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Duration: 24 days Visiting: New Zealand
Delve into the scenic delights of New Zealand with a small group of explorers. Combine natural beauty with creature comforts as you overnight in the rainforests of Franz Josef at the foothills of Mt. Cook, sleep among the treetops in the Coromandel Ranges and journey into the deep south to the wild and pristine landscapes of Stewart Island.
- Discover Milford Sound by Sea Kayak
- Explore the magical Waitomo Glowworm Grotto
- Gain an insight in Maori culture with a unique Maori Hangi dinner and show in Rotorua
- Travel with no more than 20 like-minded travellers
Your Journey Begins
You will fly over the international date line on your way to New Zealand.
Welcome to Christchurch!
On arrival at Christchurch Airport you'll be transferred by private car to your hotel. Spend some time at leisure to relax or explore on your own. Perhaps visit the International Antarctic Centre or Orana Wildlife Park, New Zealand's only open range zoo. In the evening meet your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Dinner with wine.
Christchurch to Punakaiki
First up it's all aboard the TranzAlpine train. Rated as one of the world's great scenic railway journeys, you'll travel in the comfort across the Canterbury Plains through the Southern Alps. From Arthur's Pass, travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You'll stay in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront. Enjoy dinner while watching the thundering surf at your doorstep!
The mighty Franz Josef Glacier
(Relaxed Start) Visit the small town of Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast, and meet a local greenstone (jade) carver for a jewellery demonstration. Then visit the West Coast's Treetop Walkway, where you may take a stroll through the canopy of this lush rainforest. Now you're off to the gold-mining town of Ross before arriving at Franz Josef, where a glacier guide explains the history behind the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Your eco-friendly accommodation is set amid native bush, with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. This evening, why not enjoy Franz Josef's local geothermal hot pools or perhaps a massage?
Romantic Arrowtown and on to Queenstown
Later today, travel over the Haast Pass and along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, stopping at Makarora at lunchtime. You'll also stop to explore the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown on the Arrow River, followed by an orientation tour of Queenstown.
Take to the skies in Queenstown
(Relaxed Start) Today is free for you to explore New Zealand's adventure-capital at your leisure. Perhaps play a round of golf or indulge in spa treatment at your resort? Tonight ride the Skyline Gondola to Bob's Peak for dinner with a view overlooking stunning Queenstown, the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu.
Queenstown at leisure
(Relaxed Start) Make the most of your extended stay in Queenstown. Why not take a trip to the Gibbston Valley Winery, take a jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River or get wet white water rafting down the Kawarau River? Tonight you can dine at one of the many local restaurants and cafés in town, or simply relax at your resort.
Queenstown to Milford Sound
(Relaxed Start) Travel south along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau on the shores of the South Island’s largest lake. Later you’ll travel through the rainforest of World Heritage Fiordland National Park, sighting glaciers and mountain ranges before driving through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel to the amazing Mirror Lake. Afterwards, walk to see the Chasm on your way into Milford Sound and take some time to kayak this majestic fiord, considered by many as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Tonight stay at the magical Milford Sound Lodge, with views of the Cleddau Valley.
Milford Sound to Stewart Island
(Relaxed Start) Venture to the southern-most city in New Zealand, Invercargill. You’ll board a ferry at Bluff to cruise to Stewart Island, the 3rd largest island in New Zealand, for a wondrous experience. With its clear, clean waters, lush rainforest, sweeping sands, flora and fauna and unspoilt natural beauty, you’ll get a glimpse into an enviable simpler, slower lifestyle.
Stewart Island wildlife
Sightseeing this morning takes you to see the villages and bays. Later, cruise on Paterson Inlet to see remote sandy beaches and beautiful wildlife. Stop at Ulva Island and take a tour with a Local Expert from the Wildlife Sanctuary. Learn about native birds like the Weka and spend time up close to native flora and fauna – a day of exploration and education. Tonight, try your hand at a bit of kiwi-spotting in the native bush near your accommodation.
Stewart Island to Mount Cook
This morning you'll board a ferry and journey across Foveaux Strait, making your way back to the New Zealand mainland. Admire the rural farming views of Southland and the spectacular alpine scenery of the Southern Alps. Venture over the Lindis Pass and along the shores of Lake Pukaki into the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere, helped Sir Edmund Hillary hone his climbing skills in preparation for his conquest of Everest. In the evening, enjoy dinner with a breathtaking mountain view.
Mt. Cook to Christchurch
See Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, where you'll stop to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. You're welcomed into the home of Angie and Stan Taylor to enjoy a barbecue lunch in their 240 hectare garden. Then travel along the Canterbury Plains to the Garden City of Christchurch. On a sightseeing tour see how Christchurch is being rebuilt after the earthquake of 2011.
