20 Days


20 DAYS: Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Punakaiki, Fox Glacier, Wānaka, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Mt. Cook, Twizel & Christchurch

Tour Overview:

This Small Group Journey takes you through some of our favourite places and spaces in the North and South Islands, discovering fantastic coastlines and immersing you in Māori culture and history. Explore the geothermal wonders of the bubbling mud pools and ferocious geysers of Rotorua and enjoy the stunning scenery of the Abel Tasman National Park with opportunities to swim in its dazzling turquoise lagoons.

Day 1- Arrive Auckland

Haere mai – welcome! Arrive into Auckland where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Spend the afternoon and evening at your leisure exploring the ‘City of Sails’.

Day 2 – Auckland / Coromandel Peninsula

Travel across the fertile Hauraki Plains to Thames then head up the western side of the Coromandel Peninsula. This coastal drive is quite spectacular and on a clear day, keep an eye out for the SkyTower which can be seen across the Firth of Thames. Visit the nearby Driving Creek Railway climbing 120m on a narrow-gauge line to the ‘Eyefull’ Tower for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and back over the Hauraki Gulf. Drive east across the Peninsula through beautiful scenery to reach the resort of Whitianga on Mercury Bay. (B)

Day 3 – Coromandel Peninsula

White cliffs, golden beaches, inviting turquoise waters and green forests are the colours of the
Coromandel, with scarlet highlights courtesy of the flowers of Pōhutukawa trees in summer, making this one of our favourite regions. Rightly famous is Hot Water Beach, where warm springs bubble up through the sand, and when the tide is right you can dig out your very own ‘spa’ pool for a wallow in the warm waters. Walk down into Cathedral Cove – your efforts are rewarded with one of the most photogenic beaches in New Zealand. Depart by water taxi back to Hahei where your driver will be waiting to take you to Cooks Beach – named after Captain James Cook who sailed on the HMS Endeavour into Mercury Bay in 1769 – famous for its long golden sandy beach which is now a popular retreat for Kiwis during summer months. From Cooks Beach you can choose to catch the short ferry ride back to Whitianga and walk to your accommodation or travel back with your driver. (B)

Day 4 – Coromandel Peninsula / Rotorua

Taking the Pacific Coast Highway through the beachside towns of Whangamatā and Tauranga in the beautiful Bay of Plenty before turning inland to visit a well-formed bushwalk with scenic lookouts over Okere Falls. Rotorua is the epicentre not only of New Zealand’s geothermal activity but of Māori heritage. No visit to Rotorua would be complete without including Te Puia, not only an active geothermal site, but the nation’s centre for indigenous arts and crafts and a Kiwi conservation project. At Te Puia it’s part of their culture to welcome, guide, entertain, and treat you like part of the family and you are treated to a private guide throughout your time here. (B)

Day 5 – Rotorua

Today you have the choice of two excursions:
a) Visit the Waimangu Volcanic Valley Site of the eruption of Mt. Tarawera in 1886 the devasting eruption buried local Māori villages and destroyed the world-famous ‘Pink and White’ silica terraces, once considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. This catastrophic event changed the landscape forever and created the valley you can now walk through, past boiling craters and jewel-coloured steaming lakes. Take a cruise across Lake Rotomahana to the site of the old silica terraces, hear the story of Guide Sophia and see the new terraces of silica slowly forming.
b) Experience the real Middle-earth Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, the delightful setting for The Shire that featured in Peter Jackson’s films, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit film series. Your Hobbiton guide will escort you through the ten-acre site recounting fascinating details of how the movie set was created. The Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, The Millhouse and other structures created for the films can be viewed, and you will see how this beautiful piece of Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth. This evening visit Tamaki Māori Village for Te Pā Tū. The evening experience and feast is aligned to and changes with the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar). Feast on Māori song, tradition, and divine seasonal kai (cuisine) within the forest Pā (village) amidst towering Tawa trees, blazing bonfires, and forest-formed amphitheatre. Hākari (feasting) begins with forest horotai (canapes) and culminates in a lavish 4-course fusion feast. Hāngī is featured in varied seasonal menus designed by Māori chefs served to table, al fresco when warm, or in the wharekai (dining room) if cooler. During summer months, Tū Te Rā celebrates harvest and concepts concerning ancient Māori warfare and peace. Over winter months, Tū Te Ihi celebrates the Matariki star cluster with mystical ritual, energy, and passion. Return hotel transfers included – other travellers will be on board. (BD)

