The Big Tiki

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Fully Guided Coach Group 18-30's Scenic
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 Trip Length
19 Days
 Trip Starts
 Trip Finishes
19 Day The Big Tiki Itinerary (Contiki)
Countries Explored: New Zealand
Trip Operator
Trip Style
In-Depth Explorer
2.5 - 3.5 Star
Max. Group Size
Guide Level
Fully Guided
Trip Code


Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Contiki's 19 Day The Big Tiki. Waterfalls, glaciers, hobbits and hangi: if NZ doesn't impress you, best check your pulse. The Big Tiki from Queenstown to Auckland soaks it all up over 19 unforgettable days, with 60 optional activities to ramp up your trip. Anyone here brave enough for the Nevis swing?


Kia Ora and welcome to Queenstown. After checking in to your hotel the rest of the afternoon is yours to start discovering why Queenstown is best known as the adventure capital of the world. Tonight you'll meet up with the rest of the crew, no doubt swapping notes on which thrill seeking activity to tick off first. Let the adventure commence... Stay: Jucy Snooze (or similar)

Today is yours to get acquainted with Queenstown and spend some time mulling over the activities up for grabs in the next two days. First stop is the legendary Kawarau Bungy Bridge, get your morning adrenaline hit with a heart pounding jump at the world home of the bungy. We then take take it down a few notches and soak in the veiws and the tastes of the region where we visit the Gibbston Valley, world famous for its Sav Blanc wine. Later, take a stroll around beautiful Queenstown, nestled in the Southern Alps this stunning town has plenty to offer other than adventure activities. (B)

It's times like this that you really start to work out what sort of traveller you are. And human for that matter. You might be the one trailing through wine country and doing a spot of horse back riding, or you may be that guy that crams in a bungy jump, a skydive and a heliraft & still craves more. It's your holiday - run wild as you see fit. (B)

With our last day in adrenalin city edging closer, this is the time to push yourself to the limits and jump over any mental barriers you've put up around yourself. Embrace the spirit of adventure and conquer those niggling fears once and for all. For those who did their dash yesterday, a day staying mellow and enjoying this beautiful region will prove more than sufficient. (B/D)

Time to return our adrenalin levels to normal and make tracks to the wild (and often wet) West Coast and it's towering glaciers. Enjoying our scenic drive we'll stop for lunch in Wanaka, a pretty ski resort town situated on a lake front and dwarfed by mountains. This town is fast becoming one of NZ's most popular spots, and a trip to the 'Dough Bin' for a luscious pie should be high on the list today.

Our first piece of NZ eye-candy comes in the form of Hasast Pass, beautified by ancient rainforests, small glaciers and waterfalls. Note how the scenery changes as we roll away from Queenstown through the Southern Alps. Playing host tonight is the town of Franz Josef, home to some of NZ's finest natural beauty with bushlands and glaciers that almost reach the sea. Tomorrow we'll be out and about making the most of it - who's excited? (B/D) Stay: Rainforest Retreat (or similar)

This morning will be another big ol' tick off the list as we take to the ice of Franz Josef Glacier. We've got a heli ride over the glacier up for grabs, or the opportunity to carve your own Pounamu (jade) pendant, under the tuition of a Maori mastercraftsman. Pounamu is sacred to the Māori people, and this is a great way to learn about its cultural significance, while also creating a beautiful please of jewellery.

An optional highlight today is a boat cruise across Lake Mapourika. But this ain't your ordinary boat cruise. You'll cruise up the glassy lake, framed by glaciers and mountains, before switching to a stand up paddle board and gliding along a narrow estuary. This takes you to your journey's destination, the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary, where you'll get to meet New Zealand's adorable but vulnerable national bird. (B)

Armed with a new found appreciation for frozen water, we hop back on the coach & start making our way back to Christchurch. In the gold rush town of Hokitika we'll watch authentic carvers get to work on green jade and take a look at traditional Maori art. Back on the coach we're coastline bound to one of the islands most jaw-droppingly beautiful spots... Take in the beautiful scenery as we wind our way across the highest and most spectacular mountain pass across the Southern Alps.

Tonight we'll sleep well in Christchurch, drifting off to the pleasant memories of NZ's natural beauty that seasoned our day. (B) Stay: The Breakfree on Cashel (or similar)

We'll set off on an inspiring tour of Christchurch this morning, the city that was totally rebuilt after the Christchurch earthquake. Look out for the Cardboard Cathedral, which as the name suggests, is the only cathedral in the world to be built mostly from plain old cardboard! After that, it's another jaw-dropping drive up to the top of the South Island. The coach cuts across the Canterbury Plains to Kaikoura.

