18 Day Essence of New Zealand Guided Tour

Experience a perfect New Zealand holiday that will leave you with a lifetime of golden memories. In the North Island, it may be the spirit and energy of a Māori cultural performance, or the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. In the South Island, be blown away by the breathtaking beauty of its snow-capped mountain ranges and the fiords and waterfalls of Milford Sound. Whatever your delight, there are many memories to take away and treasure.

18 Day Essence of New Zealand Guided Tour

Create your perfect New Zealand memory from a range of essential elements. It may be the spirit and energy of a Maori cultural performance – twirling poi and heart-pounding haka. Or it may be the scenic mountains and fiords of Milford Sound – breath-taking and untouched. So many faultless moments, so many special memories.
Tour Type: Group Tours
From: Christchurch to Auckland
Departs: Selected dates
Duration: 18 days
Tour Code: LCQA

Regions Visited

Click on the region name to view more information about the region
Christchurch, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Te Anau, Queenstown, Franz Josef, Punakaiki, Nelson, Picton and Marlborough Sounds, Wellington, Napier, Rotorua, Auckland

Tour Inclusions

  • Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Travel by luxury coach
  • Airport transfers (flights to arrive prior to 4pm on day 1, flights can depart anytime on day 18)
  • Full buffet breakfasts (17)
  • Highlight dinners (1)
  • Dinners (5)
  • Lunch (1)
  • Tour the sights of Dunedin
  • Overnight Milford Sound
  • Franz Josef Glacier
  • Blow holes at Punakaiki
  • Free time in Nelson to explore the Abel Tasman National Park
  • Cruise Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Napier’s Art Deco history
  • Maori hangi and Concert with the Tamaki Family Marae
  • Discover Maori Arts & Crafts at Te Puia
  • Auckland City Sights


Frequently Asked Questions – GroupTours

What is a Group tour?
What could be better than travelling with a group of like-minded people, on a coach tour operated by one of our preferred operators, AAT Kings or Grand Pacific Tours. You will be taken care of from your arrival into New Zealand through to your departure.

Do these tours departure every day?
The departure dates are stipulated on our website. Should a date not fit into your schedule, please contact us as we would gladly make alternative arrangements for you.

I am a single traveller, can I be matched up with another single traveller in a twin room?
Yes, you can pay on a share twin basis. You will be matched with a fellow traveller of the same gender, however we are unable to guarantee compatibility.

What is included in my tour?
5 star coach transportation, experienced coach captain with full commentary, some tours include a tour manager. Accommodation, activities and meals as stipulated in the itinerary.

Can I join or leave a tour part way through?
Yes, should you wish to we can arrange this for you. However, there will be no deduction in the cost for unused services.

Does the tour include transfers on arrival and departure?
You will be met on arrival at the airport and transferred to the tour hotel to meet your fellow travellers. At the completion of the tour you will be transferred to the airport in ample time for your departure flight.

Can I add accommodation onto my tour, at the beginning or the end of the tour?
Yes, this is pre or post accommodation. Just let us know and we can include that in your tour.

I am prone to motion sickness, can I guarantee a forward seat?
All tours operate a seat rotation system for the enjoyment of all travellers. All travellers must participate in seat rotation as a condition of booking. Due to this we are unable to guarantee forward seating.

How much luggage can I bring on tour?    
Each traveller is entitled to travel with one suitcase. Maximum suitcase weight allowed is 23kg (50lbs). All luggage is entirely at the ‘owners risk’ whilst on tour and we strongly recommend that travel insurance be taken out by each traveller to cover accidental damage or loss. All travellers are supplied with luggage tags. This will assist the Coach Captain to identify your luggage when loading the coach throughout your tour and the delivery of luggage to your room.

What clothing should I bring on tour?
Whilst on tour, dress is informal and relaxed on most occasions. Smart casual clothes are acceptable at most restaurants. The seasons are more pronounced and the weather is more changeable. In summer, a jacket and sweater should be included in your luggage should the weather turn cooler or you visit higher altitudes. You can expect some rain, so also include a light rainproof jacket or coat. If visiting during the months of May and September, pack warm winter garments and layer your clothing. You may have the option to relax and unwind in thermal hot pools so don’t forget to pack your swimwear.

What can I expect weather wise?
As much as we would like to say 100% sunshine, that is beyond us so the New Zealand Met service have the following averages.

Spring: September, October, November - average daytime temperature 16 – 19 Celsius (61 – 66 Fahrenheit)
Summer: December, January, February - average daytime temperature 20 – 25 Celsius (68- 77 Fahrenheit)
Autumn/Fall: March, April, May - average daytime temperature 17-21 Celsius (62 – 70 Fahrenheit)
Winter: June, July, August - average daytime temperature 12 - 16 Celsius (53 – 61 Fahrenheit)

Do I need to tip in New Zealand?
If you wish to reward someone for a job well done it is always much appreciated.

Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?
Most visitors to New Zealand do not require a visa to enter for the purpose of a holiday or vacation under the visa waiver program. If you do need a visa to visit New Zealand then you should contact the New Zealand consulate in your home country well before your departure date. We recommend you also check with your local travel agent or airline for any visa requirements to New Zealand particularly if you are passing through Australia. Information on the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) can be found here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about-visa/nzeta

What currency is used in New Zealand?
The New Zealand dollar is the only legal tender in New Zealand. View a guide between your local currency and the New Zealand dollar. Please note: Your tour and all purchases using a credit card in New Zealand will be charged in New Zealand Dollars (NZD) at the current exchange rate at the time of purchase.

Do I require travel insurance?
We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance. Factors may arise that require you to cancel or amend your holiday, so it is essential you are covered for any costs that may be incurred. We recommend purchasing your travel insurance locally at the same time as you book your tour and flights. Pacific Travel Ltd does not sell travel insurance.

