, lake kayaking, or a hot pools visit. Your tour leader has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!
Continue to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. With beautiful scenery and tons of activities, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy the great night life.
Approximate travel time: 8-9 hours by private vehicle
With free time here, opt to go bungee jumping (in its birthplace), jet boating (also born here!), skydiving, paragliding, hiking, or mountain biking. Or take it a little slower and travel by gondola to the top of a local peak.
Opt to pre-book the “Queenstown Jet Boating” activity ahead of time. It’s a jet boat ride along the Shotover River of Queenstown — need we say more? Okay, how about this: imagine a fast-paced whitewater ride with sharp turns and spins expertly navigated by a trained driver. So strap in and get ready to get wet. Just email email@example.com after booking to sign up.
Enjoy the stunning scenery of Fiordland National Park and Doubtful Sound on a day cruise. Take in the waterfalls and wildlife, then return to Queenstown for the night.
Cruise through the stunning Doubtful Sound, one of the most untouched, remote places in the world. The only way to get here is by boat across Lake Manapouri, then bus across Wilmont Pass to Doubtful Sound. Marvel at the steep cliff walls and cascading waterfalls, and keep an eye out for area wildlife: dolphins, penguins, seals, and a variety of birds. This isolated part of New Zealand is truly a special place!
Approximate travel time: 3 hours (Queenstown – Doubtful Sound) + 3 hours (Doubtful Sound – Queenstown) by private vehicle
Head through the center of the South Island to Twizel, near New Zealand’s highest peak, Mt Cook. Visit Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park and spend the afternoon hiking the region, taking in the alpine scenery. Learn more about mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary at the Visitor’s Centre. Aoraki/Mount Cook is both a village, a national park and the name of New Zealand’s highest mountain. Located in central South Island, the park includes a mix of rocks and glaciers, as well as alpine plants including the world’s largest buttercup, the Mount Cook lily. There are several short walks that reward with spectacular views.
Approximate travel time: 2.5 hrs by private vehicle
Travel to the Garden City of Christchurch, a little piece of England in New Zealand, still recovering from a devastating earthquake. Drive time of about four hours includes stops throughout the day, including a couple of hours to visit Mt. Cook (weather permitting).
Once in Christchurch, join the Resourceful Ōtautahi Walking Tour: explore lesser-known paths around Christchurch on this walking tour of the city led by a member of Rekindle — a social enterprise where resourcefulness skills are shared among members to build self-confidence and create art out of under-valued materials. The hands-on, workshop-based environment keeps everyone engaged and helps to strengthen the community.
Enjoy free time with your travel companions on your last night in New Zealand.
Approximate travel time: 4 hrs by private vehicle
Our program ends in Christchurch this morning. You may depart at any time.
Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).
If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator, we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!
Visit our recommended reading page to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans and Pinterest boards that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
Please note that the train on the south island is seasonal and does not run from May to September. Day 6 and 7 transportation will be a public bus during this time period instead of a train.
Please be aware that wifi and internet access is not as readily available in New Zealand as in other parts of the world. There are often additional charges to connect to the internet, and speeds may be slower than what you are used to.
Over public holidays in Australia and New Zealand (such as Christmas, New Years Day, Easter, and Anzac Day) there may be some limitations of services and disruptions to schedules. In general our tours still operate effectively over public holidays, but there may be closures of optional activities and restaurants, and slight itinerary adjustments in order to provide all tour inclusions.
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure’s group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
This trip includes light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels. In the cities, you can split apart from the group to go your own pace. Getting on and off transport and walking with luggage requires some physical effort. Some optional tours may include hiking, biking, rafting, or kayaking in addition to walking.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy or, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email email@example.com. To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single accommodation for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Night 3 at Maori Village
NOTE: If you have booked the My Own Room option, on Night 2 there may be shared facilities (cottage style accommodation), but you will have your own room.
Day 1 is an arrival day, and no activities have been planned. Upon arrival to the city on Day 1, or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us, please make your way to the joining hotel. Check-in time will be in the afternoon. Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note at reception from your tour leader. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on Day 1, usually between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., at which you will get a chance to meet your tour leader and other travelers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you miss the Welcome Meeting, your tour leader will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need and with instructions for the next morning.
When you arrive at the airport, you can either take a taxi or use public transportation.
For getting to Auckland center city from the airport:
By Taxi: $70-80, approximately 30 minutes.
By Shuttle Bus: $33 for 1 person, $8 per additional. The “Super Shuttle” is a 24-hour service that takes approximately 1 hour. The shuttle waits outside of the terminal and provides door-to-door service.
