MAGNIFICENT NEW ZEALAND GRAND DISCOVERY TOUR
Auckland, Kauri museum and forest, Bay of Islands, Cape Reinga, Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch, Tekapo, Mt Cook, Oamaru, Dunedin, Catlins, (Stewart Island option), Te Anau, Milford Sound, (Doubtful Sound day or overnight cruise option) Queenstown, Wanaka, Glaciers, Punakaiki, Christchurch
This tour is flexible - join or leave anywhere en route provided a minimum of 2 consecutive nights are spent on tour.
Unsolicited comment from past clients:
I am pleased to report that all the arrangements you made were very satisfactory. Your system worked perfectly and we were met and transported at each place as stated in the itinerary. This was my third visit to New Zealand. I was on a 'big bus' conducted tour 3 years ago but paid nearly twice as much. Your tour was a far more pleasant experience. ((S.K. Scotland)
Just to let you know how much we enjoyed our holiday and considered it great value for money. We've travelled a lot over the past 20 years and going mostly in mini coaches was unique and suited us fine. We couldn't praise the drivers enough for their courtesy and overall driving skills. A great bunch of fellows. (B. and M. W. New Zealand)
Our New Zealand tour was spectacular and exceeded our expectations in all aspects. The drivers were very courteous and friendly and we developed real friendships with all of them. Our hotel accommodations were very nice and some were outstanding. In all regards it was a great success and our best ever vacation. (C.M. USA)
18 days excluding Northland.
Commence Auckland every wednesday year round (Minimum 2 passengers required).
15 days excluding Northland and South Island West Coast. Commence Auckland every wednesday year round. End in Queenstown wednesday morning 2 weeks later.
Day 1. Saturday. ARRIVE AUCKLAND.
Arrive Auckland and you will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Day 2. Sunday. AUCKLAND. (B)
Enjoy a one and a half hour cruise this morning on beautiful Auckland Harbour. See the Westhaven Marina, cruise under the harbour bridge, pass the naval base and Devonport and enjoy a brief stop at the volcanic island of Rangitoto.
Tour the city this afternoon including the Domain and Rose Gardens, Auckland Museum with its amazing collection of Maori history, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Tamaki Drive, Mission Bay, Kelly Tarltons Sealife Aquarium and Antarctic Centre including the live penguins, city areas, Skytower for a panoramic view over the city, Albert Park, and University.
Day 3. Monday. AUCKLAND - KAURI MUSEUM AND FORESTS - BAY OF ISLANDS. (BL)
Depart Auckland 8.00am. Drive north over the harbour Bridge to the Otamatea Kauri and Early Settlers Museum, one of the best little museums in New Zealand. Learn of the importance of the kauri tree to the development of Northland and see the lifestyle of the early settlers. Continue through Ruawai 'kumara capital' of New Zealand, and Dargaville into the Waipoua kauri forest. Visit "Tane Mahuta" giant kauri tree - some 2000 years old. Enjoy the views of the Hokianga Harbour and sand dunes and a stopover at Opononi before visiting historic Rawene. See Clendon House (exterior) built in 1862. Also visit Te Waimate Mission Station built as a model farm by the Missionaries in 1830 to teach Maori to farm, and supply food for the station. It was the scene of the 2nd signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and where Charles Darwin enjoyed christmas with the missionaries in 1835. Continue to the Bay of Islands for 2 nights at Paihia Pacific Hotel or similar.
Please note: as travel to Cape Reinga is by special coach tomorrow your driver/guide will usually return to Auckland tonight and meet you again on completion of your cruise on wednesday.
Day 4. Tuesday. CAPE REINGA (BL)
You will be picked up by special coach for a full day excursion north through historic Keri Keri and the Puketi forest plus the beautiful Mangonui Harbour and Coopers Beach to Cape Reinga at the top of New Zealand. Travel part way on the sands of Ninety Mile Beach. See the meeting of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. Return to the Bay of Islands early evening. Lunch is included today.
FLY/ROAD TO CAPE REINGA: For a shorter day, a bigger experience, and fabulous scenery not seen from the ground transfer from your hotel to Kerikeri airport and fly north over Ninety Mile beach to land near Cape Reinga. Your special vehicle will be waiting for a 2.5 hour (approx) land tour to Te Paki stream and massive sand dunes on Ninety Mile beach, Cape Reinga light house, Tapotupotu Bay. Fly back to Keri Keri via the fabulous coastal scenery of Parengarenga Harbour, Great Exhibition Bay, Houhora Harbour, Karikari Peninsula, Whangaroa Harbour, Cavalli Islands and Bay of Islands. Return to Kerikeri airport and transfer back to you hotel. Departs twice daily in summer, once daily in winter - extra cost instead of coach $340 per adult. Total time from Paihia approximately 5 hours
Day 5. 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. Buffet lunch included on the island. 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. Visit the Waitangi Treaty House where the Treaty of Waitangi between Maori and the British Government was signed in 1840. Enjoy a tour with a local guide of the Treaty House and Meeting House with its fabulous carvings, and see the giant war canoe. Return to Auckland early evening.
