The Northbound Showcase Itinerary

A very calm wild West coast

Documentation pack and support: We've got you covered!

When you touch down in New Zealand your detailed documentation pack will be hand-delivered by one of our trusted representatives. You'll find everything you need in one handy place: your personalised itinerary, clear instructions and maps, and reservation details for your accommodation and activities.

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What's also included?

Dedicated Travel Consultant                 Detailed Daily Itinerary and Vouchers        


Full 24 Hour Support50 Page Essential New Zealand Guide 
First Light Travel's Documentation Pack


Arrive Christchurch

‘Haere Mai’ and welcome to New Zealand!

Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City. You will be transferred from the airport to your Christchurch hotel and then you can head out and explore Christchurch. Perhaps relax as the Christchurch Tram takes you around the 'must-see' central attractions. The tram drivers provide a live commentary throughout the loop, identifying points of interest, historic architecture and the changes the city is under-going since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Some Suggested Activities Options for Christchurch

Easygoing Cycling Tour  Punting the Avon River  Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise
Māori Cultural EveningFrench Akaroa TourSouthern Alps Ballooning
Christchurch GondolaClearwater GolfArthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike

Accommodation Christchurch - 1 Night

Christchurch Punting Avon River
The Quest Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square in the heart of the commercial, arts and tourist precinct. This purpose built property is on Christchurch's famous inner city tram loop and features a mix of new and heritage architecture. Incorporated in the complex are a variety of retail shops, cafes and restaurants. All the serviced apartments have free Wi-Fi & fully equipped kitchens.
Quest Hotel in Christchurch


Tranzalpine Rail Journey - Punakaiki

It’s ‘all aboard’ this morning as you will begin your adventure on the renowned Tranz Alpine Railway, rated as one of the top 6 rail journeys in the world. Be entranced by the spectacular panorama that unfolds outside your window – the tracks wind through the very heart of the Southern Alps, a mighty mountain landscape that’s home to craggy gorges, soaring peaks and ribbons of crystal-clear rivers. Once arrived in Greymouth we continue by coach to Punakaiki, where you will stay this night. 

Accommodation Punakaiki - 1 Night

TranzAlpine Rail Journey
Surrounded by the Paparoa National Park and with stunning views of the Tasman Sea, Scenic Hotel 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.

Scenic Hotel Punakaiki


Punakaiki - Franz Josef

Today journey by coach to the Franz Josef Village – and here, you’re in for a real treat. The Franz Josef Glacier tumbles down from the Southern Alps almost to the sea, its ancient icy faces contrasting spectacularly with the surrounding rainforests. You will stay 2 nights in Franz Josef

Accommodation Franz Josef - 2 Nights

At Punga Grove, all of our stylish accommodation is set amidst the native Franz Josef rainforest. Our mountainside motel has been designed to maximise the beauty of the greenery with decks, outdoor areas and conservatory windows virtually putting you deep in the rainforest. All apartments include a fully equipped kitchen.
Punga Grove


The Glaciers at Leisure

Today is a free day to explore the region around Franz Josef. You are in the heart of the Westland National Park, considered to be the most diverse and beautiful areas in New Zealand and the home of the Kea, a protected native parrot that thrives in the chilly environment and is infamous for its inquisitive and often destructive behaviour! 

Simply relax in the Glacier Hot Pools or if you are feeling adventurous take a Glacier Heli Hike and land on the glacier with an experienced guide to explore the towering peaks and ice formations.

