Discover Aotearoa New Zealand

Discover New Zealand

Grand New Zealand Tour

Day 1

Kia ora - welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand

Kia ora - welcome to Aotearoa New Zealand

Personal airport meet and greet, and private transfer to your accommodation 

On arrival, you will be met by one of our team and driven to your Auckland accommodation. We will discuss your itinerary and Benefits of our new App Environment: This is the BIG one! - no more printing hard copies! By now we are all well aware of the energy and waste associated with printing large documents and one-time use items. With this in mind, we are doing our very best to go paperless. Usability - up to date info. No more reprints. Easy Communication. Travellers can reach out to us in an emergency. Harder to misplace. It is unlikely you’ll leave your phone behind, this happens more frequently with paper documents. With our App, a quick log in or on someone else's device or online and you will have full access to your exciting New Zealand Travel plans within seconds.


Welcome to Auckland City

Auckland, New Zealand’s self-proclaimed ‘City of Sails’ is the country’s largest metro area. Resting between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, this urban paradise has something for everyone. Surrounded by native bush, rainforests and an abundance of beaches, Auckland is a playground for both the city savvy and those with an eye for adventure. Explore the central city museums and galleries on foot, or take a drive through one of over 800 regional National Parks to see deserted beaches, waterfalls and native forest.

Day 2

Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands

Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands

Driving distance and time for this leg is 226 km / 140 miles: 2.9 hours

The journey from Auckland to the Bay of Islands takes around 3.5 hours but give yourself a little leeway for stops and sightseeing. As you go through Puhoi, take in the bohemian atmosphere of this historic township. Stop for a breath of fresh salty air in Whangarei and take another break at Kawakawa - home to the world famous Hundertwasser toilets. Enjoy the native bush surrounds and marvel at the endless golden beaches as you arrive in central Bay Of The Islands, Paihia.

Day 3

Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour

Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour

INCLUDED - Cape Reinga Scenic Aeroplane Flight and Guided Tour     

Today experience the beauty of the North from both air and land. Take a spectacular scenic flight to Cape Reinga over Whangaroa Harbour and the Rangaunu Harbour as well as Coopers Beach, Doubtless Bay and Ninety Mile Beach. Land at the local airfield just 20 km from the Cape Reinga lighthouse then embark on a two and a half hour tour of the very top of New Zealand.
Learn about the myths and legends that accompany this area before visiting the beautiful Tapotupotu Bay where you will enjoy light refreshments. The tour continues with a stop at Te Paki quicksand stream, with the opportunity to slide down the giant sand dunes on sledges. The return flight to the Bay of Islands includes more of incredible North Island scenery - flying over coastal regions of Parengarenga Harbour and Great Exhibition Bay - only visible by air or sea. Your return flight also passes the Houhora Harbour, the Cavalli Islands and the Kauri Cliffs Golf Course.

Tour duration: 4.5 hours

Day 4

Bay of Islands via Waipoua Forest to Auckland

Bay of Islands via Waipoua Forest to Auckland

Driving distance and time for this leg is 343 km / 213 miles: 4.4 hours

Today we will leave the Bay of Islands for a scenic return trip to Auckland. Head west, leaving the Pacific Ocean for the wilder seas of the Tasman and Hokianga. Go through the small townships of Omapere and Opononi, each with a great seaside feel. The journey goes south through Waipoua Forest, home to the largest and oldest Kauri trees in the country. 

As you make your way back down the country you’ll pass the Matakohe Kauri Museum with extensive displays on the region’s logging, farming and social history. Continuing on, go through Warkworth and the bohemian settlement of Puhoi before crossing the harbour bridge to arrive in Auckland city.  

Day 5

Auckland to Rotorua, Polynesian Spa Private Deluxe Pool

Auckland to Rotorua, Polynesian Spa Private Deluxe Pool

Driving distance and time for this leg is 220 km / 136 miles: 2.6 hours

The drive south from Auckland takes you past the Bombay Hills and into the rolling farmland and rich dairy pastures of the Waikato. The Bombay Hills mark the outer boundary of greater Auckland area and it's here you turn inland to central Waikato. You’ll soon go through the town of Matamata where you can visit the fully intact Hobbiton film set used in the shooting of the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. Continuing on, you’ll pass several small farming communities before telltale signs of steam and other geothermal activity signals your arrival into Rotorua.


