Auckland to ROTORUA
Sailing Lake Rotoiti, Natural Hot Pools & Rotorua
We head southeast through the lush dairy farmlands of the Waikato. Touring New Zealand’s dramatic Karangahake Gorge we take a stroll alongside the Ohinemuri River through native bush to the relics and ruins of this region's gold-mining past. We pass through Te Puke, the Kiwifruit capital of the world, the landscape dotted with Kiwifruit orchards before continuing on to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua.
Along the way, at Okawa Bay, we board "Tiua", a 53ft catamaran for a relaxing sail on serene Lake Rotoiti to secluded coves and natural hot pools reached only by boat - a great way to finish your day.
Accommodation Rotorua - 2 nights
ROTORUA AT LEISURE / LODGE LUNCH
We’ve got two nights in Rotorua, so take it easy this morning! Perhaps stroll down to the lakeside, just minutes from your hotel, or enjoy one of Rotorua's many guided tours and attractions. Don’t miss nearby Ohinemutu marae, one of only two living Maori villages left in New Zealand. We'll head to the famous 'Buried Village of Te Wairoa' for a hosted lunch with our friends David and Karen, you’ll love them and their stories from their Maori and European histories.
After lunch let’s take a walk around the village itself before we learn all about our national icon (the Kiwi bird) and the amazing efforts that go into ensuring their survival at the Rotorua Kiwi Encounter. When you see a live Kiwi you'll be amazed at how big they are!
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|
Meals: Breakfast Dinner
GEOTHERMAL WONDER / TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK
Today we visit the surreal, geothermal reserve, Wai-O-Tapu. The bubbling mud pools and incredibly colourful silica terraces are unforgettable.
On the road to Lake Taupo we view the turbulent Huka Falls where the Waikato River thunders through a narrow chasm. From Taupo there are magnificent views across the lake to the three active volcanoes - Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu (2,797 metres), the highest mountain in the North Island.These mountains of the volcanic plateau are our next destination, the World Heritage Tongariro National Park. Take a walk in the park this afternoon.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation National Park - 1 Night
NATIONAL PARK - WELLINGTON
Our day starts in style, with breakfast at the historic Chateau Tongariro nestled at the base of the mountains. This is the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, from this volcanic plateau we make our way across the high country and down to our capital Wellington.
We stay two nights in Wellington as we reckon you can’t miss "the coolest little capital in the world". We’ll check out the city's sights and head up Mt Victoria for the stunning views over the harbour before getting settled for the night. We’re right in the heart of Wellington's vibrant hub of museums, theatres, galleries, boutiques and cafes. Looking for some local flavour? Ask for one of Wellington’s trendy craft beers with your dinner (our pick – Tuatara).
Accommodation Wellington - 2 nights
WELLINGTON - FREE DAY IN THE COOLEST LITTLE CAPITAL
The day is yours to enjoy, you are at the heart of all the action at The Bolton Hotel, a short walk to the waterfront, Te Papa National Museum and all the eateries and boutique breweries that Wellington is famous for.
Wellington is also the spiritual home of "The Lord of Rings" where you can visit Weta Workshop and see how all the props are made or drop into the Embassy theatre which hosted the world premier back in 2003.
Here are some sight seeing and activity suggestions while in Wellington:
|National Museum - Te Papa||Visit Cuba Street||Weta Workshop Tour|
|Zealandia Wildlife Reserve||Carter Observatory|
COOK STRAIT CRUISE / WINE COUNTRY
Loading up the car and heading across to ‘the mainland’ is what we all used to do on holiday as kids, it’s a Kiwi rite of passage! We cruise on the Interislander ferry for three hours across Cook Strait and into beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton to plant our feet firmly on “Te Waka a Maui”, the South Island. Our first port of call is Allan Scott's vineyard for wine tasting and lunch, right in the heart of the world famous Marlborough sauvignon blanc region.
From wine country we head to through the heart of Marlborough toward Nelson, the sunshine capital of New Zealand and gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Along the way we cross the Pelorus River bridge, scene of the Barrel Run scene from the Hobbit movies. In Nelson relax and unpack, this is home for 2 nights.
Accommodation Nelson - 2 Nights
CRUISE & WALK ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK
Today you have a choice of a full Scenic Cruise or a cruise and walk from Marahau along the stunning Abel Tasman coastline. Abel Tasman National Park is our country's smallest national park. It protects 23,000 hectares of the most natural stretch of easily accessible coastline in New Zealand. The coastline is characterised by islands just offshore, sheltered waters, estuaries and golden, sandy beaches. Lie on a beach, or even go for a swim if the weather is warm. The park is sheltered from ocean swells, and enjoys a mild climate. After your cruise or walk we return to Nelson.
