You will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to your waterside hotel in central Auckland. The rest of the day you are at leisure to explore the “City of Sails”. Your hotel is close to the central city shopping district. The cafés and restaurants on Viaduct Harbour, Wynyard Quarter, Princes Wharf and the Britomart Precinct are all within easy walking distance. Ferries depart nearby for Devonport, a seaside village 15 minutes across the harbour. Wine lovers should look no further than taking a 40-minute ferry ride to Waiheke Island, an artisan island known for its beaches and boutique wineries.
Today, drive south over Auckland’s Bombay Hills and across the Hauraki Plains. Make a stop in the beautiful Karangahake Gorge to walk beside the river through native bush to the old gold mining relics. Continuing on to the Bay of Plenty region, visit a working orchard located in the heart of kiwifruit country. A memorable day on your New Zealand trip continues as you take to the water onboard the luxury 53-foot catamaran, "Tiua", to sail on bush-fringed Lake Rotoiti past hidden bays to your destination – geothermal hot pools. A favourite with locals, these pools are reached only by water. Soak in the pools, jump in the lake to cool off and have a go on the helm of the boat on the way back.
The morning is free to relax or enjoy one of Rotorua's many and varied attractions. Drive out to Te Wairoa for lunch at New Zealand's only buried village, frozen in time from the day of the famous Mount Tarawera eruption in 1886. Sit back and relax over a glass of wine with local hosts David and Karen Walmsley. Karen's ancestor Guide Sophia is renowned for leading visitors to safety during the eruption. After a walk around the village, you’ll head back into town for the Rotorua Kiwi Encounter, where you'll see New Zealand’s national icons up close and learn all about the amazing efforts going in to securing their future.
Today the small group New Zealand tours head to a favourite destination, Wai-O-Tapu. At this geothermal landmark, you will wander on well-marked paths by brightly coloured silica terraces and plopping mud pools. Visit dramatic, thundering Huka Falls and at Taupo, stop to look across the lake to the three active volcanoes – Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. The World Heritage Tongariro National Park is your destination and the wonderful Chateau Tongaririo Hotel. This afternoon there's time to explore short trails in this national park or sit back and take in the breathtaking views.
Leaving behind the geothermal region of the North Island, your road winds over rugged ranges to Napier. Renowned for its Art Deco architecture, Napier was rebuilt in this style after an earthquake in 1931. These days it’s also an acclaimed wine region. On arrival, the local guide joins for a walking tour of the inner city Art Deco buildings. You will tour Hawke’s Bay's pastoral landscape of orchards, farms and vineyards – no wonder it's know as "the food basket" of New Zealand. You will drive up Te Mata Peak for fantastic views of the countryside, returning to Napier with time to explore more of this unique town.
Leaving Napier, drive south through the farmlands and the broad plains of the Wairarapa. You will pass through the small farming towns of Norsewood and Dannevirke before arriving in Greytown. Named after Governor General Sir George Grey, it boasts New Zealand's most complete main street of wooden Victorian buildings dating back to the 1880’s. In the afternoon, traverse the Rimutaka Ranges to Wellington, the capital city. Tour Wellington's waterfront and city sights and drive up Mount Victoria for the harbour views. Your hotel is close to the city's eclectic café scene.
This morning you can catch the Interislander ferry to cruise for three hours across Cook Strait into Tory Channel and up beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. Marlborough is home to perfect conditions for creating some of New Zealand’s most exclusive wines, including the Sauvignon Blanc that put this region on the world map. Enjoy a wine tasting before driving up to the mountains and St Arnaud, a tiny hamlet in the middle of the Nelson Lakes National Park, close to beautiful Lake Rotoiti. From here it's a downhill run to Nelson, the sunshine capital of New Zealand.
Today you have a choice of a full scenic cruise or a cruise and walk along the beautiful Abel Tasman coastline. Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest national park. It protects 23,000 hectares of the most natural stretch of easily accessible coastline in New Zealand. The coastline is characterized by near-shore islands, sheltered waters, estuaries and golden sandy beaches. The park is sheltered from ocean swells, and enjoys a mild climate in New Zealand's sunniest region. Return to Nelson after your cruise or walk.
Leaving Nelson, wind over the hills to Blenheim and drive through the ordered vineyard landscape to reach the wild coastal road hugging the cliffs between the Pacific Ocean and the Kaikoura Ranges – the most stunning seascape. Your afternoon is free to explore Kaikoura’s wildlife, perhaps enjoying a close-up encounter of the marine life kind. There are many optional excursions to choose from, such as the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway and whale watching cruises and flights. Or you can simply stroll down to Kean Point to see the seal colony sampling the fresh crayfish at the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ along the way.
Continue on the highway down the coast, then the small group New Zealand tour heads inland down the Canterbury Plains to Akaunui Farm homestead. Steeped in history, this century-old farmstead is the perfect place to enjoy a private lunch and an introduction to the delights of the mid-Canterbury region, courtesy of your friendly hosts, Di and Ian Mackenzie. Sweeping vistas of tussock lands and mountains open up ahead. The small stone church on the edge of the aquamarine Lake Tekapo and a statue celebrating the high country sheep dog make irresistible photo stops. Tonight you stay in a valley surrounded by mountains.
You awake at the foot of Mount Cook – New Zealand’s highest mountain at 3,754 metres – known as Aoraki, “the cloud piercer”. This morning perhaps take an optional boat cruise to the terminal face of the Tasman Glacier or scenic flight. Alternatively, an early morning walk through magnificent alpine scenery to Kea Point is unforgettable. Later drive through the golden grasses of the Mackenzie Basin and the Lindis Pass. The rugged Kawarau Gorge road leads you to Queenstown. On arrival, ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for a scenic overview of this beautiful resort town.
Travel alongside Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau and Milford Sound, deep in the heart of Fiordland National Park. The Milford Road is a panorama of high mountains and deep valleys studded with glaciers, waterfalls and mirror lakes and includes the 1.2-kilometre drive through the Homer Tunnel. Cruise down Milford Sound, a majestic fiord lined with waterfalls and dominated by iconic Mitre Peak. Where the sound reaches the Tasman Sea, colonies of seals lounge on the rocks. You will return to Queenstown from Milford on an amazing scenic flight over the Southern Alps and across Lake Wakatipu.
A full day to experience this magnificent resort at your leisure. Your Kiwi guide will assist in your choice of activities; the options are endless with adventure activities in all forms, from extreme to relaxed exploration. Optional excursions are highly recommended, such as a jet boat ride on the remote Dart River in the Lord of the Rings scenery, the thrill of white water rafting on an adventure down the Shotover or Kawarau River, or a cruise on the lake on the vintage steamer TSS “Earnslaw”. Or take a wine tour to sample Central Otago's renowned Pinot Noir.
Today your New Zealand vacation comes to an end. This morning after a leisurely breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel for your transfer to Queenstown airport and your flight home. If you have time before your transfer to the airport, why not catch up on some last minute shopping? Queenstown has an exciting range of boutique shops featuring products made by local artisans that are worth checking out. Or you can simply take a stroll alongside beautiful Lake Wakatipu and through the Botanic Gardens.
|14 Day New Zealand Kiwi|
|Style:||Tour of Distinction||Start:||Auckland|
|Pricing is per person|
|CAD (taxes included)|
|Note: A mandatory single surcharge may apply to this tour if you have selected our Twin Share Program and we cannot find a share partner.|