Auckland to Paihia
Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your journey kicks off in New Zealand’s largest city Auckland, known by those who live here as the ‘city of sails’ because of its location between the Waitemata and Manukau harbours, making it a boaters and yachters paradise.
Pick-ups start at your accommodation bright and early, before we head north to the seaside town of Paihia. We stop en-route to hug some of the world’s mightiest trees, the native Kauri, enjoy a hike to a beautiful waterfall and stop for lunch and a swim at scenic Waipu Cove. This is followed by a trip to the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds (own expense), before settling into our accommodation where you’ll have a group meal and the evening free to relax. (D)
Paihia to Opononi
This morning we take a wildlife cruise in the beautiful Bay of Islands, a collection of 144 islands bursting with marine life. There’s no better way to see it than by boat, keep an eye out for wild dolphins.
In the afternoon it’s off to the Hokianga Harbour, where we will see the huge sand dunes. Tonight you have the option to take part in a Maori-guided twilight encounter, where you’ll visit the Waipoua Forest, learn about Maori legends and the spiritual inhabitants of the forest, and visit the largest Kauri tree in the world, the “God of the Forest” Tane Mahuta (own expense). Finish the day with a Kiwi classic for dinner, traditional fish and chips. (B,D)
Opononi to Auckland
We start the morning with a ferry ride across the Hokianga Harbour to go sand boarding down massive dunes (weather dependant); before we start to make our way south through the mighty Waipoua Forest. Here we will have the opportunity to visit NZ’s largest Kauri trees. We visit the idyllic Kai Iwi Lakes for a swim in the beautiful crystal clear waters surrounded by a pure white sandy beach, before returning to the ‘big smoke’ for a late afternoon arrival. (B)
Auckland to Hahei (Coromandel)
We depart Auckland and head south east stopping for a walk to the famous Cathedral Cove. Accessible only by foot or boat, you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and stunning views in this beautiful coastal spot. Cathedral Cove is a ‘must see’ on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Afterwards we’ll drive to Hot Water Beach, a unique surf beach where you dig a hole in the sand and sit in your own personal spa pool (tide dependent). In the afternoon there will be time for a kayaking tour (own expense) before we feast on a delicious BBQ for dinner. (D)
Hahei to Rotorua
Today we head for Rotorua, arriving around midday, to discover an area well-known for its Maori heritage, adventure and geothermal activity. Here you will get the chance to do some great optional activities, such as a visit to Hobbiton.
This evening you will be welcomed into the authentic Tamaki Maori Village, where you will discover Maori art, ancient rituals and traditions. Tonight we dine on a delicious hangi (Maori feast), enjoy an interactive cultural performance and the company of our Maori hosts. (B,D)
Rotorua to Whakahoro
We start the day by visiting some bubbling mud pools before travelling to the powerful Huka Falls. Huka mean’s ‘foam’ in Maori and describes the gushing rapids that squeeze through the narrow gorge and burst over this impressive 20 metre drop.
Our destination today the most remote parts of the North Island by road. We’re heading for the award winning Blue Duck Station in Whakahoro, a 5,200 acre high country farm that is both a working sheep and beef station and an environmental conservation leader. This afternoon you get the opportunity to take part in a 4WD Bush Safari and farm adventure, where you’ll explore this vast land and the New Zealand native bush, discover the remains of an unbelievable local history, and learn about the farm’s conservation efforts. Your dinner is all cooked using local produce. (B,D)
Whakahoro to National Park
Today we make our way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Tongariro National Park,’ where you’ll get the chance to do what is rated as one of the world’s best one day walks, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Trek through dramatic natural scenery, past volcanic peaks, vast craters and stunning turquoise lakes on one of the most spectacular treks in New Zealand. Alternatively you can go on one the shorter walks around this volcanic region or visit the Volcanic Centre Museum (own expense). (B,D)
National Park to Wellington
We depart early to arrive into Wellington around midday. Wellington is known as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ thanks to Lonely Planet, and it’s a great place to check out the lively arts, shopping, craft beer and café culture scenes. As New Zealand’s capital city, it is home to New Zealand’s parliament and the iconic Beehive government building. Don’t miss your chance to visit the wonders of Te Papa National Museum or wander along the Oriental Parade. (B)
Wellington (via Picton) to Abel Tasman
Leaving Wellington we’ll travel across the Cook Strait to the South Island’s coastal town of Picton. Here we meet our coach and cruise through the famous Marlborough wine region. We visit a local vineyard’s cellar door to sample New Zealand’s world famous Sauvignon Blanc, before heading to the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park. Tonight we enjoy some delicious seafood and a BBQ dinner at our exclusive campsite accommodation. (B,D)
Full day in Abel Tasman
Today is a free day to experience the incredible Abel Tasman National Park. Explore this stunning, coastal area famous for being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand. Walk the coastal track and discover some of New Zealand’s best natural golden beaches or choose an optional activity like sailing or sea kayaking (own expense). Tonight you can self-cater and use the BBQ facilities at our accommodation on the edge of the national park. (B)
