Meet the Locals
This tour will show you some of the main sights while spending lots of time with New Zealanders. During the trip relax and enjoy scenic rural surroundings with three nights on friendly New Zealand working farms. Witness fascinating thermal activity and a taste of Maori Culture in Rotorua, visit the capital city Wellington and enjoy the garden city of Christchurch (also known as the most English city outside England) including dinner with a local New Zealand family. Visit spectacular Mount Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) and spend a night on Milford or Doubtful Sound in the World Heritage Fiordland National Park.
- 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
DAILY DEPARTURES OCTOBER / APRIL
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 / HAMILTON FARMSTAY (127 KMS)
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.
In the afternoon travel south across the Bombay Hills through the Waikato Valley, which is a major dairying and horse breeding region to Hamilton. Here meet your farm hosts and go home with them for the night. This opportunity to meet a friendly New Zealand family in their own home and have dinner with them will be a tour highlight. Most of the farms here are dairy farms, but also some sheep, beef and cropping. Farm house accommodation.
Day 3 - ON THE FARMA day to relax and enjoy rural New Zealand observing farm activities of the day and the peace and quiet of the countryside. All meals included
Day 4 - HAMILTON / WAITOMO / ROTORUA (225 KMS)
Farm breakfast and then drive on south to Waitomo for a guided tour of the famous Waitomo Glow-worm Cave. In the afternoon drive on through picturesque farming country and across the bush clad Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua. This evening enjoy a Hangi dinner and concert of Maori song and dance, including the vigorous Haka, on a local Marae.
Day 5 - ROTORUA SIGHTSEEING
Sightseeing in Rotorua includes a guided tour of Te Puia - the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve with a Maori guide to see the geysers and other interesting thermal activity and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where young Maori are being taught traditional carving and weaving skills. Also visit lovely Rainbow Springs to see trout and rare Kiwi birds and enjoy the entertaining Agrodome sheep show.
Day 6 - ROTORUA / TAUPO / WELLINGTON (380 KMS)
Today drive south through forests and farmlands to Taupo, which is a very popular resort and centre of a world renowned trout fishery. Continue around Lake Taupo and around Lake Taupo and on across the Desert Road to Waiouru. On a fine day there are good views of the mountains of Tongariro National Park - Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngaruahoe and Mt Ruapehu. All are volcanic - Mt Ruapehu erupting spectacularly as recently as 1995 and again in 1996. There are two major ski fields on these mountains and some of the scenes from the award winning Lord of the Rings film trilogy were filmed here. From Waiouru continue through Taihape and descend through the Mangaweka Hills. Cross the Manawatu Plains and travel down the Kapiti Coasts into Wellington. If time permits suggest a visit to Southward's vintage car museum at Paraparaumu.
Day 7 - IN WELLINGTON
Day at leisure to explore New Zealand's capital city. Suggest take the cable car to Kelburn and walk down through the Botanic Gardens to Parliament buildings and around the waterfront to Te Papa - the National Museum of New Zealand where there are some excellent exhibits and inter active displays. You may like to visit the Karori Sanctuary which has been ring fenced from rodents, stoats, cats and other predators in an effort to allow rare and endangered native birds to inhabit the area in relative safety. There are also tours to Lord of the Rings filming sites and to the Martinborough wineries available.
Day 8 - WELLINGTON / CHRISTCHURCH (BY AIR)
Morning flight to Christchurch. The balance of the day is free for your own choice of sightseeing activities. Suggest a walk through the city centre to the Canterbury Arts Centre and the lovely Botanic Gardens. This evening join a local New Zealand family for dinner. You will be collected from your accommodation and returned afterwards.
Day 9 - CHRISTCHURCH / FAIRLIE (148 KMS)
Today travel south across the sheep and cropping farmlands of the Canterbury Plains to Fairlie in the foothills of the Southern Alps. Stay tonight on a farm. Most of the farms in this area are sheep farms but there are also some cropping, cattle, sheep and deer farms. Dinner with your hosts. Farm house accommodation.
Day 10 - FAIRLIE / MT COOK / QUEENSTOWN (512 KMS)
Farm breakfast and then drive through Burke's Pass to Lake Tekapo. See the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd with its spectacular alter backdrop of the mighty Southern Alps. Cross the MacKenzie Basin and drive around glacially formed Lake Pukaki into Mt Cook. There are 17 peaks in Mt Cook National Park over 10,000 ft asl - the alpine scenery is spectacular. Time for a scenic flight with glacier landing before continuing south over the Lindis Pass and through the Central Otago farmlands. Drive around Lake Dunstan to Cromwell which is an important fruit growing and wine making area. If you have an interest in wines recommend a visit to The Big Picture and some of the wineries in the Bannockburn area. From here drive on through the rugged Kawarau Gorge into Queenstown.
Day 11 - IN QUEENSTOWN
Free day for your own choice of tours and activities. There is plenty to do in this wonderful alpine resort. Suggest take the Skyline gondola to Bob's Peak for wonderful views across Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Other options are the thrill of a Shotover Jetboat ride, or a drive out to Glenorchy for a popular Dart River Safari or a day walk on the famous Routeburn Track. This evening board the 1912 vintage lake steamer TSS Earnslaw for a cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak high country sheep and cattle station for a farm show and dinner in the homestead. On the return voyage enjoy a sing a long with the ship's pianist.
Day 12 - QUEENSTOWN / MILFORD SOUND (292 KMS)
Today drive around Lake Wakatipu and through Te Anau and into 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. In the late afternoon board the MV Milford Mariner for an overnight adventure cruise on Milford Sound. Seals, Penguins and Dolphins are often seen. Sea kayaks available for guest use. En suite cabins. Dinner and breakfast served aboard. (Or you may instead chose to do the overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound aboard the MV Fiordland Navigator)
Day 13 - MILFORD SOUND / QUEENSTOWN (292 KMS) AND DEPART
Breakfast aboard. Disembark and return to Te Anau and Queenstown travelling via the Cleddau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and lovely Eglinton Valley. Mid afternoon board a flight to Auckland (or Christchurch) to connect with your evening flight out of New Zealand
NOTE: The overnight cruises on Milford and Doubtful Sounds do not operate over the winter months- so itineraries need be modified for day tripping only to these fiords. And Walter Peak dining is not available June/20 July.