INCLUDED - Polynesian Spa Private Deluxe Pool
The geothermal mineral waters of the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua are sought after the world over as one of the top 10 spas in the world. Indulge your need for a little luxury and enjoy some time in a Private Deluxe Pool, with stunning 360-degree views over Lake Rotorua, you will be left in peace to soak your cares away.  

Day 6

Explore Rotorua and Hobbiton

Explore Rotorua and Hobbiton

Peppered with natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and steaming geysers, Rotorua sits within one of the worlds most active volcanic regions. But geothermal landmarks aside, this city of sulphur has a rich indigenous history. Home to several prominent Maori tribes, Rotorua is the perfect place to immerse yourself in our local culture. Spend an evening at the Mitai Maori Village for a hangi dinner and Maori performance

Land in a helicopter on White Island, New Zealand's most active volcano and traverse the crater for a once-in-a-lifetime hike. Those in need of an adrenalin rush should spend time at Agroventures Adventure Park static skydiving, bungy jumping, and ‘swooping’ on the giant swing. For a calmer day out, head up the Skyline Gondola for awe-inspiring views of the lake. While you're there, grab a night luge pass for an extra thrill.

A fifty-minute drive to nearby Matamata will land you directly in ‘middle earth’ Hobbiton and is must-see for even the most half-hearted Lord Of The Rings fans. Round off your Rotorua stay at the Wia-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and see the multicoloured hot springs, geysers and boiling, mud pools.

Included - Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from Rotorua 
Discover the real Middle-earth when you take this two hour guided tour of Hobbiton. Beginning with a drive through a picturesque 1,250-acre sheep farm, you'll experience stunning views over the Kaimai Ranges. You'll then be escorted through the 12-acre movie set learning memorable anecdotes about the shooting of the films. You'll see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and The Party Tree, as well as learning how this piece of Waikato farmland was turned into the Shire.

Day 7

Explore Rotorua, Te Puia

Explore Rotorua, Te Puia - Steambox Interactive Maori Experience and Lunch and Cultural Performance, White Island and Mt Tarawera Dual Volcano Landing

INCLUDED - Te Puia - Steambox Interactive Maori Experience and Lunch and Cultural Performance
Begin this unique cultural experience by viewing a traditional performance in the Marae, a Maori meeting house. Listen to beautiful harmonies, see the seductive poi dance and experience the powerful Haka - a fearsome Maori war challenge. You will then choose from a variety of meats and vegetables for your Steambox lunch. The Steambox cooking method utilises the steam and hot water naturally available within the thermally active landscape. Historically, this method has been used by early Maori settlers and is a traditional way of preparing a meal. While your food is being cooked in the Ngā Whā steam vent, You will be taken on a guided tour of Te Puia thermal reserve. Beginning with an interactive flax weaving session, you'll learn to weave flax before exploring the geothermal valley including the Kiwi house, mud pools and bubbling hot springs. Return in time for your steaming lunch - eaten as you enjoy an impressive view of the geyser terrace.


Mount Tarawera & Orakei Korako Thermal Explorer by floatplane
             Duration: Approximately 3.5 Hours

Day 8

Rotorua to Wellington, Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour

Driving distance and time for this leg is 452 km / 280 miles: 5.6 hours

The drive from Rotorua to Wellington takes you via the township of Taupo and New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo. Just north of the town is the Huka Falls. An easy walking track from the car park will lead you to a viewing platform, but if you want to get even closer, the thrilling Huka Jet boat ride will do just that.  Heading into town the lake comes into view. Lake Taupo is a gigantic volcanic caldera (collapsed crater) formed during one of the world’s largest eruptions – estimated to have taken place 1800 year ago.  Follow the lakeshore south and you pass Turangi, a mecca for fly fishing.  You then ascend onto the central plateau into the high country Rangipo Desert.

