New Zealand is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes, friendly people, and SO many amazing experiences. Exploring New Zealand is not something you’ll ever forget – or regret.
After traveling all over the country, we made Queenstown our home base in 2018. We’ve spent a ton of time exploring New Zealand’s hiking trails, fiords, mountains, and wineries, and we can safely say that it’s one of our favorite countries on Earth. But with so much to see and do, planning your itinerary can feel like a mammoth task.
That’s why joining a tour is one of the best ways to take in all the country has to offer. It’s a stress-free way to enjoy some of New Zealand’s most stunning places without having to worry about the hassle of organizing transport and accommodation, or about missing out on the best spots.
We’ve rounded up the 10 best multi-day guided tours of New Zealand that will give you a well-rounded and unforgettable experience of this incredible country. Each tour offers the chance to explore some of the most beautiful places in New Zealand, whether you want to see the North Island, the South Island, or the whole country all in one go.
- Why join a guided tour around New Zealand?
- Things to consider before booking a guided tour around New Zealand
- The BEST Multi-Day Tours of New Zealand
- Best Multi-Day Tours of the North Island
- Best Multi-Day Tours of the South Island
- 5. 11-Day South Island tour (starts and ends in Christchurch)
- 6. 10-Day South Island adventure tour (Queenstown to Picton)
- 7. 7-Day snow tour (Christchurch to Queenstown)
- 8. 6-Day South Island tour (starts and ends in Christchurch)
- 9. 5-Day South Island tour (starts and ends in Christchurch)
- 10. 4-Day Abel Tasman tour (starts and ends in Nelson)
- Thanks for reading!
Why join a guided tour around New Zealand?
One of the top reasons to join a guided tour is that it makes your trip SO much easier to plan. With your itinerary laid out for you, you can rest easy knowing you won’t miss out on any of the country’s top attractions or hidden gems. Plus, you’ll have an experienced guide who can tell you all about the history and culture of New Zealand and share insider information.
Joining a group tour is also a great way to meet new people, which is especially nice if you’re traveling solo and want to make friends. You’ll have a whole group of people to share your experiences with, ensuring you won’t get lonely.
It also means that you don’t have to stress about things going wrong because your guide will be there to help you out and you’ll have the tour company for extra support. You don’t need to worry about getting lost or stranded, and you can just focus on having an amazing time!
We think another huge advantage of organized tours is that you don’t need to worry about driving. We know first-hand that the roads in New Zealand can be treacherous! Plus, you won’t need to rent a car (which is pretty expensive) or think about logistics like parking and snow chains in the winter.
Things to consider before booking a guided tour around New Zealand
One of the main things to consider when booking a guided tour of New Zealand is how much time you have.
In this blog, we’ve included some tours that last over three weeks, while others only take up a few days. Depending on your budget and time constraints, you might want to join a tour for the duration of your entire trip or just one particular portion.
Another factor to consider is the type of activities you want to do and the places you want to visit. As we said, there are a ton of amazing things to do in New Zealand! As such, it’s a good idea to make a list of your must-see attractions and find a tour that can help you tick all of these off. You might be dying to see the North Island, or maybe you want to spend all of your time on the South Island.
You should also consider where the tour starts and ends. Some tours are round trips, while others are one-way, so take into account where you’re flying in and out from or heading to after the tour ends.
Obviously, budget is also an important factor when choosing a tour. Some tours are all-inclusive, while others have additional costs for meals and certain activities and accommodation. It’s important to know exactly what is and isn’t included before booking a tour, as this can help you create a budget for your trip.
Last but not least, consider whether you’d prefer a group or private tour. If you’re already traveling with a group, then a private tour for just your party might be a better option – it could even work out to be more affordable. Plus, you’ll get more personal attention from your guide. However, if you’re traveling solo or with just one or two other people, then joining a group tour might be the way to go.
There’s no right or wrong tour to book. We think that all of the tours we’ve listed below are excellent, but the right one for you depends on your own needs and what you want to get out of your time in New Zealand.
