The Landmarks of Aotearoa

The Landmarks of Aotearoa 2

Welcome to Christchurch

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.

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

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 Christchurch


Classic Tramway Tour of Christchurch

Hop onboard one of Christchurch’s heritage trams to explore the city from a unique vantage point. The Christchurch tramway weaves through the city, down streets closed to other vehicles, and past some of the city’s key attractions such as the iconic Re: START Mall, Cathedral Junction, the Avon River, Gothic-style Arts Centre, and New Zealand’s most beautiful street – New Regent Street.

Christchurch Tram Tour


The TranzAlpine train to the West Coast

TranzAlpine Scenic Rail Journey is renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world, you will descend through spectacular gorges, river valleys and over massive viaducts before completing your journey at Greymouth.

In Greymouth collect your rental car and travel to Franz Josef, you might like to pause in Hokitika for a spot of shopping - this town is home to many artisan carvers of the local pounamu (greenstone), which is sacred to Maori. A unique, locally carved greenstone pendant would be a special way to remember your trip.

Approximate Distance: 170 kms | 105 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 10 mins

Accommodation: Franz Josef - 2 nights

TranzAlpine Train
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


Helicopter flight Seeing of the Twin Glaciers

You have the day relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery of Glacier Country. The Franz Josef Glacier tumbles down from the Southern Alps almost to the sea, its ancient icy faces contrasting spectacularly with the surrounding rainforests. Today take a scenic helicopter trip up to view both Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.


helitour Franz & Fox Glaciers


Franz Josef to Wanaka over the Haast Pass

Continue your journey and travel along the rugged West Coast Road and over the Haast Pass. Discover the rich alpine rainforest, as you journey through this historic region. Behind the Gates of Haast is a lost world that’s so spectacular and remote UNESCO designated it a World Heritage area. After this breathtaking drive you will arrive in the lakeside city of Wanaka, where you will stay for the next two nights.

Approximate Distance: 285 kms | 177 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

Accommodation: Wanaka - 2 Nights

Haast Pass blue pools
Distinction Wanaka Alpine Resort is nestled in a quiet Lake Wanaka location and enjoys wonderful mountain views from the serviced apartments. The resort offers stylish, self-contained, serviced apartments each providing you with a high level of personal comfort and convenience, perfect for all seasons. Distinction offer a range of large, stylish and spacious self-contained apartments that provide a high level of personal comfort and convenience. They offer great facilities including a fully equipped designer kitchen.
Distinction Wanaka Alpine Resort


Lake Mou Waho Tour - a lake on an island

A compelling mix of spectacular alpine scenery, fine food and wine and boutique shopping, the lakeside resort town of Wanaka is surrounded by some of New Zealand’s most wild and beautiful places. On the doorstep of the very 'Inspiring' Mount Aspiring National Park, Spectacular walks & hikes, skiing, water sports and boating options are available here delight those passionate about the outdoors. Wanaka is a destination that’s charming in all seasons. 

Today visit a lake on an island on a lake on an island. Take a trip to Lake Mou Waho! See the Lake on the top of an Island on your walk to the top of the island! Stunning 360 degree views. Meet the Wekas and help us plant a tree on Mou Waho island to enhance our beautiful backyard. A half day tour with refreshments supplied.

wanaka island


Wanaka to Queenstown

Today you will make your way from Wanaka to Queenstown. Travelling through the Crown Range, there will be a possibility to enjoy some unique views en route. There is a bounty of vineyards, cafes and restaurants scattered throughout the wider district of QueenstownArrowtown and the Gibbston Valley. 

You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to enjoy Queenstown and part of its charm is the array of less hectic quality activities on offer – but if interested Queenstown is home to the ultimate adventure bucket list!