Skirting Tongariro National Park, one of New Zealand’s three world heritage sites you may be lucky enough to see the peaks of the still volcanically active Mt. Ruapehu and Mt. Tongariro. The third visible peak is Mt Ngauruhoe and it may look familiar to you, as it was used to depict Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies. A little further along this vast landscape, you’ll reach the military town of Waiouru, the Army Museum here holds an incredible collection of New Zealand military memorabilia and history on its servicemen. Descending from the mountain region you pass through rich farmland and the rural towns of Taihape, Mangaweka and Bulls before arriving on the Kapiti Coast.

The coastal seaside towns of Paraparaumu, Paekakariki and Plimmerton are worth a short detour before arriving into the capital city of Wellington. Plan to take most of the day for this drive. Wellington city is New Zealand's capital. It sits on a wonderful deep natural harbour and is surrounded by bush clad hills. The city centre itself is quite compact (approximately 2 square kilometres) so exploring on foot is relatively easy. From your city centre accommodation you can easily stroll the cafes and restaurants around Courtenay Place and if you arrive early enough New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa is also close by.


INCLUDED - Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour
Taking a night tour of Zealandia wildlife eco-sanctuary is an unforgettable experience and one that comes highly recommended. A conservation success and safe haven for some of New Zealand's rarest native animals, Zealandia is home to many remarkable species of birds, reptiles and insects living wild within a beautiful 225 hectare (one square mile) valley - just 10 minutes from the central city.

Your tour begins with an interactive exhibition before you walk through the gates of Zealandia predator-exclusion fence into the sanctuary. Your guide will then lead you on a torch-light walk through the native New Zealand bush. Possible sights include Kiwi foraging on the forest floor, tuatara hunting for food, glowworms shining, tiny Maud Island frogs in their enclosure, pateke (brown teal) ducks feeding at night and kaka (parrots) coming in to roost.

Zealandia is one of the best places to see kiwi in the wild. Over 100 of these nocturnal birds live freely in their natural environment inside the safety of the sanctuary valley - so your chances of seeing one are very good.

Day 9

Interislander Ferry Wellington to Picton

Interislander Ferry Wellington to Picton with exclusive access to the Premium Plus Lounge

INCLUDED - Interislander Ferry Wellington to Picton with exclusive access to the Premium Plus Lounge
Driving distance and time for this leg is 143 km / 89 miles: 1.8 hours

Your ferry includes access to the exclusive lounge (18+) serving complimentary cooked breakfast, beverages and free internet access.

The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Leaving Wellington Harbour you pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 km (167 mph). From the Cook Strait, spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many seabirds are often seen.

Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds - and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays is a remarkable photographic opportunity. At the end of Queen Charlotte Sound, the cruise comes to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.

When you're not out on the deck enjoying the amazing views, you can retreat to the exclusive premium plus lounge which is the most comfortable and relaxing way to travel across the Cook Strait. You'll enjoy complimentary beverages, light snacks, lunch or breakfast, internet access, magazines and newspapers and the most comfortable seating, so you can sit back and enjoy the journey.

Picton to Kaikoura
From Picton head south on State Highway One towards Blenheim, and the wine producing region of Marlborough. Crossing the dry hills of the Marlborough ranges you head towards one of the most spectacular coastlines of the South Island, the Kaikoura Coast. The road hugs the shore for around 50 kilometres and offers many chances to view the native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals. To the east is the Pacific Ocean and to the west, you'll follow alongside the Kaikoura Ranges before arriving into the bustling Kaikoura Township.

Day 10

Whale Watch Kaikoura, Kaikoura to Christchurch

Driving distance and time for this leg is 178 km / 111 miles: 2.5 hours

INCLUDED - Whale Watch Kaikoura
 New Zealand's only marine based whale watching company, Whale Watch Kaikoura offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime up-close encounter with the giant Sperm Whale. You are also likely to encounter New Zealand fur seals, dusky dolphins and albatross. Depending on the season you may also see pilot, blue and southern right whales as well as migrating humpbacks. Often orcas can be spotted here and the world's smallest dolphin, the Hectors, is sometimes seen.
You'll be taken out in modern catamarans specifically designed for whale watching - featuring large passenger cabins and outside viewing decks. Passenger numbers for each tour are kept below the vessel carrying capacity to ensure your tour experience remains a personal one.

