Tour 402. BEST OF NEW ZEALAND
14 days/13 Nights. Southbound: Commences Auckland every sunday. Northbound: Commences Christchurch every saturday 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 - WAIOTAPU - 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 out togeher 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 0
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 Discover Auckland full day walking, touring, and cruising tour (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday only) harbour cruise, or explore the spectacular west coast rainforest and beaches.
Extra cost per person per night 2 per room $110. Single room $190. Triple room $90
Day 2. Monday. AUCKLAND - KAURI FORESTS - HOKIANGA - BAY OF ISLANDS (B)
Depart Auckland 8.00am 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. Visit historic Rawene and see the exterior of Clendon House built by James Clendon in 1862. Continue to Te Waimate Mission Station built as a model farm in 1830, scene of the 2nd signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and where Charles Darwin enjoyed Christmas with the Missionaries in 1835. 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 (BL)
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 and enjoy a stopover on Urupukapuka Island - once home to author Zane Grey. Time to explore the island and a barbecue lunch is included. Usually dolphins are to be seen during this cruise. Disembark in historic Russell for a tour of the town including a visit to Flagstaff Hill and the oldest church in New Zealand
Disembark in historic Russell for a tour of the town including a visit to Flagstaff Hill and the oldest church in New Zealand. Visit the Waitangi Treaty House where the Treaty of Friendship between Maori and the British Government was signed in 1840 and beautifully carved meeting house and see the great war canoe and new Waitangi Museum.Return to Auckland early evening. (Russell tour and return to Auckland may be with a different operator)
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)
Options - must be requested with your tour reservation.
1. Add Aranui Cave INSTEAD of lunch - 1 hour tour - no change in cost
2. Tour Ruakuri Cave instead of Glowworm Cave and Lunch 2 hour tour - no change in cost.
3. 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)
Continue to Roselands farm restaurant for a barbecue buffet lunch (except options 1 and 2 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 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 - WAIOTAPU. (BD) Visit Waiotapu thermal area - most colourful in New Zealand. Explore the coloured terraces and see Lady Knox geyser play. Return to Rotorua for 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.Visit the lake front and gardens and ride the Skyline gondola for a panoramic view over the lake and city, and with luge and lunch options - extra expense. This afternoon enjoy the Agrodome farm show to see sheep being shorn, a cow being milked, and sheep dogs working. 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.
With 6 or more passengers on any departure drive to Lake Tekapo or Mt Cook for the night to allow more time for activities at Mt Cook.
Day 8. 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 9. Monday. 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 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 10. 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 11. Wednesday. QUEENSTOWN - WANAKA - FOX OR 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 Fox or Franz Josef Glacier late afternoon for 1 night accommodation.
Day 12. Thursday. 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 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 $135
Day 13. Friday. HOKITIKA - PUNAKAIKI ROCKS - CHRISTCHURCH. (B)
Visit the recreated gold mining village of Shantytown and try you hand at gold panning, 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 $110 2 per room, $200 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 14. Saturday. CHRISTCHURCH DEPART (B)
You will be transferred to the airport for departure.
Passengers enjoying our BEST OF AUSTRALIA or AUSTRALIA MINI TOUR depart for Sydney. Free air fare provided (bag but no meal basis) for those doing this tour AND our BEST OF AUSTRALIA TOUR
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
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 $1890
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