Day 1: Arrive Auckland
On arrival at Auckland Airport you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in. This evening meet your Tour Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception at your hotel and dinner at the top of the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Auckland’s Skytower at Orbit, a revolving restaurant with 360 degree views of the city.
Hotel: SKYCITY Grand Hotel, Auckland. HD
Day 2: Auckland – Rotorua
After a sightseeing tour of Auckland, head south to trace New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato, to the Waitomo Caves to visit the amazing Glow Worm Grotto. A local Guide will lead you through the grotto by boat and you’ll walk in the limestone caves. On arrival in Rotorua an orientation tour takes in views of Lake Rotorua. Tonight you are invited to a Maori Hangi feast with local wine, and a concert at the Tamaki Family Marae.
Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Rotorua, 2 nights. B D
Day 3: Rotorua Sights
Start the day with a ride on the Skyline Gondola and breakfast with stunning views over Lake Rotorua. Visit the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. See volcanic craters, steaming ground and bubbling mud pools on an exclusive guided tour of the geothermal valley. B
Day 4: Rotorua – Wellington
Travelling from the mountains to the sea, you’ll view Huka Falls and drive along the shores of Lake Taupo. Discover the alpine scenery of Mt. Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park and the dairy farms of Manawatu. Continue along the Kapiti Coast to Wellington. See the city from Mt. Victoria on your sightseeing tour.
Hotel: Travelodge, Wellington. B D
Day 5: Wellington – Blenheim
Visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, with time to discover it yourself. Later, cruise the Cook Strait into tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound. The seaside village of Picton is next, then Blenheim for a city tour. Enjoy a tasting, tour and Highlight Dinner at Georges Michel Wine Estate, a family owned and run winery.
Hotel: Scenic Hotel Marlborough, Blenheim. B HD
Day 6: Blenheim – Christchurch
En route to the whale-watching haven of Kaikoura, you’ll pass the Grassmere Salt Works and see New Zealand fur seals up close at Ohau Point. Travel to Christchurch and see the extensive work carried out to rebuild the city after the earthquake of February 2011.
Hotel: Sudima Hotel, Christchurch. B
Day 7: Christchurch – Twizel
You are invited to enjoy a taste of country life at a barbecue lunch on Morelea Farm, a typical working sheep farm. You’ll be welcomed into the home of your hosts Angie & Stan Taylor and their 240 hectare garden. Later see Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki, visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and soak up the alpine scenery of Mount Cook National Park.
Hotel: MacKenzie Country Inn, Twizel. B L D
Day 8: Twizel – Dunedin
View the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. Travel through Oamaru to Dunedin for a tour of the city. Your afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps take a Wildlife Cruise to see the Penguins and the Royal Albatross, visit the Cadbury Factory or ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway.
Hotel: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City, Dunedin. B D
Day 9: Dunedin – Te Anau
You have the opportunity to visit Larnach Castle, New Zealand’s only castle. Travel across rich fertile sheep-filled farming land to Te Anau, on the shores of Lake Te Anau, the South Island’s largest lake.
Hotel: Distinction Hotel, Te Anau. B D
Day 10: Te Anau – Queenstown
See rainforest, ancient glaciers, mountain ranges and the hand-made Homer Tunnel. Pass the Mirror Lake, Pop’s Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm. Your cruise on mystical Milford Sound will take you past Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak. Afterwards, travel over the Devil’s Staircase, along the shores of Lake Wakatipu on your way to Queenstown, where an orientation tour finishes this highlight day.
Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, 2 nights. B
Day 11: Queenstown ‘Free Time’
Explore Queenstown at your leisure. Take it easy with a wine or garden tour, or walk on the wild side with a jet boat ride and white water rafting. 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. B HD
Day 12: Queenstown – Franz Josef
Visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown on the Arrow River. Enjoy the tastes of delicious stone fruit at Cromwell, the stone fruit capital. See a trio of lakes, Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka. Travel over the Haast Pass and view amazing Thunder Creek Falls. Then it’s on to Franz Josef Glacier, the world’s most accessible and still advancing glacier.
Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef. B D
Day 13: Franz Josef – Punakaiki
See Franz Josef Glacier from the air on an optional flight (weather permitting) or take a glacier hike! Depart for Hokitika home of the greenstone (jade) for a factory visit and jewellery demonstration. Later, travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You’ll stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront.
Hotel: Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki. B D
Day 14: Punakaiki – Christchurch
Travel via Greymouth to Arthur’s Pass where you’ll board the TranzAlpine train to travel through the Southern Alps to Christchurch. Join your Tour Director this evening for a Farewell Dinner.
Hotel: Sudima Hotel, Christchurch. B FD
Day 15: Depart Christchurch
Your tour concludes after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight. B
From €3745 per person sharing (flights not included)