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’. Soak up the harbour side beauty of the central city and enjoy the world-class dining options of the Viaduct and Princes Wharf. There’s quality shopping on offer and, for spectacular views over the city and beyond, a visit up Auckland's Sky Tower is not to be missed. For an insight into New Zealand history and culture, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is a great place to explore.
An evening welcome reception is followed by dinner with your Travel Director and fellow travellers.
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
Waitomo Caves & Cultural Feast Rotorua
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.
On arrival in Rotorua an orientation tour takes in views of Lake Rotorua. Tonight enjoy a traditional Maori Hangi Feast and Concert.
Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner
Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 nights
Out & About - Rotorua
Today is a chance to explore at your leisure some of the more interesting attractions Rotorua is famous for, and take the day at the pace you prefer.
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|
Volcanic Plateau & the Great Lake
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
Cruise the Cook Strait
After a city sights tour of Wellington taking in New Zealand’s parliament buildings, visit to Te Papa, 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.
Onboard you will enjoy a packed lunch supplied by charity Eat My Lunch - it will also feed a Kiwi child who may otherwise go without,
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Picton - 1 night
Kaikoura - Christchurch
Get up close and personal with some New Zealand fur seals at Ohau Point, watch whales at Kaikoura, (optional scenic whale-watching flight is available)
A spectacular marine playground exists off the coast of Kaikoura and living in this environment is the mighty Sperm Whale. It is here that resident bachelors dive to immense depths in search of Giant Squid, so accessible to Sperm whales but still elusive to mankind. Visitors are drawn to Kaikoura by the ability to view these magnificent mammals in their own environment 12 months of the year and Kaikoura The rich diversity of wildlife found means that every day is a chance to see something different and unique - and you will - from seabirds to cetaceans (whales and dolphins), seals, or even Orca.
Travel across the Canterbury Plains 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
Mt Cook National Park
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
Oamaru - 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.
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Accommodation: Dunedin - 1 night
Gateway Fiordland National Park
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
Steamboat to High-Country Station
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
West Coast 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
Accommodation: Franz Josef - 1 night
Alpine 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|
- Discover the arts and traditions of New Zealand’s Maori culture
- Feast on a Maori Hangi at a unique dinner experience with the Tamaki family
- Cruise through Waitomo’s famous Glowworm Grotto
- Visit Huka Falls
- Visit the Museum of New Zealand
- Interislander ferry
- Visit Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo
- Cruise on Milford Sound
- Travel past ancient glaciers, spectacular mountains and magical rainforest en route to Milford Sound
- Sail across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak for a unique highlight dinner
- Let loose in the adventure capital Queenstown
- Visit the old gold mining village of Arrowtown
- Travel through the magnificent rainforest of Haast Pass
- See awe-inspiring Franz Josef Glacier
- Journey over the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine Train
- Comfortable accommodation
- Travel by luxury coach
- Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
- 13 Full Buffet Breakfasts
- 1 Lunch
- 4 Dinners
- 2 Highlight dinners
- 1 Farewell dinner