The Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand© NZPocketGuide.com
The Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand

The 10 Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand šŸ§­ [2023]

© NZPocketGuide.com

How to Tour New Zealand in 5 Days

Let’s get one thing straight: you will not be able to tour the whole of New Zealand in just five days – or, at least you could try but you probably wouldn’t get to experience much. For this reason, you’ll find that the 5-day tours of New Zealand only cover the North Island or the South Island. Because the road connections are more practical on the North Island, you’ll be able to cover more areas on the five-day trip of the North Island. On the South Island, most tours just focus on one area, like Queenstown, Abel Tasman or the Southern Alps, so you can make the most of that destination. We’ll go through some of our favourite options in this guide to the best 5-day tours of New Zealand!

To see more five-day tours of New Zealand, check out The Best 5-Day Tours of the North Island and The Best 5-Day Tours of the South Island. Plus, don’t forget to bookmark Travel by Bus in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide for even more tips.

7 Tips for Planning a 5-Day Tour of New Zealand

  1. Choose an island! There’s no way you can enjoy seeing both the North Island and South Island in five days. Check out our island comparison in Should You Travel the North Island or South Island?
  2. Allow the necessary extra day or two to allow for your travel time to and from your tour’s starting point, as well as to get over the jet lag in your arrival town or city
  3. Check if your chosen tour company has a Facebook Group. You’ll be able to connect with other travellers who will be on your tour
  4. Compare tour companies on websites like TourRadar to ensure you find the best tour for you. Another advantage is that comparison websites have standard cancellation policies
  5. Pack light: don’t be that guy with two huge suitcases that everyone has to make room for! Get tips from our New Zealand Packing List
  6. Decide on optional activities you will want to do prior to arriving in New Zealand so you are able to budget for your tour correctly
  7. Allow room in your budget for food if your tour does not include every meal – see How Much Does a Trip to New Zealand Cost? for typical food costs in New Zealand.

For more tour advice, check out the 15 Tips to Make the Most of Your Bus Trip.

Flying Kiwi© Flying Kiwi

Flying Kiwi – Northern Light

Looking for a 5-day tour of the North Island? Then check out the Northern Light Tour with Flying Kiwi. This 5-day bus tour starts in Auckland and ends in Wellington, taking active travellers to the Coromandel to dig your own thermal pool. Next, you’ll journey to geothermal Rotorua and see its geysers at Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park. You’ll also get the choice to do the Tongariro Crossing or opt for some mountain biking along the Tongariro River. Finally, the tour heads to New Zealand’s capital city via the beach-lined Kapiti Coast.

Note: Tours return in 2023.

For tours similar to this, check out The Best New Zealand Tours Starting in Auckland.

About Flying Kiwi

Age Range: 16-65-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 26
Accommodation: Camping or cabin
Meals: Four breakfasts, two lunches and three dinners

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

Find out more about Flying Kiwi on Tourradar. Plus, learn more about how Flying Kiwi works as a hop-on hop-off bus company here.

The 10 Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand šŸ§­ [2023]© Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel – Bay of Islands Adventure

An excellent alternative to being stuck in Auckland (North Island) for five days, the Bay of Islands Adventure with Intrepid Travel isn’t just your average “Auckland to Paihia” run. Get off the beaten track and discover the real Bay of Islands by visiting ancient kauri forests, gorgeous waterfalls, historical Maori sites and, of course, getting plenty of beach time in too. This small-group 5-day trip is extremely approachable with a small physical rating and a wide range of ages welcome.

For more small-group excursions, 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
Meals: Two breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour and prices by checking out Intrepid Travel on Tourradar.

The Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand© Active Adventures

Active Adventures – Great Walks Discovery

Active Adventures shows an alternative way to experience the South Island in five days on their Great Walks Discovery tour. This active small group tour, which starts and ends in Queenstown, focusses on walks and hikes in beautiful landscapes. You’ll be doing walks on the Routeburn, Kepler and Milford Great Walks, as well as the Ben Lomond Track in Queenstown. Also included is the lesser-visited Doubtful Sound on an overnight cruise and the popular Milford Sound.

For more hike-orientated tours, check out The Best New Zealand Hiking Tours.

