19
days

New Zealand Showcase Coach Tour

Experience the best of New Zealand. See the natural beauty and unique icons of both New Zealand's North and South Islands. Discover incredible attractions such as famous Hobbiton, Napier’s unique art deco architecture, sunny Blenheim and scenic Milford Sound.

Hole in the Rock Cruise, TranzAlpine Rail Journey, Steam Boat Lake Wakatipu, Cruise Milford Sound, Larnach Castle, Hobbiton Movie Set Tour, Thermal Mud Pools and Geyser, Maori Hangi and Concert.

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Itinerary

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1
Welcome to Auckland New Zealand

‘Haere Mai’ … Welcome to New Zealand!

Welcome to Auckland ‘The City of Sails’. On arrival in Auckland you will be met by a tour representative and transferred to Sky City Hotel your accommodation for this evening. Depending on the time of your arrival you may have time to explore New Zealand’s largest city or just relax in style and enjoy the SKYCITY complex before meeting your travel companions for dinner.

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation Skycity Hotel Auckland 1 night 

2
Paihia - Gateway to Coastal Paradise

This morning we board our luxury coach to travel north of Auckland along the scenic Hibiscus Coast highway to Parry Kauri Park. Kauri timber is revered by New Zealanders, once harvested as spars for sailing ships used for construction, and sort after for its gum, the native Kauri Tree is now protected. These magnificent trees have been known to survive hundreds, some even thousands, of years! At the Matakohe Kauri Museum you will see some examples of beautifully carved colonial kauri furniture, stunning timber panels and carvings.

After stopping to explore Whangarei, New Zealand’s northern-most city, we continue on to Waitangi where we are guided through the historic Waitangi Treaty Reserve the site where New Zealand’s most significant document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed between the British Crown and Maori Chiefs. 

The newly established Museum of Waitangi houses the stories of Waitangi including documents and treasures relating to the original Treaty signing and Treaty House. The original house has been restored and now showcases life in the 1840s, the date of the Treaty signing. 

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands 2 nights

3
Bay of Islands Leisure Time

Today is your day to explore the surrounding areas at your leisure. If Golf is your passion Kauri Cliffs, awarded Best New International Golf Course is a must. Cruise the harbour, swim with dolphins, experience the thrill of Big Game Fishing or sail aboard the schooner R. Tucker Thompson. The nearby town of Russell, once known as the debauched ‘Hell Hole of the Pacific’, is today home to fabulous restaurants, cafes, boutique shopping, unique heritage buildings and stunning gardens. Kerikeri, settled by missionaries in the early 1800s, is home to some of New Zealand’s earliest buildings and an epicurean’s citrus delight.    

Alternative excursions available in the Bay of Islands:

Historical Island Cruise Diving Rainbow Warrior 4WD Adventure Cape Reinga
Sailing the Islands Dolphin Swimming Giant Kauri Forest Walk
Cultural Tour of Waitangi Golf at Kauri Cliffs Sea Kayaking the Bay

Meals: Breakfast

4
Relax on-board in the Bay

This morning we board a luxury catamaran to take a scenic cruise to Cape Brett, the site of New Zealand’s first shipwreck and the historic Cape Brett Lighthouse settlement, and Piercy Island – known by the locals as ‘The Hole in the Rock’. Eroded over centuries by weather and waves Piercy Island is one of New Zealand’s naturally beautiful and in conservation terms ‘pristine’ islands. Keep an eye for dolphins!
After returning to Paihia we will travel back to Auckland where once again you can indulge in the exuberance of the Sky City Hotel overnight.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Skycity Hotel Auckland 1 night

5
Picturesque Rural New Zealand

You will appreciate why Auckland is called ‘The City of Sails’ as we take in the city sights this morning. Spanning the Waitemata Harbour is Auckland Harbour Bridge an Auckland icon sometimes described as a coat hanger due to its shape. On a short stroll along Tamaki Drive to the promenade at Mission Bay you can view Rangitoto (Bloody Sky) Island the largest extinct volcano in the Auckland volcanic field.

Our venue for lunch today is at Longlands Farm, a working dairy farm in the fertile Waikato region. A country style lunch is hosted by a rural New Zealand family at the Longlands restaurant surrounded by elegant botanical and kitchen gardens.

For fans of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films this afternoon’s visit to Hobbiton, one of the outdoor ’sets’ in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, will be the highlight of the day. The children’s fantasy novels by J. R. R. Tolkien inspired the multi-award films and Hobbits are said to be simple people who love socializing and eating up to six meals a day!

Later this afternoon we travel to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua 2 nights

6
Rotorua - The Pacific Rim of Fire

The day begins with a Gondola ride above the city to breakfast at Skyline Rotorua. Sated you can choose to glide back by gondola or ride the luge, part go-cart, part toboggan, twisting and turning down through the Redwood forest.
Next stop is the Agrodome where you can experience a glimpse of rural New Zealand life with a demonstration of sheep shearing and dog herding along with trying your hand at milking a cow!

Back in the city we visit Te Puia, the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, situated in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Te Puia is a ‘living workshop’ dedicated to the preservation of traditional Maori Arts and Crafts and welcomes visitors to view traditional crafts including woodcarving, weaving, Pounamu  (Jade) and bone carving, and Waka (canoe) construction. Te Puia is set amongst bubbling mud pools, wondrous erupting geysers and steaming hot pools that were traditionally for cooking and bathing.

You will have some free time to explore the historic grounds and immerse yourself in the culture with its many myths and legends. This evening we will experience a traditional meal, of meats and root vegetables, cooked in a ‘hangi’, or earth pit.

Meals: Breakfast and Specialty Dinner

7
Napier - The Art Deco Capital

Heading south on the Thermal Explorer Highway we stop at Huka Falls before reaching Lake Taupo. The view of the falls is breathtaking as the mighty Waikato River flows from Lake Taupo and channels itself through a narrow gorge before dramatically falling onto exposed rocks causing foaming, and sometimes deafening, rapids. Lake Taupo is New Zealand and Australasia’s largest fresh water lake located in a volcanically active crater. In the summer months it is a mecca for trout fishing, and water sports and the gateway to the ski and snowboarding fields in winter. Next we cross the Kaingaroa Plains before starting the climb through hill country and descending into the Esk Valley and arriving in Napier ‘The Art Deco Capital’.

After a devastating earthquake in 1931 the inner city of Napier was rebuilt predominately in the style of Art Deco, an arts and design style that was popular from the 1920s-1940s. A guide will walk us through the central city amongst many of the buildings that display stunning Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical style architecture. There will be some free time to soak up the city’s ambience before we travel south to the Wairarapa region where our accommodation for the night is at Copthorne Hotel & Resort Solway Park in Masterton.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Copthorne Hotel and Resort Solway Park 1 night

8
Greytown - Wellington

Enjoy a leisurely start to the day before traveling to Greytown with its Victorian architecture, tree lined streets and numerous antique shops. After a short drive through the scenic Rimutaka Mountain Range we arrive in New Zealand’s capital city Wellington. Before settling in for the night at the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Wellington we tour the highlights of Wellington city capturing the heritage and culture that according to Lonely Planet makes Wellington the ‘Coolest Little Capital in the World’.  

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor 1 night

9
Crusie Cook Straight - Marlborough Sound

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Container of Treasures) is located in a landmark building on Wellington’s waterfront.  Architecturally designed to represent New Zealand’s past and evolving identity Te Papa is known as a ‘waharoa’ or ‘gateway ‘into New Zealand’s cultural and natural heritage. This morning you are able to explore Te Papa‘s current and permanent exhibitions, plus items from the National Collection of New Zealand contemporary and ingenious art, before boarding the Interislander Ferry to cross Cook Strait and arrive in the picturesque town of Picton.

