A Hotbed of History & Culture Itinerary

Beautiful Arrowtown

Welcome to Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, 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.

After checking into your hotel, relax, take a stroll around our beautiful city, explore the highly acclaimed Waterfront Restaurant Quarter or choose one of the many activities available for a more in-depth understanding of Auckland and the surrounding area.

Some activities and sightseeing options if you have time:

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

Accommodation: Auckland - 1 Night

A contemporary hotel for the curious, the explorers and those who thrive on new experiences. Functionally chic, this contemporary hotel features 190 rooms and suites designed for all travellers, overlooking the vibrant Princes Wharf that is home to a stunning array of dining, entertainment and shopping experiences.
M Social Auckland


Bay of Islands

Depart early from Auckland and drive north to the Bay of Islands - a unique marine wonderland. A stunning Maritime Park, with 144 islands, this sub-tropical region is a paradise of endless secluded bays and abundant marine life.

This afternoon, after arriving in the waterfront town of Paihia, relax and get to know the Bay in the very best way - by hitting the water. You can swim with dolphins, cruise around the islands, kayak along the shore - whatever takes your fancy.

Approximate Distance: 228 kms | 142 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 5 mins

Accommodation: Russell - 2 Nights

Bay of Islands
The Duke of Marlborough Hotel is New Zealand's first licensed hotel, bar, and restaurant and is beautifully located on the waterfront in the historic village of Russell. There are three levels of accommodation each increasing in comfort and style. Available to all is the use of two excellent restaurants and a sundeck lounge from which to take a rest and enjoy the activity on the waterfront in the Bay. This truly historic establishment is a favorite amongst the locals and holidaymakers in the know.


Waitangi & Russell: Shaping a nation

Historic Russell 
With an informative local guide to transport you back in time, you'll take a fascinating mini-tour of historic Russell and its surrounds. Hear stories going back to the earliest settlers whilst visiting places of historical significance not easily covered on foot.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds 
This afternoon you will visit the "birthplace of New Zealand": the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This multi-award-winning attraction brings history to life before your very eyes.

Find out how 1840 Treaty of Waitangi between Maori and Pakeha (European settlers) shaped the future of the New Zealand nation. After strolling the museum and grounds, you will enter a beautifully carved Whare Rūnanga (meeting house), for an awe-inspiring Maori cultural performance that will give you chills.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds


Hokianga - West Coast

Hokianga Harbour: footsteps of the first New Zealanders 

A short drive today takes you to Hokianga, on the 'other side' of Northland. You will visit Hokianga Harbour where the great navigator Kupe ended his epic ocean voyage, becoming the first human to set foot on New Zealand soil. Framed by giant sand dunes, it's the perfect place for a refreshing swim.

Waipoua Forest: Tane Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere 

Nearby in the Waipoua Forest you will have an unforgettable encounter with the two oldest and largest Kauri trees on the planet: Tane Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere.
In Maori mythology, Tane Mahuta created the world as we know it. It's impossible not to feel tiny when standing beneath the 51-metre-tall Lord of the Forest.

Te Matua Ngahere means "Father of the Forest". Aged around 3000 years old with a girth of five metres, he's the oldest and widest Kauri tree on the planet.
With inspirational commentary from a Maori forest guardian you will learn how these special trees are inter-twined with the lives of local Maori, and the important role they play in keeping the forest eco-system alive.

Approximate Distance: 75 kms | 47 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour

Accommodation: Hokianga - 1 Night

Hokianga Harbour
Kauri Tree
The Copthorne Hotel & Resort is a waterfront hotel situated in Omapere on the Hokianga Harbour. It offers with stunning views towards huge sand dunes across the harbour and is just a one minute stroll to the shore, providing a picturesque and relaxed atmosphere, and quite laid back compared to Russell and Paihia. They offer you stylish accommodation with warm, hospitable service, contemporary ease and attention to detail.
Copthorne Northland


Journey to Rotorua

Sitting squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Rotorua's landscape is unique: arriving here is like landing on the moon!

