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wildlife & nature • 13 days, 12 nights

New Zealand: Māori Traditions & Natural Marvels

New Zealand
wildlife & nature • 13 days, 12 nights

New Zealand: Māori Traditions & Natural Marvels

New Zealand
See Dates
  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
  • Travel Style
    Outdoor Expedition
from $7,250 USD per person
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Traveling with Atlas Obscura during COVID-19

When you join one of our trips, we want you to have peace of mind.

Learn more about:

Traveling with Atlas Obscura amid COVID-19 How We’re Adapting Our Trips Destination Requirements (via Embassy Pages)
Trip Overview

Prepare for some of the most stunning natural wonders you've ever encountered as you take in dramatic mountain landscapes, glistening bioluminescent grottos, and fascinating geothermal phenomena. Venturing from the North to the South Island, you'll enjoy memorable insider experiences with local Māori communities, magical panoramic views, and curious natural wonders. You'll travel by traditional Māori canoes to the mythic Mount Maunganui and take a helicopter to a glacier-fed waterfall worthy of a scene from Lord of the Rings.

  • Explore a hidden bioluminescent glow worm grotto by kayak without crowds
  • Experience bubbling mud pools, geysers and hot springs at Wai-O-Tapu in Rotorua
  • Dance a ceremonial Māorian haka
  • See the Southern Alps on one of the world’s most spectacular train rides
  • Take a helicopter for a remote “Middle Earth” waterfall picnic
  • Be a part of the Mt. Maunganui community at a backyard barbecue


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Trip Leader

Lee Saunders
Lee's passion for showing people New Zealand is evident as soon as you meet him. Having grown up in and around Queenstown and traveling the length and breadth of New Zealand, he knows the country like the back of his hand. Lee grew up on a sheep and deer farm in the lower South Island. In 1986 he moved with his family to Queenstown where his father worked on the famous Clyde dam. Lee played rugby and did rowing at school in Dunedin. After school Lee worked a variety of careers including forestry, road construction, and running a large bitumen sealing crew in Australia. He returned to New Zealand in 2014 and started guiding and the rest is history. He lives in Queenstown with his partner, his 7-year-old rugby-loving son, and their energetic black Labrador.

Additional Info


The listed price of this trip is per person based on double occupancy.

The listed price does not include the internal domestic flight from Rotorua to Christchurch. This flight is priced separately at $180 per person and will automatically be added to your booking and final balance.

Traveling Solo?

You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. We have two options for you:

Shared Room (subject to the latest Covid-19 guidelines): You'll be matched with another solo traveler of the same gender.

Private Room: Have your own room, subject to availability, for a supplemental cost of $1785. After booking your trip, please request a private room when you fill out your traveler information form and we’ll add the option to your booking and final balance.

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking two to six miles over the course of each day, spending time in nature, remaining on their feet for long periods of time, and sometimes walking on uneven terrain.

Arrival & Departure

Our trip begins on Day 1 with a morning pick-up and group departure by road from Auckland, either at the Auckland Airport or a designated city center location. We recommend you arrive at least the night before or early in the morning of the day the tour starts so you can meet your guide and fellow travelers in time for the morning departure from Auckland.

Collection Points (approx. times):

8:30 a.m.:  QT Auckland Hotel, Viaduct Harbour

9:00 a.m.: Auckland Airport

Our trip concludes on the morning of Day 13 with a transfer from Glenorchy to Queenstown. You’ll be  dropped off either at the Queenstown airport in time for domestic flights departing in the afternoon, or in central Queenstown if you are extending your travels on your own. 

Drop off Points (approx. times):

11:30am: Queenstown Park Hotel

12:00pm: Queenstown Airport

  • Accommodation throughout the trip at comfortable local hotels
  • All meals as described in the itinerary
  • Transportation throughout the trip, including arrival and departure airport transfers
  • An experienced Trip Leader to accompany you for the duration of the trip as well as special guests throughout
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events
  • A curious group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers!
  • 24/7 emergency assistance during your trip, provided by Global Rescue (terms apply)
  • Special access to unique places and extraordinary experiences
  • Gratuities for local staff, restaurants, hotels, and drivers / All tips and gratuities except for accompanying Trip Leader
  • Transportation and flights to Auckland and home from Queenstown
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages
  • Passport and visa fees, if applicable
  • COVID-19 testing requirements
  • Customary gratuities for Trip Leader
  • Internal flight Rotorua / Christchurch (priced separately)
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Trip FAQ

In New Zealand, summer lasts from November until March, with January and February being the warmest months. The rain in New Zealand is geographic in nature; the west coast is wetter than the east, so you’ll typically experience a mixed bag as you move throughout the country. Rain can happen at any time of year, and it is not uncommon to experience three seasons in one day. We like to think that there's no such thing as bad weather—only bad preparation! Pack well and you'll be happy.

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Upcoming Departures

  • Dec 1–Dec 13, 2023
    from $7,250
    Few Spots Left
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