Tour 402. BEST OF NEW ZEALAND
15 days/14 Nights. Valid year round to 26th March, 2023. Minimum 2 passengers required
Commences Auckland every sunday.
Minimum of 2 passengers. Any day for minimum of 4
AUCKLAND - KAURI MUSEUM AND FOREST - HOKIANGA HARBOUR - BAY OF ISLANDS CRUISE - KERI KERI - CAPE REINGA - RUSSELL - AUCKLAND - WAITOMO CAVES - HOBBITON - ROTORUA - TE PUIA THERMAL AREA - AGRODOME FARM SHOW - CHRISTCHURCH - LAKE TEKAPO - MT COOK - QUEENSTOWN - ARROWTOWN - LAKE TE ANAU - MILFORD SOUND CRUISE - (DOUBTFUL SOUND OPTION) - LAKE WANAKA - FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER - (TRANZ ALPINE TRAIN" option) - CHRISTCHURCH
Unsolicited comment from past clients:
Hi Steve - just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed our BEST OF NEW ZEALAND tour. All of the drivers were excellent, as were the accommodations. You certainly put together a great package, and I enjoyed meeting you the first morning in Auckland. I'll be sure to pass along my completely positive comments to anyone who may be wanting to travel in that wonderful area of the world. (C.S. USA)
We consider ourselves very lucky to join your tour package. We had a wonderful time in your beautiful country. Every day there is new scenery and excitement to enjoy. the drivers are courteous, resourceful, and always ready to satisfy customers special needs. This is our first time to join a customised and small scale group. We find it much more enjoyable than huge coaches. (D.C. Toronto, Canada).
Our trip was terrific and beyond all expectations. You and Des were great tour guides and you surely provided us with wide coverage of New Zealand. Everything went like clockwork. (J and A D. CA USA )
Hello Steve, we want to thank you for a fantastic journey through New Zealand. This is an experience to remember for a lifetime. I would like your business cards to pass out to my friends. (M.S. USA).
Day 1. Sunday. AUCKLAND ARRIVE
Arrive Auckland and you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Arrivals before 3pm receive a complimentary 1 hour tour of the city en route to your hotel including the Auckland Domain and Rose gardens, Tamaki Waterfront Drive, Mission Bay, city and university areas, and Albert Park.
WHY NOT ARRIVE AUCKLAND EARLIER AND ENJOY MORE TIME IN NEW ZEALAND'S LARGEST AND MOST VIBRANT CITY. You will still receive your city tour on arrival (for arrivals before 3pm) and have a free day to enjoy the city, take a harbour cruise, or explore the spectacular west coast rainforest and beaches.
Extra cost per person per night 2 per room $150. Single room $290.
Day 2. Monday. AUCKLAND - KAURI FORESTS - HOKIANGA - BAY OF ISLANDS (L)
Depart Auckland 7.30am and drive north over the Harbour Bridge, through the Hibiscus Coast, and on to the Otamatea Kauri and Early Settlers Museum - the best little museum in New Zealand!. See the amazing displays of kauri gum before continuing through Dargaville to the Waipoua forest. Visit "Tane Mahuta" giant kauri tree - some 2,000 years old and enjoy the views of the Hokianga Harbour and sand dunes. A traditonal 'fish and chips' lunch is included on the shores of the Hokianga (vegetarian option available if preordered). Continue to the Waitangi Treaty House where the Treaty of Friendship between Maori and the British Government was signed in 1840, the beautifully carved meeting house and see the great war canoe and new Waitangi Museum. Accommodation in Paihia for 2 nights
Day 3. Tuesday. CAPE REINGA EXCURSION (BL)
Travel by special coach to the Puketi Kauri Forest, then on to Ninety Mile Beach for a drive on the sands and see the amazing Te Paki sand dunes and quicksand. Visit Cape Reinga lighthouse and see the meeting of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. Return to Paihia early evening. Lunch is included today.
Day 4. Wednesday. BAY OF ISLANDS - AUCKLAND (B)
Enjoy a cruise around the beautiful Bay of Islands this morning to Cape Brett and pass through the 'hole in the rock' - weather permitting. Cruise past the islands and into secluded bays. Usually dolphins are to be seen during this cruise. Disembark at historic Russell for a short tour and see the oldest church in New Zealand and Pompallier House. Return to Auckland early evening.
Day 5.Thursday. AUCKLAND - WAITOMO CAVES - KIWI HOUSE - HOBBITON - ROTORUA (BL)
Depart Auckland 7.45am and drive south over the Bombay Hills and along the banks of the Waikato River to Visit 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)
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 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 continue to Rotorua.
Day 6. Friday. ROTORUA (BD)
Enjoy a guided tour of the Te Puia thermal to see bubbling mud pools, famed Pohutu geyser, and to visit the Maori carving and weaving school. Continue to the Agrdome farm show for an introduction to 19 types of sheep and see the amazing sheep dogs working. Ride the Skyline gondola for a panoramic view over the lake and city, and with luge and lunch options - extra expense. You have time to relax in the hot thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa (extra expense) before enjoying an introduction to Maori culture with an exciting concert, and hangi steam cooked dinner.
Day 7. Saturday. ROTORUA - CHRISTCHURCH (B)
Fly south to Christchurch and enjoy a tour of introduction to Christchurch en route to your accommodation including the Port Hills, Sumner Beach, and the central city area.
Day 8. Sunday. CHRISTCHURCH - TEKAPO - MT COOK (B)
Depart Christchurch 8.30am 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).
Day 9. Monday. MT COOK - QUEENSTOWN (B)
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 10. Tuesday. MILFORD SOUND EXCURSION (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 picnic 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 $60
Day 11. Wednesday. 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 12. Thursday. 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 and arrive Franz Josef Glacier late afternoon for 1 night accommodation.
Day 13. Friday. GLACIERS - 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. Enjoy the Treetops walk and Waterways eco cruise,
Day 14. Saturday. HOKITIKA - PUNAKAIKI ROCKS - CHRISTCHURCH. (B)
After a short tour of Greymouth continue to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks in the Paparoa National Park. Explore the area before visiting the recreated gold mining village of Shantytown and try your hand at gold panning. Drive across spectacular Arthurs Pass and return across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
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 15. Sunday. CHRISTCHURCH DEPART (B)
You will be transferred to the airport for departure.
Why not stay longer and enjoy more of Christchurch?
Extra cost per person per night for accommodation and breakfast
2 per room $110 3 per room $90 Single room $190
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