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18 Day Best of New Zealand Guided Tour

From the blue waters and sandy white beaches of the North Island, to the snow-capped mountains and rugged coastlines of the South Island, explore every nook of New Zealand.

18 Day Best of New Zealand Guided Tour

A heart-pounding haka welcomes you to Rotorua for a taste of Maori culture. A world renowned train journey tops-off your time in New Zealand with scenic splendour.

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Save up to $805 NZD per person on selected travel dates. Terms & conditions apply - ask us for details.

Tour Type: Group Tours
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departs: Selected dates
Duration: 18 Days
Tour Code: ZABC

Regions Visited

Click on the region name to view more information about the region

Auckland, Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Wellington, Picton & Marlborough Sounds, Blenheim, Christchurch, Lake Pukaki & Twizel, Dunedin, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Franz Josef, Punakaiki

Tour Inclusions

  • Private car airport transfers on arrival and departure (flights to arrive prior to 4pm on day 1, flights can depart anytime on day 18)
  • Airport meet & greet on arrival
  • Enjoy New Zealand wines with all hotel dinners
  • Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • Quality accommodation
  • Travel by luxury coach
  • Breakfast of choice (6)
  • Full buffet breakfasts (11)
  • ‘You’re invited’ lunch (1)
  • ‘You’re invited’ afternoon tea (1)
  • Dinners with wine (7)
  • Highlight dinners (4)
  • Farewell dinner (1)
  • Cruise through ‘Hole in the Rock’ in the spectacular Bay of Islands
  • Discover Waitomo and its famous Glowworm Grotto
  • Immerse yourself in rich Maori culture with the Tamaki family over dinner
  • Journey through the magnificent scenery of Mt. Ruapehu Tongariro National Park
  • Be my guest at Shenandoah for a unique private afternoon tea experience
  • Explore Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand
  • Savour a delicious Kiwi BBQ at Morelea Farm
  • Travel past ancient glaciers, spectacular mountains and magical rainforest en route to Milford Sound
  • Taste Central Otago stone fruits at a local orchard
  • Discover fascinating Franz Josef Glacier
  • Visit a jade factory and marvel at artists at work
  • Walk around Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
  • Travel the TranzAlpine Train

Day By Day Itinerary

DAY 1: WELCOME TO AUCKLAND

On arrival at Auckland Airport you’ll be met and transferred by private car to your hotel. Later, why not visit the Sky Tower for amazing views of the city and surrounding volcanic hills? Amble down Queen Street, to the main shopping precinct or on to the Viaduct Harbour. Take a seat in the sunshine and enjoy the sights on Waitemata Harbour. This evening meet your Travel Director for a welcome reception at your hotel.

Accommodation: The Cordis

DAY 2: AUCKLAND / BAY OF ISLANDS

This morning depart Auckland City and travel north over the Harbour Bridge past the sprawling suburbs of the North Shore of Auckland. Our travels then take you through Northland’s lush farmland scenery before arriving into the beautiful Bay of Islands. Experience spectacular scenery as you cruise through game fishing waters to Cape Brett and, weather permitting, through the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’ formation. The return cruise to Paihia meanders through picturesque islands – see deserted sandy beaches and secluded bays and keep your eyes peeled for the marine life. This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Accommodation: Copthorne Resort Bay of Islands

DAY 3: BAY OF ISLANDS

This morning relax with your Breakfast of Choice. Today choose one from a range of Included Choice sightseeing experiences. Perhaps go on a dolphin watching cruise, journey around Kerikeri on a wine tasting tour, or take a guided walk through Russell, New Zealand’s first capital. Explore the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and watch a dazzling Maori cultural performance. Or this evening sail aboard a historic tall ship as the sun sets. Your Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences.

Accommodation: Copthorne Resort Bay of Islands

DAY 4: BAY OF ISLANDS / AUCKLAND

Before departing the Bay of Islands, if you didn’t visit the Waitangi Treaty Reserve yesterday, you may wish to do so today. This is where New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed (own expense). This afternoon sit back and relax as you make your way down through Northland’s lush farmland scenery. From fresh sushi to mouth-watering seafood, from authentic Indian curries to decadent desserts, your highlight dinner tonight at Eight Restaurant at The Cordis will satisfy any and all dining cravings.

