The Spirit of New Zealand Group Tourer

Venture into New Zealand less traveled. Indulge in star-gazing during your overnight stay on Milford Sound, journey into Able Tasman National Park where you can stroll along pristine golden beaches and learn about the history of coastal city Napier, rebuilt in Art Deco style after the devastating 1931 earthquake.

Cruise Milford Sound, Adventure Capital Queenstown, Gondola Ride, Glowworm Caves, Franz Josef Glacier, Pancake Rocks, Maori Concert, Geothermal Te Puia, Bay of Islands, Historic Waitangi Treaty Reserve

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Welcome to Christchurch

‘Haere Mai’ … Welcome to New Zealand!

When you arrive in Christchurch we will meet you at the airport and escort you to the Ibis hotel your accommodation for this evening. The Ibis Hotel is located in the center of the city and depending what time you arrive you may have some time to explore the inner city before meeting your travel director and fellow travelling companions for dinner and a welcome drink. 

Some suggested excursions 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: Dinner

Accommodation: Ibis Hotel - 1 Night

High Country Lakes & Mt Cook National Park

Today begins with a tour of Christchurch, ‘The Garden City’, 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. Leaving the city we travel south towards the fertile patchwork like countryside of the Canterbury Plains, stopping on the shores of stunning Lake Tekapo to visit the historic Church of the Good Shepherd.

From here we continue along the shores of spectacular high country lakes, Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki into Aoraki Mount Cook National Park soaking up the sensational alpine landscape. Aoraki (Cloud Piercer) Mount Cook is the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere and popular with climbers, skiers, and alpine walkers.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel - 1 Night

Dunedin - Edinburgh of the South

A step back in time today as we travel onwards to Oamaru with its Victorian façades, and ornately decorated grand white stone buildings that once housed upstanding banks, hotels and restaurants. Behind the façades creative bohemian artisans and, antiquarians run fabulous ‘out-there’ galleries, shops and restaurants. If you’ve never experienced the science fantasy of Steampunk it has to be seen to be believed and you'll love it!

On to Dunedin the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, and the second largest South Island city and home of New Zealand’s’ first University. Dunedin is an entrepreneurial city steeped in a history of wealth from the rush on gold in 1860-1870.

Here you will have an opportunity to visit Larnach Castle with its fascinating story of success and tragedy and wander in the award winning gardens. 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. 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel - 1 Night

Milford Sound - Fiordland National Park

Be prepared to see some of the most breathtaking scenery today as we travel through the World Heritage Fiordland National Park with glaciers and lush rainforests as we make our way towards Milford Sound, described as the Eighth Wonder of the World’.

This evening we board the Milford Mariner and cruise the length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea past breathtaking waterfalls, majestic mountain ranges and native wildlife. We anchor for the night and enjoy a delicious three course buffet dinner before retiring to private cabins for the night.  After a hearty breakfast we return to Milford Sound Wharf and head further south to Te Anau and Queenstown.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Milford Wanderer - 1 Night

Te Anau | Glowworms | Queenstown

The picturesque township of Te Anau is located on the shores of the South Island’s largest lake of the same name. Today’s highlight is the Te Anau Glowworm Caves. Accompanied by a local guide we access the hidden glow worm caves on the western shores of Lake Te Anau by boat for a magical experience.

Our destination for tonight is 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.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort - 3 Nights

Queenstown At Leisure

Relax, romance, shop or get that adrenaline rushing. You have two days 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, along with award winning restaurants and stylish wines you won’t want to leave!

This evening we will rejoin you for a glimpse into High Country farm life at Walter Peak Farm on the south western shore of Lake Wakatipu. Travel is on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw.

On our final night in Queenstown we will take a Gondola Ride for an outstanding dinner showcasing locally produced and iconic New Zealand dishes at Queenstown’s Skyline Restaurant.  Viewing platforms and outdoor terraces provide magnificent panoramic views of Queenstown, the Remarkables and the surrounding district.

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

Arrowtown | Cromwell | Glaciers

Following a short journey from Queenstown we arrive at Arrowtown, located on the Arrow River. Built on the proceeds of gold Arrowtown, pays homage to its gold mining past with approximately 70 working buildings along with several archeological sites recollecting its ‘boom’ days.

