Relax in the southernmost wine-growing region of the world, Lake Wanaka

Off the Beaten Track New Zealand Adventure

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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

Bay of Islands, Cape Reinga, Taupo, Hawkes Bay...

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Suggested Duration

14 Days

So much of New Zealand is so blissfully off the beaten track. This two-week tour will take you to many of the country’s most secret places and hidden destinations, where silence and adventure showcase a country untamed. You will be indulging in helicopter rides to active volcanoes, rafting through the private Maori land, escaping to remote vineyards, and hiking through the wilderness. Handpicked lodges elevate your sense of getting away from the crowds, and there will be many beautiful ways to...

Customizable Itinerary

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Trip Highlights

  • Escape to the bucolic beauty of Hawkes Bay, where vineyards and cliffs provide time away from the world
  • Discover New Zealand’s volcanoes in an offbeat way with a Heli-Hike around active craters
  • Cruise around the Bay of Islands on a private yacht, where you can stop at deserted beaches and islands
  • Indulge in horse riding and hiking in the depths of Mt. Aspiring National Park.
  • Kayak around the beautiful shores of Abel Tasman National Park to witness rays and sharks in pristine coves
  • Helicopter around Fjordland National Park to discover landscapes that are rarely even glimpsed by visitors
  • Explore Cape Reinga and take a guided drive on New Zealand’s world rally route
  • Abseil in remote Maori lands and raft black waters near Taupo
  • Relax in the world’s southernmost wine region, which is just one highlight of three nights that are spent around Lake Wanaka
  • Bask in a safari wilderness tour around Kahurangi, which is New Zealand’s forgotten national park
  • Luxuriate at your remote accommodations that are far from the tourist trail, including a stunning lodge on Westhaven Inlet

Detailed Description

New Zealand is a country that is dominated by wilderness. So much of the land remains not only off the beaten track, but virtually unknown and explored. Here, you do not need to travel far to escape the crowds. All you must do is stay clear of the standard best of route. With this handcrafted vacation, you go much further than that. You will explore private Maori-owned lands that are closed to the public, and by helicopters and boats, you will visit active volcanoes and deserted islands. This will not just be a vacation to destinations that do not see as many visitors but will be an excursion into landscapes that few have had the privilege to see.

Going off the beaten track is a mix of where you go and how you get there. There will be rally car driving in the remote north, four different helicopter tours, kayaking, and rafting in untouched wildernesses along with plenty of downtime to spend on the coast. From the Bay of Island to Lake Taupo and Hawkes Bay, you can enjoy the complete array of North Island landscapes. Then, with a remote base on both Westhaven Inlet and Lake Wanaka, you can truly discover Te Wahipounamu, which is the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site that encompasses half of the South Island. Your accommodation has been handpicked to maximize your sense of seclusion, notably boutique lodges that do not find their way into standard tourist brochures.

Going off the beaten track in New Zealand typically involves adventure. You will be visiting places that are inaccessible by road in addition to destinations where the reason for being there is to feel the outdoors. Still, the level of adventure can always be adjusted on a private tour. For example, you can choose kayaking and quad biking in the Bay of Islands, or you may prefer to stick to lazy afternoons on a yacht charter. With each helicopter tour, there will be an option to hike in the very remote wilderness, but it can be just as exciting to climb out and simply enjoy the silence and unobstructed views.

You will kick-start your vacation in the Bay of Islands where a yacht charter can access uninhabited islands and beaches. This is New Zealand’s tropical Pacific, and it is an ideal place to overcome the jet lag and feel the allure of nature. On day two, you will helicopter to Cape Reinga, where the adventure can include quad biking on Ninety Mile Beach and a guided, rally car tour that is far from the road. Taupo is a pretty touristic destination, but you are not staying in the town on days four or five. Instead, by using an isolated lakeside base, these two days will be about unique means of exploration.

You will helicopter and hike upon active volcanoes on day five after rafting and abseiling in backcountry Maori lands the day before. These two days of great outdoors will be followed by two days in the vineyards. Hawkes Bay is a remote getaway, and you will not have much to do here other than wine tasting, cliff-side picnics, and a beautiful spa. It will be a chance to catch your breath and wonder why so few people visit Hawkes Bay. After flying to Nelson, you will spend days eight to ten on Westhaven Inlet, which will be a private little base for discovering Abel Tasman and Kahurangi national parks.

Here, you can kayak and cruise along the coastline with reef sharks and rays that can be easily spotted in turquoise coves. There will be a safari wilderness tour, a four-wheel drive expedition into the backcountry, and the hiking trails of a huge national park. Rather than staying in touristic Queenstown, you will culminate your tour on Lake Wanaka, which is more tranquil. You can explore the vineyards on day 12 before horseback riding and mountain biking in Mt. Aspiring National Park, which is a customizable journey that can really evoke wild and forgotten New Zealand. Fjordland is a dramatic final destination, and while it is famous, you will be going off the beaten track on a helicopter tour that will have you wishing that your back home involved adventure like this.

New Zealand is a region unlike any other; learn more by seeing how our partner New Zealand tour operators can personalize the experience for you.

Starting Price

$15,283 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

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all activities and tours
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip

Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.

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