Kaikoura to Christchurch
Today you continue down the coast before heading inland through the North Canterbury wine region - the Waipara Valley. As you drive through this area you’ll be greeted by one of New Zealand's most notorious animals, the sheep. Arriving into Christchurch you'll see a new and improved city, steadily rising from the ruins of the 2011 earthquake.


Day 11

Akaroa and The Banks Peninsula

Driving distance and time for this leg is 153 km / 95 miles: 2.4 hours

 Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula offers a great contrast to the South Island's largest city. An easy 1 1/2 hours drive from the city centre are rolling green hills, streams, golden sand beaches and small settlements that offer a unique insight into New Zealand's history and development plus, wineries, great cafes and restaurants and abundant wildlife.
Just on the other side of the Port Hills is Lyttleton, a busy port town that was crucial to the development of Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains. Following the road around the beautiful natural harbour the names, such as Magazine Bay, Battery Point, Corsair Point and Governors Bay, remind of the importance the Navy placed on this harbour.
The Banks Peninsula is actually the remains of a long extinct volcano, the rim of which collapsed some time ago allowing the sea to flood into and create what is now the Akaroa Harbour. In 1840 French colonists settled in Akaroa in a bid to stake a claim for the South Island. Unbeknown the British had already declared sovereignty and a long drawn out dispute ensued with the British eventually being given the government. However, the French stayed and made this stunning part of the South Pacific their home and still to this day the town boasts French street names and every year a French Festival is held.
The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must-do activity. One of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, hectors dolphin, are often seen and cruises also offer excursions with the chance to swim amongst these adorable creatures.

Day 12

Christchurch to Dunedin

Driving distance and time for this leg is 346 km / 215 miles: 4.2 hours

Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains you’ll head South on State Highway one traversing many braided rivers that start their life as glacial meltwater high in the Southern Alps. Go over New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia and onwards through Timaru.

Stretch your legs in Oamaru, known for its white stone buildings constructed with the local Oamaru Stone. If you were a little late off the mark this morning you may get the chance to see the local blue penguins come ashore at dusk. Continue down the coast to Moeraki, and take a detour towards the beach to see the Moeraki Boulders, a unique geological feature and well worth the look.

As you arrive in Dunedin, take in the city’s Edwardian and Scottish heritage reflected in the buildings around the city centre - The Octagon.

Day 13

Explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin City has a heavy Scottish influence. Surrounded by rugged coastal plains and windswept beaches it’s home to an eclectic mix of historical and modern architecture as well as industrial technology. Renowned for its Flemish Baroque-inspired ‘gingerbread house’ Railway Station, this university town is bustling with life. Head to the Saturday farmers market held in the aforementioned railway grounds for a taste of organic produce, handmade crepes and local honey. Explore the many cafes and wine bars in The Octagon, then continue on a self-guided walking tour of the internationally acclaimed Street Art dotted around the city. Drive to the coast and watch the freighters passing in the distance while you sunbathe, or hire a mountain bike and test your legs on one of the many trails available in the area. For a more immersive historical experience, follow the coast to New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle. On your way back be sure to head to the Otago Peninsula to see the largest mainland Albatross colony in the world.


INCLUDED - Otago Monarch - Castle to Cruise Tour + Penguin place

Day 14

Dunedin to Queenstown

Driving distance and time for this leg is 270 km / 168 miles: 3.3 hours

This drive takes you through the heart of the historical Otago Goldfields. The townships of Lawrence, Roxburgh and Alexandra once - booming mining towns in the late 1800's gold rush - now sleepy sun-traps bearing the little resemblance to their bustling past. However, some buildings do remain as do the original shafts and workings. In more recent times Alexandra has become the 'stone fruit capital' of New Zealand -  with the ideal climate for the trees. It is also a great place to buy some of the local produce. The road follows the South Island's longest river, the Clutha River, and at Clyde, you will see one of the largest hydropower stations harnessing its energy. Just north is Cromwell sitting on the man-made Lake Dunstan, created by flooding the valley in 1992 as part of the hydroelectric scheme. As a result, much of the original town is now submerged. You'll pass through the Gibbston Valley, following the Kawarau River as it carves a steep and rugged channel. some of the finest Pinot Noirs can be sampled through here and it's worth a stop if you can spare the time. It is also the home of the world's first commercial bungy jumping operation at the historic Kawarau Suspension Bridge and a great viewing platform lets you watch others as you build the courage to try it yourself - or not! Continuing through Lake Hayes you soon arrive into the bustling alpine adventure town of Queenstown.

