Tour 403. Discover Beautiful New Zealand
AUCKLAND - WAITOMO CAVES - OTOROHANGA KIWI HOUSE - HOBBITON - ROTORUA - TAUPO - WELLINGTON - CHRISTCHURCH - LAKE TEKAPO - MT COOK - QUEENSTOWN - TE ANAU - MILFORD SOUND - QUEENSTOWN - WANAKA - GLACIERS - PUNAKAIKI - CHRISTCHURCH
Unsolicited comments from past passengers:
Sorry we missed meeting you! We had a wonderful trip, thanks to your terrific planning. Please feel free to give us as references for Americans who may want to call us. (C and A Carron. Virginia. USA).
I'm a Japanese working holiday maker. I enjoyed myself on your tour. Your service is very good, especially the quality of drivers is excellent. They tried to make our tour enjoyable all the time. I'd like to join your tour again. (Y.Y Japan).
My family and I are still talking about the great trip in New Zealand. It is an occasion that will be long remembered. (T.S. Indonesia).
Thanks very much for making our trip to New Zealand a pleasant one and enjoyable. We'll recommend you to our friends back in Israel. (L and J. Israel).
When we first entered the Tourist Information Bureau in Auckland to arrange a trip through New Zealand we had only a very vague idea of what we were after. We did not want to be part of a large group shepherded here and there but at the same time we did not want to travel independently. They recommended your tour. We have just completed a 10 day 2 island tour and felt that you should know how much we enjoyed it - it suited our requirements very well. We considered ourselves very fortunate in our driver/guide who looked after us very well and whose knowledge of all facts connected with your country was very impressive. (M.B. Scotland).
Our sincere thanks for all the pleasant arrangements in transport, lodging, and sightseeing. We are very grateful for the comfortable lodging. Not only were we able to have such wonderful experience in travelling in small group but also to feel at peace of the safety and guidance of our driver. (J.H and M.L. Singapore).
Thank you for arranging the tour for us. It made our trip more fun, NZ is such a great place. I love everything. (Kimi and Mikio. Japan).
Day 1. Tuesday. AUCKLAND - KIWI HOUSE - WAITOMO CAVES - HOBBITON - ROTORUA (L)
Depart Auckland 8.00am and drive south over the Bombay Hills and along the banks of the Waikato River to Visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House to see our unique endangered native kiwi birds at feeding time, the ancient Tuatara reptile, and walk through the largest dome aviary in New Zealand to see our native Kereru (Wood Pigeon) Kakariki (Parrot), and other native birds
Continue to Waitomo Caves for a guided tour through the main limestone cave and cruise through the glowworm grotto. (45 minute tour)
Options - must be requested with your tour reservation.
A. Add Aranui Cave INSTEAD of lunch - 1 hour tour - no change in cost
B. Tour Ruakuri Cave instead of Glowworm Cave and Lunch 2 hour tour - no change in cost.
C. Small group experience (maximum 11 participants) in Footwhistle Cave among the limestone formations and get up close and personal with the myriad of glowworms as well as see ancient Moa bones from our extinct native birds and visit the bush tea house to sample unique tea from the Kawakawa tree, used by by Maori for healing purposes. (75 minute tour - no change in cost)
Enjoy a barbecue buffet lunch at Roselands farm restaurant (except options A and B above) - beef, chicken, fish, salads, cake and coffee plus a taste of kumara chips. Passengers on the shorter cave options above also have the opportunity to stroll through the gardens, and meet some of the farm animals.
Visit Lake Karapiro, home of New Zealand rowing, and the Karapiro hydro dam on the Waikato River, at 425 km this is New Zealand's longest river.
Continue to Hobbiton and the Shires Rest to join your special guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie set, made famous by "Lord of the Rings, and "Hobbit" films. Drive through part of the picturesque 500 hectare (1,250 acre) sheep and cattle farm and your guide will escort you through the 10 acre Hobbiton site. See the Hobbit Holes, Bag End (Bilbo and Frodo Baggins home), Party Tree, Lake, The Mill, and the Green Dragon Inn, and learn how this Waikato farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle Earth. Enjoy a cold drink from the Green Dragon Inn and drive to Rotorua.
Day 2. Wednesday. ROTORUA. (BD)
Tour Rotorua this morning including a guided tour of the Te Puia thermal valley to see bubbling mud pools, famed Pohutu geyser, and to visit the carving and weaving school.Visit the lake front and gardens before enjoying the Agrodome farm show to see sheep being shorn, a cow being milked, and sheep dogs working.
Free afternoon with many optional activities available.
