We Love —
- Discover the sights and sounds of New Zealand - widely revered as one of the most awe-inspiring locations our glorious planet has to offer
- Rich, verdant, landscapes, dazzling waters, enchanting natural denizens - this remarkable country has everything you could want from an idyllic getaway
- Travel around the country, stopping at brilliant hotels with some exceptional excursions added in!
Your Itinerary —
Upon arrival in New Zealand you will be transferred from the airport to your hotel.
Situated on a narrow strip of land between Waitemata Harbour in the North and Manukau Harbour in the South, it’s fairly obvious why Auckland is known as the city of sails. Whether it's the rugged west-coast surf beaches or the glistening Hauraki Gulf - water is never far away. The best view of the city is to be had from the Sky tower - the tallest structure in the Southern hemisphere at over 1,000 feet - with views out over the city and surrounding countryside as well as the long view down to street level through the glass floor.
Pick up your car and set off to discover the magic that has been attracting visitors for over 100 years. Visit Waitomo Glow-worm Caves where a knowledgeable guide will lead you through the limestone chambers and passages to see stunning features like the Tomo (a deep shaft that falls away to the darkness below), and the famous 'Cathedral'. The highlight of a visit to the Glow-worm Cave is a silent boat trip through the glow-worm grotto. Marvel at Mother Nature's light display as you glide quietly beneath the lights of thousands of glowworms suspended from the cave ceiling. Only the gentle sound of dripping water reminds you that you are deep underground and not beneath a star filled sky.
Afterwards, make your way to the gorgeous Rotorua region, full of picturesque lakes, idyllic pathways & epic craters created by extinct volcanoes.
Day 3: Rotorua
Today you will experience the amazing geothermal activity of Lady Knox Geyser, New Zealand's largest boiling mud lake and the colours of every tint and hue displayed in steaming pools, volcanic craters, fumaroles and silica terraces at Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland. Then enjoy the Waimangu Volcanic Valley nature walk amidst a stunning volcanic landscape with spectacular views of hot crater lakes, steaming cliffs, hissing fumaroles, colourful silica terraces, rare thermally adapted plants and the opportunity to see some of New Zealand's native bird life.
This evening enjoy the Te Po Evening Experience beginning at Te Keketanga-a-Rangi (Heavenly Origins), a space comprising twelve monumental carvings reaching skyward. Hear stories of the past prior to assembling at the waharoa (gateway) of the marae. Experience an authentic Maori welcome ceremony, warrior's challenge and kapa haka (performing arts) concert. The Maori Feast is a culinary opportunity like no other. The range of traditional and indigenous inspired dishes have been designed to create a memorable cultural experience.
Wellington city nestles compactly on the harbour edge, encircled by steeply rising hills. The nation’s capital is a flourishing centre of arts and culture, including a thriving film industry.
Day 6: Ferry from Wellington to Picton & onto Kaikoura (approx. travel time: 5hrs 50mins / 162 miles; including a interisland ferry)
Your journey today will take you across the Cook Strait on the Interislander from Wellington to Picton. The 92 km, three hour 20-minute ferry service is one of New Zealand's most iconic tourist experiences. Premium Plus is an exciting innovation from Interislander and is the most comfortable and luxurious way to travel across Cook Strait.
Kaikoura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds. The environment is truly spectacular – the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. In winter the mountains are covered with snow, adding to the drama of the landscape. Kaikoura’s special talent is marine mammal encounters as whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters.
Promising an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. South Island’s main city is quintessentially English - named after the Oxford College whilst also having a Cambridge connection - visitors to Christchurch can take trips down the River Avon on an authentic Cambridge punt. This is a city of gardens, the biggest of which is Hagley Park; also home to the city’s Botanic Garden. Offering a unique experience that combines history and sightseeing is the Christchurch tramway, which takes you on a 1.5 mile loop allowing you to hop on and off at any of the nine stops along the way.
Day 8: Kiwirail Scenic Journey From Christchurch to Greymouth & onto Franz Josef Township
The TranzAlpine is one of the world’s great scenic train trips from one coast to another through the dramatic contrast of dry beech forests and tussock land on one side of the Alps and lush green landscapes on the other. From Christchurch, cross the patchwork farmland of the Canterbury plains, follow the Waimakariri River, climbing into alpine scenery on a series of spectacular viaducts. Then, after stopping at Arthur's Pass, emerge from the long Otira Tunnel and descend through sub-tropical rain forest past beautiful Lake Brunner and on to Greymouth.
