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Home| Experiences| Group Tours| New Zealand Experiences|Auckland to Christchurch 18 Day Guided Group Tour

Auckland to Christchurch 18 Day Group Tour From $6365pp NZD

Get ready for an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand. Travelling from Auckland to Christchurch, enjoy 18 days of non-stop adventure, enthralling nature, and memorable nights with Stray’s RURU guided group tour.

Hike along some of the country’s best tracks, kayak at sunrise, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage with a traditional hangi meal shared with a local Maori family. Feel rejuvenated as you bathe in a hot thermal stream surrounded by native bush, explore national parks teeming with natural wonders, and let loose with a night of revelry in Queenstown. Cap off your adventure with a mesmerising stargazing experience in an International Dark Sky Reserve, where the cosmos unfold in all its glory.

Travel in comfort and style aboard a private, air-conditioned bus, with a charismatic guide leading the way. Stay in high-quality accommodation, and choose between comfy twin-share or private rooms in 3-4 star hotels and scenic lodges nestled close to waterfronts or national parks. Enjoy the added perk of insightful anecdotes, local recommendations, and insider knowledge from your expert guide, ensuring an enriching and memorable journey through every corner of this captivating country.

  • Money Icon From $5821.11 AUD
  • Clock Icon 18 Days / 17 Nights

RURU Itinerary

Day 1: Auckland Start

Kia Ora! Welcome to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Arrive in Auckland, the North Island’s popular harbour city, where you will meet your Stray guide and travel group early this morning. Hit the road bright and early, making your way down to Rotorua, the North Island’s geothermal hub and a close runner-up to Queenstown in terms of adventure offerings. Affectionately dubbed ‘Roto-vegas’ for its bustling tourism scene, Rotorua buzzes with activity and rich cultural experiences.

Your first stop on the way is The Whakarewarewa Forest, where you can take a leisurely stroll along the towering California Redwoods, planted over a century ago. Then, check into your accommodation, the centrally located Distinction Rotorua. With its spa, swimming pool, and rare amenity of unlimited Wi-Fi (a rarity in New Zealand), this hotel provides the perfect home base for your adventures over the next couple of days.

Overnight: Distinction | Rotorua

Day 2: Free day in Rotorua

Today in Rotorua is all about freedom and fun! Start with breakfast at the hotel, then take your pick: ride the rapids on the Kaituna River, zip through the trees, or try zorbing down hills. Want something chill? Hit up a geothermal spa or check out Kuirau Park for free hot pools and steamy lakes. Tonight’s adventure? Te Puia! Enjoy a guided walk under the stars, see geysers and bubbling mud, and dig into a traditional kanga waru pudding cooked in hot springs. Top it off with hot chocolate, stories under the night sky, and Pohutu’s beauty. It’s gonna be epic!

Overnight: Distinction | Rotorua
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3: Lake Aniwhenua Maori Experience

First up today is a visit to Kuirau Park, where you’ll witness some geothermal activity first hand. See the unforgettable sight of boiling mud pools and steaming lakes. After lunch, you’re in for an absolute treat as you make your way to Lake Aniwhenua for an authentic slice of New Zealand culture. You’ll be staying in Kohutapu Lodge, owned by a local Maori family who are incredibly passionate about their history and heritage and will welcome you into their community. Here you’ll get to see some ancient Maori rock carvings that are sacred to the locals, and join in on some traditional stick games. Then, see first hand how they prepare ‘hangi’, a meal cooked in the ground, flavoured to perfection, which you’ll get to enjoy for dinner, ending the day with a wonderfully authentic experience of connection.

Overnight: Kohutapu Lodge | Lake Aniwhenua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Travel to Blue Duck Station

After enjoying a buffet breakfast and bidding farewell to your fantastic hosts at the lakeside lodge, head off to start the day at Kerosene Creek – a natural hot river perfect for a refreshing morning soak. Next up, the road for Taupo to marvel at Australasia’s largest lake and witness the magnificent Huka Falls. Then, venture inland to Blue Duck Station for an immersive off-grid experience. This 7,200-acre high country farm is not only breathtaking but also the most sustainable sheep and cattle station in New Zealand. Their dedication to preserving the environment, particularly for the rare blue duck, is truly inspiring. Upon arrival, settle in, learn about daily life at Blue Duck and its fascinating history and sustainability efforts, before gathering around the bonfire for dinner, relaxation, and an unforgettable night.

