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The 10 Best Small Group Tours in New Zealand šŸš [2022]

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The Top New Zealand Tours with Small Groups

Don’t be just another number on a large coach tour. Enjoy a more intimate experience by taking a small-group tour in New Zealand! Small-group tours in New Zealand are usually for up to 20 people as a maximum on a minibus or custom vehicle where social dynamics are made a little easier when you can talk to everyone in your group, as well as never feeling like things are too “crowded”. There is a range of New Zealand small-group tours to choose from, from adventure-based tours to more easy-going tours for the mature crowd. We’ll go through some of our favourites in this guide to the best small-group tours in New Zealand!

Before we begin, don’t forget to bookmark Travel by Bus in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide for even more tips.

5 Tips for Taking Small-Group Tours in New Zealand

  1. Allow a day or two before and after your tour for your travel time to/from New Zealand, as well as time to get over the jet lag and explore your arrival city
  2. Pack light! Don’t be that guy that everyone has to make room for, especially when small-group tours use smaller vehicles – see our New Zealand Packing List
  3. Use websites like TourRadar to compare small-group tour companies and make use of the standard cancellation policy should your travel plans change
  4. Be sure to budget for the meals that are not included in your tour – see How Much Does a Trip to New Zealand Cost?
  5. See if your chosen tour company has a Facebook Group. That way, you can connect with fellow travellers before the tour begins!

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

Wild Kiwi© Wild Kiwi

Wild Kiwi – Northern Voyager

A small-group tour in luxury Mercedes vehicles, Wild Kiwi knows how to get travellers around in style. The custom vans fit up to 18 people for a more intimate experience. What’s more, the tours are especially for 18-35-year-olds so you know you’ll be with like-minded people. The Northern Voyager is an excellent way to explore the North Island in one week, looping back to Auckland via the geothermal hub of Rotorua, the volcanic Tongariro National Park and the bohemian surf town of Raglan. Accommodation in hostels and lodges is included, as well as all breakfasts. Tours of the South Island are also available, as listed in The 5 Best 7-Day Tours of the South Island.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 7 days
Age Range
: 18-35-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 18
Accommodation: Hostels and lodges
Meals: All breakfasts and one dinner

Destinations

Find out more about this tour by comparing Wild Kiwi on Tourradar. For more week-long tours on the North Island, see The Best 7-Day North Island Tours.

Haka Tours© Haka Tours

Haka Tours – Southern Lick

To explore the South Island, consider this small-group tour with Haka Tours. The Southern Lick tour starts and ends in Christchurch, taking young travellers via mini-coach to highlights like Queenstown, Wanaka and the Franz Josef Glacier. The tour also includes a scenic train journey through the Southern Alps, as well as all accommodation in hostels and lodges and daily breakfast.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 7 days
Age Range
: 18-39-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 16
Accommodation: Hostels and lodges
Meals: All breakfasts

Destinations

Find out more by comparing Haka Tours on Tourradar. For more week-long tours around the country, including small-group tours of New Zealand, see The 10 Best 7-Day Tours of New Zealand.

The 6 Best Small Group Tours in New Zealand šŸš [2022]© Active Adventures

Active Adventures ā€“ Ultimate South Island Adventure

Offering hiking tours of various durations across the North Island and South Island, Active Adventuresā€™ most popular choice is the Ultimate South Island Adventure tour. This tour can be catered to what you prefer with a choice of multiple day hikes and multi-day hikes. Youā€™ll explore hotspots of the South Island that very few visitors get to experience, with gorgeous hikes in the Fiordland National Park, Franz Josef, Queenstown and more.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 14 days
Age Range
: 16+-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 14
Accommodation: Hotels, lodges, inns and huts
Meals: All breakfasts, lunches and dinners (except for on the ā€œfree dayā€ in the itinerary)

Destinations

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

G Adventures© G Adventures

G Adventures – Highlights of New Zealand

Explore both islands in just over two weeks with G Adventures. The small-group tour specialists offer the Highlights of New Zealand tour for active travellers, including experiences like staying overnight in a Maori village, digging your own hot pool in the Coromandel, guided walks and more. A few meals are included in the tour, as well as accommodation in hotels, motels and a Maori village.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 15 days
Age Range
: 12-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 16
Accommodation: Hotels, motels and Maori village
Meals: Eight breakfasts, one lunch and two dinners

Destinations

Find out more about this tour and others by comparing G Adventures on Tourradar. For more national tours of New Zealand, see The Best 20+ Days Tours of New Zealand.