Approximate Distance: 69 kms | 43 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Accommodation: Queenstown - 3 Nights

Just 5 minutes’ walk from Lake Wakatipu, Blue Peaks Lodge offers heated rooms with satellite TV. The property offers free parking and 500mb of free Wi-Fi per stay. Blue Peaks Lodge Queenstown is 3 minutes’ walk from Queenstown Gardens, and 10 minutes’ drive from the popular Onsen Hot Pools. Queenstown Airport is a 15-minute drive away.
blue peak


Walter Peak Farm & Steamboat Cruise

Full Steam Ahead
All aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw this old coal-fired beauty has been ferrying passengers around the lake for over a 100 years. Kids find the experience fascinating and love watching the stokers at work in the engine room and seeing the glowing fireboxes.

On arrival at Walter Peak High Country Farm on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu, you will get a real taste for rural New Zealand. Kids can pet and feed the lambs (during Spring - Oct to December) and other farmyard animals, watch the sheepdog's round-up a flock of sheep and see a shearing demonstration. The high country air works up a healthy appetite, so the trip includes morning or afternoon tea with fresh scones with jam.

Walter Peak Station


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.

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

Recommended excursions in and arouns 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

Lake Wakatipu


Overnight Cruise on Doubtful Sound

Drive to Manapouri this morning for a very special overnight cruise in one of New Zealand's most remote and beautiful wilderness areas: Doubtful Sound.
Arriving at Deep Cove, board your overnight cruise vessel for a leisurely exploration of Doubtful Sound. Enjoy stunning views of waterfalls, abundant wildlife, rainforest and mountains with detailed commentary from the on-board nature guide.

With kayaking and coastline excursions available you can immerse yourselves in these magical surroundings before you anchor overnight in one of Doubtful Sound’s hidden arms. Enjoy a delicious three course meal in the saloon before curling up in your comfortable ensuite cabin, far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Approximate Distance: 170 kms | 110 miles   Total Driving Time: 2 hours 10 mins

Accommodation: Fiordland Navigator Doubtful Sound - 1 Night

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise


Return from Cruise Travel to Te Anau

After a hearty breakfast, cruise back to Deep Cove. Try to spot bottle nose dolphins patrolling the fiord, or New Zealand Fur Seals basking on sun-warmed rocks. You may even catch a glimpse of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.

After stepping ashore, drive to Te Anau, another area of outstanding natural beauty, and several key Lord of The Rings movie scenes were filmed amid the unspoiled forests and lakes of this region. Some of the most famous New Zealand Great Walks trails begin nearby, such as the Milford, Routeburn, and Kepler Tracks.

Immerse yourselves in the gorgeous surroundings: flight-seeing, fly fishing, kayaking, sailing and horse riding are all on offer and are great ways to get up close to nature.

Approximate Distance: 20 kms | 110 miles   Total Driving Time: 20 mins

Accommodation: Te Anau - 2 Nights


Fiordland Crested Penguin
The spacious lakeside Holiday Park & Motels enjoy incredible views across picturesque Lake Te Anau and into the Fiordland’s mountains – immerse yourself in the vast wilderness as it meets Te Anau. With only a short stroll to the town center. This quiet established park has amazing lake and mountain views, children’s play area, BBQs, picnic tables, Sky TV lounge, Free wireless internet in common areas, laundries, sauna/spa bath, communal bathrooms, and kitchens.
Te Anau Holiday Park


Visit Te Anau Glowworm Caves

We highly recommend a visit to one of Te Anau's top attractions - the recently discovered and wonderful Te Anau Glowworm Caves.

The trip starts with an informative boat cruise across Lake Te Anau to the western shore. Upon arrival you will be met by the friendly, knowledgeable guides who will accompany you underground. As the darkness and silence descends, your senses will be overwhelmed by a glowworm galaxy as stunning as any Southern night sky.

Te Anau Cave


Travel to Bluff, ferry to Stewart Island

Today head down to the most southern town in New Zealand called Bluff, here you will board the ferry ride across Foveaux Strait to Stewart Island.

It seems almost a cliché to call it one of New Zealand's best-kept secrets. With few travellers aware of its unspoiled tranquillity, it probably deserves this label more than anywhere in the country.

