Style : Group tour
New Zealand Adventure tour

New Zealand Adventure

National Geographic Expeditions Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
57%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included. Moderate
Lodging Level: The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury (5*)
12 days
From: $ 7,695 $ 641 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Sea kayak among dolphins and fur seals on the coast of Abel Tasman National Park.
  • Trek across Franz Josef Glacier, exploring the maze of crevasses and towering icefalls.
  • Go tubing through caves lit up by glowworms.
  • Stargaze and watch for wildlife on an overnight cruise in glorious Milford Sound.

Short Description

New Zealand’s South Island is split by the snowcapped spine of the Southern Alps, fringed with karst cave systems and wild beaches, laced with gorgeous fjords, and iced with glaciers. It’s no wonder that the “adventure capital of the world” is found here. Set off on a multi-sport adventure, paddling along the pristine northern coast in a sea kayak, hiking coastal trails between soaring mountains and the Tasman Sea, trekking across a glacier that descends through a rain forest, and black-water rafting on a subterranean river. Get to know the charm and personality of towns like Nelson and Wanaka, and opt to try bungee jumping in Queenstown, birthplace of the commercial sport. Then cap off the adventure with an overnight cruise on the sublime Milford Sound.

Style Group tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Lodging Level Luxury (5*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Nelson
End City Queenstown

Itinerary

Day 1: Nelson, New Zealand

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation:DeLorenzo’s Apartments Nelson

Arrive in Nelson, a sunny hub of artists and craftspeople on the northern shores of the South Island. Gather for an orientation at our waterfront hotel and enjoy time to discover this vibrant town before our welcome dinner tonight.

Day 2: Abel Tasman National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge

Travel to Kaiteriteri and catch a water taxi into Abel Tasman National Park. Set out on the Abel Tasman Coast Track, declared one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” by the Department of Conservation. Hike through lush native forests and along granite and limestone cliffs and pristine gold-sand beaches, and arrive at our eco-lodge on the edge of Awaroa Bay. (4 miles hiking, 3–4 hours)

Day 3: Abel Tasman National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Awaroa Lodge

Spend the day exploring the spectacular Tonga Island Marine Reserve by sea kayak. Paddle into inlets and intimate coves, keeping an eye out for dolphins, fur seals, and little blue penguins. From our take-out point on the beach at Onetahuti, hike the Coast Track back to our lodge. (1 mile hiking, 1 hour; 4–5 miles paddling, 4–5 hours)

Day 4: West Coast/Punakaiki

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort

After a leisurely morning, return to Kaiteriteri by water taxi. Follow the Buller River gorge to the wild west coast, where the snowcaps of the Southern Alps rise above the rugged shores of the Tasman Sea. Time permitting, stop at Cape Foulwind to see its resident fur seal colony before checking into our beachfront hotel in Punakaiki.

Day 5: Paparoa National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Beachfront Hotel Hokitika

Ride the Charleston Nile River Rainforest Train into a jungle-covered karst canyon to our black-water cave rafting adventure. Head through a jagged wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites to an underground river, where we’ll float in innertubes through passages lit up eerily by glowworms. Return to Punakaiki for a visit to the fantastic Pancake Rocks, then continue to Hokitika and enjoy free time to wander through town or stroll the beach.

Day 6: Okarito

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Hit the trail in Okarito, taking in a magnificent panorama of wild coastline and soaring, icy peaks including, on a clear day, Mount Cook, the highest summit in New Zealand. Continue into Westland Tai Poutini National Park, part of southwest New Zealand’s extensive World Heritage area. (3 miles hiking, 2–3 hours)

Day 7: Franz Josef Glacier

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Set out on a hike this morning with our guide to explore the Franz Josef area by foot. Weather permitting, perhaps choose to book an optional flightseeing helicopter ride for views of the glacier (additional cost). This afternoon, relax at a café, or enjoy the glacier hot pools. (2 miles hiking, 2–3 hours)

Day 8: Southern Alps/Wanaka

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Grand Mecure Oakridge Resort

Travel into the Southern Alps today, crossing the Main Divide on our way to the Southern Lakes District and the charming town of Wanaka. Trace the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, and stop for short hikes along our route.

Day 9: Mt Aspiring National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Grand Mecure Oakridge Resort

Follow the Matukituki River valley into Mount Aspiring National Park. Spend the day hiking the Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain tracks, and take in stunning alpine views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring National Park. (6 miles hiking, 4–6 hours)

Day 10: Queenstown

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Scenic Suites Queenstown

Drive to Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world. Enjoy free time this afternoon to visit a local winery, go on a hike, or try out an adventure sport—bungee jumping, jet boating, and skydiving are just a few of the possibilities.

