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Best of New Zealand

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Tour Pace: Comfortable
Queenstown, New Zealand
Tour Style: First Class
20 Days from $5,450 per person

North and South Island with must-sees all the way, from the cityscapes of Auckland to the barren landscapes of Desert Road, serene Milford Sound to the jagged pancake rocks of Punakaiki.

You'll enjoy Insider moments like…discovering Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw. Operating on the lake for 100 years, you'll discover its history before a delicious dinner of local produce, and a moonlit cruise back to iconic Queenstown.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to New Zealand (not included).

  2. Cross the International Date Line. 

  3. Welcome to Auckland! On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm). You're free to explore Auckland before an evening Welcome Reception with your Travel Director.

    hotel:The Langham
  4. Journey through Orewa and along the scenic Hibiscus Coast. Enjoy a stop at Parry Kauri Park then it's on to Whangarei, the northern-most city in New Zealand. Your final destination is the Bay of Islands. Experience natural wonders and spectacular scenery as you cruise to Cape Brett and through the 'Hole in the Rock'.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Copthorne Resort (Water View)
  5. Today your choice of sightseeing: discover local wineries in Kerikeri; take a guided walk through historic Russell; sail aboard a tall ship at sunset; go dolphin-watching on the bay or enjoy a scenic dinner cruise on the Waitangi River.

  6. Relax this morning before you return to Auckland. This evening join your Travel Director for a Regional Meal at 'Eight' at The Langham. Your personal degustation is prepared for you from the freshest, quality ingredients, including mouth-watering seafood and delicious desserts.

    meal(s):BB, RM
    hotel:The Langham
  7. After a sightseeing tour of Auckland, head south to visit the amazing Glow Worm Grotto. A Local Specialist will lead you through the grotto by boat and you'll walk in the limestone caves. Continue to Rotorua. Tonight experience a Maori Hangi feast Regional Meal and concert at the Tamaki Family Marae.

    meal(s):BB, RM
  8. Today your choice of sightseeing: join the Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs Nature Park; discover Maori culture at Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute; see the Agrodome Farm Show; relax in the seclusion of your own hot mineral pool; unwind with a facial treatment in the Lake Spa Retreat at the Polynesian Spa; ride the amphibious Rotorua Duck or the luge at Rotorua Skyline.


  9. View Huka Falls and drive along the shores of Lake Taupo. Discover the alpine scenery of Mt. Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park and the dairy farms of Manawatu. Visit Shenandoah for a Be My Guest afternoon tea. The historic villa's owners, Simon and Claudia, will show you around their property, which includes a unique private collection of Harley Davidson motor cycles. Take a short tour to see the local wildlife then continue to Wellington.

    meal(s):BB, BG, DW
    hotel:James Cook Grand Chancellor
  10. Visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, for a Cultural Insight into Maori life. Later, cruise the Cook Strait into tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound. The seaside village of Picton is next, then Blenheim. This evening enjoy a 5 course Regional Meal prepared with local produce, paired with wine from the famous Marlborough region.

    meal(s):BB, RM
    hotel:Scenic Marlborough
  11. En route to the whale-watching haven of Kaikoura, you'll see New Zealand fur seals up close at Ohau Point. Travel over the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

  12. Join us for a taste of country life at a Be My Guest barbecue lunch on Morelea Farm, a typical working sheep farm. You'll be welcomed into the home of your hosts Angie and Stan Taylor and their 600 acre garden. Hear their stories and sample delicious food prepared just for you. Later see Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki, visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and soak up the alpine scenery of Mount Cook National Park.

    meal(s):BB, BG, DW
    hotel:MacKenzie Country Inn
  13. Drive along the Waitaki River and view the Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam, then through Oamaru to Dunedin for a tour of the city.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Scenic Southern Cross
  14. Today your choice of sightseeing: tour Larnach Castle; ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway; take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise; tour Cadbury World or Speight's Brewery. Later, travel across farming land to the South Island's largest lake and the town of Te Anau.

    meal(s):BB, DW
  15. You'll be awe-struck by the magnificence of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. Your cruise on mystical Milford Sound will take you past Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak. Afterwards, travel over the Devil's Staircase, along the shores of Lake Wakatipu on your way to Queenstown.