Passengers on the 15 and 18 day options arrive Auckland today and transfer to accommodation. Arrivals before 3pm received a 1 hour complimentary tour of introduction to Auckland en route.
Day 6. Thursday. AUCKLAND - WAITOMO - OTOROHANGA 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)
Continue to Roselands farm restaurant for a barbecue buffet lunch - beef, chicken, fish, salads, cake and coffeee plus a taste of kumara chips. Passengers on the shorter cave options above also have the opportunity to stroll through the gardens.
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 7. Friday ROTORUA - WAIOTAPU - ROTORUA (BD)
Visit the Waiotapu thermal area to explore the coloured terraces and see Lady Knox geyser play. Return to Rotorua this morning for a guided tour of the te Puia thermal area to see bubbling mud pools, famed Pohutu geyser, and the maori darving and weaving school. Ride the Skyline gondola for a panoramic view over the lake and city with lunch and luge options - extra expense. This afternoon enjoy the Agrodome farm show to see sheep being shorn, a cow being milked, and sheep dogs working.
Free time to relax in the thermal waters of the Polynesian Spa if you wish - extra expense.
This evening enjoy an introduction to maori culture with a concert, and a hangi steam cooked dinner.
Day 8. Saturday. ROTORUA - TAUPO - WELLINGTON (B).
Drive to Taupo and visit the Huka Falls, Honey Hive, bungy site (try if you wish), and Taupo lakefront. Continue to Wellington (may be by scheduled coach). You will be met and transferred to your accommodation with a tour of introducton to Wellington including Oriental Bay, waterfront drive, and the summit of Mt Victoria for a panoramic view over the city.
Day 9. Sunday. WELLINGTON - PICTON (B)
Depart Wellington by Interislander for the scenic cruise across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton,
This afternoon relax and cruise the Marlborough Sounds spotting dolphins and other wildlife and numerous bays and baches. Stopover at Motuora island nature reserve with time to explore and Cook's Cove where Captain Cook spent some 171 days and visit his monument.. Overnight in Picton.
Day 10. Monday. PICTON - BLENHEIM - CHRISTCHURCH (B)
Visit the "Edwin Fox" ship restoration project. The "Edwin Fox" is the oldest merchant ship still in existence, and 9th oldest ship overall.. Continue to the Marlborough Museum to discover Marlborough's 700 year old Maori and European history. and Peter Jackson's KNIGHTS OF THE SKY World War 1 and DANGEROUS SKIES World War 2 exhibitions. Marlborough is famous for its wines and we will visit a local winery for tasting and the opportunity for lunch among the vines before enjoying the scenic drive down the Kaikoura Coast with a stopover in the charming seaside town of Kaikoura. Optional Whale Watch cruise or flight available - extra expense. Overnight in Christchurch.
Day 11. Tuesday. CHRISTCHURCH - MOUNT COOK (B)
Enjoy a short sightseeing tour of Christchurch including the city centre, Botanical Gardens, Sumner Beach and Port Hills Drive across the fertile Canterbury Plains and over Burke's Pass to Lake Tekapo. See the sheep dog monument and Church of the Good Shepherd. Travel along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. Free time for alpine walks, visit the National Park headquarters, or take a ski plane or helicopter flight to land on the snows of the glaciers - extra expense and weather permitting. Accommodation at the Hermitage in Mt Cook view rooms. Admission to the Sir Edmund Hillary centre is included.
Day 12. Wednesday. MOUNT COOK - OAMARU - DUNEDIN (B)
We highly recommend the cruise among the icebergs on the lake at the base of the Tasman Glacier in summer - extra expense.
Drive down the Waitaki River Valley with a visit to the Benmore Hydro dam, the historic centre of Oamaru, and enjoy some beach time to explore the unique Moeraki Boulders. . Accommodation in Dunedin for 2 nights.
Day 13. Thursday. DUNEDIN (B)
Visit historic "Olveston House", Dunedin Chinese Garden, Knox Church, The Octagon, and the world's steepest street. This afternoon tour the Otago Peninsula including Larnachs Castle, Royal Albatross Centre, and see the local wildlife including seals, and Yellow Eyed penguins.
