Unlikely. New Zealand ranges from glaciers to thermal parks, vibrant cities to forgotten wildernesses, Rainbow Springs to Glow Worm Caves, ancient Maori sites to modern restaurants and hotels.
And, to make sure you don’t miss a moment, this tour takes you on an all-embracing journey. You’ll cruise by luxury catamaran to the Bay of Islands, travel through splendid countryside on a traditional steam train, connect to places like Christchurch, Queenstown, Auckland and Wellington by luxury coach.
*Grand Pacific Tours (GPT) is our preferred touring partner in New Zealand, a local family-run company offering small group tours.
You’ll be met when you arrive in Auckland, taken to your hotel and introduced to your fellow travellers over drinks.
Stay: One night in the Crowne Plaza Auckland.
Auckland – Bay of Islands
Day 2: After an absorbing scenic tour of pretty Auckland, you travel off to see a magnificent kauri tree in the Parry Kauri Park, before continuing on to Whangarei and the Bay of Islands. You’ll also have an opportunity to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the British and the Maoris signed their historic agreement.
Day 3: A luxury catamaran awaits to glide you across to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock. And on the way you may even spot bottle-nosed and common dolphins. You can also opt to take a spectacular scenic flight over the islands, or experience sailing aboard a tall ship.
Stay: Two nights in the Scenic Hotel, Bay of Islands.
Bay of Islands – Auckland
Today you journey south to Matakohe, via Whangarei and Dargaville. In Matakohe you’ll learn more about the region with an informative talk at the Kauri Museum.
Stay: One night in the Crowne Plaza Auckland.
Day 5: After Auckland you’ll board a restored classic steam train at Glenbrook Station bound for the restoration workshop.
Day 6: After returning to Glenbrook you’ll journey through magnificent countryside to Longlands Farm, stopping off for a home-cooked Maori Hangi lunch and concert before venturing on to Rainbow Springs – spanning 22 acres of indigenous trees – and a Kiwi hatchery.
Stay: Two nights in the Regent of Rotorua Hotel.
Day 7: Now the Thermal Explorer Highway awaits – taking you to the breath-taking Huka Falls and on to the banks of the beautiful Lake Taupo with its charming waterside town. You’ll experience Tongarito National Park and, in the afternoon, inspect the fascinating vintage automobiles of Southward Car Museum.
Day 8: A scenic drive along the Kapiti Coast brings you to Wellington. Now you have a chance to discover New Zealand’s capital with its National Museum – Te Papa – presenting the history of both Maoris and the settlers.
Stay: Two nights at the Hotel Intercontinental Wellington.
Wellington – Christchurch
Day 9: The Interislander Ferry sails you across the famous Cook Strait and through the ultra-scenic Marlborough Sound to Picton. Here you’ll board the Coastal Pacific for an unforgettable rail journey that snakes along the coast between the ocean and the Kaikouri Ranges.
Day 10: In the fishing village of Kaikouri you’ll meet your Ultimate Coach for an awe-inspiring trip across the Northern Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. In this delightful city you’ll visit the International Antarctic Centre and take a tour of the city.
Stay: Two nights at The George Hotel.
Christchurch – Arthur’s Pass – Fox Glacier
Now you embark on one of the world’s greatest railway journeys – a must for train enthusiasts and a source of wonder for photographers and connoisseurs of stunning views. Towering viaducts, plunging valleys and mighty gorges included. Then a coach takes you to Hokitika and on to the Fox Glacier via Franz Josef. You can even opt to soar over the glaciers on a private flight. The word ‘spectacular’ doesn’t do it justice.
Stay: One night at Hotel Distinction, Fox Glacier.
Day 12: Travel south past the snow-capped Southern Alps and through the Haast Pass to Queenstown – the adventure sports capital of New Zealand, situated on the banks of Lake Wakatipu.
Day 13: Spend the day pursuing thrilling activities, before taking an evening cruise across the lake on a vintage steamer to Walter Peak Station and an irresistible barbecue.
Stay: Two nights at the Millennium Hotel.
Queenstown – Milford Sound
Today you set off for Milford Sound from Te Anau on an overnight cruise, calling in at Arrowtown and the Lakes District Museum. You’ll have time to view Milford’s iconic mountains, waterfalls, rainforest and wildlife. Watch out for seals, as well as dolphins and penguins, before indulging in an onboard feast prepared by expert chefs.
Stay: One night aboard the Milford Mariner.
Milford Sound – Te Anau
If the weather’s fine you’ll head back out into the Tasman Sea, before returning to shore to board your Ultimate Coach for the scenic drive to Te Anau. Another cruiser takes you across Lake Te Anau to see the Glow Worm Caves, limestone caverns, grotto and glistening waterfalls.
Stay: One night in the Distinction Hotel.
Te Anau – Dunedin
Day 16: You’ll journey to Dunedin – via Gore and Balclutha – to board the Taieri Gorge Ltd train and travel through scenery only accessible by rail, before returning to Dunedin’s quaint Edwardian station.
Day 17: Today you’ll explore the Otago Peninsula to Lanarch Castle, hearing stories of its infamous history, before wandering around the wonderful Garden of International Significance and taking tea in the grand ballroom.
Stay: Two nights in the Scenic Hotel, Southern Cross.
Depart New Zealand
Time to say goodbye to New Zealand and fly home.