Day By Day Itinerary

DAY 1: WELCOME TO CHRISTCHURCH
Christchurch, South Island Tours

Meet your Travel Director and travelling companions this evening at a Welcome Reception.

Accommodation: Hotel Ibis

DAY 2: CHRISTCHURCH / OMARAMA
15 Day Classic New Zealand Explorer Guided Tour

Drive over the rich alluvial farmlands of the Canterbury Plains to Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki. Pause to view the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd before revelling in the alpine landscape of Mt. Cook National Park.

Accommodation: Heritage Gateway Hotel

DAY 3: OMARAMA / DUNEDIN
Dunedin, South Island Tours

Travel via Oamaru, with its famous white limestone buildings, to Dunedin, a region of unique landscapes and fascinating cultural history, for an orientation tour.

Accommodation: Kingsgate Hotel

DAY 4: DUNEDIN / MILFORD SOUND
New Zealand Tours

Be awestruck by the glories of Fiordland National Park. Journey through rainforest, ancient glaciers and mountain ranges, and pass through the monumental Homer Tunnel. See Lake Matheson, Pop’s Lookout, Cleddau Valley and the Chasm before arriving in Milford Sound for your overnight cruise

(Cruise may not operate on 10 Sep 2020 departure. On this date, you can enjoy a day cruise on Milford Sound and accommodation in Te Anau or Queenstown)

Accommodation: Overnight Milford Sound

DAY 5: MILFORD SOUND / QUEENSTOWN
Te Anau Glowworm Caves Tour

Depart for the majestic Lake Te Anau. Explore the famous Te Anau Glowworm Caves by boat, before travelling to Queenstown, the adventure capital.

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort

DAY 6: QUEENSTOWN
Queenstown, South Island Tours

Today is yours to explore at your own pace.

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort

DAY 7: QUEENSTOWN
Queenstown Tours

While Queenstown wears its ‘Global Adventure Capital’ badge proudly, it’s also the perfect place to relax and explore. The town boasts great shopping with luxury brands, iconic New Zealand design stores, and boutique fashion.

Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort

DAY 8: QUEENSTOWN / FRANZ JOSEF
Scenic Sights Tour

Your destination is the wild West Coast of the South Island. Stop to visit the gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. You will then travel over Haast Pass and view the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls on your way to the Franz Josef Glacier.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

DAY 9: FRANZ JOSEF / PUNAKAIKI
South Island Tours

Explore this astounding glacier on foot or from the air this morning (both optional). Travel to Hokitika, home of New Zealand’s famous greenstone, then on to Punakaiki to view the intriguing Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. You’ll spend the night in an eco-friendly resort right on the waterfront.

Accommodation: Punakaiki Resort

DAY 10: PUNAKAIKI / NELSON
West Coast Tours

The Heritage Highway leads you through a scenic wilderness to the plunging Buller Gorge and pristine Kahurangi National Park.

Accommodation: The Rutherford Hotel

DAY 11: NELSON
Abel Tasman Tours

Today you have free time to relax in Nelson.

Accommodation: The Rutherford Hotel

DAY 12: NELSON / WELLINGTON
Museum of New Zealand, Wellington

Visit the seaside village of Picton with free time to explore. Cruise on tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound before heading across Cook Strait to the North Island and Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. Enjoy a city sights tour before a guided tour of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.

Accommodation: Travelodge Wellington

DAY 13: WELLINGTON AT LEISURE

Wellington is celebrated as the country’s creative and culinary capital and today is yours to explore at your own pace.

Accommodation: Travelodge Wellington

DAY 14: WELLINGTON / NAPIER

Your special packed lunch today won’t only be wholesome, it will also feed a Kiwi child who may otherwise go without, through the charity ‘Eat My Lunch’. Travel through the Wairarapa region and Hawke’s Bay to Napier, a city whose unique concentration of beautiful Art Deco architecture is due to its rebuilding after the 1931 earthquake. Enjoy a walking tour with a local guide.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Te Pania

DAY 15: NAPIER / ROTORUA
Group Tours, North Island

Journey to Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, and then visit mighty Huka Falls on your way to Rotorua, where a sightseeing tour will include views of Lake Rotorua. Visit Te Puia, the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. A tour of Rotorua’s active geothermal fields follows. Gain insight into traditional Māori culture this evening while you enjoy a Highlight Dinner at the Tamaki Māori Village

Accommodation: Hotel Ibis

DAY 16: ROTORUA
North Island Tours

Today is yours to explore at your own pace.

Accommodation: Hotel Ibis

DAY 17: ROTORUA / AUCKLAND
Auckland City Tours

Travel through the lush dairy-farming district of Waikato en route to Auckland, where you’ll take a tour of the city.

Stay: VR Queen Street Hotel & Suites

DAY 18: FAREWELL FROM AUCKLAND
New Zealand Tours

Your holiday comes to an end this morning after breakfast.

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01 October 2021 - 31 March 2022

Start Date End Date Single traveller Guaranteed departure Availability
7 October 2021 24 October 2021 $8,525 NZD Yes Enquire / Book
4 November 2021 21 November 2021 $8,525 NZD No Enquire / Book
25 November 2021 12 December 2021 $8,525 NZD No Enquire / Book
16 December 2021 2 January 2022 $8,525 NZD No Enquire / Book
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27 January 2022 13 February 2022 $8,525 NZD Yes Enquire / Book
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17 February 2022 6 March 2022 $8,525 NZD Yes Enquire / Book
3 March 2022 20 March 2022 $8,525 NZD No Enquire / Book
10 March 2022 27 March 2022 $8,525 NZD Yes Enquire / Book