Day 14. Friday. DUNEDIN - CATLINS - STEWART ISLAND (B)
Enjoy a scenic drive through the Catlins. one of New Zealand's most beautiful and unspoiled wilderness areas. See the wildlife, waterfalls,and beautiful coastal scenery and visit Nugget Point lighthouse and the petrified forest (available low tide only). Continue to Bluff, southernmost town in New Zealand and cruise across Foveaux Strait to Stewart island for 1 night accommodation.
Optional evening Wild Kiwi Encounter with a high chance of seeing our iconic native birds on the beach - extra expense.
Day 15. Saturday. STEWART ISLAND - INVERCARGILL (B)
Enjoy a guided one hour tour of Oban before cruising Patterson Inlet for a guided walk through the Ulva island wildlife sanctuary. Cruise back to Bluff and overnight in Invercargill at the Kelvin Hotel or similar.
Day 16. Sunday. INVERCARGILL - DOUBTFUL SOUND - TE ANAU. (BL)
We take the scenic back roads via Riverton and Tuatapere to Manapouri to join your scenic cruise across bush clad Lake Manapouri to West Arm. Join your coach to drive across Wilmot Pass through the lush rainforest to Doubtful Sound for a 3 hour cruise exploring Doubtful Sound to the Tasman Sea. Retrace our steps to Manapouri and overnight in Te Anau. A picnic lunch is included today during your cruise.
Optional overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound available returning to Manapouri midday Monday - extra cost $150. Option to tour to Milford Sound, cruise, and arrive Queenstown 9pm monday available - total extra cost $250.
Day 17. Monday. TE ANAU - MILFORD SOUND - QUEENSTOWN (BL)
Another day of magnificent scenery as we drive through the Eglinton and Hollyford Valleys. Visit the Mirror Lakes and Roaring Chasm and drive through the Homer tunnel before arriving 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 Te Anau then on to Queenstown. A buffet lunch is included during your cruise.
Day 18. Tuesday. QUEENSTOWN (B)
Free day with many optional activities available. We strongly recommend the exhilirating Shotover jet boat ride and more placid evening cruise across the lake on the historic steamer "Earnslaw" to the Walter peak for a barbecue dinner at the Colonels homestead..(Please note your driver is not available today).
Day 19. Wednesday. QUEENSTOWN - WANAKA - FOX OR FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER (B)
Visit the historic gold mining cenre of Arrowtown and Kawarau Gorge bungy bridge (try it if you dare). Continue through the Kawarau Gorge to Mrs Jones fruit shop and Wanaka for a brief stop with admission to amazing Puzzling World and 'Wanaka tree' included and continue through Makarora and over the Haast Pass into the rainforest and spectacular coastline of the West Coast. Visit Shipwreck beach, and beautiful Lake Matheson. Overnight Fox or Franz Josef glacier townships.
Day 20. Thursday. FOX OR FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER - HOKITIKA (B)
Visit the Franz Josef Glacier lookout with time for a helicopter or ski plane flight or heli hike on the glacier (extra expense and weather permitting) or bush walk. This afternoon drive north to Hokitika, setting for the Booker award winning novel "The Luminaries". Enjoy the wetlands eco cruise and see jade carvers and glass blowers at work. 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 21. Friday. HOKITIKA-PUNAKAIKI ROCKS - NELSON (B) OPTION TO END CHRISTCHURCH.
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 and continue through Westport and the Buller Gorge to Nelson.
Please Note: Travel from Punakaiki to Nelson may be by scheduled Intercity coach arriving early evening.
Passengers ending in Christchurch travel from Punakaiki over Arthurs Pass and the Canterbury Plains arriving Christchurch late afternoon for 1 night accommodation and breakfast and transfer to the airport saturday, Option to travel on the "Tranz Alpine train - extra cost $150 per person.
Day 22. 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. Continue 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 23. 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 24. Monday. NELSON DEPART (B) Visit the Cathedral, Hoglung glass blowing studio, and World of Wearable Arts and classic cars Museum this morning.
You will be transferred to Nelson airport, or Intercity bus depot. .
Tour cost per person ;
24 Days Auckland to Nelson. Days 1-24
2 per room $7,990 Single room $9,700 Triple room $7,400
19 Days. Auckland to Queenstown. Days 1-19
2 per room $6,250. Single room $7,730. Triple room $5,600
15 Days. Auckland to Queenstown. Days 4-19
2 per room $5,400. Single room $6,440. Triple room $4,900
We are flexible!!
You are welcome to join us for part of the tour provided a minimum of 2 consecutive nights are on tour with us. For any combination not listed above please ask us.