Christchurch to Wellington
Travel along the rugged Pacific Ocean coast to Kaikoura, famous for its whales. There's time, if you wish, to take a whale-watching flight. See New Zealand's fur seals at Ohau Point, then travel to the seaside town of Picton. Cruise on Queen Charlotte Sound and across Cook Strait to Wellington for a city sightseeing tour.
Wellington at leisure
(Relaxed Start) Today is free for you to explore Wellington. Perhaps join a tour of New Zealand's Parliament buildings and the ‘Beehive' or take a ride on Wellington's famous cable car from the central business district to the Kelburn Lookout for stunning views of the city? You may want to experience Weta Cave – home of the creative wizards behind the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Or you could learn about New Zealand's history and culture with a visit to Te Papa, New Zealand's incredible national museum and art gallery. Your Travelling Concierge will assist you in booking your chosen experience.
Stunning scenery Wellington to Taupo
(Relaxed Start) Travel along the rugged Kapiti Coast, past the dairy farms of the Manawatu through to the striking three active volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park rising starkly from the surrounding plateau of tussock and near-desert. The stunningly blue fresh water of Lake Taupo awaits you. Before arriving at the hotel, you will stop in to view Huka Falls.
(Relaxed Start) In the morning, explore the township of Taupo, or perhaps try your hand at trout fishing? In Rotorua, experience the local customs like the Hongi greeting and learn some customary phrases. Gain an insight into local Maori culture and history with a Maori show. Savour the unique flavours of a traditional Hangi dinner, a meal cooked in the ground using geothermal steam.
At the Agrodome, sample Kiwi farm life including the art of sheep shearing, sheepdog demonstrations, cow milking, lamb bottle feeding and an exciting sheep auction. Your next stop is Rainbow Springs Nature Park, where you'll discover the native beauty around the crystal clear mineral water springs. Take a ‘behind the scenes' tour through a working kiwi nursery and hatchery dedicated to the conservation of the national icon. Next, visit the Whakarewarewa Living Village set amongst a highly active landscape erupting with geothermal activity.
Waitomo Caves to Coromandel
First up, visit Waitomo Caves to see the incredible glowworms that are unique to New Zealand with our Local Expert at Footwhistle Cave. Visit the dairy farming community of Matamata and enjoy a delicious lunch at Longlands Farm country-style restaurant. This evening in the Coromandel Ranges, stay in Tree Hut Chalets, set among the native bush.
Coromandel to Auckland
(Relaxed Start) If you are an early riser, why not take a stroll down to the golden sands of Pauanui Beach and dip your toes in the swirling surf? Later in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, enjoy an afternoon sightseeing tour and then the rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the city. Why not visit the Sky Tower for 360° views of the region and surrounding volcanic hills?
Auckland to Bay of Islands
Travel to Orewa and the scenic Hibiscus Coast. Then continue to the Waipoua Forest, a sanctuary that is home to many native trees including the largest Kauri tree in existence, Tane Mahuta (over 2,000 years old). A Maori guide will walk you through the native bush and explain the history and legend behind the mighty Kauri. Head to your waterfront resort in the heart of the beautiful Bay of Islands.
Russell and the Bay of Islands
(Relaxed Start) In the morning you'll take a ferry across the harbour to historic Russell, for a walking tour of the first European settlement and capital of New Zealand. The rest of the day is at leisure. Perhaps take on a dolphin watching cruise? Experience sailing aboard a historic tall ship, enjoy wine tasting around Kerikeri, or join a jet boat Heritage Cruise and learn a little more about the settling of the Bay of Islands?
Cruise the Bay of Islands and onto Auckland
This morning cruise through the Bay of Islands Maritime Park to the famous ‘Hole in the Rock', see the historic Cape Brett lighthouse, and explore some of the 144 islands in the bay. Later you'll have some time in Paihia to check out the local craft shops or go for a walk along the beachfront. This afternoon head through the small towns of Northland, over the Harbour Bridge and into Auckland city. Toast your tour together tonight at a Celebration Dinner.
Bid farewell to your fellow travellers after breakfast, as your journey comes to an end with a transfer to Auckland Airport for your onward flight.
Christchurch (Central) - New Zealand
The George, Christchurch
Punakaiki (Scenic) - New Zealand
Franz Josef Glacier (Scenic) - New Zealand
Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef
Arrowtown (Scenic) - New Zealand
Hotel accommodation and year round retreat located on the outskirts of historic Arrowtown.
Stewart Island (Scenic) - New Zealand
Bay Motel, Stewart Island
Mt Cook (Central) - New Zealand
The Hermitage, Mt. Cook
Taupo (Scenic) - New Zealand
Hilton Hotel, Taupo
Rotorua (Scenic) - New Zealand
Pauanui Beach (Scenic) - New Zealand
Grand Mercure Puka Park Resort, Coromandel Ranges
Aukland (Scenic) - New Zealand
Paihia (Scenic) - New Zealand
Copthorne Resort, Bay of Islands
Clothing, gear, and accessories you need for your next premium or Luxury Gold escorted journey
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