Ultimate New Zealand Vacation Package Itinerary

 
1

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.

On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. 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 - 2 Night

Auckland Waterfront
The Great Ponsonby Arthotel is a charming 1890's heritage villa just 2 minutes stroll away from Ponsonby's vibrant centre. It offers rooms decorated with colours of the Pacific and traditional artworks. Free WiFi, parking and daily newspapers are provided. Ponsonby is within walking distance of several cafés, restaurants and galleries. The property is a short 5-minute drive from the harbour and central Auckland. There is a bus that passes the hotel every 10 minutes.
Great Ponsonby Art Hotel

2

Zip Wine & Dine on Waiheke Island

Board the ferry to Waiheke Island - a tropical paradise in the Hauraki Gulf, just 35 mnutes by ferry from Auckland. Take the ferry from Downtown Auckland, for a morning adrenaline rush. Soar over a vineyard and spectacular native bush, on three 200-metre flying fox zipline. Dual cables let you fly side-by-side with a friend, making this an exceptional shared experience. Finish your morning with a guided native bush walk - exchange your birds-eye view for a stroll through lush, ancient forest. Then enjoy a nice light lunch & wine tasting at Stonyridge Vineyard - nestled in a beautiful valley of olive trees and vines, this vineyard is one of the most romantic and exotic venues in the greater Auckland area. After lunch head of for wine tasting and food pairing at Casita Miro, another of Waiheke's great vineyards.

Wine & Dine Waiheke Island

3

Auckland - Beautiful Bay of Islands

Collect your car this morning and as you 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 30 mins

Accommodation: Paihia - 3 nights

Bay of Islands
Accommodation:
Located along the historic banks of the Waitangi River, Te Awa Lodge is 10 minutes’ drive from the Paihia waterfront and major cruise operators. Set on 2 acres of gently sloped pasture, it offers a seasonal outdoor pool and free WiFi. Accommodation options include basic rooms and self-contained apartments. All are equipped with self-contained-catering facilities, electric blankets, satellite TV and tea/coffee making facilities.
Te Awa Lodge

4

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

5

The Cream Trip - Day in the Bay Cruise

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

6

Bay of Islands - Matakana

Two hours south of the Bay of Islands is a small village with a lot to offer. 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 coastline 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: 171 km | 107 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Matakana - 1 night

Matakana Farmers Market
Accommodation:
Takatu Lodge is a 5 Star boutique luxury lodge & vineyard. The ultimate, exclusive, romantic retreat, enjoy the architectural & contemporary style, 5 mins from Matakana village & the many Matakana Coast beaches.Takatu Lodge and Vineyard offers four luxurious and spacious suites with their own terrace and unique outlook, with spectacular views that surround the property. Each has its special characteristics and personality, providing you with a memorable stay.
Takatu Lodge

7

Matakana - Coromandel

Travel to Whitianga in the beautiful Coromandel, a favourite New Zealand holiday beach resort. 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: 255 kms | 158 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

Accommodation: Coromandel - 2 Nights

Coromandel

Nestled amongst native New Zealand bush at Cooks Beach, and close to the seaside town of Whitianga is 970 Lonely Bay Lodge, a boutique lodge offering luxury accommodation in the Coromandel. Choose from three one bedroom suites or two bedroom ‘honeymoon’ suites. All rooms include a spacious terrace with a king bed and your own ensuite bathroom.

Lonely Bay Lodge

8

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 neighboring 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

9

Coromandel - Waitomo

Leave the beautiful nature of the Coromandel Peninsula behind and head to the subterranean world of Waitomo

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, underground 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.

Approximate Distance: 220 km | 150 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 55 mins

Accommodation Waitomo - 1 night 

spellbound tour waitomo

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

10

Travel to Matamata the home of Hobbiton

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 Rotorua, 2hrs drive. The history of New Zealand Maori is at its most visible in this area rich in geothermal activity and blessed with abundant rivers, lakes and forests. 


Approximate Distance: 137 kms | 85 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Rotorua - 3 nights

Hobbiton

Rotorua’s 5 star Lakeside Boutique Hotel, offering luxury accommodation that exudes classic sophistication and contemporary chic. The property has one acre of grounds which include rose gardens, green lawns, a swimming pool, sauna, sandy beach, heli-pad and a private jetty. Enjoy one of eight guest rooms all with stunning views over the lake or gardens with modern styling and comfort.

black swan

11

Geothermal Valley & Te Puia Evening Maori 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.

maori

12

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

13

Travel to Hawkes Bay

View the mighty Huka Falls and the Wairakei Geothermal project before stopping at Lake Taupo, the largest in New Zealand. Continue across the Central Plateau to the Hawkes Bay region and Napier, often regarded as the world's Art Deco Capital. On arrival, after checking into your hotel we recommend a walk around the town centre and the beach promenade.

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: 414 kms | 257 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 30 mins

Accommodation: Napier - 2 nights

Napier
Accommodation:
Porters Boutique Hotel is a 4.5-star property, nestled in the heart of Havelock North village offering an on-site restaurant and rooms with luxury decor and original local artwork. Each room has a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer. Some have a bath and a kitchenette. A flat-screen TV with satellite channels is included.
Porters Boutique Hotel

14

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

15

Through the Wairarapa to Wellington

Renowned for its eclectic, arty atmosphere, Wellington is a real kiwi cultural treat and numerous galleries and character-filled shops line its colourful streets. The Museum of New Zealand 'Te Papa' is full of national treasures and sits beside the water in the downtown area of the city centre - well worth a visit. Wellington is also famous for having some the New Zealand's best restaurants - gourmet dining experiences here are truly world class. Culture, cuisine and scenic beauty abound in New Zealand’s iconic capital.

Travel Distance: 320km I 200 mi Travel Time: 4 hr 15 min

Accommodation: Wellington - 2 nights

Some suggestions to enhance your stay in Wellington:

National Museum - Te Papa    

   Visit Cuba Street

   Weta Workshop Tour
Zealandia Wildlife Reserve 

   Wellington Cable Car   

   Carter Observatory 

Wellington City
This property is 5 minutes walk from the beach. Located within Wellington’s exclusive Oriental Bay neighborhood, Ohtel offers luxurious accommodation with views of the Chaffers Marina. It features exquisitely designed bathrooms fitted with locally made natural toiletries. Ohtel’s rooms consist of sophisticated furnishings mixed with ultramodern accessories. The flat-screen TV in each room has a podcast and digital audio capabilities.
Othel

16

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 then 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

17

Interisland Cruise - continue on to Nelson

Leave your rental car in Wellington and board the Interislander Ferry for your journey across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton, where you will collect your South Island rental car

You'll then travel over to Nelson and beyond to the cliff top area called Ruby Bay. This is an excellent base to explore the Abel Tasman National Park and the nearby dining precinct at Mapua Wharf and the satellite town of Motueka.

Approximate Distance: 165 kms | 100 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Accommodation: Ruby Bay - 3 Nights

InterIsland Cruise Wellington
Welcome to the heart of the Tasman Region. Our romantically-situated, self catering cottage - perfect for two - overlooks Ruby Bay and the city lights of Nelson. We're just a five minute drive from the charming village of Mapua and its Wharf with cafés, restaurants, specialty shops and a boutique brewery.
the pool at Ruby Bay Seaview Cottage

18

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

19

Free Day in the Tasman district

Free day - perhaps you would like to explore Nelson today. 

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.

 

Nelson

20

Nelson to Kaikoura

Your drive from Nelson to Kaikoura - takes you thorugh 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.

From here you will take a jaw-dropping coastal drive to the marine playground of Kaikoura. Crayfish is a speciality here, so treat yourselves to the catch of the day at one of the town's cosy eateries tonight.

Approximate Distance: 274 kms | 170 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 30 mins

Accommodation: Kaikoura - 2 Night

Marlborough Wine Country
This is one very lovely hotel that is sure to delight, from check-in to check-out. Peacefully located half way along the Esplanade, it's only a short walk to the towns best restaurants and famous attractions. The buildings that make up the Kaikoura Boutique Hotel surround a large sun-soaked and rather swanky courtyard garden. The luxe 5-star waterfront rooms are all on the first floor of the historic building, with views galore.
Kaikoura Boutique Hotel

21

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

22

Welcome to Christchurch

Leaving Kaikoura and the coast, you will head inland towards the rural Canterbury Plains on your way to Christchurch, the South Island's largest city. 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.