Day 6 – Rotorua / Napier

Visit the powerful Huka Falls then view the vast Lake Taupō – more inland sea than lake, though its fresh waters teem with trout. Across the lake stands the mighty volcanic peaks of Ruapehu, Ngāuruhoe and Tongariro within the Tongariro National Park. Onto Napier to view one of the world’s most complete examples of Art Deco architecture, second (arguably) only to Miami Beach. This joyful seaside town had a tragic birth, being virtually levelled by fierce fires that followed the devastating 1931 earthquake. Napier was rebuilt in the most up-to-date style of the time, which today is referred to as Art Deco. This afternoon your local guide brings history and architecture alive with entertaining stories as you discover Napier on foot. Today’s journey has brought us to the North Island’s wine country, so this evening’s treat is dinner at New Zealand’s oldest winery, Mission Estate, where you enjoy dinner in the restored seminary buildings with sweeping views of Napier.

Day 7 – Napier / Wellington

Travel through the vineyards and orchards of Hawke’s Bay and the bush-clad ranges of the
Wairarapa into New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. On arrival view New Zealand’s magnificent Parliament Buildings including the iconic ‘Beehive’ building. From the Kelburn lookout take the Wellington Cable Car down into the central city precinct before visiting Te Papa Museum featuring New Zealand insights; the shaping of its land, the spirit of its diverse peoples, its unique wildlife, landscapes and its distinctive popular culture. (B)

Day 8 – Wellington / Nelson

Your day commences with one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world. Travelling through the waters of Cook Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound the ferry is often accompanied by dolphins riding the bow waves. Disembarking in Picton travel the short distance to Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough wine country. What better way to enjoy this region famous for its Sauvignon Blanc than with wine tasting at one of Marlborough’s premier wineries? From Marlborough cross to the Nelson district a corner of the South Island blessed with a sunny microclimate and your base for the next two nights. (B)

Day 9 – Nelson – Abel Tasman National Park

Paradise found! Abel Tasman National Park is a mosaic of golden coves and turquoise lagoons
sheltered by forested ranges to the south. With few roads in this pristine wilderness, most journeys are made by boat. This morning from Kaiteriteri, your tour includes a choice of one activity from these three options:
a) Non – Walking Option: Full Park Scenic Cruise (3-4 hour cruise) Enjoy a morning cruise exploration of New Zealand’s smallest National Park. View world- famous Split Apple Rock, New Zealand Fur Seals, golden sands and the turquoise waters of Anchorage, Bark Bay, Tonga Quarry, Awaroa and Tōtaranui Beach. Enjoy time at your leisure in Kaiteriteri and return to Nelson on the late afternoon transfer.
b) Walking Option 1: Astrolabe Beaches and Bays (7km, 2.5 hour walk) After the Full Park Scenic Cruise, disembark at Apple Tree Bay for a self-guided walk to fabulous Anchorage Beach. Late afternoon shuttle transfer back to Nelson.
c) Walking Option 2: Forest and Swing-Bridge (10.5km, 4 hour walk)
After the Full Park Scenic Cruise, disembark at Medlands Beach for a rewarding and varied self-guided walk to Anchorage Beach including the scenic highlights of the South Head lookout, the famous Falls River swing-bridge and Cleopatra’s Pool. Late afternoon shuttle transfer back to Nelson. (B)

Day 10 – Nelson / Punakaiki

Driving via the Nelson Lakes National Park – an enchanting alpine landscape of rugged peaks, forests, stunning glacial lakes and the beginning of the awe-inspiring Southern Alps make a stop at the quaint village of St. Arnaud on the shores of Lake Rotoiti. Turn inland to follow the Buller River Gorge – one of the world’s best but least-known scenic drives, carved out of the forest by 19 th century prospectors, it follows the deep river gorge, often crossing it on single-track bridges. Emerging from the forest the road hugs the coastline south to the small settlement of Punakaiki – renowned for its wild, rugged coastline and the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’ – these stratified limestone stacks are an extraordinary monument of nature. (B)

Day 11 – Punakaiki / Fox Glacier

Journey south along the Great Coast Road which was recently voted one of the top ten coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet. Pass through historic towns reaching Hokitika and its galleries specialising in pounamu (greenstone) jewellery and art works. Stretch your legs at the dramatic Hokitika Gorge where the blue/green waters pass through the rugged rocks. Continue south through forests and farmland, with views of the Alps to the east and the Tasman Sea to the west, to Franz Josef then on to the small remote village of Fox. The huge rivers of snow and ice of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers flow from vast snowfields high in the Southern Alps, down almost to sea level. Weather permitting, an optional helicopter ride with a snow landing is a terrific way to experience the sheer grandeur of these West Coast glaciers (extra cost). (B)

