15 Day New Zealand Hidden Gems
Recommended Travel Months - Green = good travel month
With the 15 days New Zealand Pure itinerary, you'll explore Hidden Gems New Zealand and natural products. Stay longer at each location makes such a better holiday. This NZ holiday package is designed for experienced travellers - those who enjoy the comforts of life but love the remoter and hidden places.
Stay in private cottages, stylish B & B villas and an alpine wilderness lodge where the views are sublime. If you're looking for the real New Zealand heartland, this itinerary is for you!
The next planning steps for this 15 days New Zealand trip package with less known place:
- Explore the Ruakuri limestone caves in Waitomo in a much smaller group.
- Hiking in the Mt. Egmont/ Taranaki National Park. The rainforest is amazing!
- Head over to Stewart Islands for hiking; it's NZ's secret nature & wilderness spot.
- Discover remote part in the Fiordland NP; join the Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise.
- In Central Otago have the opportunity to cycle the Otago Rail Trails as a day tour.
Get ready for your New Zealand North and South Island road trip itinerary:
- Step 1: Review the Itinerary below, and confirm your preferences
- Step 2: Choose a Price Option and Get a Free Quote or just contact us
- Step 3: Pack your bags, get excited and start your Hidden Gems New Zealand trip!
Best & Hidden Places to Visit in New Zealand
A private driver will meet you at Auckland Airport and will transport you to your hotel for check-in. After refreshing at the hotel, step out and explore the America's Cup village. Climb the city sky tower and see the expansive views. Take a boat trip to beautiful Waiheke Island or cross over to the lovely Devonport village.
Check in to Eden Villa Bed & Breakfast
The Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari
Explore America's Cup Sailing Auckland
Collect your rental car and drive south via Hamilton. Visit the award-winning Hamilton Gardens on the way. Stay at a Farm Cottage near Otorohanga (180 km, 3 hours). This beautiful rural area is known as the 'King Country' and is home to the Waitomo Caves.
The stalactites architecture of the Waitomo Caves is breathtaking. Join a walking tour or boat tour to see the caves. For active adventure, try blackwater rafting through the caves on a rubber tube. We recommend the Ruakuri Cafe, as no wetsuit is required for this. However, if you prefer the more adventurous ‘Black Water Rafting’ or abseiling (4 or 7 hours), let us know and we'll include it in your itinerary.
Check in to Kamahi Cottage B&B
Ruakuri Cave Tour
Waitomo Black Labyrinth
Travel south towards New Plymouth (181 km, 112 miles, 2 hours). We recommend that you do the Hairy Feet’ tour, then continue on to the Marokopa Falls, a 20-minute return walk. Go off the beaten track and drive through the “Forgotten Highway”, a scenic rural drive. At New Plymouth, visit Puke Ariki, a world class museum and do check out the Len Lye Centre. Pukekura Park is a beautiful nature wonderland and looks amazing at night during the Festival of Lights (mid December to Feb). Stroll along the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, a 10 km promenade with stunning views. New Plymouth has beautiful parks and excellent dining.
Check in to Hosking House
Hairy Feet Scenic Film Location Tour
Explore the many interesting sites of the Taranaki region. The Mt. Egmont/ Taranaki National Park is top of the list for pure nature. The conical shape of Mount Taranaki provides a dramatic backdrop to the city and has great hiking trails nearby. The denseness of the bush provides pure oxygen and the walking trails are wide and well maintained. As you walk through this Garden of Eden, reach out to touch the soft green mosses on the way.
Check in to Hosking House
Egmont National Park
Drop off your rental car at New Plymouth airport and take a domestic flight to Invercargill. From Invercargill, take another 25 minute flight to Halfmoon Bay at Stewart Island. The rugged pristine Stewart Island is actually 64 km long, and 40 km across at its widest point. The island has 700 km of rugged coastline, but only 20 km of road. There is much to see on this untouched piece of paradise.
Check in to Glendaruel B&B
Stewart Island is heaven for nature lovers and a guided nature tour is a must-do. Take a 20 min boat ride to Ulva Island, an idyllic, predator-free bird sanctuary for endangered birds. Ulva Island is home to many plant species and 266 hectares of great walking tracks. Your guide, Ulva Goodwillie is named after the Island and is a direct descendant of the first Maori to Stewart Island. She imparts her knowledge from a Maori and local Stewart Island perspective.
Check in to Glendaruel B&B
Ulva Island Guided Walk
Fly back to Invercargill in the morning and collect your rental car. Take the Southern Scenic Route to Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park and New Zealand’s hiking capital (193 km, 120 miles, 3 hours). The Fiordland region consists of 1.3 million hectares of untouched national heritage. It is a wonderland of cascading waterfalls and enormous fiords. Outdoor activities include trout fishing, kayaking and bush walks. On arrival, walk along the Waiau River on the Kepler Track. Begin from the ‘Rainbow Ridge’ swing bridge between Te Anau and Manapouri.
