Kayaking in the wild at Whanganui National Park, New Zealand

Off the Beaten Path Tour of New Zealand: Wild Places in Ten Days

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Customizable Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary to inspire a personalized trip designed with your travel specialist

Countries Visited

New Zealand

Places Visited

Hokianga, Lake Aniwhenua, Raetihi, Whanganui National Park...

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Suggested Duration

10 Days

On this luxurious, 10-day adventure, you will canoe down wilderness rivers, search for the real Middle Earth, immerse yourself in a Maori community, explore an art deco city, and discover the unfrequented far north. Handcrafted with private tours and transfers, this is a journey into destinations that bask in their authenticity. Instead of other visitors, you will uncover secluded New Zealand.

Customizable Itinerary

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Trip Highlights

  • Discover the 1930’s art deco city of Napier and the old-world charm of Raetihi
  • Explore the deserted far north, where Pacific waves lap against Ninety Mile Beach
  • Spend two days canoeing through the wilderness of Whanganui National Park down a river that is inaccessible by road
  • Uncover the real Middle Earth during a day around Rangitata and Peel Forest
  • Immerse yourself in Christchurch’s artisanal secrets on a private street art tour
  • Stay with a Maori community as part of a cultural experience at Lake Aniwhenua
  • Venture on a wine tasting tour in Hawkes Bay and explore the breathtaking Waipoua Forest

Detailed Description

So much of New Zealand is off the beaten track. This country of wilderness and ancient stories has always been a little bashful about revealing its secrets. While famous landscapes like Milford Sound grab your attention, the rest of New Zealand continues as it always has been. This is a country of seclusion, where the adventure can take you to places inaccessible by road. Indigenous culture remains proud and true, and you can also explore towns that have been frozen in the time of explorers. Trails can lead you to Middle Earth, ancient forests, cultivated vineyards, and Ninety Mile Beach, often without another person in sight.

Much of New Zealand remains off the beaten track because most visitors do not have the time to explore all that the country offers. This adventurous, 10-day journey sidesteps the popular and famous attractions to focus on destinations that celebrate New Zealand’s raw and natural allure. Mixing the great outdoors with culture and luxury, this route will lead you from the Northland and Hokianga and down to Christchurch and Rangitata on the South Island. Perhaps, the greatest highlight will be the people you meet. From passionate local guides to Maori opening up their marae or meeting place, venturing off the beaten track will help you enjoy the laid-back kiwi experience.

After flying into Auckland, you will board a domestic flight to Northland, where two nights in Hokianga will impress you with the endless Pacific ocean. You can explore the enormity of Ninety Mile Beach, find empty bays along the West Coast, walk through Waipoua Forest, and find the world’s largest Kauri tree. You will transfer back to Auckland on day three before continuing to Lake Aniwhenua, where you will enjoy an authentic Maori experience by spending the afternoon and night with a small community. Raetihi will be next, and getting to the old-world town will be a beautiful journey that has you crossing rolling pastures and volcanic hills.

Days five and six will be an off-the-beaten-track adventure on the Whanganui River. You will spend two days canoeing downriver with accommodations in simple wilderness camps along your route. These two days will lead you through a landscape that is inaccessible by road or on foot. It is breathtakingly secluded both on the river and at the camps. No canoeing experience is necessary, and a guide will be with you along the river. You will not even need to paddle because the current will always push you downriver through narrow canyons on a journey that escapes the world.

After leaving Whanganui, you will change tempo and spend a day around Napier and Hawkes Bay. Napier is a well-preserved 1930’s city while Hawkes Bay is full of quiet vineyards and endless views. It also has an airport, so you can fly to the South Island and spend nights eight and nine in Christchurch, where art is an excellent focal point for understanding the city’s revitalization. You can explore the real Middle Earth on your final day in New Zealand with customizable routes in Peel Forest and Rangitata. Here, like so much of your vacation, it may seem like every angle could come from the big screen, but nowhere can truly compare to where you are.

Starting Price

$3,245 per person (excluding international flights)

Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.

What's Included

The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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