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Day 1. Arrive Auckland
Upon arrival in New Zealand, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your centrally-located hotel. With the evening at leisure begin exploring or relax after your journey to Aotearoa, ‘Land of the long white cloud’.
Two Nights: Rendezvous Hotel Auckland
Day 2. Auckland, Freedom of Choice Touring
After a morning at leisure, enjoy your selected Freedom of Choice Touring activity. Your options include a cruise on Waitemata Harbour aboard the Pride of Auckland; a trip to the Auckland Museum; get up close to giant sharks, eels and scores of fish at Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and a visit to the Voyager Maritime Museum. Included with each of these options is an Auckland City Sights Tour. Other options available include a head, neck and shoulder massage at Bliss Reflexology, a Wilderness Adventure into the Waitakere Rainforest, or for the more adventurous you may like to climb Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.
Day 3. Auckland, Bay of Islands
Cross Auckland’s busy harbour bridge this morning and travel along the Hibiscus Coast to Matakohe’s Kauri Museum, offering an interesting insight in the pioneering history of New Zealand’s Northland region. Then journey to the Bay of Islands and visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the original treaty between the British and the Indigenous Maori people was signed. You’ll also visit the Maori Meeting House and War Canoe.
Two Nights: Waitangi, Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands
Day 4. Bay of Islands, Freedom of Choice Touring
Today enjoy a full day in the beautiful Bay of Islands. We help you discover the region, by offering you the choice of sightseeing from our Freedom of Choice Touring options. You may like to enjoy the Culture North Night Show, take a tour of Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s northernmost point. Perhaps experience the life of a bygone era aboard a Tall Ship, including a BBQ lunch. Alternatively you may be interested in going on a dolphin watching adventure; relax with a round of golf at Waitangi overlooking the national maritime park; take a mini-tour of Russell or discover the small town of Kerri Kerri on a half day sightseeing tour.
Overnight Cruise option available tonight (surcharge applies)
Day 5. Bay of Islands, Auckland
This morning after breakfast, explore the Bay of Islands on a dolphin watching cruise to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock. In these deep-sea fishing grounds, dolphins and schools of fish are frequently seen. Meander through the inner islands, viewing sandy beaches and rocky outcrops, then relax in a secluded bay. Returning to Paihia, your coach will then take you back to Auckland, where tonight you’ll enjoy a special Pacific themed dinner, with quality New Zealand produce at the Rendezvous Hotel.
Rendezvous Hotel Auckland
Day 6. Auckland, Waitomo Caves, Rotorua, Hangi Feast
Leaving the City of Sails, travel to Waitomo and experience a guided tour of the magical underground limestone and glow-worm caverns. Unique to New Zealand, these fascinating creatures radiate a luminescent glow as your expert guide provides commentary whilst you cruise the underground limestone caverns. Continue to Rotorua, the geo-thermal capital of New Zealand, and immerse yourself in traditional Maori culture as you enjoy a Maori hangi feast and performance of song and dance.
Two Nights: Rotorua, Holiday Inn
Day 7. Rotorua, Freedom of Choice Touring
After enjoying a hearty breakfast, personalise your sightseeing with your chosen Freedom of Choice Touring activity. For an overview of the wonderful sights of this great town, the Rotorua Icons option will take you to the Te Puia Thermal Reserve where you’ll visit some of the famous geo-thermal geysers that are world renowned icons of New Zealand. Or you may like to visit Kiwi Encounter, a working nursery and hatchery of the unique Kiwi bird. Perhaps visit Wai-O-Tapu, New Zealand’s largest boiling mudpool, including Lady Knox Geyser. For fans of the blockbuster series, ‘Lord of the Rings’, you may like to enjoy the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour and see where your favourite scenes were filmed. If you are after something more adventurous, perhaps go on a 4WD Bush Safari. Or relax with a round of golf or a 30 minute spa treatment in the thermal springs at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa.
Country Homestay option available tonight
Day 8. Rotorua, Wellington
This morning, follow the Thermal Explorer Highway to the heart of the North Island and view the Wairakei Steam Valley. Visit the thundering Huka Falls and beautiful Lake Taupo, before travelling south across the vast volcanic plateau of World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park on the way to Wellington, the national capital.
Two Nights: Amora Hotel Wellington
Day 9. Wellington, Freedom of Choice Touring
Today enjoy a full day to explore the nation’s capital. Exclusive to a Premier Escorted Tour, choose from our selection of Freedom of Choice Touring activities in and around Wellington. Perhaps tour the sights of Wellington on a highlights tour which includes a guided tour of the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa; the Old Parliament buildings and the Old St Paul’s Cathedral. For those with an interest in all things nature, perhaps visit Zealandia: Karori Eco Sanctuary, where you can learn of New Zealand’s incredible natural history and renowned conservation projects. Or you might like to take a half day ‘Lord of the Rings’ tour where you’ll visit seven of the best set locations in the Wellington area. If you’ve ever had a fascination for all things celestial, then a visit to the Carter Observatory and Planetarium is for you, see a digital planetarium show as well as a range of multi-media exhibits.
Day 10. Wellington, Kaikoura, Christchurch
This morning say goodbye to the North Island when you step aboard the Interislander ferry to cruise across Cook Strait and through the stunning Marlborough and Queen Charlotte Sound’s to Picton. Here, rejoin your coach and travel to the quaint fishing town of Kaikoura, famous for its whale watching, nestled at the foot of majestic mountains, which are snow capped for many months of the year. Continue travelling along the central east coast to the gateway of the South Island, Christchurch.
