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Duration: 22 days Visiting: New Zealand
Delve into the scenic delights of New Zealand with a small group of explorers. Combine natural beauty with creature comforts as you stay in the rainforests of Franz Josef at the foothills of Mitre Peak in the Fiordland National Park, immerse yourself in to the era of art deco in Napier and journey into the deep south to the highland country of Dunedin. Experience the country in the best possible way - discover Milford Sound by sea kayak, explore the magical Glowworm Grotto and gain an insight in Māori culture with a unique Māori Hāngi dinner and concert in Rotorua.
Welcome to Christchurch.
On arrival at Christchurch International Airport you'll be driven by private car to your hotel. Spend some time at leisure to relax or explore on your own. Perhaps visit the International Antarctic Centre or Orana Wildlife Park, New Zealand's only open range zoo? In the evening meet your Travelling Concierge for a Welcome Reception.
Christchurch to Franz Josef.
It's all aboard the TranzAlpine train. Rated as one of the world's great scenic railway journeys, you'll travel in comfort across the Canterbury Plains through the Southern Alps. From Arthur's Pass, visit the small town of Hokitika, the heritage and cultural centre of the West Coast. Continue to Franz Josef where your eco-friendly accommodation is set amid native bush and has an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. This evening, why not enjoy Franz Josef's local geothermal hot pools or perhaps a massage?
The Mighty Franz Josef Glacier.
During a Glacier Valley Walk, explore the area with a local guide who will explain the history behind the surrounding fascinating landscape and the importance of Pounamu, better known as jade or greenstone.
Romantic Arrowtown and on to Queenstown.
This morning it’s time for an adventure as you journey down the Haast River in a purpose-built, fully enclosed, river jet boat. After a lunch stop at Makarora travel to Arrowtown where there is time to stop and explore this historic gold-mining village on the Arrow River. Continue to Queenstown for an orientation tour.
Queenstown Your Way.
Experience Queenstown Your Way with an included choice of sightseeing. You could join a wine tour, view The Lord of the Rings film locations and scenery of Queenstown and Glenorchy on a scenic tour, or spend time having a relaxing massage in the spa. Tonight you can dine at one of the local restaurants along the waterfront in town or simply relax at your hotel.
Queenstown at leisure.
Make the most of your extended stay in Queenstown. Why not take an optional jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River or get wet white water rafting down the Kawarau River? In the evening, enjoy a Highlight Dinner at one of Queenstown’s exclusive restaurants.
Queenstown to Milford Sound.
Travel south along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the South Island's largest lake, to reach Te Anau. Continue through the rainforest of the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sit of Fiordland National Park, sighting glaciers and mountain ranges before driving through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel to reach the amazing Mirror Lake. Walk to see the Chasm on your way into Milford Sound, considered to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. Enjoy a two-night stay at the magical Milford Sound Lodge, with views of the Cleddau Valley.
Milford Sound Cruise and Kayaking.
Wake up to the startling beauty of Milford Sound. Board the Southern Discoveries vessel for a half day cruise of Milford Sound. Sail out to the Tasman Sea looking for wildlife, and return to go sea kayaking in Harrison Cove.
Milford Sound to Dunedin.
We leave the majestic Fiordland National Park for the fertile sheep-dotted pastures of South Otago. Travel through Te Anau and on to the country music town of Gore before continuing to Dunedin, New Zealand’s southernmost city. Enjoy dinner and wine at Parcels Restaurant.
Larnach Castle and Dunedin at Leisure.
You are treated to an exclusive tour of Larnach Castle before an afternoon at your leisure - relax or continue exploring as you wish. Perhaps take a train ride or wildlife cruise?
Dunedin to Christchurch.
See Lakes Pukaki and Tekapo, and stop to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. Travel along the Canterbury Plains to the Garden City of Christchurch. On a sightseeing tour see how Christchurch is being rebuilt after the earthquake of 2011.
Christchurch to Wellington.
Travel along the rugged Pacific Ocean coast to Kaikoura, famous for its whales. There's time to take a whale watching flight, if you wish. Continue your journey to the seaside town of Picton. Cruise on Queen Charlotte Sound and across Cook Strait to reach Wellington for a city orientation tour.
Wellington Your Way.