  16. Today your choice of sightseeing: ride the Shotover Jet boat, join a wine tour, play 9 holes of golf; ride gondola to the Skyline Restaurant for dinner or take a 4WD minibus excursion through Skippers Canyon. This evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard New Zealand's oldest steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Regional Meal at the Colonel's Homestead. Enjoy an entertaining sheep show between courses and later return to Queenstown to sample the festive nightlife.

    meal(s):BB, RM
  17. Visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown. Enjoy the tastes of stone fruit at Cromwell then see a trio of lakes, Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka. Travel over the Haast Pass and on to Franz Josef Glacier.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Scenic Franz Josef Glacier
  18. There's time to explore Franz Josef Glacier. Later, take a walk among rainforest giants on the West Coast Treetop Walkway. Depart for Hokitika, home of the native greenstone (jade), for a factory visit and jewelry demonstration with a Local Specialist. Later, travel to Punakaiki for a night in your eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront.

    meal(s):BB, DW
    hotel:Punakaiki Resort Authentic Accommodations
  19. Board the TranzAlpine train and travel through the Southern Alps to Christchurch. Celebrate your trip with a Farewell Dinner.

    meal(s):BB, FD
  20. Your vacation concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).


30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.

Add air to your reservation

Let our Air Specialists handle your air reservations. We have direct access to the most current airfare routes and prices, so you’ll get the best value available when we book your flights. We never charge a booking fee and you’ll enjoy the flexibility to pay for air 60-90 days prior to departure.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment

17 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 Be My Guest lunch, 1 Be My Guest afternoon tea, 12 dinners.

Hidden Treasures

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure.

Authentic Accommodations

  • on the Tasman Sea coast.

Be My Guest

  • with your hosts Simon and Claudia on their historic property Shenandoah and at Morelea Farm.

Cultural Insight

  • Visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, and learn about traditions of the Maori.

Local Specialist

  • with a jade (greenstone) carver and an expert guide in the Waitomo Glow Worm Grotto.
Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
7 Sep 17 26 Sep 17 checkmark $5,450pp Request Quote Book Now
21 Sep 17 10 Oct 17 checkmark $5,450pp Request Quote Book Now
black-dot 5 Oct 17 24 Oct 17 checkmark $6,075pp Request Quote Book Now
black-dot 12 Oct 17 31 Oct 17 checkmark $6,075pp Request Quote Book Now
black-dot 19 Oct 17 7 Nov 17 checkmark $6,075pp Request Quote Book Now
black-dot 26 Oct 17 14 Nov 17 checkmark $6,075pp Request Quote Book Now

Important Note: Departures between October 1 2017 - March 31, 2018 are subject to price, itinerary and hotel modification.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $1,610.

Reverse Itinerary: If you would prefer to start your trip in Christchurch and end in Auckland, this itinerary is also available in reverse.

Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.

  • U.S. citizens traveling to New Zealand must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens to enter New Zealand.

  • You will be using the New Zealand dollar on your trip. You can use your debit or credit card for purchases. The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • Food in New Zealand is innovative and diverse. As island nations with strong agricultural traditions, culinary traditions here are guided by local ingredients and seasonal variations, as well as international influences. You’ll find a variety of seafood including fresh oysters and crab, grilled steaks and lamb chops, meat pies, and fish and chips.

  • We suggest bringing a variety of comfortable, lightweight clothing that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Sturdy walking shoes are important. Insect repellant and sunscreen may come in handy, as well as a light jacket and reusable water bottle. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • It is not customary to tip at restaurants in Australia and New Zealand. If you would like to reward good service when dining out it’s appropriate to leave 10 percent gratuity for your waiter.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.


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