This is Earth's crust at its most exciting. Giant geysers rocket into the air and colourful sulphur terraces hiss and boil. But Rotorua is about much more than boiling mud. Boasting ancient forests, pristine lakes and rugged volcanoes, it's a haven for outdoor and adventure lovers hikers and mountain bikers.

It's also a great place to immerse yourselves in the history and tikanga (culture) of Maori, the First People of New Zealand.

Approximate Distance: 500 kms | 310 miles  Total Driving Time: 6 hours 21 Min

Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 Nights

hot pools

Built in 1905, the Robertson House has been painstakingly renovated under the auspices of the Historic Places Trust, retaining most of the original features of a Victorian Bay villa. There are four spacious rooms offering all the modern comforts, each with an ensuite bathroom The tarrif includes a delicious continental breakfast and free internet access.

Robinson House Rotorua


Maori Cultural and Geothermal Tour

Begin your day with a visit to Te Puia, Rotorua's centre for Maori culture and geothermal wonders. Your guided tour includes a visit to the wood carving school, art and craft gallery, Rotowhio Marae, weaving display, kiwi house, and the star of the show: the mighty Pohutu Geyser.

Next we visit the Lakefront area to see the Maori War Canoe and learn more about Maori history and customs. Take a short stroll over to steam-filled Kuirau Park to view a recent geothermal eruption site.

Finish the day visiting the pristine and tranquil lakes of our amazing volcanic region, including views of Mount Tarawera with explanation of volcanic and Maori history.


Te Puia Boiling mud pools 
Rotorua lakefront – Maori War Canoe |
Kuirau Park Government Gardens – Sulphur Bay 
Blue and Green Lakes 
Lake Tarawera – Lake Okareka Rotorua Tour

Rotorua Tour


Orakei Korako - Napier

Orakei Korako Geyserland and Thermal Park 
Today you will explore Orakei Korako - 'The Hidden Valley'. With boiling pools, 23 bursting geysers and astonishing multi-coloured natural terraces, this thermal park feels like an alien planet.

There are acres of lush forests, wonderful birdlife and the one-of-a-kind Ruatapu Cave, housing a sacred thermal pool named Waiwhakaata - 'Pool of Mirrors'.

After touring this other-worldly landscape, drive east to beautiful Hawkes Bay, an area loved for its sheltered beaches, Mediterranean climate and award-winning wines that are begging to be sampled.

Art Deco Napier 
You will stay in the coastal city of Napier, whose exquisitely preserved 1930s Art Deco architecture gives a unique feel and atmosphere - it's like stepping back in time.

Approximate Distance: 220 kms | 136 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 48 Min

Accommodation: Napier - 2 Nights

Orakei Korako
Located on the waterfront with panoramic Pacific Ocean views, the Art Deco Masonic Hotel features free WiFi and historic Art Deco architecture. Guests enjoy 2 bars and 2 restaurants. Each individually styled studio and apartment includes a flat-screen TV, a small refrigerator and tea/coffee making facilities. All accommodation includes a modern en suite bathroom. Most rooms have access to a large rooftop balcony with ocean views.
Masonic Napier


Art Deco History & Heritage by vintage car

Here's your opportunity to see Deco outside Napier's City Centre on this informative one-hour tour. Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930s - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and above all Art Deco, the style of the 20th Century - in such a concentrated area. Travel in a beautifully restored 1930's vintage car and visit the remarkable National Tobacco Company Building, the Deco houses and gardens in the suburb of Marewa, along with the grand Edwardian Hawke's Bay Club.

Vintage Art Deco Tour


Wellington - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary

Drive south to Wellington and discover Zealandia, where some of New Zealand's rarest native animals are thriving and living free in a unique safe haven.

Nowhere else in New Zealand can you experience many of New Zealand's rarest birds, insects and reptiles living freely in their natural environment.

The Karori Sanctuary is protected by a unique 8.6 km predator-proof fence specially designed to exclude non-native mammals such as hedgehogs and possums.