By Skybus: $18 per person. Leaves from outside the airport terminal every 10-15 minutes and takes approximately 1 hour.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office and after office hours emergency number
From outside Australia: +61 432 705 621
From within Australia: 0432 705 621
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local operations manager, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and down stairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule, we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
Laundry facilities are sometimes offered by the hotels.
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.
Starting October 1, 2019, US citizens traveling to New Zealand will need to apply for an e-Visa. Please see the US State Department entry, exit, & visa requirements for New Zealand and the New Zealand Embassy for detailed visa application instructions.
GEEO travelers who are not US citizens should check with their government to determine visa requirements.
The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). As currency exchange rates fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. ATMs are also widely available that distribute the local currency, and this is what we recommend as your primary source of cash while traveling. Please make sure you bring at least $200 USD in cash as emergency money just in case you have trouble with the ATMs or lose your bank card. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops, but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee. Visa and MasterCard are useful for cash advances in an emergency situation. Please note that, if you are carrying U.S. Dollars, they should be in good condition (i.e., not torn, wrinkled, or marked on in any way) and printed recently.
It is not customary in New Zealand or Australia to tip service providers, but if you do experience outstanding service it is good to do so. Such service would only usually be in places like quality restaurants and it would be very rare that you would tip more than 10%. Unless specifically asked to do so at the time (by your tour leader) – do not tip your local guides. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, you may consider a small tip – but it certainly isn’t expected.
Please do check with your doctor to see if you will need any vaccinations for this program.
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights. Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here.
Your trip begins in Auckland and ends in Christchurch. Please double check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Auckland. You can arrive at any time of the day you choose, but we strongly urge you to arrive by 6:00 p.m. on Day 1 for our group meeting. You can depart from Christchurch any time on the final day of the trip.
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
New Zealand primarily uses a type I plug. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
European-style two circular prong plug, either the type C “Euro” plug or the type F “Schuko” plug. The C and F tend be interchangeable. Their voltage is 230 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
July and August in New Zealand fall during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter. Average daytime temperatures are in the upper 50s, and overnight lows are in the 40s. The weather in July tends to be very variable with a mixture of everything: rain, snow, hail, and sun. Come prepared with a rain jacket and/or umbrella and other gear that will keep you comfortable in variable weather. See more here.
Please keep in mind that this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Meals included are 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners, giving you the opportunity to eat out according to your own resources. The prices below are in U.S. Dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.
See price in top right corner
$100-$600 USD, depending on how many optional activities in which you’d like to participate
Roughly $1,000-$1,700 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare, we would be happy to help you.
Please note: It is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
We recommend $40-$50 USD per person per week for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $25 per week for tipping local guides on additional activities.
Make sure you budget for these types of expenses
Variable. At your personal discretion.
$100 USD (Suggested donation)
This is only for non-educator guests traveling with an educator on a GEEO trip. Educators and retired educators should not make this donation.
Most optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance for which activities you would like to sign up. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip. The prices below are in New Zealand Dollars (NZD).
– Auckland Sailing: America’s Cup Experience (Pre Tour)
– Maritime Museum Visit (20NZD per person)
– Waiheke Island Excursion (45-130NZD per person)
– Sea Kayaking (115NZD per person)
– Hahei Boat Cruise (85NZD per person)
– Whitewater Rafting (89NZD per person)
– Hot Springs (30-50NZD per person)
– Mountain Biking (35-130NZD per person)
– Zorbing (35-50NZD per person)
– Te Papa Museum Visit (Free)
– Wellington Cable Car (4-7.50NZD per person)
– Zealandia (9-95NZD per person)
– Weta Workshop Tour (25-65NZD per person)
– Martinborough Wine Tour (199NZD per person)
– Hiking (Free)
– Scenic Flight (135-180NZD per person)
– Whale Watching (145NZD per person)
– Swimming With Dolphins (170NZD per person)
– Helicopter Hike (459-539NZD per person)
– Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk (79NZD per person)
– Franz Josef Quad Bike (65-160NZD per person)
– Franz Josef Kayaking (99-129NZD per person)
– Hiking (Free)
– Horseback Riding (65-150NZD per person)
– Paragliding (210NZD per person)
– Bungee Jumping (175-510NZD per person)
– Gondola Ride (35-56NZD per person)
– Skydiving (299-439NZD per person)
– Vineyard Tour (185-230NZD per person)
– Earnslaw Steamship Cruise (55-95NZD per person)
– Ziptrek (120-170NZD per person)
– Scenic Horse Riding Tour (165-325NZD per person)
– Shotover Canyon Swing/Shotover Canyon Fox (169-299NZD per person)
– Queenstown Jet Boating