Only 1% of the island is inhabited - the rest belongs to natural native bush, exquisite white-sand beaches, bird sanctuaries, and rugged mountains. After only a few hours in this remote paradise the rest of the world melts away, and you'll quickly find yourself adopting the laid-back demeanour of the locals.

Approximate Distance: 180 kms | 110 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Accommodation: Stewart Island - 3 Nights

Stewart Island

Located centrally in Halfmoon Bay (or Oban) on Stewart Island, New Zealand's third largest island, the Bay Motel has restaurants, shops, the airline and ferry terminals nearby. The Bay Motel is lucky to have its location; the views from the property are stunning. From here it is convenient to go bird watching, kiwi spotting or hike in the Rakiura National Park.


Ulva Island Guided Walk & Eco Tour

First take a brief boat trip over the open ocean to Ulva Island. Your guide will lead you through lush primeval forest along well maintained walking tracks for an amazing insight into the natural history, stunning bird and plant life in the southern-most bird sanctuary in the world. The walking pace is dictated by the birds! Stewart Island Weka, South Island Saddleback, Tomtit, Rifleman, Stewart Island Robin, Brown Creeper, Tui, Kaka, Fantail, NZ Pigeon, Parakeet (yellow and red-crowned), Bellbird and Yellowhead - with plenty of stops for photographs!

Ulva Island Weka


Evening Kiwi Spotting on Stewart Island

Ulva's Guided Walks has exclusive rights to operate their evening Kiwi Spotting tours at Mamaku Point Conservation Reserve on Stewart Island. Once the sun has set, as there is little or no light pollution at Mamaku Point we often enjoy the spectacular night sky in the company of kiwi snuffling and feeding nearby. At certain times of the year penguins and petrels can be heard, and most evenings the distinctive two-tone Morepork calls resound around the forest.



Ferry to Bluff, drive to Dunedin

Back on the mainland, before you leave Bluff make sure to pick up some Bluff Oysters - world famous in New Zealand as the most delicious in the world! You will make your way inland travelling through rural landscapes made up of sheep and dairy farms to the town of Dunedin, New Zealand's oldest city. Dunedin is home to New Zealand's oldest and largest University campus - so expect to see lots of young people heading to and from lectures. With gothic architecture this Southern City has plenty to enjoy - the cafe culture is also on fleek.

Approximate Distance: 228 kms | 9140miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours

Accommodation: Dunedin - 2 Nights

Dunedin Octagon
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.


Otago Peninsula Wildlife Cruise

Today cruise the length of the Otago Harbour. Experience an unforgettable half day cruise and peninsula tour and explore Careys Bay historic fishing village, Port Chalmers’ busy wharves and the harbour’s beautiful bays, hills, farmland and forest. Enjoy Monarch’s fascinating Wildlife Cruise around Taiaroa Head and the surrounding coastline of dramatic cliffs. Watch the NZ Furseals play and swim near their breeding colonies, out at sea you can spot rarely seen ocean birds including other albatross species and petrels, and you may see penguins, dolphins and other marine mammals.

Otago Seal


Dunedin to Mt Cook via Oamaru

Rejoining the coast road, it's time to head north to Twizel There are some wonderful spots to visit along the coast, so it's worth taking your time today.

Don't miss the Moeraki Boulders dotted across Koekohe Beach. These 65-million-year-old natural wonders are up to two metres tall!  Why not visit the past with a stop in Oamaru? Stroll through the Victorian Precinct here, with splendid nineteenth-century whitestone buildings housing galleries and speciality stores, including a Victorian sweet shop.

