New Zealand is home to massive assortment of tour operators, ranging from private local companies to larger entities with a national reach. If you’re trying to find the best option for your trip, here are 10 of the country’s most renowned options.
The Great Journeys of New Zealand
The Great Journeys of New Zealand is the tourism division of state-owned KiwiRail. It’s famous for scenic train journeys like the iconic TranzAlpine in Christchurch and the Northern Explorer from Auckland to Wellington. The tour company is also in charge of the Interisland passenger ferry services from Wellington to the South Island town of Picton.
Along with being the key provider for bus travel between cities, Intercity also offers guided day tours of some of the country’s most popular destinations such as Auckland, Hobbiton, the Waitomo Caves and Milford Sound. The coach line also offers different travel passes for those yearning for a more flexible or self-guided options.
Gray Line is another company offering various guided tours across the nation. The coach operator organises half and full-day trips of Auckland; does a full day journey to Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves; takes visitors to the stunning Bay of Islands; offers expeditions to the magical Milford Sound; and has a special trip from Queenstown to Christchurch via the majestic Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.
GreatSights is owned by Intercity and has more than 50 tour packages available. Highlights include dolphin cruises in the Bay of Islands; a Milford Sound day cruise; tours from Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers to Wanaka; and various other specialist trips focused on scenic highlights, city sightseeing, nature and wildlife as well as food and gourmet experiences.
Hiking New Zealand
Hiking New Zealand has been offering their insight into the country’s finest treks since 1993. The company does guided tours of the Great Walks; organises several excursions for visitors who might not have had previous multi-day hiking experience; and offers special adventure packages for women travellers wanting to connect with other like-minded trekkers.
Flying Kiwi Tours
Here’s a good option for the thrillseeking backpackers among us. Flying Kiwi Tours has been making its mark in the tourism sector since 1988 and is known for its budget-friendly hiking, cycling and adventure experiences. The company also offers special camping trips for those wanting to truly immerse themselves in the great New Zealand outdoors.
Established in 2007, Haka Tours is an award-winning operator that offers mountain bike expeditions across both islands, extended adventure trips, plus skiing and snowboarding tours. On top of that, the company organises private tours for school groups, families and corporate trips; it also owns a series of backpacker hostels and hotels across the country.
Adventure South New Zealand
Since its inception in 1986, Adventure South New Zealand has become one of the main go-tos for South Island cycling and walking tours. If you want to explore some of the country’s most spectacular multi-day cycling routes, the company can guide you across the Alps 2 Ocean trail, the Otago Rail Trail, the Nelson Great Taste Cycle Trail and the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail.
TIME Unlimited Tours
TIME Unlimited has won multiple national and international awards for its unique cultural experiences and luxury tours. Auckland is the main area of focus for the company, but TIME Unlimited also offers day excursions and multi-day trips nearby. Highlights include Hobbiton and Waitomo tours, a four-day Maori cultural journey from Auckland to Northland, and several journeys to popular North Island destinations like the Coromandel, Rotorua and the Bay of Islands.
Odyssey New Zealand
For the food and wine enthusiasts, an Odyssey New Zealand tour will be an absolute treat. The company offers gourmet experiences in the Hawke’s Bay and Queenstown regions, both of which are globally renowned for their vineyards and wineries. Along with getting to taste some of New Zealand’s top varietals, visitors will be able to relish a smorgasbord of locally produced cheeses, seafood, meat, bread and more.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.