TOTARA – DISCOVER NEW ZEALAND
12 Days

ITINERARY

12 Days: Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Fox Glacier, Wanaka, Te Anau, Mildford Sound, Queenstown, Mt. Cook & Twizel.

Tour Overview:
Ready to tick some amazing New Zealand adventures off your bucket list? This comprehensive small group tour is jam-packed with a vast range of stunning experiences and journeys through Aotearoa New Zealand. You will get close-ups of fascinating historic events, amazing geothermal activities, and authentic Māori culture and hospitality. Your journey will include a cruise on the breath-taking Milford Sound and a train ride on the famous TranzAlpine across the Southern Alps.


Day 1 – Arrive Auckland
Haere mai – welcome Arrive in 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 / Rotorua
This morning, enjoy an Auckland City tour including panoramic views from Bastion Point, the informative Māori and Pacific Islands displays at the Auckland Museum, quaint Parnell Village, and some of the most popular waterfront areas. Departing Auckland we travel to Rotorua – the heart of New Zealand’s famous thermal and cultural region. On arrival, we will enjoy a city tour, before checking into our central accommodation. This afternoon we have some time out to relax before travelling to a local Marae (Māori Village). 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 3 – Rotorua / Christchurch
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, an active geothermal site and 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. You are treated to a private guide throughout your time here. Next travel out to visit the Blue and Green Lakes, and Lake Tarawera – the site of Buried Village to see remains of the Māori village Te Wairoa that was devastated by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tarawera during the night of June 10, 1886. The excavated village offers a first-hand insight into the chaos and destruction that ensued following the eruption of Mt. Tarawera. This eruption also destroyed the famed Pink and White Terraces, once considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. This afternoon fly to Christchurch. This afternoon 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. (B)


Day 4 – Christchurch / TranzAlpine / Fox Glacier
From Christchurch traverse the Southern Alps aboard the famous TranzAlpine rail journey to Greymouth. 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 you have crossed into the Southern Alps you descend into the lush rainforests of Westland to conclude the rail journey at the town of Greymouth. Pass through historic towns reaching Hokitika and its galleries specialising in pounamu (greenstone) jewellery and artworks. 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 5 – 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 6 – Wānaka
This morning you have the choice of two excursions:
a) Today join a passionate local eco-guide – 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! Music will fill your ears as 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 7 – Wānaka / Te Anau
Depart Wānaka with our 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 8 – 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 9 – 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 10 – 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 11 – 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 12 – 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.

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DATES/PRICING/ACCOMMODATIONS

2024
Dates Dbl Sgl
Jan 20 - Jan 31 SOLD OUT
Feb 03 -Feb 14 SOLD OUT
Feb 17 - Feb 28 SOLD OUT
Mar 02 - Mar 13 SOLD OUT
Mar 30 - Apr 10 CAD 8,620 CAD 11,020
Apr 27 - May 08 CAD 8,620 CAD 11,020
Sep 25 -Oct 06 CAD 7,780 CAD 10,120
Nov 02 -Nov 13 CAD 8,345 CAD 10,780
Nov 30 - Dec 11 CAD 8.870 CAD 11,385
2025
Dates Dbl Sgl
Jan 25 - Feb 05 CAD 9,185 CAD 11,790
Feb 01 - Feb 12 CAD 9,185 CAD 11,790
Feb 22 - Mar 04 CAD 9,185 CAD 11,790
Mar 01 - Mar 12 CAD 9,185 CAD 11,790
Mar 15 - Mar 26 CAD 9,185 CAD 11,790
Mar 29 - Apr 09 CAD 9,185 CAD 11,790
Apr 26 -May 07 CAD 8,620 CAD 11,120
May 17 -May 28 CAD 8030 CAD 10,435
Accommodation:
DESTINATION HOTEL
Auckland M Social Hotel
Rotorua Prince’s Gate Hotel
Christchurch Distinction Hotel
Fox Glacier Distinction Hotel
Wānaka Edgewater Resort
Te Anau Distinction Hotel Luxmore
Queenstown Scenic Suites
Mackenzie Country Hotel

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INCLUSIONS

Inclusions & Highlight

  • 11 nights accommodation in First Class Hotels
  • 14 meals included – 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
  • Small Group Tour with dedicated tour guide
  • Visit the Auckland Museum
  • Delve into Māori life and enjoy a powerful cultural performance and feast
  • A private guide and tour around a geothermal valley with geysers, mud pools and hot springs
  • Visit a volcanic valley and explore the site of a buried village devastated by an 1886 eruption
  • Relax as you’re guided along Christchurch’s Avon River on an authentic Edwardian punt
  • Journey on board a beautifully restored heritage tram through Christchurch’s city centre
  • Journey on the famous TranzAlpine Train Journey from Christchurch to Greymouth
  • 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

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EMAIL US

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