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A Relaxing New Zealand Journey – both North & South Islands

Here is a holiday that makes you feel like you've really had a holiday. The New Zealand Relaxing Journey is for those needing space and relaxation. Enjoy exceptional scenery, beaches and experience New Zealand with easygoing relaxed adventures. 

Chill Out on Waiheke Island and the Beautiful Coromandel. Explore Hawkes Bay, the Abel Tasman and Beautiful Punakaiki, Experience Glowworms, Glacier Hotpools and Queenstown at Leisure.

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Itinerary

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1
Welcome to Auckland | Waiheke Island

Relax you are on holiday and everything has been taken care of. We will meet you at the airport and help you to transfer to Waiheke Island.

Artists and free-spirits mingle with the rich and famous on this blissful island, a haven of beautiful beaches, gastronomical treasures and small wineries. Waiheke Island is to Auckland as the Hamptons are to New York – the former being on a much smaller scale. Home to beautiful beaches and holiday homes, Waiheke Island produces outstanding, award winning wines.

Approximate Flying Time to Waiheke Island: 10 mins
 
Accommodation Waiheke Island - 2 nights

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Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is a place of lazy days and peaceful holidays, vineyards, olive groves and beautiful beaches.The Island is a national taonga (treasure) with many special places. Home to historic sites, wildlife and diverse habitats, the island is an important part of New Zealand’s landscape. 

What to Do...
 
​Tour the Wineries
Join a guided tour to experience some of Waiheke’s fabulous wineries. Enjoy tastings of award-winning wines and relax over a scrumptious vineyard lunch.
 
Stroll the Sands
Wander along the white sand at Oneroa and Onetangi beaches – two of the island’s best beaches – and take a dip in the sheltered waters.
 
Get Adventurous
There are lots of activities for adventure seekers on Waiheke – try archery and laser clay pigeon shooting, hire a scooter, take a scenic flight or zoom across the tree tops on a flying fox zipline.
 
Discover Art for Art’s sake

Check out Waiheke’s fantastic arts scene, from local galleries and studios to an inspiring sculpture park. Look out for regular art events too.
 

3
Coromandel Peninsula | Hahei

The Coromandel Peninsula lies east of Auckland, on the other side of the Hauraki Gulf. An impressive, heavily forested mountain range runs right up the middle of this peninsula - it’s bordered on each side by miles of spectacular coastline.

The idyllic seaside village of Hahei, (HA-hey) is a small settlement situated on the eastern side of the Peninsula.  Yes there are a couple of restaurants, cafes and fish and chippy, but essentially this is a secret hideaway were Kiwi families take their holidays – its all about the beach, where the waves are generally safe for children and the wide beach is ideal for a game of volleyball or to throw a Frisbee. The bay also provided a location for the filming of the fantasy feature, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Approximate Distance: 189 kms | 117 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 30 mins
 
Accommodation Hahei - 3 nights

4
Arguably The most beautiful beach in the World

A Day at the Beach - Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove simply has everything you could possibly want from a beach – sparkling clear blue water, world class snorkelling, clean white sand, deserted islands you can see from the beach, The massive naturally formed "Cathedral" archway carved out by the sea and wind over thousands of years and other really interesting rock formations; including one that acts as a great jumping platform. There has been no development at all so the beach has remained as it was thousands of years ago. There are native trees and bush behind the beach with a fresh water waterfall to cool you down and provide shelter on a sizzling hot summer’s day.
 
Getting There: Only accessible by foot, boat or kayak, we suggest you walk in and boat out. There is a spectacular 2.5 km (1.6 miles) coastal walk which takes you through to Cathedral Cove, past quintessential Coromandel scenery of pohutukawa trees and white sandy beaches.

Hot Water Beach

Fancy a soak, then head to the beautiful Hot Water Beach, you will find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Families, kids and couples can be seen digging their own spa pool in the sand and relaxing in the natural hot springs - this is one experience that should be on your New Zealand bucket list and a truly unique Kiwi experience.

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Leisure Time in the Coromandel

The Coromandel is a renowned outdoor haven where rugged terrain meets idyllic coastline. These natural features provide inspiration for the creative works and unique attractions hidden around every corner. The laid back culture, locally known as ‘Coromandel time’, encourages a relaxed atmosphere that is better understood once experienced. Have a relaxing day to choose to do as much or as little as you wish.

