A Taste of New Zealand
Designed for first time visitors to New Zealand to take in the iconic attractions of New Zealand at a reasonable pace. You will see and experience the geological wonders of the Waitomo limestone caves and the geothermal and volcanic activity of Rotorua. Meet locals on a farmstay and Maori Cultural performance and encounter wildlife on a Whalewatch or Dolphin Swim excursion. Enjoy the scenic Tranz Alpine train journey through the Southern Alps, the sights of the cosmopolitan cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and the sub-tropical Franz Josef Glacier. Witness spectacular coastal, alpine and rainforest scenery, cruise on Milford Sound in the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, stay in Queenstown, New Zealand's best known adventure resort and view Mount Cook, New Zealand's tallest mountain. It's a feast!
- Meet and Greet on arrival in New Zealand
- New Zealand Airport Transfers
- English/Foreign speaking guide depending on arrangements
- Quality hotel accommodation, twin/double rooms, (single rooms available with single supplement) all with private facilities
- Cooked Breakfasts (B) and Dinners (D) where indicated on the itinerary or to be included by arrangement.
- Tour admissions as per itinerary. (eg scenic boat cruises, cultural events). Please see itinerary for specifics.
- Touring in a modern air conditioned vehicle, type depending on arrangements
- Complimentary Travel Kit including travel vouchers, support documentation and a New Zealand Map.
Self Drive Rental Vehicle- Independent Seat in Coach - Private Car & Driver/Guide (or a combination) - Group Tour
Day 1 - ARRIVE IN AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Arrive at Auckland International Airport where you will be met by our Auckland staff who will provide final touring documents and vouchers. Transfer to your Auckland city accommodation. The balance of the day is free to rest and explore New Zealand's largest city.
Day 2 - AUCKLAND SIGHTSEEING
Sightseeing in Auckland includes the views from Mt Eden, which is the tallest of the many extinct volcanic cones around which Auckland is sited, the Domain Gardens, quaint Parnell Village and Rose Gardens, the Waterfront Drive and Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter where a variety of undersea life can be seen including penguins in a special sub zero enclosure.
Day 3 - AUCKLAND / WAITOMO / WAIKATO FARMSTAY (276 KMS)
Travel south over the Bombay Hills through the Waikato Valley, which is a major dairying and horse breeding region to Waitomo for a guided tour of the famous Waitomo Glow-worm Caves. Continue to a nearby working farm to stay with a friendly local family in their own home including dinner and an opportunity to tour the farm.
Day 4 - CAMBRIDGE / ROTORUA (86 KMS)
Breakfast on the farm and then drive on across the Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua.
Free afternoon and in the evening enjoy a Hangi dinner and concert of Maori song and dance, including the famous Haka, on a local Marae.
Day 5 - ROTORUA SIGHTSEEING
Sightseeing in Rotorua includes a guided tour of Te Puia Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to view spectacular geysers and boiling mud pools and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where young Maori carvers and weavers learn the crafts of their ancestors. Also visit lovely Rainbow Springs Nature Park to see the trout in crystal clear bush streams, rare kiwis, and the popular Agrodome where the skills of New Zealand's working dogs and the sheep shearers are demonstrated in an entertaining show.
Day 6 - ROTORUA / WELLINGTON (462 KMS)
Travel south through forests and farmlands to Taupo, which is a popular holiday resort for New Zealanders and trout fishermen from around the world. Continue around Lake Taupo and across the Desert Road. On a fine day the mountains of Tongariro National Park, including volcanic Mt Ruapehu, can be clearly seen. There are two major ski fields on these mountains and some of the scenes for the award winning Lord of the Rings film trilogy were filmed here. Pass through Waiouru and Taihape and descend through the Mangaweka Hills to pastoral farmlands of the Manawatu Plains and Kapiti Coast arriving in Wellington late afternoon. On arrival visit Te Papa- the National Museum of New Zealand where there are some wonderful exhibits and inter-active displays.