Check in to Te Anau Lodge
The fiords have a wealth of flora and fauna and New Zealand Fur Seals. Fiordland Crested Penguins can be seen on many of the small islets at the entrance of the fiord. Doubtful Sound is the deepest of the fiords and home to several magnificent waterfalls. Manapouri is the departure point for Doubtful Sound excursions. Choose either the privately owned luxury ‘Southern Secret’ boat or the coastal sailing ship ‘Fiordland Navigator’.
Fiordland Navigator is a replica of a traditional trading scow and is perfectly suited to cruising the fiords. Fiordland Navigator sleeps 70 people and provides private cabins with ensuites (twin or double bed configuration) or quad-share bunk style compartments with shared bathroom facilities. The viewing decks are spacious. There is a dining saloon, licensed bar and observation lounge.
Premium Option: MV Southern Secret is a 20 metre vessel with 3 levels and provides an exclusive Doubtful Sound Overnight experience. The fly bridge deck gives 360 degree views. The kitchen, gallery and living areas are located on the mid deck and the Passenger Cabins are on the lower deck. The vessel caters for 12 passengers only, each cabin having an ensuite bathroom with linen and towels. Guests should bring an overnight bag with personal belongings and warm clothing.
Check in to Real Journeys Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
Real Journeys Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
Travel via Queenstown to Clyde, Central Otago. (Manapouri to Clyde: 243 km, 150 miles, 3.5 hours). The scenery of Central Otago is typically tussock grassland within a powerful landscape of ancient mountains and fast flowing rivers. You can still pan for gold among the miners' old trails, but nowadays, the real gold is Pinot Noir wine. See the region’s remote sites and absorb the luxury of having much of this space to yourself.
The lovely historic town of Clyde is surrounded by fruit orchards and vineyards. More recently, huge areas of grapes have been planted with local vineyards producing internationally renowned Pinot Noir. Many historic buildings have been refurbished as cafes, bars, and accommodation. A typical example of this is the restored and stylish Olivers Lodge and restaurant. This area is famous for the 150 km Central Otago Rail Trail. If time permits, hire a bike to cycle a portion of this trail.
Check in to Olivers Central Otago Lodge & Stables
Take an easy drive from Clyde via Wanaka and Lindis Pass to Twizel or Lake Tekapo ( 220 km, 135 miles, 3.5 hours). The Aoraki Mount Cook Mackenzie region enjoys clear starry nights, sunny days and turquoise lakes. The Mt Cook village provides accommodation. The area offers 4WD safaris, boating on the glacier lakes, horse treks, fishing, scenic flights with snow landings and numerous walks. Accommodation is limited here, so your stay will vary between Twizel, Mt. Cook Village and Lake Tekapo.
Check in to Aoraki Lodge Bed and Breakfast
Air Safaris Tekapo
Glacier Explorers Aoraki Mt Cook
Alpine Guides Mt. Cook
The Helicopter Line Mount Cook
Day 13Arthur's Pass National Park
Continue north to Geraldine in South Canterbury on SH 79 - stop here and visit the ice cream, cheese and preserves shops). Drive via SH 73 to Wilderness Lodge Arthurs Pass. (Tekapo to Wilderness Lodge Arthurs Pass: 290 km, 180 miles, 4 hours). Drive through the expansive Canterbury Plains and to make your way up into the foothills of the Southern Alps. The eastern side of Arthur's Pass National Park has wide, riverbeds and vast beech forests. The western side of the park has deep river gorges flowing through dense rainforest. Down the middle is an alpine dreamworld of snow-covered peaks and glaciers.. Stay 2 nights at the Wilderness Lodge.
Day 14Arthur's Pass National Park
The Arthur's Pass National Park has many gigantic peaks over 2000 metres. All the main valleys of the park are steep sided, with the U-shaped profile typical of glacial action. Above the sub-alpine shrub lands, there are vast rows of alpine fields with wildflowers. Join expert guides to explore this spectacular 6000 acre property and the nearby Arthur's Pass National Park. See 'real' heartland sheep farmers at work and hike mountain trails. Two guided farm or nature activities are included in the Wilderness Lodge daily tariff.
Check in to Wilderness Lodge Arthur's Pass
Arthur's Pass National Park
Travel to Christchurch via the Canterbury Plains, a vast quilt of agricultural land (135 km, 84 miles, 2 hours). Depending on your flight time, you could still explore the Christchurch region. The French inspired Akaroa fishing village is only 1.5 hours drive away (one-way) and warrants a visit. Central Christchurch is being renovated but still provides innovative dining options. The surrounds provide a backyard of magnificent alpine heights, premium wineries and a gorgeous coastline.
Important to know: every part of this itinerary can be amended to your personal requirements. We can add, delete or amend. Just contact us and it will be done!
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