Explore the unique, award-winning conservation safe-haven and be part of our incredible '500-year vision'; to restore a corner of mainland New Zealand as closely as possible to the way it was 'the day before humans arrived'.

Approximate Distance: 220 kms | 136 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 48 Min

Accommodation: Wellington - 1 Night

The 4.5 Star Novotel Wellington is located in the heart of the CBD. Enjoy Harbour views of the city in our luxury rooms designed with splashes of colour and comfort. A selection of modern spacious rooms with en suite bath/shower, ergonomic work area, LCD TV with pay movies and WiFi internet access, hair dryer, minibar, tea/coffee
Novotel Wellington


Fly to Christchurch

A quick flight has you in Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island.

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch is known as the "Garden City", blessed with beautiful parks and gardens right in the heart of town.

After you settle in, why not step back to Edwardian times with a relaxing punting trip down the Avon River? It's a wonderful introduction to the city.

Gliding gently along in a flat-bottomed boat, you will take in Christchurch's 'must-see' historic attractions and botanic gardens away from the hustle and bustle of the streets.

*Flight not included in costing.

Some suggested activities to help you to get to know the region

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 - 2 nights


Opened in 1913 this Italian High Renaissance Palazzo offers a feeling of grandeur with high ceilings and stunning architecture, the hotel passed the test in the recent earthquakes and remains an icon of the city. Comfort and spacious accommodation with an excellent breakfast available in the onsite restaurant.

Heritage Christchurch


Quake City Museum Tour

In 2010 and 2011, Christchurch and its surrounds experienced two powerful earthquakes, changing the region forever. The Quake City exhibition tells stories of heroism and hope, loss and resilience from the Canterbury earthquakes and their aftermath.

The exhibition also explains the science behind the quakes, and how the shaking came to liquefy the ground, burying streets and sinking buildings.

Quake City includes some of the objects which have defined the Canterbury earthquakes including the spire of Christchurch Cathedral and the clocks from the now-demolished former railway station. (Payment on entry to the museum)

Quake City Tour


Maori Cave Art & the worlds Smallest Penguins

Leaving the big city behind, your journey continues down the east coast of the South Island.

The area you will be travelling through contains New Zealand's oldest art galleries - our ancient limestone caves. The Maori rock paintings within these caves are of enormous cultural significance.

Join local Māori guides on a rock art site tour. Following in the footsteps of the ancestors, you will learn how they lived and why they left their cave drawings.

Arriving in Oamaru, step back in time with a stroll through the Victorian Precinct. The splendid nineteenth-century whitestone buildings - formerly prestigious banks and hotels - are now home to galleries and specialty stores.

Meet the Smallest Penguins in the World 
Head to the Oamaru Harbour at sunset for a special treat: watch Little Blue Penguins returning home to shore after a long day of fishing.

Approximate Distance: 250 kms | 155 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 12 Min

Accommodation: Oamaru - 1 Night


Quiet and private Executive Motel Accommodation in a village like setting, Highfield Mews places you in the heart of Oamaru. Within easy walking distance of the town's cafés, restaurants, shops and Historic Precinct. Luxurious interiors complemented by unique design Highfield Mews is enhanced with many features and comforts that have resulted in these superb suites.

Free Wifi and bike hire just part of the excellent range of facilities on offer.


Dunedin - Scottish City of Grace and Grandeur

En route to Dunedin today, be sure to stop at Koekohe Beach to view the Moeraki Boulders. There are over 50 of these 65-million-year-old natural wonders strewn along the sands. They are up to 2 metres wide and the largest weight around 7 tonnes!

The name "Dunedin" comes from the Scots-Gaelic name for Edinburgh: "Dun Eideann" and you won't have to look hard to see the Scottish influence in this lovely old university town.

A popular attraction here is Larnach Castle, built in 1871. It took 200 workers three years to build, and twelve years to decorate! Housing a unique New Zealand antique collection and beautiful gardens, it's a relaxing place to meander.

