18
days

Premium New Zealand Escorted Tour

Discover our 18 day premium New Zealand escorted tour of the north & south island.  Luxurious coaches get you discovering the maritime beauty of the Bay of Islands, enjoying the warm embrace of Maori culture in Rotorua and tasteing the world’s top Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough.

Bay of Islands, Waitangi Treaty Reserve, Dolphin Cruise, Glow-worms, Cultural Evening, Huka Falls, Tongariro Park, Interislander Cruise, View Mt Cook National Park, Cruise on Milford Sound, TSS Earnslaw Steamer, Franz Josef Glacier, Pancake Rocks, TranzAlpine Train.

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Itinerary

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1
Arrive in Auckland

‘Haere Mai’ … Welcome to New Zealand

On arriving at Auckland Airport you will be met by the tour director and transferred directly to your hotel to refresh and unwind. Make the most of some free leisure time in the 'City of Sails' - simply relax or take this opportunity to explore the many sights of Auckland. This evening we get together for a welcome drink and introductions.

Some Activities and Sightseeing Options Available are:

Explore Waiheke Island Island Kayaking Adventure America’s Cup Sailing
Auckland's Sky Tower Relax on the Beach Rangitoto Island Cruise & Walk
West Coast Wine Tour Whale and Dolphin Safari Muriwai Surf Beach

Accommodation Auckland - 1 night

2
AUCKLAND - BAY OF ISLANDS Cruise.

Today is full of adventure. Following the highway, we venture north over the Harbour Bridge and up to the Hibiscus Coast. We take a stroll among majestic kauri trees and discover Northland's largest city, Whangarei. Our journey extends all the way to the Bay of Islands - a marine wonderland brimming with unique sights and wildlife. In Paihia we board a scenic boat cruise to Cape Brett and the famous 'Hole in the Rock'. Keep your eyes peeled for playful pods of dolphins along the way! After a walk on Urupukapuka Island we return to Paihia.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine

Accommodation Bay of Islands - 2 nights

3
BAY OF ISLANDS AT LEISURE

Experience the stunning Bay of Islands your way – today is a whole day of leisure and the freedom to explore one of the included options exactly as you want to. Hop on a dedicated dolphin watching cruise, take the short ferry ride to Russell or get out on the wild blue for a sailing, fishing or kayaking adventure. The options are endless. This evening we enjoy the local nightlife in Paihia.

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
BAY OF ISLANDS - AUCKLAND

Today we visit the beautiful Waitangi Treaty Grounds, one of New Zealand's most significant historic sites. It was here that our nation’s founding document was signed in the Waitangi Treaty House. There is also a giant carved Waka (ceremonial war canoe) and an intricately decorated Maori meeting house on show. We head south, returning to Auckland for the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine

Accommodation Auckland - 1 night

5
AUCKLAND - ROTORUA

Today kicks off with an Auckland City Sights Tour followed by a road trip south, following the mighty Waikato River to the small settlement of Waitomo. Here, we descend below the earth’s surface and into the incredible underground labyrinth - a subterranean wonderland that showcases dramatic limestone formations and one of New Zealand's best natural light shows in the amazing Glow Worm Grotto. Back above ground, we venture east to the heart of Maori culture and geothermal wonders, Rotorua. After enjoying great views of Lake Rotorua on our orientation tour, we settle down to enjoy a traditional Maori 'Hangi' Feast and Concert at the Tamaki Family Marae.

Meals: Brenkfast, Dinner

Accommodation Rotorua - 2 nights

6
ROTORUA at Leisure

Today it's all up to you. Pick from a variety of included activites: you can board the Skyline Gondola for commanding views over Lake Rotorua, head over to the Agrodome Sheep Show for a taste of 'very kiwi' farm life, join the Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, discover the geothermal site of Te Puia  or simply relax in the Polynesian Spa. For the night you can choose if you prefer staying in your hotel room or being welcomed with a small group of fellow travelers at a local farm.

Meals: Breakfast

7
ROTORUA - WELLINGTON

The Thermal Explorer Highway guides us to the Central North Island and the largest body of fresh water in the Southern Hemisphere - Lake Taupo. We follow its shores south and climb up to the spectacular Desert Road in the Tongariro National Park where a dramatic alpine vista unfolds, crowned by the imposing volcanic peaks of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngaruahoe. We thread our way through the Manawatu and down the Kapiti Coast to Wellington, where our city sights tour showcases sweeping views of the nation's capital from atop Mt Victoria.

Meals: Breakfast, Afternoon Tea, Dinner with Wine.

Accommodation Wellington - 1 night

8
Inter-Island Cruise - BLENHEIM

Savour a morning to yourself - take a look around Wellington or just relax. A visit to the National Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, offers wonderful insights into the nation’s colourful history and there are some truly world class collections on display. Waving goodbye to the North Island, we board the ferry for the crossing of Cook Straight. Tranquility and beauty define the cruise into Queen Charlotte Sound and the gorgeous seaside town of Picton, where we first set foot on South Island soil. We stop in Blenheim for tour of the city before arriving at our destination - the premier wine region of Marlborough

Dinner: This evening we savour a tasting of some remarkable local wines and enjoy a dinner at the family owned and operated Georges Michel Wine Estate. Sauvignon Blanc is the specialty.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine

Accommodation Blenheim - 1 night

9
Blenheim - Christchurch

The route to Kaikoura and on to Christchurch makes for a particularly scenic journey. In Kaikoura, the road is squeezed between a towering mountain range and a dramatic coastline that thrives with marine life - at Ohau Point we stop to admire the New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks. Before reaching Christchurch we cruise the highway through the wide open expanse of the great Canterbury Plains, a multicoloured patchwork of lush pasture that is bordered by the majestic Southern Alps.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with Wine