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


Approximate Distance: 182 kms | 113 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Accommodation Christchurch - 2 Nights

christchurch garden city
The George, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is located in the heart of Christchurch overlooking the picturesque Hagley Park and river Avon and just steps from the cultural precinct and key attractions. The George will offer you a supreme comfort, with personalised stay and attentive staff. The hotel is located in the heart of Christchurch, and its just steps away from cultural precinct and key attractions.
The George - Christchurch

23

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

24

Christchurch to Twizel

Travel south across the Canterbury Plains to 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. There are some stunning walks to view glaciers, tarns and lakes ranging from 30 minutes to 6 hours - Mt Cook is a must visit. Tonight stay in the Twizel, a small friendly town in the Mackenzie Basin.

This evening take a mesmerizing journey through the Cosmos on a stargazing tour - Mt Cook is a World Heritage Dark Sky Reserve.

Some highly recommended excursions around the National Park.

Tasman Glacier by Boat   Hooker Valley Walk   Glacier Helicopter Landing   Star Gazing Tour


Approximate Distance: 285 kms | 177 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 45 mins

Accommodation - Twizel - 2 nights

Tekapo
Accommodation:
Spend a night or two of luxury with us at Matuka Lodge; witness the staggering beauty of the Southern Alps, Lake Pukaki and the Twizel area. Explore the wonders of the World Heritage listed Mt Cook National Park. But you know what? Nothing beats just sitting back and taking in the view of the Southern Alps from your north-facing deck. Whatever your taste in activities, one thing we can guarantee: you won't want to leave.
Matuka Lodge

25

Explore 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 alongside 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

26

Twizel to Dunedin

Rejoining the coast road, it's time to head south to Dunedin, New Zealand's oldest city. There are some wonderful spots to visit along the coast, so it's worth taking your time today.

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.

Further south, don't miss the Moeraki Boulders dotted across Koekohe Beach. These 65-million-year-old natural wonders are up to two metres tall! 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.

Approximate Distance: 295 kms | 183 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 

Accommodation: Dunedin - 2 Nights

Octagon Dunedin
Accommodation:
Welcome to the Chamberson. A beautifully renovated, heritage-listed former warehouse, in the heart of Dunedin. The contemporary interior makes the most of the original features, with spacious, light-filled, apartment-style rooms. The large windows offer a range of views across the city.
Chamberson Hotel

27

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

28

Drive 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: 228 kms | 9140miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours

Accommodation: Stewart Island - 3 Nights

Stewart Island
Experience world-class service at Church Hill Boutique Lodge & Restaurant With sea views, Church Hill Boutique Lodge & Restaurant is located in Half-moon Bay and has a restaurant, room service, bar, garden and terrace. The lodge features both WiFi and private parking free of charge. Featuring views of the garden, all units in the property come with a satellite flat-screen TV, Blu-ray player, and DVD player, as well as a washing machine and a private bathroom with a shower. A fridge is also provided, as well as a kettle and a coffee machine.
Church Hill Lodge Stewart Island

29

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

30

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.

Kiwi

31

Return to the Mainland, travel to Te Anau

Farewell Stewart Island, today you'll travel to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland. Te Anau is 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: 180 km | 110 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 

Accommodation: Te Anau - 2 Nights

TE Anau
Accommodation:
Experience staying at a relocated 1936 former convent, in one of New Zealand’s most stunning locations. With only a 15 minute walk to Te Anau’s town centre, it’s a great option to be slightly removed from the hustle and bustle but with the convenience of nearby dining options. Spend your days relaxing in the sunny courtyard or enjoy breakfast in the Chapel. The rooms have been brought up to modern standards whilst retaining plenty of charm.
Te Anau Lodge

32

Explore 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.

glowworm caves

33

Overnight Cruise on Doubtful Sound

Transfer 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.

Accommodation: Fiordland Navigator Doubtful Sound - 1 Night

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

The Fiordland Navigator is a purpose built vessel designed and perfectly suited to cruising and staying overnight in the remote Doubtful Sound. The Navigator has spacious viewing decks, dining saloon, licensed bar and observation lounge and also carries kayaks and a tender craft onboard - at your disposal. As well as having comfortable accommodation.

Fiordland Overnight Experience

34

Return from Cruise travel to Queenstown

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, it's time to leave Fiordland for a beautiful drive to the "Jewel of the South": Queenstown.

Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the towering Southern Alps, the Queenstown area's rivers, peaks and canyons offer an exciting range of outdoor adventure activities. If you prefer to chill out downtown, you can count on stylish designer shops and waterfront eateries offering a kaleidoscope of dining experiences in a picture-perfect setting.

