You can go from walking over the white and blue icescape of Fox Glacier to strolling through the fantasy world of Hobbits and the Lord of the Rings. You can cruise across lakes like Taupo or sail along the mighty Milford Sound.
You can stand before natural phenomena like erupting geysers, or marvel at the man-made Art Deco architecture of Napier. And this tour helps you make the most of all of it – in style and comfort.
* Grand Pacific Tours (GPT) is our preferred touring partner in New Zealand, a local family-run company offering small group tours.
You’ll be met when you arrive in Auckland, taken to your hotel and introduced to your fellow travellers over drinks.
Stay: One night in the Crowne Plaza Auckland.
Auckland – Bay of Islands
Day 2: After a scenic tour of Auckland, you travel off to see a magnificent kauri tree in the Parry Kauri Park, before continuing on to Whangarei and the Bay of Islands. You’ll also have an opportunity to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the British and the Maoris signed their historic agreement.
Day 3: Today you have a range of options, including the Cape Reinga coach trip and 90 Mile Beach, a scenic flight and a romantic dinner cruise.
Stay: Two nights in the Scenic Hotel, Bay of Islands.
Bay of Islands – Auckland
Take a leisurely cruise aboard a luxury catamaran to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock – watching out for bottlenose and common dolphins along the way. Next, you’ll journey south to Auckland, via Whangarei.
Stay: One night in the Crowne Plaza Auckland.
Auckland – Rotorua
Day 5: After an Auckland tour that includes the astonishing Sky Tower you’ll drive through magnificent countryside to Longlands Farm, stopping off for a home-cooked lunch. In the afternoon you’ll enter a fantasy land – the movie set from the Lord of the Rings, including Hobbiton and the real Middle Earth.
Day 6: Today a gondola takes you to breakfast at Skyline Rotorua. Then comes exhilaration in the form of a luge ride, the farming action and entertainment of the Agrodome, and then a trip to Te Puia to see boiling mud pools and fantastic erupting geysers. The evening offers a Maori Hangi and concert.
Stay: Two nights in the Regent of Rotorua Hotel.
Rotorua – Napier
Now the Thermal Explorer Highway awaits – taking you to the breath-taking Huka Falls and on to the banks of the beautiful Lake Taupo. Enthusiasts of stylish architecture will find Napier equally as interesting – it is known locally as the Art Deco capital of the world.
Stay: One night at the Scenic Hotel Te Pania.
Napier – Wellington
From the Art Deco of Napier you go to Wellington where you’re welcomed with a scenic tour of the capital of New Zealand.
Stay: One night at the Hotel Intercontinental Wellington.
Wellington – Picton – Blenheim
After a morning exploring Wellington – including a trip to the Te Papa National Museum perhaps – you’ll board the Interislander Ferry to sail through the ultra-scenic Marlborough Sound to Picton to connect with your Ultimate Coach, for a beautiful drive to Blenheim.
Stay: One night at the Chateau Marlborough (or similar).
Blenheim – Kaikoura – Christchurch
Your journey through the food and wine region of Marlborough Country is followed by a trip to the seaside village of Kaikoura, before finally enjoying an introductory tour of the garden city of Christchurch.
Stay: One night at The George Hotel.
Christchurch – Arthur’s Pass – Fox Glacier
Now you embark on one of the world’s greatest railway journeys – a must for train enthusiasts and a source of wonder for photographers and connoisseurs of stunning views. Towering viaducts, plunging valleys and mighty gorges included. Then a coach takes you to Hokitika and on to the Fox Glacier via Franz Josef. You can even opt to soar over the glaciers on a private flight. The word ‘spectacular’ doesn’t do it justice.
Stay: One night at Hotel Distinction, Fox Glacier.
Fox Glacier – Queenstown
Day 12: Travel south past the snow-capped Southern Alps and through the Haast Pass to Queenstown – the adventure sports capital of New Zealand, situated on the banks of Lake Wakatipu.
Day 13: Spend today pursuing thrilling activities like jet boat rides, tours of Skippers Canyon and kiwi encounters, before taking an evening cruise across the lake on a vintage steamer to Walter Peak Station and a delicious barbecue.
Stay: Two nights at the Millennium Hotel.
Queenstown – Te Anau
Today you set off in search of gold at the old mining centre of Arrowtown with its Lakes District Museum. You’ll find scenic gold further along at Te Anau, the gateway to Fjordland. After dinner visit the magical Glow Worm Caves.
Stay: Two nights in the Hotel Distinction, Te Anau.
Te Anau – Milford Sound
From Te Anau you drive to Milford Sound Cruise to embark on a magnificent Fjordland photographic opportunity on a motor launch, presenting Bowen Falls and towering Mitre Peak.
Te Anau – Dunedin
Next stop, Dunedin – known as the “Edinburgh of the South”. Your morning will consist of a city tour, followed by an afternoon at leisure. Some may fancy a tour of the Speight’s Brewery or those with a sweet tooth may prefer a tour of Cadbury World.
Stay: one night in the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
Dunedin – Mount Cook
The next day you’ll explore the Otago Peninsula, hearing stories of the infamous history of Larnach Castle along the way, before wandering around the wonderful Garden of International Significance and taking tea in the grand ballroom. Then you set off for Oamaru to see the limestone formations before following the sinuous Waitaki River to Lake Benmore and on to Mount Cook.
Stay: One night in the Hermitage Hotel.
Mount Cook – Christchurch
You’ll have time to absorb the magnitude of Mount Cook – New Zealand’s highest peak – in the wonderful morning light. You could take a scenic flight before setting off for Lake Tekapo, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Sheep Dog Statue. Finally you reach Christchurch where there is a farewell dinner in the evening.
Stay: One night in The George Hotel.
Time to say goodbye to New Zealand and fly home.