Onboard the Inter-Islander you can relax in the comfortable passenger lounges, sample fine New Zealand wines and enjoy regional cuisine. As we depart from Wellington through the Tory Channel watch out for rare species of dolphins and whales that may accompany us as we head towards the stunning Marlborough Sounds.

From Picton we will journey to Blenheim where your accommodation tonight is at the Scenic Hotel Marlborough a few minutes’ walk from the town centre.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Scenic Hotel Marlborough 1 night

10
Kaikoura - Christchurch

As we leave the Marlborough region described as the engine room of the New Zealand wine industry due to the international success of its wine, in particular the explosive herbaceous characters of its Sauvignon Blanc, we travel south along the east coast passing Lake Grassmere, New Zealand’s salt workings, and along the rugged rocky coastline to the seaside village of Kaikoura an EarthCheck sustainable community.  As we travel along the coast you will see colonies, known as ‘Haul Outs’, of the charismatic and somewhat noisy New Zealand Fur Seal resting and swimming close by the rocky shore.

Before reaching our accommodation for the night at the Sudima Hotel Christchurch we tour ‘The Garden City’ of Christchurch where you will see the extensive and innovative rebuilding work being carried out to reclaim the city after the devastating earthquake of 2011.The vibrantly coloured Pop-Up Shipping Container Mall, the Cardboard Cathedral and ongoing construction work demonstrate the city’s ingenuity and vitality.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Sudima Hotel Christchurch Airport 1 night

11
Arthur's Pass | Tranz Alpine Train

Travelling by train still remains one of travels most exciting experiences. This morning we board The TranzAlpine train that journeys between Christchurch and Greymouth. We leave Christchurch crossing the Canterbury Plains before following the Waimakariri River and traversing the spectacular Southern Alps before finally descending through native beech forest into Greymouth.

From Greymouth we travel on to the coastal beach town of Hokitika. Hokitika is famous for its goldfields and its artisan community of silver smiths, glass blowers, potters, sculpters, wood turners, Pounamu (Jade) and bone carvers. Franz Josef is our destination for tonight and if the weather permits there is time is available to experience an optional scenic flight over the spectacular glaciers before settling in for the night at Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation Scenic Hotel Franz Glacier 1 night

12
Franz Josef

As we travel south along the West Coast to Fox Glacier this morning you will see the stunning snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps. Continuing through the Haast Pass, one of only three pass through the Southern Alps, to Queenstown ’The Adventure Capital’ of New Zealand. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu the scenery surrounding Queenstown is incomparable.

Our accommodation for the next two nights is at Mercure Queenstown Resort with majestic views over Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountains. Queenstown is renowned for its award winning restaurants accompanied by stylish wines produced in the surrounding districts. Tonight you are free to choose your own dining experience.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation Mercure Queenstown Resort 2 nights (or similar)

13
Queenstown At Leisure

Relax, shop or get that adrenaline rushing. Today is your day to explore exciting Queenstown your way. From golf to bungy jumping, luxurious spa treatments, world class shopping, gold panning, jet boating, rock climbing, biking or hiking and VIP wine tours, Queenstown has something for everyone!

This evening we will rejoin you for a glimpse into High Country farm life and a gourmet barbecue dinner at Walter Peak Farm on the south western shore of Lake Wakatipu. Travel is on the elegant Edwardian steamship TSS Earnslaw – ‘The Lady of The Lake’. 

Recommended Queenstown excursions:

Routeburn Track Guided Day Walk Explore Historic Arrowtown Highest Bungy Jump
Wine Tasting Tour Central Otago Biking Skippers Canyon Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise Dart River Jetboat Safari Gibbston Valley Wine Trail
 

Meals: Breakfast and Specialty Dinner 

14
Te Anau

Enjoy a leisurely start this morning before we travel to Arrowtown, located on the Arrow River. Arrowtown pays homage to its gold mining past with approximately 70 working buildings along with several archeological sites recollecting its ‘boom’ days. The Lakes District Museum will step you into the past showcasing the early life of local Maori Tribes and the harsh pioneering days of the European settlers and goldminers. Next stop is the picturesque township of Te Anau located on the shores of the South Island’s largest lake of the same name.

