Aotearoa Explorer TravelPass

Aotearoa Explorer

Experience the best of New Zealand, from the winterless north to the glaciers and fiords of the south! Take a dolphin cruise in the Bay of Islands, tour the famous Hobbiton Movie Set and stop in Rotorua and Taupo. Discover Napier's art deco beauty and Wellington's many charms, then cross Cook Strait and explore the South Island, from sunny Picton to historic Christchurch and the scenic highlights of Queenstown.

Carry on up the remote and beautiful West Coast, discovering glaciers and historic gold-mining towns before returning through the Southern Alps to Christchurch on the scenic TranzAlpine railway. OPTION: Go from Christchurch to Queenstown via Mount Cook.

Need accommodation?

Whether you want to stay in a backpacker hostel, a four-star hotel or a bed and breakfast, you can get the best New Zealand accommodation deals here.

Buy your Aotearoa Explorer pass here


Add on travel via Mount Cook


Minimum 9 days of travel

Start anywhere en-route

Interislander ferry and TranzAlpine travel included

Includes Bay of Islands Dolphin Cruise, Hobbiton Movie Set and Milford Sound day tours

New Zealand National Pass 1

Itinerary details

Your pass is divided into the following 'legs'. You can book travel in either direction (i.e. follow the itinerary from top to bottom, or bottom to top). You can also stop as often as you like along the way on each leg (for example, on the  Auckland to Paihia leg, you can book Auckland to Wellsford, Wellsford to Whangarei, Whangarei to Paihia). 

IMPORTANT: The Milford Sound cruise and entrance to the Hobbiton Movie Set are shown as 'extras' on the bus services  for these tours. You must select and add these extras to your cart in order to book them. You can also add other extras (like meals) to your tour in the same way. At the checkout we'll book the trip on your pass and you can pay for any extras that aren't included in your pass.

When booking tours you must book to and from the stops shown. View our TravelPass tours page for more information.

Auckland to Paihia

Journey from Auckland to Paihia in the beautiful Bay of Islands, the birthplace of the nation.

Bay of Islands Hole in the Rock Cruise (Paihia-Paihia)

The Bay of Islands is a haven for marine life, including dolphins and whales. Seek them out on a half-day cruise around the Bay exploring its scenic highlights.

Paihia to Auckland

Return to Auckland for some urban exploration – check out the revamped Britomart and Wynyard Quarter precincts or stroll along Ponsonby Road for boutique shopping.

Auckland to Matamata

Experience city life and black sand beaches in Auckland, then take a trip to Middle-earth – you’ll find it just outside Matamata.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour (Matamata-Matamata)

See where Sir Peter Jackson and his team recreated the home of Bilbo, Frodo and their friends for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.

Matamata to Rotorua

In Rotorua you can see crazy geothermal activity, get adventurous with some extreme activities, or just relax in a mineral hot pool.

Rotorua to Taupo

Chill out at Lake Taupo and enjoy the outdoors – it’s a great place for fishing, boating, hiking and snow sports.

Taupo to Napier

Visit sunny Napier, popular for its art deco buildings and award-winning vineyards.

Napier to Wellington

At the bottom of the North Island, New Zealand’s capital city is a great destination for food, culture and sightseeing. Explore the harbour, visit the Museum of Te Papa and party all night on Courtenay Place.

Wellington to Picton (Interislander)

Cross over to Picton in the South Island on the Interislander ferry (included in your pass).

Picton to Christchurch PLUS Kaikoura day trip

Travel to Christchurch - a city on the rise. Due to road closures on the coastal road between Picton and Kaikoura, we've added a day trip from Christchurch to Kaikoura and back onto this itinerary so you can experience its charms.

Christchurch to Queenstown

The road from Christchurch to Queenstown will take you through lush plains and high country tussock, past snowy mountain peaks and turquoise lakes.

Milford Sound Day Tour (Queenstown-Queenstown)

A scenic day tour from Queenstown to Milford Sound with a cruise on the fiord, lunch is also included in your TravelPass.

Queenstown to Franz Josef

Continue your journey up the wild West Coast, stopping at Franz Josef to visit an ancient glacier.

Franz Josef to Greymouth

The West Coast is a special part of New Zealand – remote, unspoiled and wildly beautiful.

Greymouth to Christchurch (TranzAlpine train)

Board the TranzAlpine at Greymouth and cross through the Southern Alps back to Christchurch on a world famous rail journey. 

OPTION: Get ready for some awe-inspiring scenery – choose to travel via Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, on your way to Queenstown.