Accommodation included: Beach accommodation in the national park
Activities included: Abel Tasman Track and Aqua Taxi or paddle board hire
Abel Tasman to Hanmer Springs
Today you’ll travel through beautiful scenery in the Kahurangi and Nelson National Parks where we’ll stop for a picnic lunch, before heading to the peaceful town of Hanmer Springs. This afternoon you are free to enjoy this alpine setting. Spend the afternoon surrounded by mountains and forest as you relax in the thermal hot pools. Tonight is a group dinner. (B,D)
Hanmer Springs to Christchurch
Today we head for the East Coast and the coastal village of Kaikoura, famous for a huge array of natural wonders from land to sea. We arrive in Kaikoura early, so you are free to experience all this location has to offer. Why not go out on the water and experience one of Kaikoura’s famous dolphin and whale spotting tours (own expense), see seals sitting right beside the road at Goose Bay or wander around the peninsula and check out the breath-taking views from the lookout. After the afternoon’s activities, we make our way to the city of Christchurch. Check out the city sights as you make your way to your accommodation in the city centre. (B)
Christchurch to Franz Josef
We depart Christchurch this morning for a stunning journey across the Canterbury Plains and over the famous Arthur’s Pass to the West Coast. Around almost every corner there is a picturesque backdrop to enjoy so have your camera ready as we stop often for walks and photo opportunities. We visit Hokitika, famous for pounamu (jade), before our day ends in the quaint little West Coast town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Joseph Glacier. (D)
Full day at Franz Josef
Enjoy a free day and get out and explore the mighty Franz Joseph Glacier. Navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on a Franz Josef Glacier guided tour which we highly recommend (own expense). There are also many excellent bush hikes available in the region. Tonight we self-cater, giving you the opportunity to dine at one of the many local cafes and restaurants in town or make use of the self-catering kitchen at our accommodation. (B)
Franz Josef to Makarora
Today we head down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in some breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror Lake Matheson, NZ’s most photographed lake. See waterfalls as we travel through the mountainous Haast Pass towards Makarora then visit the stunning Blue Pools. On arrival in Mount Aspiring National Park we go jet boating, experience the best in shallow water boating skimming just inches from the riverbed, see pristine waterways, snow-capped peaks and native bush. (B,D)
Makarora to Doubtful Sound
Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, with stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery; it is our first port of call today. Within Fiordland we visit Doubtful Sound, the deepest of all the fiords, surrounded by towering peaks and huge waterfalls. We will board a purpose built boat and enjoy complimentary afternoon tea while cruising past fur seals, penguins and dolphins. There are also sea kayaks to explore the fiord. (B,D)
Doubtful Sound to Queenstown
We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind the stunning Fiordland to head for the ‘adventure capital of the world’ Queenstown. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with excellent restaurants, pubs and live music. (B)
You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skiing, sky diving or walk Ben Lomond or Queenstown hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. (B)
Queenstown to Mt Cook
We’ll jump back on the bus for a short drive to Wanaka, where we’ll spend the morning biking some of New Zealand’s most scenic lakeside trails. After lunch, we head over the Lindis Pass through the picturesque Mackenzie region to the base of the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. There is time for a hike through the Hooker Valley for breathtaking views of the dramatic mountain landscape, or opt to take an alpine scenic flight (own expense). This is also one of the best places in New Zealand to join an evening stargazing tour. (B,D)
Mt Cook to Christchurch
Today we make our way through a landscape made famous in the `Lord of the Rings` films. We’ll take a break for a stroll around Lake Tekapo, iconic for its historic church and turquoise waters. Between Tekapo and Christchurch there is an option for thrill seekers to hop-off and join a top-notch Grade 5 white water adventure on the Rangitata River (own expense). Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch, where your driver guide will point out the highlights of the South Island’s largest city with a tour of the city sights. (B)
Christchurch to Wellington
Today we’ll travel up the beautiful coast to the Marlborough Sounds. We’ll stop briefly in Kaikoura for a bite to eat, before heading to Picton to catch a scenic flight across the Cook Strait back to Wellington. Don’t miss the fantastic views of the Marlborough Sounds and Wellington harbour from the air, on a good day it has to be one of the best scenic flights in NZ. The evening in Wellington is free – why not explore this funky town’s nightlife at any of the bars and restaurants along Cuba Street.
Wellington to Auckland
Today is an express day, via National Park back to New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. We stop along the way for photo opportunities and have lunch in National Park town, before heading back to Auckland for a late afternoon arrival. We hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! (B)
Standard accommodation is 6-share in Whakahoro.
Upgrade accommodation is excluded in Hahei and Doubtful Sound
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Trip Name: RKA: 23 Day Complete New Zealand AKL-AKL (SUMMER)
Duration: 23 Days
From Price: $3,291
Supplier Tour ID: AKLCNZ/206614
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