Day 11: Milford Sound

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Milford Mariner

Journey into Fiordland National Park today, taking short hikes along the way. In the afternoon, set sail on the Milford Mariner on the magnificent Milford Sound, cruising the full length with a nature guide. Celebrate our adventure amid the majesty of this fabled fjord with a farewell dinner on board.

Day 12: Queenstown/U.S.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the ship before returning to Queenstown. This afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 7,695
Price Per Day: $ 641 per day

30 National Geographic Expeditions Travel Reviews & Ratings

57%
3.5 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 16
Great 0
Average 3
Disappointing 5
Terrible 6
Value
3.3
Guide
3.7
Activities
3.8
Lodging
3.6
Transportation
3.6
Meals
3.4

New Zealand Adventure

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Company Reviews

Inconsistent information, No Refund

2.0
Details
Value2.0
Guide2.0
Activities2.0
Lodging2.0
Transportation2.0
Meals2.0
We booked a National Geographic expedition Holland and Belgium by River. The promotional literature promised a 14-day deposit refund window. The “invoice” was marked “non-refundable” deposit. We completed the National Geographic Traveler Information. About 8 days later we received the “Travel Agreement” to be signed. We both approved and signed the National Geographic documents. A Cruise Line Travel agreement was enclosed but had no signature line. This document contained language which was unacceptable. We submitted the signed NatGeo documents. The following day we canceled the trip due to the unacceptable Cruise Line language. Cancellation was made 12 days after booking and no deposit was returned. We were told on the phone that the refund deadline was triggered by the 14 day window OR signatures on the Travel Agreement which ever came first. This was NEW information. To date, we have received NO refund of our $1000. We cancelled our trip within the advertised 14 day window.
Read more

How to Ruin a Trip to Norway

2.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities2.0
Lodging2.0
Transportation3.0
Meals1.0
My husband and I took the Norway "Trains and Fjords" tour because neither of wanted to drive the twisty roads to see the majestic areas and wanted to avoid a cruise ship. The main problem was that our guide was seriously sick -- coughing and hacking and barely able to talk. This was in Norway, where people can take sick leave! Did Nat Geo not have any backup plan? At one stop, the guide left us to go to a pharmacy. There was a sick passenger, too, and instead of protecting the rest of the passengers from getting infected, the guide seated the sick passenger in tight quarters with the rest of us. Neither of them did anything to cover their coughs or avoid exposing the other tour members. My husband and I both got sick, and had to leave the tour early and we had a few thousand dollars extra in travel expenses because of that, on top of the ridiculous cost of the trip.
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TOO MUCH TOO FAST

3.0
Details
Value3.0
Guide4.0
Activities5.0
Lodging3.0
Transportation3.0
Meals3.0
Firstly, it was my understanding, and confirmed in a phone conversation with the company’s representative prior to our departure, that the schedule of events would go at our pace. We found this to not be the case. For example; we arrived in Cairo on October 25th, from Tel Aviv, Israel, later in the night than scheduled due to an airline delay. We were met at the airport by your representative and taken to a hotel 45 minutes from the airport. We checked in shortly after midnight. The representative said that we would “meet at 4:00” to be picked up to fly to Luxor. I thought he meant 4:00 PM, but no, it was 4:00 AM!!! We had less than 3 hours sleep before we were whisked off to our next destination. (By the way, the representative spent those few hours waiting in the hotel lobby; he didn’t even get a night’s rest.)

We arrived in Luxor, were taken to the hotel, deposited our luggage (the room wasn’t ready), had breakfast, and then met our tour guide at 10:00 AM for our first tour. We were exhausted, but mustered our energy for the occasion.

Is there a good reason why Cairo wasn’t the first city on our tour? In retrospect, it should have been for many reasons, not the least of which was the logistics described above.

All right, so now we’re in Luxor, and by afternoon we’re ensconced in a luxurious hotel with a magnificent view of the Nile River. There’s a swimming pool that we’re looking forward to relaxing by the next day during some much needed down time during the free time described in the itinerary; exactly what we expected from National Geographic. But instead, that evening we were told by our guide that we needed to have our luggage ready to check out of the hotel the next morning to relocate to the Nile River ship Minerva (coincidentally, owned by the same company as the hotel). We obliged, and in the morning we were taken on a tour with the luggage in the car, and then brought to the ship in the early afternoon. Our four suitcases were put in a room that was barely large enough to contain the bed, but the view of the river from our room was good enough to overlook this inconvenience, at least for the moment. I looked forward to resting in our cabin in the afternoon because I was exhausted. In fact, I was so tired that I have little recollection of that morning’s tour until I look at the photos to affirm that I was actually where the itinerary said I would be.

