Ride Rail Carts Through the Forgotten World on This Epic New Zealand Trip to Celebrate the Country's Reopening
As New Zealand reopens its borders to international travelers — including Americans on May 2 — Australia-based small group tour operator Intrepid Travel has ramped up its offerings to its neighboring nation. Among their new trips is the five-day Forgotten World Adventure tour through King Country in the Whanganui region of the North Island.
The highlight of the adventure-filled itinerary is a day at Forgotten World Adventures experiencing a ride through 10 hand-built brick tunnels — one nearly a mile in length — and more than 25 bridges along an old railway line running between Stratford and Taumarunui, passing through both bushlands and hilly outcrops. In Tokirima, guests will enjoy a ploughman's lunch with homemade baked treats before setting off on a seasonal visit to Lauren's Lavender Farm followed by a jaunt to Tongariro National Park, with the option to hike to Waitonga Falls.
The tour also includes a jet boat ride to Mangapurua Landing in Whanganui National Park for a guided Bridge to Nowhere walk to the Valley of Abandoned Dreams, as well as a canoe trip down the Whanganui River. The new trip starts at $1,605 per person, including three nights in a hotel and one in a lodge, plus four breakfasts, three lunches, and a dinner.
Also offered on the North Island is the five-day Bay of Islands Adventure (from $1,220), which starts in Auckland with visits to ancient kauri tree forests, the seaside town of Russell, Poor Knights Islands, and a glow worm cave — plus opportunities to see fur seals, dolphins, whales, and penguins. For those who prefer pedaling, there's also the new four-day Cycle Otago Rail Trail (from $915) along the nation's oldest rail trail with stops in the former gold mining towns of Alexandra, Omakau, Wedderburn, and Hyde.
Intrepid Travel also added two premium-level tours — with upgraded accommodations and experiences — to its New Zealand collection, one on each island. The eight-day Premium New Zealand North Island itinerary (from $2,810) travels from Auckland to Wellington, with visits to Hobbiton from The Lord of the Rings, Rotorua geothermal park, Lake Taupo, and Tongariro's volcanic areas, plus a private catamaran ride in Wellington Harbor. The 10-day Premium New Zealand South Island trip (from $3,220) goes from Christchurch to Queenstown, bringing travelers to glaciers and lakes, as well as on a Milford Sound cruise and brewery tasting.
The New Zealand tours are just some of Intrepid's new itineraries, which also include a collection of eight new itineraries in the U.S. that celebrate diversity, including ones focused on Black communities, designed with the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative, and Indigenous culture, with representatives from the Crow and Lakota nations. The company is also offering $1 deposits through March on more than 1,000 trips for travel by the end of the year.