Discover the main highlights of New Zealand in 10 memorable days on this express group tour travelling from Auckland to Christchurch. Enjoy a traditional Maori welcome and discover the geothermal site of Te Puia in Rotorua. Fly south to Queenstown for free time in this alpine resort, and enjoy the views of Te Anau lake. Cruise spectacular Milford Sound, see New Zealand's tallest peak in Mount Cook and finish your adventure in Christchurch with guided sightseeing and a farewell dinner.
Welcome to New Zealand
Haere mai - Welcome! Upon arrival into Auckland you will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The rest of the day and your first evening offer free time for you to explore the local area and find somewhere for dinner.
Exploring Auckland & Rotorua
Auckland - Rotorua. This morning we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Auckland, taking in highlights including the Auckland Museum, quaint Parnell Village and the waterfront. We will also admire the panoramic views from Bastion Point. Then it's on to Rotorua, where we also enjoy a guided sightseeing tour. There's some time to relax in the afternoon and we experience a traditional Maori welcome (powhiri), including the traditional hongi - sharing breath.
This evening we visit Tamaki Maori Village to experience Te Pa Tu. An important date on the Maori lunar calendar, we will feast on local cuisine, sing Maori songs and experience this vibrant culture for ourselves.
Overnight: Rotorua | Breakfast, Dinner
Rotorua to Queenstown
Rotorua - Queenstown. Today we enjoy an included visit to Te Puia with a private local guide. This active geothermal site is also the nation’s center for indigenous arts and crafts, and a Kiwi conservation project, where you will be able to see New Zealand’s endangered but iconic national emblem.
Our next stop is Lake Tarawera, home to the buried Maori village of Te Wairoa that was devastated by a volcanic eruption in 1886. Now excavated, the village offers an insight into the chaos and destruction of that fateful day.
In the afternoon, we fly south to Queenstown, New Zealand's premier alpine resort with a rich history of goldmining. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: Queenstown | Breakfast
Te Anau lake
Queenstown - Te Anau. Departing Queenstown today, our first stop is the historic Arrowtown, a charming gold rush village nestled beneath majestic peaks near the Arrow River. We carry on along the scenic road between the Remarkables mountain range and stunning Lake Wakatipu before traversing a glacial valley turned farmland to reach Lake Te Anau, the South Island's largest freshwater lake and the entry point to Fiordland National Park.
Overnight: Te Anau | Breakfast
Cruising Milford Sound
Te Anau - Milford Sound - Queenstown. Our journey to Milford Sound involves passing through Fiordland National Park, one of the most scenic drives of our trip. One of the greatest wildernesses in the Southern Hemisphere, the scenery is punctuated with lofty mountains and deep glacial valleys. We reach Milford Sound, described by Rudyard Kipling as the 'Eighth Wonder of the World'.
Boarding a comfortable cruiser, we head out onto the waters of Milford Sound. Keep your eyes peeled for seals and dolphins, and admire Mitre Peak from the water. Enjoy a picnic lunch onboard. Back on dry land, we complete our drive back to Queenstown by retracing our steps to Te Anau and then heading north.
Overnight: Queenstown | Breakfast, Lunch
Queenstown free time
Today is a free day for you to relax or explore Queenstown and the surrounding area. The list of possible activities is endless; you could go zip-lining or ride the gondola to at Bob's Peak, enjoy white water rafting or cruise picturesque Lake Wakatipu. Other options include a 4X4 safari to Skippers Canyon, a cruise on the steamship TSS Earnslaw or a visit to a local winery. Your tour leader will be able to advise you on how to spend your time!
Overnight: Queenstown | Breakfast
Mount Cook & Twizel
Queenstown - Mount Cook - Twizel. Our journey continues north, and the scenery continues to impress. Heading through the rugged Kawarau Gorge, past idyllic Lake Dunstan and into the Mackenzie Basin, we enjoy views of the Southern Alps. We reach Mount Cook village, offering jaw-dropping views of New Zealand's tallest peak, known in Maori as Aoraki. The night is spent in the rural town of Twizel.
Overnight: Twizel | Breakfast
Twizel - Christchurch. Today we visit a local home on the shore of Lake Tekapo. We learn how to make a traditional Kiwi pavlova and can taste our creation whilst overlooking the lake. We also visit the Church of the Good Shephard, which is one of the most photographed spots in New Zealand. The Southern Alps tower in the background, making for quite the photograph.
Passing through the rural towns of Fairlie, Geraldine and Ashburton, we finally reach Christchurch. The city has been rebuilt following cataclysmic earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, and is once more a modern, thriving city.