Excursions available in and around the Franz Josef area:

Kayak Okarito Lagoon 

   Glacier Hot Pools      Glacier Scenic Flight

Horseback Riding  

   Walk to Glacier Face   Glacier Heli-hike


Franz Josef Glacier


Franz Josef / Queenstown

Today we venture across the mountains, driving up and over the Haast Pass and travelling past dramatic rivers, forests and mountains. We stop to stretch our legs on an easy forest track that leads to dazzling blue pools and the amazing Thunder Creek Falls. We journey along the shores of the turquoise-blue lakes of Wanaka, Hawea and Dunstan, and make our way through the rugged cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge and onwards to Cromwell. The final stop of today is Queenstown - the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Accommodation Queenstown - 3 Nights

Queenstown Wharf

Just 8 minutes walk into the heart of Queenstown you will find the Alexis Motel and Apartments, surrounded by majestic alpine scenery and spectacular views across Lake Wakatipu. Choose from a variety of self contained one bedroom apartments, two bedroom apartments and studio suites

Alexis Motel and Apartments


Spectacular Milford Sound Cruise

Today promises to be one of the major highlights of your time in New Zealand. We journey to Te Anau, the gateway to the stunning Fiordland National Park, before driving the spectacular Milford Road. Lush forests, glacier-carved valleys, snowy peaks and mirror-like lakes dot this very special driving experience into a renowned World Heritage Site. Continuing through the hand-carved Homer Tunnel and on to Milford Sound itself, the views of this grand fiord are breath taking. We explore its inky waters on a boat cruise, soaking up the surroundings of granite cliffs, tumbling waterfalls and unique wildlife before journeying back to Queenstown


Milford Sound Mitre Peak


Queenstown at Leisure

The surrounding area is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards and the natural landscape with wild rivers, high peaks and deep canyons has allowed Queenstown to 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.

If you want to enjoy spectacular scenic views, you can sit back and relax in the Skyline Queenstown Gondola (cost of Gondola included). The steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown. 

Other recommended excursions around Queenstown:

Routeburn Day WalkHighest Bungey JumpExplore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

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

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail

Queenstown Lake Wakatipu


Mt Cook National Park

The road to Mount Cook is stunning and the drive along Lake Pukaki is one of the most beautiful in the world, so its no wonder the alpine scenery was declared a World Heritage site by Unesco recently. 

New Zealand's Mt Cook National Park is known for its exquisite alpine beauty and is home to our highest mountain, Mt Cook. Its Maori name, ‘Aoraki’ means ‘cloud piercer’ and at 12,016ft (3,755m) it towers above the surrounding snow-covered peaks in the park. A third of the park is covered in permanent ice and snow and the mighty Tasman Glacier is the longest glacier outside of the polar regions. Glacial melt gives the lakes their beautiful milky, turquoise colour and there are many walks in the area to take in the dramatic beauty. This is the very heart and soul of a World Heritage and National Park wilderness playground. Ice, snow, hidden valleys, lakes and glaciers offer golden opportunities for discovery and relaxation on your New Zealand independent coach Itinerary.

Accommodation: Mt Cook Village - 1 Night

Mount Cook
Situated in the iconic Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, Mt Cook Lodge & Motels offers a selection of accommodation types from backpacker styled dorms, cosy chalets to newly refurbished and contemporary self-contained motel units. All rooms include ensuite bathrooms, quality linen, fridge and a patio or balcony so you can soak up the stunning mountain views. Chill out in the Chamois Bar & Grill, a favourite of travellers and locals alike.
Mt Cook Lodge & Motels


Great Southern Lakes and Canterbury Plains

As you depart for the heart of New Zealand's South Island you discover Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, these beautiful turquoise highland lakes are surrounded by a vast basin of golden tussock and the spectacular Southern Alps Mountains. Finely ground rock in the glacial melted waters gives the lakes a beautifully unique colour.  A perfect place to stop for a look around on the way to Christchurch.

Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 Night

Christchurch City Tram
The Quest Christchurch is located just off Cathedral Square in the heart of the commercial, arts and tourist precinct. This purpose built property is on Christchurch's famous inner city tram loop and features a mix of new and heritage architecture. Incorporated in the complex are a variety of retail shops, cafes and restaurants. All the serviced apartments have free Wi-Fi & fully equipped kitchens.
Quest Hotel in Christchurch


Christchurch - Rotorua

Today you will take an internal flight to Rotorua. Enjoy the evening in the Mitai Maori Village. An authentic traditional Maori Experience! An evening at Mitai will give you an introduction to Maori culture, you will have an authentic hang dinner while being entertained. 

