Ultimate New Zealand

 

Duration: 20 Days | 19 Nights

From Auckland to Christchurch

 

Tour Code: TT051

 

Enjoy a fantastic holiday on this Ultimate New Zealand coach tour, experiencing New Zealand's 'must see' destinations and enjoying unique activities. On the North Island sail on Auckland Harbour and explore Coromandel Peninsula before heading to the South Island to visit Wanaka, Nelson & Abel Tasman National Park (optional), with the opportunity to add the Hollyford Track Guided Walk.

 

Day 1: Arrive Auckland

Welcome to New Zealand and Auckland, New Zealand's City of Sails. You will be met with a smile and transferred to your hotel by a tour representative. As you travel into the city center you will spot the Skytower, Auckland's iconic landmark, your accommodation this evening is less than half a block from here.

 

Accommodation:  Rydges Hotel, Auckland

 

Day 2: Auckland- Whangamata

Begin your day with an Auckland City Tour including a visit to the summit of the Skytower, at 328 metres this is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, and a tour of the down town city area and Waterfront Drive. Following your city tour, experience the thrill of cruising on a yacht on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour, the hub of New Zealand's nautical playground. Try your hand at taking the helm or sit back, relax and take in the sights. Upon your return ashore you have the opportunity to visit the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum, a place of daring feats, courage and exploration. Your coach will then continue through to the Coromandel Peninsula with its sea birds and sheltered bays on one side of the peninsula, and white sand surf beaches on the other, before arriving at Whangamata where you will spend the next two nights.

 

Accommodation:  Breakers Motel, Whangamata

 

Day 3: Coromandel Peninsula

A day of fun and entertainment with Kiwi Dundee Adventures showcasing Coromandel Peninsula's natural heritage and scenic beauty. This is a photographer's dream! Explore regenerating Kauri forest and lush fern groves, the old roads to Puketui, an 1890's gold mining town and visit a gold mine studded with glowworms where you will hear the fascinating history of this magic area. Visit stunning coastal scenery with white sand beaches, magnificent cliffs decorated with ancient Pohutukawa trees, old Maori pa sites and offshore islands. Walk on isolated beaches and if conditions permit, take a dip in the springs at Hotwater Beach. Lunch will be a delightful picnic or a visit to a favourite café.

 

Accommodation: Breakers Motel, Whangamata

 

Day 4: Whangamata- Rotorua

Your New Zealand Coach Tour continues on to Rotorua and the Agrodome to see the country's various sheep breeds, it's an hour of farming entertainment and education that's unlike anything you've seen before! Witness a sheep shearing demonstration and be amazed by the sheep dog's ability to respond to commands and manage the sheep. You will even get the opportunity to volunteer to feed the lambs or even hand-milk a cow! When it's all over inside, head outside to observe the talent of a sheep dog in a live dog trial with three sheep, or pop into the Woollen Mill and Shearing Shed, free of charge, to take in the history of the farming and wool industries. Continue to Rainbow Springs Park to see Rainbow and Brown Trout, farm animals and native birds including the Kiwi. Take the spectacular Skyline Gondola for superb views over the city, lake and mountains and try a luge ride with our compliments. This evening enjoy a Maori Hangi (meal) and a selection of traditionally prepared meats and vegetables plus more conventional dishes, all followed by a concert featuring Maori songs, chants and the stirring haka (entire group).

 

Accommodation: Sudima Hotel, Lake Rotorua

 

Day 5: Rotorua- Tongariro National Park

This morning you will enjoy a visit to the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, arriving at Te Puia to be greeted at the gates by twelve awe-inspiring guardians, each carved from wood with a distinctly unique expression and representing the divine realms. After this extraordinary arrival, you will enter the inspiring Maori Arts and Crafts Centre which aims to preserve Maori culture and traditional arts for generations to come. Discover this fascinating reserve which also showcases some of Rotorua’s best thermal activity, with its boiling mud, silica terraces and Pohutu Geyser. Next leave Rotorua behind and skirt massive pine forests and the Wairakei Geothermal Valley to pause at the powerful Huka Falls where the full force of the Waikato River pours through a narrow chasm and crashes into the river below. Arrive at Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake which is famous for trout fishing and a popular holiday spot, before venturing into the Tongariro National Park. In the heart of the park you will discover the elegant Chateau Tongagriro, built in 1929 and still retaining much of its original old world charm and tradition. 

 

Accommodation:  Chateau Tongariro Hotel.

 

 

Day 6: Tongariro National Park- Wellington

As you travel south the volcanic mountains – Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe dominate the view. Enjoy the scenery as you journey over the Rimutaka ranges and arrive into Wellington mid-afternoon. As the Capital City of New Zealand, Wellington is well known for being a vibrant and progressive community, iconic for its art festivals, involvement in the modern global film industry, buzzing cafe culture, and also for being home to New Zealand’s most famous museum, Te Papa. A city tour includes the summit of Mount Victoria for views over the city and its harbour, the Houses of Parliament and distinctive “Beehive”, Wellington Cathedral, the central city and business area and Oriental Bay. Later why not explore yourself, taking the opportunity to visit Te Papa’s extraordinary displays or even take a Cable Car ride for some spectacular views! 