The Best Small-Group Tours in New Zealand© Backyard Roadies

Backyard Roadies – 10 Day South Island Adventure

One of the most affordable fully guided small-group tours in New Zealand, Backyard Roadies10 Day South Island Adventure gets you seeing the major highlights. Travel with like-minded young travellers and enjoy included activities, such as kayaking in Franz Josef and a Milford Sound cruise, as well as optional add-on activities. Unlike many other small-group tours for 18-35-year-olds, most accommodation is twin-share or private double rather than moving from dorm room to dorm room.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 10 days
Age Range
: 18-35-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 12
Accommodation: Lodges and hostels
Meals: Nine breakfasts, two lunches and five dinners

Destinations

Find out more about this tour and others by comparing Backyard Roadies on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, check out more tours for 10 days in The 10 Best 10-12-Day Tours of New Zealand.

The 6 Best Small Group Tours in New Zealand šŸš [2022]© Exodus Travels

Exodus Travels ā€“ Trekking in New Zealand

Explore both New Zealand islands with a small group on the Trekking in New Zealand tour. This 19-day hiking tour with Exodus Travels starts in Auckland and ends in Christchurch, taking you to hiking highlights like the Tongariro National Park, Milford Sound and the Fox Glacier. All activities listed in the action-packed itinerary are included in the tour, such as a heli-hike in Mt Aspiring National Park, a short flight between Wellington and Nelson, and a water taxi cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park. All meals and accommodation are also included in the rate.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 19 days
Age Range
: 16+ years old
Maximum Group Size: 11
Accommodation: Hotels, lodges, cabins and huts/camping
Meals: 16 breakfasts, 17 lunches and seven dinners

Destinations

Find out more about this tour by comparing Exodus Travels on Tourradar. Plus, check out more tours with a small group count in The Best Small-Group Tours in New Zealand.

Adventure Junkies© Adventure Junkies

Adventure Junkies – NZ Adventure

Experience the more adventurous side of New Zealand with Adventure Junkies! Their NZ Adventure tour is an ultra small-group tour taking up to 10 people to some of the highlights of the South Island. The tour starts in Christchurch and ends in Queenstown, taking adrenaline junkies to go white water rafting on a grade 5 river, stunning forests for hiking, kayaking in Milford Sound, and your choice of adventure in Queenstown. Other inclusions are accommodation, and both breakfast and lunch daily.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 10 days
Age Range
: 18-65-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 10
Accommodation: Apartments and motels
Meals: All breakfasts and all lunches

Destinations

Find out more about this tour by comparing Adventure Junkies on Tourradar. Plus, check out more tours from Christchurch in The 5 Best New Zealand Tours Starting from Christchurch.

The 6 Best Small Group Tours in New Zealand šŸš [2022]© Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel ā€“ New Zealand South Island Adventure

A more active tour of New Zealand from Christchurch 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, itā€™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!

Tour Highlights

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

Destinations

Find out more about this tour, including prices, by comparing Intrepid Travel on Tourradar. For more small-group adventures, head to The Best Small-Group Tours in New Zealand.

The 6 Best Small Group Tours in New Zealand šŸš [2022]© Kiwi Experience

Kiwi Experience ā€“ 7 Day South Island Tour

Despite being a 7-day South Island tour, this small-group guided bus tour with Kiwi Experience actually begins in the capital, Wellington, on the North Island. After youā€™ve got your North Island fix, youā€™ll meet your tour guide and fellow passengers to take the Cook Strait ferry to the South Island. From there, enjoy the wildlife mecca of Kaikoura, the South Islandā€™s largest city Christchurch, the gorgeous Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook and then onto Queenstown where youā€™ll enjoy some free time, as well as an awesome day trip to Glenorchy.

For more tours from Wellington, check out The Best New Zealand Tours Starting in Wellington.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 7 days
Age Range
: 18-49-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 16
Accommodation: Hostels
Meals: All Breakfasts

Destinations on the 7-Day Tour

Find out more about this tour by comparing Kiwi Experience on Tourradar.

The 6 Best Small Group Tours in New Zealand šŸš [2022]© Inspiring Journeys

Inspiring Journeys ā€“ Inspiring New Zealand

Finally, to combine some sightseeing of the North Island with exploring the south of the South Island, consider the Inspiring New Zealand tour with Inspiring Journeys. The 10-day tour starts in Auckland, taking travellers of all ages on a small-group tour to experience the geothermal and Maori hub of Rotorua, then onto New Zealandā€™s capital, Wellington. Youā€™ll then catch a flight to Queenstown (not included) where youā€™ll have the east of an airport transfer and the opportunity to cruise Doubtful Sound and explore Queenstown your own way. Tours also include luxury hotel accommodation, most meals and more.

Tour Highlights

Tour Length: 10 days
Age Range
: 12-99-year-olds
Maximum Group Size: 20
Accommodation: Hotels
Meals: Eight breakfasts, two lunches and six dinners

Destinations

Find out more about this tour by comparing Inspiring Journeys on Tourradar. See more tours on the South Island in The Best 10-12-Day Tours of the South Island.

More About Small Group Bus Tours of New Zealand

That’s it for our list of the best small group tours of New Zealand. If they didn’t quite speak to you, however, how about these alternative listings?

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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