Upon arrival in Christchurch, you’ll be met and taken to your hotel to be introduced to your fellow travellers over drinks and a welcome dinner.
Stay: One night in the Quality Hotel Elms
Christchurch - Omarama
After an absorbing city tour of Christchurch, you set off across the Southern Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo, visiting the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Sheep Dog Statue along the way. Marvel at the spectacular mountain ranges including Mount Cook – New Zealand’s highest peak. Time is available for a scenic flight (optional) before travelling to Omarama.
Stay: One night in the Heritage Gateway Hotel.
Omarama – Dunedin
Depart Omarama and see Lake Benmore, before following the Waitaki River to Oamaru, famous for its limestone. Continue on to Dunedin. In the evening you’re invited to a Scottish evening complete with haggis, bagpipes and a commemorative gift.
Stay: One night at the Mercure Leisure Lodge.
Dunedin – Te Anau
Visit Larnach Castle where you hear of the tragic and scandalous history on a guided tour, followed by a delicious Devonshire Tea. Travel through Balclutha and Gore to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland. Tonight you may like to visit the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves (optional).
Stay: One night at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel (Superior Room)
Te Anau – Milford Sound - Queenstown
Day 5: Depart Te Anau and drive to Milford Sound where you will go on a cruise to the fiord. View the magnificent Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak as you enjoy a picnic lunch. This afternoon travel to Queenstown, overlooking the beautiful Lake Wakatipu.
Day 6: Explore Queenstown at leisure with the many sightseeing options available, including the thrill of a jet boat ride, a tour of Skippers Canyon or a Kiwi Encounter. Take an evening cruise across the lake on a vintage steamer to Walter Peak Station and an irresistible barbecue.
Stay: Two nights at Mercure Queenstown Resort.
Queenstown – Arrowtown – Fox Glacier
Today you set off in search of gold at the old mining centre of Arrowtown with its Lakes District Museum. See the snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps as you travel north to Fox Glacier. Time is available (weather permitting) to experience a scenic flight (optional) over the spectacular glaciers.
Stay: One night in the Heartland Hotel Glacier Country
Fox Glacier – Arthur’s Pass - Christchurch
After visiting Hokitika and the Greenstone Factory travel to Arthur’s Pass to embark on one of the worlds greatest rail journeys – the TranzAlpine. A must for train enthusiasts and a source of wonder for photographers and lovers of stunning views. Towering viaducts and the Canterbury Plains included. On arrival in Christchurch, your coach will take you to your hotel.
Stay: One night in the Quality Hotel Elms
Christchurch – Picton – Wellington
Day 9: Travel through the Lewis Pass as you continue to Marlborough Country, famous for its food & wine. In Picton board the Interislander Ferry for your journey through the Marlborough Sounds and across Cook Strait to Wellington.
Day 10: A highlight this morning will be time to explore Gallipoli: A Scale of War exhibition at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum. Reboard your coach for a city tour.
Stay: Two nights in the Ibis Wellington Hotel.
Wellington – Taupo – Rotorua
Day 11: Today a gondola takes you to breakfast at Skyline Rotorua. Then comes some exhilaration in the form of a luge ride and the farming action and entertainment of the Agrodome. You can hand-feed trout and see wildlife in Paradise Valley Springs. Then you’re off, on a trip to Te Puia to see boiling mud pools and fantastic erupting geysers. The evening offers a Maori Hangi and concert.
Day 12: Depart Wellington and view the snow-capped peaks of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro as you travel to Lake Taupo. Visit the spectacular Huka Falls then travel along the Thermal Explorer Highway to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua.
Stay: Two nights in the Sudima Hotel, Lake Rotorua.
Rotorua – Auckland – Bay of Islands
Day 13: After leaving Rotorua you’ll travel through Auckland, and onwards to see a magnificent Kauri Tree in the Parry Kauri Park. Continue to Paihia, situated in the heart of the beautiful Bay of Islands. Enjoy an introduction to the Bay of Islands, location of the signing of the treaty between the Maori tribes and the British.
Day 14: Take a leisurely cruise aboard a luxury catamaran through the beautiful Bay of Islands to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock – watching out for bottlenose and common dolphins along the way. In the afternoon you’ll return to Paihia, via Russell, to enjoy a range of optional activities.
Stay: Two nights at Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge
Bay of Islands - Auckland
Day 15: Say goodbye to Bay of Islands and travel off to Whangarei, Dargaville and Matakohe where you’ll learn about the region in a talk at the Kauri Museum. You’ll be in Auckland for the evening, to enjoy a farewell dinner.
Day 16: Time to say goodbye to New Zealand and fly home.
Stay: One nights in the Copthorne Hotel Auckland City.
*Itinerary may differ slightly for travel from Sep 18 – May 19
Sara could not have been more knowledgeable or helpful. She was very responsive and really listened to what we wanted.- MN, Ecuador & Galapagos, 2014