 

Accommodation:  Novotel, Wellington

 

Day 7: Wellington - Picton -Nelson

Join the Interislander Ferry in the morning for the scenic cruise to Picton enjoying spectacular views of Wellington and the sheltered waters of Queen Charlotte Sound. Upon arrival in the South Island you will be welcomed by your Coach Captain and will board the coach for the short drive to Brancott Estate Winery for a tasting and winery tour. From this renowned wine region it's a fascinating drive to Nelson, a town noted for its arts and crafts.

 

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Monaco Resort

 

Day 8: Nelson or Abel Tasman National Park

Today is at your leisure. We recommend an optional day tour to the Abel Tasman National Park, inclusive of all transfers and a picnic lunch. Travel by coach to Kaiteriteri then board a comfortable launch to cruise along the park's coastline. Either go ashore at Torrent Bay and walk two hours to Bark Bay, or disembark at Bark Bay and explore the area, relax on the beach or take a swim. From Bark Bay board your launch and retrace your journey back to Nelson. If you opt not to take the Abel Tasman Day Trip you may choose to explore Nelson and its galleries and coffee shops featuring art, pottery, jewellery, wood and more, follow the Art Trail or visit Tahunahui with its broad beaches and coastal panoramas.

 

Accommodation: Grand Mercure Monaco Resort

 

Day 9: Nelson- Hokitika

Travel past lush farmlands and forest covered ranges to the rugged Buller Gorge - a spectacular scenic drive. Visit Westport and the coast near Cape Foulwind where you may choose to lunch at the award winning Beach House Café. Continue south to Punakaiki to explore the Pancake Rocks, these rocks are columns of limestone that resemble stacks of pancakes. At high tide you may get the chance to see another spectacular sight, with a heavy swell running, seawater is forced up through blowholes. On to Greymouth to visit Jade Boulder Gallery to see native greenstone (jade) which has been mined in remote alpine valleys, learn about the carving process and have the opportunity to observe craftsmen create fine traditional and contemporary jewellery.

 

Accommodation: Beachfront Hotel

 

Day 10: Hokitika - Franz Josef

This morning you will visit a local Greenstone (Jade) factory. Here witness expert craftsmen at work cutting and polishing giant boulders to create fine jewellery. This jade, or as the Maori people named it, Pounamu, can only be found on the South Island of New Zealand. It is culturally important and is considered to be a taonga (treasure) that greatly increases prestige, and thus were prized possessions to be handed down between generations. Later snow-capped Southern Alps dominate the skyline as you pass glades of dense bush, tiny landlocked lakes and small pockets of farmland, heading south along the coast to reach the Glacier Region. Upon arrival into Franz Josef Glacier, there is plenty of time to enjoy a guided walk to the glacier’s terminal face this afternoon, take a scenic flight or alternatively, you may prefer to take a relaxing soak in the indulgent Glacier Hot Pools. 

 

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

 

Day 11: Franz Josef - Wanaka

Start by following the rugged coastline, then head inland across the Alps and Haast Pass to the impressive bush land of the Aspiring National Park. At Wanaka you'll have a choice of two afternoon activities, first being a launch cruise across the lake to Stevensons Island Nature Reserve for a bush walk followed by refreshments. Look for the native Buff Weka, a small, flightless bird whose curiosity is likely to attract them close to you. Alternatively, enjoy a thrilling jet boat excursion on the lake - full on exciting, leisurely scenic cruising or somewhere in between.

 

Accommodation:  Edgewater Resort

 

Day 12: Wanaka- Queenstown

Drive through a picturesque region that has a fascinating history of early settlement and gold mining for a late morning arrival into the ever-popular resort of Queenstown. Dinner tonight is at the spectacular Skyline Restaurant (entire group). You have 2 choices for the next three days and we enthusiastically recommends the Hollyford Track Guided Walk option (available on select departures).

 

Accommodation:  Rydges Hotel, Queenstown

 

Day 13: Queenstown

Enjoy a day at leisure with many optional activities to choose from - jet boating, lake cruises, a day on the Routeburn Track, Lord of the Rings Tours, rafting and more shops, galleries and boutiques than you can count - enjoy! Alternatively take the once in a life time opportunity to experience the 3 Day Hollyford track.

 

Accommodation: Rydges Hotel, Queenstown

 

Day 14: Queenstown at Leisure

A day to explore the delights of this alpine resort at leisure. We recommend the world famous Shotover Jet Boat ride, take a Gondola ride to the Skyline high above the resort, a tour to the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon, white water rafting or browse in the many shops and galleries.

