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Northern Choice (Auckland to Christchurch Summer - From Oct 2017)

New Zealand's the land of stunning natural beauty, action-packed activities & laid back culture. Kick off this trip in the Bay of Islands & try some sand dune surfing! In the underground caves of Waitomo experience black water rafting before hitting Rotorua to try the 'Zorb' or skyline gondola & end the day relaxing in a Polynesian thermal pool. Take in a sunset cruise on Lake Taupo, brave the Rock'n Ropes course & head to the land of "The Lord of the Rings", Wellington. Finally, the good times must come to an end in Christchurch.

Australasia

Duration: 10 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Physical rating: Easy
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 167337
Starts: Auckland, New Zealand Finishes: Wellington, New Zealand
You will Visit
  • Auckland
  • Paihia
  • Rotorua
  • Lake Taupo
  • Mount Ruapehu
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Auckland to Paihia

Kia Ora! Meet up with your Contiki Crew in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Surrounded by volcanoes, islands and a stunning harbour, you’ll soon understand why this is the “City of Sails” and was once home to the America’s Cup. This morning we’ll crossing the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge & take in the full-blown vistas of the harbour, Rangitoto, and other neighbouring volcanic islands on the way. With a stop at Parry Kauri Park, there’s time to walk through this famous reserve and see many of New Zealand’s ancient Kauri (a native tree). Some of the Kauri are 50m high and over 1000 years old. The final stop today is the small coastal town of Paihia. It’s the gateway to the Bay of Islands, one of New Zealand’s photogenic natural playgrounds. Your Trip Manager will point out the colonial style Treaty House at Waitangi. This is where modern-era New Zealand was born when the British Crown and Maori signed a treaty in 1840. You’ll also find out about local Maori culture as you check out the Nga Puhi tribal lands. Tonight, get to know the other Contiki travellers, Trip Manager and Driver over a typical ‘Kiwi’ dinner – fish 'n' chips – where you can eat outdoors under the night sky if the weather is good. After dinner, head out to a local music venue in Paihia with the group.

02

Day 2: Paihia

With a full free day here, you’ll really get to enjoy the laid-back, natural beauty of the Bay of Islands. Chill out, or choose from loads of activities on offer here. There’s a catamaran cruise where you can stop off at remote islands, swim and feast on a tasty BBQ lunch. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot some dolphins. Or you could use your free time to head off with some friends to learn about New Zealand’s settler history. Jump on a ferry out to New Zealand’s former capital, the pretty township of Russell. Grab an ice-cream, relax in its cute cafés and walk past some of the town’s historic cottages. We also offer you the option of a day trip to Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s most northern point where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean merge. Our Local Guide can tell you all about the Maori beliefs associated with this site. Then it’s off to the sand dunes of Ninety Mile beach and a drive through the Northland Region. Lastly, for the adrenaline-junkies, there’s a chance to go parasailing – perfect for getting views of the awesome surrounding bay scenery.

03

Day 3: Paihia to Auckland

With our beach fix complete, it’s time to say goodbye to the paradise of Paihia & head back to the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland! On arrival, your expert Trip Manager will get you in the know with all the details you need to know (and more) on the country’s largest city. Walk on the glass platform (if you’re game) & frame up some shots as you soak up the scene. Back at ground level, you will have a chance to experience some of Auckland's great nightlife. Try K Road for some alternative vibes or Ponsonby hot spots like The Ponsonby Social Club, Chapel Bar or the Long Room for some cool beats & equally cool people, or Parnell for a taste of the true Auckland by night. the Long Room for some cool beats & equally cool people, or Parnell for a taste of the true Auckland by night.

04

Day 4: Auckland to Rotorua

Laters Auckland! Today we drive through the lush farmlands of Waikato, an area that produces many of New Zealand's best Rugby players for the All Blacks, on route to Hobbiton Village. That's right, it wouldn't be a complete experience without a stop at the "Shire". ROTORUA When you catch your first whiff of that .. 'unusual' sulphur smell, you'll know we've arrived in Rotorua. Famed for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools & hot springs, gondola and speeding luge rides, Rotorua is a natural wonderland, and then some. Tonight the culture will sky rocket with a traditional Maori hāngi dinner & dance performance, and perhaps best of all, the chance to get involved in the world-famous HAKA. Tongues at the ready peeps.