This evening enjoy an introduction to Maori culture with a concert, and a hangi steam cooked dinner.
Day 3. Thursday. ROTORUA - WAIOTAPU - TAUPO - WELLINGTON (B).
Visit the Waiotapu thermal area to explore the coloured terraces and see Lady Knox geyser play. Continue to the Aratiatia Rapids, Huka Falls, Honey Hive, bungy site (try if you wish), and Taupo lakefront. There is time for an optional exciting jet boat ride on the Waikato River if you wish. Continue to Wellington by scheduled coach. You will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Day 4. Friday. WELLINGTON (BL)
Option 1. (Included)
Half day city highlights tour including summit of Mt Victoria for a panoramic view over the city,. South Coast beaches, historic suburbs, Botanic Gardens, Parliament Building, and a ride on the cable car.
Free afternoon to explore Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, Peter Jackson's Great War Exhibition, Weta Workshop, the waterfront, or whatever you wish. All afternoon actiivties are extra expense.
OR Option 2. - extra cost $100
Full day sightseeing includes Wellingtons most famous sights from Mt Victoria, Parliament Buildings, and Weta workshop, home of the "Lord of the Rings", "Hobbit" and other great films. Also visit some of the film sites in Wellington including Weathertop, Dunharrow Plateau, Frodo Tree, Race to the Ferry, Shellob's Lair Rock, Helms Deep, Minas Tirith, River Anduin, Gardens of Isengard, Rivendell, Fords of Isen and much more. Picnic lunch included by the river at Rivendell!
Day 5. Saturday. WELLINGTON - CHRISTCHURCH (B)
Transfer to the Interislander terminal for the 3 hour 30 minute cruise across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton. Continue by "Coastal Pacific" train, or coach, for the scenic ride down the Kaikoura Coast to Christchurch arriving early evening. You will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Please Note: The "Coastal Pacific" train is not currently operating but is expected to resume late 2018 or early 2019.In the meantime travel is by Intercity coach.
Day 6. Sunday. CHRISTCHURCH - TEKAPO - MT COOK - QUEENSTOWN. (B)
Depart Christchurch 7.30am and drive across the Canterbury Plains and over Burkes Pass to Lake Tekapo. See the Church of the Good Shepherd and sheep dog monument before driving along the shores of amazing Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. You have time to visit the National Park headquarters, Sir Edmund Hillary centre, or take an optional ski plane or helicopter flight to land on the snows of the Glacier. (All activities are extra expense - flights are weather dependent). This afternoon drive south through the McKenzie Country and over the Lindis Pass to the fruit growing region of Cromwell, and on to Queenstown arriving mid evening for 3 nights.
Day 7. Monday. QUEENSTOWN - MILFORD SOUND - QUEENSTOWN. (BL) A day of magnificent scenery as we drive along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and across Southland farming country to Lake Te Anau for a brief stopover then on into the heart of the Fiordland National Park travelling through the Eglinton and Hollyford Valleys. Visit the Mirror Lakes and Roaring Chasm and drive through the Homer tunnel before we arrive in Milford Sound. Board your cruise to travel the length of Milford Sound under majestic Mitre Peak. See the seal colony and Bowen Falls before retracing our steps to Queenstown. A buffet lunch is included during your cruise.
CRUISE MAGNIFICENT DOUBTFUL SOUND
Enjoy Doubtful Sound instead of Milford sound. cruise across Lake Manapouri and drive over Wilmot Pass to cruise the length of Doubtful Sound before returning to Manapouri and Queenstown - extra cost $180
Day 8. Tuesday. QUEENSTOWN (B)
This morning visit Queenstown Hill for a panoramic view of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Continue to Lake Hayes, the bungy bridge, Gibbston valley winery, and the historic gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. Explore the town and ruins of the Chinese village.
The afternoon is free to enjoy this beautiful resort with many optional activities (extra expense) available. Ride the gondola to the Skyline restaurant and luge,enjoy an exciting (must do) jet boat ride on the Shotover River, bungy jump, white water raft, take a cruise on the historic steamer "Earnslaw" or whatever you wish.
For Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans we recommend the tour to Glenorchy with stunning natural scenery and places where Isengard, Wizards Vale, Lothlorien Forest, Amon Hen, Misty Mountains, Ithilien, were filmed - extra expense $160
Day 9. Wednesday. QUEENSTOWN - WANAKA - FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER (B)
Drive through the Kawarau Gorge to Wanaka for a brief stop with admission to amazing Puzzling World included and continue through Makarora and over the Haast Pass into the rainforest and spectacular coastline of the West Coast. Visit Shipwreck beach, beautiful Lake Matheson, Franz Josef Glacier lookout, and arrive Franz Josef Glacier late afternoon. (Some tours may stay at Fox Glacier)
Day 10. Thursday. FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER - HOKITIKA (B)
Time for a helicopter or ski plane flight or heli hike on the glacier (extra expense and weather permitting) or bush walk. Drive north to Hokitika, setting for the Booker award winning novel "The Luminaries". Overnight Hokitika or Greymouth.
Optional fabulous White Heron tour November to early March including a 20 minute jetboat cruise on the Lake Okarito lagoon and a walk through the rainforest to the bird hide. We have 30-40 minutes here to see the White Heron, Royal Spoonbill, Little Shag and other birdlife. Extra cost $145
Day 11. Friday. HOKITIKA - PUNAKAIKI ROCKS - CHRISTCHURCH. (B)
Visit the recreated gold mining village of Shantytown and after a short tour of Greymouth continue to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks in the Paparoa National Park. Explore the area before driving across spectacular Arthurs Pass and return across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
Christchurch airport drop off by 5pm available - deduct $100 2 per room, $180 single room from tour cost.
Option to join the "Tranz Alpine express" for one of the most scenic train journeys in the world across the Southern Alps to Christchurch arriving late afternoon. You will be transferred back to your accommodation - extra cost including transfers $150. This option will miss the visit to Punakaiki rocks
Day 12. Saturday. CHRISTCHURCH DEPART (B)
You will be transferred to the airport for departure.
Passengers enjoying our BEST OF AUSTRALIA or AUSTRALIA MINI TOUR fly to Sydney today. Free flight with baggage for those combing our Beautiful New Zealand and Best of Australia tours.
Why not stay longer and enjoy more of Christchurch? -
extra cost per night for accommodation and breakfast
$110 per person 2 per room, $200 single room including departure transfer.
Many optional tours are available including:
(A) the charming French Style settlement of AKAROA including a harbour cruise, visit to a cheese factory, and lunch at a popular restaurant on the waterfront - extra cost $150 or
(B) the picturesque and tranquil mountain thermal resort of HANMER SPRINGS including a visit to a sheep farm,Thrillseekers Canyon (optional jet boat ride), lunch at the Garden House Cafe, and a visit to Waipara Winery - extra cost $190 or
(C) a day excursion to scenic KAIKOURA including a 3 hour Whale Watch cruise or 30 minute Whale Watch flight - extra cost $210
(D) Edoras Tour. Travel by 4WD vehicle deep into the spectacular high country and take a short walk to stand on the summit of Edoras. See behind the scenes photos of the construction of Edoras and a selection of replicas for photo use. - extra cost $258
ADD THE TOP OF THE SOUTH ISLAND.
This tour links with our BEST OF NEW ZEALAND tour every friday at Punakaiki. (Minimum 2 required)
Day 1. Friday. PUNAKAIKI - NELSON. (B) Travel from Punakaiki to Nelson by scheduled Intercity coach arriving early evening. Accommodation near the depot - no transfer provided.
Day 2. Saturday. CAPE FAREWELL EXCURSION. (B)
Drive to Takaka and visit the amazing Pupu Springs and on through Collingwood to visit Cape Farewell, northernmost point in the South Island. On to spectacular Wharariki beach for 1 hour walk to enjoy the sea caves, seal pups,wind swept sand dunes and coastal rock formations. A 30 minute walk to Pillar Point will give spectacular views of Farewell Spit and Golden Bay. Overnight in Takaka.
Day 3.Sunday. ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK-NELSON (B)
Drive through part of the Abel Tasman National Park to Totaranui with a visit to the Abel Tasman Memorial en route. Join your scenic cruise along the shores of the Abel Tasman National Park. Drop in to Tonga Quarry, Medlands Beach, Anchorage and Apple Tree Bay before arriving in Kaiteriteri.You have the option to land at Tonga Quarry for a 2 hour walk over a forested saddle to Medlands Beach and cruise to Kaiteriteri. Transfer to Nelson after your cruise.
Day 4. Monday. NELSON DEPART. (B)
Visit the Cathedral, Hoglung glass blowing studio, World of Wearable Arts and classic cars Museum this morning and our arrangements end.
Extra cost per person: 2 per room $1,550. Single room $1,830
Extra cost includes:
** All travel from Punakaiki to Nelson
** 3 nights accommodation and breakfast.
** Cape Farewell tour, Abel Tasman National Park cruise, World of Wearable Arts museum