Related Read: There are things to do all year round in New Zealand. Read about the best time to visit New Zealand with activities for each season!
The BEST Multi-Day Tours of New Zealand
1. 18-Day all-inclusive tour (Auckland to Christchurch)
If you want to see as much of New Zealand as possible, then this all-inclusive tour is perfect for you! It takes place over 18 days and covers both the North and South Islands, starting in Auckland and ending in Christchurch. Along the way, you’ll explore mountains, fiords, lakes, waterfalls, the Waitomo glow worm caves, and the Franz Josef Glacier.
Some of the activities included are: kayaking through Cathedral Cove, digging your own hot pool at one of NZ’s most famous beaches known as Hot Water Beach, exploring Te Pa Tu Maori village to learn more about New Zealand’s Indigenous culture, wine tasting in the Marlborough region, and visiting the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve to learn more about the galaxy we live in.
Meanwhile, some activities like visiting Hobbiton, where the “Lord of the Rings” movies were filmed, and bungee jumping or a jet boat adventure in Queenstown, are additional and will cost extra.
One thing we really like about this tour is that you’ve also got a couple of free days to explore places like the Franz Josef Glacier and Queenstown independently so that you can pick and choose what you want to do.
The tour has a maximum of 16 participants, so by the end of the 18 days, you’ll know your fellow participants pretty well. And hopefully, you’ll come away from the experience with plenty of new friends! We always tend to prefer smaller group tours because it’s easier to bond and you get a tight-knit community feel as you explore.
The company that runs this tour has been in business for over 30 years. They really focus on delivering authentic experiences that showcase the best of New Zealand, hence why we’ve rated this tour so highly!
This tour costs $3,499 NZD and includes 17 nights’ accommodation, one of which will be spent in a traditional Maori sleeping house. You’ll also get breakfast each morning and two memorable dinners – one in the Maori village, and a buffet meal with panoramic views at the top of the Skyline Queenstown Gondola.
All in all, we think that this tour has an expertly curated itinerary that will give you a really comprehensive tour of the country. It’s a great choice for those who want to see everything and not worry too much about logistics along the way.
So if this sounds like the tour for you, book this 18-day all-inclusive tour online here!
2. 23-Day hiking tour (Auckland to Queenstown)
Okay, we’ve spent a ton of time exploring New Zealand’s beautiful hiking trails. So we may be biased, but we really do think this is one of the best countries in the world for hiking.
But as avid hikers know, a lot of preparation and planning often goes into extended hiking trips. Luckily, this small-group hiking tour is all planned for you. It really is the ideal way to experience the best hiking trails in New Zealand without any of the headaches.
This 23-day tour will take you from Auckland to Queenstown and you’ll get to hike some of the best trails in New Zealand’s national parks, like Tongariro, Abel Tasman, and Mount Cook, as well as exploring Milford Sound, coastal paths, and alpine valleys. You’ll gain a deeper insight into New Zealand’s Maori culture and spot a ton of wildlife unique to New Zealand (with the help of your guide, of course!).
Hiking is the best way to witness just how dramatic and varied this country’s landscapes really are. Some days, you’ll spend up to 8 hours hiking while other days only involve 2-3 hours hiking, so there’s plenty of time for rest, relaxation, and some independent exploration.
You’ll also get to stay in some pretty unique accommodations, from remote camping sites with incredible views to caves, cabins, and mountain huts. This really is a tour for outdoor adventurers who want to get off the beaten track and experience a fully immersive tour of New Zealand’s beautiful hiking trails.
The tour costs $7,300 NZD, so it’s definitely not cheap, but it does include lunch every day, breakfast and dinner most days, and all of your accommodation and transport. You won’t need to worry about getting lost or planning your route, as the tour includes a professional guide throughout.
However, you will need to bring your own hiking equipment. And a Milford Sound cruise and kayaking are optional extras you can add for $125 NZD.