Overnight: Christchurch | Breakfast
Today we explore Christchurch, a most English of New Zealand cities! The day starts with some punting along the River Avon, and yes, our boatmen will be wearing straw hats and traditional dress! We pass through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and ride a beautifully restored heritage tram through the city center. To round off our trip, there is an included group dinner this evening at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Christchurch | Breakfast, Dinner
Farewell New Zealand
Today your adventure in New Zealand comes to an end. A transfer takes you to Christchurch Airport for your flight home.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates are guaranteed with 2 travellers. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to all solo travellers, or if your booking party cannot reach the minimum of 2 persons in a room. Single Rooms can also be booked by any other person wanting the comfort and privacy of their own room.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
M Social, Auckland
The M Social Hotel in Auckland is the perfect blend of modern design and convenient location. Situated in Auckland’s vibrant waterfront, this modern hotel offers an unbeatable location to explore the city. The hotel boasts a variety of well-decorated rooms and suites with stunning views of the city or harbour. Each room is designed for comfort and style, featuring sleek decor, comfortable beds, and modern amenities to make your stay truly comfortable. A highlight of the M Social Hotel is the stylish Beast & Butterflies restaurant, serving up delicious Asia Pacific cuisine. When relaxing in the hotel guests can make the most of the modern fitness centre or enjoy some drinks at the bar to unwind after a day of exploring.
Millennium Hotel Rotorua, Rotorua
Set in the heart of Rotorua, the Millennium Hotel offers a unique blend of luxurious comfort and access to local natural beauty. The hotel's location places you within easy reach of Rotorua's geothermal parks, Maori cultural experiences, and adventure activities, making it an ideal choice for exploring the diverse attractions of this captivating city. Rooms provide a perfect place for relaxation. Guests can expect modern amenities, comfortable furnishings, and some rooms even offer stunning views of Lake Rotorua or the surrounding landscapes. Millennium Hotel Rotorua offers a variety of facilities to enhance your stay, including a heated pool & fitness centre. The hotel offers two restaurants that serve delectable menus of local and international cuisine. A contemporary cocktail bar is also found on site for guests to enjoy.
Regal Palms Resort, Rotorua
Found in the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, the Regal Palms Resort is a luxurious escape surrounded by nature's marvels. Conveniently located on the edge of the city, this resort provides easy access to Rotorua's iconic attractions, including geysers, hot springs, and cultural experiences. Rooms at the Regal Palms Resort are stylish and modern, offering a variety of spacious and well-equipped suites and villas. Each unit boasts modern amenities such as an ensuite, a TV, A/C, and a small kitchenette with private balconies or courtyards, creating a serene retreat for guests. The resort's facilities include a heated outdoor pool, mineral spa pools, a fitness centre, tennis courts, and a mini gold course, allowing guests to unwind and rejuvenate. The on-site day spa offers a range of pampering treatments for ultimate relaxation.
Scenic Suites Queenstown, Queenstown
Scenic Suites Queenstown offers a luxurious escape in the heart of New Zealand's adventure capital. Ideally located just a short walk from the vibrant town centre, the hotel enjoys a prime position for exploring the stunning landscapes, adrenaline-pumping activities, and the thriving dining and entertainment scene that Queenstown is famous for. Accommodation at Scenic Suites Queenstown is stylish and designed for comfort. Many rooms offer breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains, creating a tranquil and scenic backdrop for your stay. The hotel's amenities include a restaurant and bar serving delicious local and international cuisine and a modern fitness centre, ensuring that guests can unwind and rejuvenate after a day of adventure. The hotel's location is also convenient for exploring Queenstown's attractions, such as the Skyline Gondola and the waterfront.
Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau
The Distinction Luxmore Hotel in Te Anau is a gateway to the stunning Fiordland region, nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau. The hotel provides a comfortable and welcoming retreat after a day of adventure. Rooms are thoughtfully designed and equipped with modern amenities such as an ensuite, WiFi, and a TV, ensuring a restful stay. Many rooms offer scenic views of Lake Te Anau or the surrounding mountains. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and a cosy bar where guests can savour local and international cuisine while taking in the picturesque surroundings. Other amenities include a fitness centre and a guest lounge.
Distinction Mackenzie Country Hotel, Twizel
The Distinction Mackenzie Country Hotel in Twizel offers a peaceful retreat amidst the stunning landscapes of the Mackenzie Basin. Located at the gateway to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, this hotel provides a picturesque setting for nature enthusiasts and those seeking outdoor adventures. Rooms at the Distinction Mackenzie Country Hotel are a cozy haven after a day of exploration where guests can enjoy comfortable furnishings and contemporary amenities such as an en-suite, TV, WiFi, and large windows offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. The hotel features excellent facilities, including an on-site restaurant serving delectable cuisine, a bar for relaxing with a drink, and sunny gardens offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and a peaceful place for a stroll.
Distinction Christchurch Hotel, Christchurch
The Distinction Christchurch Hotel stands in the heart of Christchurch. Located in the city centre, the hotel offers a convenient base for exploring the city's vibrant culture, shopping precincts, and iconic landmarks. The Distinction Christchurch Hotel is modern and stylish, and rooms provide modern amenities and chic decor, creating a comfortable retreat for all guests. The hotel's facilities include a sophisticated restaurant and bar, serving fresh and locally sourced cuisine and refreshing drinks in a refined atmosphere. With its central location, the hotel is within easy reach of Christchurch's attractions, including the Botanic Gardens and the Canterbury Museum.