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Great Lake Taupo

Undoubtedly Taupo's most magical  approach is from the  north. Emerging from the roar and  steam of Wairakei's  geothermal  power installations, the road crests a bill to unfold the distant huddled  mountain  peaks of Tongariro,  Ruapehu  and the smoking volcano, Ngauruhoe.  Lake Taupo - a flooded volcanic crater of immense proportions opens  out  in broad  panorama. Make sure you stop to look over the mighty rage of water that makes Huka Falls found just on the way into town.

Taupo is a quiet peaceful place but there are some really interesting excursions to do.

Taupo Hot Springs  Kayak to the Maori Rock Carvings 
Wairakei Golf White Island Volcano Adventure
 

Approximate Distance: 280 kms | 173 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 38 mins

Accommodation Taupo - 1 night

7
Hawkes Bay - Wine Country

Sunny, scenic Hawke’s Bay, the region brims with colourful natural attractions. Famous for its vineyards, the area produces some of the world's top red wines. A combination of the staggering yields from these fertile soils and high sunshine hours make the Hawke’s Bay the country's second largest grape producer. As you would expect, touring the vineyards here is a terrific pleasure - the estates are immaculate, the wines superb and the gourmet dining experiences exceptional.

Approximate Distance: 142 kms | 88 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 47 mins

Accommodation Napier - 2 nights

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A Day of Leisure - Hawkes Bay

The Pacific Ocean provides a stunning backdrop to the Hawke’s Bay, framed to the south by the dramatic Cape Kidnappers and the Tukituki hills. From natural disaster was born a celebration of early twentieth century architecture - Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical buildings pepper Napier, Hastings and the region’s small towns. Explore celebrated vineyards, the supreme Cape Kidnappers golf course, architecture, bird-life and Maori culture.

Some activities and sightseeing options available:​

Golf at Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony Tour Hawke's Bay  
Art Deco Walking Tour  Bike Tour of Hawkes Bay  
Wine Tour of Hawkes Bay Napier Farmers Market  

 

9
Abel Tasman National Park - An Easy Going Adventure

Golden beaches border the translucent turquoise sea, and sandy estuaries fringed by natural forests. The walking tracks here, both in land and costal, are world famous for their outstanding beauty. Walking and Kayaking and then just kicking back on one of the many unspoilt beaches you will discover along the way is what its all about. Plus you have the added bonus of face-to-face encounters with marine wildlife and birds. The outstandingly beautiful Abel Tasman National Park is home to the ever-entertaining seal colony and who knows you may be lucky enough to spot visiting dolphins and Orcas playing in the Abel Tasman National Park waters.

This tour experiences the best of both worlds, you can kayak for 2 days and try 1 day walking on the Abel Tasman Coast Track (or Visa Versa or One of the Other) while enjoying comfortable accommodations and fine meals at the beachfront lodges each night.

Kayaking: The kayaking is suitable for all levels of experience, you don't need previous sea kayaking experience as you will be accompanied by friendly knowledgeable guides at all times on the water. 

Todays Planned Itinerary:

  • Fly to Nelson
  • Scenic drive to Kaiteriteri from Nelson (1 hour) 
  • Cruise Kaiteriteri to Totaranui – 1.5 hours
  • Walk - 2 hours (6 kms, 3.7 miles) including tidal crossing
  • Maximum elevation 60 m (200 ft)

(Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner)

Accommodation - Meadowbank Homestead Awaroa - 1 night

10
AWAROA TO TORRENT BAY

Another day, another picture postcard setting. This morning enjoy the short walk over the Tonga Saddle to Onetahuti where you can again relax on another sandy beach; this one however, is flanked by impressive granite headlands surrounded by unusual rock formations - perhaps a side trip to the Tonga Quarry historic site is in order. Bark Bay for lunch – relax or explore, sunbathe or swim. Your afternoon stroll enjoys a succession of magnificent views of headlands, beaches, estuaries, walking through lush native forest and even crossing a classic New Zealand swing bridge at the Falls River.