Overnight: Country Station Lodge | Retaruke
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Free day at Blue Duck Station

Today’s a full-on free day to dive deep into the rugged charm of the station, a destination so remote it’s as far inland as you can get from the ocean by road. Fancy a leisurely horseback ride over the rolling green hills? Or how about a thrilling 4WD eco tour through the native bush, all the way up to the ‘Top of the World’ where you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro, and Mount Ngauruhoe? For those who prefer to explore on foot, enjoy a hike to the majestic Kaiwhakauka waterfall, with a chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive blue duck in its natural habitat. With so much to do and a whole day to do it, today is all about falling head over heels for this lush kiwi paradise.

Overnight: Country Station Lodge | Retaruke
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Travel to Ohakune

Rise and shine, because today kicks off with a bang as you head straight to Tongariro National Park for an epic adventure: the legendary Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This hike is an absolute must-do, hailed as one of the top one-day walks globally. Picture a 19 km trek across a rugged plateau, with jaw-dropping volcanic peaks, serene turquoise lakes, and vistas so stunning they’ll be etched into your memories forever. If Mother Nature throws you a curveball and the weather doesn’t allow for the crossing, there are plenty of other fantastic short walks to explore in the area. As evening rolls around, kick back and relax at your cosy accommodation, with log cabin vibes and boutique charm, as well as an indoor heated pool – it’s the perfect place to unwind after a big day.

Overnight: Powderhorn Chateau | Ohakune
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7: Travel to Wellington

Today, gear up for a scenic bike ride along the Old Coach Road, a captivating 4-hour unguided trail. Pedalling along the unique cobbled road, you’ll pass historic viaducts and impressive limestone cliffs, stopping to capture stunning snapshots along the way. Next stop: Wellington, the “coolest little capital in the world”! This vibrant city has a downtown area brimming with character, featuring fantastic eateries and bars along Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. Spend your afternoon exploring the diverse exhibits at Te Papa National Museum, sampling craft beers at local breweries, ascending to the summit of Mt Victoria for breathtaking panoramic views, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the picturesque waterfront and Oriental Parade. And for all you coffee enthusiasts out there, rejoice! Wellington’s coffee culture and thriving cafe scene are considered one of the best in New Zealand.

Overnight: Naumi | Wellington
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Travel to Abel Tasman

Hop on the early ferry ride across the Cook Strait, venturing through the breathtaking Marlborough Sounds to reach the South Island. If the weather permits, be sure to head to the viewing deck for some awe-inspiring scenery and wildlife spotting. Your journey continues through the picturesque Marlborough region until you reach Marahau, where your accommodation awaits right on the doorstep of the stunning Abel Tasman National Park. It’s the ideal starting point for immersing yourself in what many consider to be the finest national park in all of New Zealand.

Overnight: The Barn Marahau | Abel Tasman
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9: Abel Tasman National Park

Today is a lucky day as you have a whole day ahead to delve into New Zealand’s most beloved national park. Head out for a 12km hike to Anchorage, and enjoy the park’s pristine golden sand beaches and crystal-clear blue waters en route. After enjoying a beachside picnic, explore Cleopatra’s Pools, enchanting freshwater lakes lined with moss and featuring a natural water slide. Then, it’s a leisurely 4-hour stroll back to your accommodation, with ample opportunities to snap breathtaking photos and take refreshing dips in secluded bays along the way.

Overnight: The Barn Marahau | Abel Tasman
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 10: Travel to Hokitika

Get ready for an exhilarating day as you hit the road to explore the stunningly picturesque ‘wild’ West Coast. Renowned for its rugged beaches and magnificent rainforests, this drive promises to be nothing short of extraordinary. Journeying through Buller Gorge and along a stretch of road hailed as one of the world’s top drives by Lonely Planet, you might find yourself disconnected from phone signals – but trust us, you won’t miss them. Your first stop will be at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes, offering a glimpse into this unique coastal landscape. Then travel on to the artistic town of Hokitika, where you’ll check into your beachfront accommodation for the night. Enjoy dinner with a view of the Tasman Sea and head out to explore the town.

