Prepare for stunning surroundings, chilled out Kiwis & a wicked adrenaline rush! Ever tried bungy jumping, jet boating, canyon swinging or 4-wheel driving? Now's the time! Catch your breath & prepare for Queenstown's legendary nightlife. Head over to the land of "The Lord of the Rings", then cruise Lake Taupo. Hit Rotorua, try a 'hangi', or jump on a gondola. Experience a farm show then check out the black water rafting in the caves of Waitomo, all in 2 weeks!
Kia Ora! Arrive in Queenstown & check into the Tanoa Aspen Hotel, then the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore. This is one high-energy destination that has something for everyone. From jet boat rides to fantastic local food, gorgeous countryside and the world’s most southern wineries, the list really is endless. Tonight, meet up with your Contiki Crew & fellow travel buddies!
This morning, you’ll take a ride on ‘The world’s most exciting jetboat’ the iconic Shotover Jet! Hold on tight - speeding down the Shotover River on a jetboat amongst the fierce canyon walls (so close you could probably touch them) is a thrilling experience & getting a pic to take home of the group in action is a must. Next up, legendary Queenstown! This traveller favourite is world renowned as the home of action & adrenalin & needs no introduction – your time here is guaranteed to be epic, no matter what you choose to do. The nightlife here is equally as awesome as its adrenalin fixes, tonight you will have a chance to visit some of the town’s hottest nightspots you're sure the start the night out right.
With two more days here, you’ve got time to try out adrenaline-pumping activities, to take it easy with a glass of local wine or beer and of course, to party – something Queenstown is known for. There’s also the option to take advantage of our explore more highlight optional – your chance to experience the stunning Milford Sound. Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s gems. This slice of paradise has been voted one of the world’s top destinations & is known around the world for its gorgeous waters & stunning scenery. Set in Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site so get ready for the epic scenery – high mountains rise straight out of the sea and waterfalls pour down sheer cliffs into the deep, dark waters of the fiord. You’ll get the ultimate angle on this natural wonder from the water when we cruise – you’ll learn about this jaw-droppingly beautiful region from the on-board nature specialist. You’ll get a really good look around the area and up close to its more hidden spots. You can chill out and enjoy the scenery on deck & hopefully you’ll get a chance to spot seals, dolphins, whales and penguins. Choose to take a coach over, then jump on a boat & cruise this stunning spot then head back to Queenstown on the coach. Or, if you’re feeling up for it, there’s the option to fly back to Queenstown too. Walk around the quaint town, hit the shops or head down to the lake for beautiful views of the surrounding mountain ranges, fittingly called The Remarkables. Board the old steam boat, the TSS Earnslaw, for a lake cruise and see it all from the water. For adrenaline junkies, there’s bungy jumpy, sky diving, jet boating, canyon swinging and quad biking. In fact there are so many adventure activities in Queenstown that you couldn’t do them all in the 2 days if you tried. For those who like to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground, take an easy-going hike or push yourself with a tougher trail. Pumping at night, Queenstown is the place to hit some of New Zealand’s best bars and clubs. With cool cocktail bars, old-style pubs and plenty of clubs, there is so much to choose from.
Relax on the coach, chat with friends and take in the stunning scenery as we head to the rugged West Coast. Leaving the golden grasslands, cliffs and hills of the Otago region behind us, we travel through Haast Pass. See the ancient rainforests and small glaciers that give this area its unique atmosphere - we also make stop at the majestic Thunder Creek Falls. Then cruise past remote beaches and the coastal dunes of the West Coast before arriving in the Westland National Park, where lush bush land and glaciers almost reach the sea. We overnight in Franz Josef, a cute alpine township.
This morning, get physical and pull on your crampons, grab an ice-pick and head out onto the ice of either the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier. On this optional activity, you’ll learn about how these glaciers came about with our professional Local Guides. Otherwise, you can get a bird’s eye view over these icy formations and sweeping vistas in an optional helicopter ride.
Sticking to the untamed coastline, we stop in at the former gold rush town of Hokitika on the West Coast. It’s great for a look into a traditional Maori art. Watch authentic carvers work with New Zealand greenstone (jade) and learn about the importance of this stone. You could even pick up a piece to take home. We travel east through stunning Arthur’s Pass, following an old trade route. The dense native forest, alpine atmosphere and crystal clear rivers give the area its pioneer feel. Then it’s back to Christchurch for a chilled out evening.
It’s another jaw-dropping drive up to the top of the South Island today. The coach cuts across the Canterbury Plains to Kaikoura. This seaside settlement is known for whales, dolphins and delicious, fresh crayfish sold from roadside vans. We’ll stop at a seal colony before travelling up the wild, rugged east coast and the wine country of Marlborough. Jump on the Inter-Island ferry and leave the South Island behind. 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. We dock in the capital city of Wellington - the country’s political centre and cultural core with funky shops, fringe festivals, galleries, as well as a huge amount of cool cafes and bars. Take the time to say your farewells & and swap contact details with your new travel buddies as your tour ends this afternoon in 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!
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.
Mt. Ruapehu Wake up in the spectacular surroundings of Mt. Ruapehu with the epic views of the volcano, and you have the option this morning to go mountain biking along one of NZ's most picturesque track, "the Old Coach Rd" before we head to Taupo. TAUPO Volcanic peak views & trout fishing will seamlessly slip us into quaint lake life. But don't be fooled by the seemingly still scenery - a bungy jump or skydive are both on the menu if that adrenalin itch needs scratching.
LAKE TAUPO As we leave Lake Taupo keep an eye out for even more recognisable ‘The Lord of the Rings’ backdrops. HUKA FALLS 220,000 litres (58 000 gallons) of water gush over Huka Falls per second. Just let that sink in for a minute. Wild, right? Even wilder still is the Huka Falls Jet experience – a thrilling ride that will get you experiencing the full force of the falls and leave you with even more of a taste for adventure. ROTORUA When you catch your first whiff of that… ‘unusual’ sulphur smell, you’ll know we’ve arrived in Rotorua. Upon arrival in Rotorua we get to learn some fascinating info on NZ's national birds, as well as watch new lives hatch right in front of our eyes! How impressed are you right now? Soak in a hotspring, go skydiving or take a canopy tour - there's plenty of time for you to make the best of this town. Tonight we enjoy a Maori dance performance and feast on a Hāngi dinner that is sweetly roasted in the ground.
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.
Famed for its spurting geysers, boiling mud pools & hot springs, gondola and speeding luge rides, Rotorua is a natural wonderland and then some. But don't let the allure of this place consume you, for there's a fun stop at Hobbiton village we must complete. Join us at our short visit at the land of 'Lord of the Rings', before we head to Auckland. That's right, it wouldn't be a complete experience without a stop at the "Shire".
This morning we’ll cross the iconic Auckland Harbour Bridge. There are 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 Tour 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 you'll get to experience 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.
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.
Head back south to Auckland today, where your tour winds up in the city centre mid-afternoon.
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Trip Name: The Big Tiki (Queenstown to Auckland Summer)
Duration: 17 Days
From Price: $2,443
Supplier Tour ID: NDZCDS/167316
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