Kayak and Walk option: Walk to Onetahuti 1.5 hours, 4 kms (2.4 miles), Sea Kayak to Torrent Bay 4 hours 10 kms (6.2 miles)

Enjoy the best of both worlds with the option of both kayaking and walking. Walk from Awaroa to Onetahuti (as above). Kayak to the Seal Colony on Tonga Island where fur seals breed. Kayak through clear waters as you cruise past Tonga Quarry and Arches, A lunch stop at sheltered Bark Bay before continuing you continue beach hopping along the coast into Torrent Bay to be welcomed with refreshments and a hot shower in your ensuite room.

Walking Option: 6-7 hours 17 km (10.56 miles)

(Breakfast, Morning and Afternoon Tea, Lunch, Dinner)

Accommodation: Torrent Bay Beachfront Lodge - 1 night

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TORRENT BAY TO KAITERITERI | NELSON

After breakfast depart the lodge by kayak at about 9.30am. We’ll stop for lunch and a rest at any one of the bays, before we continue our journey through azure waters to the famous Kaiteriteri beach, where our driver will be waiting to meet you for the return journey to Nelson - arrival about 5.30pm.

Todays Planned Itinerary:

Sea Kayak Torrent Bay to Kaiteriteri 4.5 hours (12 kms)
Scenic drive Kaiteriteri to Nelson (1 hour)

(Breakfast, Morning and Afternoon Tea, Lunch)

Accommodation - Nelson - 1 night

12
Punakaiki - The Wild West Coast

Travel through Wakefield, before heading over the Spooners saddle in the Golden Downs forest. Follow SH6 to Murchison, although part of the Nelson Region, this will be your first introduction to the glory and green that is the scenic beauty of the West Coast and Buller Region.  Navigate the awesome Buller Gorge, where at Hawks Crag the road has been hacked out of solid rock – you’ll drive under a dramatic overhang. Continue on to Punakaiki, famous for its ancient Pancake Rocks and booming blowholes. It is the centrepiece of the Paparoa National Park, which is packed with a variety of stunning landscapes. 

Approximate Distance: 287 kms | 178 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Punakaiki  - 2 nights

13
GALAXIES OF GLOWWORMS - EASY CAVING IN THE PAPAROA FOREST

Today take part in a superb eco-cave tour where you travel by the rainforest train through primeval rain forest and explore the enormous Nile River Caves. Explore an ancient wonderland of stalactites, stalagmites in the large dry upper levels and become entranced while under the galaxies of glowworms in the awe-inspiring Ananui entrance series. Discovered only recently, the Metro cave is one of the few caves in the world you can walk through and see in its natural, un-spoilt state, the way it was discovered.

14
Franz Joseph Glacier

Heading south into the National park known as ‘Glacier Country’ – in parts, huge valleys of ice tumble down almost to sea level. Also blessed with lakes, rivers and wetlands; Westland is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Here, the landscapes are highly revered by those kiwis who have lived here for generations, as well as by the local Ngai Tahu tribe who hold this wild place in high spiritual esteem.

On arrival at Franz Josef Glacier, take an hour to walk to the Glaciers Terminal face and treat yourself to a soak on your return. Nestled in lush rainforest enjoy a soak in the fabulous Glacier Hot Pools, a perfect way to unwind after your days drive and walk.

Approximate Distance: 218 kms | 135 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 48 mins

Accommodation Franz Josef - 1 night

15
Queenstown

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and ringed by towering mountains, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s ultimate holiday destinations. It may be the adventure capital of the world, but it’s also home to an excellent food and wine scene as well as great shopping, hiking and endless opportunities to relax. It’s just as easy to go fishing, golfing, gold panning or wine tasting as it is to bungy jump or sky dive.

Approximate Distance: 353 kms | 135 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 219 mins

Accommodation Queenstown - 2 nights

16
Queenstown at Leisure

It is well known Queenstown is New Zealand’s ‘four season’ resort town and arguably the adventure capital of the world. However there are plenty of outings to suite all tastes. You may like to take a soak in the fabulous Private Hotpools overlooking the beautiful Shotover River or perhaps take a stunning Scenic Flight over the celebrated Milford Sound would light your fire. One thing is certain you won't run out of things to do.

Some suggested activities and outings.

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
 
17
Homeward Bound

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

We know you will enjoy our Relaxing New Zealand Journey and our promise to you is 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 in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about our Relaxing New Zealand Journey North and South Island Tour - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!