The Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand
The Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand

The Best 5-Day Tours of New Zealand


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 in 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, Stewart Island 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 Trip to New Zealand

  • 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?
  • Allow around eight days for your entire trip to New Zealand 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/city
  • 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
  • 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
  • Pack light: don’t be that guy that everyone has to make room for! Check out our tips on 15 Essentials to Pack for New Zealand
  • 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
  • Allow room in your budget for food if your tour does not include every meal – see How Expensive is New Zealand? for typical food prices in New Zealand.

For more tour advice, check out 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.

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

  • Auckland
  • Coromandel
  • Rotorua
  • Tongariro
  • Kapiti Coast
  • Wellington

Find out more about Flying Kiwi on Tourradar. Plus, learn more about how Flying Kiwi works here.

Thrifty Tours© Thrifty Tours

Thrifty Tours – Southern Highlights

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 tour. 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.

About Thrifty Tours

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

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

  • Christchurch
  • Mt Cook
  • Queenstown
  • Milford Sound
  • Franz Josef
  • Arthur’s Pass

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

World Expeditions© World Expeditions

World Expeditions – Northland Discovery

A section of the North Island that many unfortunately miss if they don’t have enough time, the Bay of Islands and the Northland region are perfect to explore in just five days. World Expeditions has you covered with their popular Northland Discovery Tour, a comprehensive tour of New Zealand’s sub-tropical region. Discover New Zealand’s first capital, explore the beautiful Bay of Islands and journey to the tip of the North Island at Cape Reinga. The tour includes boogie boards to use to go sandboarding and snorkelling gear.

About World Expeditions

Age Range: 16-80-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 14
Accommodation: Lodges and motels
Meals: Four breakfasts, five lunches and three dinners

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

  • Auckland
  • Russell
  • Bay of Islands
  • Whangaroa Harbour
  • Cape Reinga
  • Waipoua Forest

Find out more about this tour and others by comparing World Expeditions on Tourradar.

Headfirst Travel© Headfirst Travel

Headfirst Travel – Kiwi Wilderness Walks, Stewart Island

Get off the beaten track by exploring Stewart Island with Headfirst Travel. Their Kiwi Wilderness Walks tour begins with a scenic flight from Invercargill to Stewart Island’s Mason Bay with a landing on the beach. You’ll stay in a camping hut overnight before hiking through Rakiura National Park to catch a water taxi. You’ll also have time to explore the Ulva Island bird sanctuary with a chance to see kiwi birds.

About Headfirst Travel

Age Range: 10-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 6
Accommodation: Hotel, camping, guesthouse and hut
Meals: All breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

  • Invercargill
  • Mason Bay
  • Oban
  • Ulva Island

Find out more about this tour and others by comparing Headfirst Travel on Tourradar.

Top Deck© Top Deck

Topdeck – Sweet As North

Tour from Auckland to Wellington, journeying through the heart of the North Island, with Topdeck! Their Sweet As North tour takes 20-something-year-olds to some of the North Island’s top bucket list destinations, including Rotorua and the Tongariro National Park. Tour-goers will experience the Maori culture, geothermal parks, the Tongariro Crossing hike and more! The tour includes some meals, accommodation in hotels and a Maori marae, and free time to enjoy your chosen activities.

About Topdeck

Age Range: 18-39-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 36
Accommodation: Hotel and a Maori marae
Meals: Five breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

  • Auckland
  • Rotorua
  • Tongariro
  • Wellington

Find out more about this tour and others by comparing Topdeck on Tourradar.

Active Adventures© Active Adventures

Active Adventures – Koru

Active Adventures shows an alternative way to experience the South Island in five days on their Koru 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 from Glenorchy, on the famous Routeburn Track Great Walk, and have the opportunity to kayak on Lake Wakatipu. The tour includes accommodation at a central base in Glenorchy and all meals are included.

About Active Adventures

Age Range: 16-90-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 14
Accommodation: Cabins
Meals: All breakfasts, lunches and dinners

Destinations on the 5-Day Tour

  • Queenstown
  • Glenorchy
  • Routeburn Track
  • Mt Aspiring National Park
  • Paradise

Find out more about this tour and others by comparing Active Adventures 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.

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

  • Auckland
  • Bay of Islands
  • Whangaroa
  • Cape Reinga
  • Hokianga & Waipoua Forest

Find out more about this tour and others by comparing Hiking New Zealand on Tourradar.


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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