Overnight: Beachfront Hotel | Hokitika
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 11: Travel to Franz Josef

It’s only a short journey today to the charming township of Franz Josef, nestled amidst lush rainforests. Another day of incredible scenic views, arrive into the town in time for lunch, with time to explore the rest of the day. You’ve got a big day ahead of you, so take time this evening to relax and enjoy the company of your tour group.

Overnight: Franz Josef Motel | Franz Josef
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 12: Franz Josef Glacier

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable encounter with the Franz Josef Glacier, a true gem of the West Coast. After a brief drive to the starting point of the track, embark on a scenic hike through native bush and over glacial streams, ultimately reaching the terminal face of the glacier. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to capture breathtaking photos or simply soak in the majestic surroundings. Alternatively, unwind and pamper yourself at the Retreat, where you can luxuriate in one of New Zealand’s largest spa pools.

Overnight: Franz Josef Motel | Franz Josef
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 13: Travel to Queenstown

Get ready for another scenic ride today, with plenty of chances to snap some amazing photos. First stop is the stunning Lake Matheson, famously known as the mirror lake, where you can take a quick stroll. Then, cruise through the mountainous Haast Pass, passing by the beautiful Lake Hawea, before finally arriving in Queenstown. Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to put on your dancing shoes and explore the lively scene of this lakeside town. With over 100 clubs and bars to pick from, Queenstown promises a night you won’t forget.

Overnight: Mercure | Queenstown
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 14: Milford Sound Day Tour

You’re in for a treat today as you hop aboard the coach and head to the breathtaking and world-renowned Milford Sound. After a jaw-dropping scenic drive, board the boat and cruise across the Sound. Keep your eyes peeled for the majestic Mitre Peak, lush rainforests, and if you’re lucky (or it’s been raining), thundering waterfalls. Get ready to spot some incredible wildlife too, from fur seals to penguins and dolphins. Once you’ve snapped enough pics to fill your camera roll, it’s back to Queenstown where you can treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of the many fantastic restaurants – or indulge in the iconic Fergburger.

Overnight: Mercure | Queenstown
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 15: Free day in Queenstown

You’ve got a full day to soak up the vibes of the adventure capital of Queenstown today. With its epic nightlife, stunning mountain views, and endless outdoor activities, it’s no wonder why this awesome spot is a favourite amongst travellers. Why not join the epic Skipper Canyon Jet Boat tour, or see the glorious Dart River on a kayaking tour to make the most of your day, or how about tackling the ‘big three’ with the Nevis Thrillogy bungy, catapult, and swing package to really get your adrenaline going. Spend the afternoon exploring one of New Zealand’s best wine regions with an Altitude wine tasting tour, or simply head out to enjoy the epic vibes of Queenstown.

Overnight: Mercure | Queenstown
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 16: Travel to Aoraki

Bid farewell to Queenstown and hit the road, crossing the scenic Lindis Pass and traversing the breathtaking Mackenzie Country as you go. Along the way, you’ll be treated to views of the stunning Lake Pukaki with its vivid blue waters, leading you to your incredible destination at the base of New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki/Mt Cook. Trust us when we say, this drive isn’t just great – it’s downright jaw-dropping and one of the most spectacular journeys you’ll experience in all of NZ.

Arriving in the early afternoon leaves you with plenty of time for optional adventures. Enjoy a boat tour on a glacial lake surrounded by snow-capped alps, or consider checking out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre or embarking on one of the park’s many fantastic short walks. When night falls, step outside for a stellar stargazing experience. After all, with clear skies, this spot is among the best in the country for taking in the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos.

Overnight: Alpine Lodge | Aoraki
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 17: Travel to Christchurch

This morning you’ll get the chance to see the stunning landscape made famous by the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films. Check out the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd, and maybe relax in the hot springs. Hike to the Mt John Observatory for some amazing views of the lake below, and then continue on your journey. Next up is Christchurch, a city brimming with charm thanks to the lush parks and trendy laneway bars, with the tranquil Avon River running through it. Take your time exploring the city streets in the afternoon, where you’ll stumble upon captivating street art, tucked-away eateries, and boutique shops. Don’t miss the chance to wander through the picturesque Botanic Gardens or hop aboard the tourist tram for a delightful tour of the city’s highlights.