We think this is an incredible way to explore New Zealand if you want to get out into nature and experience some of the more remote trails away from the crowds. It’s a small group tour with a maximum of 11 participants, so it’s a really intimate experience and you’ll get to really bond with your fellow travelers. Plus, the tour company is exclusively focused on hiking tours, so they really know what they’re doing and have a ton of experience leading hikes through some of New Zealand’s more remote areas.
As avid hikers ourselves, we can confirm that this tour includes some of the very best day and overnight hikes that the country has to offer, and is definitely worth the investment for an unforgettable adventure!
Book this epic 23-day hiking tour online here!
Related Read: If you love hiking, but don’t have this much time, check out the best hikes on the North Island for all levels and abilities.
Best Multi-Day Tours of the North Island
3. 7-Day North Island tour (Auckland to Wellington)
If you’ve only got a week to spend exploring New Zealand’s North Island, this 7-day tour is a great option! It’ll take you from one end of the North Island to the other, covering all of the top destinations along the way, including Hot Water Beach, Waitomo, Rotorua, Taupo, and River Valley.
Among other amazing places, you’ll explore the Waitomo glow worm caves, the Tamaki Māori village of Te Pa Tu, the geothermal wonderland of Te Puia, Lake Taupo, and Mount Victoria in Wellington. There’s also a free day where you get to explore the resort town of Taupo independently, and the option to visit Hobbiton, go whitewater rafting at Tutea Falls, and experience the Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike for an additional fee.
The tour is operated by what we think is one of the top companies in New Zealand. They’re committed to sharing the country’s most beautiful destinations through carefully curated, close-knit experiences, so you can be sure that you’re in good hands here.
The 7-day experience costs $1,359 NZD and includes breakfast each day and a traditional Maori feast on the day that you visit the Te Pa Tu village. Tours start on Fridays at 8:30 am. You can either begin the tour at the pickup point in the Auckland CBD, or request free pickup if you’re staying centrally for extra convenience.
We love this tour because it really does showcase the best of what the North Island has to offer in a pretty short amount of time. If it sounds like a good fit, book your 7-Day North Island tour online here!
4. 2-Day Auckland, Hobbiton, and Rotorua tour
A guided tour is actually the only way to visit Hobbiton! And if you’re coming from Auckland, this 2-day experience is perfect. Aside from Hobbiton, they also throw Rotorua, the Waitomo Caves, and a visit to Te Puia into the mix!
Hobbiton is a true must-visit for any fans of the Lord of the Rings movies, and this tour includes your visit to the set where scenes from these iconic movies were made. You’ll also go on a boat tour of the Waitomo Caves, which are famed for their glow worms.
Afterward, you can explore the geothermal park at Te Puia and take a dip in some of its warm thermal pools before visiting the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. Here, you’ll spend an evening enjoying a traditional Maori meal and watching a cultural performance.
The $1,080 NZD price tag includes lunch and your Maori feast on day 1, overnight accommodation in Rotorua, and breakfast on day 2 before you head back to Auckland.
We think that this short but sweet tour is perfect for anyone who wants to experience some of the top natural and cultural highlights of the North Island in a short space of time. It’s essentially a whistle-stop tour of some of New Zealand’s most famous attractions.
If you want to see Hobbiton and other sights without the hassle of organizing it yourself, book this 2-day tour from Auckland online here.
Related Read: Auckland is a great base to explore the rest of the North Island. If you plan to stay here overnight, check out the best Auckland hotels for all budgets.
Best Multi-Day Tours of the South Island
5. 11-Day South Island tour (starts and ends in Christchurch)
New Zealand’s South Island is home to a multitude of natural wonders, and a guided tour can help you see as many as possible! This 11-day round trip tour from Christchurch will show you all of the highlights, including Abel Tasman National Park, Milford Sound, the Franz Josef Glacier, and Mount Cook. You’ll also have a free day to explore the magnificent city of Queenstown at your own pace.