Still in the ‘goldfields’ we stop at Cromwell, the ‘Fruit Bowl’ of the South, to sample seasonal stone fruit direct from a local orchard before continuing past the trio of lakes –Lake Dunstan, Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka. Heading west  through to the Haast Pass, following the original route used by Maori in search of Pounamu (New Zealand Jade), we arrive at Thunder Creek Falls. After a short walk through native beech forest to a viewing platform you get to experience the aptly named Thunder Creek Falls as they cascade thundering into the Haast River.

The final stop tonight is at Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier situated at the edge of the South West New Zealand UNESCO World Heritage Park. 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Galcier - 1 Night

Franz Josef Glacier | Punakaki

There is no better way to experience the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier and surrounding landscape then from the air. For the more adventurous there is an optional Glacier Heli Hike available where you can land on the glacier with an experienced guide to explore the towering peaks and ice formations. 

From here it’s on to the coastal beach (and once infamous) town of Hokitika. Hokitika is famous for its goldfields and its artisan community of silver smiths, glass blowers, potters, sculpters, wood turners and carvers. We have arranged a Pounamu (Jade) jewellery demonstration by a specialist local carver. If you have the opportunity to taste a West Coast ‘Whitebait Pattie’ don’t tell because you will be the envy of most New Zealanders!

The Blowholes at Punakaiki can only be described as ‘Awesome’ - random nature at its best. Watch carefully at Pancake Rocks as suddenly you will realise the landscape is moving and you’re watching a colony of Southern Fur Seals frolicking and sunning themselves.

Tonight you stay at Punakaiki Resort an Eco-friendly Resort surround by the Paparoa National Park. Enjoy dinner on the beachfront balcony while watching the thundering surf at your doorstep. 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort - 1 Night

Buller Gorge | Nelson

Soak up the scenic wilderness of the Heritage Highway as we start to wind our way north through the impressive Buller Gorge and Kahurangi National Park before arriving in Nelson.

You have to wonder what Nelson’s early Quaker settlers would have made of the WOW (World of Wearable Arts) Museum Innovative, Eclectic, Sassy, Futuristic, Alluring and Playful, this is a COLLISION of Architectural Design, Fantasy and Fashion that you could never imagine!  Alongside is a collection of vintage and classic cars that pay tribute to bygone eras of engineering design and craftsmanship.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Monaco Resort - 2 Nights

Nelson Free Day

Explore Nelson at your leisure today. Nelson is the South Island’s sunniest city and there's no shortage of things to see and do. Take a bush walk, mountain bike, or maybe just relax in the city, shop and explore the many arts and craft galleries, boutique wineries or breweries. It’s no surprise that there are more craft breweries here than anywhere else in New Zealand as the Nelson-Tasman climate is ideal for growing hops. Don’t forget to try one of New Zealand’s shellfish delicacies and a specialty of the Marlborough region, the Green Lipped Mussel. Tomorrow we start our journey north towards New Zealand’s Capital and Most Sophisticated City – Wellington.

Meals: Breakfast

Queen Charlotte Sound | Wellington

First stop today is the picturesque fishing town of Picton where we board one of the Inter-Island Ferries to cruise through the spectacular Queen Charlotte Sound and into the Tory Channel before crossing Cook Strait. The Tory Channel was once infamous for its whaling activities well into the second half of the nineteenth century. Today as we cruise towards the Wellington Heads watch out for whales, now protected, and rare species of dolphins. Onboard you can relax in the comfortable passenger lounges, sample fine New Zealand wines and enjoy regional cuisine.

On arrival in Wellington, dubbed by Lonely Planet as the ‘Coolest Little Capital In The World’, we tour the city before visiting the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Container of Treasures). This landmark building on Wellington’s waterfront was 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.  

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Travelodge - 2 Nights

WELLINGTON - Our cool little Capital

Today you are free to explore Wellington as you wish. Wellington is of one of the top ten international coffee destinations. If you’re passionate about coffee visit one of the many coffee roasteries in the inner-city, or visit the City Art Gallery, tour New Zealand’s Parliament buildings, or simply stroll the waterfront and city lanes where you will find  award winning cafes and restaurants, world-class New Zealand designed clothing, and artisan food producers. Wellington is also the home of Weta Workshop's where you can experience a ‘behind-the- scenes’ glimpse into one of the world’s leading movie effects operations.

Suggested outings in and around Wellington.

