New Zealand - A Land of Contrasts
New Zealand is a country made up of two major islands, simply called the North and South Islands which are separated by the Cook Strait which is 22 kilometres/14 miles in width at its narrowest point. They contrast in not only terrain and physical features but also in character and attractions.
The North Island is volcanic and thermal, and offers lush sub-tropical vegetation, exotic flora and fauna, beaches and attractive small friendly towns. Approximately 75% of Maori culture exists on the North Island although only 15% of the total New Zealand population is Maori. The Polynesians from whom the Maoris are descended, settled here many centuries ago.
The South Island has spectacular scenery consisting of sweeping plains, snow-covered mountains and rugged coasts and abounds in natural breath-taking landscapes.
Arrive in Auckland
Kia Ora and welcome to Auckland, New Zealand.
Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
AUCKLAND - an exciting, sporting and cultural city, sprawled on a narrow isthmus, between two harbours. The Waitemata and Manukau Harbours, are a main feature of the city, along with numerous volcanic cones such as Mount Eden and Rangitoto Island. The city's many beaches, marinas and parks, make it ideal for outdoor pursuits such as yachting, rugby, cricket or a day at the beach. The Auckland metropolitan area is New Zealand's biggest city, and the population mix of European, Maori, and Pacific Islander, make Auckland the largest Polynesian city in the World.
Tonight, enjoy a delicious dinner at the Orbit Restaurant. Situated at the top of Auckland's Sky Tower, Orbit Restaurant’s dining room rotates once every hour, providing a truly unique experience with amazing 360° panoramas of the city, the Hauraki Gulf and beyond. Orbit offers a modern dining experience in a relaxed, open atmosphere with a delicious kiwi-inspired limited à la carte menu that features the best local and seasonal produce.
Travel through the city centre, including Auckland’s famous Queen Street, Karangahape Road with its checkered past and eclectic vibe and fashionable Ponsonby. Cross over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, enjoying views of the Hauraki Gulf and city skyline, and visit the Viaduct Harbour and the revitalised Silo Park waterfront precinct. See historic buildings around the University of Auckland before continuing over Grafton Bridge to the Auckland Domain. The Domain is the city’s oldest park and, at 75 hectares, one of its largest. Developed around an extinct volcano, it features tropical gardens, duck ponds and public art, and is home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. After visiting the Domain, the tour continues through the boutique shopping area of Parnell Village. Enjoy lunch at Harbourside Ocean Bar & Grill
After lunch, you will be transferred back to your hotel and the rest of the afternoon is at your leisure
|Meal Plan||Breakfast and Lunch|
Auckland - Matamata - Waitomo - Rotorua
Today we depart Auckland and travel to Rotorua via Matamata and Waitomo.
Hobbiton Movie Set Tours | Movie Set Tour & Lunch Combo
Join us and experience the real Middle-earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set, where, in the heart of the Waikato region, you can step into the lush pastures of the Shire, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Fall in love with the Alexander family sheep farm, just as acclaimed director Sir Peter Jackson did, as you journey through the unequivocal beauty of the land, with the mighty Kaimai Ranges towering in the distance. Your guide will then escort you around the set, showing the intricate detailing, pointing out the most famous locations and explaining how the movie magic was made. You will be fully guided around the 12 acre set; past Hobbit Hole, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon Inn, where you will be presented with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbiton Southfarthing beverage to conclude your own Middle-earth adventure. Following your tour, enjoy a Marquee festive feast.
After lunch, we continue our journey to Waitomo.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves | Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Your guided tour will take you through over 250 metres of stunning underground scenery commencing with the impressive Cathedral. Your tour begins at the upper entrance of the cave and proceeds along a low narrow passage to the Tomo, a deep limestone shaft. Your experienced tour guide will deliver a highly informative commentary about the formations, sharing stories, cultural legends and the natural wonders of this living masterpiece and the history of the area. The highlight of your tour is an unrivalled boat trip through the spectacular Glowworm Grotto.
Marvel at Mother Nature's light display as you glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto. Meander underground along the Waitomo River and gaze in silence at the myriad of glowworm lights that make up the Glowworm Grotto. As you enter this galaxy of tiny living lights, you'll immediately experience a serene ambience and be fascinated and intrigued by tiny glowworms that light your way.
Depart Waitomo and continue journey to Rotorua. After check-in to hotel, the rest of the day is free at leisure.
ROTORUA - located on a volcanic plateau, and formerly a spa town, Rotorua is most famous for its geothermal activity. Rotorua is the main place in New Zealand where aspects of Maori traditions can be seen, from wood carvings, and meeting houses, to a Hangi Dinner and Maori dances. Native and introduced tree species abound locally and combined with several picturesque lakes, Rotorua is a fascinating mix of culture and nature.
|Meal Plan||Breakfast and Lunch|
This morning, we depart for a day of sightseeing, and a day of exploring the diversities of Rotorua.
Te Puia|Te Ra - 90 Minute guided tour
Te Puia is New Zealand’s living Maori cultural centre, situated in the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. Te Puia’s 60-hectare site is home to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, a live kiwi enclosure, the world-famous Pohutu Geyser, and more than 500 geothermal wonders. With land steeped in ancestral history, and a guiding legacy that stretches back to the 1800s, Te Puia offers unique hospitality and rich cultural heritage.