For $2,795 NZD, this tour includes 10 nights’ accommodation with breakfast each morning, plenty of scenic walks, a Milford Sound cruise, and a walking tour of Christchurch. There are also optional extras like a heli-hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, or winter snow tubing at Lake Tekapo.
Tours start on Thursdays throughout the year. You’ll be picked up from the Christchurch Bus Exchange at 8 am to head out on your journey. On the 11th day, you’ll be dropped back off in downtown Christchurch.
One thing we love about this tour is that there are plenty of chances to tailor it to your own tastes, so you can make it as full-on or low-key as you like. The guides are also really passionate about the places you see and know how to have a good time, so this is a fun trip to take with friends or to join solo!
This tour often sells out, so book your 11-day adventure online ahead of time!
6. 10-Day South Island adventure tour (Queenstown to Picton)
This tour of the South Islands is truly one for adrenaline lovers. Unlike a lot of tours, it includes all of the exciting outdoor activities you could want in New Zealand.
You’ll go ziplining, mountain biking, and even heli-hiking on the Franz Josef Glacier. But we haven’t forgotten about water sports! The tour includes kayaking along the stunning coastline of Abel Tasman National Park and black water tubing in Cape Foulwind. You’ll not only see all of the South Island’s beautiful landscapes, but you’ll also get to experience them in the most action-packed way possible.
The company behind this tour is all about adrenaline-pumping activities. One thing that we really love is that they’ve carefully planned the itinerary so that you spend as little time as possible on a bus to maximize your time in the great outdoors.
All of your activities, 9 nights’ accommodation, 9 lunches, and 8 breakfasts are included in the $5,695 NZD price tag, so all you’ll have to pay for is dinner, drinks, and snacks.
This tour has very limited availability, so book your 10-Day South Island Adventure online here!
7. 7-Day snow tour (Christchurch to Queenstown)
New Zealand is well known for its excellent skiing and snowboarding, and the South Island is the best place to do it. If you’re excited to hit the slopes, then this 7-day snow safari tour is for you! Over 7 days, you’ll explore 7 of the best ski fields in the country: Mt. Hutt, Lake Ohau, Treble Cone, Cardrona, Haka Lodge, the Remarkables, and Coronet Peak.
For $2,859 NZD, all of your lift passes are included, and you can always customize your itinerary with optional extras such as a day trip to Milford Sound if you need a little break from the slopes. Your accommodation is also covered in the price.
You’ll stay in high-end hostel dorms, so you’ll be super comfy but also get to know other travelers, which really adds to the experience. However, if you do want more privacy then you’ve got the option to upgrade.
This tour starts bright and early at 6 am so you can get the most out of every day. You’ll be picked up in central Christchurch before heading to the mountains. While this tour usually ends in Queenstown, there are occasionally reverse trips. So if you want to go from Queenstown to Christchurch instead, it might be an option!
One thing we think is really great about this tour is that you get an orientation tour of each mountain to familiarize you with each location and ensure that you get the most out of your time there. The tour also includes all of your lift passes. However, equipment hire isn’t covered so you can either bring your own or rent it for an additional fee. It’s suitable for skiers of all abilities, but if you do want to take lessons, then they will cost you extra.
All in all, we think that this is a great way to explore New Zealand’s stunning snow-covered landscapes, and the tour company is passionate about providing an enjoyable and safe experience. We love skiing in New Zealand and go pretty much every winter that we spend in the country. We can confirm that this tour will take you to the very best ski resorts and fields that the South Island has to offer!
This is a seasonal tour running from July through September so reserve your spot for this snow adventure here!
Related Read: Snow sports are just one way to enjoy winter on the South Island. Read about these top winter activities in Queenstown for more fun ideas!
8. 6-Day South Island tour (starts and ends in Christchurch)
We found this round-trip tour from Christchurch to have a really nice balance between guided activities and independent exploration. Over the course of 6 days, you’ll get to enjoy two scenic train rides, a tour of one of the best glow worm caves near Te Anau, a cruise along the Milford Sound, a ride on the Queenstown Skyline Gondola, and a tour of the Franz Josef Glacier.
