AAT Kings Spirit of New Zealand Itinerary


‘Haere Mai’ - Welcome to Christchurch

Community spirit is strong in Christchurch, as you’ll discover exploring its streets at your leisure. We recommend jumping on the tram to tour Christchurch and discover how the city has rebuilt itself since the 2010/11 earthquakes. Look out for the Transitional Cathedral, made largely of cardboard, and Turanga, the gold-clad central library.

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: Welcome reception 

Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 Night

This inviting and modern brand new hotel features contemporary rooms, Restaurant & Bar. Nearby to the Cashel Street Re:START mall - this "pop up" shopping precinct is the new vibrant heart of the city, featuring many new designer shops and modern cafes. The Hotel is very close to the famous Cathedral Square, the historic heart of the city providing easy access to local activities, outer lying attractions and the airport.
Ibis Hotel Christchurch.


Lake Pukaki & Tekapo - Mt Cook National Park

Begin today with a tour of Christchurch where you will see the extensive work carried out to rebuild the city after the devastating earthquake of 2011. Later continue through the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains, stopping to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd. From here travel along the shores of spectacular Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki into Aoraki Mount Cook National Park soaking up the sensational alpine landscape. Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, helped Sir Edmund Hillary hone his climbing skills in preparation for his conquest of Everest. Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country at Omarama. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Omarama - 1 Night

Set amongst landscaped gardens with views of the surrounding mountains, the Heritage Gateway Hotel is a peaceful place to stay. Featuring 98 comfortably furnished guest rooms, restaurant & bar.The Heritage Gateway is located 4 hours south of Christchurch and is truly the gateway to the South Island. This hotel has a full restaurant and cocktail bar both offering panoramic views of the Southern Alps.
Set amongst landscaped gardens with views of the surrounding mountains, the Heritage Gateway Hotel


Edinburgh of the South - Dunedin

Travel onto 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 ‘Oamaruivans’ are certainly not. In fact, they are quite the contrary. Unlike the Victorians they (the locals) are bohemian 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.

This afternoon you will make your way down to the Southernmost New Zealand city, Dunedin. With the rest of your free afternoon you may wish to take part in an optional excursion to see more of the region. Take a Wildlife Cruise out to Otago Peninsula, visit the Speights Brewery – a New Zealand institution or ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway.  

Some options available in and around Dunedin:

Speights Brewery Tour

   Cadbury Chocolate     Penguins and Albatross Tour

Taieri Rail Journey

   Peninsula Wildlife Cruise    Larnach Castle Tour


Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Dunedin - 1 Night


On a leafy hillside overlooking central Dunedin city, this classic old-school hotel has a modern exterior is only a 12-minute walk from the famous Dunedin Railway Station and 2 km (1.2 mi) from the historic Otago Harbour. The hotel features subdued rooms with warm wood furnishings and vibrant accents.


Overnight Cruise Fiordland

Today travel through World Heritage Fiordland National Park's stunning glaciers and lush rainforest. You will see Lake Matheson, famous for its reflective views of Mount Cook, before making your way into Milford Sound, considered by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Tonight experience a magical dinner on an Overnight Cruise aboard the Milford Mariner. You’ll travel the length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea past breathtaking waterfalls, majestic mountain ranges and native wildlife.

(Cruise may not operate on 10 Sep 2020 departure. On this date, you can enjoy a day cruise on Milford Sound and accommodation in Te Anau or Queenstown).

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Milford Sound - 1 Night

For the ultimate Milford Sound experience, spend the night aboard the Mariner and wake up to the dawn of a new day in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Milford Mariner then anchors in a sheltered cove, where you can join the nature guide and explore in the vessel’s tender craft (small boat) and kayaks. Or, if you prefer, you can simply relax on deck and soak in the beauty of this amazing place or go for a swim (if you’re brave enough). As evening falls, enjoy a delicious carvery buffet in the dining saloon, prepared freshly by our onboard chef. Then relax in the company of fellow travellers or indulge in some star-gazing before retiring to your private cabin 
Milford Sound Overnight Cruise


Te Anau / Glowworms / Queenstown

Today continue your journey South to Te Anau, located on the shores of the South Island’s Largest Lake of the same name. You'll explore the Te Anau Glowworm Caves by boat with a local guide, before travelling to the adventure capital - Queenstown. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, the surrounding scenery is breathtaking.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Queenstown - 3 Nights

Experience tranquillity all year round. The Copthorne Resort Lakefront in Queenstown sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and is within walking distance of Queenstown’s central shopping and entertainment area. Exploring panoramic views of the lake and nearby mountains, the Copthorne is the perfect venue to relax! The Copthorne Lakefront blends superior facilities and comfort with friendly service. The hotel Balconies and garden views are a feature of many rooms.
Copthorne Resort Queenstown


Two Days at Leisure in Queenstown

Explore exciting Queenstown your way. Perhaps play a round of golf on one of the countries best courses, unwind on a unique wine tasting tour or indulge in a luxurious spa treatment. On the first night you’ll experience an entertaining after-dinner farm show which provides you with a glimpse into high-country farm life before cruising back to Queenstown.