Accommodation: The Cordis

DAY 5: AUCKLAND / ROTORUA

A city sights tour will start your day in Auckland. Travel around the waterfront to Mission Bay, with a stop at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, for stunning photos of Auckland and surrounds. Follow the meandering trail of the Waikato River to Waitomo Caves. Tour the amazing limestone caverns and cruise through the still waters of the sparkling Glowworm Grotto.  Tonight an evening of culture, history and scrumptious food awaits you at the Tamaki Maori Village. Wander through the ancient forest village and learn about Maori art forms and traditions, followed by a concert featuring local performers. Experience an authentic Maori Hangi meal, steamed underground in the traditional way.

Accommodation: Millennium Hotel

DAY 6: ROTORUA

This morning relax with your Breakfast of Choice. Today choose one from a range of Included Choice sightseeing experiences. Perhaps unwind at the Polynesian Spa. Visit Te Puia and tour through the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. Or you could take a fascinating tour of the Hobbiton movie set. Or explore Rotorua and its three lakes in an amphibious WWII era Duck. Your Travel Director will assist you in booking all of your chosen optional experiences. Tonight you have the option of staying at your hotel or on a nearby farm. A warm welcome awaits you on your New Zealand rural homestay and your hosts will provide you with the wonderful Kiwi hospitality that really makes you feel ‘at home’. Enjoy dinner and breakfast, a tour to introduce you to their way of life and comfortable accommodation in their home or cottages. You may choose to meet the animals, which may include sheep, cows, deer and many others, or simply relax and enjoy the company of your hosts and the scenic surroundings. (Additional cost).

Accommodation: Millennium Hotel

DAY 7: ROTORUA / WELLINGTON

Say Haere Ra (goodbye) to Rotorua this morning and journey out through pine forests and farmland to a little hidden spot, Huka Falls. From here the road unfolds in a broad panorama of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. You’ll then journey south over the Central Plateau, New Zealand’s main volcanic area. Travel along the Kapiti Coast, to the gorgeous historic villa, Shenandoah.   Join Simon and Claudia for a Be My Guest afternoon tea with a ‘Kiwi twist’. Take a walk around their beautiful property to meet the animal members of the family and stop in at the big red barn and marvel at their collection of Harley Davidson motorcycles and memorabilia. The AAT Kings team will have a tough time getting you to leave. This evening, as you follow the state highway, the Kapiti Coast becomes New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Tonight dinner with wine is included at your hotel.

Accommodation: James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor

DAY 8: WELLINGTON / BLENHEIM

Why not discover more of Wellington this morning. There’s time to visit the Parliament buildings and the Beehive, home to New Zealand’s politicians. Later you’ll visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand and explore the fascinating exhibits at your leisure, including their unique Marae (Meeting House). Cruise the Cook Strait into tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound. The village of Picton is next, then it’s on to Blenheim for a city sightseeing tour. Tonight enjoy a 3-course highlight dinner prepared from local produce and matched with wines of the Marlborough region, including selections from Villa Maria and Saint Clair wineries.

Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough

 

DAY 9: BLENHEIM / CHRISTCHURCH

This morning stop to meet some New Zealand fur seals at Ohau Point, and watch as they frolic and play in the tidal currents. Take a helicopter flight out of Kaikoura (own expense) for whale and dolphin viewing. Or stop in at one of many local eateries and sample a Kaikoura seafood delight, crayfish. This afternoon’s journey follows the Pacific Ocean coastline where roaring sea meets enormous bush-clad mountains. Travel across the Northern Canterbury Plains and into Christchurch. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch’s inner city.

Accommodation: Hotel Novotel

DAY 10: CHRISTCHURCH / TWIZEL

Visit Morelea Farm, a typical working sheep farm, where you’ll get a taste of traditional New Zealand country life. You’ll be welcomed into the home of Angie and Stan Taylor and their 240 hectare garden. You’ll have the chance to experience sheep shearing and farming demonstrations before enjoying a Be My Guest barbecue lunch, and wait until you try Angie’s famous Pavlova dessert! Listen to the family’s story of growing up in rural New Zealand and their challenges of farming in the foothills of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. See Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki, and visit the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd on your way to Twizel.