* Please note the flight from Christchurch to Rotorua are additional as flight prices are dynamic and can change on a daily basis.

Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 Nights

Maori Dance
Located only a short way from the town centre and the lake front, our motel in Rotorua has been independently assessed by Qualmark as 4 star quality accommodation. Easy to find on Lake Road and from the moment you arrive, you'll enjoy the convenience of being located in close proximity to the nearby aquatic centre, the CBD, shops, entertainment and other activities.
Bella Vista


Rotorua Sightseeing & Optional Hobbiton Tour

This morning you will discover three of Rotorua's best visitor attractions on a sightseeing tour. 

Gain an insight into New Zealand's Māori culture at Te Puia, then experience Rotorua's famous geothermal activity with a tour of the neighbouring Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley - a place where mud pools bubble and boil and geysers shoot steam high into the air. You'll also see Te Puia's woodcarving and weaving schools and see how these ancient Māori art forms are being passed on to a new generation of master artists. You will continue on to the Rainbow Springs Nature Park where you can join the Kiwi Encounter and then head over to the Agrodome Sheep Show for a taste of 'very kiwi' farm life. 

In the afternoon you can experience an exciting Hobbiton Tour (optional). You will journey to the emerald pastures and rolling hills of The Shire, where Hobbiton was brought to life on a private farm in Matamata. This idyllic village blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Set to the scale of a 3ft Hobbit you’ll feel like you’ve walked into a magical world of smoking chimneys, bluebells, and the Green Dragon Inn. Visit Bag End as well as the other 43 Hobbit Holes. 


Rotorua Thermals


Rotorua - Waitomo - Auckland

With an early departure from Rotorua you will be travelling to the amazing Waitomo Caves. Tour the Waitomo Glow Worm Grotto by boat with a local guide. From here your journey continues to Auckland, the final destination of your journey. 

Accommodation Auckland - 1 Night

Waitomo Caves

Within a stones throw of the Britomart & Harbour side entertainment and dining precinct - your stay in Auckland will be a memorable one. Fully equipped modern serviced one, two and three bedroom apartments are perfect for short or long term stays within Auckland City. Full kitchen and laundry facilities allow you the freedom to stay as if you had never left home. Newly refurbished hotel rooms are perfect for shorter stays.

Nesuto Stadium Apartments, Located in Auckland Central Business District.


Bon Voyage!

Homeward Bound"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

It is time to say goodbye. This morning you will be transferred to the airport of Auckland to catch your flight. 

Some Activities and Sightseeing Options if you have time or choose to stay an extra night at Auckland: 

Explore Waiheke Island    Island Kayaking Adventure    America’s Cup Sailing
Auckland's Sky TowerRelax on the BeachRangitoto Island Cruise & Walk
West Coast Wine TourWhale and Dolphin SafariMuriwai Surf Beach


Auckland Viaduct


What is an Independent Coach Tour

Tour Inclusions

  • 4 Star Accommodation
  • Experienced Driver Guides
  • Detailed and informative commentary
  • Travel in an air-conditioned coach
  • 24 Hour Assistance
  • Daily Departures
  • Milford Sound Day Tour & Cruise (including lunch)
  • TranzAlpine Train Christchurch - Greymouth
  • Skyline Gondola Queenstown
  • Mitai Hangi & Concert
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  • Return airport transfers - flight details to be provided 14 days prior to travel
Northbound Tour Map

What Michelle says about this tour: What a fantastic way to see New Zealand, great pace of travel with free days so you can finetune the activities to match your preferences. I have to give this trip a big thumbs up for showing all of the high lights of New Zealand including the secluded west coast of the South Island, the rain forests are outstanding.
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The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price