Have you ever wanted to swim with 400 dolphins in Kaikoura, swing Tarzan-like through canyons, or go skydiving over the Southern Alps? These are the things that the most ambitious bucket lists are made of and with a small company in New Zealand, you can easily cross a few life goals off your own list. Haka Tours is a tour operator owned by a team of passionate kiwis that specialises in small group tours, taking in the best of the North and South Islands.

I know, I know. You might be thinking: group tours? But hear me out.

I can’t count the many times I didn’t book a trip because I didn’t want to go alone and because I’m not crazy about being crammed in a huge bus with 50+ stuffy tourists. Recently, however, I’ve come across Haka Tours and because it sounded a little too good to be true, I decided to do a bit more research.

After a couple of hours of watching testimonial videos and searching though their numerous tour offers with wide eyes, I’m a little more than intrigued. In fact, I’m so impressed with the offers and convinced by their different itineraries that when I finally do make it to the South West Pacific, they’ll be my first point of contact.

Haka Tours

To start off, it’s worth noting that they are multi-award-winning. For the last 4 years running Haka Tours have been independently voted the number one tour operator in New Zealand. What makes makes them so popular? In addition to their native tour guides paired with unique itineraries, two main highlights I keep coming across: the size of the tour groups and the flexibility to build your own tour.


The folks at Haka Tours share my aversion to humongous coach buses. They’re modeled on a belief that small group travel makes for the best experiences. With a maximum of 16 people per group, I can imagine that this makes the tours end up feeling like much more of a road trip with a group of new friends rather than a formal organized tour. Plus, gender is split 50/50 which not only means that you probably meet a lot of cool people along the way – you also don’t have to worry about being the only girl on a three-week holiday – something that I personally find appealing. And with 70% of their travellers being solo, it’s likely you’ll be travelling with like-minded adventurers.


In addition to providing a safe and fun travel experience, Haka’s small groups provide yet another advantage to the massive tour bus option – they can literally get their smaller buses to places that other tour groups cannot. Not only does this save you precious time, it allows the groups to be flexible. You’re not trapped in a rigid itinerary. If it’s a hot day, and the group wants to stop for a swim at a local beach, they can do just that. See for yourself what people are saying about the group sizes.


Another big advantage of Haka Tours is the flexibility provided when building your own tour. With tours ranging anywhere from 3 to 24 days, customizing your travel adventure is really easy. And if you thought this sort of group tour was all pub crawls and parties, think again. With these tours you can book activities such as bungy-jumping, canyon swinging, paragliding, skydiving, horse trekking, acrobatic plane riding – the list goes on.

The best part? They take care of the details by managing your booking and taking you to and from the activity. If you’ve ever tried planning your own travel itinerary complete with exciting excursions, you know about the time and stress involved with booking everything individually. Not to mention the headache when things don’t go as planned.


Tours with Haka also include everything you need for a great time including transport, tour guide, breakfast, special inclusions such as a Maori Cultural night or unique bone carving experience and yes, even accommodation.

Accommodation is usually in a shared dorm in high quality backpackers but guests also have the option of upgrading to a private room if they like. They even have their own chain of upmarket backpackers called HakaLodge which looks welcoming and cozy – perfect to get that valuable R&R we all need when travelling.

haka lodge-2

For those seeking thrills as well as sightseeing, they also offer themed tours such as ski/snowboard trips or mountain biking excursions. Ski down the powdery slopes six different mountains in seven days or weave your way through the best MTB trails New Zealand has to offer.

Another appealing feature about Haka Tours is their flexible payment options. For anyone travelling on a dime, it’s easy to secure your trip with a small deposit and make payments month by month leading up to your trip.

Need more convincing? Me neither, but just for fun here is a video summing up the on-tour experience and here is a fellow Travelette sharing her own Haka story. You can also check out more videos and read about the many different itineraries on their website at hakatours.com.

Our small group of travellers take in the highlights of the North Island – beautiful beaches, Maori culture, awe…

Posted by Haka Tours New Zealand on Monday, September 15, 2014



Now all that’s left to do is plan a trip. Who’s with me?


Disclaimer: This post was created in collaboration with Haka Tours