Day 7 - WELLINGTON / PICTON (FERRY)/ BLENHEIM (29 KMS)
Cross the Cook Strait on a 3 hour ferry journey to Picton in the South Island. The last part of the cruise through the Marlborough Sounds is especially scenic. On arrival travel across the hill to Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough Wine Region. This is New Zealand's top wine producing area - its wines winning awards around the world. Among the leading wineries are Grove Mill, Hunters, Alan Scott Estate, Shingle Peak, St Clair, Wither Hills, Cloudy Bay and Montana. The afternoon at leisure for a wine tasting tour or exploring the Marlborough Sounds by guided kayaking or walking some of the Queen Charlotte Track.
Day 8 - BLENHEIM / KAIKOURA / CHRISTCHURCH (312 KMS)
Travel south following the Coast to Kaikoura, for a choice of a Whalewatch or Swim with Dolphin excursion. The Pacific Ocean around Kaikoura is especially rich in nutrients, which attract a wide variety of sea life and seabirds to the area. There is a 95% record of whale sightings year round and dolphins, seals and occasionally Orca may also be seen. Later in the day drive on through sheep and cropping farmlands to Christchurch.
Day 9 - IN CHRISTCHURCH
Day at leisure for exploring the "Garden City" of Christchurch. Perhaps walk or take the tram to the Canterbury Arts Centre, the Museum, and the Botanic Gardens. A visit to the very interesting International Antarctic Centre is also recommended.
Day 10 - CHRISTCHURCH / TRANZ ALPINE / FRANZ JOSEF (427 KMS)
Take the popular Tranz Alpine train inland across the Canterbury Plains to Arthur's Pass and through the mighty Southern Alps to Greymouth. The scenery is spectacular with high snow capped peaks all around. From Greymouth drive south to Franz Josef Glacier stopping en route to see a Greenstone studio at Hokitika where a local Jade is crafted into traditional and contemporary jewellery and ornaments. Time before dark to view the Franz Josef Glacier, which is a huge river of snow and ice that flows from vast snowfields high in the Alps almost to sea level.
Day 11 - FRANZ JOSEF / WANAKA / QUEENSTOWN (404 KMS)
Today continue south through magnificent rainforests and past bush fringed lakes and clear rushing rivers. At Haast turn inland and cross the Haast Pass through the Southern Alps. The alpine scenery is awesome. Descend past glacial Lakes Wanaka and Hawea to Wanaka Township on the eastern shores of the lake. Travel on through the Central Otago farmlands and around Lake Dunstan to Cromwell which is an important fruit growing and wine making area. From here pass through the rugged Kawarau Gorge into Queenstown.
Day 12 - IN QUEENSTOWN
Day at leisure for your own choice of tours and activities. There is plenty to do in this wonderful alpine resort. Suggest a cruise on the 1912 vintage lake steamer TSS Earnslaw or the thrill of a Shotover Jetboat ride. Perhaps travel out to Glenorchy for a popular Dart River Safari or a day walk on the famous Routeburn Track. Dine this evening at the Skyline Restaurant from where there are panoramic views across the lake and surrounding mountains. Access is by aerial gondola.
Day 13 - MILFORD SOUND DAY TOUR (584 KMS ROUND TRIP)
Full day tour travelling around Lake Wakatipu and through Te Anau and the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. The scenery is stunning with high mountains and deep valleys carved out by ice age glaciers. There are clear rushing streams and cascading waterfalls set in magnificent native rainforest. Stop en route to view the Mirror Lakes and The Chasm. Cruise down Milford Sound past Mitre Peak to the open sea. Seals, penguins and dolphins are often seen. Lunch is served aboard. Afterwards return to Te Anau and Queenstown travelling via the Cleddau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and lovely Eglinton Valley.
Day 14 - QUEENSTOWN / MT COOK (330 KMS)
Today travel north through Central Otago ascending the Lindis Pass to the Mackenzie Basin. Travel around glacially formed Lake Pukaki and into Mt Cook. There are 17 peaks above 10,000 ft in Mt Cook National Park. The scenery is spectacular. Time this afternoon to walk some of the shorter alpine trails or for optional sightseeing such as a ski plane flight with glacier landing.
Day 15 - MT COOK / CHRISTCHURCH (330 KMS) AND DEPART
It is a five hour drive down from Mt Cook to Christchurch Airport, travelling via Lake Tekapo and crossing the sheep and crop farmlands of the Canterbury Plains. On arrival check in for your flight home.