Day 12 – Fox Glacier / Wānaka

Have your camera ready for your visit to nearby Lake Matheson for a morning stroll – when conditions are right the lake perfectly mirrors beautiful Mt. Cook in its still waters. Head over the Haast Pass along the river road beside the icy river and deep into Mt. Aspiring National Park. The atmosphere lightens as we reach lovely Lake Wānaka, reflecting the mountain peaks that in winter offer superb skiing, and the pretty resort town of Wānaka. (B)

Day 13 – Wānaka

This morning you have the choice of two excursions:
a) Today join a passionate local eco-guide – as you depart Wānaka by boat and quickly leave civilization behind as you cruise across the lake to a predator-free island. The walking track leads from the landing and climbs steadily through native vegetation – filled with very vocal birdlife – to the top to the “island’s secret”; a lake on top of the island with small islands in
it! Unique and very photogenic, the echo of birdsong here is astounding. Carrying on a little
further you come to the very top of the island and have a sweeping 360-degree view of Lake
Wānaka, its surrounding mountains and valleys, and the Arethusa Pool below. This is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the panorama. The flightless Buff Weka often join visitors on the island; this rare flightless bird has been extinct on Mainland NZ since 1920.
b) Experience New Zealand’s most authentic 4WD adventure – the perfect mix of incredible scenery, history, heritage and farming life. Explore remote and seldom travelled back roads of an authentic New Zealand High Country farm overlooking sparkling Lake Wānaka. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, glaciers and wild river valleys you’ll see farm animals including Red Deer, cattle and sheep up close and in their natural environment. Visit historical sites and experience what life was like for Wānaka’s first farmers. With two optional walks, through pristine alpine meadows and ancient lakeside forests, this journey offers a unique insight into Wānaka’s rich history, heritage, modern-day farming life and breath-taking scenery. This afternoon is at your leisure to relax or enjoy your own choice of activities. (B)

Day 14 – Wānaka / Te Anau

Depart Wānaka with your first stop at the much photographed Cardrona Pub before traversing the Crown Range road to visit historic Arrowtown – a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. Continue your journey via the road pinned between the base of the Remarkables mountain range and spectacular Lake Wakatipu. Journey through a glacial formed valley that is now farmland, to reach Lake Te Anau, the largest (by volume) freshwater lake in the South Island and gateway to Fiordland National Park. (B)

Day 15 – Te Anau / Milford Sound /Queenstown

The journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound is one of the most scenic experiences you can have on four wheels. Fiordland National Park, part of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere. The scenery is spectacular with lofty mountains and deep valleys carved out by Ice Age glaciers. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound is breath-taking in any weather. Board a comfortable
vessel for a cruise past towering Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea. Keep an eye peeled for seals and
dolphins which are often seen in the waters of the fiord. Following the cruise, retrace your journey back to Te Anau travelling via the Cleddeau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and the lovely Eglinton Valley then across the Southland farmlands and around spectacular Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown. (BL)

Day 16 – Queenstown

Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu, the natural beauty and the unique energy of Queenstown create the perfect backdrop for a visit full of adventure, exploration or relaxation. Today is free for you to do your own thing: thrill-seekers may choose to zip-line at Bob’s Peak, get drenched on a Shotover jet-boat ride or go white-water rafting. Other enjoyable but less hair-raising activities include the gondola ride up to Bob’s Peak, or a 4WD safari to Skippers Canyon. Boutique wineries and local gardens welcome visitors and the classic steamship TSS Earnslaw is an elegant way to discover Lake Wakatipu during a cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm. (B)

Day 17 – Queenstown / Mt. Cook / Twizel

Continue north through the rugged Kawarau Gorge, past pretty Lake Dunstan and across the
distinctive Central Otago countryside to the Lindis Pass. Descend into the unique Mackenzie Basin where the Southern Alps dominate the horizon. Take a beautiful drive along Lake Pukaki to Mt. Cook Village, home to New Zealand’s tallest peak, Aoraki/Mt. Cook. We stay overnight in the rural town of Twizel. (B)

