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The 10 Best Tour Companies in New Zealand

South Island camping trip with Flying Kiwi Tours
South Island camping trip with Flying Kiwi Tours | © Chris Reynolds / Flying Kiwi Tours / Flickr
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.

The TranzAlpine train © mat79 / Flickr

Intercity

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.

Intercity double-decker coach © InterCity Group / Wikimedia Commons

Gray Line

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.

Road towards Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, New Zealand © Bernard Spragg / Flickr

GreatSights

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.

Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand © jipe7 / Flickr

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.

Hikers on the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand's nine Great Walks © Richard Meutstege / Flickr

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.

South Island camping trip with Flying Kiwi Tours © Chris Reynolds / Flying Kiwi Tours / Flickr

Haka Tours

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.

Skiing in New Zealand © Tourism New Zealand / Flickr

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.

Cyclist riding the Alps 2 Ocean trail © Holiday Photos / Flickr

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.

Traditional Maori wood carving inside Auckland War Memorial Museum © a200/a77Wells / Flickr

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.

Linden Estate Vineyard, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand © purdyrns / Flickr