The Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand
The Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand

The 10 Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand 🧭 [2022]

© NZPocketGuide.com

How to Tour New Zealand in 10 to 12 Days

If you’ve got a couple of weeks to spend in beautiful New Zealand, then make the most of it by jumping on a tour. Let someone else worry about the directions, the driving, the research… All you have to do is sit back and enjoy these breathtaking South Pacific islands with your loved ones or your new travel mates! While 10-12 days seems like a long time, it’s still not quite enough to explore both the North Island and the South Island, so we recommend picking just one island to enjoy. With that, we’ll give some of our favourite North Island and South Island tours in this guide to the best 10-12-day tours of New Zealand.

For more tours, check out The Best 10-12-Day Tours of the North Island and The Best 10-12-Day Tours of the South Island. Plus, find out more about exploring by bus in Travel by Bus in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide.

7 Tips for Planning a 10-Day or 12-Day Trip to New Zealand

  1. Choose just one of the main islands to explore on a 10-12-day trip to New Zealand – compare your options using Should You Travel the North Island or South Island?
  2. Give yourself an extra day or two for your trip to New Zealand, to allow for your travel time to and from your tour’s start/endpoints, as well as to get over the jet lag
  3. Pack light: don’t be that guy that everyone has to make room for! See our New Zealand Packing List for more packing tips
  4. Compare tour companies on websites like TourRadar to find the perfect fit for you. Another advantage to these websites is that they have standard cancellation policies – handy if your plans change
  5. Know which optional activities you want to do before your trip departs so you are able to budget correctly
  6. On a similar note, remember to budget for food for tours that do not include every meal – see How Much Does a Trip to New Zealand Cost? for the typical meal prices in New Zealand
  7. Ask if your chosen tour company has a Facebook Group so that you can connect with other travellers who will be on the same tour.

For more New Zealand tour advice, see the 15 Tips to Make the Most of Your Bus Trip.

G Adventures© G Adventures

G Adventures – New Zealand: Best of the North Island

See the North Island from top to bottom on the North Island Encompassed tour with G Adventures! Join your fellow 18-39-year-olds for a 10-day New Zealand tour where you’ll experience a houseboat excursion in the Bay of Islands, a conservation farm visit and kayaking in Raglan, a Maori cultural experience in Rotorua and more. Of course, there’s the option to do your chosen activities along the way. The tour also includes accommodation in shared rooms, as well as breakfasts and a few other meals. This tour starts in Auckland and ends in Wellington.

For more tours starting in Auckland, head to The Best New Zealand Tours Starting in Auckland.

About G Adventures’ Tours

Age Range: 18-39-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 20
Accommodation: Hostels, a houseboat and lodges
Meals: All breakfasts, two lunches and three dinners

Destinations on the 10-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour and prices by comparing G Adventures on Tourradar.

The Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand© Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel – New Zealand South Island Adventure

A more active tour taking you to more destinations on the South Island, the New Zealand South Island Adventure tour with Intrepid Travel is well worth considering. The small-group tour lasts 12 days starting in Christchurch and ending in Queenstown. While there are plenty of highlights on the itinerary, including a Milford Sound cruise, it’s the off-the-beaten-track locations that are sure to stick with you, such as the historic mining towns of Reefton and Westport, the less-visited but no less impressive Fox Glacier and even the sub-antarctic Stewart Island!

For more small-group adventures, head to The Best Small-Group Tours in New Zealand.

About Intrepid Travel’s Tours

Age Range: 15-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 12
Accommodation: Hotels, motels and cabins
Meals: 11 breakfasts

Destinations on the 12-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour, including prices, by comparing Intrepid Travel on Tourradar.

Inspiring Journeys© Inspiring Journeys

Inspiring Journeys – Southern Drift

Convenient, laid-back and just plain fun, the Southern Drift tour with Inspiring Journeys is an excellent way to explore the South Island. The 12-day New Zealand tour starts and ends in Christchurch, taking a range of passengers, from young teens to seniors, to the South Island’s main bucket list destinations. We’re talking about Franz Josef, Milford Sound and Queenstown, as well as a few surprises along the way. Hotel accommodation is included. Meanwhile, Inspiring Journeys is just about the only escorted tour actually staying in Milford Sound. Some activities are also included, as well as most meals.

For more tours starting in Christchurch, check out The Best New Zealand Tours Starting in Christchurch.

About Inspiring Journey’s Tours

Age Range: 12-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 20
Accommodation: Hotels and lodges
Meals: 11 breakfasts, one lunch and 11 dinners

Destinations on the 12-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour, including the price, by comparing Inspiring Journeys on Tourradar.

Haka Tours© Haka Tours

Haka Tours – Southern Explorer

Say you’ve spent some time on the North Island and you’re ready to hit the South; Haka Tours provides just the 12-day New Zealand tour for 30 to 70-year-olds. The Southern Explorer tour starts in Wellington, taking you on the Cook Strait ferry to where your South Island adventure begins. See whales, dolphins and seals in the wildlife mecca Kaikoura, get off the tourist trail to the gorgeous Lake Ohau, and you won’t miss the highlights when checking out Queenstown, Wanaka and Franz Josef. The tour ends in the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch.

About Haka Tours’ Tours

Age Range: 30-70-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 11
Accommodation: Hotels, motels and lodges
Meals: Six breakfasts and two dinners

Destinations on the 12-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour, including prices, by comparing Haka Tours on Tourradar.

The Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand© Contiki

Contiki – Northern Choice

It’s your choice: either travel 10 days from Auckland to Wellington with Contiki or add an extra couple of days to visit the South Island and depart from Christchurch. Whatever you choose, you’re bound to have a blast on this group tour for 18 to 35-year-olds. This 10 or 12-day New Zealand tour packs a lot in between the beaches of the Bay of Islands and the volcanic mountains of Tongariro and Taupo. Included in your trip is also a traditional Maori cultural evening with a hangi dinner and a visit to a kiwi bird hatchery.

For more tours like this, check out The Best Backpacker Bus Tours in New Zealand.

About Contiki’s Tours

Age Range: 18-35-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 50
Accommodation: Hotels, hostels and a Maori marae
Meals: All breakfasts and three dinners

Destinations on the 10-12-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour and prices by comparing Contiki on Tourradar.

The 10 Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand 🧭 [2022]© Active Adventures

Active Adventures – Ultimate North Island Adventure

If you have a “go big or go home” mantra along with plenty of fitness, then consider this 11-day New Zealand tour with Active Adventures. Travel the North Island to the best hiking trails along the glorious coasts of Northland and the Bay of Islands, as well as at geothermal hotspots like Rotorua and Turangi near the Tongariro National Park. Almost all meals are included on this all-inclusive itinerary but you’ll have a free day in Auckland to choose your own day’s adventures.

For alternative active tours, check out The Best New Zealand Hiking Tours.

About Active Adventure’s Tours

Age Range: 16-90-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 14
Accommodation: Hotels, lodges and inns
Meals: All breakfasts, lunches and dinners (except for on your free day in Auckland)

Destinations on the 11-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour and prices by comparing Active Adventures on Tourradar.

Scenic Tours© Scenic Tours

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours – Northern Explorer

Travel the North Island in style on the Northern Explorer tour with Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours. Stay in luxurious hotels as you make your way with fellow travellers to Omapere in Northland, Paihia in the Bay of Islands, Auckland city, Rotorua, Hawke’s Bay and Wellington. The 12-day New Zealand excursion has extra inclusions to make your trip effortless, such as airport transfers, most meals, a selection of included paid tours, as well as some optional experiences. What’s more, the trip is slower-paced in comparison to others on this list and is open to most ages.

For more tours suited to older crowds, take a look at The Best New Zealand Tours for Seniors.

About Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours’ Tours

Age Range: 12-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 40
Accommodation: Hotels
Meals: 11 breakfasts, two lunches and seven dinners

Destinations on the 12-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour by comparing Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours on Tourradar.

The Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand© Luxury Gold

Luxury Gold – The Southern Drift

Stay in five-star accommodation and enjoy world-class dining on this upmarket tour around the South Island with Luxury Gold. Start and end your journey in Christchurch, where you’ll get to experience the TranzAlpine train, meet a local greenstone carver in Franz Josef, kayak in Milford Sound, tour Larnach Castle in Dunedin and more. Most meals are included in the trip with dinners including wine. You’ll also get ample leisure time on this tour, which isn’t too fast-paced.

For more tours suited to the older crowd, head to The Best New Zealand Tours for Seniors.

About Luxury Gold’s Tours

Age Range: 5-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 40
Accommodation: Hotels
Meals: 11 breakfasts, one lunch and seven dinners

Destinations on the 12-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour by comparing Luxury Gold on Tourradar.

The 10 Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand 🧭 [2022]© Trafalgar

Trafalgar – Southern Spectacular

Enjoy an in-depth tour of the South Island across 10 days with this Southern Spectacular tour with Trafalgar. The 10-day New Zealand tour loops from Christchurch to Christchurch incorporating the TranzAlpine train journey and a Milford Sound cruise. Stay in upmarket hotels and enjoy a substantial number of meals on this tour that gives you more bang for your buck while having fewer logistics to organise. You also have two full days to experience Queenstown your way.

About Trafalgar’s Tours

Age Range: 5-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 50
Accommodation: Hotels
Meals: 9 breakfasts, one lunch and eight dinners

Destinations on the 10-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour, including the price, by comparing Trafalgar on Tourradar.

Thrifty Tours© Thrifty Tours

Thrifty Tours – Southern National Parks

Hit some of the most breathtaking national parks on the South Island on the Southern National Parks tour with Thrifty Tours. This 10-day New Zealand prearranged self-guided tour is for the budget-conscious traveller by swapping a fully guided experience for a prearranged coach + accommodation + airport transfers package. Start and end in Christchurch, staying in a twin-share room in motel accommodation. The experience includes one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, the TranzAlpine, as well as a Milford Sound cruise and airport transfers. The tour also gives you ample time in most destinations to relax and explore on your own.

About Thrifty Tours’ Tours

Age Range: 1-100-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 50
Accommodation: Motels
Meals: One lunch

Destinations on the 10-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour by comparing Thrifty Tours on Tourradar.

More About 10 to 12-Day New Zealand Bus Tours

That’s it for our list of the best 10-12-day tours of New Zealand! If these tours didn’t quite speak to you, however, you might prefer the tours listed in these articles:

Finally, compare all of your bus travel options in our complete guide, How to Travel by Bus in New Zealand.

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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