Approximate Distance: 113 kms | 70 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hours 28 Min

Accommodation: Dunedin - 1 Night

858 George Street is an architecturally designed Award Winning motel complex capturing the essence of the George Street character. 13 luxury studio, family and executive units located on George Street, Dunedin. Just minutes walk to city shops, university, hospital,restaurants and the Forsyth Barr Stadium. All units serviced daily. In-room spa baths (2 rooms), Sky select 50+ channels, Continental breakfast available.


Clyde - Gold Rush Fever

Today's destination, Clyde, is a beautifully preserved historic township nestled in a gorge beside the mighty Clutha River. Just 10 minutes northwest of Alexandra, this gorgeous Central Otago town was born of gold, fruit trees and the Otago Central Railway.

In 1862, two prospecting miners headed to the banks of the Clutha River alongside Clyde. After they struck gold, a ‘rush’ soon followed. At its peak, the mining community swelled to 14,000 people, and the town included 28 pubs and 30 opium dens!

Today Clyde is more famous for its wealth of orchards and vineyards, but many historic turn-of-the-century buildings are still standing proud and strong.

Approximate Distance: 197 kms | 122 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 29 Min

Accommodation: Clyde - 1 Night

Experience history alive in discerning, contemporary style at Olivers Central Otago. Accommodation that is elegant, unique and gloriously comfortable. Choose between the five Stables rooms, with a rustic ambience reminiscent of Central Otago pioneering days or the six Lodge rooms that showcase elegant contemporary interiors. A unique memorable dining experience at Olivers Restaurant.
Olivers Clive



The short drive from Clyde to Queenstown is stunning. Take your time and enjoy the scenic lookouts en route - your camera will get a workout.

Often called the "Jewel of the South", Queenstown overlooks Lake Wakatipu and the towering Southern Alps. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to get yourselves acquainted.

The area's wild rivers, high peaks and deep canyons play host to an exciting range of outdoor adventure activities. But if you prefer to chill out downtown, you can count on stylish designer shops and waterfront eateries offering a kaleidoscope of dining experiences.

Approximate Distance:  84 kms | 52 miles Total Driving Time: 1 hour 8 mins


For your perfect escape to Queenstown, come and experience The Dairy Private Luxury Hotel, our clients rave about this property with a reputation for high quality and excellent service. Built in the 1920’s it has been voted #24 in the World and #1 in New Zealand for Small Hotels so you can be assured you won’t be disappointed. Situated only a minute walk to Queenstown with 13 rooms, all with ensuites and stunning views of the surrounding alpine area.


Spectacular Milford Sound Cruise

No visit to New Zealand is complete without a pilgrimage to the "Eighth Natural Wonder of the World": Milford Sound.

Arriving in Milford, you will board your purpose-built cruise vessel and sail the length of the Sound. Marvel at the gigantic waterfalls and towering rock walls all around you. Dolphins, penguins and seals regularly visit Milford Sound, so keep your eyes peeled!

Approximate Distance each way:  288 kms | 178 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours  44 mins

Milford Sound Cruise


Queenstown at Leisure

A full day for you to enjoy Queenstown and its surrounds.

Adrenalin junkies, we can arrange virtually any activity you can think of from a bungy jump into Kawarau Gorge, a swing across Shotover Canyon, or a skydive into Paradise.

For a more peaceful day, there are beautiful drives in the local area. Head to historic Arrowtown for quaint streetscapes and leafy views. Or drive to Glenorchy for a horseback ride through Lord of The Rings country. You could explore local wineries, cheese-eries and orchards by car or by bike.

Like the landscape the options are endless: chat to our travel specialists for more great suggestions for your perfect Queenstown day.

Recommended Queenstown excursions:

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



Bon Voyage!

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage! Today we say farewell. We take care of your transfer to Queenstown Airport where you will board your onward flight, taking with you the magical memories of a truly exceptional New Zealand holiday.


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What Steve says about this tour: "For a "young" country, we have so much history and culture to discover! The guided excursions on this trip are incredibly special - you'll meet so many passionate people who'll bring New Zealand's story to life for you."
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