Approximate Distance: 295 kms | 183 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 35 mins

Accommodation: Mt Cook - 2 Nights

Moeraki Boulders
The Aoraki/Mount Cook Alpine Lodge is located in the heart of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and offer a range of accommodation style to suits your requirements. All rooms have ensuite facilities and most have spectacular views of Mount Cook and the surrounding peaks and glaciers. The lodge is hugged by mountains and surrounded by native bush and bird life, this is the perfect place to relax.  
Mount Cook Alpine Lodge


Tasman Glacier by Boat

Mount Cook National Park - A Fantasy Land of Ice and Rock. Mt Cook National Park, known for its exquisite alpine beauty and is home to the highest mountain in New Zealand, 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.  this afternoon take part in a unique guided experience to get along side an iceberg!. Transfer by bus to the beautiful Tasman Valley for a short walk before boarding a MAC boat to explore the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake


The Tasman Glacier by boat


Mt Cook to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo

Today continue your journey to Christchurch. You will pass by the charming 'Church of the Good Shepherd', which sits alone on its shores and the views to our highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook are remarkable. After enjoying these amazing sceneries you will continue to your final destination of the day - Christchurch. 

Approximate Distance: 334 kms | 207 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 25 Minutes

Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 Night

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 Christchurch


Christchurch to Kaikoura

Head inland towards the rural Canterbury Plains on your way to Kaikoura the Serengeti of the Ocean. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the snow clad Southern Alps on the other - the peninsula of Kaikoura is as pretty as a postcard. The Pelagic bird life is wild and the deep waters of the trench off the coast are home to whales, dolphins and seals. Also famed for crayfish which can be purchased locally.

Approximate Distance: 182 kms | 113 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 34 mins

Accommodation: Kaikoura - 2 nights

Kaikoura Peninsula
Consisting of 8 two bedroom cottages, this property oozes relaxed comfort and is perfect for people wanting to explore the great outdoors of the Kaikoura Peninsula. Each cottage has a great view of the mountains and surrounding landscape, set in 1.7 tranquil acres (half a hectare) and situated on the northern edge of Kaikoura township. These units are very private with a great rural outlook of the surrounding mountains and scenery.
Kaikoura Cottages


Whale Watching Kaikoura

Kaikoura's most famous residents are the many whales and dolphins who feast on the abundant seafood in its waters. Sperm whales visit year-round, while the mighty humpback is a regular visitor in June and July.

Kaikoura Whale Watching Tour

Enjoy spotting them as they breach the surface, spouting seawater from their blowholes before diving in search of tasty squid.End your unforgettable day with freshly caught crayfish at one of Kaikoura's cozy eateries, enjoying one of the glorious sunsets this region is famous for.

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 SealsAlbatross & Pelagic Bird Watching Kaikoura
Whale Tail at Dawn


Kaikoura to Nelson

Your drive from Kaikoura to Nelson - takes you through the wine country of Marlborough, one of New Zealand's award-winning wine regions. Feel free to pick up some world-renowned Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir along the way! There is wonderful local produce too - such as honey, cheese and salmon - perfect for a gourmet picnic lunch.

Approximate Distance: 274 km | 170 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours

Accommodation: Nelson - 3 Nights

Marlborough Wine Country
The Palms Motel is a great choice for a comfortable place to stay in Nelson. Relax on the open patio, take a dip in the pool or visit the nearby amenities. Located in the centre of beautiful Nelson, The Palms Motel offers a modern, interior decorated self-contained apartments with full kitchen facilities. Everything you need to have a hassle free time in beautiful Nelson.
The Palms Motel Nelson.


Free Day in the Tasman district

Receiving some of the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand, the Nelson district it the perfect destination to visit year round. Located in the North-West corner of New Zealand, the Nelson region is surrounded by sheltered mountain ranges, golden beaches, national parks and boutique wineries and breweries. From Nelson, it’s easy to access any of three distinctly different National Parks.

Take a drive to Mapua wharf and browse the arts and crafts - making time to have lunch on the wharf at the Jellyfish restaurant.




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.

Abel Tasman National Park


Fly to Wellington

Leave the sunny city of Nelson and enjoy a scenic flight over the Marlborough Sounds or Farewell Spit depending on the flight path to the capital city of Wellington.

