Best of New Zealand
For those with a little more time to visit New Zealand's main attractions this tour includes Auckland City, Waitomo Caves, Rotorua, resort of Queenstown, Milford Sound and Mount Cook with the addition of the Tranz Alpine Train experience through the Southern Alps and the wonderful West Coast road trip including Franz Josef Glacier.
- 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
Morning arrival 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. Afternoon sightseeing in Auckland today 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 2 - AUCKLAND / WAITOMO / ROTORUA (352 KMS)
This morning drive south across 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 Cave. In the afternoon travel on through picturesque farmlands and over the Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua.
Day 3 - ROTORUA SIGHTSEEING
Sightseeing in Rotorua today includes a guided tour of Te Puia - the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to see the geysers and other interesting thermal activity and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where young Maori are learning traditional carving and weaving skills, a visit to lovely Rainbow Springs to see trout and rare kiwi birds and the entertaining Agrodome sheep show. In the evening enjoy a Hangi dinner and concert of Maori song and dance, including the vigorous Haka, on a local Marae (Maori Village).
Day 4 - ROTORUA / CHRISTCHURCH (BY AIR)
Morning flight to Christchurch. Afternoon free to explore "the Garden City". Suggest walk or take the historic tram to the Canterbury Arts Centre, the Museum, and the Botanic Gardens. A visit to the very interesting International Antarctic Centre, which is located near Christchurch International Airport is also recommended.
Day 5 - CHRISTCHURCH / TRANZ ALPINE / FRANZ JOSEF (427 KMS)
This morning 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 the Greenstone Studios at Hokitika where local Jade is crafted into traditional and contemporary ornaments and jewellery. 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. Scenic flights are also available.
Day 6 - FRANZ JOSEF / WANAKA / QUEENSTOWN (404 KMS)
Today drive south through magnificent rainforests and past pretty bush fringed lakes and clear rushing rivers. At Haast turn inland and cross the Haast Pass through the Southern Alps. The alpine scenery is breathtaking. 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 7 - 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. Another option is to drive 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 8 - MILFORD SOUND DAY TOUR (584 KMS ROUND TRIP)
Full day tour travelling around Lake Wakatipu and through Te Anau and 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 in the clear waters of the fiord. Lunch served aboard. Afterwards return to Te Anau and Queenstown travelling via the Cleddau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and lovely Eglinton Valley.
Day 9 - QUEENSTOWN / MT COOK (330 KMS)
Drive north through Central Otago ascending the Lindis Pass to the Mackenzie Basin. Travel around glacially formed Lake Pukaki and into the village of Mt Cook in the Mt Cook National Park. There are 17 peaks above 10,000 ft in Mt Cook National Park. The alpine scenery is spectacular. Time this afternoon to walk some of the shorter alpine trails near the hotel or for optional sightseeing. Suggest a scenic flight with glacier landing.
Day 10 - MT COOK / CHRISTCHURCH (330 KMS) AND DEPART
It is a 5-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 at Christchurch Airport check in for your flight home.