Welcome to Auckland!!
‘Haere Mai’ … welcome to New Zealand. Now you can relax - you are officially on holiday.
Enjoy a relaxing day exploring Auckland, also known as the ‘City of Sails’. Situated amongst a cluster of extinct volcanic cones, next to a large harbour that bustles with life, both on water and on land. The Auckland isthmus straddles a slim piece of land with coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean, and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea. Relax you are on holiday, take time to stroll around the Viaduct Harbour, sit in a cafe and enjoy your surroundings - this is a friendly easygoing city.
This evening enjoy a welcome reception with your Travel Director.
Some Activities and sightseeing options if you have time:
|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
The Beautiful 'Bay of Islands'
Say goodbye to the ‘City of Sails’ as you journey north to New Zealand’s dramatic Bay of Islands from Auckland – 140 droplets of land ringed by turquoise sea. It’s undeniably beautiful, but it also holds a special historical secret: this is where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, between Captain William Hobson and Māori chiefs. Your guide, likely an ancestor of one of the original signatories, will explain the significance of the site, while pointing out the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe and a carved meeting house.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Paihia - 2 nights
Free Day to explore the Bay
Today is a free day to explore. Why not visit historic Russell, only a 10 minute ferry ride away, Russell is a favourite destination for holidaying New Zealanders, with outstanding beaches and opportunities for boating. Settle in and enjoy while indulging in a fine dining experience at one of the seafront restaurants in Russell.
Excursions available if you want to get 'Out and About' are:
|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|
City of Sails
Today we head South through the city of Whangarei and down thriugh through the Johnstone's Hill Tunnel, soon Auckland and its majestic harbour soon come into view.
Suggested Sight Seeing: Visit to the summit of the Skytower. At 328m (1076 ft) one of the tallest buildings in the Australasia, offering spectacular panoramic views across the city and its two harbours, what will surprise you is the 48 volcanoes in the Auckland volcanic field, all within about 20 km of the city centre.
Accommodation: Auckland - 1 night
Waitomo Caves & Rotorua Cultural Feast
Waitomo – the name coming from the Maori words wai (water) and tomo (hole) is home to an astonishing landscape. Hidden under the green hills of Waitomo lies a labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers. The caves were carved by underground streams pushing through soft limestone over thousands of years.
Tour the amazing limestone caverns and sail through the still waters of the sparkling Waitomo Glow Worm Grotto - with plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness - intensifying the effect of thousands of softly shining glow worms.
Tonight enjoy a traditional Maori Hangi Feast and Concert.
Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner
Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 nights
Rotorua Free Time
Today is at leisure, you may wish to relax lakeside, or you may prefer to choose from one of the varied Optional Experiences on offer. Your Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences.
Recommended excursions in and around Rotorua:
|See Geysers & Boiling Mud||Polynesian Hot Springs||Whirinaki Forest Walk|
|Thermally Active Golf||Biking the Mighty Forests||Flight to Volcanic Island|
|Museum of Art & History||Evening Cultural Experience||White Water Rafting|
Great Lake Taupo & Wellington
The road this morning takes us to a grand view of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. The stunningly blue fresh water of Lake Taupo is sitting in the South Pacific's largest volcanic crater. Heading further South we follow the Desert Road and enjoy amazing views of Tongariro National Park’s Volcanoes. The landscape becomes dominated by rivers and valleys. The Mangaweka Gorge is a scenic masterpiece and as you follow the state highway, the Kapiti Coast becomes New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington.
Wellington is a compact, cultured and full of character. Nestled between the harbour and the hills, the downtown area is ideal for explorations on foot. Enjoy cafes, restaurants, museums, theatre and all kinds of shops. Dance, theatre and musical performances are a Wellington specialty. As New Zealand’s capital, this city is rich in political history.
Accommodation: Wellington - 1 night
Te Papa & Cruise to the South Island
Your special packed lunch today won’t only be wholesome, it will also feed a Kiwi child who may otherwise go without, through the charity ‘Eat My Lunch’. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Wellington, and then visit Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, the Museum of New Zealand,
Board the Interisland Ferry, sit back and enjoy New Zealand hospitality on the three hour journey across Cook Strait which connects New Zealand’s North and South Islands - This is one of the most scenic in the world. The journey offers a dramatic view of both the North and South Islands. As you enter the picturesque Marlborough Sounds keep an eye out for wildlife such as seabirds, dolphins, seals, whales and orca that make the sounds home. Enter the South Island through Picton, a picturesque harbour town located at the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Picton - 1 night
Kaikoura - Christchurch
Travel through the vineyards of Marborough to meet the Pacific Ocean coastline before joining the colorful Canterbury Plains as you journey to Christchurch.
