The ultimate voyage of discovery in 14 or 17 unforgettable days. Your grand tour covers the length and breadth of both islands with visits to all the major attractions and places of interest.
UNFORGETTABLE SIGHTSEEING EXPERIENCES
Day 1: Welcome to Christchurch
On arrival at Christchurch Airport you’ll be transferred to your hotel. You have time at leisure before a Welcome Reception and dinner with your Tour Director and fellow travellers.
Hotel: Ibis Hotel, Christchurch. (D)
Day 2: Christchurch – Franz Josef
First up this morning you’ll board the TranzAlpine, one of the top six train journeys in the world. This spectacular journey takes you across the Canterbury Plains and through the Southern Alps to Arthur’s Pass. Later, visit Hokitika home of the native greenstone (jade) for a factory visit and jewellery demonstration. Next stop is Franz Josef Glacier – a rare, still advancing glacier (optional scenic Franz Josef Glacier flight available).
Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (Graham Wing), Franz Josef. (B,D)
Day 3: Franz Josef – Queenstown
Travel through the Haast Pass, view Thunder Creek Falls and take a rainforest walk. Then it’s a trio of lakes – Wanaka, Hawea, Dunstan. Next up try sumptuous stone fruit at Cromwell, the stone fruit capital. Later, you’ll visit historic gold mining Arrowtown on the Arrow River, previously one of the world’s richest rivers. Arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure-capital for a sightseeing tour.
Hotel: Mercure Queenstown Resort, 2 nights. (B)
Day 4: Queenstown ‘Day at Leisure’
Explore exciting Queenstown your way, all day. From wine and garden tours to jet boat rides and white water rafting, Queenstown will surprise and exhilarate. This evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand’s oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak Station for a carvery ‘Highlight Dinner’ at the Colonel’s Homestead. An entertaining after-dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high-country farm life. Why not join in a sing-a-long on your cruise back to Queenstown. (B,HD)
Day 5: Queenstown – Te Anau
Travel along the Devil’s Staircase and the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau. You’ll be awe-struck by the great sights from Fiordland National Park, New Zealand’s largest, to Milford Sound, one of the world’s most amazing places, where you’ll cruise on the waters of this natural wonder. En route you’ll drive through the hand-made Homer Tunnel to the abundant photo opportunities afforded by the Mirror Lake, Pop’s Lookout, Cleddau Valley, the Chasm, Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls. Then return to Te Anau. Tonight you have the option to visit the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves.
Hotel: Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau. (B,D)
Day 6: Te Anau – Dunedin
Cross sheep-filled farming land to Dunedin for a city tour. With time at leisure this afternoon, consider a wildlife cruise to see the Penguins and Royal Albatross, a visit the Cadbury Factory or ride the Taieri Gorge Railway.
Hotel: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City. (B,D)
Day 7: Dunedin – Omarama
You have the opportunity to visit Larnach Castle, New Zealand’s only castle. Travel through Oamaru, famous for its limestone buildings, passing the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and the Benmore Dam on your way to Omarama.
Hotel: Heritage Gateway Hotel, Omarama. (B,D)
Day 8: Omarama – Christchurch
Soak up the scenery of Mt. Cook National Park (optional scenic flight available). See Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo, visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and travel across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
Hotel: Ibis Hotel, Christchurch. (B)
Day 9: Christchurch – Picton
Travel along the rugged Pacific Ocean coast to Kaikoura, famous for its whales (optional whale watching flight available). Get up close and personal with some New Zealand fur seals at Ohau Point. Pass the Grassmere Salt Works then travel to the pretty seaside fishing village of Picton for an orientation tour.
Hotel: Beachcomber, Picton. (B,D)
Day 10: Picton – Wellington
Cruise on Queen Charlotte Sound and across Cook Strait to Wellington for a city tour before some time at leisure and then you’ll visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, where you’ll have time to explore New Zealand’s nature, art, history and cultural heritage.
Hotel: Travelodge, Wellington. (B,D)
Day 11: Wellington – Rotorua
Travel along the Kapiti Coast, past the dairy farms of Manawatu to Tongariro National Park and discover the alpine scenery of Mt. Ruapehu. Visit Taupo and drive along the shores of New Zealand’s largest lake. View Huka Falls and pass the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station. Tonight enjoy a traditional Maori Hangi feast and concert and gain an insight into Maori culture.
Hotel: Ibis Hotel, Rotorua, 2 nights. (B,HD)
Day 12: Rotorua Sights
Visit the Agrodome Sheep Show, the multi-award-winning stage show, for a sample of farm life where you’ll gain an exciting and informative insight into agriculture in New Zealand. See the art of sheep shearing, sheepdog demonstrations, cow milking, bottle feeding of lambs and an exciting sheep auction. Then enjoy an afternoon at leisure – perhaps visit Rainbow Springs, abundant with Rainbow Trout and native fauna including the kiwi, or Te Puia, where a local Maori will guide you through the geothermal valley with its mud pools and geysers. (B)
Day 13: Rotorua – Auckland
This morning travel through lush Waikato farmland to Waitomo Caves. See the amazing underground Glow Worm Grotto by boat and walk through the limestone caves. Later you’ll follow the Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river, into Auckland. Enjoy views from Mt. Eden before continuing to your hotel. This evening celebrate your holiday at a dinner with your Tour Director.
Hotel: Mercure Hotel, Auckland. (B,D)
Day 14: Farewell from Auckland
Your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. You’ll be transferred to Auckland Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Includes meals where shown – (B) breakfast (L) lunch (D) dinner
14 day New Zealand Marvel: Standard – from £2175
or 15 day Premium tour - from £3075
Or extend your tour to include Waitangi and the Bay of islands
17 day escorted tour: Standard - from £2595
18 day escorted tour: Premium - from £3650