EXPLORE THE KAIKOURA COAST
From Nelson we drive to Pelorus Bridge, Havelock and Blenheim then down the spectacular Kaikoura coastline where big seas pound the rocks. Kaikoura is a small hamlet beside the ocean and beneath the towering Kaikoura Mountains. Seafood, especially crayfish, is a specialty. We stay right on the waterfront. Enjoy relaxing for the afternoon in Kaikours. Take an optional boat cruise or scenic flight to view whales, or stroll along the coastline for encounters with the cheeky fur seals that live here.
Suggested Wildlife Encounters in Kaikoura
|Whale Watching Cruise||Swim with the Seals in Kaikoura|
|Whale Watching Flight Kaikoura||Dusky Dolphin Viewing or Swimming|
|Kayaking with Fur Seals||Albatross & Pelagic Bird Watching Kaikoura|
AKAUNUI FARM HOMESTEAD - AORAKI/MT COOK NATIONAL PARK
We continue south today, following the coast before heading inland over the hills and down into the Canterbury Plains. Lunch today is very special. We are hosted by Di and Ian Mackenzie at beautiful Akanui Farm Homestead where we enjoy fresh produce from their veggie garden and pick up a few kiwi farming tips.
In the afternoon, we drive towards Lake Tekapo and the foothills of the Southern Alps – fields of golden tussock fill the scene out of the coach window as you get deeper into the Mount Cook National Park.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Mount Cook - 1 night
AORAKI/MT COOK - QUEENSTOWN
Enjoy an early morning stroll in the valley first thing before we drive through more mountain and tussock scenery to arrive into Queenstown. We take the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for beautiful views over this pretty resort town. Your hotel is very central, only minutes away from town and with views out to Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountains. Queenstown is home to a myriad of delicious cafes and restaurants – your driver/guide can offer some great recommendations.
Accommodation: Queenstown - 2 nights
MILFORD SOUND CRUISE & FIORDLAND SCENIC FLIGHT
Today promises to be one of the highlights of your time in New Zealand. Travel to Milford Sound along the Milford Road – winding deep into the heart of Fiordland National Park, this is one of the most visually spectacular roads in the country. Arriving in Milford Sound itself, take a boat cruise to explore the inky blue waters. The onboard nature guide will help you to spot the unique wildlife that call this place home. Afterwards, return by stunning scenic flight to Queenstown.
AT LEISURE IN QUEENSTOWN
Today is the final day of your tour. Experience Queenstown exactly as you want to and enjoy a day of activities from walking & cycling and adrenalin & adventure to gourmet food & wine. Your driver/guide will assist you with your plans.
Recommended excursions in Queenstown:
|Routeburn Day Walk||Highest Bungey Jump||Explore Arrowtown|
|Biking Skippers Canyon||Round at Millbrook Golf Resort|
|Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise||Dart River Jetboat Safari|
If you would prefer something a little more relaxing, enjoy wandering the boutique shops or strolling through the pretty Botanic Gardens. Whatever you choose to do, you’re guaranteed to be surrounded by stunning scenery.
- All transport provided in comfortable, air-conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers).
- Services of your Kiwi guide who is passionate about showcasing the best of New Zealand.
- Wonderfully appointed accommodation, chosen for its location and accessibility to attractions.
- All breakfasts(B).
- Two special lunches (L) - Pounamu Lodge, Lake Tarawera, Rotorua; Akaunui Farm Homestead, Canterbury.
Included Activities and Entrance Fees
- Cruise Lake Rotoiti on the luxury yacht “Tiua” and soak in the mineral hot pools on the edge of the lake, only reached by boat.
- Learn about geothermal history with a visit to Wai-O-Tapu.
- Cross the Cook Straight from the North to the South Island on the Interislander ferry.
- Enjoy a wine-tasting tour in Marlborough, New Zealand’s premier wine-growing region.
- Take a cruise to the golden sands of the Abel Tasman National Park.
- Experience Milford Sound, once called the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ on a scenic 2.5 hour nature cruise.
- Take flight over the Southern Alps with a scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown.
Included Sightseeing & Exploring
- Travel the dramatic highway through the Karangahake Gorge.
- Discover Rotorua’s impressive lakes of Rotoiti and Tarawera.
- Explore Maori cultural connections in Rotorua.
- Watch in awe as the powerful Huka Falls surge and visit the Wairakei geothermal power station, the first of its kind in the world.
- Enjoy views of three active volcanoes from across Lake Taupo.
- Take a gentle walk in the wilderness of the Tongariro National Park in the central North Island.
- Explore the eclectic café scene, bars and restaurants in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.
- Visit the exquisite Lake Tekapo and the stunning Church of the Good Shepard located on the edge of the lake.
- Explore the diverse the flora, fauna and sights of the Aoraki/Mt Cook region.
- Learn more about New Zealand’s gold-mining history as we pass through the beautiful Kawarau Gorge.
- Explore Lake Wakatipu, one of the Great Southern Lakes.