Embraced by a natural amphitheatre of ocean and hill, Wellington merges big city culture with small town charm. A lively energy pulses through what is celebrated as New Zealand’s arts, film, coffee, culinary, craft beer, events and political capital.

Wellington is also known as a socially and environmentally conscious city. Declared nuclear weapon free over 30 years ago in 1982, it was also the first capital city in the southern hemisphere to gain Fair Trade status, and is home to the world-leading Zealandia sanctuary.

Approximate Distance: 135 kms | 84 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Accommodation: Wellington - 2 Nights

InterIsland Cruise Wellington
Located right in the centre of Wellington the Ibis is only a short walk away from the bustle of Lambton Quay with its restaurants, cafes and walking distance to Parliament, TSB Arena, Westpac Stadium and New Zealand's National Museum, Te Papa. All guest rooms are contemporary with all expected mod-cons. Visit Vivant Restaurant and Bar for breakfast, lunch and dinner; situated on the ground floor.
Ibis Wellington.


Ultimate Movie Tour plus WETA workshop

Today you will see the best of the Middle Earth on your Lord of the Rings Movie Tour. Embark on a tour of Middle-earth magic.There is something for all the Lord of the Rings and movie fans alike, see world famous Lord of the Rings scenes, introduction to the movie-making industry and long visit to THE WETA CAVE included.

Let us show you where they filmed:

  • Hobbiton Woods
  • Frodo Tree
  • Shortcut to Mushrooms
  • "Get off the Road!"
  • Race to the Ferry

and a couple more scenes if we have time...

​We visit Miramar - the home of New Zealand's movie industry, including Stone Street Studios and Park Road Post. Then we spend over an hour at THE WETA CAVE, you have plenty of time to take pictures and purchase movie memorabilia or simply absorb the creativity within. You have the option of viewing Weta's documentary or upgrading to join the Weta Cave Workshop Tour.

Weta workshop


Through the Wairarapa to Napier

Leaving the capital you are soon travelling through rolling farm land as you travel into the rural heartland of the Waiarapa region. Stop at historic Greytown to view excellent examples of Victorian colonial architecture. The village has a mix of art galleries, boutique shops, cafes and restaurants making it one of New Zealand’s premier shopping destinations.

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.  Napier is the world’s finest example of the Art Deco age and your guide will bring Napier's fascinating architecture to life for you as you take an easy stroll through the compact Art Deco Quarter in the vibrant city centre. 

Approximate Distance: 324 kms | 200 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 15 mins

Accommodation: Napier - 2 Nights

Art Deco Napier

One of Hawke’s Bay’s newest accommodations, situated in Ahuriri in Napier. This colourful seaside village offers art galleries, funky fun shops, boutique cinema and a plethora of cafes and eateries. Across the road is a sandy beach suitable for swimming. The rooms are comfortable, contemporary and chic with lots of light and space to move.

Navigate Seaside Hotel - Napier


The Gannet Tour of Cape Kidnappers

See majestic gannets in their natural habitat today on a 4WD adventure to remember.

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve 4WD Safari 
The craggy cliffs Cape Kidnappers boast the largest mainland gannet nesting site on the planet. In peak breeding season up 20,000 gannets make their home here at any one time.

Today's 4WD safari will give you unparalleled close-up access to these magnificent birds and their young. Watch in amazement as they swoop overhead, conducting spectacular high-dives into the sea. With their huge six foot (2 metre wingspan) they are impossibly elegant in flight.

On land, you'll see them nesting, preening, and performing their trademark courting dances while you watch from just a few feet away.

Your guide will be on hand to provide insights into gannet behavior and the environmental pressures faced by these beautiful birds worldwide.

Gannet Colony Cape Kidnappuers


Travel to Geothermal Rotorua

Depart Napier and travel to Taupo. Lake Taupo is the southern hemisphere's largest crater lake (in fact, it is the size of Singapore!) and the Taupo Eruption (also known as the Hatepe eruption) that occurred about 1,800 years ago, represents the most violent eruption in the world in the last 5,000 years. View the mighty Huka Falls and the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal wonderland before arriving at the thermal resort of Rotorua.

