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New Zealand Experience

19 days from $4,253

$94 Deposit

Hiking, biking and natural wonders!

Explore New Zealand in 3 weeks
Experience Kiwi culture
See waterfalls, volcanos & caves
Group size: Avg 22, Max 36

Trip Highlights

  • Surf the 100m-high Te Paki sand dunes
  • Walk the stunning Kaikoura Peninsula
  • Learn the moves of the All Blacks in Auckland
  • Hike past volcanoes in Tongariro National Park
  • Discover Fox Glacier’s spellbinding caves
  • Marvel at the unique scenery of Fiordland

Trip Summary

Tick this dream destination off your bucket list and find out just what makes it such a unique location. Get to grips with New Zealand’s treasure trove of natural wonders – walk the Kaikoura Peninsula, see active volcanoes in Tongariro National Park, and prepare to be spellbound by the mountain framed fjords of Fiordland. There are also some iconic New Zealand activities to get stuck into – you’ll experience a wine tasting in Marlborough, discover the Bay of Islands, and learn some traditional haka moves.


Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

Day 1: Auckland to Bay of Islands
Today you’ll head to the breathtaking Bay of Islands, a patchwork of picturesque coves. Why not make sure you see the highlights and take the optional boat tour for a whole 24-hours of cruising and snorkelling? You’ll even get to watch the sun go down while onboard.

Places on the boat tour are limited and fill up quickly, to avoid disappointment you can pre-book this excursion – contact us for further details. 

Day 2: Beautiful Bay of Islands
Spend a day sun lounging or surfing the 100m-high Te Paki dunes! There are a range of optional activities on offer today, including kayaking beneath waterfalls and a cultural excursion. It’s a traditional fish and chips dinner with your mates later this evening so be sure to make the most of the bay and work up an appetite.

Day 3: Amazing Auckland
We'll head to Auckland today; stopping off along the way, we'll get to marvel at the beautiful Whangarei Waterfall, just hidden from sight until you exit the highway. Back in Auckland, you'll have a bit of time to yourself to wander the busy streets and take a look around.

Day 4: Marae Stay

Before we leave Auckland today, we'll pay a visit to the incredible Waitomo Caves for a bit of exploration in the fascinating underground system lit by glow worms. Then we'll make our way to a sacred Maori meeting house, where we'll spend the night and learn a few haka dance moves. In the evening, enjoy some delicious traditional Maori food before bedding down for the night. 

Day 5: Discover Rotorua
Today there’s a range of exhilarating optional activities available to ensure you get the most out of Rotura. Fantasy fans can take a tour of Middle Earth for a taste of Tolkien, while mud baths and massages are the perfect way to relax and recharge. For thrill-seekers, mountain biking and white-water rafting excursions are available.

Day 6-7: Tongariro National Park
Time to head to Tongariro National Park! Pass New Zealand’s largest lake, see the azure Huka Falls and listen to the bubble of the geothermal mud pools. There’s an optional Taupo bungee jump experience for the brave! We’ll also get to hike over dormant lava chambers and head out biking or rafting.

Day 8: Head to Wellington
We’ll be heading off to the capital today. First up is the Te Papa museum, which showcases the cultural treasures of indigenous and non-indigenous communities. There’s also a city tour, and then you’re free to head off to a bar and meet the locals.

Day 9: Ferry Crossing and Wine Tasting!
We’ll head to Nelson today for a private wine tasting. This picturesque vineyard offers a glimpse of rural charm – you may even be drunk from the sights before you get to the wine! You can even buy a bottle of your favourite afterwards. 

Day 10: Discover Nelson
You’ve got a free day today. Why no tour a few local galleries to sample Nelson’s vibrant art scene, or go mountain hiking or kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park? Tonight, you’ll be helping out at the grill, cooking up a traditional Kiwi barbecue feast. Delicious!

Day 11: Head to Kaikoura
Today we’ll head through the Rai Valley to a Marlborough Winery to try a few more delicious New Zealand tipples. Then we’ll head to the coast for the chance to spot a few fur seals at Ohau Point. Then it’s onto the coastal town of Kaikoura where we’ll experience an exhilarating Kaikoura Peninsula Walk to soak up the sights and sensations of the invigorating coast.

Day 12: Kaikoura to Christchurch
Get to know the local marine life with some optional activities today. You'll have the chance to go dolphin swimming, seal swimming, or whale spotting. If altitude is your attitude, then reach new heights with an awe-inspiring flight over the whales. Later, we’ll head on to vibrant Christchurch.

Day 13: Fox Glacier
You’ll be walking Lake Matheson today, so be sure to grab your camera and take those unmissable shots of your serene surroundings. The lake acts as a mirror for two of New Zealand’s tallest peaks, and this is a truly remarkable way to take in the sights.

Day 14: Glacier Hiking and Queenstown
Opt to hike the glaciers today, scaling frozen waters and exploring magical ice caves. Once we’ve had time to explore and enjoy some of the optional activities available today we’ll head over to Queenstown – a location fit for a king. Get ready for more dramatic mountain scenery as we approach.

Day 15-16: Explore Queenstown
You’ll have free time in Queenstown over the next couple of days. There are over 200 activities to choose from in this incredible little town – paragliding, horseback riding, hiking and cable car rides. You may also want to go skydiving or spot exotic species at the Kiwi Birdlife Park.