INCLUDED - Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride
Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere - and take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and Coronet Peak - one of Queenstown's Skifield.

Day 15

Appellation Boutique Wine Tour

INCLUDED - Appellation Boutique Wine Tour
You will be collected from the reception of your accommodation at 11:00 for your wine tour.

Go off-the-beaten-track with this unique Central Otago wine tour. Taste wines at four of the best vineyards in the Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell regions. The wineries you'll visit are selected from the following: Peregrine, Chard Farm, Carrick, Mt Difficulty, Felton Road, Akarua and Olssens vineyards. This tour also includes a delightful gourmet platter lunch at the award-winning Carrick Winery Restaurant.

Departing Queenstown, you'll go through picturesque valleys, dramatic gorges and rolling vine-covered hills. See the Otago Goldfields, Historic Old Cromwell Town and Lake Dunstan and the Kawarau Gorge

Day 16

Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari

INCLUDED - Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari
Includes picnic lunch

Enjoy uninterrupted viewing of this inspiring region from above as you fly from Queenstown, over the Southern Alps, to magnificent Milford Sound. Home to some of the most dramatic scenery in the world, these striking views can only truly be appreciated from above. Upon landing in Milford Sound, you'll connect to your Mitre Peak Cruises vessel and travel the full length of the fiord out into the Tasman Sea. As you are cruising, keep an eye out for wildlife, as New Zealand fur seals and dolphins are often spotted from the boat. After your cruise, you will fly over two spectacular national parks; Fiordland and Mt Aspiring as you make your way to Glenorchy. The adventure continues with a thrilling jet boat ride through the heart of Real Middle Earth, offering a combination of magic views in an untouched wilderness as well as an exciting adrenaline rush to finish off the day.

Tour duration: 9-10 hours

Day 17

Today, enjoy a stunning sunrise from above

INCLUDED - Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Adventures
Experience sunrise over the lakes and mountains from the serenity of a hot air balloon. You'll float gently with the breeze, enjoying incredible panoramic views and your flight is followed by a champagne style breakfast at your landing spot. Flights are at dawn when the air is cool and calm and in the right conditions, you can expect to see views of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski areas, Mount Aspiring in the Southern Alps and Mount Tutoko in Fiordland National Park. You can also see Lake Wakatipu, Lake Hayes, the Shotover and Kawarau rivers. Additionally, a bonus for many are the views of some Lord of the Rings scenes such as The Ford Of Bruinen, Dimrill Dale, The Gates of Argonath and The Pillars Of The Kings. Also visible is Mount Earnslaw, one of the great mountains seen in Isengard. The flight is for approximately 1 hour and you will be standing for the duration of the flight.

Free time in the afternoon to explore Queenstown and Arrowtown, maybe be brave enough to try the Bungy jumping or the Nevis Swing!

Day 18

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Driving distance and time for this leg is 350 km / 217 miles: 4.6 hours

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makaroa. Stop at Blue Pools, a ten-minute walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

INCLUDED - Private Pool - Glacier Hot Pools
Nestled in lush rainforest, the Glacier Hot Pools is a haven of natural tranquillity and the perfect way for visitors to unwind and experience a blissful state of pure relaxation after travelling along the coast or enjoying one of its many attractions. Your Private Pool will be surrounded by majestic rainforest and offer total seclusion, naturally. This experience includes private changing facilities with towels and complimentary entry into the Main Pools. The fresh glacier water for the Private Pools is re-filtered after every use.

Day 19

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is a small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice up close ice walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

INCLUDED - Franz Josef Glacier Heli-hike
Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrains in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Day 20

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station, Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch

Driving distance and time for this leg is 170 km / 106 miles: 2.1 hours

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. 

 INCLUDED - Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
Considered one of the world's great train journeys, rated in the top 10 in the world, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of our mighty Southern Alps before descending to the windswept Canterbury Plains to arrive in the city of Christchurch.


Day 21

Farewell from New Zealand

INCLUDED - Private transfer to Christchurch airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.