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Auckland extends a warm welcome as you transfer to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm) and spend the day discovering why this North Island hotspot has justifiably earned its reputation as the City of Sails. Later, join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and Regional Meal at your hotel.
See the iconic and unexpected highlights of Auckland during a sightseeing tour, then head south to the Glow Worm Grotto of Waitomo. Admire the luminescent walls that guide your boat tour through its glimmering depths in the company of a Local Specialist and embark on a walk through the limestone caves to see its exquisite natural formations. Continue to the heritage hub of Rotorua, where you'll take an orientation tour against the backdrop of Lake Rotorua.
Today your choice of sightseeing: unwind at the Polynesian Spa; visit Te Puia and tour through the Whakawerawera Thermal Reserve; take a fascinating tour to discover the wizardry behind the Hobbiton movie set or explore Rotorua and its three lakes in an amphibious WWII-era Duck. Tonight, Māori culture and traditions take center stage on a visit to the Tamaki Māori Village. Dive into culture as you wander through the ancient forest village and learn about the Māori way of life, followed by a concert featuring local performers. You'll also have an opportunity to savor the flavors of an authentic Hangi Regional Meal, steamed underground in the traditional way.
Cross forest-clad landscapes and lush farmland to the raging waters of Huka Falls, which feeds New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo. Continue your journey south, over the central plateau and along the rolling Kapiti Coast to New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. This evening, you'll dive into culture during an exclusive guided tour of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand followed by a Regional Meal savoring local flavors.
Explore the Capital of Cool on your terms this morning with some free time to see such highlights as the Parliament buildings or savor the aromas of Welly's coffee culture. This afternoon, take to the tranquil waters of Queen Charlotte Sound after crossing Cook Strait. You'll visit seaside Picton and stop in Blenheim where this evening your Regional Meal is prepared from local produce, paired with the delicate Sauvignon Blanc flavors that have made the Marlborough wine region famous.
Delve into the whaling heritage of Kaikoura, where sperm whales can often be seen not far from shore. Journey along the Pacific Ocean coast and across the colorful Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, a city revealing an effortless fusion of modern verve and the elegance of yesteryear.
Visit Morelea to connect with locals over a Be My Guest barbecue lunch, meeting your hosts Angie and Stan Taylor who will share insights into a lifetime spent farming in New Zealand. The flavors of Angie's famous pavlova will linger as you continue to the soul-stirring landscapes of Lake Tekapo to view the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd. Consider taking to the skies on an Optional Experience scenic flight over Mt. Cook, the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Mountain country beckons and your final stop today is in the heart of Mackenzie Country.
Journey along the Waitaki River, taking a brief stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. Continue to the township of Oamaru with its famous white limestone buildings and then on to soaring spires of Dunedin. This afternoon, your choice of sightseeing: tour Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle; ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway; take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise or embark on an interactive tour of the Speight's Brewery.
Delve into the Scottish heritage of Dunedin, exploring its youthful student atmosphere before journeying across lush pastoral lands to the village of Te Anau, the gateway to the natural splendor of Milford Sound. Tonight, consider an Optional Experience to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves, where you'll cruise through ancient limestone caves and admire their luminous show.
Keep your camera at hand as you journey through the natural wonderland of rainforest, ancient glacier and mountain ranges. Continue through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel, and past Mirror Lake, Pop's Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm. Cruise the startlingly beautiful Milford Sound, slicing through its tranquil waters past such highlights as Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak. Later, travel over the Devil's Staircase and along the shores of Lake Wakatipu en route to the adventure capital of Queenstown.
Prepare for a thrill a minute on your choice of sightseeing: ride the Shotover Jet boat; take a gondola to Bob's Peak for thrilling luge rides; visit Kiwi Birdlife Park 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 after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into high-country farm life, then return to Queenstown to sample the festive nightlife.
Delve into the rich gold mining heritage of Arrowtown before savoring the juicy flavors of apricots, peaches and plums in Cromwell, New Zealand's stone fruit capital. Your journey to the icy depths of Franz Josef Glacier will see you pass a trio of lakes—Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka—as well as Haast Pass and Thunder Creek Falls in Mt. Aspiring National Park.
Your first stop is Hokitika, New Zealand's greenstone (jade) center, where you'll admire the delicate stone-craft, during a visit to a local factory and jewelry demonstration by a master carver. Travel to Punakaiki next, to see the limestone Pancake Rocks and Blowholes channeling the force of the Tasman Sea. This evening, you'll stay at an eco-friendly resort on the waterfront.
Board the TranzAlpine train at Arthur's Pass for one of the world's most scenic journeys across the Southern Alps bound for Christchurch. Your journey across New Zealand's North and South Islands almost at its end, you'll indulge in a Farewell Dinner with newfound friends.
Your vacation concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).
Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.