Day 18 – Twizel / Christchurch

Visit a local home set on the shores of Lake Tekapo and learn the secrets of making a Pavlova – a
truly Kiwi dessert! For morning tea, enjoy the taste of your pavlova as you drink in the views of this beautiful lake. View the Church of the Good Shepherd, one of New Zealand’s most-photographed spots; a tiny church set against a majestic backdrop of the Southern Alps. Pass across the high country’s tussock plains, through the small rural towns of Fairlie and Geraldine and onto Ashburton. From here travel across the fertile Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. This most English of New Zealand cities suffered a succession of terrible earthquakes in 2010/11. Post-earthquake the city combines urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and creativity. (B)

Day 19 – Christchurch

This morning we join punting boatmen, resplendent with straw boaters and traditional Edwardian dress for a relaxing cruise in flat-bottomed punts along the River Avon through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Enjoy a journey in style onboard a beautifully restored heritage tram through the changing face of Christchurch’s city centre. This is the final part of our journey together so tonight we enjoy a relaxed farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (BD)

Day 20 – Depart Christchurch

Haere rā – farewell from New Zealand. After breakfast you are transferred to the Christchurch
Airport for your return home, taking with you your fond memories of your time in New Zealand. Alternatively, should you wish to extend your stay, we can assist you with additional travel arrangements. (B)

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Dates Dbl Sgl
Oct 28 - Nov 16 CAD 11,495 CAD 15,106
Nov 24 - Dec 13 CAD 12,430 CAD 16,280
Dates Dbl Sgl
Jan 13 - Feb 01 SOLD OUT
Jan 27- Feb 15 CAD 12,430 CAD 16,280
Mar 24 -Apr 12 CAD 12,430 CAD 16,280
Apr 20 - May 09 CAD 12,430 CAD 16,280
May 11 - May 30 SOLD OUT SOLD OUT
Sep 21 - Oct 10 CAD 11,030 CAD 14,685
Oct 26 - Nov 14 CAD 11,970 CAD 15,810
Nov 23 - Dec 12 CAD 12,905 CAD 16,985
Dates Dbl Sgl
Jan 18 - Feb 06 CAD 13,345 CAD 17,560
Jan 25 - Feb 13 CAD 13,345 CAD 17,560
Feb 15 - Mar 06 CAD 13,345 CAD 17,560
Mar 08 - Mar 27 CAD 13,345 CAD 17,560
Mar 22 - Apr 10 CAD 13,345 CAD 17,560
Apr 19 - May 08 CAD 12,370 CAD 16,345
May 10 - May 29 CAD 11,405 CAD 15,185
Auckland M Social
Coromandel Peninsula Oceans Resort, Whitianga
Rotorua Millennium Hotel (or Regal Palms Resort)
Napier Scenic Hotel Te Pania
Wellington DoubleTree by Hilton
Nelson Heritage Rutherford Hotel
Punakaiki Scenic Hotel
Fox Glacier Distinction Hotel
Wānaka Edgewater Resort
Te Anau Distinction Hotel Luxmore
Queenstown Scenic Suites
Twizel Distinction Mackenzie Country
Christchurch Distinction Hotel
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Inclusions & Highlight:

  • 19 nights accommodation in First Class Hotels
  • 24 meals included – 19 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Narrow-gauge railway journey through native Coromandel bush
  • Visit Hot Water Beach and photogenic Cathedral Cove
  • A private guide around a geothermal valley with geysers, mud pools and hot springs
  • Visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley – or – experience Hobbiton Movie Set
  • Delve into Māori life and enjoy a powerful cultural performance and feast
  • Discover Napier’s history and architecture on foot during a tour from a local guide
  • Enjoy an evening meal at Mission Estate in Napier
  • Travel on Wellington’s famous Cable Car and visit Te Papa museum
  • Scenic Interislander Ferry journey across the Cook Strait
  • Wine tasting at one of Marlborough’s premier wineries
  • Cruise the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman National Park
  • Visit world-famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki
  • Join a local eco-guided tour – or – an authentic 4WD adventure
  • Explore the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown
  • Cruise, with a picnic lunch, on the breath-taking Milford Sound
  • Enjoy true kiwi hospitality with morning tea at a local home on the shores of Lake Tekapo
  • Relax as you’re guided along Christchurch’s Avon River on an authentic Edwardian punt
  • Journey onboard a beautifully restored heritage tram through Christchurch’s city centre

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