Recommended Queenstown Excursions:

Routeburn Day Walk Highest Bungey Jump Explore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon       Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise   Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail

Meals: Breakfasts


Arrowtown / Cromwell / Glaciers

Today begins with a visit to the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown, located on the Arrow River. From here it's on to Cromwell where you'll get to try delicious stone fruit - peaches, plums, apricots, cherries - at a local orchard. Continue past the trio of lakes - Lake Dunstan, Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka  - then through the Haast Pass. The final stop is majestic Franz Josef Glacier.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Franz Josef  - 1 Night

Situated on the very edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier will welcome you in true New Zealand style. The Hotel makes the most of its alpine location and is only moments from spectacular Franz Josef Glacier. The highly regarded Hot Pools are within walking distance. Featuring patios or balconies, the simple, warmly decorated rooms and suites include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges, plus tea and coffee making facilities. Suites add living areas. (formerly known as the Scenic Circle Franz Josef Glacier Hotel) has quality rooms with balcony views and special access.
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier


Franz Josef Glacier / Punakaki

Today choose to see spectacular Franz Josef Glacier from the air or do a Glacier Heli Hike (optional). From here its on to Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast, for a greenstone (jade) jewellery demonstration by a local carver. Later travel to Punakaiki  where you will see the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Tonight you stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront  - enjoy dinner while watching the thundering surf at your doorstep! 

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Punakaiki  - 1 Night

Surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and with stunning views of the Tasman Sea, The Ocean View Retreat – Punakaiki is in a great location. The resort is situated only 300m from the famous Punakaiki Blowholes and has been designed in harmony with the local environment.  Evenings are spent relaxing in a standard resort room with views of the sea or an Eco Suite with rainforest and distant seaviews.

The Ocean View Retreat – Punakaiki


Buller Gorge / Nelson

Soak up the scenic wilderness of the Heritage Highway through the impressive Buller Gorge and Kahurangi National Park before arriving in Nelson. This afternoon visit the amazing World of Wearable Arts and Classic Cars, where you will experience unforgettable garments from the gala award shows held each year.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Nelson- 2 Nights


The Rutherford Hotel  is an icon of the region standing next to the Cathedral steps and an easy stroll into the city of Nelson.  Nelson is a haven for art enthusiasts, and has a reputation for excellent produce, craft beer and fine wines. The Rutherford Hotel features restaurants and bars and caters for all room categories from studios, interconnecting rooms and suites.

Rutherford Hotel Nelson


Relax - Nelson at Leisure

Explore Nelson at leisure today. Surrounded by sheltered mountain ranges, golden beaches, national parks and boutique wineries and breweries there's no shortage of things to see and do. Choose to journey to the top of the South Island and enjoy a relaxing cruise in the stunning Abel Tasman National Park, take a bush walk or maybe just relax in the city and explore the many arts and craft galleries.

Meals: Breakfast


Queen Charlotte Sound / Wellington

Visit the picturesque seaside village of Picton before cruising the tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound. Head across the Cook Strait to Wellington, New Zealand's capital. Here you will have a tour of the city before visiting Te Papa, the nation museum, where you'll gain insight into the country's  fascinating nature, art, history and cultural heritage.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Wellington - 2 Nights


Located in a modern tower 300m from the waterfront, the Travelodge is just a few minutes walk from the harbour and the centre of Wellington. Main attractions such as the famous Cable Car, Botanic Garden and Te Papa (the national museum) all are situated within walking distance so transportation in the city centre is unnecessary. From here it is easy to enjoy a city trip that includes everything you don't want to miss when visiting New Zealand's (culture) capital! 

Travelodge Wellington


The Cool Little Capital - Wellington

Today you are free to explore as you wish. Perhaps join a tour of New Zealand’s Parliament buildings and the ‘Beehive’ or ride Wellington’s famous cable car up to Kelburn lookout for stunning views of the city.

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 - Art Deco City

Travel through the dairy farming land of Manawatu to Napier. In February 1931, Napier was levelled by earthquake and fire but was rebuilt in the depths of the Great Depression in just two years.  Nowhere else in the world can you see such a concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s: Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical. You’ll hear the story of the earthquake that devastated Napier in 1931 and be introduced to the Art Deco style and hear stories of the characters involved in rebuilding this city. A local guide will accompany you on a walking tour.  

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Napier - 1 Night

Styled to complement its remarkable location on the edge of the beautiful Hawke's Bay, Scenic Hotel Te Pania boasts design awards for its style and offers an unmatched level of service to leisure travellers with a high four star accommodation rating. Enjoy the central waterfront location and the extensive sea views that all rooms share. Te Pania is just a short stroll from Napier’s main art deco style street with many shops, cafes and restaurants.

Scenic Hotel Te Pania - Napier


Great Lake Taupo & Rotorua

Today travel inland to beautiful Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake and the largest fresh water lake in Australasia, located in the crater of the Taupo volcano. Stop to visit the mighty Huka Falls, which drain the lake, before continuing on to cultural Rotorua. On arrival in Rotorua an orientation tour takes in views of Lake Rotorua. 

Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner

Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 Nights


Situated on the picturesque shores of Lake Rotorua, this hotel offers tranquil surroundings with sensational views, near to many bars, restaurants and main attractions. The Ibis Rotorua offers great accommodation to travellers that want to make most out of their stay in New Zealand's geothermal area. 

Ibis Rotorua


Rotorua - the Cultural and Geothermal Centre

Today is your chance to experience the scenic wonders of the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Visit Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where you’ll see demonstrations of wood carving and weaving. Then tour the geothermal valley and hear the importance of the geysers and mud pools to the Maori people. Later, you may wish to travel back to Rotorua township and relax lakeside, or you may prefer to choose from one of the varied Optional Activities on offer. 

Tonight you will gain further insight into Maori culture and history through a special show where you’ll learn about some local customs and words. Enjoy a traditional Maori Hangi, a meal cooked in a pit in the ground using the geothermal steam the area is known for.

Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner

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



Auckland - City of Sails

This morning you will head to the Agrodome Sheep Show, a hilarious, interactive way to gain an insight into New Zealand’s biggest industry – agriculture. On our way to Auckland we pass through the lush dairy-farming areas of the Waikato region. Continue to Auckland where your city sightseeing tour takes in Bastion Point, Viaduct Harbour and the Auckland Harbour Bridge. 

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Auckland - 1 Night

Right on the main street of Auckland City's CBD, this brand new VR Hotel has proudly opened its doors to accommodate travellers who are exploring Auckland and surroundings. The location is on walking distance from the harbour, SkyCity, many shops and restaurants and the city's most popular attractions. Furthermore, public transport is easily accessible from this location. Many bars and restaurants are also available in nearby suburbs Mount Eden and Ponsonby.

VR Queenstreet


Bay of Islands

Drive over Auckland's Harbour Bridge and along the scenic Hibiscus Coast to Parry Kauri Park, where you will walk amongst the native Kauri Trees, some of the largest and longest living trees in the world. Explore Whangarei, the northern-most city in New Zealand, then it's on to the seaside town of Paihia, known as the 'Jewel of the Bay of Islands.' From here enjoy a Scenic Cruise to Cape Brett and the famous 'Hole in the Rock'.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Bay of Islands - 2 Nights

This four star hotel offers uninterrupted Bay views surrounded by 60 acres of subtropical gardens and the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It features a spectacular, lagoon style swimming pool and rock pools of cascading water. The hotel’s 180 guest rooms have individual patios or balconies from which to enjoy the water or garden views. Taking inspiration from nature, rooms have been designed to blend into the natural environment whilst offering a serene escape.
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands


Bay of Islands Leisure Time

Today you are free to experience the beautiful Bay of Islands as you wish. Made up of 144 islands it's paradise for water lovers and there is no shortage of things to do. Perhaps go on a dolphin cruise, take a coach trip to Cape Reinga via 90 mile beach, spend the day sailing on a tall ship or take a tour to historic Russell. Ask your Travel Director about optional experiences.

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

Start with a morning of leisure and this afternoon sit, back and relax as you make your way down through Northland’s lush farmland scenery and past the sprawling suburbs of the North Shore of Auckland. This afternoon, you may want to head out and explore Auckland before joining your group for a Farewell Dinner.

Some Activities and sightseeing options for your free time in Auckland:

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

Meals: Breakfast and Farewell Dinner

Accommodation: Auckland  - 1 Night

Right on the main street of Auckland City's CBD, this brand new VR Hotel has proudly opened its doors to accommodate travellers who are exploring Auckland and surroundings. The location is on walking distance from the harbour, SkyCity, many shops and restaurants and the city's most popular attractions. Furthermore, public transport is easily accessible from this location. Many bars and restaurants are also available in nearby suburbs Mount Eden and Ponsonby.

VR Queenstreet


Farewell Auckland

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


Included Highlights

  • Tour through Christchurch to witness the incredible rebuild of this city
  • Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo
  • Explore New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach Castle
  • Spend the night cruising on magical Milford Sound
  • Let loose in the adventure capital, Queenstown
  • Walk to Thunder Creek Falls
  • See awe-inspiring Franz Josef Glacier
  • Watch artisans carving native greenstone (jade) in Hokitika
  • Punakaiki, home to Pancake Rocks & Blowholes
  • Interislander Ferry
  • Visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand
  • Immerse yourself in Maori culture at a Hangi and Concert
  • Relax in the Bay of Islands
  • Bay of Islands Cruise


  • Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach


  •  20 Full buffet breakfasts
  •  1 Lunch
  •  1 Highlight Dinner
  •  6 Dinners 
  •  1 Farewell Dinner

Flight Information

  •  Day 1 - Flights to arrive prior to 4.00pm into Christchurch Airport
  •  Day 21 - Flights to depart anytime from Auckland Airport

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Profile picture for user Tracy
What Tracy says about this tour: Travelling by luxury coach with great food and quality accommodation this small group tour lets you discover some out-of-the way places. The pace is relaxed and the tour director will expertly guide your 3 week journey. I recommend this tour for folk who want to relax and enjoy kiwi culture and hospitality and of course the stunning New Zealand scenery.
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