Set in 22 acres of beautiful native trees and streams, Rainbow Springs is home to a huge variety of New Zealand’s most precious inhabitants. Experience the adrenalin rush of The Big Splash, explore the many free flight aviaries, come face to face with pre-history in the eyes of the tuatara, and experience the wonder of the bird show featuring some of the funniest feathered performers you will ever see.
Adult Price: $50.00
Discover Rotorua’s spectacular lakes area from the comfort of a fully restored World War II amphibious vehicle, able to travel on land and water. A 90 minute fun-filled and scenic journey that ventures onto the three Rotorua lakes, and is accompanied by an entertaining and informative commentary.
Adult Price: $89.00
Take a wander through Te Puia, New Zealand’s Maori Culture Centre, where you will have the opportunity to view the awesome power of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley… and much more!
Adult Price: $56.00
Discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand, where you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a fascinating two-hour guided tour.
Adult Price: $119.00
This movie-based experience provides a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse of Weta Workshop, the home of the special effects wizards whose work features in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. The tour invites you to view the creative processes of a Weta technician and to touch, feel, and hold real props, weapons and models from the films the creative Weta team have worked on. Return transfers from the Wellington i-Site are included.
Adult Price: $65.00
Explore the alpine wonderland of the Southern Alps’ highest peaks and glacial lakes on this 45-minute scenic flight, including Murchison Glacier, Tasman Glacier, Main Divide, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, westland coastal rainforests and Mount Cook.
Adult Price: $395.00
Cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour, passing by the historic fishing village of Careys Bay and the working port of Port Chalmers. Then continue your tour out to the tip of the Otago Peninsula, enjoying unrivaled wildlife viewing. See what cannot be seen from land – Albatross, New Zealand Fur Seals and up to 20 species of bird and marine life in their undisturbed and otherwise inaccessible environment.
Adult Price: $150.00
Taieri Gorge Railway is one of the world’s great train trips, taking passengers from the hustle and bustle of Dunedin’s city center to the rugged mountain interior of Central Otago, and back. Travel in comfort, cross magnificent stone and wrought iron viaducts, travel through a series of tunnels with rock walls only inches from the side of the train.
Adult Price: $105.00
Let your local driver take you on an exciting Otago Peninsula drive to New Zealand’s only castle. Your guided tour of the Larnach family home will give you insight into not only the architecture and style of the stately building but also into William Larnach’s family life and the restoration done by the current owners during the past three decades. Enjoy views from the tower and marvel at the immaculate gardens before your return to Dunedin.
Adult Price: $76.00
2.5-hour tour incorporating a cruise across Lake Te Anau to Cavern House. Enjoy a guided tour (in small groups) through the limestone caverns, waterfalls, and the glow worm grotto. Complimentary tea & coffee is available at Cavern House
Adult Price: $98.00
The Kiwi Birdlife Park is a wildlife sanctuary found in the heart of Queenstown. They hold and display over 20 species of native NZ wildlife in our 5 acre Park, all of which are part of nationally managed programmes. Your entry fee supports their conservation work. They offer guaranteed kiwi viewing in our specially constructed nocturnal houses, audio tours (available in English and Japanese; allow 45min), Conservation Shows (11 am, 3 pm; allow 30min) and Kiwi Feedings (10 am, 12 pm, 1.30 pm, 4.30 pm; allow 15 min). They offer an all-day pass and the park can be enjoyed in all weather. Experience conservation in action!
Adult Price: $48.00
Enjoy a 30-minute jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River and through Shotover Canyon with the only company permitted to operate in this area. A major highlight is experiencing the famous “Shotover Jet Turn” where your boat spins through a full 360 degrees turn. Includes return transfers from Queenstown. (Duration: 1.5 hours in total)
An afternoon amongst the boutique vineyards and splendid alpine scenery of Central Otago. Taste wines at 4 premium vineyards over two contrasting wine regions, learn about the wine and pioneering history and visit the Historic Precinct of Old Cromwell. Includes a delightful platter lunch and a glass of wine with lunch.
Adult Price: $199.00
Skippers Canyon Jet is the only company to offer a complete 4WD tour of Skippers Canyon and access to the unique mining relics available in the Sainsbury gold claim museum. Following the winding, yet majestic Skippers road, which carves its way down from the Coronet Peak ski road, over the saddle and down “Long gully” through to Skippers Canyon; your guide will detail the history of the road, hardships of the miners and how many miners were killed building the road over a century ago.
Adult Price: $195.00
Discover the gigantic expanse of the Franz Josef and Fox snowfields on this 40-minute scenic flight. Cross the main divide for breathtaking views of Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. Highlights include a snow landing, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and Mt Cook.
Adult Price: $460.00
Travel on a purpose built fully enclosed river jet boat with front-loading access. Great visibility is ensured, yet you remain warm, dry and comfortable, making this a unique and safe experience suitable for anyone of any age to participate in and enjoy.
Adult Price: $109.00
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