Enjoy a Te Puia experience, Steambox offers you a taste of the past. Since the earliest settlement within Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley, people have cooked using the steam and hot water naturally available within the thermally active landscape. Steambox utilises a favourite Nga Wha (steam vent) Puapua, which is located in the geothermal area that is the backdrop to the famous Pohutu Geyser. You will choose what you want cooked for your lunch before heading off on a special guided tour of Te Puia. This begins with an interactive session learning to weave a flower and a tour of the carving and weaving schools. Heading down into the geothermal valley, to the Kiwi house, mud pools and hot springs, the tour concludes when, after watch your lunch lifted from the Nga Wha. Enjoy your steam box picnic lunch on the geyser terrace
Agrodome Farm Show
An exciting and informative insight into agriculture in New Zealand, including an introduction to our 19 breeds of sheep, sheep shearing demonstration, lively Auction, noisy Huntaway dogs and the quiet Strong-eye dog demonstrations, cow milking, and lamb feeding opportunities. Duration approx. 1 hour.
Tour concludes at your hotel.
Late this afternoon, you will be collected from your accommodation by a representative of Mitai Cultural Village and taken for your cultural experience tour
Mitai Beauty by Night and Mitai Cultural Experience
This exciting evening combo, Beauty by Night Meets the People of the Land, combines our memorable Maori cultural experience with the Rainbow Springs Beauty by Night.
The opening, provided by the Mitai Maori Cultural Group, is one of the many highlights of the experience. It features Maori warriors paddling down Wai-o-whiro stream by waka (war canoe)
|Meal Plan||Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner|
Rotorua - Taupo - Wellington
Our journey takes us initially from Rotorua for Lake Taupo.
Near Taupo we will pass the Huka Falls, where the Waikato River enters a shallow ravine of hard volcanic rock, turning it into a torrent of raging water. Stop and enjoy a leisure walk alongside the river to the falls. The beautiful Lake Taupō is about the size of Singapore – more of an inland sea really. Taupō was created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies in Europe and China. Just north of Taupō you'll find New Zealand's most visited attraction, the magnificent Huka Falls, where more than 220,000 litres of water thunder over the cliff face every second.
Continue our journey to Wellington. Upon arrival check in and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
WELLINGTON - the Capital city of New Zealand since 1865 is situated around Wellington harbour, its houses clinging precipitously to the steep hillsides. Wellington is renowned for its wind, which is channelled through the Cook Strait, and causes the wind to blow most days. A clever blend of buildings, old and new, beautiful vistas of the city and harbour, and a cosmopolitan mix of culture and arts give Wellington its heart, and vibrant atmosphere
Today, we explore Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city and the southernmost city in the North Island. Surrounded by hilly terrain and with a stunning natural harbour, the city offers plenty of things to see and do for families and independent travellers alike. Natural attractions in Wellington include Mount Victoria, the Botanic Gardens, and Zealandia native wildlife sanctuary.
Wellington is also home to Te Papa, the national museum and art gallery. Situated on the waterfront, Te Papa has several floors of fun hands-on exhibits that show off New Zealand’s natural, cultural and social history, as well as hosting international exhibitions
Te Papa Museum of New Zealand | Te Papa Highlights
The guided Te Papa Tour provides an overview of Te Papa's highlights, Maori taonga (treasures) and New Zealand history and allows plenty of time to explore Te Papa on your own! The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum of New Zealand. It is branded and commonly known as Te Papa and Our Place; "Te Papa Tongarewa" is broadly translatable as "the place of treasures of this land". New Zealand’s geology and natural environment and the stories of New
Zealand’s indigenous people, the Maori, are celebrated in Te Papa’s permanent exhibitions, while Te Papa’s Marae is a vibrant contemporary meeting house and a living communal centre, unique in a museum. An exciting range of exhibitions display New Zealand’s diverse art and visual culture and top-rating international exhibitions tour regularly.
Tour concludes at your hotel and the rest of the day is free at leisure.
Wellington - Picton - Marlborough
This morning you will be transferred to Wellington Ferry Terminal to check in for your ferry to Picton, South Island.
Interislander|Wellington to Picton - Passenger
Please ensure that you report for your ferry sailing at least 45 minutes prior to sailing time. Interislander operates three ships to carry both passengers and their vehicles: Kiarahi, Aratere and Kaitaki. All our ships offer a safe, comfortable and affordable journey, as well as a complete range of on board services. Offering up to 11 sailings a day, passengers also have the convenience of a wide choice of travel times. Your trip across the Cook Strait will be both enjoyable and unforgettable.
Arrive in Picton. Your South Island coach captain will meet your at Picton Ferry terminal and transfer to your hotel to check in. Rest of the day is at your leisure.
BLENHEIM - the "Sunshine Capital" of New Zealand is situated on the Wairau Plain near the top of the South Island. Blenheim's combination of high sunshine hours, a long ripening period, and free-draining river flats have put the district's vineyards at the forefront of the International Wine Industry. The second Saturday of February is Blenheim's Wine and Food Festival which draws many to celebrate food, music and dance.