But the fun doesn’t end there. If you want to add even more adventurous activities to your itinerary, there are plenty on offer in Queenstown, where you’ll spend a free day midway through the tour.
The $4,535 NZD price includes 5 nights of 3-star accommodation. However, if you want a more luxurious experience, you can upgrade to 4-star digs for an extra $105 NZD (totally worth it, in my opinion!). There’s a maximum group size of 20, and you often travel together on public buses rather than on a group coach, so it feels more like an independent adventure than a touristy guided tour.
One thing to note is that, unlike a lot of tours, no meals are included – so you’ll need to factor that into your budget as you go. But the silver lining is that it gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility to explore interesting restaurants and cafes in each location. Choosing where to eat was a nice change of pace from other tours and I especially loved the cafe options in Queenstown and the restaurants in Te Anau.
There are tours leaving every single day, so pick your date and book it online here!
9. 5-Day South Island tour (starts and ends in Christchurch)
This 5-Day South Island tour is a great value for more budget travelers! At $1,919 NZD, you’ll see loads of sights and all within just 5 days.
You’ll begin by traveling through Mount Cook National Park to Queenstown, and from there you’ll enjoy a guided day tour of the Milford Sound. You’ll also get a free day in Queenstown and visit both the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, so you really do see a lot in just five days! On the final day, you also get to enjoy a ride back to Christchurch on the TranzAlpine Express, which is super scenic.
Along the journey, you’ll hear lots of insightful commentary that will give you a better understanding of the local culture and environment. The tour is also really well organized and everything runs like a well-oiled machine, so there’s no stress at all!
The price of this tour includes 4 nights’ accommodation and all of your transportation (including hotel pickup and drop-off in Christchurch at the beginning and end of the tour). However, meals aren’t included so you will need to factor the cost of food into your budget.
Overall, we think this is a great way to pack in lots of incredible sights and experiences in New Zealand’s South Island in a short space of time – and all without breaking the bank.
This low-cost tour is usually available in the first half of October. So if you’re headed here this time of year, book your 5-Day South Island tour online here.
10. 4-Day Abel Tasman tour (starts and ends in Nelson)
Abel Tasman National Park is famed for its gorgeous golden beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush native forest. This 4-day small-group adventure takes you on an exploration of the park, during which you’ll get to ride on a chartered yacht, visit its best beaches, and take a traditional Maori canoe (Waka) out at sunrise (an absolutely spectacular experience!).
You also get a free day to explore during the trip, so you can do a portion of the famous coastal walk (which is obviously no-cost) or add some paid extras to your itinerary. We opted for the guided kayaking tour which took us through some truly breathtaking scenery that can’t easily be reached on foot. You can crank things up a notch and go skydiving or canoe along the Torrent River.
This tour costs $1,099 and includes 3 nights’ accommodation at a boutique hostel right on the beachfront, as well as 3 dinners, 3 breakfasts, and one seafood lunch at a local inn. There’s a maximum group size of 10, so everyone tends to bond pretty quickly.
We also really like the fact that this tour starts and ends in the beautiful town of Nelson, which is only about 55 kilometers (34 miles) away from Abel Tasman National Park. Because of this, you only spend a minimum amount of time on a tour bus and get to maximize your time exploring everything the national park has to offer. This truly is one for adventurous backpackers!
If you’re hoping to experience the park’s beautiful beaches and enjoy lots of adventures in the great outdoors, then this is an excellent choice!
This tour has very limited availability so choose a date and book your spot online here.
Thanks for reading!
Guided tours are a great way to take advantage of all that New Zealand has to offer! Having lived here for several years, I’ve tried many tours and feel these are the best options for seeing the country. I hope you find one you enjoy and that you have an amazing vacation!
If you’ve found this article helpful, check out more of my blogs on New Zealand. I have everything from road trip itineraries and city guides to the best places to stay in each location. Thanks for reading!
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