 

Accommodation: Rydges Hotel, Queenstown

 

Day 15: Queenstown- Milford Sound

Follow the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Kingston, then cross fertile farmlands to Fiordland. Visit moody Lake Manapouri with its rugged bush clad mountains before continuing on to Te Anau. Follow the Eglinton Valley past native forests, lakes, waterfalls and towering mountains. Continue through The Divide and travel into the Hollyford Valley through the Homer Tunnel to reach magnificent Milford Sound. Enjoy an overnight cruise on Milford Sound on the Milford Mariner, a purpose built vessel. A large open deck area and observation lounge provide for unequal views of the Sound. When the day visitors have departed a silence descends on the fiord. Cruise to the mouth of the Tasman Sea before anchoring for the night in sheltered Harrison Cove. Here you have the opportunity to go kayaking and explore the shoreline on the tender craft with a nature guide. As evening falls, enjoy a lavish carvery buffet on the dining saloon.

 

Accommodation: Milford Sound Overnight Cruise Milford Mariner

 

Day 16: Milford Sound - Dunedin

Wake to the sounds of silence in a pristine world. After a hearty breakfast retrace your journey back up the fiord and on disembarkation at the wharf, rejoin your coach for the journey back to Te Anau, enjoying a short stop before continuing on to Dunedin. Rugged and remote mountains change to lush green countryside, which in turn gives way to rolling hills as you approach Dunedin, the 'Edinburgh of the South'. This evening prior to Dinner you will be treated to a traditional Scottish Haggis Ceremony complete with piper, address to the Haggis and gift.

 

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel. Dunedin City

 

Day 17: Dunedin

A day to enjoy at your leisure with a multitude of optional activities available. we recommend the Monarch Wildlife Cruise or Natures Wonders Tour featuring penguins, seals and birdlife, the Taieri Gorge Railway, a Citibus Tour, fascinating Larnach Castle or the Cadbury Factory or Speights Brewery tours. Have fun!

 

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel, Dunedin City

 

Day 18: Dunedin - Mt Cook

Visit Olveston, Dunedin's majestic historic home with its original furnishings. A tour of Olveston allows an intimate glimpse into the lifestyle of a privileged family in the early 1900's. There is no better example in New Zealand. After rejoining your coach, pass bush clad hillsides, tidal estuaries and the rocky coastline before stopping to view the unusual Moeraki Boulders - a number of huge, spherical stones found strewn along a stretch of Koekohe Beach near Moeraki. The boulders weigh several tonnes and are up to three meters in diameter. Continue on to nearby Oamaru, a town of unique colonial heritage that helped shape the nation's wealth, with time to explore the grand Victorian architecture. Follow the Waitaki Valley, passing several hydro lakes, into Mt Cook.

 

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Mt Cook

 

Day 19: Mt Cook- Christchurch

Wake up to Mt Cook National Park and Village set amidst New Zealand's highest mountains. Aoraki Mount Cook, at 3754 meters, is New Zealand's highest, however in the Southern Alps there are 27 other mountains which peak at over 3050 meters and hundreds of others not far short of that. This morning you will be visiting New Zealand's largest glacier, the Tasman Glacier, where you will have an amazing up-close encounter on the lake which is dotted with icebergs and the boat passes by so close you can almost touch them. Later on today at Lake Tekapo view the Church of the Good Shepherd, built to commemorate the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country and the Collie Dog memorial built to honor the Collie Dogs' contribution to the farming industry in the region. Here you have the opportunity to take a highly recommended (optional) flight with Air Safaris over the Southern Alps, lakes and glaciers. Leaving Tekapo, descend Burkes Pass to the Canterbury Plains and Christchurch. Your tour concludes at approximately 5.00pm after a brief city tour.

 

Accommodation: Quest Christchurch

 

 

 

Day 20: Christchurch - Home

This completes your New Zealand Holiday, it is now time to farewell your new found friends and travelling companions. We'd like thank you for choosing us to show you New Zealand on your New Zealand Coach Tour and trust we will see you back here in the near future. You will be transferred to the Christchurch International Airport in ample time to join your flight home. Safe travels.

 

Inclusion

 

 

19 nights accommodation in centrally located hotels

Dining Inclusions- 19 Breakfasts, 17 dinners

 

 

Auckland's Skytower

Sailing on Auckland Harbour

 

 

Authentic Maori Village, Hangi and concert

Rotorua's Thermal Wonderland

Skyline Gondola and Luge ride

Te Papa - Museum of New Zealand

Brancott Estate Winery tour and tasting

Remote National Parks of Fiordland and Westland

Wanaka Lake Cruise or Jet Boat Ride

Dinner at the Skyline Restaurant

Overnight Cruise in awe-inspiring Milford Sound

Spectacular Southern Lakes