North & South Island

Kombi Diaries - North & South Island

Make your way from the northern tip of new zealand all the way down to the south. In less than two weeks, this journey will cover all the best sights in North and South Island. From the sophisticated environs of Auckland all the way to the adventure capital of Queenstown, this journey will take your breath away with spectacular lakes, mountains, fjords and adrenalin packed adventures.

Welcome to Auckland. Arrive and start off your Kiwi holiday with a taste of this vibrant city's fine dining experiences by the Viaduct harbour

Take a day trip to Wiaheke Island, the Hamptons of Auckland. Take a tour of the Man Of War winery and sample some extraordinary wine that rivals even its famous French counterparts. On your return to Auckland, enjoy a romantic dinner at Viaduct Harbour of Princess Wharf

Drive to Thames Coramandel and explore the highlights of this National park with spectacular walking trails. Also see the unique hot water beach before heading back to Auckland

Say goodbye to Auckland as you head towards your destination – Rotorua. Make a quick stop at Matamata to experience the real middle-earth. Visit to the Hobbiton movie set, the bucolic setting for the shire that featured in the Peter Jackson directed films, The Lord of the Rings. Your tour starts with a drive through the picturesque 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai ranges. Your guide will escort you through the ten acre site recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton set was created. The hobbit holes, green dragon inn, mill and other structures created for The Lord of the Rings and the hobbit films can be viewed and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into the shire from middle-earth. Head back to Matamata before continuing on to Rotorua where you will spend the night

Enjoy an extended guided tour through the valley with one of Te Puia's renowned tour guides, exploring geothermal wonders, meeting the iconic kiwi bird and learning about the fascinating history and traditions of the Māori culture. Also visit the New Zealand National carving and weaving schools, where you can watch these disciplines in practice under the guidance of our master carvers and weavers. After your daytime tour, enjoy a mouthwatering Māori feast including entrée of New Zealand oysters, a selection of breads and dips, and a local drink made from kawakawa extract and manuka honey. Finally, marvel at the sights of Whakarewarewa geothermal valley under the starry, night sky, and see the Pohutu geyser illuminated in its full glory right in front of you

Head out to Taupo, but first – it's time to visit the glow-worms of the Waitomo caves. Here, you'll see hundreds of glow-worms in the ancient limestone caves of Waitomo – a sight unlike no other. Then, head out to Taupo where you'll spend the night. Taupo is at the heart of North New Zealand and is set apart due to its idyllic lake-side setting. Sit back and unwind as you prepare for a day of adventure ahead of you

Time to say goodbye to North Island and take a flight from Taupo to Christchurch, where the wonders of South Island await. Arrive in Christchurch and explore this vibrant city. You will be spoilt for choice as you choose from the Hagley gardens near the city centre, the Chirstchurch botanical gardens or even get your additional fill of LOTR with an Edoras tour that will take you through a nine hour adventure to Mt. Sunday, better known as the mythical capital of the Rohan people

Hop on the Tranzalpine to experience one of the greatest train journeys of the world, covering 223 kilometres in just under 5 hours. Along this journey you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri river, traverse the Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest. Once you reach your destination of Greymouth, hop in your car and make your way down the coast to Franz Joesph Glacier. Settle in as you prepare for a Glacial adventure the next day

This is one of the most accessible Glaciers in the world, and provides a special opportunity to get up close and personal with this magnificent natural phenomenon. We recommend taking a chopper ride above the glacier, as the formation is best observed from the sky. You will be dropped off by air directly on the Glacier, where you can do a Glacier walk or hike before calling it a day

From Franz Josef, take a scenic drive to lake Wanaka where you can rejuvenate your body, mind and soul. Aside from its outstanding natural beauty, Wanaka’s lakes and mountains and proximity to Mt Aspiring National park makes it the ultimate base for outdoor activities. Choose from a wide variety of airborne adventures like skydiving and paragliding – or take a flight lesson yourself! Lake Wanaka is the perfect setting for water sports like waterskiing, wakeboarding, water surfing, wake skating or other towed inflatable. For first timers, there are plenty of guides who can help you try these sports, stand up paddling and more according to your comfort level. Wanaka is truly a great spot for unwinding after a day of adventure as you can hit up the lively bars and restaurants with live music, games and other group activities

Drive onward to the tranquil setting of lake Tekapo. Selected for its very clear atmosphere, large number of clear sky nights, and relative freedom from light pollution, Mount John university observatory is located on a small hill to the north of the town, and south of the smaller lake Alexandrina. It is operated by the university of Canterbury and offers a guided tour with highly enthusiastic guides who will take you through the southern night skies sharing from their vast well of knowledge on subjects from the basics of astronomy to some of the more mind-boggling science of outer space. Spend the evening discovering what the southern sky has to offer, and experience the thrill of looking deep into the cosmos with their powerful telescopes

Get an early start and make your way to Queenstown, the final stop in your kiwi journey. Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal clear lake Wakatipu, the natural beauty and the unique energy of the region create the perfect backdrop to bid farewell to New Zealand