Overnight: Bealey Quarter | Christchurch
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 18: Finish

It’s time to say farewell to your incredible Stray adventure. Wave goodbye to your new friends and get ready for the next leg of your journey. Whether you’re planning on staying in Christchurch or carrying on elsewhere, be sure to check out our destination pages for some ideas on what not to miss.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Inclusions & Extras

Included

  • 17x Nights Accommodation
  • 22x Meals
  • Experienced Tour Guide
  • Private Coach Transport
  • Inter-island Ferry
  • Lake Aniwhenua Cultural Experience & Hangi
  • 4WD Eco tour at Blue Duck Station
  • Old Coach Road E-Bike adventure
  • Milford Sound Day Cruise

Excluded

  • Visas
  • Any meals not outlined
  • International flights
  • Optional activities such as bungy jumping in Queenstown

Tour Type & Availability

Tour Inclusions Price

18 Day RURU Guided Group Tour - Twin Share/Double

Informative Guides, All Accommodation Twin Share/Double, Some Meals & Activities

$5,821.11

18 Day RURU Guided Group Tour - Private

Informative Guides, All Accommodation Private, Some Meals & Activities

$7,650.21

What to bring

  • Camera
  • Sneakers/Trainers
  • Flip flops/Sandals
  • Warm Clothing (so you can layer)
  • Sturdy Walking Shoes/Boots
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Hat & Sunscreen
  • Swimsuit/Towel
  • Water Bottle
  • Toiletries
  • Motion Sickness Tablets (if required)
  • Insect Repellent

Pick Ups & Departures

31 Wellesley Street West, Auckland CBD

Supplier Terms & Conditions

Stray Terms & Conditions

Refunds will be processed according to the following time frames:

Cancellations within 28 Days of the start date incur a 100.00% fee.
Between 28 Days and 365 Days incur a 0.00% fee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to reconfirm my bookings?

All bookings must be reconfirmed 48 hours in advance by contacting your tour provider directly using the contact information listed on your tour voucher.

What should I do if my trip is cancelled due to bad weather?

You may either re-schedule directly with the supplier or you can email our support team on [email protected] and include your voucher number, name of product you booked, planned departure date and your contact details. Once you’ve emailed us, you can drop us a line at +61 2 5633 1149.

Do you book tours with flexible dates? If so, how long are they valid for?

Yes, we do have open dated/flexible tickets available. Most tour vouchers are valid for 12 months from date of purchase, however please be aware that you may be subject to supplier price fluctuations. All ticket validity is specified on the tour voucher. If you are unsure of the validity of your voucher, just ask one of our wonderful staff.

What do I do if I need help with an existing booking?

Some tours have extra costs and you should be aware that there may be added expenses. These expenses will differ for each service provider, but some of the more usual extras are: EMC tax, stinger suit hire, luggage storage, sleeping bag hire, linen hire, national park fee, food, insurance, accommodation, equipment hire, petrol levy, etc. We will alert you to extra costs to the extent reasonably practicable. However, you must also check with each individual service provider when you re-confirm your booking.

Do I need travel insurance?

We endorse the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that all travellers take out travel insurance. If you already have travel insurance, please understand that it is your responsibility to ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all of the adventure style travel you have booked with us.

Do you offer payment plans?

Absolutely, we understand that paying off a big trip in one go isn’t always that easy. We offer flexible payment plans to suit all types of travellers with zero interest or fee’s (minimum $100AUD deposit required).

How do I know if my trip is BYO?

Most tour vouchers will specify if your trip is BYO however we recommend asking your tour provider if your trip is BYO when you reconfirm your booking 48 hours prior to departure.

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Auckland to Christchurch 18 Day Guided Group Tour

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This epic RURU Auckland to Christchurch tour explores the very best of New Zealand over 18 unforgettable days. Accommodation, guide & transport included.

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