Arriving at Te Anau you have the option to visit the mysterious Te Anau Glowworm Caves. Accompanied by a local guide you can access the hidden glow worm grotto on the western shores of Lake Te Anau by boat for an astonishingly magical experience.

Alternatively you are free to enjoy the ambience of the environmentally sustainable Distinction Luxmore Hotel - Te Anau our accommodation for this evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation Distinction Luxmore Hotel 2 nights 

15
Cruise Majestic Milford Sound

Today we make our way towards Milford Sound, described as the Eighth Wonder of the World’, for a cruise aboard a launch and a picnic lunch. With views of the breathtaking waterfalls, majestic mountain ranges, ‘Ice Age’ glaciers, and native wildlife it is no wonder UNESCO has awarded the area World Heritage Status.
Returning to Te Anau you have free time to enjoy the township.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

16
Dunedin - Edinburgh of the South

Travelling via the townships of Gore and Balclutha we arrive in Dunedin. Described as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ Dunedin is famous for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture, marine wildlife on the Otago Peninsula, Beer, Chocolate and Cheese Rolls - a southern New Zealand snack food specialty. Steeped in a history of wealth from the rush on gold in 1860-1870 Dunedin is and the second largest South Island city and home of New Zealand’s’ first University.
On arrival you are free to explore the city with its many grandiose heritage buildings and vibrant whimsical street art that adorns the city centre.
In celebration of Dunedin’s Scottish heritage tonight at your accommodation the Mercure Leisure Lodge a Scottish evening complete with bagpipes and a haggis made from Otago lamb, oatmeal and a generous slurp of ‘usquebae’ is served.

Meals: Breakfast and Specialty Dinner

Accommodation Mercure Leisure Lodge 1 night

17
Dunedin - Twizel

Larnach Castle, build in the Gothic Revival style, is our destination this morning. Once the home of businessman and politician William Larnach the building, guarded by massive stone lions and eagles, fell into disrepair and has now been restored to its former glory. The stunning gardens surrounding the castle have been designated by the New Zealand Garden Trust as being of International Significance.

For morning tea we visit Glenfalloch Restaurant and Gardens another stunning garden of significance on the Otago Peninsula before travelling on to Oamaru with its Victorian façades, and ornately decorated grand white stone buildings.
We then head into McKenzie Country past Lake Benmore to Twizel the gateway to the Aoraki Mt Cook World Heritage Park. Tonight we stay at the architectural designed Mackenzie Country Inn.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation MacKenzie Country Hotel 1 night

18
Mt Cook

This morning marvel at Aoraki (Cloud Piercer) Mount Cook the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere. Aoraki Mount Cook is popular year round with climbers, skiers, and alpine walkers. Weather permitting there is an opportunity is available to enjoy an optional scenic flight over the Southern Alps with views of contrasting scenery - snow-capped mountains, rivers, valleys and rainforest - that make this World Heritage Area unforgettable. Before arriving in Christchurch this evening we stop on the shores of brilliant turquoise coloured Lake Tekapo to visit the historic Church of the Good Shepherd built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country.

Tonight at the Sudima Hotel Christchurch is the last night we will meet for dinner.

Meals: Breakfast and Specialty Dinner

Accommodation Sudima Hotel Christchurch Airport 1 night

19
Homeward Bound

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

After breakfast this morning you will be transferred to the airport for your onward bound flight. We hope you enjoyed your holiday and our promise to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible. We hope you leave with a huge smile on your face when recalling your time in New Zealand!

Have a great homeward journey and we hope to see you again soon.

Meals: Breakfast