National Museum - Te Papa Visit Cuba Street Weta Workshop Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Reserve  Wellington Cable Car
Carter Observatory 

Meals: Breakfast

Napier - The Art Deco Capital

Leaving Wellington we travel north through the Wairarapa, a region of small towns, renowned for producing exquisite wines, to the eastern region of Hawkes’ Bay where its Mediterranean- style climate produces award winning wines, and an  abundance of stone and pip-fruits. Our destination tonight is the city of Napier a thriving seaport that was rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1931 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. 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Te Pania - 1 Night

Great Lake Taupo | Rotorua

This morning we head inland towards the Volcanic Plateau and the shores of Lake Taupo New Zealand and Australasia’s largest fresh water lake located in a volcanically active crater. Lake Taupo is a mecca for trout fishing, water sports in the summer months and the gateway to the ski and snowboarding fields in winter. A few kilometers north of Lake Taupo is the spectacular Huka Falls. The view is breathtaking startling as the mighty Waikato River channels itself through a narrow gorge before dramatically falling onto exposed rocks causing foaming, and sometimes deafening, rapids.

Since the late nineteenth century the city of Rotorua has been known as spa town, a place where the internationally rich and famous came to ‘take the cure’, in the many mineral laden natural hot springs, thermal mud pools, and steamy erupting geothermal geysers.

This evening we will welcomed to Rotorua with a Powhiri, a traditional ceremonial welcome, at an authentic Maori Village. Here you will gain an insight into Maori culture and history as well as being served a traditional meal, of meats and root vegetables, cooked in a ‘hangi’, or earth pit.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Ibis Hotel - 2 Nights

Rotorua - The Pacific Rim of Fire

Te Puia, the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, situated in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, is our destination for today. 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 and bone carving, and Waka (canoe) construction. You can also view our most famous native bird the flightless Kiwi, a child of the forest God, in an eco-friendly environment.  

Still in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley we will be guided through the geothermal wonderland, a gift from the Goddesses of Fire, and view the renowned mud pools, some reaching temperatures of over 90°C, the Pohutu Geyser known to erupt up to 20 times a day, and steaming geothermal pools. 

Meals: Breakfast

Auckland - City of Sails

Our first stop as we head towards Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city is at 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! Continuing with a rural theme we visit Longlands Farm, a working dairy farm in the fertile Waikato region. We enjoy a country style lunch today at the Longlands restaurant surrounded by elegant botanical and kitchen gardens.

Arriving in Auckland we take in the city sights including the Auckland Harbour Bridge spanning the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland’s vibrant Viaduct Harbour. You will soon appreciate why Auckland is called ‘The City of Sails’. 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: VR Queen Street - 1 Night

Bay of Islands

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. Massive in height and girth they have been known to survive hundreds, some even thousands, of years! This morning we travel north of Auckland along the scenic Hibiscus Coast highway to Parry Kauri Park where we take a guided walk through the ‘Land of The Giants’.  

After stopping to explore Whangarei, New Zealand’s northern-most city, we continue on to the bustling seaside town of Paihia known as the 'Jewel of the Bay of Islands’.  This afternoon we take a Scenic Cruise to Cape Brett and Piercy Island – known affectionately 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. 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Copthorne Resort - 2 Nights

Bay of Islands Leisure Time

Today you can choose to be a landlubber or again take yourself to sea - there are so many options in the Bay of Islands for lovers of water. (See Excursions below). If Golf is your passion Kauri Cliffs, awarded Best New International Golf Course is a must. The nearby town of Russell, once known as the debauched ‘Hell Hole of the Pacific’, is today home to fabulous restaurants, cafes, boutique shopping, and heritage buildings. If you adore seafood local catches include Kingfish, Snapper, Groper (Hapuku), Mussels and superb Paroa Bay Oysters. Tomorrow we visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Reserve.

Excursions available in and around 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

Bay of Islands - Auckland

The Waitangi Treaty Reserve is 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.
Standing opposite the Treaty House, symbolising the partnership between Maori and the British Crown, is Te Whare Rūnanga, a magnificent carved meeting house representing unity amongst all Maori Tribes.
Tonight we return to VR Queen St.to celebrate your holiday with a farewell dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: VR Queen Street - 1 Night

Farewell Auckland

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.

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We hope you enjoyed your holiday and our promise to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon.

Meals: Breakfast