As you will be travelling by train you will need to drop your car off at Christchurch airport the night before your Tranz Alpine train to Greymouth andf then collect a new car upon arrival in Greymouth.
Day 9: Franz Josef Glacier Guide
The Franz Josef Glacier (Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere) offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacial environment, in a temperate environment, while being within easy driving and walking distance from the main highway. In the last ice age the glacier extended in a huge ice- sheet to beyond the present coastline. Although today’s glacier has retreated considerably, echoes of it’s frozen past are still apparent in the present landscape. The terminal face of the glacier is less than 300 metres above sea level and is just one of three to be this close to the coastline.
If you want to discover more of this natural phenomenon you can add an optional extra excursion (please see below for details)
New Zealand’s adrenalin city sits peacefully in the shore of Lake Wakatipu and is set against the dramatic Southern Alps. This region is a tourist magnet, for the lakes, mountains and forests make an extraordinary location for all manner of adventure activities - from jet boating on the Shotover River, whitewater rafting or bungy jumping from the A.J Hackett bridge.
Day 12: Milford Coach & Nature Cruise
Today you will board your Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown and enjoy a trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. After a morning tea break in Te Anau continue along the spectacular Milford Road. On reaching Milford Sound, board the Milford Mariner for a relaxing cruise of Milford Sound. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. Following your cruise reboard the coach for the return journey to Queenstown.
Day 13: Queenstown - Mount Cook (approx. travel time: 3hrs / 164 miles)
Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand, reaching a height of 3,754 metres. It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favourite challenge for mountain climbers. Aoraki / Mount Cook consists of three summits lying slightly South and East of the main divide, the Low Peak, Middle Peak and High Peak, with the Tasman Glacier to the East and the Hooker Glacier to the West. In the region you can enjoy 4WD safaris, boating on the glacier lakes, horse treks, fishing, scenic flights with snow landings and numerous Walks and Hikes.
In the evening you will have the opportunity to do some star gazing. Mount Cook is far from the city lights and therefore has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand & the only international dark sky reserve in the world - put simply, the stargazing here is utterly amazing and a truly unique experience not to be missed!
Day 14: Overnight in Christchurch (approx. travel time: 4hrs / 206 miles)
Head back to Christchurch for one last chance to explore the city!
Day 15: Fly to the UK
Drop your car off at the airport then head to the departures lounge for your flight back home.
The following excursions can be added to your tour for an additional fee.
Auckland Harbour Cruise (Day 1)
Available daily from Auckland, this morning or afternoon cruise embarks on the sparkling waters of Auckland’s beautiful Waitemata Harbour for you to learn about the city’s best-loved landmarks. Visit the Viaduct Basin, see the harbour highlights including historic Devonport, the Auckland Harbour Bridge, Bean Rock Lighthouse and the Devonport Naval Base. Stop briefly at Rangitoto Island and experience its unique volcanic terrain firsthand.
Introducing Te Papa - Wellington (Day 5)
The perfect way to get an overview of Te Papa’s highlights, Māori taonga taonga treasures, and New Zealand history.
Heli Hike - Franz Josef (Day 9)
The Franz Josef Glacier helicopter tour is a once in a lifetime experience that should not be missed. From the moment you step on board the chopper, your experience and highly trained pilot will whisk you away, up and over the jaw-dropping landscape. After a thrilling flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier, ready to undertake a two hour guided glacier hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery in the world.
Your Hotels —
Heritage - Auckland (1-night)
Accommodation in a Superior Room with breakfast included.
Enjoy your stay at Heritage Auckland Hotel, in close proximity to Auckland's shopping and business districts making it the perfect place to stay - you are never more than a few steps away from a quality restaurant, cafe or bar.
Your Journey —
Flights: The flights included are with either a scheduled or no-frills airline and are subject to live availability and prices can change. You can choose your preferred departure times during the booking process. Please select your flight options carefully as departure and arrival airports may differ.
Transfers: A transfer between Christchurch Airport & your hotel can be added for an additional fee at the next stage of the booking process.
Car Hire: Is included. Please see the next tab for details.