We explore the wineries and waters around Marlborough today.
Marlborough Tour Company | Marlborough Icons Tour
Marlborough is best known for wine and the unique Marlborough Sounds – explore both with our exclusive Marlborough Icons Tour. A Marlborough wine tour visiting two wineries in the morning. There is time to enjoy a delicious waterside village lunch (not included), before a seafood cruise for the afternoon, featuring fresh local seafood and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc while exploring the stunning Marlborough Sounds.
Marlborough - Kaikoura - Christchurch
Travel to along the Pacific Ocean coast and across the colourful Canterbury Plains to Christchurch via Kaikoura.
Whale Watch Kaikoura | Whale Watching Tour
A typical whale watch tour may encounter New Zealand Fur Seals, pods of Dusky dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. Depending on the season, you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales. Kaikoura often hosts the world's largest dolphin - the Orca - and is home to the world's smallest and rarest, the Hector's. Designed for New Zealand whale watching tours, their modern catamarans are equipped with engines that minimise underwater noise. The enclosed passenger cabin and large outside decks offer great viewing and photo opportunities.
Continue our journey south to Christchurch
CHRISTCHURCH - the Garden City, lies on the level plains that initially attracted the closely knit Church of England settlers that settled the area. The largest of the South Island cities, Christchurch retains something of the English nature of its origins - the willow and oak-lined River Avon and clustered mediaeval stone buildings.
Christchurch - Greymouth - Franz Josef
You will be transferred to Christchurch Train Station to join your TranzAlpine train to Greymouth.
The Great Journeys of New Zealand - Rail|Tranz Alpine: Christchurch to Greymouth
Report to Christchurch Train Station 20 minutes prior to departure. Today you will board the TranzAlpine scenic train departing from one coast of New Zealand and arriving at the other. Your train journey is 223.8 kilometres long and takes just four and a half hours. There are 16 tunnels, and 5 viaducts, the highest being the Staircase standing at 73 metres. From your carriage, you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains, beautiful gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. The spectacular Southern Alps and the lushness of Beech rain forest. An open-air viewing carriage allows you to get even closer to the stunning scenery and provides many opportunities to photograph your favourite spots. There’s a lot to look forward to before arriving at your destination.
Arrive in Greymouth. Your coach captain will pick you up then journey along the rugged west coast to Franz Josef.
FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER - originally named Victoria, after Queen Victoria of England, geologist Julius Von Haast, renamed it, Franz Josef, after the current Emperor of his homeland, Austria. The Glacier is pale blue/green ice that has retreated and advanced many times over the years. A walk from the carpark to the Glacier terminal will give you some impressive views and an idea of the immense size of the Glacier itself. The township of Franz Josef is a small town based around the tourist and supply trade.
Franz Josef - Wanaka - Queenstown
This morning, we head out of Franz Josef and follow an ancient greenstone trail. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast to the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes. From here, you will travel further into Central Otago. View Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows, followed by the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Hawea you will gravel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan. Stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town's delicious stone fruit then continue your journey to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.
QUEENSTOWN - is the South Island's most popular resort, set alongside the shores of Lake Wakatipu, under the gaze of the Remarkables Ranges. See the contrast of smooth glacier rounded hills, and jagged mountain summits that reach high above the ancient ice floor. The town is renowned for its jet boating, bungy-jumping, skiing and awe-inspiring scenery. Local story has it, that the gold prospectors of the 19th century pronounced the town as "fit for any Queen", and so she was called Queenstown.
Depart Queenstown by coach and travel to Milford Sound via Te Anau. Enjoy stops along the way. Take the time to enjoy the best of Milford Sound with our leisurely cruise. Exploring the length of the fiord you’ll learn about the history of the region and benefit from the knowledge of your specialist nature guide. Experience the cool spray of a waterfall as you move in close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and, in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins.
Our experienced skippers tailor the cruise to take into consideration weather and recent wildlife sightings, ensuring you’ll see the best that Milford Sound has to offer on the day.
Informative, participative and relaxed, this is the perfect way to experience what’s been called the “eighth wonder of the world”. A boxed picnic lunch is included: A sample of what could be included - Sandwich (fresh salad and cold meat (or vegetarian alternative), muesli bar, fruit juice, cheese and crackers, cookie, dried fruit selection, fresh fruit (seasonal) and complimentary tea or coffee.
Return to Queenstown by coach.
|Meal Plan||Breakfast and Lunch|
Gibbston Valley Wines
Join us for a relaxed informative 45-minute tour of the vineyard, winery and wine cave. You will be taken through the oldest vines in Central Otago, learn about our winemaking process and go inside New Zealand's largest wine cave. All while enjoying four tastings of our award winning wines. After the wine tour, enjoy a 2-course lunch at the winery restaurant
Continue travel to Queenstown and after check-in to hotel, the rest of the day is free at own leisure. Enjoy a farewell dinner at hotel.
|Meal Plan||Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner|
Today is at leisure until we transfer to Queenstown Airport for your departure flight.
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