You’ll have plenty of free time in Queenstown to take advantage of the many optional activities available, please note that these activities are at your own cost.

Day 17: Queenstown to Fiordland
We’ll transfer to Fiordland today. You’ll love the soaring mountains and glittering waters. A magical Milford Sound nature cruise is in store today, a region formed during the Ice Age and home to seals and dolphins as well as dynamic waterfall views. You’ll also be walking through the Fiordland National Park, home of mystical Maori mythology.

Day 18: Fiordland to Arrowtown
Today you’ll traverse the five bridges that sit across the meandering Arrow River on your mountain bike. Then, chill by the waters of Lake Ohau for another dose of the dreamy scenery the region is known for.

Day 19: Christchurch and Departure
We’ll start our day with a visit to Lake Pukaki under the imposing watch of Mount Cook – the highest mountain in New Zealand. We’ll be visiting Mount Cook Village too (weather permitting) where we’ll get a glimpse of a working farm! Later we’ll head back into Christchurch where our tour ends. We hope to see you again soon for your next epic experience!

Please note itineraries and activities are subject to change. 

The New Zealand Experience also runs in reverse from Christchurch to Auckland. To see the dates for the reverse option, please select to Christchurch to Auckland option in the dates and prices section. If you travel from Christchurch to Auckland, you will enjoy crayfish tasting in Kaikora instead of a city tour in Wellington.


  • Accommodation
  • Trip leader
  • Driver
  • 18 breakfasts, 7 dinners
  • Air-conditioned coach (Wifi onboard)
  • Parry Kauri Park Maori Marae talks
  • Haka and Poi dance class
  • Huka Falls visit
  • Lake Taupo visit
  • Tongariro National Park walk
  • Te Papa Museum visit
  • Wellington city tour
  • Ferry crossing
  • Marlborough wine tasting
  • Kaikoura Peninsula walk
  • Ohau Point seal spotting
  • Lake Matheson walk
  • Milford Sound nature cruise
  • Fiordland National Park walk
  • Arrow River mountain biking
  • Mount Cook Village visit (weather permitting)

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not listed on the itinerary
  • Optional activities


You’ll stay in multi share accommodation throughout your trip in a combination of hotels, motels, lodges, hostels and a traditional Maori Marae. The number of people you’ll be sharing with will be dependent on accommodation type, but all rooms are provided on a same sex basis.

During your New Zealand Experience, you'll be spending 15 nights in hotels, motels and lodges, 1 night in a hostel, 1 night in a traditional Maori Marae, and 1 night in a cabin.

There are 18 breakfasts and 7 dinners included as part of this trip. Where meals are not included you’ll have the opportunity to try out some of New Zealand’s delicious dishes.

You will find a range of cuisine in New Zealand to suit all tastes but, quintessentially, New Zealand cuisine takes inspiration from Europe, Asia and Polynesia. Meat and fish feature majorly in native dishes, keep an eye out for plenty of kumara (sweet potato) dishes as well. Those with a sweet tooth will be pleased to know that Pavlova is the national dessert - along with the kiwi fruit, of course.

It is really important that you let Real Gap Experience know before you depart if you are a vegetarian or have any other dietary requirements or allergies.


Your flight to New Zealand should arrive at Auckland Airport (airport code AKL) the day before your programme start date, and your return flight should be arranged for the day after your programme end date departing from Christchurch Airport (airport code CHC).

The trip starts at 8:30am in Auckland on your programme start date (day one of your itinerary) so make sure you arrive in plenty of time. You'll need to arrive a day early and arrange a night's accommodation to ensure you’ll be on time to start the trip. Your trip finishes in Christchurch at approximately 6pm on your programme end date.


This trip is available to those aged 18-39 years.

British passport holders can enter New Zealand without a visa, staying as a visitor for up to six months. You must have sufficient time left on your passport and a return ticket home. To ensure you meet immigration rules, please visit the New Zealand Embassy website. If you plan to take paid work during your time in New Zealand, you will need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa.

From 1st October 2019, visitors who are transitting through or entering New Zealand as tourists will need to hold an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) before travelling to New Zealand. Tourists will also need to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) alongside the ETA. People entering New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa do not require an ETA.

I'm Planning To Travel On My Own, Will I Be Okay?

Of course! Most of our travellers will be doing the trip solo, so you won't be alone. You'll be introduced to your tour guide and the rest of your group on the first day of the tour – so you'll be making friends from the off.

How Many People Will Be In My Group?

Numbers on this tour will vary depending on the time of year, but the maximum number of travellers at any one time will be capped at 36.

Do I Have To Have Travel Insurance?

100% yes! You'll need to make sure you have sufficient cover for the activities you're planning on taking part in during your trip as well as general travel concerns. One of our travel advisors will be more than happy to help set up travel insurance for you – our policies have been specifically designed for gap year travellers, and are among some of the most competitive on the market. Give us a call for more information.

Should I Take A Backpack Or A Suitcase?

We recommend you use a soft bag or frameless backpack, plus a small bag for excursions.


More 2019 and 2020 dates available - contact a travel advisor for details!