Arriving in Kaikoura will see us amongst a seaside settlement known for whales & dolphins, so have those cameras at the ready as we roll around the coast. We'll stop at a seal colony, where you'll struggle not to break into a collective 'cuuuute' as you watch these guys sunning themselves on the rocks.

Next up, we'll visit Kaikoura Wildlife Rescue to meet a local wildlife biologist, Sabrina Leucht, who has been working to build a dedicated wildlife hospital in Kaikoura. We'll learn about the types of wildlife we might encounter here, which threats they face, and what we can all do to make a difference - locally and in our own hometowns.

After a busy day of wildlife wonders, we'll check into our seafront hotel, before heading out for a spot of dinner. Did you know that Kaikoura literally translates into 'eat (kai) crayfish (koura)'? So, no prizes for guessing what type of local cuisine we'll be trying! (B) Stay: Sudima Kaikoura (Or similar)

We all love a free day - especially one spent in beautiful Kaikoura! We recommend taking a whale watching tour, where you'll have the opportunity to see giant sperm whales in action, as well cute seas, dusky dolphins, and the endangered wandering albatross. Other free time add-ons include a thrilling helicopter ride over the Kaikoura Peninsula, a kayak trip across the coastline, and more. We'll stay another night in Kaikoura after an action-packed day, before heading to Christchurch tomorrow morning. (B)

After breakfast, we'll head back on the Contiki coach, destination Wellington: the capital of NZ since 1865, when it replaced Auckland. Almost thirty years later, Wellington parliament was the first in the world to allow women the right to vote. A pretty cool city all in all. By the afternoon, we'll have reached Wellington, just in time for a tour of the city. After our orientation through the narrow streets, a night on the town will be on the cards, plus an optional dinner to start the night off as we mean to go on. (B) Stay: Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman (or similar)

Ready to explore Wellington in all its glory? Today, we'll head to a local cafe and try the famed flat white coffee in its city of origin (sorry Australians). Caffeinated and refreshed, we'll take a trip to Zealandia, a 225-hectare (basically massive) eco-sanctuary that protects over 40 rare native wildlife species. Because Zealandia is fully fenced, you'll be able to walk alongside incredibly rare birds like the hihi and the takahē. Look out for the tuatara, a prehistoric reptile known as a 'living fossil', which can only be found in New Zealand! (B)

We wave goodbye to Wellington and its beautiful scenery and we prepare ourselves for our next adventure – and trust us, this one is bucket-list worthy. Known as the après-ski capital of the North island, Ohakune is a tranquil town with stupendous view.  

Today you have the option to go mountain biking along one of NZ's most picturesque track, "the Old Coach Rd" or spend the day bettering your skills on the slopes or generally treating yourself to all the snowy based activities on offer, then tonight snuggle down in our Special Stay ski lodge, located in prime position at the base of Mt. Ruapehu. (B/D) Stay: Kings Ohakune (or similar)

Wake up in the spectacular surroundings of Mt. Ruapehu with the epic views of the volcano, and you have the option this morning to go mountain biking along one of NZ's most picturesque track, "the Old Coach Rd" before we head to Taupo. Volcanic peak views & trout fishing will seamlessly slip us into quaint lake life. But don't be fooled by the seemingly still scenery - a skydive is on the menu if that adrenaline itch needs scratching.

This evening we jump on a cruise on the lake to watch the sun set, go fishing and enjoy some eats with our Contiki fam. (B) Stay: Lakeland Resort Taupo (or similar)

As we leave Lake Taupo keep an eye out for even more recognisable ‘The Lord of the Rings' backdrops. 220,000 litres (58 000 gallons) of water gush over Huka Falls per second. Just let that sink in for a minute. Wild, right? When you catch your first whiff of that… ‘unusual' sulphur smell, you'll know we've arrived in Rotorua.