Accommodation: MacKenzie Country Hotel

DAY 11: TWIZEL / DUNEDIN

Your day starts with a photo stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. From the Waitaki Valley you’ll travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. This afternoon you’ll make your way down to the southern-most city in New Zealand, Dunedin. With the rest of your afternoon at leisure why not take part in an optional experience to see more of the region. Tonight, enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

DAY 12: DUNEDIN / TE ANAU

This morning choose one from a range of Included Choice sightseeing experiences. You have the option to tour Larnach Castle, ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway, take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise or experience an interactive of tour Speight’s Brewery. This afternoon travel through lush green pastures, crossing sheep-filled farming land. Meander your way up into the Fiordland National Park to the South Island’s biggest lake and the town of Te Anau. Tonight, enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel.

Accommodation: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

DAY 13: TE ANAU / QUEENSTOWN

Today you will want to have your camera battery charged, and ready to go! Journey out to Milford Sound on one of the most scenic roads you will ever see, travelling through native rainforests, alluvial flats and meadows. You will stop at Mirror Lakes and then it’s on to the Homer Tunnel, man’s attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges. Marvel at the stunning Cleddau Valley, stop for a little walk to the Chasm, and then it’s on to Milford Sound, where you will cruise the waters of this natural wonder. Your cruise takes in the Bowen and Stirling Falls, glacial hanging valleys, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak. From Milford Sound, you will travel on to the beautiful sights of Queenstown. An orientation tour skirts the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Tonight you may want to take a gondola to Bob’s Peak and dine at the Skyline Restaurant, Stratosfare, overlooking Queenstown (own expense) – the ultimate way to end a highlight day!

Accommodation: Millennium Hotel

DAY 14: QUEENSTOWN

This morning relax with your Breakfast of Choice. Today choose one from a range of Included Choice sightseeing experiences. You have the option to ride the Shotover Jet, take a gondola to Bob’s Peak for thrilling luge rides, or visit the Skyline Restaurant for dinner. Or take a 4WD minibus tour through spectacular Skippers Canyon. Perhaps visit Kiwi Birdlife Park or journey deep into the mountains to Mt. Nicholas High Country Farm for lunch. After a day of activity, enjoy a peaceful evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue highlight dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead. Then enjoy an entertaining after-dinner farm show providing a glimpse into highcountry farm life. On the cruise back to Queenstown, join in a sing-along or a dance across the polished wooden floors of the Earnslaw.

Accommodation: Millennium Hotel

DAY 15: QUEENSTOWN / FRANZ JOSEF

This morning you will begin the passage out to wild West Coast. Stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. Then travel over to Cromwell, where you will stop in at a local orchard for a taste of the town’s delicious stone fruit. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as you will see the vivid blue waters of Lakes Dunstan, Hawea, then Wanaka. You will then travel over Haast Pass and view the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls. Your final destination for today is the extraordinary Franz Josef Glacier. You may want to view the glacier on a helicopter flight (own expense). Tonight, enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

DAY 16: FRANZ JOSEF / PUNAKAIKI

This morning explore Franz Josef Glacier. Then it’s time for an adventure amongst temperate rainforest giants on the West Coast Treetop Walkway, followed by a visit to Hokitika, home of the native greenstone (jade) for a factory visit and jewellery demonstration. Later, travel to Punakaiki to view the Pancake Rocks and blowholes. You’ll spend the night in an eco-friendly resort, right on the waterfront. This evening enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel, while watching the surf thundering at your doorstep.

Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort

DAY 17: PUNAKAIKI / CHRISTCHURCH

Travel to the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass where you’ll board the TranzAlpine, one of the world’s most scenic train trips. The train forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. This evening join your Travel Director for a farewell dinner with wine.

Accommodation: Hotel Novotel

DAY 18: FAREWELL FROM CHRISTCHURCH

Your holiday concludes this morning. You’ll be transferred by private car to Christchurch for your onward flight.

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01 October 2018 - 31 March 2019

Start Date End Date Single traveller Guaranteed departure Availability
15 December 2018 1 January 2018 $10,865 NZD Yes Fully Booked
22 December 2018 8 January 2018 $10,865 NZD Yes Enquire / Book
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01 April 2019 - 31 May 2019

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20 April 2019 7 May 2019 $10,325 NZD Yes Enquire / Book
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01 June 2019 - 30 September 2019

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1 June 2019 18 June 2019 $9,805 NZD Yes Enquire / Book
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