Christchurch, Rydges Hotel
Day 11. TranzAlpine Train, Franz Josef
Board the award-winning TranzAlpine train for New Zealand’s greatest rail adventure. Journey through the patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, before travelling through gorges, river valleys and across the magnificent Southern Alps within Arthurs Pass National Park. Disembark at Arthurs Pass and journey to Hokitika by coach. Here, see Pounamu (jade) being carved into jewellery, then continue along the dramatic West Coast to Franz Josef, where you’ll have the opportunity to see Franz Josef Glacier.
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Day 12. Franz Josef, Queenstown, Dine Around Dinner
Enjoy a day of incredible scenery as you travel along the Haast River, capturing views of the massive glacier-formed Haast River Valley, towering peaks, waterfalls and rainforest. Arrive in Queenstown, where this evening you’ll choose from four different eateries in which to dine in. You may like to board the TSS Earnslaw and cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm for ‘The Great Kiwi Carvery’ at the Colonel’s Homestead. Or, for great panoramic views over Queenstown, take a gondola ride up to the Skyline Restaurant. Finz is another option for those who are after fresh seafood and a rotisserie style restaurant. Alternatively, try Avantis, an Italian restaurant offering casual dining in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Two Nights: Queenstown, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Day 13. Queenstown, Freedom of Choice Touring
Today in Queenstown, personalise your tour with a selection of Freedom of Choice Touring activities to choose from. These options include A Safari of the Scenes tour, taking you to several local sites where the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy was filmed. Alternatively, take a ride on the famous Shotover Jetboat down the Shotover river. If you’re feeling adventurous you may like to try Snow Shoeing, with a local guide, strap on a pair of snow shoes for a hike through Queenstown’s wilderness. New Zealand is famous for its wines, so why not take a tour of the country’s premier wine producing region. Or for an overview of Queenstown, you may like to join a Double Decker Explorer ride through the streets of Queenstown and the nearby gold-mining settlement of Arrowtown. These are just some of the options available to you. Dinner tonight is at your leisure to explore Queenstown’s restaurants for yourself.
Day 14. Milford Sound, Te Anau
Journey along the Milford Road. Wind down the Eglinton and Hollyford valleys, then through the Homer Tunnel to be met by the majestic sight of Mitre Peak. We then continue to Milford Sound, cruise the full length of this pristine fiord, an experience that is sure to be one of many highlights of your holiday to New Zealand. Later, enjoy a relaxing drive to the tranquil lakeside settlement of Te Anau.
Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas
Day 15. Te Anau, Dunedin, Freedom of Choice Touring
Leaving the Fiordland region, journey through rolling Southland countryside. Travel via Lumsden and Gore to the east coast and Dunedin. Known as the Edinburgh of the south, the former gold mining town was once New Zealand’s largest city thanks to an influx of miners during the gold rush. This afternoon, choose your Freedom of Choice Touring. Perhaps tour Larnach Castle, New Zealand’s only castle. In keeping with the heritage theme, you may prefer to visit Olveston House, or visit Dunedin’s beautiful railway station and board the Taieri Gorge Railway for a journey into the rugged countryside. Those who like a beer might like to tour Speight’s Brewery and taste the beer that has been brewed on this site since 1876. Alternatively, nature lovers will enjoy visiting an Albatross colony and seeing penguins on a tour of the Otago Peninsula.
Scenic Hotel Dunedin City
Day 16. Dunedin, Mt Cook, Freedom of Choice Touring
This morning after breakfast, journey north along the coast and stop to view the large spherical Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach. Continue to World Heritage-listed Mt Cook National Park, where you can choose your Freedom of Choice Touring activity, in the shadow of New Zealand’s highest mountain. Perhaps visit The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, featuring a 3D movie, the Hillary Gallery and a domed digital planetarium. Mt Cook National Park is home of some of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes, so you may like to join a guided nature walk and discover the native flora and fauna of the region. If you wish to spend the day at leisure, perhaps join a star gazing session with an astronomer this evening. Alternatively, if you’re travelling during the summer months, board a MAC boat and get up close to spectacular icebergs on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake.
EXCLUSIVE! Mt Cook, The Hermitage
Day 17. Mt Cook, Christchurch
Leaving the spectacular snow-capped mountains of Mt Cook National Park behind, travel by coach to picturesque Lake Tekapo. Here, you’ll pay a visit to the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, built of locally gathered stone and oak, it was erected as a tribute to the early pioneers of the region. Later, travel through Burkes Pass to Christchurch. Tonight swap tales of your holiday with fellow travellers at your final dinner together.
Christchurch, Rydges Hotel
Day 18. Depart Christchurch, Freedom of Choice Touring
Today choose from our range of Freedom of Choice Touring activitiesin Christchurch. Your options in Christchurch include the International Antarctic Centre, which provides a powerful, exciting and interactive experience about life in Antarctica. For a relaxing morning before flying out, you may like to go Punting on the Avon, where a Venetian style gondola will take you on a guided cruise along the Avon River, past the unique sights of Christchurch city. For those with the whole day available, the Must See Four takes you to four of Christchurch’s best attractions including the International Antarctic Centre, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, Air Force Museum and a ride on one of Christchurch’s historic trams (your choice will be dependant upon the time of your flight today, enquire for details). Perhaps extend your stay with a post night accommodation. Your 18 Day tour concludes with a transfer to the airport to meet your onward flight.