When the Maori left Eastern Polynesia in their longboats in the 13th century and found New Zealand, they named their new home Aotearoa, “the Land of the Long White Cloud”.
They settled in a land so climatically and topographically diverse that it was able to provide all their needs, and nothing has changed to this day.
This journey through New Zealand showcases some of the most striking scenery on Earth, contrasting lush semi tropical bays with volcanic geysers; stunning glaciers and mirror lakes reflecting snowclad mountain peaks with lush vineyards.
This tour has been created in conjunction with First Class Holidays, specialists in tailor-made getaways to Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the USA
On this journey of discovery, start by experiencing the unique atmosphere of Auckland, the “City of Sails” and enjoy the tropical paradise of the Bay of Islands and a dolphin cruise to the Hole in the Rock at Cape Brett.
New Zealand is a geothermal wonderland and no part more so than around Rotorua, where hot mud pools gurgle 24/7 and spouting geysers spew water and steam skywards in an almost clockwork rhythm; lakes have formed in volcanic craters and to the south around lake Taupo the landscape is almost lunar-like in parts. In Rotorua the traditions of the Maori people are brought to life with a traditional Maori hangi feast and cultural show.
In the Hawkes Bay area you’ll find Napier, the largest art deco town in Australasia and with a dramatic history, having been devastated in the 1931 earthquake.
This is one of New Zealand’s largest wine producing areas. Gourmets and gastronauts will be in heaven with the number of farm gate producers offering everything from wine and fruit to meats and cheese.
In Wellington, the nation’s capital, be sure to ride the funicular for stunning bay views, and visit the Te Papa, the National Museum.
The world’s most scenic ferry crossing brings you to the Marlborough Sounds, an area of outstanding natural beauty with secluded sandy bays, rocky coves and idyllic islands that are home to some of New Zealand’s premier lodge accommodation.
The Coastal Pacific train, one of New Zealand’s most scenic routes as it hugs the coastline, will whisk you to Kaikoura, the South island’s whale and dolphin viewing capital, where an included whale watch is a trip of a lifetime.
The garden city of Christchurch is slowly recovering from the devastation of the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, and the city is well worth the overnight stay before heading south to the majestic Southern Alps where we find Lake Tekapo and towering Mount Cook, known to the Maori as Aoraki. It’s the highest mountain in Australasia and a stay at the Hermitage hotel in its shadow is something special. The adrenalin capital Queenstown sits at the side of shimmering Lake Wakatipu and makes a pleasant resting spot before the incredibly beautiful drive to Milford Sound, where the spectacle of Mitre Peak, tree-clad slopes plunging into the pristine fiord and tumbling waterfalls will enchant.
Doubtful Sound’s experience is equally spectacular with an overnight cruise on the Fiordland Navigator giving the opportunity to see the delights of the fiord from a different perspective.
Dunedin is proud of its Scottish heritage and much of the architecture has a strong Caledonian influence. The journey to the west coast takes in the central Otago fruit and wine producing areas and the delights of Lake Wanaka.
The journey over the Haast Pass is spectacular and takes you to Franz Josef, with the opportunity to explore the infamous Fox and Franz Josef glaciers. The journey across the Southern Alps to Christchurch on the TranzAlpine is one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys and provides a fitting conclusion to your journey through the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Choice of Transportation: This tour offers you a choice to self-drive the route in a rental vehicle or alternatively sit back and let someone else do the driving on a coach travel option.
Day 1: Arrive Auckland
Day 2: Auckland - Bay of Islands (240 kms)
Day 3: Bay of Islands
Day 4: Bay of Islands - Auckland (240 kms)
Day 5: Auckland - Rotorua - via Waitomo (360 kms)
Day 6: Rotorua
Day 7: Rotorua - Napier (220 kms)
Day 8: Napier
Day 9: Napier - Wellington (340 kms)
Day 10: Wellington
Day 11: Wellington - Hanmer Springs
Day 12: Hanmer Springs – Christchurch
Day 13: Christchurch - Tekapo / Mount Cook (230 kms)
Day 14: Lake Tekapo / Mount Cook - Queenstown
Day 15: Queenstown
Day 16: Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau (430 kms)
Day 17: Doubtful Sound
Day 18: Te Anau
Day 19: Te Anau - Dunedin (290 kms)
Day 20: Dunedin - Wanaka (280 kms)
Day 21: Wanaka - Franz Josef Glacier (290 kms)
Day 22: Franz Josef Glacier
Day 23: Franz Josef Glacier - Christchurch
Day 24: End of Tour
22 nights hotel accommodation as chosen
1 night Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
Tranz Alpine Train
Coastal Pacific Train
Milford Sound Cruise
Queenstown Skyline Gondola
Marlborough Sounds ferry crossing
Maori Hangi and Concert in Rotorua
Bay of Islands activity as selected
Transportation as selected
Self Drive Option includes Group B all inclusive rental days 2-11 & 13-23, one way drop charges & New Zealand Road Atlas
Prices vary depending on departure date, self-drive or coach option, and standard of accommodation.
For example, departing in May, staying in value hotels on a self-drive tour costs from £2,630; the same tour with the coach option costs from £3,120.
Upgrading to superior hotels costs from £3,421 for self-drive, and £3,964 for coach.
All prices quoted are per person and do not include flights.