About Active Adventures

Age Range: 16-90-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 14
Accommodation: Hotels, lodges, chalets and overnight cruise
Meals: All breakfasts, lunches and dinners

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

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

The 10 Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand šŸ§­ [2023]© APT

APT – Brilliant Bay of Islands

Forget checking into a new hotel every day as you explore the North Island. APT‘s easy-going Brilliant Bay of Islands tour takes you straight from Auckland to the Bay of Islands’ hub, Paihia, for five days of cruising, Maori experiences, fine food, relaxation and luxury. Stay in revered hotels/resorts and enjoy the hassle-free experience of tours and activities being organised on your behalf.

For more luxurious ways to experience New Zealand, head to The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand. You can also see tours catered to more mature crowds in The Best New Zealand Tours for Seniors.

About APT’s Tours

Age Range: 8-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 40+
Accommodation: Hotels
Meals: Three breakfasts and one dinner

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour and prices by checking out the APT on Tourradar.

The 10 Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand šŸ§­ [2023]© Adventure South

Adventure South – West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail

Enjoy a cycle tour with like-minded travellers on the Adventure South West Coast Wilderness Trail tour. This five-day South Island adventure starts and ends in Christchurch and includes a scenic drive through Arthur’s Pass National Park to the West Coast. You’ll then enjoy a guided cycle tour of the West Coast Wilderness Trail between Greymouth and Punakaiki. The tour includes meals, transport, bikes and entry to the West Coast Treetops Walkway.

About Adventure South’s Tours

Age Range: 16-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 14
Accommodation: Hotels and motels
Meals: Four breakfasts, four lunches and three dinners

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

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

The 10 Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand šŸ§­ [2023]© Haka Tours

Haka Tours – Snow Explorer

Skiers and riders, check out this five-day South Island snowsports tour with Haka Tours. The Snow Explorer tour takes snow bunnies on a ski field-hopping trip throughout the South Island, including Porters, Broken River, Mt Olympus/Temple Basin and Craigieburn. Accommodation is included in the form of shared dorms with private room upgrades available. Some meals are also included.

About Haka Tours’ Tours

Age Range: 18-65-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 8
Accommodation: Hostels and lodges
Meals: All breakfasts and two dinners

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour and prices by checking out Haka Tours on Tourradar.

The 10 Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand šŸ§­ [2023]© Top Tours New Zealand

Top Tours NZ – Central North Island Tour

Offering custom tours with bespoke itineraries as an option, Top Tours NZ is an excellent choice for families or those seeking a more personal experience. While the itinerary can be changed to suit your needs, one of the most popular North Island tours is the 5-day Central North Island Tour. You’ll be driven to some of the North Island’s top attractions in a private vehicle and will get to stay in four-star accommodation.

About Top Tours NZ’s Tours

Age Range: 5-80-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 6
Accommodation: Hotels
Meals: One lunch and one dinner

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

Departures are on demand, so be sure to inquire about tours directly with the company.

Thrifty Tours© Thrifty Tours

Thrifty Tours – Southern Highlights

Note that Thrifty Tours prearranges InterCity buses or other companies, accommodation and airport transfers on your behalf for a cheaper self-guided experience. They do not run their own guided tours. 

Just about the only tour company attempting a comprehensive tour of the South Island in five days, Thrifty Tours gets you to see some of the highlights in their Southern Highlights itinerary. This five-day tour, which starts and ends in Christchurch, includes a tour of Milford Sound, Queenstown and the Franz Josef Glacier before departing on a scenic train journey through the Southern Alps. The South Island tour includes hotel accommodation, some meals and a Milford Sound cruise.

For tours similar to this, check out The Best New Zealand Tours Starting in Christchurch.

About Thrifty Tours

Age Range: 1-100-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 50
Accommodation: Hotels
Meals: Four breakfasts and two lunches

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

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

Hiking New Zealand© Hiking New Zealand

Hiking New Zealand – Northern Discovery

And for the active hiker who wants to see some stunning North Island landscapes on foot, Hiking New Zealand offers walking tours of Northland and the Bay of Islands. The small group tour starts and ends in Auckland, taking you and your fellow ramblers on coastal walks to magnificent viewpoints, through ancient forests with New Zealand’s largest trees, and to walk or kayak at Nighty Mile Beach.

Note: Tours return in 2023.

About Hiking New Zealand

Age Range: 17-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 11
Accommodation: Lodges
Meals: Four breakfasts, five lunches and three dinners

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

More About 5-Day Tours of New Zealand

That’s it for our list of the best 5-day tours of New Zealand! For New Zealand tour alternatives, take a look at the following guides”

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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