Accommodation Christchurch - 1 night

10
Mount Cook National Park

Get a taste of famous kiwi hospitality during our special barbecue lunch at Morelea Farm. Our hosts, Angie and Stan, welcome us into their home and share their wonderful 240 hectare garden, overflowing with colour, charm and native bird song. Later on we visit Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo where a magical scene of turquoise blue water contrasts with a stunning backdrop of mountains cloaked in a veil of golden tussock grass. Adding to the superb photo opportunities, breathtaking views of Mt Cook 'the cloud piercer' lay before us at the spectacularly positioned Church of the Good Shepherd. Weather permitting; an optional scenic flight over Mt Cook National Park is an unforgettable way to round off today's adventures.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation Twizel - 1 night

11
Dunedin - Scottish City of Grace and Grandeur

This morning, we stop to marvel at the Benmore Dam while en route to Oamaru, where the town centre is graced by some of New Zealand's best 19th century architecture. Our journey continues to Dunedin and we get acquainted with a tour of the city before breaking away for an afternoon of leisure time. Your Tour Director will recommend the best experiences to suit your preferences. From unique wildlife encounters to fascinating cultural and historical activities - you'll be spoiled for choice.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner with Wine

Accommodation Dunedin - 1 night

12
DUNEDIN - TE ANAU (Gateway to Fiordland)

Today we tick off a few of the top attractions of Dunedin before enjoying free time. Choose from a range of inspiring activities and sights. Larnach Castle is always a favourite - perched high on a green hilltop, New Zealand's only castle gazes out across panoramic sea views and is surrounded by wonderful gardens. There are also wildlife cruises and the famous Taieri Gorge Railway that conquers an otherwise inaccessible landscape of deep valleys and beautiful mountains. Once we have enjoyed the best of Dunedin's unique attractions, we head overland through lush farming country and rolling hills to the splendid lakeside town of Te Anau - the gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Remember to charge your camera batteries tonight.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner with Wine

Accommodation Te Anau - 1 night

13
Cruise on the Majestic Milford Sound

Welcome to one of the most scenic locations in the world. A majestic World Heritage Site, Milford Sound has been described as the '8th natural wonder of the world' and the journey along the amazing Milford Road is just as awe-inspiring as the destination. You'll enjoy plenty of photo opportunities along this spectacular highway that cuts through an unimaginable cathedral of imposing mountain peaks, mirror lakes and bottomless valleys decorated in rainforests, waterfalls and glaciers. 

At Milford Sound we embark on a cruise you will never forget. An otherworldly landscape plunges into the Tasman Sea and unique wildlife abounds in the deep waters of the fiord. Our destination for tonight is the fairytale town of Queenstown, set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. On arrival we finish our day full of highlights with an orientation tour.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner with Wine

Accommodation Queenstown - 2 nights

14
QUEENSTOWN AT LEISURE

Free time in New Zealand's 'adventure capital' is something to get excited about and today is all yours to unwrap the myriad of great sights and adventures on offer. For a more relaxed option, take a short trip over to the Gibbston Valley where immaculate vineyards yield some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir; or take a colourful tour of the region’s best gardens. If you are looking to spice up your holiday with some serious excitement, take a thrilling jet boat ride up a pristine river or run the rapids downstream on an exhilarating white water rafting experience.

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
 

Dinner: This evening we climb aboard TSS Earnslaw, New Zealand's oldest steamship and cross the lake for a wonderful dinner at Walter Peak Station.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

15
FRANZ JOSEF - Glacier Country

The adventure continues, and this morning Central Otago's rich pioneer gold rush history comes alive in the picturesque village of Arrowtown. Set beside a beautiful clear flowing river, this charming town has some great historical sites, boutique shops and delightful cafés. Following the road to Cromwell, the fabulous scenery keeps on coming and during the stone fruit season, you can pick up bags of delicious cherries, apricots and nectarines at any of the roadside stalls. For a slice of paradise we drive past a trio of fantastic lakes including Lake Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka before traversing the Haast Pass where the Thunder Creek Falls make for some more great photos. A short stroll amongst emerald rainforest refreshes us prior to our arrival at Franz Josef - the world's most accessible glacier.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner with Wine

Accommodation Franz Josef - 1 night

16
FRANZ JOSEF - PUNAKAIKI

Today we lay eyes on Franz Joseph Glacier, a tremendous frozen cascade of ice that tumbles down from the soaring Southern Alps towards the ocean. If the weather is favourable you can take an optional scenic flight over the mountains or, for something extra special, try the 'helihike' on the glacier. Meandering northwards up the Wild West Coast we call into Hokitika, where a visit to The Jade Factory showcases the beautiful greenstone carvings for which the town is renowned. Further on, the famous limestone stacks of the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks are highlighted by thundering, geyser-like blowholes and unique rock formations etched out over thousands of years.

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner with Wine

Accommodation Punakaiki - 1 night

17
TRANZALPINE Train Journey to CHRISTCHURCH

Travelling via Greymouth to Arthur's Pass we climb aboard the TranzAlpine. This rail journey is truly something special. Ranked among the world’s top 6 train journeys, these tracks flow through some of New Zealand's most splendid country side from the Southern Alps to Christchurch . This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see natural grandeur on such a scale.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation Christchurch - 1 night

18
Homeward Bound

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

Today we say farewell to newfound friends. We take care of your transfer to Christchurch Airport where you will board your onward flight, taking with you the magical memories of a truly exceptional New Zealand holiday.

Some Suggested Activities If You Have Time

Easygoing Cycling Tour Punting the Avon River Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise
Māori Cultural Evening French Akaroa Tour Southern Alps Ballooning
Christchurch Gondola Clearwater Golf Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike

Meals: Breakfast