13 DAY HIGHLIGHTS
- ARRIVE – CHRISTCHURCH (D)
Haere mai, Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand! Today you are met on arrival then transferred to your Christchurch accommodation.
Quality Elms Hotel, Christchurch
- CHRISTCHURCH – FRANZ JOSEF (BD)
From Christchurch we traverse the Southern Alps aboard the famous Tranz-Alpine rail journey to Arthurs Pass. From your carriage you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps. Once we have crossed into the Southern Alps we are met at the village of Arthurs Pass by our coach to continue our journey to the West Coast – or the Coast as locals call it, stopping in Hokitika where a visit is made to the Greenstone and Glass Blowing factories. Further south we tour the Westland National Park, the home of Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. On arrival, time is available for optional scenic flights, before continuing onto our accommodation for the night.
Scenic Franz Josef Hotel, Franz Josef
- FRANZ JOSEF – QUEENSTOWN (B)
Driving towards the southern end of the South Island’s West Coast Road, there is a strong sense of entering a primeval land, and a feeling of total isolation. Arriving at Haast, you are surrounded by a landscape of rainforest, wetlands, sand dunes and surf-pounded shingle beaches. This wilderness forms part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, so designated because South Westland and Fiordland have some of the most dramatic forest and mountain scenery and natural resources in the world. From the Westland National Park we travel through the Haast River valleys and over the Haast Pass to Makaroa and onto the upper reaches of Lake Wanaka. Travelling past Lake Hawea we reach the popular Lake Wanaka, the starting point of the mighty Clutha River. This afternoon we travel via Cromwell following the Kawarau Gorge Road into Queenstown. Tonight is free for you to explore the local restaurants, cafes and bars.
Copthorne Lakefront Hotel, Queenstown – 2 nights
- QUEENSTOWN (BD)
Today is at leisure. Visit the Remarkable’s or Coronet Peak. Experience the thrill of a jet-boat ride along the Shotover or Kawarau Rivers. Perhaps a scenic 4 wheel drive excursion through Skippers Canyon, it’s up to you. This evening we take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station to dine at the Colonel’s Homestead.
- QUEENSTOWN – TE ANAU (BD)
Leaving Queenstown we skirt the shores of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s third largest lake. Travelling via Te Anau we reach the beautiful Eglinton Valley climbing to Homer Tunnel before descending through the spectacular Cleddau Canyon to reach Milford Sound where we enjoy a cruise of the Sound. The Sound is dominated by the grandeur of Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls.From Milford Sound we return to Te Anau reaching our overnight accommodation.
Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Lake Te Anau
- TE ANAU – DUNEDIN (BD)
Departing Te Anau we travel through some of New Zealand’s most populated sheep country through to Lumsden and onto Gore before arriving in Dunedin – “the Edinburgh of the South”. Upon our arrival into Dunedin, you have the opportunity to board an optional train ride - the Taieri Gorge Train Excursionfrom the historic Dunedin Railway Station for a scenic train ride into the spectacular Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi and return.
Scenic Dunedin City Hotel, Dunedin
- DUNEDIN – OMARAMA (BD)
This morning we visit Olveston House – an impressive turn-of-the-century house that is still home to all the lavish furnishings and art collections that have been collected from all corners of the world. We continue to then take in the sights of this old Scottish City before travelling onto Oamaru where we have time to look at the ‘White Stone City’ where the old buildings have been constructed with local limestone. It was from Oamaru that New Zealand’s first frozen meat was shipped in 1882 taking over three months to reach England, and thus began New Zealand’s most important export industry. Travelling inland through Benmore and Otematata, through Sailors Cutting we arrive at Omarama.
Heritage Gateway Hotel, Omarama
- OMARAMA – CHRISTCHURCH (BD)
A day for spectacular sights. We head north to skirt the shore of Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Time is available to enjoy an optional scenic flight over the ancient rivers of ice and the West Coast Glaciers (weather permitting – a highly recommended option). Travelling to Tekapo we witness the magnificent blue waters of Lake Tekapo. Here we visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the statue of the Collie dog, before travelling the vast Mackenzie Basin, over Burke’s Pass through Fairlie, Geraldine, Ashburton and across the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch.
Quality Hotel Elms, Christchurch
- CHRSITCHURCH – WELLINGTON (BD)
Travelling along the rugged coastline through Kaikoura to Picton, keep an eye out for the seals sunning themselves on the coastal rocks. We board the InterIslander crossing Cook Strait to Wellington, where we enjoy a sightseeing tour of New Zealand’s Capital city.
James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel, Wellington
- WELLINGTON – ROTORUA (BD)
This morning we leave the Hawkes Bay to travel to Taupo, stopping at the mighty Huka Falls and the Wairakei Geothermal Steam Field before continuing onto Rotorua which has the most energetic thermal activity in the country with bubbling mud pools, gushing geysers, beautiful coloured hot springs and terrace formations created by mineral water.
Distinction Hotel, Rotorua – 2 nights
- ROTORUA (BD)
Today is at your leisure. Your Optional Touring Booklet will give you plenty of options on how to spend your time. This evening you will be treated to a traditional Hangi (feast) and Maori Concert. We are transferred from our hotel to visit Tamaki Maori Village for a Cultural Experience and Hangi Dinner. Experience the warmth of the Maori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals, powerful cultural performance, storytelling & hangi feasting. Enter the pre-European Maori village, witness the earth being scraped carefully away from the hangi pit and enter their ancestral Meeting House to relax as their family entertain you with a powerful cultural performance before dining on the traditional hangi buffet dinner(Maori feast) cooked the traditional Maori way in an earth oven.
- ROTORUA – AUCKLAND (BD)
This morning we visit Te Puia – The New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley featuring the famous Pohutu Geyser. Next we enjoy a relaxing guided walk through Rainbow Springs, a specialist garden featuring spring fed pools full of Rainbow & Brown Trout and New Zealand native flora and fauna including the iconic New Zealand Native Kiwi Bird. From Rainbow Springs we depart the Sulphur City of Rotorua driving through the dairy rich Waikato countryside travelling north crossing the ‘Bombay Hills’ into Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
Grand Millennium, Auckland
- AUCKLAND – HOME PORT (B)
Our last morning together. There will be time to relax before being transferred to Auckland International Airport where we connect with our outbound flight.