On this escorted tour – taken by our New Zealand touring partners Grand Pacific Tours – you’ll join a small group of just 20 passengers on an action-packed coach journey taking in the country’s most iconic regions. You’ll be led by enthusiastic guides, and stay in wonderful high-end accommodation along the way.
You’ll get the chance to ride the TranzAlpine, one of the world’s great train journeys, and stroll through the fantasy world of Hobbits and the Lord of the Rings. You will sail along the mighty Milford Sound and marvel at New Zealand’s highest peak.
There’ll be plenty of photo opportunities, featuring plunging valleys and spectacular glaciers. You can stand before natural phenomena like erupting geysers, and admire the man-made Art Deco architecture of Napier. And this tour helps you make the most of all of it – in style and comfort on board a luxurious coach.
* Grand Pacific Tours (GPT) is our preferred touring partner in New Zealand, a local family-run company offering small group tours.
On arrival into Auckland you will be met by a Grand Pacific Tours representative who will transfer you to your hotel. Meet your travelling companions over a complimentary pre dinner drink.
Stay: One night in the Crowne Plaza Auckland.
Auckland – Bay of Islands
Day 2: Board the luxurious Ultimate Coach, depart Auckland and travel to the Parry Kauri Park to see a magnificent example of a Kauri Tree. Enjoy a visit and informative talk at the Kauri Museum in Matakohe, then travel via Whangarei to Paihia, situated in the heart of the beautiful Bay of Islands. Enjoy a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the location of the signing of the treaty between the Maori tribes and the British.
Day 3: Today is a free day. Choose from the many optional activities available, including the Cape Reinga coach trip via Ninety Mile Beach or a spectacular scenic flight. This evening is also free and you may like to enjoy a relaxing dinner cruise (optional).
Stay: Two nights in the Scenic Hotel, Bay of Islands (Deluxe Rooms)
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: This morning enjoy a city sights tour of Auckland before travelling to the Zealong Tea Estate, New Zealand’s only tea plantation for a tour & tasting. Continue through the picturesque countryside to Hobbiton for a buffet lunch. This is followed by a guided tour of the Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Your guide will recount details of how this beautiful piece of farmland was transformed into The Shire from 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
Travel south this morning into Wellington for a city tour of the nation’s capital which will highlight the history and culture on show here.
Stay: One night at the Hotel Intercontinental Wellington.
Wellington – Picton – Blenheim
A highlight this morning will be time to explore Gallipoli: A Scale of War exhibition at Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum. This afternoon board the Interislander Ferry and enjoy the scenery as you travel through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton where you board your Ultimate Coach for the short journey to Blenheim. This evening sample some of the local wines from the Marlborough region.
Stay: One night at Marlborough Vintners Hotel
Blenheim – Christchurch
Today’s travel takes you through the alpine village of St Arnaud, the enchanting beech Maruia Forest and the scenic Lewis Pass. Continue South to the garden city of Christchurch for an introductory city sights tour.
Stay: One night at The George Hotel.
Christchurch – Arthur’s Pass – Fox Glacier
This morning board the TranzAlpine, renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world. Travel over massive viaducts, river valleys and spectacular gorges as you ascend to Arthur’s Pass located in the centre of the Southern Alps. Board your Ultimate coach and travel to Hokitika, famous for its Greenstone before continuing via Franz Josef to Fox Glacier where time is available to experience a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the spectacular glaciers.
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: Today is a free day. There are plenty of sightseeing options and your Grand Pacific Local Host is available to assist. You may wish to enjoy the thrill of a jet boat ride, a heritage tour of the scenic Skippers Canyon or get up close to a Kiwi bird. This evening board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station and enjoy a gourmet barbecue dinner. After dinner enjoy a short farm tour then reboard the TSS Earnslaw for a sing along by the piano as you cruise back to Queenstown.
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. Tonight after dinner you may like to visit the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves (optinal).
Stay: Two nights at Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
Te Anau – Milford Sound – Te Anau
Depart Te Anau for a fascinating drive to Milford Sound where you board your launch for a nature cruise on this magnificent fiord. See the spectacular Bowen Falls and towering Mitre Peak as you enjoy a picnic lunch onboard. This afternoon return to Te Anau where some free time is available.
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 at Distinction Dunedin
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
This morning marvel at Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. The opportunity is available to enjoy a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the Southern Alps. Continue to Lake Tekapo and view the brilliant turquoise water, visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and see the Sheep Dog Statue before arriving into Christchurch. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner including selected beverages with your new found friends.
Stay: One night in The George Hotel.
Christchurch – Home
Time to say goodbye. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home after a memorable New Zealand Holiday.
*Itinerary may differ slight for travel from Sep 18 – May 19