Approximate Distance: 414 kms | 257 miles  Total Driving Time: 5 hours

Accommodation: Rotorua - 3 Nights

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


Waimangu Valley Walk & Cruise

Take an eco-focused nature walk or hike through beautiful Waimangu Volcanic Valley thermal park, followed by a relaxing boat cruise on Lake Rotomahana, exploring its geothermal system. Waimangu Volcanic Valley in Rotorua, New Zealand, was created from the massive volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. Today your combined walk and boat cruise is a wonderful and relaxing journey through the world's youngest geothermal area. Sit back and relax on your boat cruise. Your skipper will highlight points of interest and the history of this iconic Rotorua geothermal attraction.

Waimangu Valley


Te Puia Evening Concert

Spend the day relaxing - this evening you will experience a Maori tradition, Te Po (the night) was a very important time. Te Po is also Te Puia's authentic evening cultural experience - a feast of food, culture and friendship. The Evening begins with a ritual welcome which will include a challenge by our fierce warriors, then you can relax and enjoy a performance of songs, haka and poi dance before enjoying traditional food. Following dessert, you will be transported by our people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. Guests can wander around the illuminated natural attractions, including Pohutu geyser, while enjoying more Maori-inspired delicacies and a hot drink.



Hobbiton - continue to Waitomo

An exciting day awaits this morning. 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 on this fully Guided 2.5 hr Hobbiton Tour.  Learn about the production of the movies – how did they make Gandalf appear so tall? Why was this exact site chosen to build Hobbiton? The passion and knowledge gleaned from your guide brings this authentic Middle-earth experience to life. 

Afterwards, continue on to Waitomo.

Approximate Distance: 137 kms | 85 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hours 47 mins

Accommodation Waitomo - 1 night


These Wilderness Cottages were built to capture the unique beauty of its surroundings. This farm is a fantastic example of what Waitomo is renowned for: subterranean caves with glowworms, rough limestone out-crops, lush green fields and friendly people. There are a number of walking tracks through our native bush. There are also a number of rock climbing areas which are mapped out for those interested.

Wilderness Cottage


Glowworm Caves - On to Whitianga

Find your inner Hobbit (or Orc)  and explore the subterranean world of the Waitomo Caves – a celebration of nature's work over the last one hundred thousand years. There are hundreds of miles of labyrinthine caves, glow-worms, under ground lakes, stalactites and stalagmites, and all manner of limestone crustaceans - a lost world waiting to be discovered. take a trip to the Spellbound Glowworm and cave experience.

This afternoon travel to Whitianga in the Coromandel. Whitianga is the main settlement of the beautiful Mercury Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula, an attractive township with a deep water harbour. Mercury Bay encompasses a spectacular coast flanked by islands and close to Cathedral Cove, and Hot Water Beach.

Approximate Distance: 220 kms | 150 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Whitianga -  Crows Nest Apartments - 2 nights 

spellbound tour waitomo


Kayaking Cathedral Cove

You simply can't visit the Coromandel without making a pilgrimage to Cathedral Cove, next door to Hahei.

Accessible only on foot, by boat or kayak, you'll be rewarded for your efforts however you choose to make the journey! If you've seen the Chronicles of Narnia movies, you may recognise the setting as the ruined castle of Cair Paravel, which was filmed here. There's beauty wherever you look: at one end of the beach, the famous cathedral rock formation creates a spectacular passageway to the neighbouring cove. At the other end, a magnificent waterfall cascades directly onto the sand.

Kayak to Cathedral Cove

The dramatic unspoiled coastline is perfectly is suited to sea kayaking. On a guided kayak tour, you'll discover scenic bays and hidden coves concealing rock gardens and golden beaches, all secreted away behind the stunning limestone sculptured headlands.

