Adventurous activities such as bungee jumping and canyoning blend with a landscape of mountains, volcanoes, rivers and glaciers in the captivating country that is New Zealand.
Ideal for relaxation, road trips and adrenaline fixes, whatever your flavour, New Zealand has something for everyone.
Not sure where to start? We've rounded up the top tour companies and tours that can help you savour the experience.
Our top 3 sites to book New Zealand tours
Explore the nation from top to bottom with an array of in-depth tours each armed with free time add-ons such as canyon swinging and ice climbing so you leave with no regrets.
- Best for: Youths aged 18–35 years old
- Cost: Mid-range
- Our favourite itinerary: The 'Sweet As' South tour is a traveller's favourite that focuses on the South Island and its iconic sites, such as Milford Sound and optional adrenaline-pumping activities, such as the canyon swing in Queenstown.
Book your tour with Contiki
2. Haka Tours
With New Zealand tour names such as "Adrenalin Junkie Tour" and "Dirt Seeker MTB Tour", these experiences are for those seeking all the best thrills and spills.
- Best for: Adventure and thrill seekers aged 18+
- Cost: Budget to mid-range
- Our favourite itinerary: The Legendary NZ Tour is a crowd pleaser that blitzes across the North and South Islands over 21 days. Sandy beaches, calm lakes and Lord of the Rings movie set backdrops pepper the itinerary, which isn't without it's heart-pumping activities including the chance to abseil, jump off the highest commercial waterfall drop in the world and hike mountains for views over the Southern Alps.
All-inclusive luxury comes standard with your Scenic tour. That's stylish accommodation, a wide range of dining options and exclusive activities such as America's Cup Sailing experiences. Tours of New Zealand feature a combination of land, boat and air transportation to whisk you away in the most memorable way.
- Best for: Luxury tourists and families
- Cost: High-end
- Our favourite itinerary: Scenic Splendour carries you across the landscape with little physical activity, making it ideal for all ages. In it, you'll dine on an authentic hangi dinner, stay overnight in award-winning wineries, marvel over Franz Josef Glacier and be enchanted by glow worms. Optional extras are available for more exceptional experiences such as flying over volcanoes and glaciers.
Other companies that offer tours of New Zealand
- Stray Travel
- Wild Kiwi
- Adventure Junkies
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Best for Lord of the Rings tours:
- Hobbiton Tours: For the full movie set experience, you can't go past Hobbiton tours. Its located in Hobbiton on the North Island and includes the iconic "Movie Set" tour. Stick around for an Evening Banquet tour or make yours a special one with a private tour.
- Discover New Zealand: For a more in-depth lay of the land, Discover New Zealand offers tours across the country and highlights the landscape locations from the films.
- Viator: For tours as short at 70 minutes to as long as 2 days, Viator houses a range of tours throughout the country so you can pick and choose your favourites while exploring the nation your own way.
Best for glacier tours:
- Stray Tours: Hit up Stray Tours' winter expeditions for gnarly treks on New Zealand's most famous glaciers.
- G Adventures: Adventure is G Adventures' last name… literally! Hone in on its active offerings for thrills like hiking, biking, horseback riding and glacier trekking all in one tour package.
- Viator: For day trips up to specific glaciers, Viator collects the best and lets you book up-to-the-wire. Tours include helicopter rides, heli hikes and kayak adventures near the glaciers.
Best for singles:
- Contiki: Travel with like-minded souls aged 18 to 35 years old on adventure-filled itineraries.
- G Adventures: With tour groups no larger than 16 people, expect tight friendships to be made on G Adventures tours.
- Intrepid: People of all ages book Intrepid for its welcome atmosphere and adventurous mentality. Solo travellers are offered single supplements for a fee.
Best for winter and snow trips:
- Haka Tours: Spend seven days on a snow safari, hopping between resorts. There's even a heli tour for those keen to explore backcountry.
- Contiki: Plant yourself in Queenstown for a week to hone your skills on New Zealand's most renowned slopes.
- Flying Kiwi: With a snow tour that's been top rated by National Geographic, expect unique accommodation, most meals and board and the chance to push the powder of four ski fields.
Popular New Zealand tour routes
New Zealand is broken up into two islands, the North Island and the South Island. In the North you'll find Auckland, WETA Studios/Hobbiton, Rotorua and Wellington. In the South is Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Lake Tekapo and Milford Sound.
Most people choose to focus their holiday on one or the other, although it's possible to see and do it all with enough time as the islands are connected by ferry.
New Zealand's North Island is the choice for Lord of the Rings fanatics, volcanic encounters such as mud pools and crater hikes and uniquely Kiwi sports like Zorbing which can only be done in the North.
Although glow worms can be seen in the South Island, they're more famous in the North in Waitomo due to its extensive cave network.
When people say New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world, they're really talking about the South Island. It's where Queenstown and its bevy of activities like canyon swinging, white water rafting, skiing and glacier hiking are.
North to South (or vice versa)
Is FOMO getting the better of you? An all-encompassing North and South Island tour lets you see and do it all (or at least the important highlights) so you can leave feeling confident you can tick New Zealand off your bucket list. That, or use it as a taster for a more in-depth trip next time round!
How long do I need in New Zealand?
Depending on your agenda, you could spend 3 to 7 days exploring a section of New Zealand, 10 days dedicated to one island or 14+ days taking in all the country has to offer.
Our pick: Best 5 day tour:
Our pick: Best 7 day tour
Our pick: Best 10 day tour
Our pick: Best 14+ day tour
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Feature image: Contiki