05

Day 5: Rotorua

This morning, you’ll learn all about the history of the Maori people, their customs & traditions, plus have the opportunity to ask questions & learn as much as possible about this amazing spot – it’s the perfect way to get in the know. With the rest of the day free to explore the way you want, you can advantage of the city's awesome thermal environment & treat yourself to a spa treatment or massage. Our tip: With so much buzz around the amazing thermal mud treatments found here, we love picking up some products to take home as a gift (or for ourselves!). There are loads of other ways to spend your time too if adrenalin is more your thing, like getting views of the city from a gondola, then speeding down a hill on a luge, or getting a splash as you raft the Kaituna River – the options for things to keep you busy in Rotorua are endless. Or, if chilling out is more of what you’re into, then or hit up a café for a flat white coffee or make tracks to the shops for a spending spree.

06

Day 6: Rotorua to Lake Taupo

On the way to Taupo, a visit to the raging Huka Falls will impress. Tonnes of water surge over these falls at a rate of 220,000 litres (58 000 gallons) per second. It’s only a short drive today to the popular low-key resort town of Taupo. Here, there’s some of the best trout fishing in the country and some of the most amazing long-distance views of Tongariro National Park’s three volcanic peaks. Cap off your day with our optional dinner cruise out on New Zealand’s largest lake – Lake Taupo - where you can also have a go at fishing! Later, back on land, play some pool at one of Taupo’s lakeside bars.

07

Day 7: Lake Taupo to Mount Ruapehu

Mt. Ruapehu We drive through the central plateau to the southern end of the Tongariro National Park, Ohakune is known as the aprés ski capital of the North Island. Today you have the option to go mountain biking along one of NZ's most picturesque track, "the Old Coach Rd". Tonight we stay in a heritage listed building built in 1913 which is now a vibrant modern ski lodge, located at the base of a volcano, Mt Ruapehu with views unlike any other you've seen.

08

Day 8: Mount Ruapehu to Wellington

"Mt. Ruapehu: These landscapes are unique and the sights will leave you breathless. On route to the windy capital Wellington where we'll show you the sights of this city. Wellington: As much as we've been loving the nature time, the change of scenery to New Zealand's well-cultured capital will prove an utter delights. After an orientation through the narrow streets of Wellington a night on the town will be on the cards, plus an optional dinner to start the night off as we mean to go on."

09

Day 9: Wellington

You’ve got a full day to discover Wellington – its compact centre is perfect for exploring on foot. Walk alongside the harbour or visit the innovative Te Papa Museum for a look into New Zealand history and culture. You could take a walk around New Zealand’s political heart by visiting some of its government buildings. Take in the iconic ‘Beehive’ building & its distinctive shape, which was specially designed to cope in case of an earthquake. You could hang out on alternative Cuba Street, watch street performers or rummage through some of the surrounding retro stores. If you’re hungry, try out some of the great ethnic foods you can find in this multi-cultural city, like sushi, Thai, kebabs and Italian gelatos. For something different, learn about the age-old art of tattooing at the Tattoo Museum. From traditional Maori moko (face tattoos) through to colourful contemporary designs. There’s even a tattoo parlour on site if you’re game!

10

Day 10: Wellington to Christchurch

Jump on the Inter-Island ferry and leave the North Island behind. The South Island means a complete change of scenery with loads of wild nature. Cruise through the gorgeous Marlborough Sounds, where thick forested peaks rise straight up from the sea. It’s a camera-friendly spot with picturesque inlets, remote coves and tiny beaches that dot the islands. You’ll also see some old wooden baches (New Zealand holiday houses) and boat jetties. After the cruise, it’s another jaw-dropping drive to Kaikoura, via Marlborough’s wine country. We travel on to the wild, rugged east coast and stop at a seal colony, before passing through Kaikoura. This seaside settlement is known for whales, dolphins and delicious, fresh crayfish sold from roadside vans. The coach cuts across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. Later it's time to say your farewells & swap email addresses as your tour ends this evening.

Inclusions:
      Accommodation
    • 9 nights multi-share accommodation: 7 nights in hotels, 2 nights Special Stopover Modern, air-conditioned coach with powerpoints for charging Hotel tips, local taxes & service charges
      Staff
    • Experienced & Professional Trip Manager & Driver team
    • Sightseeing tours of all major cities
      Food
    • 14 meals:
    • 10 breakfasts
    • 4 dinners
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Tour Highlights:
  • See the 'City of Sails' harbour made famous by the America's Cup
  • Cross Auckland's Harbour Bridge
  • Walk through native Kauri Forest
  • Check out Whangarei & Kawakawa's famous Hundertwasser toilets
  • Tuck into a true Kiwiana fish 'n' chips dinner
  • See Rotorua's bubbling geothermic mud pools
  • Visit the mighty Huka Falls
  • View Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake
  • See more of the sights made famous in the "The Lord of the Rings"
  • Cruise the scenic Marlborough & Queen Charlotte Sounds
  • Spectacular drive along the Kaikoura Coast & visit to a seal colony
  • Drive through New Zealand's largest wine growing region