Alternative Wildlife Encounters in Kaikoura
|Whale Watching Cruise||Swim with the Seals|
|Whale Watching Flight||Dusky Dolphin Viewing|
|Kayaking with Fur Seals||Pelagic Bird Watching|
Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 night
High Country Lakes & Mt Cook
After some free time we leave the Christchurch city and head westwards through the Canterbury plains, you will find a superb location for some great photos at Lake Tekapo. Tekapo is one of three significant, neighboring lakes that border the Mackenzie Valley in New Zealand's South Island. Golden tussock grass carpets the surrounding hillside and roll away into the distance where the Southern Alps frame the horizon. The charming 'Church of the Good Shepherd' sits alone on its shores and the views to our highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook are remarkable, before travelling around Lake Pukaki to Twizel and Omarama.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Accommodation: Omarama - 1 night
Waitaki Valley - Dunedin
This morning we head down the beautiful Waitaki Valley to visit Oamaru. While its façade is strictly of the Victorian era with ornately decorated grand white stone buildings that once housed upstanding banks, hotels and restaurants, the residents ‘the Oamaruivans’ are certainly not. In fact quite the contrary, unlike the Victorians they (the locals) are bohemians artisans, creative’s and antiquarians who run ‘out-there’ galleries, museums, shops and venues – it has to be seen to be believed and you'll love it.
Dunedin - Scottish City of Grace and Grandeur
It is for good reason that New Zealand's oldest city is known as the 'Edenborough of the South' - Dunedin comes from Dun Eideann the Scots-Gaelic name for Edinburgh, founded largely by Scottish immigrants, who raised the impressive buildings which now add much to the city's charm.
Free Time: Then you have some free-time in Dunedin this afternoon – perhaps take a Wildlife Cruise, visit the Cadbury Chocolate Factory or ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway.
Accommodation: Dunedin - 1 night
Te Anau - Gateway to Fiordland
It’s a morning at leisure, during which you might like to tour New Zealand’s Larnach Castle. Built in 1871 by a merchant baron, over 200 Workers spent more than three years building the Larnach Castle main shell, while master European craftsmen spent a further 12 years embellishing the interior - Larnach spared no expense and the castle is built from the finest materials from around the world. This superbly crafted building with magnificent architecture, showcases a unique collection of New Zealand antiques, see spectacular tower views and beautiful gardens.
We say farewell to Dunedin and head inland, crossing rich farmlands to the agricultural towns of Gore and Lumsden, before arriving at the shores of Lake Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Te Anau - 1 night
Milford Sound Scenic Cruise
The Road to Milford is one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives. The first part is relatively mild farmland, then you’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. Look for the Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain and the Mirror Lakes. The rough hewn Homer Tunnel brings you into Milford Sound, an amazing 22km-long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak. A cruise on Milford Sound will be an essential component of your time in Fiordland. Tall waterfalls, vertical rock faces and seals are some of the things you’ll remember.
This afternoon have a scenic drive to Queenstown
Accommodation: Queenstown - 2 nights
Free Time - Steamer Cruise & Farm Visit
Its time to get out and explore this great little city. Queenstown has developed an exciting array of outdoor adventure activities - and there's plenty to choose from. But if you are just want to chill out then Queenstown's compact downtown area is relaxed during the day and huge fun at night. In any season, you can count on stylish designer shops and many trendy restaurants offering a kaleidoscope of dining experiences.
This evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand’s oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue highlight dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead. An entertaining after-dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high-country farm life.
Recommended excursions around Queenstown:
|Routeburn Day Walk||Highest Bungey Jump||Explore Arrowtown|
|Biking Skippers Canyon||Round at Millbrook Golf Resort|
|Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise||Dart River Jetboat Safari|
Meals: Breakfast and Highlights Dinner
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, Dinner
Accommodation: Franz Josef - 1 night
High Country TranzAlpine Train - 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. In the evening join your travel director and driver guide, and your new-found friends for a farewell dinner with wine.
Meals: Breakfast, farewell dinner
Accommodation Christchurch - 1 night
"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!
Today we say farewell to newfound friends, leaving you with 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|
- Tour of Waitangi Treaty Grounds
- Feast on a Maori Hangi at a unique dinner experience with the Tamaki family
- Discover the arts and traditions of New Zealand’s Maori culture
- Explore New Zealand’s capital Wellington
- Visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand
- Cruise on Queen Charlotte Sound
- Marvel at Fur Seals at Ohau Point and Whales at Kaikoura
- See spectacular Lake Tekapo and Lake Te Anau
- Cruise Milford Sound
- Let loose in the adventure capital Queenstown
- Sail across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak for a unique highlight dinner
- See awe-inspiring Franz Josef Glacier
- Visit a green stone factory and watch the jade artists at work
- Tour through Christchurch to witness the incredible rebuild of the city
- Comfortable accommodation
- Travel by luxury coach
- Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
- 16 Full Buffet Breakfasts
- 1 Lunch
- 5 Dinners
- 2 Highlight Dinners
- 1 Farewell Dinner