Paddling through amazing sea-caves, you'll spot marine life and discover the thrill of kayak sailing. This guided tour offers great photo opportunities and is topped off with coffee, hot chocolate & cookies at Cathedral Cove!

Kayaking to Cathedral Cove


Whitianga to Matakana

The picturesque foodie haven of Matakana is a favourite getaway spot for Aucklanders.
Here you can while away the hours - browsing the gift shops and tasting artisanal food products. With excellent local vineyards and cafes you will enjoy the sights and sounds of small town New Zealand.

The surrounding coast line is excellent, with Pakiri Beach offering vast stretches of white sand, or the sheltered shorelines of Snells Beach nearby - a perfect place to linger on your Classic New Zealand Driving Tour.

Approximate Distance: 255 kms | 158 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

Accommodation: Matakana - 1 Night


This 4 star luxury self contained bed and breakfast is situated in the heart of the Matakana countryside, with vineyards, restaurants, olive groves and stunning beaches within close proximity. Named for the rolling hills of Sugarloaf, and surrounded by sheep, cattle and various fruit trees with exquisite views out to the Hauraki Gulf. Enjoy a home made fully cooked or continental breakfast over looking the rural setting. 

Sugar Loaf Lodge, Matakana


Continue to the Bay of Islands

Two hours south of the Bay of Islands is a small village with a lot to offer.  The ‘Bay’ encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula, a maritime adventure playground with an abundance of wildlife including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, gannets and more. Many of the islands here have walking tracks and have regular ferry’s to get you there. On land, enjoy beautiful river and seaside walking tracks or encounter the mighty Kauri Tree in pristine subtropical rainforest.

Approximate Distance: 171 kms | 107 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 20 mins

Accommodation: Paihia - 3 nights


Bay of Islands

Located midway between Paihia and Waitangi, relax and unwind and take in the magnificent ocean views right from your balcony! These spacious self contained apartments are the perfect base whlle you explore Waitangi, Paihia, Russell and take the time for a cruise out on the Bay.


The Cream Trip - Day in the Bay

See it all and do it all on the Bay's most iconic cruise. This premium full-day experience has something for everyone, from island visits and the Hole in the Rock to dolphin watching and boom-netting alongside the boat. Stop off at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island to swim, eat your lunch and enjoy the views. If you're feeling active, give boom-netting a try: hanging on to our giant net as we glide through the water.

Cream trip bay of islands


Day at Leisure in the Bay of Islands

Experience the stunning Bay of Islands your way – today is a whole day of leisure to explore this coastal paradise. Lovers of marine wildlife will be in heaven: penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, gannets and more flock here in droves. Many islands have walking tracks and regular ferry services.

The historic town of Russell, New Zealand's first capital, is only 15 minutes away by ferry. This gorgeous township was once known as "The Hell Hole of the Pacific" and famed for its lawlessness!

Around Paihia, you can enjoy beautiful river and seaside walks or visit more mighty Kauri trees in the pristine rainforests.

Excursions available in 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
Dolphin Cruise


Welcome to Auckland

today you leave the beautiful Bay of Islands for the 3 hour drive 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.

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 - 2 Night

Auckland Waterfront

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 Facilities - Oven & stovetop, microwave, fridge/freezer, dishwasher, cuttlery and cooking utensils and Internal 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.


Essence of Waiheke Island

Board the ferry to Waiheke Island - a tropical paradise in the Hauraki Gulf, just 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland. Take the ferry from Downtown Auckland, for a wine and food odyssey of the islands vineyards.

Wine & Dine Waiheke Island


Bon Voyage!

"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage! Today we say farewell. Return your rental car to Auckland Airport where you will board your onward flight, taking with you the magical memories of a truly exceptional New Zealand holiday.

Bon Voyage

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What Narissa says about this tour: The highlights of the 6 week trip are nearly too many to name. You will require photographic evidence to keep track of it all! I would be delighted to help you plan this trip - it can be modified to suit your preferences.
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Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price