Approximate Distance: 170 kms | 110 miles   Total Driving Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Accommodation: Queenstown - 3 Nights

Fiordland Crested Penguin
Queenstown House is a stylish haven offering incredible elevated views of Lake Wakatipu and just 200 metres from the centre of Queenstown. Discover a boutique collection of individually furnished Guest Rooms and spacious Villa Apartments Enjoy an a ‘la carte or continental breakfast and then relax in one of our welcoming guest lounges or outside courtyards, stocked with newspaper and magazines. We are kiwi managed and the whole staff team is here to help you enjoy your stay.
Queenstown House

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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

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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

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Queenstown to Wanaka

On the shores of New Zealand's second largest lake, the town of Wanaka is often described as Queenstown's quieter little sister: the lake and mountain views are equally incredible, and many visitors count it as a favourite location on their New Zealand tour.

Even the short drive here is stunning, leading you over the rugged Crown Range on the highest main road in the country. Take your time and enjoy the scenic lookouts en route.

This lovely little township is easily explored on foot, and a stroll or bike ride around the picturesque shores of Lake Wanaka is a must. The mountain backdrop is perfect for a for a skydive or even a romantic flight in a vintage Tiger Moth plane.

Approximate Distance: 69 kms | 43 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 15 mins

Accommodation: Wanaka - 2 Nights

Lake Wanaka
Te Wanaka Lodge is 4 minutes walk from the beach. A contemporary bed and breakfast in the heart of Wanaka Village. The rooms at Te Wanaka feature their own en suite bathroom and small private balcony. Bathrobes are provided, along with natural toiletries. All rooms offer a flat-screen TV. Every morning, a fully cooked breakfast is served, accompanied with fresh juices. Afternoon tea, with home-baked dessert is served daily. Guests can also enjoy local beers and wines in the cellar bar.
Wanaka Lodge

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Wanaka at Leisure

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. 

lake wanaka

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Wanaka to Franz Josef over the Haast Pass

The drive from Wanaka to Franz Josef is one of the most scenic in New Zealand. Mountain passes give way to ancient rainforest and the windswept West Coast.

There's beauty around every bend, with woodland walks and dramatic waterfalls along the way for beautiful picnic stops.

Nestled in a rainforest clearing, Franz Josef Glacier Village lies at the heart of the Westland National Park. Welcome to one of the most diverse and beautiful areas of New Zealand.

In the evening, why not relax in the Glacier Hot Pools and enjoy a rejuvenating soak under the star-covered skies.

Approximate Distance: 285 kms | 177 miles  Total Driving Time: 4 hours 

Accommodation: Franz Josef - 2 Nights

Haast Pass blue pools

Te Waonui is the only luxury property of its kind in the area. The retreat is nestled in the lush bush with views of the natural environment at almost every turn. Located in Franz Josef, the retreat offers easy access to the many natural wonders of the South West World Heritage Area. Mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes, coastline, and native flora and fauna all lie in wait at the doorstep for visitors to admire and explore.

Te Waonui Forest Retreat - Franz Josef

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Helicopter flight Twin Glaciers

The Franz Josef Glacier tumbles down from the Southern Alps almost to the sea, its ancient icy faces contrasting spectacularly with the surrounding rainforests. Stay 2 nights in Glacier Country. Today take a scenic helicopter trip up to view both Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.

 

helitour Franz & Fox Glaciers

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TranzAlpine Train return to Christchurch

Begin your morning with a breathtaking coastal drive to Greymouth.

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.

Arriving in the town of Greymouth it's time to drop off your car and head to the station to begin the TranzAlpine Scenic Rail Journey. 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 Christchurch.
 

Approximate Distance: 171 kms | 100 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 night

TranzAlpine Train
The George, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is located in the heart of Christchurch overlooking the picturesque Hagley Park and river Avon and just steps from the cultural precinct and key attractions. The George will offer you a supreme comfort, with personalised stay and attentive staff. The hotel is located in the heart of Christchurch, and its just steps away from cultural precinct and key attractions.
The George - Christchurch

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Bon Voyage!

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

Bon Voyage

What Michelle says about this tour: These 6 weeks will offer you a complete view of New Zealand - a compact destination with such a large variety of landscapes - from lush rainforests to windswept beaches, snow capped mountains perched on the edge of the ocean, rural and regional destinations. You'll be an expert on New Zealand by the end of your trip.
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