We went to lunch in the ship’s dining room and returned to our cabin to find that our view of the Nile was obliterated by a ship that had tied up alongside our own. This is now our view (see photo) and the blackout drapes that were drawn to hide it made the small cabin a crowded, dark dungeon.

Furthermore, that ship’s bunker oil fumes were now in the air conditioning system of our ship and flowing freely into our cabin making me nauseous and giving me a headache. I complained but there was nothing to do about it.

And if this wasn’t bad enough, the sound of the neighboring ship that accompanied the smell was intolerable.

Other issues I had with our cabin on the ship included;
- The bypass closet door wouldn’t stay shut
- There was a leak under the bathroom sink
- The carpet in the area near the bathroom was wet
- The toilet seat lid came off repeatedly
- Wifi on board the ship was only in the main lobby area, and was poor at best

I talked to the ship’s desk clerk, and he assured me that things would be taken care of shortly. They never were.

This doesn’t take into consideration that the buffet style food served on board was repetitive if you didn’t take the offered main course, which was usually meat (I don’t eat meat).

Oh, and I didn’t yet mention that our ship wouldn’t be leaving its mooring until the next day! We had traded a luxurious hotel for this!

With that said, it begs the question of why we were taken out of a luxurious hotel 24 hours in advance of the ship sailing away from Luxor? No pool to sit by, no view of the sunset over the banks of the Nile, no quiet room in which to sleep, and no dinner of delicious food. Certainly not what we expected from a Nat Geo Private Tour for which we had paid a premium price!

Unrelated to these issues, NatGeo’s survey asked if we felt that our health was well-protected. “No” is the short answer. A fuller reply is that we both got Covid on this trip; my husband first, then inevitably, myself three days later. We had avoided catching it for more than 2.6 years, and now we had it. I realize that one takes risks when going out in the world, and I certainly don’t blame NatGeo for our getting sick. But their people weren’t wearing masks until I asked them to, mostly to protect themselves from us. One agent who met us at the airport when we arrived back in Cairo from Aswan, now openly sick with Covid, disappeared for 10 minutes to purchase a mask when I told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to wear one around us.

Overall, NatGeo profited from our illness as we were too unwell to utilize the dining allowance at the Cairo Ritz Carlton or to go to out for most meals offered with our guide. The one restaurant I was taken to for dinner without my husband was a touristy place with fake grapes leaves hanging from fake arbors. When a 35 person tour group trouped in past us it told me all I needed to know. My bowl of pasta with a tomato sauce not much thicker than tomato juice certainly couldn’t have cost more than $10, if that much. Then, the next day I was too sick to go out at all, my husband, who was feeling better by then, went out alone with the tour guide for the day, but it’s my understanding that they skipped all meals.

All in all, there were many aspects of the trip that were memorable for all the right reasons, but also memorable for the above mentioned wrong reasons. For us to have paid as much as we did begs the question, “Was it worth the expense for this private tour experience?” As seasoned world travelers, I’m hard pressed to reply in the affirmative.
Read more

Best Part of Trip was Cancelled

2.0
Details
Value2.0
Guide3.0
Activities1.0
Lodging2.0
Transportation2.0
Meals2.0
signed up to travel the Columbia-Snake River to visit Hell's Canyon. That part of the trip was cancelled by Nat Geo without notifying the passengers. Instead we visited a farm market. Wow, big deal, I can do that at home. It was a major disappointment and of course NG did not give any refunds for leaving out a major part of the trip.
Read more

Cancel my trip but no refund

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
This company canceled my trip due to COVID but failed to refund all money so I am out $1500 for Lindblad portion, and will never travel with NatGeo again. They have lost my trust as a company that puts travelers best interests first.
Read more

DO NOT BOOK WITH NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC - LOST MY TRIP MONEY

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
I booked a trip to South Africa with National Geographic... what I thought was a reputable company. A couple weeks before I was supposed to go, they canceled the tour.

They have not refunded any portion of my money. They said the airfare was non-refundable and that I couldn't even have a flight credit. But they are the ones that canceled the trip. However Delta told me that a refund check was sent to the agency. Then they said they would refund the other portion of the trip expense, but it may take 6 months. It is completely unacceptable. The entire 100% of the trip should be refunded and should have been refunded the day they canceled the trip.

The business is not responsive to this. I filed a complaint with the BBB and they did not respond. I sent a 30 day demand letter in preparation of filing in court against them. So far no resolution.

I expect a 100% refund AND I share this story to strongly advise against anyone ever booking a national geographic trip of any kind.

I will be posting this review online in every spot I can find.
Read more

Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

8 to 16 people

Trip ID#:

newzeanat

What's excluded

  • International airfare
  • Optional gratuities
  • Personal items

Meals Included

11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches and 9 Dinners

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