Upon arrival in Rotorua we get to learn some fascinating info on NZ's national birds, as well as watch new lives hatch right in front of our eyes! How impressed are you right now? Soak in a hotspring, go skydiving or take a canopy tour - there's plenty of time for you to make the best of this town. Tonight we enjoy a Maori cultural performance and feast on a Hāngi dinner that is sweetly roasted in the ground. (B/D) Stay: Sudima Lake Rotorua (or similar)

The day is yours to roam free in this geothermal paradise. Soak in a hot spring, go white water rafting or hike up a volcano. The options are limitless and the decisions are yours. We recommend the Rotorua Dawn Canopy Tour, exclusive to Contiki, where you'll watch the sun rise, eat some breakfast and drink coffee up in the towering trees as the birds make start their morning calls. Then, you'll get to soar 1200m through the forest on the ultimate zipline adventure. (B)

Ta-ra, Rotorua! We head to Auckland for lunchtime, where there's an array of awesome Free-Time Add-Ons to choose from. Adrenaline junkies, get ready for a bungee jump, climb over the iconic harbour bridge or sky jump off the Skywalk. For those who prefer to keep two feet on the ground, why not get your taste buds tingling with a multi-sensory icecream experience at Giapo? (B) Stay: Jucy Snooze (or similar)

We'll cross Aucklands Harbour Bridge admiring the 'City of Sails' harbour before starting our journey north to Paihia. But first, a stop off at the stunning yacht marina in Whangarei. Here we'll check out the weird and wonderful Huderwassert art centre, a unique architectural project dedicated to the ecological activist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. After lunch we'll hit the road again onwards to the Bay of Islands.

On arrival to the Bay of Islands we're starting off with a dose of Kiwi history on a guided tour at Waitangi Treaty grounds where in 1840 New Zealand officially became a nation of two communities. And because we like to give you that something extra, how about a free admission at the Treaty museum, in case you seek a bit more detail on Kiwi history. Tonight we'll feast like the locals as we enjoy a true Kiwiana fish'n'chips as we overlook the glittering Bay of Islands. (B/D) Stay: Bounty Motel (or similar)

Whether it's parasailing or a fast boat ride - today's (idyllic) list of optionals reads like a who's who of adventure. This area is filled with natural beauty and is sure to inspire your inner wild child. Make the most of the ME Time experiences on offer - tomorrow we head back to the big city vibes. (B)

Feeling salty and sun-kissed we'll wave goodbye to beautiful Paihia & sashay our way back down NZ in the direction of Auckland. Our adventure comes to an end in Auckland today. Make sure you swap contact deets and start planning the next adventure. Anyone for 'Straya? (B)

Trip Inclusions

  • Queenstown: Get your adrenaline pumping on the World's first, and some would say most famous, Bungy Jump
  • Queenstown: Visit a wine vineyard in the famed Gibbston Valley and try some of the local specialties.
  • Wanaka: Stop in the beautiful lake side town of Wanaka
  • Hokitika: View a native greenstone carving demonstration in the goldrush town of Hokitika
  • Wellington: Check out the cafe & restaurant scene in Wellington, voted the coolest little capital in the world
  • Mount Ruapehu: See more of the sights made famous in the "The Lord of the Rings"
  • Mount Ruapehu: See an active stratovolcano with Mt Ruapeh
  • Rotorua: Visit the New Zealand Kiwi Hatchery at Rainbow Springs near Rotorua and hear about their efforts to save New Zealand's adorable national bird
  • Rotorua: See (and smell) Rotorua's bubbling geothermic mud pools
  • Rotorua: Experience a traditional Māori cultural performance and feast on a ground-smoked hāngi dinner
  • Huka Falls: Visit the awesome Huka Falls
  • Auckland: See the 'City of Sails' harbour made famous by the America's Cup
  • Paihia: Get a dose of history with a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
  • Paihia: Fill up on a dinner of fish 'n' chips (Kiwi style) overlooking the Bay of Islands in Paihia. This is probably what heaven feels like.
  • Whangarei: See the work of the visionary Austrian painter, architect and ecological activist who made New Zealand his spiritual home.
  • Kaikoura: We meet eco-warrior Sabrina Leucht, who has worked for many years tending to injured native birds and is now working to establish the regions first wildlife hospital. MAKE TRAVEL MATTER ® Experience

  • 18 Breakfasts, 5 Dinners

  • 10 nights in Hotels, 5 nights in Hostels, 2 nights in Lodge, 1 night in Special Stay

  • Expert Trip Manager + Driver Team + Local Guides

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • Price is for land, cruise and internal flights as specified. Flights not specified are not included
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Prices & Dates

There are currently no departures available on this trip. Either it's the end of the season and new departures will be released shortly, or this itinerary has been changed and will no longer continue. Feel free to contact us for information about when next seasons dates will be released or click here to view the general release dates for all destinations.

Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Contiki. For cruise itineraries, cabin images are sourced from Contiki. These should be treated as indicative only. Cabin inclusions, upholsteries and room layout may differ to the image(s) shown depending on the ship selected and your sailing dates.

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