Explore Wellington Your Way with an included choice of sightseeing. You can experience Weta Cave, home of the creative wizards behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, join a local guide for city walking tour around Wellington or learn about New Zealand’s history and culture during a guided visit to Te Papa, New Zealand’s incredible national museum and art gallery.
Wellington to Hawke's Bay.
Travel through the dairy farming land of Manawatu to Napier in Hawke's Bay. In the evening, enjoy a wine tasting and three-course dinner at Mission Estate Winery, one of the region's world-famous wineries.
Enjoy a relaxed start before venturing out to explore the surrounding area. Join a local guide for a tour of the city and see the varying art deco architecture, the style in which Napier was rebuilt after a devastating Earthquake in 1931.
Travel past Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, and visit the spectacular Huka Falls. Then it’s on to Rotorua where on arrival a sightseeing tour offers the chance to take in views of Lake Rotorua. Experience local customs like the Hongi greeting and learn some customary phrases when you visit the Whakarewarewa Living Village set amongst a highly active landscape erupting with geothermal activity. Savour the unique flavours of a Māori Hāngī feast, a meal cooked in the ground using geothermal steam, followed by a traditional concert, at the Tamaki Family Marae.
The Sights of Rotorua.
Your first stop is Rainbow Springs Nature Park, where you'll discover the native beauty around the crystal clear mineral water springs. Take a behind-the-scenes tour through a working kiwi nursery and hatchery dedicated to the conservation of the national icon. Continue to Redwoods - The TreeWalk which consists of 21 suspension bridges traversing between 22 Californian Coastal Redwoods. It provides a unique view of the native undergrowth below from up to 12 metres above the ground, and with a 553-metre-long walk there is plenty of time to appreciate the beauty of the forest. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to continue exploring at your leisure or perhaps relax at your state-of-the-art hotel.
Footwhistle Cave and Auckland.
During your five-star, exclusively guided, Eco Glowworm experience, admire the magical subterranean world of Footwhistle Cave. Later in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, embark on an afternoon sightseeing tour before having the rest of the day at your leisure to enjoy the city as you wish.
Auckland to Bay of Islands.
Travel to Orewa and the scenic Hibiscus Coast. Continue to the Waipoua Forest, a sanctuary and home to many native trees including the largest Kauri tree in existence, Tane Mahuta, which is over 2,000 years old. A Māori guide will walk you through the native bush and explain the history and legend behind the mighty Kauri. Head to your waterfront resort in the heart of the beautiful Bay of Islands.
Bay of Islands at Your Leisure.
With a full day at your leisure, make the most of your extended stay in the Bay of Islands. Why not sail aboard a historic tall ship, enjoy wine tastings around Kerikeri, or discover Russell, the first European settlement and capital of New Zealand, on a highlights tour of this small township? Your Travelling Concierge can assist you with booking your choice of activity.
Cruise the Bay of Islands and onto Auckland.
Cruise through the Bay of Islands Maritime Park and explore some of the 144 islands in the bay. Your journey continues through the small towns of Northland and over the Harbour Bridge as you return to Auckland. Toast your travels together at your Celebration Dinner.
Bid farewell to your fellow travellers after breakfast, as your journey comes to an end with a transfer to Auckland Airport for your onward flight.
Christchurch (Traditional) - New Zealand
Franz Josef (Boutique) - New Zealand
Surrounded by natural rainforest on New Zealand's West Coast, Te Waonui Forest Retreat is a short drive from Franz Josef Glacier. This five-star retreat offers luxuriously appointed rooms which include organic cotton bed sheets, pillow menu and large private bathrooms.
Crowne Plaza Queenstown.
Milford Sound (Traditional) - New Zealand
Dunedin (Historic) - New Zealand
Wellington (Contemporary) - New Zealand
Forming part of an exclusive collection of luxury hotels, the vintage-inspired Sofitel Wellington places you in the heart of the city near lush botanical gardens, stately parliamentary buildings and a collection of museums.
Havelock North, Hawke's Bay (Boutique) - New Zealand
Porters Boutique Hotel is a privately owned, boutique hotel that delivers a luxurious experience.
Rotorua (Contemporary) - New Zealand
Rotorua (Scenic) - New Zealand
Auckland (Contemporary) - New Zealand
Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands.