From Auckland to Christchurch, we see nature in its many forms: the Glow Worm Grotto, Franz Josef Glacier, the majestic Southern Alps and cruising Lake Wakatipu by vintage steamship.
You'll enjoy Insider moments like… seeing the Maori treasure of pounamu (jade) skilfully carved into traditional ornaments. And having tea and exploring the grounds to views of the Tasman Sea, with the owners of historic home Shenandoah.
Board your overnight flight to New Zealand (not included).
Cross the International Date Line.
Welcome to Auckland! On arrival at Auckland Airport you will be transferred to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 4pm). This evening meet your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and dinner at 'Eight' at The Langham. Your personal degustation is prepared for you from the freshest, quality ingredients, including mouth-watering seafood and delicious desserts.
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. Join your fellow travelers tonight for a special Maori Hangi feast and concert Regional Meal at the Tamaki Family Marae.
Today your choice of sightseeing: join the Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs Nature Park; discover Maori culture at Te Puia 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.
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 experience. 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. Enjoy afternoon tea in their garden then take a short tour to see the local wildlife. Continue to Wellington.
Visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, for a Cultural Insight into Maori life. Later, cruise the Cook Strait into 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 wines from the famous Marlborough region.
En route to the whale-watching haven of Kaikoura, you'll pass the Grassmere Salt Works and see New Zealand fur seals up close at Ohau Point. Travel to Christchurch over the patchwork Canterbury Plains.
Join us for a taste of country life at a Be My Guest barbecue lunch on Morelea Farm. You'll be welcomed into the home of your hosts Angie and Stan Taylor and their 600 acre garden. Later, visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and soak up the alpine scenery of Mount Cook National Park.
Start your day with a drive along the Waitaki River. View the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam then travel through Oamaru, with its famous white limestone buildings, to Dunedin for a tour of the city.
Today your choice of sightseeing: tour Larnach Castle; ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway; take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise to see the Penguins and the Royal Albatross; visit Cadbury World or Speight's Brewery. Later, travel across farming land to the village of Te Anau, on the shores of Lake Te Anau.
Amazing photo opportunities await you as you see rainforest, ancient glaciers, mountain ranges and the hand-made Homer Tunnel. Pass the Mirror Lake, Pop's Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm. Your cruise on mystical Milford Sound will take you past Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak. Afterwards, travel over the Devil's Staircase and along the shores of Lake Wakatipu on your way to Queenstown.
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.
Visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown. Later, enjoy the tastes of delicious stone fruit at Cromwell, the stone fruit capital. See a trio of lakes, Dunstan, Hawea and Wanaka and travel over the Haast Pass to view amazing Thunder Creek Falls. Then it's on to Franz Josef Glacier.
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.
At Arthur's Pass board the TranzAlpine train to journey through the Southern Alps to Christchurch. Celebrate your trip this evening at a Farewell Dinner with your Travel Director.
Your vacation concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).
14 hot buffet breakfasts, 1 Be My Guest lunch, 1 Be My Guest afternoon tea, 11 dinners.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|10 Sep 17||26 Sep 17||$4,650pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|24 Sep 17||10 Oct 17||$4,650pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|8 Oct 17||24 Oct 17||$5,175pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|15 Oct 17||31 Oct 17||$5,175pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|22 Oct 17||7 Nov 17||$5,175pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|29 Oct 17||14 Nov 17||$5,175pp||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 $1,330.
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 Australia and 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. Australia also requires an electronic visa which is obtained at the time of your airline ticket purchase.
You will be using the Australian dollar and 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 in Australia and New Zealand. 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 Australia and 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 repellent 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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